Okamisan Episode #05 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Release Date: Thursday, July 29, 2010

Little seen in many school based series these days, delinquents are out in full force at Otogi Academy this time around.

What They Say
In Japanese folklore, Oni are evil creatures such as demons, ogres, and trolls. When the Oni (delinquents) at Onigashima High get unruly, Momo hires Otogi Bank to address the issue with the student council president.

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the way Okamisan plays with folk tales and the like, it wasn't going to take it too long to get to that of Oni. My first introduction to Oni goes back to my early subtitled anime days when Urusei Yatsura came out and Rumiko Takahashi took the viewer through countless folklore tales with a wicked grin and a sense of bounciness and fun. Ever since then, Oni have been associated for me with the yellow and black striped outfits, but there are certainly other iterations as well. Okamisan delves into their incarnation of it rather well as the Otogi Bank is hired on to deal with growing delinquent problem in Onigashima High School.

Hired on by the busty and whip-carring Momo, the Otogi Bank crew gets drawn into what's planned to be an attack on the delinquents in order to figure out what their new student council president wants at the high school. It's an interesting little bit that's revealed here in an almost off-handed way where life at the Academy is described as a beautiful but controlled garden where soft stimuli keeps the students moving forward as a commodity to be "sold" out into the work force every year. Because of the stature of its graduates, there's a lot of importance to keeping them molded properly so that the school does well. It's an interesting contrast to when they go to the high school and basically go in fighting full on in a place that looks like it's going to fall apart and is littered with graffiti.

The whole thing turns elaborate as the delinquents lay out their own trap and start picking off the Otogi Bank club members and those that came along to help as well. As much fun as it is, with some of the reveals and seeing Ryoshi really try to stand up for himself, it takes a curious turn when Ryoko comes across the student council president at long last and realizes a much deeper connection to it. Hitsujukai is someone that Ryoko seems to have known from middle school and there are some severe images of humiliation and suffering mixed in for her as recognition hits. With the show using this as its clincher to make sure you come back, hinting at something much more between the two, it certainly works as it may go a long way towards explaining why Ryoko is as she is now.

In Summary:
Though it's a standalone episode, it's one that starts to unlock the past for Ryoko and gives us a number of clues as to what's so damaging in her past. She hasn't exactly been the most prominent character in the show, though she's definitely a leading one, as it's taken on an ensemble feeling that's worked well. Giving focus to her and Ryoshi is pretty natural though in the midst of this and offering us the hints as to what happened to her is certainly intriguing. There's a lot to like about the episode as it has fun with the fighting, the delinquents all over the place and the general action vibe it sends out. But it's the other hints scattered throughout that makes you wonder how much of what's here is setup for larger events yet to come.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Okamisan (Okami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tach)