The Sunday after Thanksgiving weekend is basically no different from my other Sundays: go to church, come home, and binge watch either an anime, a drama, or movies. And considering my recent movie watching streak, I decided to indulge in another Japanese rom com. I wanted another movie with the same light hearted feeling that I got from Heroine Shikkaku so I went off of the genre that was listed in its AsianWiki and discovered that they made a live action movie based off of one of my favorite shoujo’s, Wolf Girl and Black Prince.
Ahhhh, high school. Where cliques run rampant and everybody belongs in at least one. Apparently in Japanese high schools, these friend groups are the staple piece in establishing yourself in a school, especially in a new one. That’s exactly the problem our main character, Shinohara Erika, is dealing with as the movie begins. We’re taken through her school (which looks swanky and fancy af might I add) and come in mid conversation as her “friend” (I use the word extremely loosely here), Tachibana Marin, is talking about how her boyfriend wants some BDSM in the bedroom. Erika chimes in with her own opinion about her own experience with her own boyfriend…both of which she doesn’t actually have.
We find out that Erika’s been lying this whole time to her group of friends about having one since they all have a significant other and that’s apparently all they ever talk about. But her lies are pretty transparent since both Marin and Tazuka Aki, another girl in the group, are getting suspicious since none of them have actually seen Erika’s boyfriend, in real life or in a picture. Meanwhile, Erika overhears this conversation and goes to her good friend Sanda Ayumi for help after school (they go to different schools). While they’re sitting in a cafe contemplating what to do, they overhear some girls fangirling over a good looking guy who’s passing by on the street. Erika runs out after him with Sanda in tow and in a moment of desperation, she cuts him off and snaps a couple of pictures of his face to use as proof of having a boyfriend.
The next day at school, Erika shows off the picture but everything soon goes into chaos as one of the girls in the group recognizes the guy’s face as Sata Kyoya, the best looking guy in the school with a reputation as being a total prince. In a good way. They run out and actually find him, and much to her surprise, Kyoya also remembers Erika as the “perverted photographer from yesterday”. She takes this opportunity and plays it off as “teasing”, using it to guide him away from the girls and the classroom. Out by the swimming pool, she explains everything to him and he, surprisingly enough, seems to understand and is willing to go along with being her fake boyfriend in front of her friends. Just as Erika is about to breathe a sigh of relief, her breath is cut short when Kyoya undergoes a complete character flip, going from kind, polite, and understanding to underhanded, manipulating, and mean. His deal: in exchange for pretending to be her boyfriend, she becomes his dog, and has to do everything he tells her to. The black prince has now met the wolf girl.
The next day, Erika gets a text from Kyoya that instructs her to get a drink and meet him in the cafeteria ASAP. She sprints into action but is followed by some of her school friends.
Everyone LOVES following people in this movie don’t they?
Anyways! Marin starts babbling about the BDSM stuff Erika mentioned the other day and asks Kyoya if it was true. In a surprising chain of events, Kyoya not only responds to Marin’s question but manages to demolish any trace of doubt the other girls had of their “relationship”. Probably the funniest thing that’s happened in this movie so far, honestly.
Later that day, they walk home together in the rain, taking a quick pit stop at a cafe owned by Hibiya Takeru, Kyoya’s friend since middle school. He mistakes Erika as Kyoya’s girlfriend, which they both deny but it makes Erika smile a bit on her way home. That night, Erika and Sanda are talking over the phone and Sanda proceeds to tell Erika to get a real boyfriend so she can stop being Kyoya’s servant. Because getting a real boyfriend is that easy right? Erika is seen doing after school clean up chores in the classroom in the next scene, when she’s pulled away by 3 girls, looking to confront her about dating Kyoya.
It’s not really a shoujo until one of these scenes pops up is it?.
Erika’s saved by Kamiya Nozomi, who was just passing by and saw this happening through a window. He then confesses his interest in Erika, who’s thrown off guard and doesn’t know whether to accept his date offer or not when suddenly, Kyoya arrives. He takes Erika’s phone away, deletes the messenger app she was using to talk to Kamiya, and tells her that she’s not allowed to go on the date.
