Veteran filmmaker Ryuichi Hiroki’s films include some of the most endearing (and intense) love stories in Japanese movies, including April Bride (Eita + Nana Eikura), The Lightning Tree (Masaki Okada + Yu Aoi), The Egoist (Kengo Kora + Anne Suzuki) and the more recent Sayonara Kabukicho (Sometani + Atsuko Maeda). For 2016, he’s doing Wolf Girl and Black Prince with Kento Yamazaki and Fumi Nikaido.
I would consider the pairing to be quite unexpected (even odd) since I always think of Nikaido as more of a dramatic actress in the same vein as Sakura Ando, Hikari Mitsushima, and Aoi Miyazaki. Many also considered Miyazaki as her doppelgänger or vice versa. AND that she would venture on playing quirky and dark characters rather than rom-com. But on second thought, playing Erika Shinohara may provide her fans with a new side of her. On the other hand, Kento Yamazaki has been grabbing these rom-com roles of late, but there was a time when he was playing characters completely different – especially his two movies with Ai Hashimoto (Control Tower and Another). This is not the first time they are paired together – in 2010; they were cast in Satoshi Miki’s TV mystery thriller Atami no Sousakan as school mates, so this new movie is like doing a full circle. What sort of on-screen chemistry will they have? Now, that’s the reason for much of the anticipation for this movie!
Based on the manga series “Okami Shojo to Kuro Oji” by Ayuko Hatta, the story centers around Erika Shinohara, a 16-year-old girl who tells her friends’ tall tales about her romantic exploits, but she has no boyfriend. She says that a handsome boy in a candid photo is her boyfriend, but it turns out that boy is a schoolmate named Kyōya Sata. She has no choice but to make him her fake boyfriend. However, Sata may look like a sweet person, but he is an ultra-black-hearted sadist. Sata takes advantage of Erika’s weakness and treats her like his dog.
I watched the anime in a marathon because it’s the kind of show where you get hooked by the story and become curious about the characters as the episodes roll. For me, Erika appears to be a naive girl at first, but then she showed flashes of intensity and assertiveness that make her more endearing in the end. She may seem to be “weak”, but she can be a bulldog sometimes, especially when she wants something.
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