Sunday, 23 November 2008

Yozakura Quartet - Episode 8

As Yozakura Quartet has largely avoided being too action-oriented so far, preferring instead to focus on the relationships, thoughts and feelings of the main characters, I was a little wary of just how well the series could pull off an episode that was entirely centred around the main plot line and with a much larger action quota to boot.

Thankfully, I didn't have to worry too much - While episode eight of Yozakura Quartet isn't going to be entering any halls of fame for brilliantly portrayed action scenes, what we got here was actually a more than solid episode that actually gripped me quite substantially.

With Ao taken hostage by Enjin and the rest of the gang now facing off against him, we finally learn what the baddie of the piece is after and why - Put simply, he wants the key Akina holds to access Nana-Gou, so that he can make this ancient tree blossom and thus free all of the demons that have been sent to "the other side" over the years, bringing them all back to life. I'm sure I don't really need to explain why that isn't a very good idea from the point of view of the citizens of the town...

So, from there we're basically offered up plenty of fighting and action, mixed in with the whole dilemma surrounding fighting an evil demon who has overtaken the spirit and body of an old friend, a dilemma which Enjin makes use of with relish. While there isn't much time to concentrate on it in the midst of the action, the fallout from actions both earlier in this series and during this episode is building up quite clearly, particularly on the part of Akina, and no doubt this will cause some friction as we move on through the series. Of course, in the short-term this all takes a back seat to saving the town from the immediate threat, a problem which leaves Hime having to take drastic measures which themselves have unknown (to us the viewer anyhow) consequences.

I thought that if one episode would "trip up" my liking for this series, it would be this one. In terms of action, Naruto or Bleach this ain't, yet all those build-up episodes have given me so much time to invest in the major characters that I found myself on edge throughout the action scenes, cheering on Hime and company and holding my breath when they got into tight spots. It just goes to show that half of the battle (with every pun intended) of putting together a good action-oriented anime episode is in having characters that you have at least some emotional attachments towards, and this particular instalment allowed Yozakura Quartet to cash in on the groundwork of the series so far in spades to keep it running as an unlikely hit in my current anime viewing season.

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