Posted by psgels on 29 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



For the Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope I’ve been talking about different series each week. Otome Youkai Zakuro’s ninth episode makes for the last series I want to say something about. For December, I’m going to fill this category with posts about the series that I think will have the most interesting finales, which probably will be posts focusing on Panty and Stocking and Otome Youkai Zakuro.

Oh and on a side-note: I’m probably not going to go a kaleidoscope for the upcoming winter season, because of the simple reason that TOO MANY SHOWS ARE ENDING at the end of December. With that as a result, I’ve got room for eight new series; nine when Heartcatch Precure ends. That’ll be plenty of room to blog all of the good shows, plus also a bunch of premises that I normally wouldn’t even consider.

In any case, this episode is a good point to talk about this series, because a) we’ve gotten some significant build-up at this point and know where this show is heading to, b) I can praise a lot about it and c) I can also criticize a bit about it.

Starting with a), Otome Youkai Zakuro definitely has built up the best cast out of all the shows I’m not blogging this season. It’s got three couples who play off each other really well, and the past episodes have developed some really genuine relationships between all of them. the most intriguing being Zakuro and the mystery behind her: she’s a really tragic character who was really well explored in the past eight episodes.

Now, this episode was meant as a bit of an intermezzo between the heavy arcs, mostly focusing on fleshing out the romances a bit. It was enjoyable because we’ve seen relatively little of the cast in light-hearted situations due to the short length of this series. This episode was enjoyable, simply because the characters have been very well developed at this point, and because of that they were fun to watch.

And yet, this episode also enlarged some of the major flaws of this series. For that I need to go back to the source material, or its original author Lily Hoshino. When you look at the different covers of some of the other manga she has written, there’s one thing that immediately caught my attention: they all look the bloody same! Nearly all of them feature two people looking mellow and hugging each other. I couldn’t find a premise for most of them on ANN, but the premises I did find were just completely stupid and cliched, most notably that one about a family which forces all of its children to marry guys.

The creators here really gave a wonderful adaptation of the Otome Youkai Zakuro, but at the same time you can see that the romance is bound by these stupid cliches. The romance is mostly mature, and yet because of that premise the characters never really become couples, even though how obvious it is that Susukihotaru and Yoshinokazura are into each other, with the same going on for Bonbori and Hoozuki and Hanakiri.

Zakuro also suffers from these romantic cliches, though slightly different. In her case it’s indeed more logical to become good friends with Agemaki due to the large tension between them, and I actually really liked the point at which her crush on Hanadate was revealed. But yeah: he’s a bad guy, making what could have been a mature love triangle into a cheesy shoujo affair and Zakuro closer and closer to a standard tsundere. It’s pointless twists like these that are really holding back the otherwise truly excellent execution of this series.

Again though, I really like this series despite these criticisms. What’s even more impressive here is that JC Staff is really busy this season: they’re working on four different series at once, and yet all four of them are actually pretty good. Obviously some are better than others, but compare that to AIC which was in the same position during the previous Summer Season, working on four moe shows at the same time, where in the end every single one of them turned out to be dull and boring.
Rating: * (Good)

3 Responses

  1. totoum says:

    wow,i was just about to ask if you’d do a Kaleidoscope post about this show!

    It really is to me an exemple of how a stong execution can make something that seems completely cliché into something worth watching.

    Thisanime also shows that I can still blindly trust Mari Okada to get the best out of the original material (there’s exceptions but I guess nobody’s perfect),because that’s what I did,I might have dropped this if she wasn’t part of the staff but I kept watching and am glad I did.

    As for the Kaleidoscope posts in general this season,I think they’ve been a great feature,if you feel like you don’t need it next season that’s fine but don’t hesidate to bring it back when there’s another season

  2. Solaris says:

    Can’t believe my own eyes. Finally some acknowledgment for this so much underhyped serie.
    The question is why do fanservice elsewhere and dull romance should actually hammer these series? Shows can succeed pretty good thank to a clever use of those elements, whenever they arent overused.
    Zakuro looks ok using its romance stuff form commedy and char development, and yet there is a good plot yet to uncover. Why being still doubtul even after 9 episodes?
    The only thing that could ruin this serie is the subplot about Zakuro’s mysterious past. But let’s talk after that will be revealed.

  3. Kurara says:

    I have mixed feelings about this series.

    On one hand, it’s beautifully animated (which panders to my weakness for gorgeous eye-candy), but it’s floating on a rather shallow, monster-of-the-week premise, with equally shallow characters driving it. I could care less about Susukihotaru and Yoshinokazura (damn, their names are a mouthful), because they don’t have much depth, and there’s nothing at stake with their romance. Ditto with Hanakiri, Bonbori, and Hozuki–they’ve been fawning over him since the beginning, he’s been resisting their advances while pledging to protect them–none of it’s very interesting, and Zakuro’s only marginally more captivating because of her backstory.

    I’ll continue to watch this series, but I still count Kuragehime as one of the most interesting this season.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:32 AM)
    If a series wants to be sophisticated about complex concepts like war and conflict, then it has to presuppose the fact that it is part of human nature. Resources are limited, and even aside from that, greed exists. There is no way to take out a few head figures to stop a war- there will be a vacuum that will almost immediately be filled by a similar, if not worse, individual. A world “where no one cries” or suffers, or dies, etc, cannot exist as long as we have free will.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:26 AM)
    F/SN delved into this deeply with the Shirou/Archer dichotomy, but then it pussied out at the decisive moment. Archer was right, his arguments made perfect sense, yet the arrogant naive Shirou had to pull thru by sheer will alone, and a vague hope and promise that he’ll find a way somehow. I swear, I’m not sure if Nasu gave in to pressure to make a so-called “good prevails” ending, or that he honestly believes in it. Looking at his material, I’ll bet on the former.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:22 AM)
    hehe … that’s why you don’t get me started on Eva or Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:20 AM)
    It also delved into the depth of what a desperate goodie-two-shoes people-pleaser protagonist would actually be like, and the reception he would get from his peers, specially the women. That alone right there was a deconstruction of the majority of shonen main characters.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.

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