Otome Youkai Zakuro Review

Otome Youkai Zakuro

Mimi: When this anime first came around, it didn’t seem to attract much positive attention. The main lead appeared to be your typical tsundere, and anime that are all about youkai have been done to death already; why should this one be particularly special? Well, I certainly thought it turned out to be better than Nurarihyon no Mago, a popular anime about youkai and spirits that aired at the same time. Otome Youkai Zakuro is a very good series from start to finish, and it immediately attracted me because of its gorgeous battle scenes, music, and charming characters.

The story focuses on issues where humans and spirits try to coexist; the spirits are for the most part feared and discriminated, but some of them deliberately cause trouble. This is where The Spirit Affairs steps in, a small organization of half-spirits that investigates and solves the troubles growing between humans and spirits. The military decides to get involved however, and each half-spirit is partnered up with a human to do their work. It is very interesting where this concept goes because the half-spirits and humans are very insecure about each other at first. Although the half-spirits are supposed to be helpful, they have been overprotected by their caretaker, Kushimatsu, to be all that comfortable around humans. This series aims to strengthen their relationships, as they slowly come to understand each other and grow closer, and this is done in some of the most charming and beautiful ways.

Although the story appears to be very simple, it gradually unravels into something darker and more complex, and there are plenty of mysteries to keep you entertained, such as Zakuro’s past, her mother’s whereabouts, and Lieutenant Hanadate. Trust me, it’s not all light-hearted and fluffy. The story never feels dragged on, and the characters are continuously developing. As a whole, this series is neat and well-paced, and each character has room to grow and become quite likeable. Furthermore, the action is absolutely stunning to watch, and there is a bit of romance, which contributes to the excitement to the show.

There are only a few nitpicky things that might turn some people off. Yes, the characters are a bit on the clichéd, predictable, and cheesy side at times. You just know how some situations are going to turn out. But that doesn’t really harm the series in my opinion because the setting is unique enough, and the characters’ individual stories are well-told. Plus, this show has a couple tricks up its sleeve for the last half. ^_~ Definitely check this out if you’re in the mood for a solid, charming, yet dark story about youkai and humans living together.

Mimi’s Score: 8 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)

Alex’s Score: 9 Meeps out of 10 (Great)

Otome Youkai Zakuro Episode 13 [Final]

“Brilliant Finale”

Mimi: I have to say, this is a very good ending, and it has another awesome little twist at the end. It might have been a bit predictable, but the show accomplishes exactly what it was set out to do. The characters developed beautifully, found their strength, secured their relationships, and put an end to the final threat. It’s unfortunate as to what became of Daidai, but it’s somehow rather suiting for Omodaka and Byakuroku to end up together. I loved the final battle between Zakuro and Rangui and how the characters united in the end, especially for Riken and Hotaru. This is a great way to close off the series, as they continue to work on strengthening the relationships between humans and youkai. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an anime tie everything up this neatly and leave me feeling warm. Now to write my final review~ :3

Otome Youkai Zakuro Episode 12

“Looming Crisis”

Summary: Showdown with Omodaka!

Mimi: At last, it’s here! So Zakuro’s friends successfully teleport to The Village of Oracles and have a big showdown with Omodaka. Zakuro is in a weird kind of trance the entire time. Omodaka summons spirits to attack them, and we get a few gorgeous fight scenes, but this part is actually very brief. Kei, after hearing Zakuro’s mother’s voice, tries to convince Omodaka that his mother also loved him. The main reason why Omodaka is so upset is because he thinks that she only loved Zakuro, but she actually left her and returned to the village just to be with him. Omodaka feels all tortured inside and is just about to kill Zakuro until a sudden cry pierces the air. The next thing they know, the village is being set on fire by Daidai who is still blindly following Rangui’s orders. This distracts Omodaka because his mother is in there, so he takes Zakuro and runs off.

I’m not very impressed by Omodaka to tell you the truth, but the story still flows nicely. Nothing feels rushed, and everything is coming together. I’m particularly fond of Kei’s strong and courageous demeanor to save Zakuro and Omodaka; his character development is excellent, and all the other characters are fleshed out well enough to really care about during the finale. Yeah, even the twins have grown on me by now. But at this point, it looks like the real showdown is going to be between them and Rangui. The ending feels like it’s going to be totally predictable, but we’ll see.

Otome Youkai Zakuro Episode 11

“Hollow Touch”

Summary: All about Zakuro’s mother. Yay!

Mimi: Well, I watched this episode last week, but I didn’t have much time to write it up, considering I had one more final exam to go, and I had to leave town right afterward. But I’m finally on break, yay!! I hope that the rest of you are also able to take it easy now. Eh minus the last-minute holiday shopping.. ^_^

Anyway, this is another great (yet depressing) episode for Otome Youkai Zakuro. It completely focuses on Zakuro’s mother, which is a nice surprise. Her story isn’t particularly unique though; how many anime (and other mediums) have we seen where the mother is being restrained by grumpy elitists, she falls in love with an outsider, they get attacked, and the child is the only survivor? Plenty to name, but this story is actually told pretty well, and it includes a small twist. So it’s clear now that Omodaka is Zakuro’s half-brother, and he has been preserving her body all this time. Plus he wants to marry Zakuro. It’s creepy, yet this is the first time that I have seen anime portray incest in this way, so it also feels a little refreshing.

