My first impressions of Okami-san and Her Seven Companions was, "Oh hey, it's a show starring an older-looking version of Taiga." I knew nothing else except that the main character looked kinda like somebody else. Maybe it was my inner tsundere senses or some other mystical ability of mine, but as it turns out, I was right.
As for how the entire show goes, Toradora! and Okami-san and her Seven Companions are vastly different. One is a romantic comedy where the entire plot rests on the relationships between its characters and Okami-san, well, is a fairly standard action show with the occasional flair of teenage emotion. However, there is some merit here that is worth your time and scratch. Hit the jump to find out if Okami-san would be right up your alley!
Okami-san and her Seven Companions (BD/DVD combo pack)
Okami-san and her Seven Companions is about a headstrong high school girl name Okami, who is part of an organization called the Otogi Bank, which does favors for people in exchange for an equivalent IOU. Everything from getting two people to have a normal date to rigging a beauty contest can be arranged with the Otogi Bank, as long as you're willing to do them a favor. The series begins when a pathetic kid named Ryoshi confesses his love and adoration to Okami. Being the typical tsundere, she brushes him off and continues on with her day. Through the usual set of strange circumstance you'd expect from an ensemble action/comedy show, Ryoshi joins the Otogi Bank as the seventh of Okami's titular companions.
Over the next 12 episodes, you get a bit of background about each member of the Bank. There's the cross-dressing president, his overly serious cousin, an amorous pretty boy, his persistent and lusty girlfriend, a busty maid who's obsessed with returning favors, a girl on her to becoming scientist, a sneaky girl with a red hood, Okami and Ryoshi. Just about everybody gets an episode for themselves except for Majo, the mad scientist. The stories vary from tales of childhood bullying to attempted rape and social rejection for speaking up, so to say the tone is a bit bipolar is an understatement. For the most part, it keeps things pretty light and funny, relying on tsundere gags to bridge awkward moments. I mean, I'm impressed with how Okami-san dealt with the social stigmas that some girls go through when they report crimes against men, but the timing of when those moments happen is a bit jarring.
As for the characters, I'm pretty indifferent about the whole group. I mean, everybody (but Majo) gets their moment to shine, but I've seen this done better elsewhere. You aren't going to find anything unique here, just the same old archetypes. I'm particularly disappointed with Okami, as I expected more from her. By the end of the show you understand why she is the way she is, but the fact that she gets all tsun tsun on Ryoshi in the face of his heroic actions was immensely aggravating. Speaking of Ryoshi, I spent half of the show just shaking my head at his very existance. I know that they want me to have something that would make him be a social outsider, but making him afraid of being stared at? Really? Even after he's had 12 episodes worth of development, everybody still craps on him. I bloody hated it. On a more positive note, I was amused at pretty boy Taro and pretty girl Otohime's relationship. It isn't very often that you have an anime couple that is in an obviously sexual relationship. They never out and out say that they're getting down, but the dialogue and aftermath make it clear what Otohime and Taro were up to.
Despite my annoyances with the characters, I've got to tip my hat to the narrator. As a lot of the characters and situations within the show are twists on modern fairy tails, there is a narrator that introduces each episode and keeps "reading along" with the story. This woman, who you never see, has more personality going for her than most of the cast. With her general sarcasm and amusing comments that cause characters to break the fourth wall, she kept me amused through the whole show. She easily could've been annoying, but instead became the highlight in an otherwise average show.
In terms of aesthetics both visual and aural, Okami-san is a mixed bag. None of the performances were particularly bad, but not that many of them stood out. Okami and her red-hooded friend Ringo were pretty good, but everybody else fell along stereotypical lines. One thing that I was impressed with was the dub, which I found to be better than the Japanese track at times. There are a few lines that get changed between the languages, but it's nothing egregious. For the first time in a while, I would recommend the dub equally, if not more than the original language track.
Okami-san was a pretty decent looking show. It isn't going to win any awards for the smoothness of its animations, its character designs or the backgrounds, but it never looks awful. As I only received the DVDs, I can tell you that it looked decent enough when played on my laptop and PS3. I can guess that the Blu-rays look much better, but that's only conjecture. It doesn't really matter though, as the only Okami-san set available comes with both the DVDs and Blu-rays. It's a smart practice, as fans that haven't made the upgrade can still watch the show now and can appreciate the assumed higher definition visuals if/when they get a proper BD player.
In the end, I can only kind of recommend Okami-san and her Seven Companions. It has some good things going for it, mainly the fantastic narrator, good dub and the occasional laugh out loud moment. Unfortunately, Okami's excessive temperament, cookie-cutter characters that don't really grow and a story that doesn't really go anywhere in 12 episodes prevent me from giving it a full nod to y'all. It isn't bad, but I don't think everybody will dig it.
6.5 - Okay
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