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Review: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi @

Ookami-san and several of her 8 companions.

I was thinking of reposting some old reviews that I had written back on Anime Remix some time ago, but in the end I decided to write a new review, for something a little more recent and a little less exceptional: Ookami-san and 7 Companions (or just Okamisan as Funimation calls it), a 12-episode series that just finished airing. Following on the heels of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Ookami-san is yet another J.C. Staff adaptation of a light-novel series, like Railgun's predecessor Toaru Majutsu no Index as well as the ToraDora! and Shakugan no Shana franchises.

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi stars Ookami Ryouko, your typical tsundere tough girl, alongside Morino Ryoushi, who confesses his love for Ryouko despite suffering severe scopophobia (fear of being seen) and 7 other companions who work for the Otogi Bank, a student organization that performs favors for people as loans to be repaid later. (Yes, in grand total, Ookami-san has 8 companions despite the series' name.) There's also a strikingly intrusive narrator, voiced by Arai Satomi (Kuroko in Railgun).

Plot & Characters: The characters and their various quirks are somewhat inventive, but they don't really stand out. One peculiar thing worth noting is that seemingly everyone and everyone in this series is named in relation to fairy tales, but the parallels don't make sense at all: the hunter falls in love with the wolf, who's best friends with Little Red Robin Hood, who goes to school with the witch and Urashima Tarou? Such confusion aside, the actual series often dismisses believability in favor of comedy, a choice which usually works out to some extent. The character development is completely predictable, and the mostly-episodic plot never really takes off nor does it completely flop. (Do, however, stick around after the ending sequence, because some of the funniest bits occur then.) Last of all, it has a conveniently inconclusive ending, in case it's successful enough to warrant a sequel.

Art & Animation: The animation is looks extremely similar to that of Railgun, which means it's not exceptional, but it's acceptable. Characters who are supposed to be cute are, and there are a lot of them; characters who are supposed to look cool or delinquent get away with looking kind of stereotypical, although just about everyone dresses pretty strangely. The action scenes, which occur frequently enough, are passable but they rarely really get especially exciting, and the somewhat uninventive animation contributes to that. The colors are bright and pastel, and the backgrounds are hardly notable. At least 3D CGI is refreshingly sparse.

Music & Sound: Ookami-san features a not-insignificant list of big-name voices, with Itou Shizuka in the titular role, up-and-coming seiyuu Itou Kanae as her best friend, and such familiar names as Toyosaki Aki, Nakahara Mai, Horie Yui, and Kugimiya Rie within the supporting cast; all of them do an admirable job, so the characters sound just like they should, and lines are delivered with the right pacing and emphasis. The opening theme, Ready Go is performed by May'n (of Macross Frontier fame) and is decently catchy and well-performed, if rather typical anime pop. The ending theme is a weird little earworm of a tune that's sort-of funny at best and annoying at worst. The actual series BGM is generic, forgettable scene-setting stuff only, and it's only present enough that you don't feel weirded-out by the lack of music; when the important scenes come, they're just as likely to break out the OP again as an insert.

Audience Considerations: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi panders unabashedly to otaku, with 4th-wall-breaking references to common character archetypes, fanservice, and shout-outs to other series. It avoids being totally caught up in service and the nudity is kept at a relatively acceptable level, but if you're not familiar with moe or otaku culture, you're bound to be somewhat confused from time to time.

Overall: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi is a show of very average quality. It has its laughs and some cute characters, but it never really shines, nor does it ever really frustrate or disappoint (unless you were hoping for much more). It's a decent way for an anime fan to pass the time, but it's not worth recommending to people outside the sub-culture, and even then, there are probably both worse and better shows one could find.


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