Erika Shinohara has taken to lying about her romantic exploits to earn the respect of her new friends. So when they ask for a picture of her "boyfriend," she hastily snaps a photo of a handsome stranger, whom her friends recognize as the popular and kind-hearted Kyouya Sata.
Trapped in her own web of lies and desperately trying to avoid humiliation, Erika explains her predicament to Kyouya, hoping he will pretend to be her boyfriend. But Kyouya is not the angel he appears to be: he is actually a mean-spirited sadist who forces Erika to become his "dog" in exchange for keeping her secret.
Begrudgingly accepting his deal, Erika soon begins to see glimpses of the real Kyouya beneath the multiple layers of his outer persona. As she finds herself falling for him, she can't help but question if he will ever feel the same way about her. Will Kyouya finally make an honest woman out of Erika, or is she destined to be a "wolf girl" forever?
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji covers the storyline of 21 chapters of the manga adaptation, ending with events from volume 6. The anime has been licensed by Madman Entertainment in Australia and by Sentai Filmworks in the United States.
Before watching this show, I'd recommend you Wiki-up on the term known as "Stockholm syndrome". It will help you understand the ultimate wrong aspect of this anime far better, but, unfortunately, it still won't ease the fact that this anime is completely and utterly average.
The story is really simple and there isn't much to it: the girl joins high school, wants to make friends, lies to them about having a boyfriend, turns out that her made-up boyfriend goes to same school with her and is quite popular, he for some reason agrees to go along with her charade and then their adventures begin. I
can't say much for the story because there isn't any really. As a mainly character-driven series, the story is put-off into the sidelines and has trouble pacing itself over the episodes. At times, the episodes skip months worth of content they could show, and, for some reason, literally nothing seemed to have changed. I won't detail it out because it might be a spoiler, but you'll understand, trust me. The reason I gave the story such a low score is that even what's there isn't that good. It's predictable and filled with cliches and doesn't really work as a whole on any level.
Production of the show is its strongest part, alongside the comedy, and is quite eye-catchy. Especially for girl viewers. Even though there are some cute girls, most of them are not really THAT cute, while most of the guys that are important are made out to be quite hot - hence, extremely impossible to relate to just off the basis of the art. Animation hinges on the simplicity of movement and not much else and the series as a whole doesn't really have any heavy scenes when it comes to either art or sound. Speaking of sound, I had a really hard time hearing any music during this anime. For some reason, nothing stuck out and for the most part I didn't even bother looking for it. Voice actors did their jobs decently, but nothing really spectacular there either.
Now, I expect you have looked up what I asked you to, so I can continue with my depiction of the characters in this show. We have Erika, our main girl, who desperately wants to fit in into high school and lies through her teeth to do so. I can relate to that and, probably, most people who've gone through high school can. What differs us, normal humans, from her is simply how far she's willing to push her lie. It goes bounds and leaps beyond what any sane human, who isn't riddle with any mental illness, would do. While the show puts it all on "extreme masochism", it's not. It can't be. You can't give such a vague attribute to your character and expect all her actions to make sense. Regardless of what Sato did to her, she came running back. Regardless of how much he'd hurt her, she came running back. It's not masochism - not even a form of it. It can be only explained as a complete and utter mental illness and, to be honest, show should have been about her going to the shrink and fixing it. Aside from that trait, she's not that interesting to watch. She's kind of likable, I guess, and is shown to be a pathological liar although I'm pretty sure that whoever wrote this story really shouldn't attribute any mental illnesses to his/hers characters ever again because they have no basic idea what they are.
Next up we have Sata, extreme version of male-tsundere. I'm going to say it upfront: nobody will ever relate to this character. And if you do, you are a horrible human being and you should know it. He lacks any likable traits, and I'd be fine with that if those unlikable traits were realistic. He's also showcased as sadist, but, again, I'm pretty sure that whoever wrote this doesn't understand what that means. He often says that he doesn't do it because he likes to, but still does it, which kind of contradicts the entire premise of the sadist. Instead, 90% of the things he says are intended to hurt the other party, and not in a sarcastic and funny way. Calling someone a dog over and over and over again, shunning the other people's emotions, dragging them along, doing things that go far beyond simple bullying - that's the kind of character Sata is.
There's a certain scene midway through the anime where Erika and Sata are sitting alone in a coffee shop and she asks him what he thinks of her. He then proceeds to tell her how much he likes her and turns it over by the end. Her reaction is okay, I guess, but what's the point of this is that it really showcased just how shallow, uninteresting and borderline insane character Sata is.