Pretty jealous looking for a boy with no interest huh?
Well, Erika rebels and goes on the date anyways, even though she told Kyoya she wouldn’t. At first, Kamiya seems like a total gentleman, paying for her meal and taking her out bowling, but it turns out, this boy was only interested and asked her out because he thought she was really dating Sata Kyoya. As soon as she confessed that her relationship with Kyoya is fake, Kamiya immediately loses interest and the facade comes crumbling off.
Kyoya arrives right on time as Kamiya’s about to leave Erika sitting there. Kamiya starts badmouthing Erika, which prompts Kyoya to retaliate on his own by punching him up in his pretty little face. The couple leaves the cafe and share their first heartfelt moment together as Erika thanks Kyoya for saving her.
A time hop happens and all of a sudden, it’s winter break for the school. Erika’s group of friends are all on vacations with their boyfriends and want to see pictures of her and Kyoya on a date. She accepts their challenge and asks him to go to the aquarium with her, which he surprisingly says yes to. They snap a couple pics (they actually pretty cute), and during a food break, we learn that Kyoya’s never been in a relationship before and doesn’t view falling in love in the best light.
At this point in the movie, winter break has ended and everyone’s back in school. Everyone but Kyoya, who’s home sick with a fever. Concerned and slightly guilty, Erika rushes to his apartment after school with food and cold packs in hand. Abrasive as usual and reluctant to get care from her, Kyoya reacts coldly but begins to warm up after seeing the note Erika left for him and the food she cooked up while he was asleep. On the next day when she comes back, he even thanks her and they share another cute moment that gets interrupted by Takeru, who also came by to check on Kyoya. She leaves the apartment feeling flustered, but through the past events, she’s finally able to tell Sanda that she’s beginning to fall in love with Kyoya. She confesses to him on their way home but Kyoya tells her that she’s mistaking her feelings and leaves, but she demands an answer from him. He totally has no clue and teases her a little before leaving, leaving her frustrated and even more determined than before.
The next day, Kyoya’s older sister, Sata Reika, comes to town. Erika explains the whole situation to her and throws in there that she actually likes Kyoya now. They go to a dessert cafe and talk, but one things leads to another and suddenly Erika is forced into a cake eating battle with Reika to see if she actually will do anything for Kyoya.
Sounds like my kinda battle.
Erika gets sick from it and as Kyoya comes to pick her up, we see how his relationship actually is with his sister. In school the next day, the girls are talking about going on the school trip to Kobe, and Erika is set on going on a date with Kyoya during it. Much to her surprise, he agrees to it and she starts planning the course with the help of another classmate, Kusakabe Yuu, a shy, quiet boy with a kind heart.
Erika is super excited about the date, especially for the part where she plans to go with Kyoya to Venus Terrace and put a padlock up there as a symbol of their eternal love (think Namsan Tower), but Sanda reminds her that since Erika’s feelings haven’t reached Kyoya and they’re not actually dating, going to Venus Terrace wouldn’t really mean anything. This makes Erika try one last time to get Kyoya to recognize and accept her feelings, leading her to blurt out her confession to him again. It seems like he’s accepted them at first, getting her hopes up, but it turns out that he was just playing along with their fake couple act. What comes out of his mouth next is basically like a slap on the face for Erika, one that she can’t ignore. With one swish of her hand, she splashes water all over his face and storms out to cry in the arms of Sanda.
On the first day of the trip to Kobe, Erika comes clean to her group of school friends as they’re getting off the bus, telling them that she lied about everything. I was really hoping they actually weren’t as shallow as they seemed but sadly, my hopes were crushed as they left her alone on the bus after telling her that they were hurt and disappointed. Kusakabe hears all of this and confronts Kyoya about it, asking him if it really was all a lie because he himself has developed feelings for Erika, who is forced to spend the trip alone without a group to hang out with anymore. She calls Reika in one of her lowest moments, leaves her a voicemail, and shuts off her phone due to the enormous amounts of hate mail she’s getting about her lie coming into the light. As she wanders during free time, Kusakabe finds her and goes through the originally planned date course with her. He confesses that he likes her, but he knows that she cannot accept his feelings. The sweet guy says that it’s fine, just as long as he can make her smile for the day and they continue on their day, doing everything that Erika wanted to do with Kyoya.
