Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Nine - Okami-san and Her Seven Companions, "Trope, tropes, tropes."

It's a sad fact that the grand majority of anime out there aren't going to make any waves in terms of quality or storyline or style.

Like American television, there are plenty of shows that are made year after year purely to see if they'll stick. Sure, the market strategy for anime is year round and all about saturation, trying to find that magic title that will outsell all the rest, and not limited to regular fall and spring sweeps scheduling, but even as I type this I realize that this paradigm is changing thanks to Netflix.

Set in a stereotypical Japanese high school, with its typical assortment of quirky characters that follow established character tropes, Okami-san follows the antics of a school club of do-gooders who handle requests from the student body and fulfill them in unusual ways. It's cast is populated by every moe fetish under the sun, from the serious megane (glasses) girl to the buxom and ditsy maid to the precocious loli, every recurring character has its own archetype to inhabit simply for its own sake.

Okami-san, herself is your basic tomboy heroine who solves problems with her fists and has the typically Japanese complex over her lack of a chest. She is being love-love-stalked by the boy in class whom everyone's eyes pass over, which allows him to disappear into the background, a handy trait for a stalker. Confronting her with his feelings, stalker-boy only manages to piss Okami off and the majority of the first episode revolves around the club trying to get this stalker, Ryoshi, to get a backbone and show her his skills.

If you couldn't tell from my opening line, I'm not a fan of Okami-san. It's an exercise in stereotyping of generic, soulless character tropes whose only purpose seems to be to exemplify said tropes. The only saving grace of the series is the fourth-wall breaking narrator, whom the characters seem to be able to hear occasionally, who lampshades the grand majority of the weaknesses of the characters individually and the series overall.

The jokes are obscure enough that you'd need to be well versed in anime history and jargon, but the series is too vapid and superficial to be worth a true fan's time. I'd almost consider it a parody, thanks to its self-awareness, but the lack of quality in other departments, namely art and key animation, makes the title feel like its a filler series meant to be made quick and sloppy while the studio works on something else for another season. It's all very slapdash and weak.

There are definitely better titles to be had on Netflix, but the problem is we're just not getting a lot of good stuff on the Instant Stream. Maybe its because the animation studios made better deals with Crunchyroll or they just don't like the market, but I can list of dozens of titles from recent years that would do well on Netflix that just aren't coming. Sure, there are one or two decent ones, but the grand majority that I've seen lately are crap.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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