What happens when you mix a girl who's desperate for a boyfriend with a guy who's willing to fake a relationship in exchange for treating her like his dog? You get...something competent? Well, you get Wolf Girl & Black Prince, anyway. This review may contain spoilers
The anime follows Erika Shinohara, a high-school girl who desperately wants to make friends with two of her classmates, Marin Tachibana and Aki Tezuka, who both have boyfriends and talk about them constantly. Erika shows them a picture she took of a random boy on the street, calling him her boyfriend, but little does she know that the boy, Kyouya Sata, attends their school as well. She asks him to be her "fake boyfriend", and he quickly reveals his true nature. He'll only agree to it if Erika acts as his dog, doing his bidding and tending to his every whim. This sets up the rest of the series, as their relationship grows and they discover how they really feel about each other. The story isn't anything mind-blowing or revolutionary, but it works alright for a 12-episode shoujo. There are points where it drags a bit, and you just want to tell them to "Get on with it!", but I'll give it points for not spending the entire series in the "will they, won't they?" phase. At the midpoint of the series, they get together for real and spend the rest of the show as a true couple.
Since the show is built around the characters and their interactions with each other, its success is built on how engaging those characters are. And...they're okay? The supporting cast is mainly one-note - the two vapid girls who are obsessed with their boyfriends, the level-headed and pragmatic best friend, the "player", and the boyish immature friend. And honestly, the two main characters are only a little better. While I did
like Erika and rooted for her, she was often pretty frustrating. There were multiple times that I thought she was finally beginning to stand up for herself and be an active player in her relationship, only to slip right back into her naive, submissive habits. And Kyouya
. Whoo boy Kyouya. There is way too much tsun and not enough dere in this guy - it pretty much dips into emotional abuse at some points, which makes Erika's loyalty to him even more frustrating. The audience doesn't get to see any of Kyouya's soft, emotional side until the last 2 episodes
of the show, which worked really nicely once I actually got to see
his more vulnerable side. But it's almost too little too late.
Passable animation, I never noticed anything extremely off, other than facial expressions not matching the actors' level of intensity in some scenes. The style is kind of odd though, and it took a while for me to get used to it. The shading work is a lot different from other anime I've seen, and it's hit-or-miss. In some scenes, it looks very nice, and in others it stands out, but not in a good way. You get used to it, though, and it's not the worst thing I've ever looked at.
Very nice opening and ending themes that I think fit the tone of the show. The general background music is also nice - nothing special, but nice. The voice actors are also just fine and have a good range, except for Kyouya, who is supposed to be pretty flat anyway. All in all, the sound is okay. Sensing a pattern here?
This was an okay watch overall - I didn't feel like I wasted my time. It's a nice little watch if you're looking for some light shoujo with a little drama thrown in. But unless you really
like shoujo and really really
like tsundere guys, you're probably safe skipping this one.