Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Yozakura Quartet

We've finished watching Yozakura Quartet. My first episode is here.

There's this city in Japan where youkai (supernatural creatures) and humans peacefully co-exist. The city is surrounded by the trunks of seven enormous cherry trees -- the wall between the youkai and human world is thin here. It all works out quite nicely, but sometimes evil youkai appear to stir up trouble. It then befalls to Akina, the last in the line of a family of 'tuners' to send the youkai over to their own world.
Akina is the nominal head of the 'Hiizumi Life Counseling Office', and he is assisted by three girls: Hime, a dragon-girl and mayor of the town, Ao, a mind-reading psychic and Kotoha, who can conjure up objects by talking about them. The four of them are the Yozakura Quartet -- but there's many more creatures that help them out when the going gets tough.

It has all the signs of a 'monster of the week'-series. Coupled with the dynamic of one guy (who is relatively weak) having to work with three girls with their own personalities and powers, the whole concept could get very old very quickly. Luckily, that does not happen. Before boredom sets in, the Grand Plot kicks in!
It turns out that a bodyless youkai thinks that the youkai are oppressed in the city: they have to play the game according to the rules of the humans, otherwise they're 'tuned' out of existance! While most of the Powers That Be like to maintain the status quo (that includes the city council and also the Gods of the Land), there is a small group of powerful youkai that want to upset the balance and turn the tables around -- 'liberating' the youkai, so to speak. But the youkai that are on the side of the humans will, of course, not stand for it.
Akina is destined to play a pivotal role, because he is the only one who can send the rogue youkai away once and for all -- but on the scale of youkai, he (as well as any human) is definately weak. Once the shit really hits the fan, the humans of the city have to rely on the powers of the 'good' youkai to get them out of trouble -- and that counts doubly so for Akina, who is the target of quite a few attacks.
There is, however, one obstacle. The bodyless youkai has possessed the body of Gin, the older brother of Ao, who went missing. Tuning the enemy would also mean sending Gin away too!

Even though it has all the trappings of a harem anime, it never gets to that mushy stage. The females are all quite independant, and there's a lot of intrapersonal character development. Even thought the series is only one season, you have a good feel for the characters by the mid-point -- the characters develop through the plot, which is a nice change of pace as opposed to the customary "character of the week"-approach that is taken in some other series. On the other hand, there is a large supporting cast that does not get all the attention they deserve...
Visually, the series is done in a very appealing style. Designs are attractive, but not too moe. The digital effects deserve a special mention too.

Good points:
- Interesting premise;
- Good plot;
- Lots of character development through the plot.
Bad points:
- Supporting cast too large for a series of this size.

All in all, a good mid-class anime with a nice mix of action and drama. I'll give it a 7.5.
Tags: anime, full review

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