Once upon a time, the studio behind Toradora! and Shakugan no Shana created a fable-minded story full of fairy tale tomfoolery, attractive archetypes, allusions to allegories, parodies of para…ugh, enough alliteration! You get my drift…
Ryoko Ōkami, the “wolf” of our story, and her BFF Ringo, also known as Little Red Riding Hood, are members of Otogi Bank—a high school club that helps classmates out of grim situations. One day, a meek young man proclaims his love to Ryoko, who does nothing but bite him in return. “You’re much too weak for me,” she huffs. So the boy joins Otogi Bank to prove he has the stuff to protect his beloved—even if it means taking a blow to the head with a lead pipe. He’s no Prince Charming, but will Ryoko allow herself to have her own happily ever after?
Based on the series of light novels by Masashi Okita, the teen adventure-comedy Okami-san and Her Seven Companions
(2010) plays off various Western fairy tales, albeit obliquely. At the center of the series is Ryoko Okami, a sort of distaff Big Bad Wolf, who helps run the Otogi Bank, a student organization that grants wishes--on the condition that they be returned someday. The exceedingly shy Ryoshi is hopelessly smitten with Ryoko: like countless other anime swains, he vows to protect her. His heartfelt affection feels misplaced as Ryoko has all the charm of a spitting cobra, and needs about as much protection. She fights with cat-faced boxing gloves that deliver an electronic jolt; Ryoshi's principle weapon is a slingshot and steel pachinko balls. They and the rest of the Otogi Bank group fight with the thuggish kids from Onigashima High, a name that plays off oni
, the Japanese word for "demon." When Ryoshi charges into a fight and saves one of their mutual friends, Ryoko sniffs, "I guess every screw-up has at least one redeeming quality." At times, Okami-san
plays like an off-kilter version of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
, but Ryoko lacks Haruhi's upbeat enthusiasm. The filmmakers attempt to juggle the various story elements, playing fairy-tale references and fan-service humor against explicit violence and suggestions of sexual abuse, but they never achieve a satisfying tone. The results are like watching a driver shift a manual transmission while barreling down the freeway. (Rated TV 14: violence, violence against women, suggested rape, profanity, brief nudity, risqué humor, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
(1. Okami-san and Her Otogi Bank Companions, 2. Okami-san the Liar and Ryoshi-kun, 3. Okami-san Gets Caught in the Fight Between the Tortoise and the Hare, 4. Okami-san and Otsu-senpai's Favor Repayments, 5. Okami-san Goes Hunting with Momo-chan-senpai, 6. Okami-san and Akazukin-chan, and While We're at it, Ryoshi-kun, 7. Okami-san Goes on a Double Date with Jizou-san, 8. Okami-san and the Mouse Bride Search, and This Is How a Pig Should Be Treated, 9. Okami-san and Snow White, Who Is Immune to Poison Apples, 10. Okami-san and the Otogi Bank's Really Long Day, 11. Okami-san and the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, 12. Okami-san and the Girl Who Doesn't Sell Matches But Is Misfortunate Anyway)