Seven Coloured Compass

Beneath the starry sky, we'll meet once again.

Otome Yokai Zakuro

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Spirit world, let’s see what you’re made of!

Name: Otome Yokai Zakuro

Japanese Name: おとめ妖怪 ざくろ

Air Date: October 4 2010 – December 27 2010

Studio: J.C. Staff

Episodes: 13

PLOT

Westernisation, a time when humans and spirits coexist.

The modernisation of Meiji Era Japan has begun. The Ministry of Spirit Affairs is established to resolve mysterious incidents involving the nation’s spirits. This ministry consists of representatives from both the human and spirit worlds. Zakuro, Susukihotaru, Bonbori and Hozuki are all half-spirits who have been partnered with the second lieutenants Kei Agemaki, Riken Yoshinokazura and Ganryu Hanakiri. These half-spirit girls and the male second lieutenants are all assigned to Spirit Affairs in an effort to join forces and carry out any tasks given to them!

I’m back from Cornwall! Yay \(^o^)/ sorry that this post was late, I had no wifi down in Cornwall so I was absolutely gutted. 3 days without wifi is torture. And I’m really tired since I had to wake up early everyday I was there so I haven’t had much sleep…I’m a bit cranky and grouchy (( _ _ ))..zzzZZ

I’ve had a craving for the supernatural since I watched Beelzebub and Otome Yokai Zakuro was no exception! This time, I’ll be reviewing spirits rather than the usual vampires and demons so I was excited about this series. No blood suckers!

And since Takahiro Sakurai voices Kei Agemaki, I just had to watch this! Blonde bishounen…here I come!

First Impressions

Kei has a fear of spirits? And he has to work with them? That’s jokes プッ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵

He’s going to have a tough time then if he continues to work with them. Episode 1 goes straight to the point and already the half-spirits and humans are introduced to each other. Zakuro’s reaction was sour but she immediately becomes smitten with Kei…like me! Oh and when Kei wonders around the manor at night? He becomes so scared that he hugs Zakuro ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ then he asks her to accompany him to the outhouse ( ಠ_ಠ) Zakuro, why did you become smitten with a coward?

Zakuro looks like Hikari from Special A minus the ears. It really creeped me out. Please don’t make her like Hikari J.C. Staff! I like Zakuro so don’t ruin her! Her voice actor is really talented as well…I expect great things from you girl! Don’t let me down.

Riken is like Mori from Ouran High School Host Club. He’s tall, brooding and a man of few words. I hope to see that J.C. Staff develop him well because I kinda like him…is that wrong? Nah, it’s not. Definitely not. Riken is quiet but I’m hoping he’ll come out his shell a bit more. Do something about it J.C. Staff!

Midway Impressions

Not much is said or revealed about the half-spirit’s past. Zakuro’s is the most intriguing since her mother was ‘spirited away’ and never returned. It drew me in; I was so interested in finding out what happened. What happens after women are spirited away? Where are they taken? Is there a chance that they can return? So many questions float in my mind and nag at me which is rather annoying since I really want to focus on the series itself.

Kei is so funny! Aw, bless him. He gave a candle to Zakuro thinking that fox spirits eat them when they clearly don’t…oh the humiliation xD but he did some research in the hopes of understanding her so he could help her. How sweet and considerate! He feels guilty though since Zakuro always saves him when he’s struck with fear wait, shouldn’t it be the other way round? At least he acknowledges that he’s always protected/saved by Zakuro and tries to do something about it. I like that about him (๑´ლ`๑) he’s a real gentlemen…guys, take notes!

Riken and Susukihotaru are adorable together! He’s a man of few words but he knows how to treat a lady ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ episode 4 was so romantic! When Susukihotaru said that she was afraid of Riken’s height, he bent down on one knee and asked if he was scary now…that was enough to send my fangirl meter overloading! It’s like a marriage proposal(≧∇≦)I love you even more now Riken! I never knew you had it in you, good job! *Thumbs up*

Bonbori and Hozuki are like the comic relief I guess. Their interactions with Ganryu were amusing and cute…Ganryu, be proud! You have two girls oogling over you and best of all, they’re twins \(^o^)/ bonus! I’m sure any guy in the world would want to be you now Ganryu as they’re silently raging with jealousy. I have to admit, the twins are really adorable…I’ve grown to love them.

Look at the twins all ラブラブ with Ganryu xD

Overall Opinion

Otome Yokai Zakuro promised a fairly unique plot from the very beginning so of course I had high expectations but I honestly have to say that I was a bit disappointed.

The human characters were made to look as attractive as possible and there’s a certain quality to the designs that can sometimes make the viewer wonder if they’ve seen the character before. The settings are nicely detailed, but while they’re well suited to the time period, they seem a bit too clinical and sanitised. Everything and everyone are too clean and too ‘nice’ even when bad things are happening and this can sometimes make it difficult to take the show seriously. The colour scheme also compounds the ‘nice’ atmosphere using feminine colours such as pinks, blues, greens and yellows.

Unfortunately, the developmental method is a bit too formulaic at time and because of this I felt like really obvious events were being force fed to me in an effort to show some sort of empathy. That said, the characters are charming in their own ways and while they may appeal to a specific fan base, that doesn’t mean that others won’t find them interesting or even cute.

I wasn’t a fan of the opening theme song as the timing was all over the place. Moon Signal by Sphere doesn’t fit in with the look, storyline or atmosphere of the whole show. The song feels completely out of place but the opening was well animated so it made me forget about the actual song.

Mai Nakahara is an enormously talented actress but while she gives a decent performance in her role as Zakuro, she is ultimately limited by some mediocre scripting. The same goes for Takahiro Sakurai and the rest of the cast. While all of the seiyuu clearly have a great deal of talent and ability, there are times when it feels like their skills weren’t shining through.

“ACK!”

“Was I REALLY that bad Jimmy?!”

SPOILER: Takatoshi Hanadate – another human that Zakuro becomes smitten with and another lieutenant – is actually Omodaka, the main antagonist. He wants Zakuro to bear his child since she’s a powerful half-spirit and is awfully obsessed with her. He is also her older half-brother Σ(゚д゚lll)

On the plus side, the animation is pretty good with flowing character movements and a few rather nice action sequences. The problem is that the shadow of repetition raises its head once more; one example is the defeat of different spirits each episode. *Sailor Moon montage plays in head*

Otome Yokai Zakuro was rather enjoyable in a charming and quirky way. Yes the story was predictable, but rather than make the characters completely stereotypical there was some effort to give them a sense of individuality which is one of the reasons why the poor scripting was so noticeable. I felt that this series had the potential to be so much better than it was if the director and producers tried a bit harder and put in a little more effort to ditch the fomrulaic approach. Otherwise, this series would have been excellent.

Right, that’s it from me! I’m going to sleep now so don’t disturb me…

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