Wolf Girl & Black Prince
by Amy McNulty,
Hallelujah! Wolf Girl & Black Prince episode 11 surprises with Kyoya explicitly stating he has no tragic backstory, despite the series flashing back to an image of his dejected younger self in the snow whenever he thinks too hard about trusting people. (Perhaps he's denying the truth, after all.) Instead, we're given insight into what might have made him such a bully: his older sister, who is even more obnoxious than the titular Black Prince. Unlike Kyoya, who tries to appear well-mannered in front of (most) people he doesn't know well, Reika has no qualms about calling people out the second she meets them. When she's rejecting sleazy pickup attempts from youngsters, that's one thing. When she's presuming to tell Erika that her brother has no interest in romance, it's another matter entirely.
Compared to submissive Erika, Reika might be a breath of fresh air, but she's too grating to be likable. Slapping Kyoya not once but two times doesn't help, especially since he's nothing but compliant in response to her demands. Can you imagine how shocking it would be if Kyoya hit Erika because she didn't jump to attention fast enough or do something exactly to his liking? Reika shouldn't be excused for casual slapping because she's a woman.
As far as Reika's sadism is concerned, she's even more unreasonable than Kyoya, and it's jarring to see that sadism at work when her brother isn't reveling in his role as the submissive party like Erika does. Erika's eagerness to please is more at the forefront than ever as she immediately regards Reika as her "future sister-in-law" and lets herself be dragged across town to every sweets shop and restaurant on Reika's whim. Rather than tell her she's full, Erika stuffs herself to give Reika a good impression. It's fun to see her wolf girl side appear again, ears and all, as she exaggerates key moments in her relationship with Kyoya to make them seem like a more ideal couple than they actually are. It's also nice to see her flip that switch from "submissive" to "girl with a backbone" as she stands up for her boyfriend. Resorting to an all-you-can-eat dessert bar contest seems weak, but at least her resolve earns Reika's respect.
A gag about Erika imagining Kyoya making her go to the ends of the earth in a hypothetical situation in which she loses one of the gifts he gave her runs long and isn't very funny. However, it's one of the few moments this episode showing Kyoya as the jerk we've gotten used to, and it's all in Erika's head. When Kyoya says something a little heartless toward the end of the episode, it's done in a teasing manner and perfectly fits their relationship as it currently stands. Perhaps Kyoya is truly evolving into just-the-right-amount-of-scumbag to keep things interesting in their relationship without crossing over into despicable territory. On the other hand, he could have been so overshadowed by his domineering sister that he didn't have time to be his usual self.
Wolf Girl & Black Prince episode 9 throws an intriguing new character into the Erika and Kyoya dynamic and thankfully (maybe) puts to rest the fears that Kyoya's origins as a sadist would prove melodramatic. Unfortunately, Reika is too abrasive and many of the jokes fall flat in this episode, making it entertaining but not among the series' best.
Wolf Girl & Black Prince is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for nearly two decades.
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