US Distributor: FUNimation
Production Studio: J.C.Staff
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network
Okami-san and Her Seven Companions was a series with potential. The show draws from a host of popular fairy tale archetypes, which should create a solid base to build upon. Unfortunately, it never really gets beyond the vague possibility of interest, as the title is weighed down by bland tropes and a generally uninteresting premise.
Okami-san and Her Seven Companions is set in a world of fantasy. In the local high school, the Otogi Bank deals in a most unusual business. Rather than deal in money or precious metals, the bank does favors for the school’s students, with the expectation that they’ll be repaid down the line.
Ryoko Okami works for the bank as a “fixer.” She delivers on the various needs of her classmates for the Otogi Bank. She doesn’t go it alone, of course. Her friends are there to lend a hand when the going gets particularly rough.
While the Otogi bank is an interesting idea, the characters who staff it are the very definition of “dull.” Ryoko, the lead whom the rest of cast revolves around, is the no-nonsense girl with a hidden feminine side. Ryoshi Morino, the male lead, is the standard punching bag He’s tough, but only if he’s backed into a corner.
The narrator, whose presence should add a healthy dose of fourth wall-breaking humor to the mix, is downright annoying. She constantly talks over the cast, and pulls the viewer out of the experience.
I can’t help but visualize the creative team, as they run down a pre-made checklist. Leading lady with a big heart and a short temper? Check! Hapless guy who lives for the lead’s love, only to be the target of her abuse? Check! A mad scientist whose experiments never work out? Check!
And so on.
Okami-san and her Seven Companions really tries to get the viewer to feel for these characters. The series tries to build on the cast through tragic histories, quirky habits, and hidden love interests. Unfortunately, every attempt to grow a character is rushed, or goes too far off the deep end to be believable.
It’s a shame, since there were a number of opportunities to really flesh out the characters and make them more endearing to the viewer. These moments are simply never actually capitalized upon.
Ryoko never really evolves as a character through the show. She remains that same “strong on the outside, soft on the inside” girl that viewers are introduced to in the first episode. Yes, she opens up a bit to love interest Ryoshi, but it barely goes beyond that. She always remains a guarded character, whose past is never really explored.
Really, the only character to really change is Ryoshi Morino, and that’s limited to his fighting abilities. The show’s villain is never caught, and the ending remains inconclusive.
In plain English, the cast feels forced
It’s a stark contrast to the show’s visual elements, which are handled with a surprisingly deft hand. The character designs are attractive, with a decent amount of detail. Scenes are packed with fun visual nods, and cameos to shows like The Prince of Tennis or A Certain Magical Index. The animation is clean, with generally smooth movement and few dropped frames.
There are a number of shows that combine comedy and tragedy in a way that really sticks with the viewer. For example, Angel Beats! is a series that takes place in an alternate high school. The way the show carries itself is truly impressive, with a hilarious atmosphere, and characters that just tug at the emotions of viewers.
Okami-san and Her Seven Companions is no Angel Beats!
I couldn’t feel for the show’s characters in that same, heartfelt way. It really is a shame, given that there were so many great ideas that could have arisen from the situation.