With Zakuro now captured, secrets are revealed which get to the heart of certain matters.
What They Say:
The captured Zakuro was wandering an unfamiliar dwelling when she came across her mother, Tsukuhane. The moment Zakuro touched Tsukuhane, Zakuro was able to see her mother's memories that were previously unknown. Meanwhile, at Spirit Affairs, Kushimatsu was explaining what the Village of Oracles was and why half-spirits were born. As the final episode approaches, the truth of Zakuro's birth is finally revealed.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Otome Yokai Zakuro finishing up in the next episode, it's time to start getting down to the core of certain matters. One of the big ones, though it hasn't been dealt with in a straightforward manner for awhile, involves Zakuro's heritage. With her finding her mother in sitting quietly in the building where she's now found herself captured, the series opts to give us a good bit of flashback that shows us Tsukuhane when she was younger and having a difficult time of things with Lord Omodaka. All of this comes as Kushimatsu explains it all from her perspective to everyone else in the Ministry of Spirit Affairs.
Tsukuhane's flashback story is fairly traditional overall as she's a young spirit that has fallen very much in love not only with a man but humankind as well. As she spends her days watching them and seeing how they live, the way they're so affectionate and friendly with each other, she wants very much to be with them more. She ends up falling in love with a young man named Enaga who has the same kind of soft and warm aura about him that she does. Of course, as its' told through Kushimatsu's perspective, it's likely romanticized a fair bit up through the time when it inevitably goes towards Enaga's death right in front of her by Omodaka who is but a child at this point. It's all really beautifully done, with a look that really shines, but it's all fairly straightforward in that you can figure it out once the flashback starts.
Seeing Zakuro's origins through all of this is nicely done and bringing in the tie to Omodaka works nicely as it explains away a lot of what he's been nudging along, but as it starts to detail more about the Village of Oracles and all that was related to Tsukuhane, it feels like it's being tacked on rather than sprinkled appropriately earlier in the series, giving the episode a definitely infodump nature. So much of what Zakuro hasn't understood is laid out here clearly to everyone in the ministry, as well as through her contact with her mother, and the impact is certainly understandable for all that hear what's going on. You can feel for them, but something about the whole experience comes across as too cleanly explained, especially for a series who only has one more episode left to go.
As the series starts to wind down, usually they ramp things up a fair bit to build to something more exciting. With Otome Yokai Zakuro, it's hard to say whether that is the right approach or not since it has been a rather mellow and thoughtful series overall. Spending its penultimate episode with a flashback explaining Zakuro's origins now that she's come across her mother isn't what I expected. It does flesh things out in about the way you'd expect once it gets going, but it does it with the same kind of beauty we've seen to date in the show and that helps soften the problems with it. It's all terribly familiar and is too much of an infodump rather than a natural explanation of events, one that takes up too much time. It still has me curious to see how it will all end, but some of the charms disappear with this episode.
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.