Anime Review: Ookami-san Episodes 7, 8, and 9

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/3/10)

Anime Review:
Ookami-san Episodes 7, 8, and 9

About The Series: Ookami Ryouko is the member of the ‘Otogi Bank’, an organization at the Otogi Academy that helps other students with special favors or requests in exchange for requesting favors from them. Along with her best-friend Ringo (always dressed like Little Red Riding Hood), she is joined by Ryoushi (who has a paralyzing fear of being looked at and a professed crush on Ookami) and the rest of her friends in the Otogi Bank. Together, they try to solve the problems of their classmates, always seeming to get into trouble themselves along the way.

ep.7 tl;dr review: Ryouko and Ryoushi go on a double-date; Amnesia leads to sweet, cute, innocent Ryouko.

Episode 7 Synopsis: Jin, the star player on the baseball team, has a dilemma: Someone has been secretly entering his room, cleaning and cooking for him. Secret video footage by the Otogi Bank reveals that it’s Ami, a painfully shy underclassmen that has a crush on him. After forcing her to confess, Jin explains he has no feelings for her (doesn’t even know who she is), but feels obligated to return her favors, so the devious Ringo suggests they go on a double-date with Ryouko and Ryoushi. The big day arrives, and the awkward silence between Jin and Ami is about as difficult as you would imagine — it’s up to Ryouko and Ryoushi to show them “how it’s done”. While separated, Ryouko bumps her head and partially loses her memory, reverting back to when she was just thirteen, a completely bright and sunny, naive, outgoing girl. Ryoushi resists the opportunity to take advantage of the situation, instead offering to take her to the hospital. Along the way, they end up on their own date, visiting a store and ice cream parlor, with Ryouko acting completely opposite of her 16-year-old self. Jin and Ami, left alone at the park, somehow persevere on their own. During a sudden downpour, giggly-Ryouko runs in to Shirou, her arch-nemesis from before. Shirou taunts them about the “event” that turned Ryouko into her dour self, with hints at rape and sexual molestation. Ryoushi goes all manly to defend her, and the stand-off ends in a detente. Ryouko makes it to the hospital and regains her memories; Jin and Ami hook up together in the end.

ep.8 tl;dr review: A search for the perfect wife leaves every girl on campus insulted and angry; Wait, what’s the cast of Toradora and To Aru Kagaku no Railgun doing here?

Episode 8 Synopsis: Before he turns twelve, by family tradition young Chuutarou must choose his future bride, and enlists the help of the Otogi Bank to find a potential candidate for him. With his butler Hammel, Chuutarou joins with Ringo, Ryoushi and Ryouko as they head around campus to check out the girls. However, with each candidate they run across, Hammel manages to find fault with them. After a day of fruitless searching, they have a trail of seething-angry girls behind them, no closer to finding Chuutarou’s mate. As the story reaches a climax with Hammel insulting Ryouko and Ringo in the worst way possible (about their, ahem, lack of assets), another candidate emerges from the shadows. Chuutarou’s childhood friend, Uika, was right in front of him the entire time, but it took Chuutarou searching around fruitlessly to realize it. And they live happily ever after. But in order to placate a raft of angry girls, Liszt (who set this all up to begin with) is forced to treat them all to a wallet-killing pile of sweets. This story is also sandwiched between a prequel and epilogue story involving Ryouko, Ryoushi and Ringo battling the Three Little Pigs, which was actually an action-packed-style movie trailer video made by Ringo.

ep.9 tl;dr review: Due to a childhood embarrassment, Ringo cannot confront her secret sister; a trip to the pool presents the perfect opportunity for a reunion.

Episode 9 Synopsis: Himeno, the winner of the Miss Otogi Academy competition, has her hands full. Living alone, she has to take care of her seven younger sisters and brothers while attending school and juggling a job. Asking for baby-sitting assistance, Ryouko and Ryoushi take up the task, even though Himeno had specifically requested Ringo. But Ringo is unable to bring herself to face Himeno, based on events from ten years ago. When Ringo was a little girl, her mother re-married and they moved into a mansion — but by doing so they forced out the “other woman” and their daughter, Himeno. Afterwards, learning what really happened and how Himeno, who was actually Ringo’s stepsister, now lives a modest life, Ringo is wracked by guilt and unable to face her. Nevertheless, Himeno holds absolutely no ill will towards her, and wants to mend broken bridges. The opportunity presents itself when Himeno and her seven siblings are invited to the school pool for an outing, and all the members of Otogi Bank attend…except for Ringo who watches from the shadows. Everything is going swimmingly with plenty of fan service, until Himeno has to be saved from drowning, and Ringo immediately jumps in to provide CPR. Despite her continued reluctance, the two make up and they all live happily ever after.

My Thoughts: How far behind am I in my reviews? Well, it’s been A WHOLE MONTH since I reviewed episode number 6 (Sept 4th). And the first shows of the fall season are coming out this week. Time to kick my butt into high gear.

I already addressed the issue of the omnipresent, omni-annoying narrator, so I won’t go over that again. I would just like to add I’m especially bugged when she talks *over* the characters themselves. What’s up with that?

When this show started, I had high hopes for it. But…I am disappoint. As this show has progressed, I have been less impressed with the stories themselves. They’re all a little bit silly, a little bit goofy — granted, it’s all based on fairy tales and the storytelling style is supposed to be a bit fantastical, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Ryoushi’s double-personality of recalcitrant-loser/man-to-the-rescue hasn’t changed, and Ryouko’s tsundere tough-outer-shell-with-nougaty-center hasn’t changed either, despite both of them knowing of their personality faults and desire to improve. It’s painfully clear that Ryouko actually *does* like Ryoushi, though she can never ever ever admit it (even to herself).

I gotta hunch there’s a much bigger story lurking in the background, involving the true nature of the Otogi Academy and its mysterious director, but I wonder if there will be time to address that at all, considering there’s three episodes left. Instead, it’s primarily been basic character introduction and development on the small scale — if there’s an actual over-arching plotline, I can’t see it.

If this was a full-length, 24-to-26 episode series, I’d be dropping the show at this point. Too much silliness, not enough story. Oh, it’s not a *bad* show, there’s some funny bits, and some cute bits, but it’s all so inconsequential. Just a trivial diversion. But since Ookami-san ends at episode 12, might as well go ahead and watch the remaining three episodes to wrap the series up — a three-episode commitment is easy, compared to a 15-episode-remaining commitment. But I’m not expecting a glowing final grade.

Oh hey, as a perfect example of the show not taking itself too seriously, they’re not above throwing in “cameo” appearances by the lead cast of Toradora and To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (considering the voice cast is essentially the same, and I believe the production company is the same as well). It’s all of five seconds, but you can hear the squealing of the otakus from here.

The Verdict:

Up Next: Highschool of the Dead, The Occult Academy, Shiki, Legend of Legendary Heroes, Shukufuku no Campanella (second chance), Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc, Aki Sora: Yume no Naka

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