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This goes for the majority of the characters: all of them (aside from 1 or 2 maybe) seem to be suffering from some sort of a pathological illness, or they're just really, really, really stupid. I won't describe any more because they aren't really worth the page.
Did I enjoy the anime? Relatively, to be honest, hence this high of a score for all the bashing. Humor, for the most part, was well done and the show did make me laugh out loud a couple of times, but that was about it. Romance is shallow, insane and simply unrealistic, and the 'drama' moments are worth less than those of Clannad.
All in all, unless you just want to fill your list with rom-coms, I'd stay away from this. Especially if you're looking for likable and relate-able characters.
A desire for acceptance is something that most of us can relate to, and at times that can drive us to certain extremes. It's a premise that is not necessarily unique, but for a shoujo series it actually is. The cliched trope of a spineless heroine and her tsundere love interest is all too common. However this series provides us with a slight variant; our main character is a compulsive liar with a penchant for emotional punishment (read: she's a masochist) that happens to, in a series of poor decisions and bad judgment, land herself a two-faced jerk who is content to treat her like
Originality is not this anime's forte, per se, but it is successful as a romantic comedy because it is uncommon. The two main leads seem initially very unlikeable, but if you accept the fact that they mutually (consensually) engage in something of a sadomasochistic relationship—that neither one seems to want to disband even when given the chance—then the series provides some amusing comedy.
Erika is not your traditional shoujo heroine, she's actually a plucky, resilient lead who for reasons unbeknownst to most viewers, seems to enjoy Kyouya's treatment. When situations arise that would stereotypically end in an angst-filled fight between our couple, Erika maintains her usual headstrong, blind determination to win over her ice-hearted prince. She does actually develop as the series progresses, because initially his treatment of her does seem to bring her spirits down, yet she rather quickly begins to learn just how Kyouya works and how outwardly dishonest he is—and she adapts.
Kyouya is perhaps less impressive on the face of things, but the amusing reality is that he's not like your traditional tsundere love interest in that he doesn't have much in the way of redeeming qualities. He is, quite frankly, a jerk to Erika constantly and only occasionally showers her with some vague form of affection. But the series doesn't try too hard to redeem him—he has no sad backstory to fall on, as he says himself. His behavior is not entirely without cause, given the influence of his older sister. Being cynical and misanthropic seems to run in the family.
The supporting cast is entertaining albeit peripheral, and they receive minimal attention or development. That is a disappointing fact about the series, which was limited in how much screen time it could offer them given its short runtime. But for their part in the series, they did contribute to the development of the main couple and to the overall humor of their antics.
For the part of the plot, there is nothing original in the least—it is the traditional shoujo setup from the beginning until the end. What pulls it off in a unique way is the characters that are seemingly cliche but vary quite drastically from any traditional leads in a romance series. They carry the series where the plot might otherwise flop for not being terribly thought provoking or entertaining. It's the same old setup, but delivered in a way that can still rouse some amusement because the way everything plays out seems bland at first but the spice of the characters bring it some flavor.
In regards to the animation, the color palette is vibrant and charming. In comparison to the manga, it actually has adapted all of the character designs quite nicely and all of the scenes have at least done justice to or provided some improvement on their counterpart. Although it is like any other shoujo style, each design is unique and rather fitting giving each character's unique persona.
Unfortunately another weak area is perhaps the soundtrack. The opening is catchy and adorable, but during the course of the series there are a few scenes with background music that just seem utterly out of place in an almost comedic sense. In general, the series doesn't suffer too much in this category—at least not too noticeably, but it does lack the ability to match its own mood properly at certain moments.
Overall, the series has enough merits to warrant it being a good shoujo anime. Although this review may lead you to believe that the main characters are the most redeeming part of the series, it would be disingenuous to claim they aren't the least bit frustrating. If you have difficulty appreciating that they are more nuanced than they seem at first glance, then you will be hard pressed to find anything enjoyable about the series. This certainly is not for everyone, it's not about a sweet couple that fall in love gradually—it's about two characters who are so entirely human that they are flawed and utterly unlikeable, but as a result of which, happen to be highly entertaining together.
To begin, you should all know that I hate anime where the female protagonist bends over backwards to gather whatever crumbs of affection a cold, asshole of a male lead deigns to toss her way (I'm looking at you Itazura na Kiss).
That being said, there are exceptions to every rule; and I guess I found mine in Ookami Shoujo to Kuroouji. Part of my fondness for this anime could be that there seems to be a shoujo anime drought going on. But I digress, so without further ado, let me review.
Ookami Shoujo to Kuroouji is a twelve episode romcom and a predictably predictable shoujo formula.
But I wouldn't say that it's a bad thing.
