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Review — Yozakura Quartet

December 12, 2008
You're all liars! Liars, I say! The lot of you!

You're all liars! Liars, I say! The lot of you!

Like most Americans, I hate lying, which is why I didn’t vote for John McCain in 08. It’s also why I’m hestitant to give the following show anything higher than a “C,” because it was blatantly misadvertised when I read the description. I was all like, “Oooh, the premise and character tension in this show doth look intriguing!” but it turned out to be a load of horse manure. Blatant lying, I say. Blatant!

Yet, despite such lies, it isn’t that bad. Just lying.

Yozakura Quartet (meaning “Quarter of the Evening Cherry Blossoms”) takes place in the fictional Sakura-Shin City, where “youkai” (Japanese word for demons) can peacefully coexist with humans. Everyone else on the planet, they’re descriminated against and are feared–but then again, when you have the ability to read someone’s mind or spontaneously summon up flak cannons, that kind of scares people.

The four main characters are Ao, a cat-girl who can read minds; Kotoha, a girl who can summon up just about anything with the power of words; Hime, the teenage mayor who apparently is the incarnation of a dragon; and Akina, who according to Anime News Network is an “ordinary, powerless boy.” Let me tell you something: that is absolutely horse$*%^. While Akina might not have fighting skills, he has the most important ability of anyone: the ability to “tune,” or send youkai to the “other side.” Because he’s the only one who can do this, he is vital to the safety of the city.

Ordinary, powerless boy my left hallux.

I was really intrigued by that premise. I’ve always wondered how ordinary people could function around superheroes and monsters as their best friends. Would there be jealousy? Hard feelings? Apparently, not in this world, because Akina and the rest of the gang are all happy-happy joy-joy usually. And there’s really no explanation or investigation of it, because such a difference does not exist with Akina having a special ability.

The plot is essentially, “There’s this bad youkai who wants to make the cherry trees around the city blossom so the two worlds can be connected, and the good guys are going to stop it.” What’s this, you ask? Cherry trees? Well, for the large part of the series, they look like giant wooden shafts, and by giant, I mean bloody giant. They’re each about a mile tall, maybe a third of that wide, and each contributes to keeping the youkai world and the human world separated. And if they blossom, well look out, because hell will come to town.

Initially, the show is very “trouble of the week” format, but gradually moves toward a more connected story structure. While its interesting, there is nothing that truly sets it apart from other anime shows. Its not as rehashed as LINEBARRELS OF IRON is, but I feel its lacking in the originality department. Such a thing is not really a crime, nowadays, since everything has been explored before (just see my review on Time of Eve) but sometimes I feel like yawning during the program.

Also, not to mention, the characters are frequently dummies. Girl gets knocked over a wall and needs to be rescued, yet the boys just stand there. Typical.

There are a couple of good things about this show. One, the dialogue seems much more natural than any other anime show I’ve ever seen. That alone gives it a few points. The music is also decent, although it has a penchant to use English songs for some inscrutable reason. Maybe it’s an English fetish? I don’t know. At times, the show seems to have the atmosphere of an American live-action drama, which is more to say than most anime shows, but even so, it’s the exception rather than the rule.

Is it a show to watch? Well, it isn’t terrible, and the members of my anime club seemed to enjoy it, but I don’t find it to be spectacular. And the misrepresentation of the show irks me–my personal interest in the show has long since evaporated, and now I’m just watching it to finish it off. So I guess that means its bad.

Final Score: B-

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