1 Jul 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (Anime) Impressions

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (Ookami-san) (2010)
Format: TV Series, 13 X 22 minutes
Studio: J.C. Staff
Potential: 2 - 3 stars
Summary: Has a lot of potential to be entertaining, but nothing really exciting. Most people will watch for the all-star cast of seiyuu and the Taiga look-a-like.

Otogi Academy Mutual Student Aid Association (aka Otogi Bank) is a shady organisation school club where people come to seek favors. In compensation, they will owe Otogi Bank a favor, which they would be forced to return. The story follows Ookami Ryouko and her good friend Akai Ringo (a red riding hood look-a-like) as they perform jobs for Otogi Bank.

Watching the previews, my first thought was "Toradora!". The character designs look similar to Toaru Majutsu no Index, but the lead character (Ookami-san), looks just like Taiga-chan! Anyway, this is a J.C. Staff production, so the comparisons are inevitable. I loved Honey & Clover and Toradora. Hayate, Nodame and Railgun are not bad too. J.C. Staff is capable of really really good shows, and their backgrounds are unique, but half their shows are quite average. Most of the time, it boils down to the story. Toradora and Honey & Clover had great stories to tell. Once in a while, shows like Railgun show off their animation capabilities quite well, though I wouldn't call it fantastic. The director (Yoshiaki Iwasaki), isn't that great either. Sure, he has Love Hina and Hayate Season 2 under his belt, but generally the quality of his shows have been lacklustre. As if to balance this out, J.C. Staff has brought Animation Director Haruko Iizuka (Railgun, Tsubasa Chronicles Movie, Otogi Zoshi) on board. This guy has a lot of experience with being an Animation Director, so we should expect above average quality throughout the show's entire run.

The first episode sets a really cool storybook vibe. Ookami-san (lit. Wolf) and Ringo-san (lit. Apple) are like The Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. Their first case makes several references to Cinderella; the pumpkin bicycle, losing her shoe, the clock chiming at 5 o'clock. The action scenes are also quite well animated, especially the hilarious "cranium kick".

If Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi continues to play on the storybook fairytale vibe for the rest of its 13-episode run, I think it would be an entertaining series to follow.

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