Abducted by Wolves, animation, Anime, anime harvest, anime review, Away, Higurashi, Japanese animation, Konami, lang, Langs End, LangsEnd, manga, Okami Kakushi, Ookami Kakushi, review, Ryukishi, Ryukishi 07, visual novel, Wolfed Away, Wolved
Lately this anime blog has been flood with Higurashi content, perhaps even a little too much. So I decided it was time to take a moment and look at something completely different; review an anime that I’d never even watched before! And it was that thought that has brought us here, because indeed today on The Anime Harvest, a review of Ookami Kakushi.
Ookami Kakushi takes place in a small village where our protagonist, Hiroshi Kuzumi has just moved. Things get weird when he starts attending school, and one of his classmates mysteriously vanishes but everyone says he moved away- Oh come on, this is just Higurashi! It’s even got a mysterious purple-haired chick! I guess that’s what I get for picking my anime from Ryukishi07’s MAL page.
Yes, Ookami Kakushi does have more than a few things in common with Higurashi –It takes place approaching a village summer festival worshiping a local deity, the town has a bunch of traditionalist who don’t like strangers or construction, the main character is bland teenage boy (although that is true of almost all anime), and there’s some supernatural murder shenanigans going on.
But let’s get to the main issue at hand. Is Ookami Kakushi good? God no. And I hate to say that; I love Higurashi, and I picked this up hoping Ryukishi07 had more to offer. Well, if he does, you’re not going to find it here.
As soon as Hiroshi arrives, he is greeted by an energetic tomboy who skips
the hand shaking and introductions, and goes straight to throwing herself at him. Her name is Isuzu Tsumuhana, and she’s originally from the other side of the city, Old Town. And now you know basically all there is to know about her character.
At school he is treated surprisingly, aggressively well by his classmates, despite the fact that… Well, I’ll let Kaname Asagiri explain it.
However, everything changed when the Fire Nation Nemuru Kushinada attacked got very rude, and seemed to scare everyone away from Hiroshi.
Concerns are amplified when Hiroshi comes into class the next day to find one of his closest new friends missing, supposedly having moved away.
Throughout the rest of early episodes, more mystery builds, more people disappear, and we learn a bit about the local customs of the village and conflict between Old Town and New Town, all of which seem to build up to some kind of “curse” around the village. You can see the Higurashi similarities now. But none of it does anything for the viewer that hadn’t already happened in episode one, which brings me to my first problem with the series. I had pretty much figured out the whole mystery by the end of the first episode, which left me with nothing to be intrigued by until about episode eight.
It’s not even that the “secret” underlying the village was that disappointing. Had it been properly hidden, and if the series actually put in an effort to mislead and confuse me, the moment it was revealed would have been a “Oh my god! I can’t believe it was the butler the whole time!” (spoiler alert, it wasn’t the butler, there is no butler).
After the show does move on from this into its final act, whatever engagement I did have was lost, as minor characters who you will have mostly ignored up until that point suddenly become the focal point of major story elements. The plot goes from a supernatural murder mystery, to the conflict between some assholes the anime never gives you reason to care about.
As for the characters, they’re pretty dull. Our supposed hero, Hiroshi, does do much for the first half of the series, other than mope about feeling inadequate because he sucks a fishing, and his Imouto think of him a “Oh, I love you, big brother onii-sama, but not in an incestual way, except maybe a little bit.” He doesn’t shine until the end of the series, where he does the standard, “I’ll put my life on the line for these friends” thing. This worked when Keichi did it because we had multiple arcs leading up to it, establishing just how important his new friends are to him and how brave/stupid he can be. But in Hiroshi’s case, we don’t get that background; he just goes straight from having friends to having friends he would die for. There’s only one episode worth of content establishing these friendships, and even that isn’t very strong.
Hiroshi’s little sister, Mana, is a bit more interesting. She’s stuck in a wheelchair, which makes her depend on her brother. She is desperate to be independent, and because of this latches on to the first big brother figure who doesn’t have to help her. Early in the series she takes up the violin, and you can feel her happiness at learning something she can do on her own. This was the most emotion Ookami Kakushi made me feel, and it was utterly wasted because Mana never does anything. You could remove her from the series completely, and it would be pretty much the same. If a character has no impact other than to just be there, that character doesn’t need to be there.
Other than these, the only other character of note is Rika Furude Nemuru Kushinada, another one of Hiroshi’s classmates, and I really can’t say anything about her without spoiling the story. But I will say her character isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, and Ryukishi07 himself actually made a much better version of her in Rena in certain arcs from Higurashi.
The structure lets this series down. It gives away what could make the bulk of the run time engaging and interesting right up front, then finishes with a an abrupt turn down another alley where you won’t care to follow it. It’s a shame because there are some great pieces, they’re just placed wrong.
The twist, had it been kept secret and had the viewer been given some red herrings to flounder about with along the way, actually is interesting. The animation is artistically directed, and every character design felt lively and spoke their personalities visually. There isn’t much of a soundtrack to talk about; it has more like fan fair –short clips that conveyed changes in tone- which made room for great atmospheric noise, like those same cicadas we’ve all heard chirping since Evangelion.
As I said, Mana was good. Kushinada could have been good with more work. I would say Kaname was a good character, but her name sounds too much like Konami. There are things to get excited about in Ookami Kakushi, which is why it’s such a shame that the show ultimately sucks.
Don’t Lose Your Way
Hey, do you like me?! Oh… I see.
Well, do you like anime?! Great! I finally went and did something with me life. No, not curing hunger or concurring space; something that take way more time and effort, and is only a millionth as rewarding! I made a My Anime List page. Click the following link for absolutely nothing of value: http://myanimelist.net/profile/Langs_End