July 30, 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin etc. Ep5: Demon Hunting

Posted in Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi tagged , , , , at 1:03 am by meotwister5

An episode far, far removed and far, far more involved than the previous one.

I’m sure the story of Momotaro isn’t something us Western viewers would be familiar with.  I myself have only heard about it once not too log ago playing Okami, and honestly beyond the demon fighting I really didn’t know much about it.  Since this is story time in kindergarten, the basic premise of Momotaro is that of a boy, born from a peach, who befriends a bunch of animals and goes of to do what badasses oft do.  That is to say, kick evil ass in the form of demons.  He goes of to the Island of Demons, beats them into submission, returns home and lives happily ever after.

The thing is, at least for our dear Wolf, this isn’t a happy ever after.  At least not yet.

Even the girls want her.

An old… friend of sorts has a request from the bank.  Delinquents from the Onigashima high school (you may remember them as the ones who tussled with Ryouko in episode 2) are starting being rowdy again and the disciplinary committee wants to get this to stop.  Thing is, given the reputation of said school facing student council and making their point won’t be easy.  To do so, they have no choice but force their way into the school through their rather literal “devil” students.

The fairy tale motif is a lot more pronounced here than in previous episodes.  Of course part of that is the more literal presentation of the story in question, going so far as to use the actual names of the original characters for this episode (“Momo”‘s flunkies are named exactly as the animals Momotaro befriended in the story).  Straight up usage of the original material isn’t so bad when you consider the possibilities that they could use a story and completely mangle it such that no one would recognize it.  While I enjoy the liberties they in modifying the originals to suit their needs (such as the Tortoise and the Hare), simple and straight ones like this is good too.

A bird in hand is- a screw it.

I actually really like the interactions between Ryouko and Ryoushi as the series goes.  While they’ve pretty much taken a backseat of sorts in the last 2 episodes, you can still see how they’re warming up to each other in more ways then one.  Okay he’s still a bit wuss and she’s still more on the traditional Tsun than the Dere but the chemistry is already there.  From episode 2 onwards they know each other well enough to be completely confident watching each others back as they fight, and seeing Ryoushi have his “She’s my woman” moments and manning it up despite his fears is really enjoyable.

Tsundere tradition.

Bored Utopia?

The President touched a bit on the entire concept behind Okonogi.  Okonogi came out feeling like a College Town of sorts, considering that majority of the city seems to be geared towards education and that students seem to form the majority of the population.  He confirms it outright as this town is designed to facilitate a… wholesome learning experience for everyone.  It’s essentially a controlled environment for the students to maintain the ideal setting.  The adults form the higher ups and manage most of everything from the shadows.  All the students need to do is concentrate on their education.

But as the President suggested, where’s the fun and freedom in that?  It’s a life where everything is made and controlled for you to have the best situation to learn as possible.  Still, that doesn’t mean you surrender your will outright and go with the flow.  From what I understand, Okonogi Bank was made because there are simply thing you MUST do, even if it means having to get help from other places.

The Onigashima high school’s seems to form a bit of a counterpoint to this with all its student hoodlums and whatnot breaking and messing with the peace of their society.  I can’t quite grasp it yet but I have a feeling the entire debacle with this school and the President’s words might be the thread that actually binds the entire story together.

Rape face.

So what is it with this guy that made Ryouko quake in her shoes like never before?  We caught a glimpse of her own internal fears when she was kidnapped but she was never it a near catatonic state until she saw his face.  She remembers scenes from her past that have obviously scarred her mentally and emotionally to the point where she could not even utter a word.  Whoever he is and what he means to her, we can all conclude that it isn’t good.

And as cliche as it goes, who else but Ryoushi brings her back to her senses.

When you consider her remembering harrowing scenes from her past, remembering scenes of when she was saved by Ryoushi and then link it with her own habit of distancing herself from people, it suggests to me that she has some trust issues that need resolving.  It’s likely rooted in her shared past with Mr. Rape Face but again I’m grasping at straws here, so I assume more on this will be revealed as the series goes.

So pretty and sparkly. 0_0

She may have realized a bit of this herself, which leads us to the best scene of the episode and probably of the series so far.  The sheep in wolf’s clothing reveals herself to Ryoushi for the first time with a real, genuine smile and with real, genuine thanks.  Maybe this is the first time it really hit her how much he’s grown on her.  Based on this it might be easy to conclude that Mr. Rape Face might be one of the triggers for her own emotional isolationist personality, which makes the fact that she finds an emotional and trusting connection to a guy who tends to be a coward most of the time rather ironic:  She ends up trusting a guy who, on first glance, most others probably wouldn’t trust at all with their lives.

But she did so anyway.  For someone who has a hard time trusting others, she decides to trust someone others wouldn’t bother with.

That is a connection then and there, deeper than many I’ve seen recently.

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