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Wolf Girl & Black Prince Vol. #01 Manga Review

4 min read

Desperate to maintain appearances with her clique, a girl convinces a hot schoolmate to be her pretend boyfriend–only to wind up at his beck and call.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Ayuko Hatta
Translation/Adaptation: Diana Taylor

What They Say
Fed up with being hopelessly single, high schooler Erika makes up a boyfriend to fit in. When her lies start to unravel, her schoolmate Kyoya offers to be her pretend boyfriend—for a price. With no other choice, Erika finds herself at the mercy of a blackhearted prince! But is Kyoya truly as blackhearted as he seems?

Fed up with her friends’ constant bragging about their boyfriends, high school student Erika Shinohara decides to make up one of her own. When her lie starts unraveling at the seams, her charming schoolmate Kyoya Sata agrees to be her pretend boyfriend, seemingly saving her reputation. She won’t get off that easy, however, as she soon discovers her white knight is actually a blackhearted prince! Now Erika must be at his beck and call or risk her lie being exposed. But is Kyoya really as blackhearted as he seems?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
High-schooler Erika Shinohara is a big fat liar. Her classmates are constantly bragging about their boyfriends, and to keep up, she acts like she has one, too. The farce nearly falls apart, but handsome schoolmate Kyoya Sata offers to bail her out by pretending to be her boyfriend. However, there is a catch. Erika must follow his orders like a dog!

This is not a recent title (first published in 2011). However, there hasn’t been much by the way of high school shojo amid the current isekai and action glut, and the content of Volume 1 isn’t obviously dated. So it still works if you’re looking for a contemporary romantic comedy.

As you might guess from the synopsis, this is an enemies-to-lovers story. I generally enjoy that trope, but I had a difficult time warming up to Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Mainly because I had trouble warming up to the main character Erika. She has no aspirations other than keep up with her clique. Not only does she blatantly lie to maintain appearances, she treats the one friend who actually knows and accepts her for who she is rather awfully. Erika’s also kind of thoughtless. Shortly after making her (pretend) relationship with Kyoya public (thereby triggering the ire of his female fans), Erika agrees to a date with another classmate with no consideration of how that might affect the charade Kyoya’s helping her maintain at school.

Actually, most of the female cast is terrible. Marin and Tezuka, the friends that Erika’s so desperate to impress, make me question Erika’s judgment. When Erika introduces Kyoya as her boyfriend, her friends respond by trying to publicly humiliate them in the cafeteria. Later, when another boy asks to speak with Erika, the two girls immediately blab to Kyoya, “Erika’s cheating on you!” In Chapter 3’s double date, Marin not only demonstrates a crazy temper, but she’s also physically and verbally abusive toward her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Tezuka’s apparently dating a grown adult.

With upstanding friends like these, who needs enemies?

As far as Kyoya goes, Erika describes him as having a “heart of coal,” but he’s actually fair, if a bit twisted. Erika is in a mess of her own making; he offers a solution but prices it accordingly. Given the amount of trouble the pretend relationship causes, he’s actually reasonable. Yes, he’s rude and sharp-tongued and makes fun of Erika when they’re alone, but he doesn’t extort money or sexual favors. Of course, his mockery of Erika and his cynical attitude toward women and romance has to be rooted in something, and unraveling that past will play into their relational arc.

As far as the comedy part of the story goes, much of the humor comes from Erika’s vain thoughtlessness and Erika and Kyoya’s biting exchanges. Some laughs also come from the antics of Erika’s clique. In general, jokes trend toward the mean-spirited end of the spectrum.

Extras include the author’s foreword and afterword. There are no translation notes, but translation notes would’ve been handy for cultural references such as the Okinawa souvenirs and Doraemon.

In Summary:
Wolf Girl and Black Prince is definitely not the type of story where everyone’s their most authentic self and supportive of one another. Rather, it’s the opposite. As this is an enemies-to-lovers story, the contentious pretend couple will eventually swing toward genuine affection, but in the meantime, you have to put up with the ridiculous facade the main character’s so desperate to maintain before her so-called friends.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: May 9th, 2023
MSRP: $$9.99