After a decidedly average start, Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi seemed to have found its feet with its second episode, but with each instalment taking in a different story the big question is whether or not it can keep up that improved standard this time around.
This third instalment brings us a good, old-fashioned love triangle of sorts, with Tarou Urashima finding himself caught between the attentions of two fierce rivals. On the one hand you have Otohime Ryuuguu, a girl who used to be fat, dumb and bullied (earning her the nickname of "turtle" in the process) before Tarou's advice and attention allowed her to blossom, and on the other we find Mimi Usami, a rather more dimiutive character who is no less feisty for her "loli"-esque stature.
The focal point for this rivalry soon becomes the school beauty contest (because of course, all schools have beauty contests, right?), with Otohime putting a request in to the Otogi Bank to help her win said contest; a request which turns into an all-out information war as the Bank on one side and Mimi on the other battle to slag one another off in public until they both end up having their names run through the mud (along with a few other individuals). Thus, neither party manages to achieve their goal of winning the beauty contest, but despite this perhaps there is still room for someone to have their heart one over....
Perhaps its because of the shift in focus away from Ryouko and Morino, but this episode really struggled to interest me at all - Neither of its major female characters were really that likeable at all (with Otohime only winning in those stakes because she used to be bullied), and the entire endeavour became altogether too self-referential as it indulged in throwing around the loli or tsundere status of its characters, which only served to reduce those characters to the tropes they have been based up. From all of this, I think it's becoming clear that this is going to be one of those hit-and-miss series which depends heavily on the content of each individual story arc; the previous episode proved that it has the potential to do well, but equally this instalment suggests that it's unlikely to be able to do so in a consistent manner. Indeed, even some of J.C. Staff's usual animation sparkle seemed to be missing here too, to leave us with a pretty lacklustre episode.