Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji Ep. 2: Falling in love with appearances

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At the start of the episode, our oh-so-lovely couple are sharing an umbrella on their way home from school. Kyouya gets mad that his right shoulder is getting wet, but what can Erika do? One of her shoulders is getting wet too. As romantic as it might seem for two lovers to share an umbrella while it’s raining, it’s really not that great in practice. Trust me. I’ve been there. It’s still wet and cold, and most of all, the wind is threatening to turn you into Mary Poppins. Nevertheless, Kyouya demands to have a lion’s share of the umbrella or else: “If it turns out you never really had a boyfriend, you’ll be all alone tomorrow.” Due to this threat, she relents. Naturally, he has to rub some salt in her wounds by calling her a dog. Still, let’s go back to that idea that, well, Erika would lose her friends if they found out she had been lying. Let’s think about this for a second. If Erika’s new friends are true friends, would they really ditch her just because she lied about having a boyfriend?

Seriously, put yourself in their shoes. Would you really unfriend someone for something like this? I wouldn’t think so, right? True friends would still be mad at you for lying, but they wouldn’t just abandon you over something so inconsequential. ‘Cause it really is inconsequential. Oh, you lied about having a boyfriend? Well, cut that out because lying is dumb… but whatever, I don’t really care if you have a boyfriend or not. My point is, if Erika had ended up being all alone the very next day then it would not exactly be a big loss, now would it? She wouldn’t exactly lose any great friends. But of course, the entire premise behind this fucking show is that she should care. The entire premise is all about how not having any friends for just a couple weeks in high school is, like oh my god, the worst thing in the world!

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Truth be told, like most shoujo protagonists, Erika is a pretty girl. Not only that, she has a rather friendly disposition. She’s outgoing and she isn’t shy about talking to new people. Her only problem, it seems, is that she can’t stop telling these stupid, inconsequential lies. So how on earth would she have a tough time making friends? Now, in a better anime… you’d have a more compelling character in her place. Maybe our shoujo is a bit of a homebody. Maybe she’s socially awkward. Maybe she’s not all that cute. But by golly, she has a small window of opportunity to make some friends. Not just new friends. I’m saying this is her opportunity to have any friend period. As such, it would perhaps make sense for this hypothetical girl to go to such great lengths to keep her friends even if they’re not really true friends.

But what’s Erika’s excuse? The problem with these stories is that they want eat their cake and have it too (yes, that’s how the saying should go). Erika is somehow desperate enough to make friends in such a fashion, but at the same time, she’s this pretty, bubbly girl. It doesn’t really make much sense, does it? I’m not saying pretty girls never have trouble making friends; I’m sure some do. Nevertheless, Erika already has a friend. And more importantly, she hasn’t even tried to make new friends without lying. To use another example, pretend that Welcome to the NHK was really about some charming, handsome guy. But for whatever reason, he’s still a shut-in! It would be silly, no? That’s why we got someone a bit fucked up in the head like Satou instead. Our story is thus more believable. Unfortunately, Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji wants to have it both ways.

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Plus, our heroine is a dreamer who doesn’t want to put in the work. Her best friend — y’know, her one real friend — wonders why Erika doesn’t just find herself a real boyfriend. Erika confesses, however, that she’s never really been in love. She’s had crushes on some guys, but she’s never want to be all lovey-dovey with them. Uh, so what’s the problem? Who wants to be lovey-dovey with someone you’ve only just met. In fact, shouldn’t you have to work your way to that lovey-dovey point? Don’t you normally date someone you have a crush on, get to know them intimately, then fall in love with them? For some reason, our shoujo foolishly wants to skip all those lovely steps. And they really are lovely; it’s fun to get to know someone for the first time. Still, this isn’t good enough for Erika. She has her head in the clouds, so she wants to fall head-over-heels in love with the perfect guy right away. But how can you know if someone’s perfect when you won’t put in the time to get to know them?

The thing is, Erika sees her other “friends” beam with pride over their respective boyfriends, so she wants the exact same thing. She wants to be in love, too. But really, how can you be in love with someone if you hardly know them? In that scenario, you’re really just in love with the idea of them. And that’s Erika’s main problem if you think about it. Again, she’s a dreamer. She’s in love with ideas, and as such, she loses sight of the real thing. To put it another way, Erika’s in love with the idea of being in love, but she doesn’t have the slightest clue what it’s really like to love someone. Likewise, she’s in love with the idea of having friends, so as a result, she doesn’t seem to realize that, gee, if I have to put on airs like this to impress these girls, maybe they’re just not worth the trouble. Maybe these aren’t the true friends that I’ve been looking for. She’s so blinded by appearances, however, that this goes right over her head.

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The anime as a whole is fraught with this sort of thing. It seems like a lot of these girls only get boyfriends so they can brag about them. There doesn’t seem to be any real genuine connection here. It’s just all about how the boyfriend is supposed to make them look good to their friends. When Kyouya pretends as though he really wants to walk Erika home, this drives her “friends” mad with jealousy. One of them immediately calls her own boyfriend up and demands that he also share an umbrella with her too. Sadly, it’s all about appearances, and these boys are nothing more than props. One must naturally wonder if these “friends” of Erika’s are also props. She thinks she’s only using Kyouya to look good to her friends, but perhaps she’s just using them as well. After all, they’re not really her friends. She hasn’t really gotten to know them on any meaningful level. There’s thus something rather sad about this entire story.

