Erika has always had a problem with lying. Unsure of herself, she will often tell tall tales to her friends in order to make herself seem more interesting, but unfortunately this comes back to haunt her when she brags to her high school class mates about a boyfriend she doesn't have. They want proof, so when she is out shopping, she takes a picture of an attractive guy to show to her friends. However, they recognize him because he goes to Erika's school! In a panic, she explains the situation to him, and he agrees to help... for a price.
Disclaimer: I decided to watch and review this show because it is outside of my usual comfort zone both in the review sense and the watching sense. If I hadn't promised to review it, I would have dropped this thing like a rock.
One of the most frustrating elements of many shoujo, both for me and for many others, would be the lack of general progression in the stories. Silly misunderstandings between characters and intentional fake-outs often play with the audience, and sometimes the main problem isn't even really solved by the time the show ends.
This is not a problem in Wolf Girl. It's not that it ends with a good resolution; rather, the main story progresses significantly throughout the show. I did not have to wait for the very end for anything to happen, and this is perhaps the greatest success the anime has.
Serious Power Play
The male lead, Kyouya Sata, is actually a relatively intriguing character. He is an incredibly good looking guy, but never settles for girls because he doesn't like to feel controlled. In fact, not only does he not like to be controlled, he also likes to be a controller. He loves dogs because "they obey their masters". My biggest issue is that although he is a compelling character, he is also extremely creepy and probably a put off for the audience initially. This is because his obsession with control is the basis for his deal with Erika: she, in a way, is his dog.
I would like to point out, however, that with this is both the disturbing and the sweet. At times he orders her around, but he can't stand to see her mistreated by others. These developing feelings, as I said before, progress significantly and he grows greatly as a character throughout the entirety of the show.
Note: This is slightly spoiler-y, but I think it's important to emphasize that Kyouya does not take advantage of Erika the entire show, around halfway there is a major switch.
Actual Character Progression, but Limited
The characters of Wolf Girl aren't just fleshed out over the course of the show, they progress. While the background of Kyouya is explored, the audience doesn't just learn about why he is the way he is, he also changes. That is because throughout the course of the story, the characters are dynamic. However, this does not apply for everyone because in true shoujo fashion, the primary concern is the male lead.
One significant problem with Wolf Girl and Black Prince would be the art style, or the lack thereof. A great amount of detail went into the design of Kyouya and his friends (manservice!), but almost no detail goes into most other characters. In fact, Erika's friends in her class are so badly drawn that I would be glad for them to leave just so I could stop mentally cringing. The animation also was lackluster, but then again this show probably had zero budget.
I think the biggest flaw, especially to me as a westerner, would be the way that Erika reacts to her treatment at the hands of Kyouya. Although it is true that at times she lashes out, seeks alternatives, or argues on her own behalf, the most common reaction from her is to obey her oppressor. She also develops what is essentially Stockholm Syndrome: she falls in love with her captor. This is more than a little bit cringe-y. 'Cringe' is kind of the buzzword when talking about Wolf Girl.
Really, the main reason I stuck with Wolf Girl and Black Prince is because I decided to take a show for review that was not too popular and outside of my usual tastes. The entire beginning is pretty cringe-worthy in the sense that it is slightly disturbing, but overall, I was surprised that I didn't entirely hate my time watching the second half. Of course, I both can't and refuse to recommend this to anyone outside of big time shoujo fans (and even then there would need to be a big warning sticker), but if you happen to fall into that category, feel free to give it a shot.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince is available for free and legal streaming on Crunchyroll.
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Also, a special thanks to Rockmandash12 for checking over everything, because that's good.
This is one in a series of reviews I will be posting from the Fall 2014 season. I will hyperlink the others as they release on every review. Confirmed list of future/complete reviews (list not final):