Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi - Episode 12 (Completed)

Just as Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi started with what seemed like a random confession of love, with Morino "stalking" and then saying his part to Ryouko, so the series also ends with what seems to be an equally random confession on the surface.

This time around it's Ryoushi who is on the receiving end of such a confession, as it's dished out by class mate Machiko Himura (who I was expecting to start drumming at any moment, which is what I get for seeing this episode directly after K-ON!!), although in truth it isn't quite as random as it first seems - the hard-up Himura has seen Morino with his pedigree dogs and seemingly expensive house, and has decided that it's the perfect opportunity to marry into a wealthy family. So, she goes about winning over Ryoushi, in ways that are largely cliched (the girl has clearly been playing too many dating sims or watching too much anime) but also a little sneaky, as she uses Morino's position at the Otogi Bank to get him to come on a date as a request by her.

While this is all well and good, such a turn of affairs doesn't sit too well with Ryouko, although oif course she wouldn't admit this to anybody, even when it comes to following Morino on his date along with Ringo "just in case something happens". As it turns out though, something does happen, as Himura's father's debts catch up with her and leaves Ryouko and Ryoushi having to fight off a bunch of generic thugs, the likes of which we've arguably seen far too often this series. With that imminent danger passed, Morino works hard to ensure that Himura's debt is paid and she's given a new home, in turn causing her to genuinely fall for him, although of course by this point she's realised that she has a love rival she can never hope to win against, even if Ryouko still can't confess her feelings properly come the end of the series.

With the dust settling and this series done and dusted, I can only praise J.C. Staff for doing the best possible job with the source material as you'd tend to expect from them - however, on this occasion it was never really enough to push Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi beyond the realms of mediocrity. While the deployment of a narrator for the series will split opinion in two amongst viewers, personally I sit in the camp that feels that her quips and talking over other people's lines actually enhanced the series, particularly in terms of comic value, adding an extra layer to a show that could genuinely be funny when it got everything right. Sadly, getting things right wasn't something this series ever did with any consistency, deviating too frequently from Ryouko and Ryoushi's burgeoning relationship (by far the most interesting point of the show courtesy of a couple of likeable lead characters) in the name of pursuing side stories that were really quite dull, to the point where the main over-arching plot of the show came to a rushed and unsatisfactory conclusion that feels like it was designed for a second season that (on this showing) might never come. At no point did I hate Ookami-san or what it was trying to do, but that alone isn't enough to stop it from being an instantly forgettable series.

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