Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Otome Yokai Zakuro 4-5

EPISODE 04: Timid Distance

The girls receive a new assignment. However, after their last mission, Kushimatsu specifically excludes Zakuro and Agemaki from participating in this new one, sending only Susukihotaru, Riken, Bonbori, Hozuki and Ganryu. The case involves a sword which has come into the possession of Orikata Aya, a human who seems to feel a certain affinity towards spirits, especially her little servant, Mugi. Aya tells the team that the sword is said to have caused horrible things to happen around people who owned said sword. While Ganryu, Bonbori and Hozuki try to locate the place where the sword's former owner is said to live, Susukihotaru and Riken try to take the sword home. Susukihotaru, however, faints and Bonbori and Hozuki believe that the sword is affecting her. They then reveal that Susukihotaru's power consists in being able to empathize with persons and objects. Later, Susukihotaru befriends Mugi who shows her a comb that used to belong to her mother. When Susukihotaru touches it, she sees a vision of how Mugi's mother was slain by a man with a sword. Mugi does not remember this so in order to spare her the pain, Susukihotaru tells Mugi that her mother will come if she is good. Riken then asks Susukihotaru how she knows Mugi's mother. Susukihotaru starts to tell him her secret but before she can, they are alerted to Mugi trying to take the sword from off the dresser. As the sword falls, Susukihotaru accidentally touches it. The spirits within the sword possess her and Susukihotaru starts attacking Riken with it. Aya then comes to protect Mugi, which triggers Mugi's memory of how her mother died. Susukihotaru cuts Riken's hand, causing her to regain control. As she mends his wound she senses only his concern for her with nothing for his own. She cries and apologizes. Riken figures out her ability to empathize and tells her that because he does not say much, he is glad that she can read his feelings. Susukihotaru replies that she hopes he can read her feelings as well. As the day closes, Ganryu and the twins return unsuccessful and the team leaves for home. Later, Kushimatsu and Amaryoju wonder if the whole thing was just a coincidence or it was somehow orchestrated.

EPISODE 05: Sticky Trap

Hanadate pays a visit to Spirit Affairs headquarters in order to request the division's help in solving a case of disappearing soldiers. The incidents all seem to occur at high society gatherings and one witness has stated that he has seen a beautiful woman turn into a spider. Kushimatsu suspect that a black widow spirit is responsible and agrees to loan her team to him. On his way out, Zakuro, who has a crush on Hanadate, intercepts him. Always the gentleman, Hanadate compliments her belt buckle, which sends Zakuro straight to cloud nine while Agemaki watches in discomfort. The mission requires the team to attend a ball and Zakuro and the girls  find out that they have to dress in Western clothes. Zakuro is especially adamant about the whole thing but calms down after Agemaki tells her that she's pretty even in her ordinary dress, only to blow up in anger again after Agemaki tells her that it is her behavior that is unladylike. Later, at the ball, Hanadate singles out Zakuro and invites her to dance. The others all disperse with their own particular tasks: Bonbori and Hozuki spread magic petals all over the dance floor while Susukihotaru and Riken patrol the grounds outside. It is only Agemaki who has nothing to do except watch Zakuro and Hanadate together while he boils in jealousy. In the dance floor, Zakuro seems to be having fun but Hanadate has caught the eye of the black widow. Meanwhile, the twins are chanting their song, explaining to a distraught Ganryu that their magic petals only work if they sing. They add that he shouldn't worry as everybody things they're drunk anyway and are staying away. Ganryu, however, discovers to his utter dismay that the girls are actually drunk and not just pretending. They then see Hanadate with a strange woman in his arms walk past them and into a room. Bonbori senses that the woman is the black widow and so they alert the others. However, the other team members couldn't come right away as each pair is attacked by masked individuals, leaving Ganryu and the twins to go ahead without them. Inside the room, they discover a huge spider's web with the bodies of dead soldiers stuck to it. Hanadate is one of the victims but appears to still breathe. The black widow reveals herself and starts to attack. Ganryu falls but before the black widow could finish him, the entire room is flooded with petals and Hozuki engulfs him in her arms, singing. With Hozuki protecting Ganryu, Bonbori fights the black widow by herself. The black widow senses Bonbori's diminished power and takes her down after a prolonged fight. Seeing that Bonbori is hurt, Ganryu pleads for Hozuki to let him go but Hozuki tells him that she would get in trouble with Bonbori if she allows him to get hurt. Finally, Zakuro arrives and kills the black widow. Bonbori recovers and while the black widow lies dying, she mocks Zakuro for fighting spirits without knowing anything, not the truth about her nature or her mother.


Is it just me or does Riken look like the grown-up version of Ryuu from Kimi ni Todoke? I swear he's like the portmanteau of all my favorite anime characters. The soldier outfit reminds me a bit of that soldier dude from Xam'd: Lost Memories. That said, I loved the fourth episode. I think Susukihotaru and Riken make a cute couple. Sure, there are some cringe-worthy moments but this is shoujo and that's only to be expected. They're cute and that's all that matters. 
From way back in episode 3, methinks, there's a hint of an overarching plot. I don't expect a lot from it because I've been burned too many times. But suffice to say that it has something to do with Zakuro's past, particularly her mother. 
I can't really say that I look forward to each episode of this anime. But when they do come out and when I do watch them, they're okay and I guess in an anime year of shows ranging from mediocre to downright bad, okay is good enough.