Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi – 02
「うそつきおおかみさんと亮士くん」 (Usotsuki Ookami-san to Ryoushi-kun)
“The Lying Wolf and Ryoushi”
Well if anyone thought Ryoushi was a wimpy male lead last time, this week shows the manlier side of him that only comes out when Ryouko’s in danger. With his pet dogs Elizabeth and Francois, we learn first-hand exactly how he’s modeled after the Hunter. The first episode already gave us a preview of his handy work from the shadows, but this time around Ryoushi shows us both his tracking abilities and his sniper-like aim as he unloads Pachinko balls on the Onigashima delinquents who kidnapped Ryouko. Sadly, the same guys from last time resorted to getting their whole gang involved when it’s just one girl they’re up against, and even went so far as threatening a girl into making a false request to Otogi Bank just to lure Ryouko out. It was pretty pathetic to say the least, but the set up did allow Ryoushi an opportunity to further improve her opinion of him. This includes inadvertently acting as her shield again to bloody results, before showing his resolve in front of the others and coming to her rescue.
I found it pretty cheesy when they started playing the opening theme “Ready Go!” during Ryoushi’s heroics, though it was kind of cool seeing him work in tandem with Ryouko kicking ass with her upgraded Neko Neko Knuckle “Kai” — now with a stun gun effect added — by watching her back and providing cover fire. In a way, things sort of played out like a fairy tale, especially when their combination attack wasn’t enough to take out the boss. Watching Ryoushi step in to save Ryouko turned out to be much cooler than I was expecting, since he was able to block some punches, take some hits, and even dodge some others before landing his knockout punch. Not bad for a guy who suffers from social phobias and can’t bear being the center of attention if I do say so myself. That dazzling display even caught Ryouko’s attention after all.
Unfortunately, his testosterone-pumping actions comes and goes only when he wants to protect Ryouko, leaving him unable to capitalize on the beautiful look she gave him afterward. Saying it was a shame would be an understatement, since Ryoushi realizes Ryouko’s appeal is her ability to maintain a tough exterior when she’s still somewhat of a frail girl inside (i.e. she’s a tsundere). Evidently, she’s only like that because of something that happened in her past, but after giving us signs of her girlish side when she got along with his dogs and almost got raped, Ryoushi was in the clear to say something cool to completely win her over at that point. Instead, her mesmerizing gaze pierced right through his very soul, leaving us back at square one. Still, it’s progress in their relationship… I guess. Ryoushi did declare that he’s the Hunter and is going to “bring down” the wolf himself, which I interpreted as making her his prey and winning her over (and not actually killing her). He could still learn some tips from the womanizer Tarou, since he doesn’t have an Otohime around to keep him in check.
Production-wise, it’s somewhat disappointing to see that the fight sequences went a fair bit south compared to the premiere. Not only did they not look as nice, some scenes like the one at the park looked pretty bad if you stepped through them frame by frame. Hopefully this huge variance doesn’t become a regular thing from J.C. Staff, as I admittedly found the first episode a tad bit underwhelming already. I came into this series with really high expectations though, so that was the main reason behind the so-so impression I was left with. I still think this series has a lot of potential, but I figured I would’ve come out more excited about the series as a whole than I did last week. Anyway, it’s too quick to judge and there don’t appear to be any episode previews outside of a still picture with the title, so I’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store.
* Based on the six DVD/BD volumes that will be released, it looks like this series will only be twelve episodes long. There are two episodes per volume according to the official site.