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OKAMISAN #12 -- Watch & Learn

The dramatic dilemma -- DO YOU LIKE HIM, OR NOT?!

For the record, “The Little Match Girl” probably has the most depressing fairy tale (classical, modern or otherwise) ever spun by somebody. As I recall - - and it has been a very long time since I’ve last thought about it, to be real- - it’s one of those tragedies that doesn’t have much of a theme or a message aside from “Life sucks.” It’s like one of those earlier, scarier versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” that simply end with the wolf eating and/or raping Red Hood, and the simple, clear lessons that little girls simply shouldn’t ever walk in the woods alone or talk to strangers there. Life sucks. Deal with it, but also feel (artistically) sad about it at times.

OKAMISAN’s narrator admits up front that the Match Girl of this story has tenuous connection to the one in the old story. I don’t remember the Match Girl being a high school gold digger - - so there you go.

(While we’re on the subject, is she just looking for some strong guy to protect her from the mobsters? Because you’ve got to be a serious airheaded to expected a junior class scrub like this guy to be able to buy you pretty things.)

Instead, she serves the rather clever function of making Ryoko finally threatened about having to Ryoshi to herself, even though the dramatic ordeal leads to the now-expected non-consummation that ties off romances in like, 95%, of anime. I got a hoot out of how Ryoko’s character arc concludes with her admitting that she doesn’t know if she likes Ryoshi or not - - moving up from the outright loathing she’s exhibited to him throughout the show. It’s the ambiguous Japanese ending wrapped up in a commitment that’s about as meaningful as saving somebody's dating site profile so you can maybe send them a message later if you feel like it.

I was going to comment on how this seemed amusingly-anticlimactic to start a short, new conflict after the climax is over, but… well… the show pretty much blatantly presents this as cliffhanger for a yet-to-be-announced second series, so at least things have been left unresolved intentionally.

Watch this episode, "Okami-san and the Girl Who Doesn’t Sell Matches But Is Misfortunate Anyway” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

FoxxFireArt moderator on May 4, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.

Oh yeah, I know the story of the Little Match Girl. I addressed that incredibly depressing story in my review of this episode. If you're every feeling that you're too happy. Just read that story to bring you down. Machiko's name is a play on that character. マチ"machi" is the Japanese word for "match", and 子 "ko" is a suffix that's often added to the names of girls. Machiko is under the misunderstanding that she thinks Ryoshi is some rich kid because he has expensive dogs and lives in a big house. She doesn't know he's renting a place from his aunt. She's trying to escape the life she has with a father who gambles away money. Even when it's the cash she earns from her job.

While this ending feels anticlimactic. I think I can explain that. You have to remember that the OKAMISAN anime isn't the original IP. This entire show is based upon a series of light-novels written by Masashi Okita. Continuity of the anime was changed in the anime. The light novels had this story before the one with Shirayuki. Many anime series are often produced to be little more than advertising for the original properties (light-novels, manga, games, ect.). Being on TV makes people aware of the series if they don't follow the novels. (I'm sure there were many who didn't know HARRY POTTER was a book series before the first movie.) If the anime is popular enough, they can get sequels.

This episode kind of reminded me of a tip a friend of mine told me about attracting a girl I liked. She told me that I should date another girl to make myself seem more desirable to the one I liked. I told her that this doesn't speak well of women in general and makes them look like the story of The Dog and Its Reflection.

zaldaron May 4, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: unfortunately it is document-ably true though that he is correct. When you are dating another woman you feel more confident and relaxed and put off pheromones that are different than otherwise. These pheromones make you more attractive to the opposite sex. As well girls are competitive just like all other humans (tis why capitalism works after all) so if they see a guy they like even a little with someone else most will feel at least a little tinge to try and one-up her.

Its not bad or good, just human nature.

Marshal Victoryon May 6, 2012 at 3:08 a.m.

Hmm yeah this one did feel kinda outa order .Its odd to me some anime get redone to match the manga but they do not just make then anime as close to the manga as possible to begin with.Same with movies etc.Kinda tired of the excuse we cant do what comics can do or we cant do what a book does.Then whats a script an a story board?

Overall this is a great anime tho.It is one that has made my wish list on amazon.Tho voice over narrator at times was big mistimed.