The story begins with an intro to our heroine Shinohara Erika. A typical bubbly and dense heroine who dreams of experiencing the fabled "high school life". A wrench is thrown into Erika's plans when she is separated from her best friend and they are placed in different classes. This is where Erika reveals a quirk that sets her apart from other shoujo heroines.
She is a compulsive liar. In order to fit in with her classmates, Marin and Tezuka, with whom she has little in common, Erika makes up a boyfriend to give her something to talk about with them.
Her lie unfortunately only worked short-term. Her friends are beginning to sense the truth and Erika's cried wolf (or in this case, boyfriend) a little too loud, and a little too often to backtrack now. To reinforce her lie Erika takes a picture of a hot guy on the street and passes him off as her boyfriend. Too late, Erika finds out that the hot guy is actually a student at her school, Sata Kyouya. Erika asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend, thinking he will agree because he is such a prince, or whatever. And he does. On the condition that she be his dog.
So Sata-kun turns out to be an evil sadist and Erika his hapless victim, who inevitably falls in love with him because he was nice a couple times. And if the series continued on in this vein, this review would be a lot more scathing. It turns itself around at episode 6.
Erika does the usual thing where she "works hard" to win Kyouya's love but admits she gets tired when she does all the chasing with little reciprocation, and that she gets humiliated by him time and again.
Kyouya is a bit more complicated than your average male lead in that his popular, friendly personality is a complete lie. Later in the series one realizes his personality is more like that of a bitter, introverted loner (Hachiman Hikigaya, anyone?)
The best part of this show for me was seeing the two protagonists change because of their involvement with each other. Kyouya is less sadist and more tsundere. And it's adorable to watch him struggle to express his affection for Erika (which definitely becomes more apparent) and break through the barriers he's created to keep people at bay. Erika can be a little hard to take at times, but she was strong when it counted, and refreshingly forward. In the end I understood her determination to win Kyouya. After all, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. And it was supremely satisfying watching Kyouya fall.
The art in the show is clean with nice colour and is very, very shoujo.
The sound was fine, not outstanding except for the punchy and unusual theme song. Sort of like a Japanese Avril Lavigne, I listened to it everytime, which is quite unusual for me.
This show had cringeworthy moments, but also had genuinely funny and sweet ones too.
When you're suffering from drought, any refreshment is welcome, and Ookami Shoujo to Kuroouji quenched my thirst.
I read the manga version few years ago but dropped it eventually because of how annoying the characters were - especially Erika.
I was actually surprised that it was adapted into anime. One day, I saw a video on youtube for "top best shoujo anime of all time" and this anime was included, so I decided to give it a try, which I regretted A LOT.
Before you watch this anime, please search and read the difference between S&M relationship and an abusive relationship - because there is a big difference.
What does this anime even want us to learn?
That it's okay to lie and let yourself
be treated like an animal for the sake of getting along with your friends, because they will eventually like you?
That it's okay to lie and let the man you love, humiliate you and treat you like an animal because he will eventually fall for you?
That it's okay to endure everything because of love?
No wonder there are so many women who choose to stay in an abusive relationship with the reasons: " I love him, he will change somehow" - or is this really what this anime wanted us to learn? - that it's okay to be treated like an animal and endure it all because they will eventually change and fall for you.
The art okay is just okay. There were times when the anime looks dull but most of the time it's just okay.
Not that really catchy for me.
Erika: The main character of this series - she is very very annoying, especially at the start of the series. There were lots of times when I really want to slap her just to make her back to her senses. I didn't see anything good about her character - first, she lied to her friends about having a boyfriend, took a picture of someone she doesn't even know and used it as a proof and lied about it to her friends just so, she have something to "show off". Then out of desperation to keep her lies: she agreed to become his "pet" - all because she was desperate to get along with her friends who obviously are no good for her. Then fell for the man who treated her like an animal and endured all of his abuses, simply because "she loves him"
Sata: At first, I thought he looked liked Gintoki (lol). He is your usual "Handsome, popular but rude male lead who have a sad past" - the author wanted to give him a sad past to justified his actions, but for me, that reason wasn't really bad enough for him to end up like that- for me, he is nothing but a weak and emo spoiled brat.
Even though I am anemic, watching this anime made me feel like I am going to have a high blood pressure. The story is no good and the characters are pathetic and annoying. Some says that, this is like an S&M relationship, which I don't really agree with.
Ao Haru Ride is your standard shoujo series, featuring a gutsier-than-average heroine, a cold male lead and lots of unspoken words between them. It pulls at your heart strings and gives you a little window into the challenges of (Japanese) teenagers in their spring of youth.