I’ve been doing a fair amount of J.C Staff animes lately. Today is no exception; we’re looking at Ookami-San to Shichi-nin no Nakama-Tachi (Ookami and her Seven Companions)
Story: A long, long time ago, well, not that long ago, Ryouko Ookami, a headstrong freshman girl, was a member of a student-run organization called the Otogi Bank. Think of it like a little mercenary group. In exchange for favors, the group would hire itself out to clients who needed problems solved, whether it be to help a friend in need, or find a bride (long story).
The show itself follows the Otogi Bank as it tries to sort out various problems around the city. Episodes revolve around sorting out problems, and they tend to be unrelated to each other, until the end. As a result, the show doesn’t have as tightly knit of a story as other J.C Staff works, though that can be overlooked. However, the underlying flaw in Ookami-san is its duration; it’s less than 20 episodes long. If you read my Danganronpa review, you know the problem with short animes; simply put, anything fewer than about 24 episodes or so is not enough time to tell a story to its full extent. Ookami-san had a lot of potential, but there was just not enough room to cram everything it needed to into.
Characters: I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: It’s hard to go wrong with J.C characters. The main characters are interesting enough, though the supporting characters are bland (they are supporting characters, to be fair).
Ryouko Ookami: Ryouko’s the titular character, a headstrong, seemingly fearless girl who actually isn’t all that. While I’m not going to spoil anything, she has a backstory that explains why she is the way she is. Considering the length of the show, having the backstory play a fairly large role in the story is impressive. The other main characters serve to highlight her; J.C staff poured all their resources into highlighting this character, and it worked. In my opinion, Ryouko’s the best character in the show because she’s the one who gets all the attention.
Ryoshi Morino: Ahh, Ryoshi. We first meet this character as he’s confessing his love to Ryouko. He spends the entire show highlighting Ryouko in some way. In some respects, he’s not really a main character, but he interacts with Ryouko enough to be considered one. While he’s not interesting in and of himself, he’s so connected to Ryouko that he doesn’t really need to be; she’s the one who makes him interesting.
Ringo Akai: Ringo’s a disappointment. She’s arguably more connected to Ryouko than Ryoshi is, yet she doesn’t fare as well as he does. The problem lies in that Ringo gets a backstory that doesn’t come into play in a meaningful way; she feels incomplete, which is sad because she could’ve been a great main character
Final Verdict: Ookami-san needed a second season, but sales of the DVD were insufficient to merit one. So, Ookami-san is incomplete and while the first season provided a conclusion, the ending feels unsatisfactory. Ookami-san was an anime that could’ve been drawn out longer, and the duration of the show became its undoing.
Easter Eggs: J.C Staff sometimes throws references to their other works into their animes; Ookami-san is no exception. I’ll list a few of them out
1. Every character in this show are based off of a fairy tale. Ringo, Ryouko, and Ryoshi are based off the characters in Little Red Riding Hood. Ryouko’s last name, Ookami, can translate into “wolf”. Ringo dresses like Little Red herself, and her last name, Akai, is Japanese for Red. Ryoshi is the hunter who captures the wolf (you know where’s that going), but that’s only shown from his dialogue. The side characters, Tarou and Otohime, are based off the Japanese fairy tale of Urashima Tarou, a fisherman who visits the Dragon Palace, an undersea kingdom ruled by Queen Otohime. Other characters are based off the famous fairy tale, Momotaro, or Peach boy, or Aesop’s fables.
2. In episode 3, there is a scene where Ringo, Otohime, and a third character, Otsuu Tsurugaya, are dressed up for a beauty pageant. They are dressed as three characters from the show, The Familiar of Zero. Ringo is the main character, Louise, Otsuu is the maid, Siesta, and Otohime is Queen Henrietta. This is even more ironic as the antagonist in that episode is voiced by Rie Kugimiya, who also voiced Louise.
3. In episode 8, Taiga Aisaka, Minori Kushieda, and Ami Kawashima from Toradora, and Mikoto Misaka, Kuroko Shirai, Kazari Uiharu, and Ruiko Saten from A Certain Scientific Railgun all make brief cameos.
4. in episode 11, you can briefly see a character holding dark green uniform with a green-yellowbow tie on the front. This is the school uniform from Shakugan no Shana. Also, the shrine maiden outfit looks similar to Aisa Himegami’s first outfit in A Certain Magical Index.