It was at one of these events where the keychain plushie Kyoya had bought her at the aquarium falls off and gets swept away in the crowd. We also see that during this time, Kyoya is thinking of Erika. He passes by a shop with dog collars in the window display and freezes up in front of it, and at karaoke with Kamiya and about 10 or so other girls, Kyoya leaves halfway through, looking frustrated and confused. His sister calls him about the voicemail Erika left her and after their conversation, he finally comes to terms with his emotions and goes off to look for her but finds no traces, not even hints, of where she could be. Kyoya is sent on a wild goose chase, using the date plan Erika had gave him before as his only guide.
In the mean time, Erika ends up going to Venus Terrace by herself and realizes there that the keychain is missing. She goes back to the place she last had it and starts looking through the trash cans for it, finally finding it underneath one of the cans. It’s here where Kyoya finally finds her after running all over Kobe. She comes out and says that she’s quitting the charade and she no longer wants to be a wolf girl. He seems to understand but then brings back up the water incident from that day, telling her that she can’t get cocky. The dialogue here honestly confuses me cause I’m not too sure how her saying she wants to quit being a wolf girl has anything to do with her throwing water on his face, but regardless of my confusion, Kyoya pulls a smooth move and gives her a necklace that’s meant to be her “dog collar”, his way of saying that she’s his.
Kinda cute I guess.
But Erika isn’t taking Kyoya’s round a bout answer. She responds to him, saying that she doesn’t understand unless he tells her what he really means. Right on cue, Kyoya shuts her up with a kiss and confesses that he loves her too, and the two walk off into Kobe, picking up right where they left off.
So unlike Heroine Shikkaku, I’ve actually read this manga and watched this anime before so I did have some expectations going in.
Well…let’s just say that some of them were met and some weren’t.
I get it, you’re trying to turn a well developed manga and a 12 episode anime into a two hour (almost) long movie. There’s a lot of content to squeeze in there and just not enough time to do it. However, the parts that you do manage to fit, I would expect that you get it at least close to the original as possible. The necklace Kyoya gives her in the end? Looks absolutely nothing like the one he gives her in the anime/manga. It’s not that hard to find a replica. And I also don’t remember there being 2 extra girls in that friend group at school. AND WHAT HAPPENED TO MARIN’S PIGTAILS??? Those 2 scenes where it’s literally just Erika walking (the first one after she leaves his house and the other after she throws water on him), could have also been cut in half and filled with other things that could’ve added to the story more. I found myself skipping over these scenes cause honestly, I’m not about to spend 3 minutes or so watching a girl walk on pavement.
The relationships in the movie were also far from what they were in the anime. It’s been a while since I finished it but if memory serves me correctly, Kamiya and Kyoya do end up having some kind of trollationship later on in the series. And I also don’t remember Erika’s friends leaving her like that. Every other relationship aside from the main one and the friendship between Sanda and Erika was shallow and underdeveloped. Again, I know it’s a movie and you can’t really squeeze everything in it but I would’ve at least liked to see Kyoya have friends in school or Reika and Erika share the bond they have in the manga/anime or even cute bromance moments from Kyoya and Takeru.
As for the casting, Yamazaki Kento was an amazing Kyoya. I watched this movie the day after seeing him as Rita in Heroine Shikkaku (totally non-intentional either), and was blown away by his acting and the diversity in the roles. Nikaido Fumi however was lacking. BIG TIME. I swear, her facial expression never really changed aside from her eyes getting bigger or smaller, a few small expression changes here and there (and I mean small), and tears on her face. Her voice acting was pretty on point and her physical acting in the last scene was better but for majority of the movie, I just wasn’t really feeling her as Erika.
Overall, I would say it’s an okay adaption from the other media forms of the series. Obviously if you want the whole story (considering the movie ends right after Kyoya’s confession), then do yourself a favor and read the manga or even watch the anime for an abridged version. The opening theme song is super addicting (I wish they put that in the movie too) and the Erika-Kyoya relationship will leave you wanting more of their fun chemistry.
Rewatch: Not really