I swear, I've always considered myself to have strong ears for picking out particular voice actors and the like, but this series definitely solidified that belief. I've never sat through any series and been able to identify the number of voices as I did in this one, and the fact that so many of the voice actors I love and enjoy were able to portray the characters so well.... eh, well, I'm rambling, so I'll stop.
To start with, Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi is quite possibly the most balanced blend of comedy and drama that I've viewed and watched to date (the only other contestant being Seitokai no Ichizon), and it's a balance I find to my liking. While I certainly don't dislike the ones that fall heavily on either side of that line, Ookami takes the best of both worlds and puts them together with incredible finesse.
The story follows our main female lead, Ookami Ryouko, and her daily going-ons as a member of her school's Otogi Bank, a group specialized in fulfilling various client requests. Along the way during the first episode we are also introduced to our main male lead, Morino Ryoushi, a bum (at first glance) who looks up to Ryouko despite his severe case of scopophobia. There is also Ryouko's trusted friend and roommate, Ringo, as well as a fairly large cast of other characters that comprise Ryouko's "Seven Companions", and then some. Ultimately, Ryouko and Ryoushi are the main focuses of the series, and they certainly fulfill their roles quite nicely; Ryouko, like so many other characters from other series, is pretty much the embodiment of "tsundere", yet she has an interesting backstory of her own that slowly unfolds over the course of the story, adding in some nice drama. Ryoushi is introduced at first as a deceivingly weak and useless person that can't stand even being looked at by other people, and indeed, who would think otherwise when seeing his figure curled up in a fetal ball, squealing "Don't look at me!"? Yet, Ryoushi hides a few characteristics of his own, many of which prove to be cool enough to catch the attention of previously mentioned fair maiden. All the other characters, while perhaps not nearly as developed as the two leads, definitely find their niche, each one with some kind of story behind them that is touched upon over the course of the series.
The series overall is mostly episodic, with only one exception later on. Most of them involve the group taking up and performing certain requests of various clientele. While this seems like a whimsical style of storytelling, each "request" is not necessarily a light-hearted walk in your backyard. In fact quite a few of them turn into expeditions into the woods where one ultimately gets lost trying to find their way back. And while to be sure, there are plenty of laughs along the way, there're also a few moments of serious, albeit somewhat short-lived (save for one) instances of drama, hence my previous statement regarding the balance of comedy and drama. And I'll also point out here that this is another series where I disagree with the "ecchi" tag. While there are a few situations where there is quite clearly ecchi involved, the overall feel of the series is not "ecchi", not by a longshot, so ecchi haters don't be afraid to approach this one!
The opening music isn't top-notch by any means, but it's quite catchy, and the voice acting, as I hinted at before, is very well done. Unfortunately my only minor complaint lies with the narrator (fans of the To Aru series will probably be able to guess who the voice actress is right away). She does a fabulous job at voicing what the viewer is thinking at some points, and a few times even throws in comments that add to the humor of a scene. But there are also an overwhelming number of times where the narrator speaks over the dialogue between characters. Maybe viewers who understand Japanese wouldn't notice it, but I for one have a hard time reading two sets of subtitles going on at the same time. x_x
That is, fortunately, my only complaint with the series. Otherwise the series ranks quite high on my scale, and I was even considering pushing it up to an 8 were it not for that minor detail regarding the narrator. (It's okay Satomi-chan, I still love the characters you voice) So comedy and drama and definitely tsundere fans, by all means give this one a shot. You won't be disappointed.
I thought every bit of it was amazing except for the running commentary on what's happening, that really got annoying when it came to reding two lots of subtitles. The characters are amazing and I so want to take influence from Ookami Ryouko so SO bad! if only things this interesting happened in reality. Overall it was incredible and I really hope we get a season 2, that would be the best!
The series contains a narrator who speaks through the series.
Will not watch due to it the sheer annoyance of the narrator disrupting flow. Even a first year film student knows better than to include a narrator who constantly talks.
I like it, it’s so cute! The stories all have a fairy tale to go with the story. It has the story of little red and the tortoise and the hare. All of the stories are pretty twisted tales and rather creative. There is sadly a couple that I’m not sure where they came from, though they still hold the fairy tale style.
I do have a small bone to pick. Barely any of the episodes have anything to do with the main story plot, bringing more of the story by week feel to the show. It makes me a little sad that we don’t get much of the story line. What it is replaced with though is us learning more about the characters so it doesn’t feel much like filler. Things only really pick up at around episode 10 but by then, it was pretty much over with. It gets rather serious then, and actually rather romantic. Sadly, it doesn’t stay for two long.
Ryoshi Morino is a really sweet and shy guy, though who needs to just toughen up a little. It would be easier if he did. Otherwise, I think it works out rather nicely. He is strong when he actually puts his mind to it as seen in episode 2. He does become sort of other people’s punching bags at times to though which doesn’t help make his character any easier to read.
Ryoko is really interesting with these dual personalities she shows. They show up really early which is surprising. I would have thought that it would of happened way later. Not that I am really complaining. It just made the character a bit easier to actually feel more for her.
Akai is another interesting character, always smiling but ends up pushing Ryoko into a lot of different things including dates. She is like a little terror but is a true friend to her in every way, even taking care of her by cooking and cleaning.
