With only a few episodes to go, it's time for the show to start turning a bit more serious.
What They Say
Someone is conspiring to sabotage Otogi Bank! As Ryoko and company work overtime to fill a flood of requests, thugs from Onigashima High set up full-scale abductions of each Otogi Bank member.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Considering the skills of the members of the Otogi Bank club, it doesn't take too long for them to realize that something is up. With requests at an all time high, the group quickly discovers that someone is working to sabotage them, primarily by making sure there are a ton of requests by putting out 30% off flyers for all to see. Of course, with the club usually not dealing in money but rather favors owed, it's a curious attempt as you'd imagine that the bulk of the student population would know how the Bank works and that discounts don't exactly apply. Still, the gang has taken to filling the requests as quickly as possible and that has them working pretty hard. Thankfully, it's kept pretty short for the busy time sequence, allowing us to get into more interesting material.
With it being fairly obvious things are being set up by the student council president over at the Onigashima High School, Shiro, more elements from there start to make their way into the show. Ryoshi finds himself training under a cowboy style student from the Academy who goes by the name Neko and is working hard to better support Ryoko in things that happen. Even more interesting is when Ryoko and Ringo come across an attractive young women in a school uniform from the high school who claims to be Shiro's woman, but that he tired of her and was trying to sell her off somehow before she managed to get away. These little things and a few others pop in to help keep the high school issues in everyone's view as the others of the Bank try to figure out what the real goal of all of it is.
The further the episode progresses, as more of the mystery is explored, the more serious it turns. When it starts to bring in just your basic ruffians from the other school who orchestrate kidnappings of the Bank club members, it moves pretty far out of the realm that it's played in for the most part since the start. Okamisan has certainly had serious turns before at times, but there's so little real humor to be had in this episode that the tone is changed so much from the norm that it's unappealing. With the threat of kidnappings against other members now happening and the ones remaining watching their backs even more closely, it has more of a thriller feel to it, just with adorable girls.
I've enjoyed parts of Okamisan so far but this is probably the first episode I've outright disliked. The shift in tone is not unexpected, but like other shows that have this seeming need to get serious towards the end, it doesn't flow well. There have been some seeds planted for this in prior episodes and they have built towards it lightly, so it's not out of left field at all. But the show's more serious tone and the added real danger to the characters as opposed to just mildly discomforting situations goes against what it's been bringing us so far. Showing Ryoshi leaning to fight better and having kidnappings happen takes it to a place that it shouldn't be and makes me wonder whether the next couple of remaining episodes will prove to be enjoyable at all, as this one did not make me want to tune in next week.
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.