By Former Contributor / October 16th, 2014
WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Wolf Girl and Black Prince Episodes 1 and 2. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please stop reading. You have been warned.
If there is one thing that I outright despise in anime, it is “comedy” series based entirely around putting one character at the ass of your jokes. Some of the worst anime I have ever seen were ones that were based entirely around this premise. The key problem with most of these series is that the main conflict is also the main source of comedy. As a result, the series wants us to sympathize with the main character yet also find his or her suffering funny. In order to sympathize with a character, we need to find him or her likable, yet to find his or her suffering funny; we need to think he or she deserves it. Very rarely does a series successfully accomplish both.
Going into Wolf Girl and Black Prince, I was very skeptical; and I had every reason to be seeing as how the series was labeled as a romantic comedy and the main premise involves Erika (our main character) being blackmailed into being Sata’s dog. I still decided to check out the first episode for curiosity’s sake and was pleasantly surprised to see that this subject manner was handled with the respect it deserves. While there are still some elements of the series that have me concerned, it definitely has some pretty strong writing thus far and I have a feeling that I will have very strong feelings about this series; one way or the other.
So the plot of our first episode is that Erika has been lying to her friends about her boyfriend in an attempt to fit in. She made up a whole bunch of stories to tell the popular girls about her boyfriend, despite the fact that she does not have one. Eventually, they end up getting suspicious and ask to see a picture. Erika then takes a snapshot of a random, attractive guy off the street to claim is her boyfriend. Once she shows them the picture, she ends up finding out that he is a student at their school. As a result, she asks Sata (the boy whose picture it was) to pretend to be her boyfriend in front of her friends. Unfortunately, Sata turns out to be a complete sadist and says that Erika needs to be her servant in exchange (or as he puts it, “his dog”).
Normally, I would outright detest this kind of show. I would never want to see a series based around getting you to hate someone’s guts yet having them always get away with it. Such a premise is downright unpleasant and rage inducing, and I never understand why any writer would think it would make for a good premise. However, there is one key difference that occurs in Wolf Girl and Black Prince; it serves an artistic purpose. In this series, Erika is basically bringing the situation on herself because she refuses to admit she lied. The solution to her problem is obvious yet she refuses to take it because her pride won’t let her. Despite this, however, the series does not act as if Sata is justified seeing as how it still tries to make him as unlikable as possible.
This brings about what seems to be a theme relating to abusive relationships. If one takes a look at some of the subtext, there are a lot of ways that this resembles a real life abusive relationship. Some of these examples include Erika’s friends (her actual friends, not the uptight popular girls who will not think she is cool without a boyfriend) telling her not to put up with Sata, and the show’s central theme of saying that having a boyfriend is not worth this. This is even further supported by the second episode’s plot.
In the second episode, Erika attempts to get out of her “relationship” with Sata by finding an actual boyfriend. She decides to go on a date with a guy named Kimura who saves her from a bunch of girls who were jealous of her supposed relationship with Sata and tried to jump her. After going on a date with Kimura and thinking that he must be her true love, Erika reveals her situation with Sata. Kimura is disappointed with Erika and admits that he was only trying to win her over to get back at Sata for “stealing” his girlfriend. Sata reveals that he was aware of the whole situation and confronts Kimura. He then points out how pathetic Kimura is by reminding him that his girlfriend fell for him of her own volition. When Erika asks Kimura if he really meant any of those things, he ends up saying to Erika that he would never actually fall for someone who is desperate enough for a boyfriend after only one date. After showing that the phrase was particularly hurtful to Erika, Sata punches Kimura in the mouth, hinting that Sata actually does care for Erika.
An example of the way that this episode falls into the whole “abusive relationship” allegory would be the central theme of expecting Kimura to rescue Erika from her situation with Sata; particularly that she thinks being with him will solve all her problems. Erika sees Kimura as an easy way out of the situation without needing to take her own action and admit to her lie. Kimura’s quip about Erika being desperate was surprisingly accurate seeing as how she really only cared about him to get away from Sata, and the fact that a lot of people in real life end up in relationships just for the sake of being in one. Sata himself gives off a quote about how a relationship is not something that is needed as long as they are satisfied with life. This manages to add a bit of depth to Sata’s character despite him still being unlikable as all hell.
There is one area that I have major concern however. I hope to god that this series does not try to imply that Sata was a nice guy all along and that his abusive behavior is just his way of showing affection. Considering that I have brought up an abusive relationship allegory several times, I would not want the message to be that your abuser still loves you deep down and that you should wait until he comes around. While there has been nothing that confirmed that the series will take this route, I am mainly skeptical considering how popular the tsundere archetype is in these types of series. I do have a bit of confidence that the series will take the right direction considering how it was pretty well written thus far though.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince is available to watch on Crunchyroll with new episodes coming out on Sundays at 11:30AM EDT/8:30AM PDT. Non-premium users will be able to watch episodes for free one week after it first airs.
animeCrunchyrollOkami Shojo to Kuro Ojiromantic comedyShoujoWolf Girl and Black Princeyomiuri telecasting corporationYTV