The series takes on a lighter tone briefly while still hinting at much turmoil and darkness ahead.
What They Say:
There is a fad going around where young girls ask a "kokkuri" for romantic help. Back at Spirit Affairs, Bonbori and Hozuki immediately give it a try. Zakuro and the others are also interested. However, the "kokkuri" runs off wildly. Zakuro tries to dispatch it but her blade has no effect. By chance, Lt. Hanadate, who came to Spirit Affairs with a request about this case, joins in the search.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Otome Yokai Zakuro has definitely taken a turn of the more serious recently, which is saying something since the show plays it close to real in its own way and that has kept it from being about silly spirits and outlandish situations. The focus on the characters has been stellar and while that means it may move slowly at times, it has a very warm and real feel to it that allows you to connect to them in a very strong way. Some of what's happened has resulted in a bit of punishment for some, though it's restricted to just the military members side and in the end isn't all that bad.
The focus on this episode involves a spirit known as a kokkuri who has been causing trouble in the area lately as young girls go to it for help in the love department. The revelation that such a spirit is out there at this time means you can almost see the wheels turning inside some of the girls heads, especially after recent events where people have been together a whole lot outside of the view of others. The case is apparently serious enough as Lt. Hanadate arrives to get involved in it because of how it's causing people to go missing and may have larger designs going on that aren't plainly obvious at this stage.
The invocation of the spirit does lead to some humor for the show as everyone wants to know about other people's relationships. The first question bringing up Zakuro and Kei alone causes quite a lot of trouble and things only get sillier from there, which I'll admit feels a little out of place for the show but not enough so that it's detrimental. The chance to loosen up a bit is welcome, especially as it teases the characters a lot with who they're interested in and what kind of potentials there are with that. Of course, the invocation goes badly in the end as the kokkuri goes running off on its own and that leads to a search for it where the men man up and the women are impressed. And man up themselves, at least some of them. It's all cute fluff here overall with some interesting spiritual aspects to it, but it's largely designed to push the relationship side more so that the main couples are aware that there are other people interested in them and it's fairly public knowledge.
Otome Yokai Zakuro has an interesting episode in that it's a bit more forward with the characters in pointing out that people are feeling a little romantic or interested in others. Much of it has been kept behind social graces and what's allowed, making sure that not all that much is said or even implied. Restraint has been the key, but here we see it becoming more obvious, not only to those who watch these configurations of couples starting to form but also to the couples themselves who may not be truly aware of it. There's a lot to like here in how the tone of the show is compared to previous episodes and the way it lightens up a bit. And reminds us that the show is definitely better the other way.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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