「おおかみさんと羊の毛皮を着た狼」 (Ookami-san to Hitsuji no Kegawa wo Kita Ookami)
“The Wolf and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”
To all those viewers who felt Ryoushi was too wimpy of a male lead back in episode one, rest assured that you should be pleased with his character development here. He mans up when it matters, which means protecting Ryouko at all costs. Leading up to the rescue operation quickly devised by Liszt, I almost thought this episode was going to be a bit of a wash drama-wise once Onigashima’s delinquents tried to “take down” Tarou with a swarm of beautiful girls, and “violate” Otsuu by changing her out of the maid uniform that she proudly wears. Those scenes sure came off fairly idiotic and made me question if all of this was purely for Hitsujikai’s sheer entertainment. Well it turns out it was, except he was banking on humiliating Ryoushi in front of Ryouko as the main event. There wasn’t much of a scare from the situations the other Otogi Bank members were caught in, but even if there were, Tarou and Majo made some pretty quick work of the kidnappers. Liszt on the other hand saved Alice and Mimi, and was even accidentally called “Rikkun” because of it, prompting the obligatory eyebrow raise as to exactly what kind of relationship these Kiriki cousins have.
Things took a more serious turn with the storming of Onigashima High School, where Ryoushi, Saburou, and Ringo spearheaded the charge. While the three of them probably could have gotten pretty far on their own (particularly with Saburou), the inclusion of Momoko and her underlings (with Tonda brothers and all) got me pumped about seeing another delinquent ass-kicking like we did in episode five. And that we did, as Otogi Bank wasn’t too far behind to answer the fight that Hitsujikai picked with them. During all the scuffles, the automatic shutters gave the Tonda brothers a moment to shine, whereas Mimi helping Otohime opened the door to their eventual reconciliation. It was pretty smooth how they slipped in the latter after the story of the tortoise and the hare didn’t end so well between the two girls. In addition, Saburou turned out to be the boy who Ryouko rescued back in episode six like some people wisely picked up on already.
In Nekomiya’s case, I wouldn’t have figured that he’d be one to spend all this time getting stronger to make up for leaving Ryouko behind given the fairy tale character he’s modeled after; however, learning that was his reason for helping Ryoushi instantly dropped all suspicions surrounding his character. Not only that, the advice he gave Ryoushi about remaining calm in a fight proved to be the difference maker when he squared off against Shirou alone. Still, I loved seeing that never-say-die look in Ryoushi’s eyes when he was getting pummeled and his rage-filled emotions consumed him. He was definitely a lot more menacing in that pissed off state of mind, even though he was much cooler when he regained his composure. Admittedly, Liszt’s decision to just walk away from all of this shortly after left a lot to be desired (i.e. a Shirou beatdown), but I did like his threat about returning the favor in the future without any adults involvement.
All that was left in terms of a fairy tale-like ending was Ryoushi hitting it off with Ryouko for his efforts. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite get to that stage, though it’s probably safe to say that Ryouko’s just fighting the urge to completely confide in Ryoushi at this point. She did seek out advice from Ringo on how to reward him in some way, so that was a sign of her trying to show how grateful she is. Well there’s that, and all the uncontrollable blushing from merely staring at his back. It’s a shame their moment walking Elizabeth and Francois together was ruined by a bunch of grade schoolers, but the real disappointment (of sorts) is how Ryouko didn’t hold back on hitting Ryoushi for going back to his uncool ways. So close! In any case, the next episode is the finale, which shouldn’t come as any surprise since there was confirmation that this would be 12 episodes long for some time now. In terms of Ryoushi and Ryouko’s relationship, they may have not kissed nor become an official couple, but it definitely feels like they’ve come a fair way over the course of the season.
* P.S. Liszt is an iPad user!