Wolf Girl and Black Prince is easily one of my favorite shoujo anime, and it’s a great feeling to finally get to read an official English translation of mangaka Ayuko Hatta’s manga of the same name. Published and localized in English by VIZ Media via their shoujo-focused imprint Shojo Beat, it features a translation by Diana Taylor with touch-up art and lettering by Aidan Clarke.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, Wolf Girl and Black Prince follows Erika Shinohara, a girl who’s never had a boyfriend but is entirely fed up with the fact that all of her friends have. So, she decides to do something about it, lie, and take a picture of a guy she thinks they’ll never meet. Only that boy is her school’s prince, Kyoya Sata, and now she has a choice: fess up to the life or decide to tell him the truth and bring him along for the ride.
In typical shoujo fashion, she chooses the latter, and Sata gleefully becomes Erika’s fake boyfriend. The catch? He’ll save her reputation, but she has to be his “dog.” When Sata reveals himself to be a blackhearted prince instead of her white knight, Erika has to balance her lies with the very real fact that Sata is pushing her out of her comfort zone.
One of the best things about Wolf Girl and Black Prince is that it directly confronts the pressures that high schoolers feel to grow up – and that includes romance. The pressure to be at the same stage as your peers is unrelenting, and Volume 1 comedically captures that. Having been a teen girl who didn’t fate until high school, well, I’ve been where Erika is. She talks without thinking she’ll get caught in a lie about her fake boyfriend and only because she wants to fit in. This series, though, doesn’t have anyone taking advantage of Erika’s eagerness. In fact, it’s the opposite, even if it doesn’t look like it at the start.
Yes, Sata makes Erika his “dog,” but despite the images that conjure up, Sata’s request is more innocent than not and ultimately manages to push Erika into a confidence she didn’t have before. There are elements of Sata and Erika’s relationships that are the exact kind of awkwardly cringe shoujo moments but ultimately, Hatta rounds these sharp edges by allowing there to be moments of actual development between our lead couple. They’re awkward and fake, but the way that Sata lets Erika lean on him and how she unwittingly becomes more independent in the process is what makes their dynamic one that is a joy to read.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince Volume 1 is a stellar start to a classic series that is already dear to my heart but manages to hit different beats in illustrative form as opposed to the animated one I was first exposed to. Hatta’s art is fantastic with the right amount of differentiation between the comedic moments and the heartfelt ones just the same. In fact, I’d dare to say that Hatta’s art is better than the animation from TYO Animations. All that is to say, this is one well worth picking up, even if you’ve seen it before.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince Volume 1
Wolf Girl and Black Prince Volume 1 is a stellar start to a classic series that is already dear to my heart but manages to hit different beats in illustrative form as opposed to the animated one I was first exposed to.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.