Meanwhile, The Spirit Affairs find a way to reach the Village of Oracles, and they are on their way to save Zakuro. I can sort of imagine what the final battle with Omodaka will look like, and I sort of…can’t. I just know it’s going to be chaotic with all the characters gathered in one spot, and we should expect lots of eye candy and heroics. And oh yeah, what is Rangui going to make Daidai do? I almost forgot about that. This should be interesting…

Otome Youkai Zakuro Episode 10

“Creeping Shadows”

Summary: Zakuro gets captured by Hanadate.

Mimi: Wow…Alex wasn’t kidding.. o_o This is a GREAT episode and the best one yet in terms of the plot. In the beginning, Zakuro and her friends attend a nice festival, and Kei tries to confess his feelings to her. I applaud him for being so bold this time around, but Zakuro runs away from him (darn T.T). In the process, she is taken and transported to the Village of Oracles. The others have no idea where she is until they confront Kushimatsu and notice that her ‘artifact spirit’ is growing weak because they are too far apart. They can’t easily get to the Village of Oracles either, and we learn that it is the place where half-spirits are born.

And what a horrible place it is. The half-spirits are caged up, abused, and treated like tools. No wonder Byakuroku feels the way she does. Zakuro finds herself chained up in a bed chamber, and Hanadate reveals himself to be Omodaka. He tells her that his blood is also cursed, and he wishes to ‘become one’ with her, but she refuses. Rangui is so jealous of the attention she’s getting from Omodaka that she tries to kill her later on, but Zakuro manages to escape. Along her way, she discovers the other half-spirits that are being abused. Byakuroku tells her that they’re actually lucky to appear as ‘humans’ as opposed to male half-spirits. This triggers Zakuro’s memory of her mother being taken away by grotesque figures, and she runs away horrified.

I’m still a little confused about Hanadate, but other than that, this is a pretty straight-forward confrontation. He just kidnaps her, takes off the mask, and explains a small bit of himself. I absolutely love where this is going now. The final three episodes ought to focus on rescuing Zakuro and dealing with Omodaka, and they should be great. Though to be honest, I’m going to miss them working as the Spirited Affairs. I wouldn’t mind a few more episodes focusing on individual cases and relationships, as long as they get more creative about them. But at any rate, the finale is approaching, and I am truly looking forward to it the most. Well, after Kuragehime. ^.^

Otome Youkai Zakuro Episode 9

“Joy Of Love”

Summary: An entity called Kokkuri appears, which is a visualization of the feelings of humans.

Mimi: Well…this is different! Hanadate joins the Spirit Affairs to solve the Kokkuri case. The only way to get rid kokkuri is for two people to declare their love in front of it. Of course, I was hoping that Riken and Hotaru would do it, but I figured that it would come down between Zakuro and Hanadate, and that Kei would feel jealous over it. But it’s interesting that they’re not dealing with an actual spirit this time; they aren’t able to physically attack it or anything.

Now on to Hanadate.. Finally, he looks like the evil guy he’s supposed to be. I heard from Alex that the next episode is spectacular, so I’m just going to delve straight into that. I don’t have much more to say about this one except that it’s fun, cute, and a bit more creative. =)

Otome Youkai Zakuro Episode 8

“Fickle Rain”

Summary: The Black Widow returns as Rangui! Kei and Hotaru get captured.

Mimi: FANTASTIC! 😀 This is exactly what we need right now, an episode featuring more of those visually stunning fights that we love so much. Plus the villains finally get more character development. The Black Widow, also called Rangui, orders the two cloaked people to capture Kei and Hotaru so that they can lure Zakuro over to them. As you might have suspected already, the cloaked people are just two gorgeous half-spirits (and sisters) who have a rough past. Their names are Daidai and Byakuroku, and they serve under Rangui, despite that they’re treated disrespectfully. Well, Daidai appears to be too innocent to know their leader’s attitude (‘they’re nothing but dirty little half-spirits’), but she’s so obviously suspicious…

So Zakuro and Riken team up together to get their partners back. The best part of all is when Zakuro and Byakuroku have that an amazing duel. It’s short, but it is a visual feast for the eyes at any rate. Zakuro wins that round, and Rangui appears shortly only to disappear moments later with the sisters. Nah, it’s not time for the major show-down yet. Rangui must only be testing them all, but at least she’s back in action. And yeah, there’s a touching little reunion at the end between Kei and Zakuro, and Riken and Hotaru. -^^-

Wait, there’s more to say! Even though all the action and character revelations are in the last half of the episode, I really enjoyed the first half as well. The half-spirits and human partners shuffle up: Riken is with the twins fixing a shelf, and Hotaru and Kei hang out in town together. It’s just really nice to see them do that once in a while. And it’s interesting to see how tense it’s getting between Kushimatsu and Amaryouju. I mean, Kushimatsu expresses her authority pretty loud and clear around Zakuro and locks her up in a room, then the elephant youkai creepily pops out around the corner only to threaten that he’ll lock her up instead. Didn’t know it would get this tense. O_o

Anyway, loved this episode, am I’m in needz of more. :3!