The tsundere gambit: Ookami-san

Over the past week, I prioritized what little extracurricular reading I could do over solely watching recently-aired episodes of series I’m currently following, as I have always believed that it’s easier to watch anime than to read extraneous material during school time. Reading simply takes more time to do, as it requires more focus and forces the brain to think, at least, as compared to the more passive act of watching anime. With this reasoning, I spent a good amount of time reading.

Ami!

Ami!

I was able to complete two books. The books were The Convent Mirror (some instruction book for nuns), and They and We (a dated study on prejudice and discrimination). The former was undeniably a waste of time, as it was proselytizing for the most part and was quite boring due to its didactic nature. I nevertheless read it due to boredom: as I couldn’t watch anime while doing field research, I decided to read on our short breaks. I was, however, entertained with one of its sections categorizing human personalities in such a coarse manner: people were characterized in accordance with their predominant humors (a Hellenic theory of disease popularized by Hippocrates).

In contrast, They and We was a good book. It detailed the evolution and categories of prejudice and discrimination, and offered palpable theories as regards its existence. Some information is still relevant today: much, however, has changed in the past 50 years rendering most of the data in the essay obsolete.

That’s it for my literary endeavors.

Because of those endeavors, however, I was only able to finish one anime series (that I should have finished more than a month ago): I finished Ookami-san. For the uninitiated, Ookami-san is a series that retells the fairy tales we’ve loved as children and collated them all in a school campus with the characters we have grown up with. It would be futile to list every fairy tale alluded to in the series (there’s the Wikipedia page for that, anyway).

The central character, Ookami-san, is without a doubt a representative of the tsundere archetype. One of the major problems I saw in the series was the limited development of Ookami-san through the entire series. I’ve always believed in the tsundere gambit: like the chess term, it’s a risky opener, but when supported and buttressed through the game it often turns the tides in the proponent’s favor.

The problem with this series was that there was no build-up: there was no catharsis, or even any major epiphany found in the eponymous Ookami-san. Despite the valiant and courageous efforts by Ryoushi, there was little correspondence from Ookami. One may argue that she was hurt in the past, but a lot of tsunderes have this particular issue haunting them and yet have transformed into better, more balanced leads in the span of the series. The tsundere gambit only pays off when the tsundere evinces her dere side more and more as the series progresses; otherwise, the character becomes staid and adynamic, as what I personally saw in Ookami through the course of the series.

I was honestly rooting for Machiko more than Ookami during the final episode of the series, especially because while Machiko’s aims were quite unscrupulous, they evolved to an obvious love and appreciation for Ryoushi in contrast to the overworn violent acts by Ookami. I thought the ‘I don’t dislike him’ reply was very impotent, especially because Ryoushi proved himself again and again over the course of the show.

I thought the show failed at that point: just like an unsupported Queen’s Gambit, a tsundere gambit also fails without proper development. Twelve episodes of violence and blushing just doesn’t cut it – and it shouldn’t. While the series was pretty good overall, the lack of development with its lead character was just disappointing.

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3 Responses to “The tsundere gambit: Ookami-san”

  1. Angelus Says:

    For me, the show fell foul of the classic “do-we-allow-the-relationship-to-grow-or-don’t-we” dilemma. If the relationship doesn’t grow then it’s safe in terms of a possible second season but unrealistic – I mean, how much more is Ryouji going to put up with? On the other hand, if the relationship does grow then if and when the second season comes around, people will complain because the dynamic that attracted them in the first place is gone. This is why Toradora was superior, and why that show should never, ever have a second season.

  2. Michael Says:

    Hi! How have you been, Angelus?

    I agree. I was thinking that there was probably a limit that Ryoushi took the beatings, and I thought that the limit was about to come. This vacillation made Ookami-san just barely good, but it shouldn’t have been that case.

  3. Harvey I. Riggs Says:

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I do know it was my option to learn, however I really thought youd have one thing interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you possibly can fix should you werent too busy looking for attention.

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