I’m no expert when it comes to the shoujo genre, but Wolf Girl and Black Prince seems to be about as shoujo as shoujo gets.
High school setting? Check.
Unlucky but romantically desperate female lead? Check.
Cold, but attractive and desirable male romantic interest? Check.
Ensuing love triangles? We’ll see, but it basically seems so.
However, what has intrigued me most about this series thus far is not its use of the vast array of established shoujo tropes (who would that interest, anyway?), but how it depicts romance and the wiliness of a “maiden’s heart.” I’ve written before on the topic of love, particularly pertaining to Chuunibyou a number of months ago, focusing namely on the fickleness of love as portrayed in media. But that silly, unrealistic, “lovey-dovey” portrayal is not what interests me here. Rather, I was brought back to an article written by Kaze almost a year ago entitled, “The Greatest Love of All… Is a Yandere?”
Let’s back up just a moment to the series in question. Erika Shinohara, being the (apparently) pathological liar she is, in order to impress her “friends” lies about having an impressive boyfriend. As it would turn out, the boy she lies about dating ends up being the school “prince” in another class, Kyouya Sata. Being the kindhearted gem he is, when chaos ensues he decides to play along with her game and pretends to be her boyfriend… only for Erika to discover that he is really a relentless sadist. He blackmails her into continuing the fake relationship as his “dog” by threatening to expose her lies, all in the name of “entertainment.”
The most outrageous part of this setup, though, is that she willingly goes along with it and ends up falling in love with him.
As of episode two, I am undecided on my feelings on this show. I am constantly frustrated and confused by the trope of the helpless and hopelessly romantic female lead falling into the clutches of the selfish, neurotic male interest. Why do these girls pursue this horribly one-sided relationships that result in verbal and physical abuse? (I suppose this same question is worth asking to some real women).
However, amidst these complaints, there was something that struck me about the relationship that I didn’t hate. As of episode two, the current path of character development seems to have Kyouya on track for exhibiting and developing aspects of a real, dedicated type of love. This is what brought me back to Kaze’s article which I linked above, which I highly recommend you read. There is something to say for the fact that anime includes a romantic relationship that can even be compared to God’s love (particularly exhibited in the Old Testament) in any type of analogy.
What frustrates me to no end about Kyouya, and similarly frustrates me about Taiga in Toradora in some ways, is the sinful area of selfishness. However, when Kyouya actually exhibits characteristics of care, however subtle, they become that much more potent. His love is not “lovey-dovey.” It is jealous. Kyouya wants Erika’s love to himself, and he is willing to fight to defend that.
Obviously, this is only one small slice of a much larger pie, and thus the comparison can only serve as a reminder, not a full-fledged image or analogy. But I suppose that’s what I appreciate about it.