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
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.

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