In last week’s episode, those two girls were actually talking shit behind Erika’s back. They initially suspected that our heroine didn’t have a boyfriend, and of course, they were right. They just don’t know they’re right, because Erika had managed to convince Kyouya to play along. Still, Erika allows herself to become Kyouya’s slave just to keep these “friends” around. Again, these are the same friends that had tried to expose her. So like I’ve said, they must be props for her, too. She keeps them around so she doesn’t look pathetic and lonely in high school. Otherwise, her shining high school life would fall apart or something. And isn’t that just a sad way to live? Doesn’t it feel hollow when your boyfriend is really just a prop that you use to make yourself look good? Furthermore, you’re only making yourself look good so you can keep these two “friends” around. Finally, you only keep these two friends around because they also make you look good! Like I’ve said, this all seems terribly hollow, doesn’t it?

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Any attempt to make a real connection, however, is stymied by our heroine’s poor attitude. Her best friend suggests that Erika look for a real boyfriend. We then see a series of, well, not-too-flattering guys, I suppose. But I highly doubt these are the only available boys in this entire school. Likewise, I highly doubt she’s really tried to look for a decent guy to date. You can’t tell me it’s just our Black Prince and a whole bunch of rejects. Plus, Erika is being a touch judgmental, isn’t she? She hardly knows any of these people, but she instantly dismisses them for one reason or another. One of them simply eats his lunch too fast. So fucking what? But again, it’s all about appearances. What are these guys really like on the inside? Honestly, who cares! It’s all about whether or not the guy looks perfect on the outside even if he’s really not-so-good on the inside, i.e. our Black Prince.

It’s no surprise then that Erika ends up making a fool of herself by falling for appearances. She eventually meets a guy who seemingly takes an interest in her. ‘Seemingly’ is the key word. They barely know each other, but right off the bat, the girl wants Yoshito to be her boyfriend just because he’s said a few nice things to her. Even now, she’s not about forming genuine connections with people. She’s just in love with the idea of being in love. As a result, she gets burned by the guy. In reality, Yoshito’s only out for revenge. Yes, he asks Erika out, but that’s only because he initially believes that she was Kyouya’s girlfriend. Y’see, Kyouya had stolen Yoshito’s girlfriend in the past, so to get back at our Black Prince, the latter wants to steal Kyouya’s girlfriend in return. When he finds out the truth about Erika and Kyouya’s relationship (or lack thereof), however, he immediately rejects her. In fact, he chides her for so desperately wanting a man.

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Needless to say, Kyouya had followed Erika and Yoshito, so he gets to punch the guy out for insulting her. He ends up looking real cool in the process, doesn’t he? After all, he had defended her honor, so you might even say he cares about her! Hm, nah. I mean, he treats her like shit the majority of the time, so you can’t possibly tell me that one good deed is enough to turn this all around. That’s what I’ve been trying to say this entire time. Get to know someone. Get to really, truly know them. Then once you do, maybe you can start falling in love with them. So after two episodes, what do we really know about Kyouya? Well, he likes to boss Erika around and call her a dog. Not just any dog, mind you, but his dog. He’s the master and she’s the slave. That’s what we know. But punching Yoshito sure does look flashy, doesn’t it? It leaves quite an impression, doesn’t it?

And of course, he buys her a drink. A measly drink that probably costs 100 yen. I’m not saying he should buy her a Kobe-sized diamond ring, but you get my point. Even so, Erika can’t help but think that maybe this guy isn’t so bad after all. Then right away — right a-fucking-way — she starts to get those butterflies in her stomach and her heart goes all dokidoki on us. But that just means we’re back to square fucking one. She got into this whole predicament to begin with because she put an undue emphasis on appearances. And what happens now? She thinks Kyouya is not so bad because he defended her once. Once. Appearances are just that. They’re good for first impressions, but they’re ultimately hollow. You still have to get to know the person before you do anything drastic like… oh I don’t know… falling in love. Nevertheless, it seems as though Erika is already starting to go down this road. Amazing, isn’t it?


6 Replies to “Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji Ep. 2: Falling in love with appearances”

  1. I like how you dismissed the entire premise of Erika’s character as unrealistic only to turn around and give a serious psychological analysis of her. So basically: very nice and comprehensive insight.

      1. This. Thing is when you said this: ” these boys are nothing more than props.”

        This is right on the mark, mostly because Japanese girls (and women) DO ACT LIKE THIS, and a lot of Japanese guys are kinda oblivious, and some of course realize what’s going on. It’s making me think the writers (and probably the Guy in the story …cant remember his name)
        know this too and are trying to make some crazy social commentary.

        A lot of girls will brag about how they “Strung guy X along and got him to give me this LV bag etc etc. . .” (of course being a foreigner knowing Japanese, you get to hear some crazy things since everyone expects you to not know what they’re talking about.) I give you props for bringing this up because most J-girls of the Ilk of the MC freinds’ are pretty much like this, not some moe-ified, idealized, magic fairy sue of a girl (*cough*thatsillyshowaboutthepianogeniusabusedbyhismotherandtraumatizedbyherdeathonlytohavethatdispelledbymagicfairysue*cough*cough)

        Its making me take a second look at this series for a few more episodes – I already see what the male dude is trying to “teach” the MC by being like that; he wants it to be so bad that she has to choose herself whether her “friends” are worth the trouble. . .yeah kinda predictable

      2. It feels like a lot of your post here is against adolescent girls in general, rather than this show in particular. It echoes a lot of what I went through and what I saw in highschool,

        I agree though that Kyoya is very unrealistic. He feels like a really petty adult (at best), not a barely-out-of-puberty brat.

        (That said, I agree, highschool kids are annoying why can’t we have more adult romances)

        1. It feels like a lot of your post here is against adolescent girls in general, rather than this show in particular.

          Well, none of it came to my head until I started watching the episode.

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