Monday, 1 December 2008

Yozakura Quartet - Episode 9

The last episode of Yozakura Quartet left various individuals having to make tough decisions in the midst of the chaos surrounding Enjin, and so in episode nine all of those characters have to live with their choices and the fallout from them.

While the town is relatively safe once again, the after effects of Enjin's "misbehaviour" are still being strongly felt by numerous demons living in the vicinity, as they find themselves unable to control their powers, causing all sorts of problems in the process. Nowhere is this demonstrated more graphically than in the case of Kyousuke's sister Touka, whose strength would be almightily impressive were it not so completely out of control.

However, in many ways this isn't the real story of this episode - Instead, the true focus is on the stressed, tearing and breaking threads that seemed to hold the main characters and their friendships together so tightly at the beginning of this series. I commented numerous times when discussing early episodes of Yozakura Quartet that a lot of its charm was in the close, warm friendships between various characters, and that building up of these feelings was clearly a clever move, as it makes seeing those ties being strained to breaking point all the more harrowing. While communications haven't broken down completely between any parties in this episode, things are clearly at the brink in several cases, a state of affairs which can only be detrimental to the well-being of the town as a whole.

So, once again Yozakura Quartet manages to quietly but successfully continue along its chosen path, as the series equally continues to surprise me with the compelling story that it offers up. This particular episode demonstrated ably the characterisations and interactions between those characters that have been built up over the course of the show so far by breaking them down at a difficult time, and thus creating an episode that managed to glean a certain emotional depth despite presenting the story to the viewer in a somewhat detached way. Once again, the way this has all been handled leaves me handing out kudos for the series for rising above what I was fully expecting to be nothing more than a generic and largely action-oriented anime.

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