Fall 2010 Round Up: Otome Youkai Zakuro

A bit of a random pick for the season, but what prompt me to pick Otome Youkai Zakuro was its olden japan setting that Seirei no Moribito got me to love. And boy, Otome Youkai Zakuro does give me a surprise.

Seeing how little publicity the series had, I'm not surprised if it got very little attention but many blogs had picked up the series probably because they've heard the many praises people sung about it. One of them was I, when I wrote on Anime-Source.com on how good it turn out to be. I guess it's a fairly good chance seeing that it came from J.C Staff.

Frankly, the guys in the show and even Agemaki are there only to fulfill the role as part of a couple. The girls  are really the stars of the show and had completely won me over. On first sight, they might not differ much from your usual moe stereotypes but their roles and progress through the series made them so much more. Bonbori (Toyosaki Aki) and Houzuki (Horie Yui) might be comic relief characters, but I like how they bring life to the show everytime, with their cheerful and flirty antics. Even though they both get very little action, I find that they look incredibly cool when they fought too. (and I can differentiate among you two! I swear!) Susukihotaru is more passive than I hope she would be, but she had her charms too. Too bad she never even got to first base, when Zakuro had already kissed Agemaki. Aww. And female lead Zakuro is not just your stereotypical tsundere lead either. In fact, more screen time has been spent on the progress in relationship between Agemaki and her than the main plot itself. I liked how she always had those subtle reactions to Agemaki's every action, despite treating him like a fool. I know, some might says it's a pretty cheap way to show her dere moments but I'm buying it anyway.

I must say that there has not been a show I've seen that can top this in term of voice work. Other than Bonbori and Houzuki who is voice by my favourite seiyuus, Hanazawa Kana and Nakahara Mai has really exceed my expectations. I mean, they are veteran seiyuus, but I've never expected them to fit into their character so well.

One thing that doesn't seem to bother other people, but has greatly bothered me, is how the plot progressed in the end. Maybe I had expected too much out of it? It all seem too convenient in the end and completely relied on clichés to warp up the story. And seeing how the series gave us so much more character development than plot, I thought we deserve a longer epilogue instead. Don't we?

Plot/Concept: Fair; too bad it's still a show that relies on plot
Story Style: Awesomesauce!
Audio/Visual: Excellent!
Value: 8

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