The animation is pretty nicely done, only one or two flaws but nothing that serious. There are times where characters end up looking a bit rough and runny egg like. The story artwork does jump around just a tad and it’s a little hard to sometimes understand. They did pretty well with how the designed the characters, making them fit the role they were supposed to fit almost perfectly.
The English voices are pretty nice and I love the comedy that the narrator brings up every once in a while. She actually becomes part of the story in herself with the antics. I am talking about her in the voices because that’s all we hear of her. The old women voice is perfect for the fairy tail feel… a twisted fairy tail style! Most of the other characters work rather nice. The music is very good, capturing the feeling of some scenes.
Just to let you know, you should keep watching all the way threw the credits on most of them because they have little extra things happening.
Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi
Why god why?
Animation: Like most J C Staff stuff it’s pretty good and consistent in it’s own simplistic way. The character designs are well thought out, if a little over designed, but it’s slick enough and never hurts the eyes. The backdrops are pretty good, though sometimes a little bland. Nothing here is exactly breath taking, it just does the job it was set out to do in the most efficient way possible, which is no bad thing at all. There are some nice design touches, like Ryouko’s Nekogauntlets, Ryoushi’s slingshot etc.
Sound: Well the OP and ED are ok, if slightly cheesy. The in-show sound was so unassuming that having just finished the last episode I can’t remember any apart from the pre-fight music which was just some guitar chugging and nothing special at all. The VA’s are all pretty good, except the narrator (which I’ll come back to), they all seemed to portray their roles quite well, some fell quite short, like Alice’s who always felt kind of ‘off’ and never quite right for the character. Ryouko’s VA shines through here, doing a great job as the tsundere nailing both the tsun and the dere. But lets talk about that huge elephant in the room. That damn narrator. Her VA is Satomi Arai, you may know her as Kuroko Shirai from To Aru Majutsu no Index or To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, now I don’t mind Kuroko’s voice, I know some people say it makes their ears bleed but I never found it really offensive, and actually quite fitting for the character. She uses the same voice here, but it’s more haughty, more ‘in your face’ and slightly snobbish. Sometimes it’s used to good effect, mainly in the first few episodes, but later it gets plain annoying, especially when she’s talking loudly over important pieces of dialog from the other cast members. I need to talk more about this, but will leave it till the plot section, because there is plenty more that annoys me about this.
Characters: The characters are pretty good, especially Ryouko who has a slightly cliched but interesting none-the-less background, but the support is good to in it’s own archetypal way, Ringo the (older) loli with a ‘heart of coal’, Urashima the play boy, Ryoushi the shy boy etc. The only characters that have any real development though are Ryouko, Ringo and Ryoushi, though they sometimes feel like they revert back to their original traits in the later episodes which can be frustrating even if it is often used for humour. All together, there’s nothing to dislike here, I feel the cast is too big for such a small amount of episodes, but it never annoys or frustrates like it does in other shows, mostly it just leaves secondary characters to have secondary roles which satisfies me.
Plot: Well it starts of quite episodic, and it’s not until we see Hitsujikai that we start to get some plot here. The plot builds quite nicely with a couple of confrontations early on and again the middle and it builds to a steady crescendo… only to fall at the last hurdle. Episode 11 leaves us with so much fallout, then episode 12 is completely unrelated to the entire storyline (except the romance between Ryouko and Ryoushi), and then it finishes, oh and there is currently no second season for it to continue, perhaps the Manga carries it on, but I haven’t checked yet. Then you have that f*****g narrator. Every time you have nay kind of development, plot or character, she spoils it, she talks over the top and pokes fun at the characters, this can be ok in some humorous circumstances, but she also does it in some serious ones, like when hearing about Ryouko’s traumatic back story, or when a moment is shared between Ryouko and Ryoushi after a particularly portentous scene. It feels out of place and distasteful. I understand that this is also supposedly a parody show, but it just isn’t funny enough for that, in either plot, characters or through the narrator. It’s a disappointing end to an show that promises so much.
Summary: I didn’t have many expectations from this show other than being told that Ryouko is a justified tsundere which as it turns out is true. Unfortunately, it promises so much in terms of plot and character development but ultimately jumps the shark at the end. And as said previously, this show just isn’t funny, the characters aren’t funny, the tropes they belong to aren’t funny, the narrator is trying too hard and fails at every step. It strips all the enjoyment from what should just be an unpretentious fun show. So what we are left with is a show of heavy potential with not an ounce of it realised. Ryouko is an interesting character, Ryoushi has the potential to be an interesting character, but it’s never realised, the same with Ringo and Hitsujikai, and as a result I spent most the time watching this anime screaming for an ounce of something, like a back story a flashback anything! And then when the last episode started and I realised it had nothing to do with anything that came before, I could have put a hammer through my monitor. Ultimately this anime is incredibly disappointing, but it is carried by Ryouko, if she wasn’t in it, or was only half as interesting, this would be one of the worst shows I’ve seen just in terms of unfulfilled potential. As it is though, I will give this show 6.5 out of 10, it is neither horrendous or particularly good, and some people may get more enjoyment than I can out of it.