Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WO Reviews: Okami-San and Her Seven Companions


Okami-San is a school romantic-comedy series based on a series of 12 light novels. The eponymous character Okami (the Japanese word for Wolf) is a member of the Otogi Bank, a school club of sorts that trades their services for favors that they can redeem whenever they need to. Many of the episodes in the series remind me of the "Mysterique Sign" episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, as the club runs around trying to complete their client's requests. What I initially found to be the most interesting about the series, was the fact that nearly all of the characters are based on or represent some sort of Fairy Tale character or story. Okami is the Big Bad Wolf and her best friend Ringo is Little Red Riding Hood, so on and so forth.

There are actually 8 "main" characters aside from Okami, so the title is a bit misleading. For the most part, I thought that the characters were all pretty great. I repeatedly got the vibe that I wouldn't mind if each one of the characters had received their own episode, because they are all pretty interesting. What actually did bug me about the characters, is that I didn't get to see enough of them. It's a pretty tall order to squeeze in 9 characters in just 12 episodes, so I can forgive the show a bit here, but I really would have liked to see more of quite a few of the characters. Nevertheless, I liked what I did get to see, so the characters get a pass from me.



Okami and 7 of the 8 incorrectly named "Seven Companions"
I'd especially like to highlight the narrator of the series, who was an excellent addition to the show. The narrator sounds like she'd be perfect for narrating a mother-goose story, but only if the crowd didn't mind a bit of wit and snark here and there. When I say "a bit", I mean a lot, and when I say "here and there", I mean throughout the show. Breaking the 4th wall, cracking jokes about characters, pointing out flaws in situations, the narrator in Okami-San did anything and everything that I'd look for in a humorous narrator.

There isn't too much of a story here, and I found myself enjoying the one-shot episodes more than any of the ones that attempted to use any sort of storyline. The main premise of the show is that a boy named Ryoshi finds himself to be in love with the temperamental Okami, and so he injects himself into her club and tries prove himself and protect her from harm. Yeah, it's sort of cliche, but it fits an anime that is based on a bunch of Fairy Tales. The entire Otogi Bank group basically teams up to execute the episodic cases that are brought to them, typically resulting in something pretty funny.

Honestly, I was really enjoying the lack of a overarching story, in much the same way that I enjoy the lack of a story in many of Detective Conan's cases. In my opinion, when Okami-San attempted to add a deeper story about halfway through, it kind of killed the show. I was having
Okami's brawling gear
so much fun just enjoying the show case-by-case that I was totally un-prepared for a really heavy plot point that is just dropped on you about halfway through. I feel like it had no place in the anime that I had been watching for 6 episodes prior, and it unnerved me in a few situations towards the end of the series. After dropping something so heavy in nature on you, the series doesn't even have the decency to conclude the storyline that it brought up. I know that its based on a light novel series that is 12 volumes long, but I still want either a conclusion or a continuation when I read something with a plot, and it seems like Okami-San isn't delivering either. Unfortunately, you can't really fall back on the Light Novels either, as none of them are available locally.

I ordered the limited edition of the set, which came with 2 Blu-ray cases with reversible covers in a chip-board box. Depending on who you order it from, you still may be able to get the promotional mousepad that I received, although it's not very useful, since it's only about the size of a DVD case (maybe that's just the gamer in me, who wants a bigass mousepad).

Okami-San is a nice little package all together, and I think that its worth a watch. It has a good cast, a fun premise, some good humorous moments, a touch of romance here and there, and even some action. If the story weren't inconclusive and that one heavy plot point hadn't been introduced, I think that I would have been much happier. Until then, Okami-San is worth Three and a Half Stars. Watch it for a good time, because there are some pretty funny characters and situations, but don't expect much in terms of story.

For Fanservice!

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