As episode nine left us with a cliff hanger, so the tenth instalment of Yozakura Quartet pushes us heartily off said cliff, with the revelation that the town elders have ordered the destruction of Nana-Gou, and with it the town itself. Needless to say this comes as quite a shock to all and sundry, and even Hime finds herself unable to stand firm in the face of such a proclamation.
Indeed, much of this episode concentrates on Hime, from learning a little bit about why she wears that scarf all the time (my assumption that she was a fan of Tom Baker-era Doctor Who appears to have been unfounded) to, more importantly, seeing her frustrations at being unable to protect the town or handle things alone without the help of her friends. Of course, half of the point of this series is to reaffirm the importance of friendship and teamwork, a lesson which Hime is well and truly reminded of by the close of this episode.
This lesson comes courtesy of what much be one of the most half-hearted monster designs ever witnessed in the history of anime. Is it a Loch Ness monster? Is it some evil, wayward Playdoh? Is it just a pointless blob? Who knows, but while the battles against these non-descript evil lumps is going on, Enjin has taken control of the Nano-Gou from the outside, spelling even more imminent danger for the inhabitants of the town.
While the emotional core of this episode was pretty strong, and pretty well represented in Hime's upset and frustrations, those crappy monsters really did ruin this particular instalment for me - It just felt "wrong" in so many ways that it destroyed much of the suspension of disbelief that I've managed throughout this series, and this weak monster design was only further highlighted by the fact that we seemed to be missing something far more important given that Nano-Gou was being taken over completely off-screen. Yozakura Quartet has actually done reasonably well with its action sequences prior to now, but while the important messages of the series weren't lost on account of the poor effort here, they were diluted, which made for a below-par episode at a time when this show should be at its strongest from a story-telling perspective with only a couple of instalments left to go (and a lot still to fit in seemingly).