As a rule of thumb (in my book anyway), classic anti-hero types often don’t make great leads. Unless the entire world is set up so that the story has to focus on him. In this case, the world is set up to supposed to focus on her – Okami Ryoko, that is. OK, to be fair, she’s not an anti-hero type. But yes, she’s not likable much, except by today’s otaku generation.
So, anyone out there that loved Louise in Zero no Tsukaima? If you did, did you like Asuka Langley in Eva? Are you also a Hinagiku fan? If you answered yes to all three, then congratulations, you’re this show’s target audience. By having the main character as the violent tsundere who could protect weak men (in the words of LaMoe, herbivores), this show aims to please the newtype otaku/fan .
Remember the days where giant robots piloted by men used to get the blood pumping in the veins of many fans? Well, these days are long gone. Today’s MALE anime lovers in Japan and some of them in other places in the world, prefer a strong woman, even violently strong lead with a bad and practically abusive temper. Even in the reinterpretation of classic franchises like Gundam (Gundam Seed, Gundam Seed Destiny, Gundam 00), women are increasingly becoming more and more powerful. Of course, that has been the trend in anime for many years now. Think Mononoke Hime, Naausica; western favorites like Bubblegum Crisis, Slayers and so on.
Violent female leads aren’t rare. One can even argue that Lina Inverse is a prototype of violent tsundere when it comes to her feelings toward Gourry. Fastforward a few years and we have Motoko in Love Hina (a shout out to Asakawa Yuu-san) and of course, Naru Narusegawa (a shout out to Horie Yui-san). However, none of them was your architypical tsundere – twintails, cute, blushes easily and make food or does something nice for the main male character, without beating the living crap out of him. Your arguments may vary, but the point is, none of these girls are as violent as Okami Ryoko. It seems like all the violence of all the prototype violent tsunderes has been distilled into one character.
That said, something inside me was screaming out: she doesn’t deserve to be the lead! She has be one of the more one dimensional characters in recent anime – violent, talks rough, flat chested. She’s not even all that shy and doesn’t exihibit that dare-dare moment often. But something is missing. Despite a good performance by Ito Shizuka, who was great as a supporting character in Hayate, there’s just something missing when she’s cast as the lead. She wanted Ryoshi, the shy stalker stereotype who can’t look people in the eyes, to prove his worthiness of being on the team, well, here, I want to see Ryoko proves her worthiness of being the lead.
I’m cautiously optimistic of this one.