I just saw Ōkami Shōjo to Kuro Ōji (“Wolf Girl and Black Prince”) this weekend. It wasn’t exactly a “good” movie, but…I had fun watching it anyway (haha).
(Shorter, English-subtitled version of the trailer here.)
My friend and I both knew this was going to be a silly movie from the beginning. The trailer is silly. The lines are silly. She was thankful that her high school students wouldn’t find out that she was watching it.
I never read the manga, so for me, this is my first exposure to the “Black Prince.” I like the artwork on the cover of the books, but I’ve been too embarrassed to read them so far, because the main character (Kyōya) is on the cover of every. single. one. Normally, manga covers will feature the main characters on the first couple of volumes, and then slowly introduce the other characters onto other covers (or at least mix things up a little) as the series goes along, as you can see with volumes of Kimi ni Todoke or Ao Haru Ride. Not with Ōkami Shōjo. Um…what should I be thinking about this?
The plot is simple. The main character, Erika, lies to her “friends” about having a boyfriend so that she can fit in, since all they talk about is having boyfriends and she wants to fit in. However, when those friends start wondering why they haven’t seen this mysterious boyfriend, she takes a picture of a random cute guy she sees walking down a street and thinks that’s the end of it, but later on it turns out that he goes to her high school. She asks him if he will pretend to be her boyfriend to satisfy the expectations of her friends, and he agrees, but only in exchange for her doing whatever he says and basically being his “pet.”
The Wikipedia page includes this description: “Kyōya is a guy that shields his feelings from the world, but he still has a long line of girls falling head over heels for him.” There are a few times that this comes up in the movie, but I felt like this got a little lost. Whatever back story Kyōya had, or his reasons for being the way he was, it was not really addressed in the movie.
There’s almost no character development either (can’t speak for the books), and my friend described it as “predictable and cheesy” (true), but in the words of Elizabeth Bennet, “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” (More Jane Austen here and here if you’re tired of this movie already.)
Or, if you want to see the whole movie in a 2:37 preview, here it is!^^;
Again, I don’t know how the manga was, but some of Kyōya’s lines were so over the top that all I could do was laugh, and since I was laughing, well…I enjoyed the movie. The “doomed third wheel” character that’s a staple of shōjo manga, Kusakabe Yū, seemed like a genuinely good guy, and my friend really liked him, but I had fun looking over at her during the movie and (with silent hand signals) reminding her that he was doomed :) If you normally enjoy cheesy, typical shōjo manga, then you’ll probably do just fine with this movie (Hey, I did). If you don’t, then this movie will make your life worse.
There were a couple of sweet parts. I liked the words that Erika used to defend Kyōya, and vice versa, when they were apart from each other. I also liked the part towards the end, when Kyōya is searching for Erika. I won’t say any more than that :)
A few final observations:
- Kyōya (played by Yamazaki Kento) doesn’t seem mean enough. He acts mean, but he has such friendly features that he still doesn’t seem that mean, even when he’s being a jerk. He’s the same actor that played Terasaka Rita in Heroine Shikkaku, but he was a good guy from the beginning in that one, so I think the role fit better.
- The camera work was a little weird in this movie. There were a couple times where characters would be having a serious conversation, but the camera would just slowly move around them from a distance, and most of the time when that was going on, you couldn’t even see their faces. They could have done a couple distant shots to show us the pretty scenery and then focused in on the characters’ faces instead. I don’t know a lot about film, but it seems to me that it doesn’t value the characters’ conversations if you can’t see them most of the time while they’re talking.
- There were also several scenes where the “waiting time” seemed unnecessarily long and I found myself getting impatient. There’s a scene toward the beginning with the two girls walking, and walking, and still walking, and inside I’m yelling “Agh! Just run and catch up or something!” There’s another scene where you’re waiting for Erika to speak…and waiting…and waiting. I’d be curious to see if anyone else felt the same way.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie more than Ao Haru Ride, even though technically that movie would be considered better–either because I didn’t have any expectations from the manga this time, or because this movie as a whole was less serious.
I’d give it a 4/10 for quality (I wanted to relate more to the characters, and I felt like we didn’t get to know their back stories or motivations that well), but a 6-7/10 for how funny I found it, and for some of the music.
Back Number, Boku no Namae wo (Call My Name) — This was the song that played during the credits.