Thursday, 1 July 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi - Episode 1

Yes, that's right kids, a new anime season is upon us once again! First out of the door for the summer is Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi (but we're all friends here, so how about we just call it Ookami-san from now on?), J.C. Staff's vaguely fairy tale themed outing for the season.

The series certainly opens with a bang - That noise being the sound of a tsundere fist against a random delinquent's face. The tsundere in question (for that is the only word required to describe her personality, so otherwise generic is she) is named Ryouko Ookami (of the show's title) and she's a member of the Otogi Bank, a club which offers help to members of Otogi Academy.

However this academy club, which goes by the official name of the Student Mutual Assistance Association, are a bit short of male members, and what do you know no sooner do we learn this when one appears almost literally out of the blue. His name is Ryoushi Morino, and he has a crush on Ookami, as well as a rather unfortunate affliction that means that he hates anybody staring or otherwise looking at him. Still, he's supposedly an expert in hiding and trailing people, making him a perfect addition to the Otogi Bank despite Ookami's protestations.

As his first test, Morino is set a task courtesy of the club's latest client, who is looking to stop a member of the tennis club she admires from quitting after an injury. What follows is barely what you could call a take on the Cinderella story, but Ookami-san tries to pass it off as one anyway as the hapless Morino makes a mess of pretty much everything before accidentally making a success of his endeavours in the end so that client and so-called "Prince of Tennis" get their happy ending.

While the premise is interesting enough in its own way, everything else about this opening episode of Ookami-san is so run of the mill that if you placed it inside a mill it wouldn't look out of place. As we've already discussed, Ookami herself is simply the dictionary definition of "tsundere" without any further effort put into her character, and you get the feeling that most of the other major players in the series are similarly straightforward. The only thing that saves the episode from sinking entirely into the mire of mediocrity is the show's narrator, who we shall call Kuroko (for reasons anyone who has watched To Aru Kagaku no Railgun should fathom); her asides and borderline fourth wall breaking moments aren't the height of hilarity, but they do at least lighten up an instalment that is otherwise only mildly amusing on occasion at best.

Not the greatest start to a new season of anime then, but nor is it the worst. In fact, it's straight down the middle - The perfect definition of "average".

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