Okami-san and her Seven Companions
When you were younger, remember how your parents or grandma would tuck you into bed and tell you a bedtime story? And if your parents/relatives were *creative types*, they might even make something up instead of relying on old fables like Little Red Riding Hood. Sometimes, however, they'd fall back on the old favorites, but maybe they'd mix it up a bit, combining several fables into one, and embellishing it with a bit of modern glitz.
That's sort of how you'll feel watching Okami-san and her Seven Companions. It's a pastiche of several old fairy tales, set in a modern Japanese High School, with a sarcastic narrator and a bizarre, almost twisted view of competitive schools that you *hope* only exists in a fairy tale, because if this is what goes on in a real Japanese High School, there would never be a single moment for actual studying.....
The Otogi Bank is run by a select group of students, and any member of the school may request a 'favor', as long as they are held to repay that favor at any time, no questions asked. It is for the most part an equitable arrangement, although some of the requests do tend to lean towards the weird and wacky.
The central protagonist is Ryoko Okami "The Wolf". She's strong, she's fearless, she lets nothing hold her back. She's like a guy, only hotter (yes, this is a line from the series, no angry letters please!) She can deliver a punch that would take off Mike Tyson's head, and that's without her kitty-cat boxing gloves (that are taser enhanced). But deep down, there's a vulnerability, which especially comes out when she starts to feel an attachment to Ryoshi, a shy boy who has professed his undying love for her.
Okamisan's sidekick/BFF is Ringo Akami, aka, "Red Riding Hood", who's clearly the smartest character in the series and she's not afraid to shoot off her mouth to prove it. Various hijinks ensue, leading up to some character development, along with various backstories, but trust us, none of that is important.
Instead, the real gem of this series is the sarcastic, cynical, hysterical narrator, who makes indecent, indiscriminate comments about the characters, the show itself, the setting, and hardly ever lets the characters themselves even get in a word edgewise; she talks over them reducing their own dialog to "blah-blah blah", and makes enough disparaging remarks that the characters will stop what they are doing and GLARE at her (essentially breaking the fourth wall), often to hilarious effect.
The two disc set is a treat and we found enough funny moments to definitely recommend re-watching on multiple occasions. This is the kind of fairy tale I wish my parents had made up at a moment's notice for me. It's funny, it's cute, the characters are compelling and recognizable from their fairy-tale counterparts, and yet, it's all encased in a romantic comedy that turns the tables on the traditional romantic comedy.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, June 2012
Below: Scenes from Okami-san and Her Seven Companions.