This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Yagi the Bookshop Goat. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to violence and prejudice as it appears in the manga.
In this world, herbivores and carnivores live amicably, though this is primarily because they live in separate zones – one catering to herbivores, the other to carnivores. However, even if you are an herbivore, it doesn't mean you'll be treated fairly in the section for herbivores. This is the unfortunate case for Yagi, a goat who wants nothing more than to work at a bookshop. However, like most goats, Yagi has the habit of eating paper, which doesn't work out too well for his employers.
Unable to get a job at any herbivore bookshop, Yagi goes where he shouldn't: a carnivore bookshop managed by a wolf named Ookami. Ookami gives Yagi a job, and while Yagi does eat a book on occasion, Ookami scolds him but lets him work there all the same. Yagi thinks it is simply because Ookami is kind, but there is something more behind the wolf's good deeds. Not only does he have a complicated past, but he might see Yagi as more than just an employee.
This is super, super cute. The art is just everything I could want and more. It is adorable, to say the least, and surprisingly lewd. I had no idea there would be mature scenes in this just by its look, but there is some sexy time to be had in this one-shot manga. So don't be fooled by the wholesome artwork – while it is an overall wholesome story, it does get down and dirty, too.
It is a short story, of course, and as a result, it isn't that deep of a story, but it isn't superficial either. Ookami's story, in particular, is really sad and highlights the prejudice there is in this world against carnivores. He was raised by herbivores and helped at his parent's bookshop in the herbivore zone, where Yagi actually met him as a child. However, when his parents died, he could not keep up the bookshop because no one there trusted him as a carnivore, so he was forced to leave behind the bookshop and Yagi. It's heart-wrenching that he was forced to give up his home, his parent's business, and even his best friend just because he was a carnivore in the herbivore zone.
However, the fear of carnivores is not unfounded, which we see through the Kuma, who is attracted to Yagi and inadvertently hurts him due to him being a bear. It was interesting to see the fears expressed by herbivores in action. The prejudice doesn't stop there, though, as Yagi is also prevented from accessing certain facilities and working in certain places in the herbivore zone simply because he is a goat. Because goats have a predisposition to eating paper, they are usually not allowed in libraries and aren't able to work in facilities where there is a lot of paper. So Yagi's only chance at achieving his dream is to go to the carnivore zone, a place he usually would never go to, nor any herbivore. It's an interesting dynamic to see how those put into untenable situations are forced to work around those prejudices to achieve their dreams.
Finally, I have to talk about the one part of this that really makes it worth reading. This concept isn't all that unique – herbivores and carnivores being separated, a dangerous relationship between a carnivore and herbivore, etc. What makes this super unique, in my opinion, is the ability that Yagi has. He can taste a book's flavor and even pick up the writer's emotions. It's a super interesting idea that I wouldn't have expected. It leads to many fun and interesting scenarios, especially between Yagi and Ookami when Yagi eats the paper that Ookami wrote on. I personally think this is worth reading just for that because it is something I don't think I'll see again in many other stories.
This was a charming, wholesome, and refreshing read. If you are looking for something pretty light with a succinct romance, you can't go wrong here. The art is adorable and consistent; you get some nice lewd scenes without it being overly obscene, and you get a nice short story that isn't superficial. It is definitely worth reading when you get the chance!
Have you read Yagi the Bookshop Goat? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!