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Our second installment for the Anime Watchers Club comes to a close! How well do you think Ookami Kakushi fared? If any of you watched this show, feel free to share your thoughts on it.

A Rushed, Sloppy, and Dull Finale

The last three episodes of the actual story of the series (ep 9 to 11) were sadly not very interesting to me. Ookami Kakushi certainly set up a lot of interesting possibilities–that much is clear from just how much I wrote about the show in the last two posts. But in the end, I’m left feeling quite unsatisfied with not only how things played out, but just how… insipid these last three episodes were. There was a lot of potential for interesting things to happen, but the series decided to take the tamest route imaginable, it seemed. There wasn’t much in the way of horror or mystery at this point–it was just characters going from point A to point B as quickly as possible, and spelling out random plot elements for us in rather plain, uninteresting ways while doing so.

Not Enough Character Development

My biggest problem with the series from the very beginning was with its characters–I mentioned before that the only one who really interested me was Nemuru, our mysterious Scythe Girl. I was also a little intrigued by what the show would do with Sakaki, our Mysterious Bishounen. In the end, Nemuru didn’t really change in any way, and Sakaki unfortunately became a very banal villain. But really, it’s a little sad that I didn’t really care for any of the main characters in the end.

Hiroshi – As mentioned before, he was a very dull protagonist. I don’t mind having a passive, or even helpless male lead. In fact, if done right such traits could help increase some of the horror mood of the story. But we still need some reason to care for him, some reason to root for him. What are his likes and dislikes? His fears? His hopes? His dreams? What are his goals in life? Does this boy have a hobby? What makes him happy, sad, angry, laugh, cry? I need an emotion from him other than confused or flustered once in a while. It also wouldn’t hurt to have him do something at some point in the series. It doesn’t have to be something daring or heroic in a physical nature. But lets see some kind of effort, some kind of tragedy, some kind of ingenuity… anything.

Mana – So our main character has a little sister in a wheelchair. The End. I get that not every character in our protagonist’s life will be super-important to the story, but she was in the show quite a bit at first… so it was kind of bizarre that there was never any kind of arc that developed with her.

Isuzu – I really liked all the questions the show brought up when she tried to stake her claim on Hiroshi… so I was kind of bummed when the story didn’t really go any further with her at all. Did she ever decide if her love for Hiroshi was real at all? We never got to see her struggle any further with this concept. Which is SAD, because it would have been INTERESTING. Instead, she just kind of showed up again just to show us she was still alive, I guess. This is what I call wishy-washy.

Kaname – I suspected that she would likely serve as a plot device the entire series, and sadly this was the case. She felt almost as bland as Hiroshi, to be honest. I feel there needed to be something other than just “loves mysteries and occult stuff!” to her character in order to make her interesting.

Nemuru – Episode 9 looked pretty promising in delivering a new kind of conflict for the series to work with, but it played out in such a bland way, save for the really random brief dream sequence. She was locked in the cell with Hiroshi, and was on the verge of going insane and making out with him and turning him into a wolf god. It should have been really intense, but instead it was mostly just her sitting there, explaining a bunch of the more basic plot points to Hiroshi. That wasn’t very exciting. Having her simply try to give her life away to Sakaki at the end was also rather boring to me as well. It’s great that she’s so selfless and persevering and all, but the great trial of her situation wasn’t delved into enough to make her character arc (if it can be called that) interesting.

How does she really feel about Hiroshi? Couldn’t the series have gone further with that? Why has she been so willing to kill so many people all this time? The end of the series pretty much trivialized her unhappy role as the Hunter, and the plot seemed to force Nemuru to do a bunch of dumb things. Killing Issei’s girlfriend in broad daylight in front of everyone in the middle of the festival made no sense, for starters… Not to mention how she and her pack of masked followers (all of which are in theory super-soldiers) were thoroughly worthless against Sakaki with his one handgun. (And then, of course, the filler ep 12 completely threw Nemuru’s character and role out the window, but as a joke episode I’m not counting any of that in this analysis.)

Sakaki – At first I liked how he was given a legitimate reason for his revenge-driven scheming, and was curious to see how the show would handle what I presumed would be a descent into insanity. Unfortunately, it wasn’t handled very well. I mean, go to the dam and flood the whole city, killing everyone?!? This was just random. Not to mention, bizarre in how easy it was for him to open the dam floodgates. And how he didn’t bother to break the controls, or anything, to ensure his enemies didn’t just as easily close the dam floodgates one minute later.

I was a bit upset that he was made into a straight-up villain the way he was, but even that would have been okay if he had actually turned out menacing in some way. For example, wouldn’t it have made sense for him to try torturing and killing Nemuru, instead of going to so much effort to being theatrically evil toward Hiroshi, of all people? At the very least, I think something interesting could have been done with him trying to incite the Old Town wolves and the New Town normals into a chaotic frenzy against one another. He even seemed to entertain that idea for a couple minutes, before running off to the dam. Not sure why the story couldn’t have made his plans more sensible and intriguing.

Kaori – So… what was up with her? What was the marking on her arm? Why was she chosen to be the white wolf lady? What does that even actually mean in the first place? Why did she look just like Mieko? Why didn’t the show delve into Kaori and Sakaki’s thoughts at all regarding one another? If we’re shooting for a tragedy with them at the end, we needed way more drama than what we got beforehand.

Needs More Oomph

Overall I felt what the show lacked most was drive and energy. Perhaps this is largely just due to it being a twelve eleven-episode series? It is an adaptation of a visual novel, which I imagine is chock-full of information that had to all be left out. But still, it’s an anime’s job to tell an engaging story. In this case, it was supposed to be a horror mystery of sorts. The show certainly gave me plenty of questions to work with at first, but the way the characters went about finding answers to those questions wasn’t very interesting, and the answers themselves were kind of banal and didn’t bring in any really unique, significant conflicts. And any aspects of horror the show had was quite tame–enough so that I don’t think I ever really felt worried for any of the main characters.

The show presents a town full of wolf gods with the potential to go wild, but in the end we never really got to see how devastating any of them could be. We did see Nemuru and her team killing some of these crazed people, but they didn’t come off as very fearful either… I suppose their actions just never felt as vicious, foreboding, or atrocious as they could have. On top of this, I never really felt surprised by any of the events that transpired, particularly in these last few episodes. A clever plot twist or two really could have helped the series, I believe.

Random Filler Ending?

Not much to say here, other than it exists. And that it shouldn’t. x_x Really, it should just be treated as a meaningless OVA, which is how it plays out. Generally these are opportunities for an anime to do some fun, clever things with the characters that the show couldn’t do normally–but the two stories of this episode were just… bad.

Well, those are all my thoughts for Ookami Kakushi. I think it would have been an interesting anime to discuss as the show went along, but it seems this has been a busy time for everyone. Hopefully you’ll all be able to join in on the discussions for next month’s anime, which I’ll probably announce some time in the next few days. But for now, be sure to post any thoughts you have on Ookami Kakushi. Was it better or worse than you expected? What did you like best and least about the show? Did it leave you hungry for some nice, sour hassaku?