It's festival time and that means it's time for yukata's - and danger!
What They Say:
The members of Spirit Affairs make their way to a festival at the nearby shrine. Zakuro and the other girls are very excited in their yukata. The group first pays their respects to the guardian lions of the shrine, Lords A and Um, before enjoying the rest of the festival. They even try out the large maze that has been erected for the festival. The group breaks up into teams in a race to reach the exit, but Zakuro is captured by someone upon getting separated from Agemaki.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Festival episodes are a dime a dozen no matter what kind of anime series you watch as even the most unrelated show can seemingly find a way to sneak one in. Otome Yokai Zakuro has their own festival episode here which means the girls get to be all prettied up in yukata's, unlike the western dresses they wore for the formal ball before, and everyone gets to enjoy the sights and delights of a festival. But it also introduces some element of sadness and disquiet as everyone pairs off eventually and some background worries and concerns start to rise, particularly between Zakuro and Kei.
Having the two going through a brick and mortar maze is really well done visually and it goes further as Zakuro finds herself spirited away and Kei thrown into a loop because of it. With this episode, it's time to start revealing more of what's been going on in the background by moving it to the foreground like this. Zakuro's abduction has her meeting the masked man who turns out to be Hanadate, but even that is a false name. His plans for Zakuro, with her being of two worlds, is what the series is angling towards focusing on at this point as he spends much of his time talking about fate and the things that must be done. Like his military persona of Hanadate, Omodaka is a pretty intense and precise person who has set goals that must play out exactly as he wants and he's able to intimidate others into listening to him with ease.
Omodaka's plans for Zakuro are certainly intriguing and hard to imagine being carried off easily since he's looking for a powerful child to have. With her power sealed, realizing just how much there is with what she's able to get out is impressive and again paints Zakuro is a very dangerous person overall that's barely held back by said seals. Her being brought into Omodaka's place and having his plans revealed to her only starts her down the path as there are those that are threatened by her presence and the way Omodaka is interested in her. The danger she's in is plain, though she has the ability to more if not for the seals, so watching her struggle is done well as she has so much potential but continues to be held back. She makes her gains through her kindness and merit of character instead, which speaks a lot about her.
Otome Yokai Zakuro has an interesting episode that comes across as both weaker than past episodes yet more interesting. It feels weaker simply because it focuses on a different area and has a slow build to it, aided by the fact that a lot of the core cast is shuffled off to the side. But it's an interesting episode because it does the big reveal of the villain and his plans in a calm and very coldly calculated way that only adds to his threat. The strong aspects to the show are still here with its solid pacing and really well done animation, but the flow and execution of the episode is staged differently than we've seen before and that gives it a very unusual feeling in comparison. It's setting up for the season finale easily enough and keeps you very interested.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.