Ever been in a situation where all your friends have something you don’t so you lie to to them so you don’t feel left out? That’s basically the plot of Wolf Girl & Black Prince, a 2016 film based around the 2014 anime which follows the adventures of Erika Shinohara who has her clique of friends at her high school.
All her friends are involved with boys apart from her. One day while out with her friend she sees a handsome male in the street and manages to take a picture of him to show her friends that she also has a boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, the male in the picture, Kyouya Sata, goes to her school which forces her to confess to Kyouya about what she’s done. Surprisingly he agrees to go along with her charade but on the condition that she becomes his “dog” at his beck and call. This leads to various scenarios where Erika has to suddenly leave her friends to attend to whatever need he has which in turn develops many funny situations.
Adding more drama to the already convoluted situation are a couple of males that throw themselves into the mix becoming something a little more than a love triangle. The story is funny and at the same time has dark overtones as Erika is at times humiliated by Kyouya all in the name of pretending to be her boyfriend or else he tells her friends the truth. In the movie, Erika is played by Fumi Nikaido quite well as she shows equal amounts of confusion, embarrassment, understanding and care. While actor Kento Yamazaki handles Kyouya very well and as you’d expect in his situation to behave. Narcissistic, clearly relishing the moment and as someone you come to dislike, hoping he’ll see what Erika is going through and change his ways. Still, both actors work well together and helps to maintain a nice balance of mature themes in the movie.
The film is very well paced at a running time of just over two hours but you really can’t tell and that’s a testament to how well the anime storyline has been converted for the film. Just keep in mind that while it’s supposed to be a comedy/drama, the overall theme of the movie may be a bit much for viewers not familiar with the anime. By this I mean that effectively Erika is his slave who caters to Kyouya’s every whim without a second though or hesitation. However I don’t really want to break down the psychology behind the movie as I could be here all night, suffice to say that I enjoyed it despite some frustrating moments. The moments are more from thinking and expecting a character to behave in a certain way except they do the exact opposite. It kind of leaves you there scratching your head thinking, “why did they do/say that?” or “why did they act in that way?” But that’s true from most films, you can’t make everyone happy.
It was nice to see the back streets of Harajuku being used for the trendy shopping areas along with the school they used for the shooting. If my school looked like that and offered what they did, I wouldn’t want to leave, it’s enormous and very modern. Have look at it when you see it!
Overall, Wolf Girl and Black Prince was entertaining and easy to connect with the characters. It’s the kind of movie where viewers will have their favourite person in the movie and find themselves rooting for them, hoping everything works out for them.
You can catch this film and many others at the Japanese Film Festival 2016. Check the website for screening times in your city.
Final score: 6.5/10