The penultimate episode of the series arrives and sets up things for the finale.
What They Say:
Episode 12 - Looming Crisis
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Zakuro's origins now detailed, there's a concerted effort to save her from those that wish to use her for their own nefarious plans. It's interesting to see how most of those in the Ministry are ready to go and rescue her together, yet Kei ends up on the outside with all of it and intends to go after her himself since the rest went off without him. There's a real darkness about the events because of how Omodaka wants to use Zakuro for what's essentially his own breeding progam but it's one that has a strange history to it as we saw in the previous episode. Because of the nature of Zakuro, she obviously has few expectations of being rescued by Kei considering his prejudices earlier in the episode, but he continues to prove her wrong on a regular basis.
Omodaka for his part fits the role o the villain well, though he doesn't exactly see himself as a villain though he knows he's doing things other consider to be evil. With his belief that his union with Zakuro is ordained and indeed necessary, he's very much considering himself in the right here though his methods leave a lot to be desired. The fight between Kei and those that Omodaka has surrounded himself with is rather a good moment here, especially as she's laying in the grass with her mind a blank at this point. There's a certain creepiness about it all but it all goes in a very unexpected direction when Kei reveals that he's heard Zakuro's mother's voice, something that sends Omodaka over the edge in disbelief after all the time he's spent trying to get her to give him what he needs and wants.
Otome Yokai Zakuro has an interesting back story to it as it deals with Zakuro's mother and the Omodaka about the half spirits and where they stand in the grand scheme of things. We saw a lot of it in the previous episode and it's covered more here as well, especially where he has such an interest in her only to see betrayal where there really isn't any. It's a difficult thing to face even as an adult when you've forced yourself to believe one thing for so long. Omodka has even convinced himself that what he's doing is right and proper at this point and will do whatever he has to in order to make it happen. When he goes over the edge, it's certainly a very interesting moment as it shows more of just how far around the bend he's capable and willing to go.
As a setup for the finale, this episode covers things fairly alright but it misses the boat in a few ways. It spends a bit too much time on the flashback side of things which had been covered heavily in the previous episode and not enough time in the present. And as much as we've seen about Omodaka, he's still not a well fleshed out character to really make the whole arc feel as important as it should be. While the series has focused on the larger storyline since almost the beginning, though in more subtle ways, it's not a show that really feels comfortable in going with the big storyline. It excels at the smaller and more character driven moments, things that are somewhat overwhelmed and pushed to the side in this arc. It continues to have its charms to be sure, but they're not quite as bright and shining as they have been prior to this.
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.