Home > Episode Reviews, First Impressions > Ookami-san Episode 1 – Hungry Like the Wolf

Ookami-san Episode 1 – Hungry Like the Wolf

Well, a new season is beginning this week and, since all of the shows I was writing about last season are over, I’m looking for something new. Unfortunately, this year’s summer season is looking increasingly dire.

Ookami-san is the story of a fiery girl named Ookami Ryouko, who is fully in the “rough and angry but wants to be treated like a pretty girl” tsundere vein that seems to be popular these days. Seriously, in the first scene, she corners and beats up a rough looking dude for stalking a girl. See, she and her roommate, Akai Ringo, work for an odd school club called the Otogi Bank. The premise is that they undertake missions from students in exchange for favors—sort of like the A-Team with quid pro quo.

This is Ryouko Ookami, the eponymous angry pugilist

Ookami and Ringo are part of this show’s inexplicable fairy tale fetish. Ringo looks like and is supposed to be a kind of Red Riding Hood character, albeit an underhanded, gossipy, overly cute one.

Ookami is the wolf (‘Ookami’ being Japanese for ‘wolf’), based on her tsundere personality and boxing acumen, and the hunter is male protagonist, Morino Ryoushi.

And this is Ookami in a different school uniform. Oh wait, that's Taiga Aisaka from Toradora: another, more popular, fiery tsundere who clearly had nothing to do with Ookami's design

Ryoushi is an interesting character, for the male lead of a romance comedy, anyway. He was trained by his grandfather, a hunter, in a traditional Japanese form of hunting. This means he is adept at hiding—and explains why he is otherwise thoroughly unremarkable. But, being raised in the mountains as a hunter, he is afraid of being stared at.

Ringo is an eerily cute character who squeals like a tea kettle boiling

In any other genre, he’d be a flat, one note character. But by the (admittedly low) standards of comedy anime, he’s practically a living, breathing person. Furthermore, he actually has the balls to ask out the scary-looking Ookami the first time they meet, even though he does it twice while hiding and Ookami gets mad at him for doing nothing to help her when he was stalking her and she was attacked. Compared to most of his peers, he’s freaking James Bond.

Ookami works out at the Boxing Gim (sic) Bear. I approve of the correctly-spelled part of the name

Being weirdly unconventional is pretty much all Ookami-san has going for it. The characters are all pretty quirky, even for a comedy show, but in the way that tries to substitute strangeness for depth of character. I don’t get the sense that there’s anything going on with these characters besides what’s on the surface. Which, in that regard, puts it below the otherwise abysmal Mayoi Neko Overrun!

He may look like every other anime protagonist, but he is slightly different from them

The directing is incredibly boring, as you can probably tell from the screen shots. The camera is at eye level pretty much all the time, with next to no shot variety. It’s shot like a sitcom, or a dating sim. Yoshiaki Iwasaki (Love Hina, Zero no Tsukaima, Hayate no Gotoku!!) is a veteran director with some well-known shows under his belt: he has no excuse to be phoning it in here. If you’re making a comedy show, the visuals need to be just as funny as the jokes, if not more so.

Seriously, the direction is so boring it can't even make this crazy-looking mad scientist with a rabbit hat interesting

Of course, the writing isn’t really there, either. The characters are flat and dull, and the limp directing kills the few jokes the writers can manage. From her glib, sarcastic tone, I think the fourth-wall breaking narrator is supposed to be funny, but her only joke is making fun of the two main girls for being flat-chested, which makes them angry because they can apparently hear her. It’s not funny the first time, and it sure isn’t funny when she does it another two times.

The club's target is dubbed the 'Prince of Tennis' which is both a reference to a long-running sports manga and his later role in this episode's kick-fetish Cinderella B-plot

In addition to half-introducing us to the show’s premise and the rest of the its surprisingly big cast of one note characters, the Otogi Bank also takes on a client. I won’t go into the details here, because they’re boring, but it involves a girl who has a crush on an injured tennis player and doesn’t want him to give up the sport. The Bank does this in the weirdest, most Japanese way possible: by preventing him from turning in the form to resign from the club. This does give rise to the only legitimately funny scene in the show: where it’s revealed that the tennis player has a fetish for being kicked that the Bank’s client is happy to oblige.

Apparently, he loves the kicking. I didn't even know that was a thing

But that’s after the credits, when most television watchers had already given up. I know I would have.

All in all, Ookami-san seems like the kind of barely entertaining, empty fluff that the anime industry thrives on. But we here at antiotaku try to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Hopefully this isn’t the best thing I can find in the new season.

Even the cast is pissed about the unnecessary bathing fan service

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