Monday, 22 December 2008

Yozakura Quartet - Episode 12 (Completed)

So, as we reach the climax of Yozakura Quartet, so the series is perfectly poised, with Enjin about to do battle with Hime as the cherry blossoms bloom around the town, and the rest of the gang closely involved too in their own various ways of course.

Given this promise of an all-out, action-packed episode, the first half of this final episode is actually surprisingly luxurious in its treatment of the story, shying away from going too crazy on the action side of things in order to focus on the emotional aspect of the story offered by Enjin's continued use of Gin's body. Even though he claims to have entirely purged Gin's soul from himself, is that really the case? Akina still isn't sure, which causes him to hesitate at a crucial moment.

After all this build-up, the second half of the episode does lean on the action a little more, with Hime's dragon lance (and indeed Hime herself) doing some major levelling up in her final battle with Enjin, and I don't suppose it's too much of a spoiler to say that these additional powers lead her on to an ultimate victory, saving the town and destroying the cherry blossoms in the process. So, normality returns, and the series closes out with a reminder of just why I was so enamoured by the early episodes of this series, with light-hearted banter and every-day tasks being tackled by the major characters, which is somehow quite cathartic.

While Yozakura Quartet is never going to live long in the memory as a classic anime series, it somehow managed to rise about its obvious limitations to become a pretty enjoyable little show, not so much on the strength of its core storyline surrounding Enjin, but more in terms of offering up a bunch of really rather lovable characters who interacted and worked together in a way that was oddly captivating to watch. If you can put aside the blob monsters and insane, deus ex machina level final episode power ups... in fact, if you can forget big chunks of the whole Enjin story, then you're left with a fun series which came as quite a pleasant surprise to me. Despite getting a whole bunch of things wrong (which I won't go into here) that would have added a lot to the series and its major plot points, it's still wormed its way into my affections to leave me really glad that I took up Yozakura Quartet in the first place - At the end of the day, that's what really counts in my mind.


Martin said...

By the sounds of things the series maintained what I initially liked it for - the character interaction. I honestly believe that stems from having the same director as Kurenai and Red Garden. Not quite enough to make me watch it through to the end but still...glad to see you enjoyed it at least!

Peter S said...

Yeah, the overall storyline and the haphazard treatment of crises hurt this anime badly, I mean, I STILL don't really understand the mechanics here, apart from "the city is in danger." Then Hime gets a new spear and it's all better ... But I liked the characters so much I really didn't care. From the first episode we see them talk and coexist, keeping the town running, before we even know who they are. It's like we got dumped in the middle of a much longer story where every character was already comfortable in their role, and the show was adept at showing us their relationships without explaining them to us. I wouldn't even mind seeing these characters do their office work rather than fight villains.

Hanners said...

"I wouldn't even mind seeing these characters do their office work rather than fight villains."

Funnily enough, I was thinking last night about whether I'd want to see a second series of this show, and that's basically the conclusion I came to - Yes, but preferably only if it was some kind of slice of life anime about the main characters.