Wolf Girl & Black Prince
by Amy McNulty,
Huh. Wolf Girl & Black Prince episode 9 surprises after all. Playboy Kamiya's introduction last week seemed to suggest romantic melodrama ahead, but true to his word, Kamiya actually isn't interested in "plain Jane" Erika. His focus is entirely on Kyoya as he tries to convince the other handsome man in school to be as much of a Casanova as he is. When the class takes a school trip to who-knows-where, he wastes no time in latching onto Kyoya. (The show, perhaps rightly so, realizes the drama we're interested in is at the hotel.)
Kamiya clearly isn't happy with his relationships despite the fact that all he does is brag about how many girls he dates, as well as their respective cuteness levels. Trying to convince Kyoya to act the same way seems to be a self-validation effort. If Kyoya does the same thing, it must be the natural thing to do. (Never mind that having competition for all the girls would seemingly prove inconvenient.)
Erika remains oblivious of Kamiya's true intentions throughout, thinking Kyoya might need a school friend of his own gender. Her remarks on how her relationship with Aki and Marin has evolved into something close to true friendship (as true as it can be considering she's a wolf girl) is refreshing; Aki and Marin come across less stereotypically boy-crazy and judgmental in this episode, although it feels like we might have missed a step or two in their evolution.
Still, the real draw of this episode is seeing Kyoya with Kamiya. We rarely see Kyoya in public without Erika around, so it's easy to forget that he's supposed to seem like a sweet and kind guy, if a bit anti-social. We get a hint of just how much the effort of interacting with others strains him, and why he's clearly more true to himself around Erika, even if that means he says rude things to her. When compared to Kamiya, who revels in artificial relationships, Kyoya's sincerity comes across as a point in his favor. He may be lacking in decorum around Erika, but at least he doesn't use girlfriends to boost his own ego. As if to prove how different he is from Kamiya, Kyoya even shares a moment with Erika on the bus ride home. It's a very S&M moment, to be sure, but Erika is happy.
Wolf Girl & Black Prince seems to be in a pattern of introducing new characters and showing how they affect the Kyoya/Erika relationship at the core of the show for two episodes. If we hadn't just been introduced to Kamiya last week, we might be more moved by his subtle growth by the end of the episode. As it stands, he makes for a more interesting character to watch than Kusakabe because he's flawed. Still, how he affects the main characters is what's most important, and the light he sheds on Kyoya's character is welcome and nicely done.
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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