Have a problem? Talk to Otogi Bank, a student aid group that helps people get what they need – for a hefty price. Led by Liszt Kiriki and staffed by tsundere Ryouko, inventor Majolica, jealous Otohime, flirtatious Tarou, serious Alice, nervous Ryoushi and maid Otsuu, Otogi Bank assists with everything from helping break into a rival school to convincing an upperclassman to not quit a sports team. Can Otogi Bank manage to make all their clients happy, and most importantly, will Ryoushi ever manage to win Ryouko’s heart?
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.
My biggest problem with this anime is that it takes a serious subject and treats it way to lightly. The story was horrible for trying to make light of a major problem. The characters are ok and so is the animation. After the 6th episode its started to get repeative for me. The main character never gets a chance to work out her real problem If you can shrug off the implications around her story you might enjoy it. She already has a sad story and yet they keep having guys beat on her. It really wasn't the type of story that should of been made into a comedy.
Story: 3/10 Boy, where do I even start? The plot follows a group of kids in high school that run a company (Otogi Bank) that does pretty much any random request that you want for a fee. This scenario serves as a plot device to have the characters run around do an assortment of tasks while one of the worst romance plots (if you can call it that) plays out. Add in the weird plot of Ryouko's ex-boyfriend trying to use a whole school of delinquents to try and make her life miserable which gives the show some fighting scenes. In the end the story tries to do too much so it end up doing nothing well. About the only engaging thing about this series is the relationship between Ryouko and Shirou, which ends up getting pretty much side swept and you never actually find out what happened. Now here were some of my biggest peeves with this show, and I will start with the worst offender, the narrator. This show does NOT need one. In the writers attempts to be funny, they use the narrator to tell the audience the most obvious of things...it feels like an assault on my intelligence. Telling me what a character is thinking or feeling instead of just showing it and letting me figure out massively dumbs down the show and is kind of an insult to the audience. The next peeves involve spoilers. I won't be ruining much, but just giving a warning anyways. As soon as I hit the episode where Ryouko gets amnesia I was like "really?!" It is one of the most common plot devices in anime and it just doesn't work well. I got my hopes up though that Ookami would manage to do a decent job parodying it, but that thought was all but thrown out the window. The romance in this show is downright TERRIBLE. There is no chemistry between the two main characters and really no perceivable reason as to why they even like each other. Listening to Ryoushi confessions are down right painful...and why the hell do they happen multiple times?!?! The thing with confessions is that once they are said, we kinda know already. Ryouko shouldn't act surprised when Ryoushi confesses for like the 3rd time. And by the end of the show do we even have anything to show for it? Ryouko admits that she might like him to someone else but THAT'S IT. Not even a hand hold! You took a 12 episode romantic comedy and the characters can't even manage to hold hands? Dear god! Last but not least is the ending. The show just kind of stops. There really is no conclusion, nothing is wrapped up. This series is ripe for a sequel, but I honestly hope it doesn't get one. Art Direction (Animation): 6/10 Nothing great here, but nothing that bad either. The entire look and feel of this show just feels so generic. The color pallet is vibrant and everything is well drawn, but no real steps have been taken to make anything even remotely unique. Some of the character designs are good, but nothing to write home about. All in all this area doesn't hurt the show, which is more than I can say for the plot. Sound: 6/10 The opening and ending themes were immediate skips for me. If you like generic Jpop songs that are so sugary that they could give you a toothache, then maybe you will enjoy them. As for me, I only lasted a few seconds before I was skipping ahead. The show's background music isn't good nor bad. It just blends in, which is for the most part what it should do. There were a few odd songs here and there, but nothing that really annoyed me. I always have a hard time judging voice acting when I watch a show subbed. To my ears the delivery sounded great and the voices fit the characters well. That said, I think I can't really do that great of a job review this area without actually understanding the language. Characters: 3/10 I image the folks at JC Staff had a conversation like this when they were coming up with characters for Ookami: "People really liked Taiga from Toradora, right?" "Yeah, the fans loved her!" "Well, why don't we just make her again, just put her in a bit older body." "Great idea! And how about we take out all of Taiga's depth as a character; we wouldn't want to actually make this show good!" That about sums up the character design for Ookami, generic characters that fall in to preconceived archetypes and absolutely no character depth. Overall: 3/10 It took me 3 tries to finish watching Ookami and the only reason I did was so I could feel confident in putting out a reviewing after having watched the entire show. The bottom line is that this show is not worth your time. If you were tricked in to this show thinking that you were in for another amazing show like Toradora, I am sorry, but this isn't what you are looking for...sorry bro.
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