July 8, 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin etc Ep2: The Girl Who Tried Wolf

Posted in Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi tagged , , , , at 9:45 pm by meotwister5

It’s kind of hard to make a witty label with a series title that long…

I was initially surprised at the fact that this was the fairy tale they would attempt to use for the second episode.  Not to say that the Boy Who Cried Wolf isn’t a fairy tale but I was actually expecting them to use the more popular ones that were popularized by such people as the Grimm’s and Hans Christian Anderson.  As of this writing I can’t exactly remember the origins of the tale and who were the ones to popularize this story but here’s a refresher gist on the unlikely chance you’ve never heard of the tale:

As the title implies, the Boy Who Cried Wolf is about a Shepard boy who, while in the fields tending to the flock and likely dying of complete boredom, decides it would be good time to be a complete ass and cry out for help.  So he cries out that wolves are attacking his sheep which prompts all manner of people to come and try to help, only to found out he’s acting like a lying little punk.  They go back annoyed and after a while the little creep does it again.  The people come back again and after seeing this little creep’s lying face decide they wouldn’t fall for it again.  Lo and behold a wolf actually comes and starts tearing the flesh off his sheep.  This time the people decide the the kid should screw himself and go about their merry way.  Once the carnage was over, all the sheep were wolf fodder and the kid has hopefully learned his lesson:  When you lie, sheep die.  Also you can’t trick the same people three times.

The thing is, the episode 2 has it’s own version.  If you noticed my witty title above, this is about a Girl Who Tried Wolf.

Dem Thighs!

The Girl Who Cried for a Wolf

One week after episode 1 as wussy-man Ryoushi is steadily going over his fear of people, a request comes in from a girl asking for Ookami to come to Sankaku park to try and stop her violent ex-boyfriend from trying to get back with her.  Ookami easily agrees to help and, with Ryoushi in tow, heads for the park to meet with the guy, only see realize the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Plot wise I guess that’s as far as the motif goes.  Girl lies about needing help which prompts action from Ookami which turns out to be false, instead landing both her and Ryoushi in a very dangerous situation.  It would be apparent that a lot of people are out to get her for reasons undisclosed, and given the more lecherous attempt on her dignity I guess it stems from more things than revenge or simple violence.

Watching the rest of the episode however you get to realize that the loose influence of the tale applies not to the plot of the episode but to the characters themselves.  In this case, who be more fitting than the Wolf herself?

We require cute doggies.

The Girl Who Tried Wolf

Everyone has a soft and cute side.  Even wolves.

It is apparent from watching the episode that in ways the association to the tale is not in total.  Rather than a boy, we have a girl.  Rather than crying for help, she refused it.  Rather than crying for a wolf, she tried being one.  In the end though it’s still about lying.

She’s trying to be a lone wolf.  Except for sidekick you could see she’s pretty much one.  She always leaves before everyone, trains solo in the gym and pretty much walks the way home.  In a fight she likewise prefers to be alone even if the other person does have some skill, considering she asked Ryoushi to just run away.

Ookami still doesn’t have much respect for Ryoushi that much is obvious.  If anime has taught us anything, a tough girl’s stone cold demeanor is most of the time just a facade.  In reality she’s just a softy with a heart of gold.  If petting those dogs are any indication, then we know there’s more to Ookami’s femininity than meets the eye.  As Ryoushi says, the reason he likes her a lot is because of the way she tries her best to be strong.  He likes the way she tries to put out a tough exterior while apparently has cuteness inside.  She is, like characters of the archetype, a walking dichotomy.

So upon being tied up and presumably about to be sexually assaulted, we are treated a cliched interior monologue of hers.  As the usual character type implies, there is obviously some psychological reason as to why she needs to be both physically and emotionally defensive.  Considering that she’s pretty much crossed into the realm of the Tsundere, it’s likely going to be about some sort of emotional hurt coming from a close person, and probably some more about not being able to protect someone.  Purely speculation on my part but this tends to be the most used reasons for her caution and self-imposed solitude.

Taiga?

There are of course many reasons why people can be avoidant of each other, however I do realize the fact that while they tend to be polar opposites, Ryoushi and Ookami actually DO have that similarity:  Ryoushi is afraid of people while ookami pushes them away.  In a sense, both have their own problems relating with people. The association is a bit loose at this point but I can’t help but point it out.  It is likely that Ryoushi too has his own problems to deal with that makes him fear people just as Ookami has a reason to avoid them.

The hunter finds his wolf.

The obvious best part of the episode was Ryoushi finally realizing he’s had enough of this crap and that it was time to man it up.  With special forces sniper skills he goes out to prove that he’s a man worthy of Ookami, even if he must support her from the shadows.  As the rather impressively animated battle ensues Ookami begins to have second thoughts about him and that now, she’s perfectly fine with him backing her up.  She’ll take the front while he takes the rear.  Ryoushi himself say that he is the hunter and the wolf is his prey.

The episode it didn’t feel like anything special.  It was still cliched and the fairy tale motif wasn’t as pronounced as the pilot episode.  The first episode was definitely stronger but in a way I expected it.  Very few series are consistently awesome, though I’m being a bit premature since this is just the second one.  By the end I still enjoyed it anyway, and Ryoushi and especially Ookami are slowly growing on me, maybe not as a potential couple but as characters nonetheless.

The episode makes it plain that this series isn’t trying to be special really.  A twist here and a bit of originality there, but nothing you’ve never seen before.  It still rather escapes just how the series manages to work its charm on me.  To make yet another comparison to a previous series, Toradora had the same effect on me where I really did not understand, at least on a mental level, why I was compelled to watch it immediately when the subs come out.  It wasn’t about a little past the halfway mark that I did realize why I loved the series.  I’m going to give this series the same benefit of the doubt that, at some point, I’ll also realize why I at least liked this series, if I don’t outright end up loving it.

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2 Comments »

  1. Haak said,

    Great blog, Meotwister. Ookami-san isn’t quite catching me the way Toradora! did and I think that actually comes from the two main protagonists. In Toradora!, Ryuuji and Taiga didn’t have such pronounced problems. They were actually fairly normal with fairly normal problems in their love lives. Both Ryuuji and Taiga did have family issues, but they were something that was more easy to relate to and only something that actually became an issue later on when we were already comfortable with the characters and had grown to like them. At that point we already knew they had more depth as characters and we knew it wasn’t the only thing that defined them. However, in Ookami-san both Ryoushi and Ookami have problems that few have patience with nowadays thanks to our hatred towards angsty and wimpy characters. Not that I’d call either Ryoushi or Ookami wimpy, but I’m sure you get my point. And these problems are introduced right from the start as if that’s all the character depth they’ll have. Then again we’re only two episodes in so hopefully we’ll see there’s more to them than just what we’ve seen. I don’t want to judge them so early.

  2. Michael said,

    I thought Toradora was done in by its unfulfilling ending. This seems to be a show with a little more originality than other shows of its kind. It doesn’t try to push the envelope, though.


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