Oh Tom the whole air head thing high schooler with money .. well even back in the late 80s in the hills of ol Kentucky no less, their was kids in high school with $100 a week allowance an driving a new car or a corvette to school .An yes gold diggers come in all ages an genders.The ones i have met were never to bright but were very shallow.I think the girl in the anime is more carried away by anime/manga stories as a guide to riches.An is not as shallow as we first think.

FoxxFireArt moderator on May 6, 2012 at 11:34 a.m.

@zaldar:

The idea of a guy putting out pheromones by dating someone he's not interested in sounds like a bunch of bunk. And the entire idea is based upon the target being in site of these dates. Sounds like only a complete jack ass would use the feelings of another woman to attract another.

@Marshal Victory:

I think the change in order has more to do with the way they want this series to close. It's at the heart a romantic comedy, so they wanted something to be a bit more of the two coming closer together. These kind of anime are more produced to interest people in reading the original novels they are based on. A lot of these series are much longer than some anime would suggest.

With Highschool of the Dead, the entire scene with Saeko and Takashi happened after they left Saya's house in the manga, but the anime put it before they reached the house. If they hadn't made that change, the anime would have ended in what seemed like a rather romantic but anticlimactic finale. Not the feeling they wanted for that anime. So they changed the continuity to have it close on a huge fight for your life and escape scene. Much more suited for a zombie action series.

Marshal Victoryon May 6, 2012 at 6:11 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: Man good timing on the high school of the dead insight .Just finished watching the series on dvd. Hmm now i wonder on sceen out side main characters bedroom door in the mansion with Saeko an Takashi an how that plays in the books.

Sure i get that some things in hind sight would flow better.An your right odds are with how they did it with this anime .But with both their still you could say least 75% of what the comics are? Not to many needless race ,gender,character trait changes?We see far to much of that from movie adaptions.Tho i guess i should not be surprised we see it now alot more in anime adaptions.

FoxxFireArt moderator on May 6, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Hope you watched the subtitled version. The English dub changed the meaning of several scenes and character's personalities. I ranked that dub up there as one of the worst I've ever seen. It wasn't the actors fault. It was the script. The scene between Saeko and Takashi at the shrine in the manga was a landmark moment that changed their relationship dramatically. As far as the scene outside Takashi's room of the Takagi Estate in the manga. Rei has always been jealous of Saeko. It's just after the shrine, Saeko starts to give her an actual reason. If anything, I always feel that Rei comes across as more manipulative of Takashi in the manga. If you enjoy the anime, the manga is well worth getting. The anime contains the story of the first four volumes, but cuts out a great side story of Rika Minami and her partner at the airport in Vol. 4.

You can't really compare Hollywood movies to anime series. Hollywood habitually just changes everything about a story and slaps on the title. Anime series actually adapt events from the pages.

Marshal Victoryon May 6, 2012 at 8:35 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt:

i did watch the sub titled version.Prefer to because it feels more right with the actors emotion tho i do not understand the language That an the english 5.1 surround sound was giving my sinus infection a reason to make me weep but not with joy.

Was always under the impression the anime were close to the manga .Til i learned of some anime being redone to be closer to the manga i just assumed they were very close unlike what hollywood does to source material.Tho maybe the avengers movie will open some eyes their.Odds are no tho.

An i agree the voice actors in high school of the dead english dubs sounded good.Actually hope Tiger &Bunny voice actors for english dubs sound as good.But its pointless if they change the lines tho.Just think at times to many people want to put their own finger prints on a story an say see that part i changed it an made it better.When 9 outa 10 times the make it worse.

Side note i thought the voice actors for english dub in OKAMISAN sounded good to.Watched two episodes in english dubed then just rewatched whole series in subs.Even tho i have a hard time reading at times it feels more true to the story with the actors emotions .This is a anime i would give to my kids an grand kids.Its got enuff depth of story ,comedy an cutness i think the girls wold love.

zaldaron May 6, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: Oh you have to be somewhat interested in her at least physically but the research does show that it happens but is it wrong and jackassery? Of course. That doesn't mean it doesn't work though and doesn't happen all the time...much of the book "the game" or something like that..is correct but terrible terrible stuff to do that I certainly wouldn't do...but was just trying to give you a little of the science.

Dig Deeper into Okami-san and her Seven Companions

Okami-san and her Seven Companions is the fairy-tale themed series by Masashi Okita. Ryoko Okami and her friends from the Otogi Bank take on the requests of any student for the price of a favor at a later date.

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