Ookami-san – Wrap-up

And lo, the first of the summer 2010 anime series I’ve been watching comes to a close after 12 nice but ultimately unexceptional episodes. After the (fairly easy and credulity-straining) conclusion of “Ookami’s Past” mini-arc in episode 11  (seriously, how much of a past could these teenagers possibly have?), episode 12 actually tells a new story, about a rival for Ookami, a young woman who wants to marry into money (Cinderella?).

This could have been awful, but like most of the character profiles explored in Ookami-san, it’s actually quite well done and nicely encapsulated. The sudden rival who actually has a chance to steal Ryouko away from Ookami finally forces her – somewhat – to admit her feelings for him. Perhaps an obvious and contrived catalyst, but competently executed.

A colorful cast of mostly likable and well-designed characters and their nice moments of development kept me coming back to this series, not its whimsical (if flimsy) tie-in to fairy-tails and fables or its high school warfare premise. The ending didn’t rule out a sequel, but that’s by no means a certainty, and in any case, it may be a year or so off if it happens. Meantime, bring on Index 2! Rating: 3 (Ending: 3)

Ookami-san – Thru 5

I’m pretty indifferent when it comes to Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (and her Seven Companions). On the one hand, it’s pretty well drawn and animated and isn’t horrible enough to simply stop watching, but it hasn’t delivered anything resembling original or compelling entertainment. It’s chock-full of classic anime tropes: a feisty tsundere with outer strength hiding inner weakness, a weak-willed male lead with inner strength hidden by outer timidity, and a supporting cast of relatively wooden characters defined only by their admittedly distinctive appearances.

The show has the “they’re always wearing the same clothes” problem, as well as the “high schools are nations with infinite resources at war with one another” problem; both strain credulity, while the show’s connection to classic children’s tales (Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, etc.) is extremely thin and vague. The story’s been all over the place and the narrator is simply annoying (Satomi Arai is put to better use in Railgun, as she has an interesting voice.)

If I’m not exactly selling this show to you, it’s because nearly halfway through, I’m not sold yet myself. Not yet. I like it, and I’ll keep watching, but I’m not optimistic. The sequel to Index (due in October) should be better than this. Rating: 3

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