Banking on favors and future aid is the currency of this peculiar after school club of Otogi Academy.
What They Say
Ryoko and her friends form Otogi Bank: a social club which specializes in resolving problems for classmates via aggressive transactions. The wallflower Ryoshi is smitten with Ryoko - despite rejection - and must prove his worth to the rest of the troop.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series which spawned a manga adaptation this year by Masashi Okita with illustrations by Unaji, Okamisan (as it's being called here) is a thirteen episode series animated by J.C. Staff. The series takes place in a "far away" town call Otogiban and focuses specifically on Otogi Academy where the central character is that of Ryoko, a naturally flat chested young woman who has an interesting club that she runs there. This club, hidden well below the surface and apparently quite flush with money, deals with problem resolution for people, though not in the normal ways. Under the name of Otogi Bank with a nice young man named Liszt as the club president, it's an intriguing group that has quite an air about it.
Though Ryoko isn't exactly ample upstairs, and doesn't provide the kind of obvious fanservice that people would expect as the narration goes, she's still got an appeal about her. At least until you realize she has a gruff and surly personality. Enter Ryoshi, a very shy and quiet young man from her class who has quite the crush on her. Ryoko wants nothing to do with him, but he's persistent and there's an interesting bit of help that comes his way in the form of Ringo, a pint sized friend of Ryoko's who has a huge interest in Ryoko's love life, probably living vicariously through her. She sets up things so that Ryoshi ends up joining the Otogi Bank club in an endearingly cute way that only she can get away with.
The first half of the episode does a decent job of showing off the club and introducing the characters in a most basic way outside of the three principle characters of Ryoko, Ryoshi and Ringo. The setup doesn't do anything surprising, but it's nicely executed even if it jumps around a touch too much. That launches it into the second half in which they get a requestor in the form of Kakari who comes to the club for help. The process is amusing in that they explain clearly that they're basically taking on jobs with the intent to cash in on it in some future time when the strength of the requestor is needed in some way. Kakari's request has her explaining her interest in Ohji, the local Prince of Tennis (no relation, they assure us), who has suddenly quit the tennis club over what she believes is an injury. So she wants them to stop him from submitting his request to quit, which is actually a complicated process within the sports administration of the school.
Being that Ryoshi was essentially stalking Ryoko, his trial mission with the Otogi Bank is perfect as he spends his time stalking Ohji, using his wallflower skills to the best so they can see what he's up to and stop him from making the submission. With Ryoko and Ringo following along behind him, it's cute yet fits into a slice of life routine as we see the men going through the daily chores of high school life. There are silly moments introduced as well and some decent moments of spying as Ryoshi does his best to find the document. As good of a wallflower as he is, he's still a young man and still visible.
The episode is a fairly straightforward one overall as it introduces us to the core cast, showcases some of the other characters that we'll see over time and gets us adjusted to the setting. The meeting of Ryoko and Ryoshi is at the core of it and watching Ryoshi prove himself to the eternally surly Ryoko is actually pretty well done. The animation is good, it has a nice design to it even if it doesn't stand out hugely but it avoids being overly goofy or exaggerated. It has its moments since the Otogi Bank is seemingly awash in cash considering their secret offices, but what we get here is a slightly surely school comedy with romance mingled into it that doesn't go in a bad direction. It's simple but fun and has a nice flow to it once it gets rolling. First episodes can be awkward for pace and this show is no exception, but it finds its groove as it moves on and left me wanting to see more to see if it can discover itself well enough without having to do all the introductions.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.