Yozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi – 02
It’s been a good six months since the release of the first OAD episode, but the sight of the more blob-like character designs in Tatsunoko Production’s variation still draws me in the most about it. As mentioned in my episode one post, these manga-bundled episodes are a departure from author/artist Yasuda Suzuhito’s style that was more closely adhered to in Nomad’s television series adaptation. At the same time, it comes as a somewhat refreshing change, best seen when Isone Kotoha (Sawashiro Miyuki) was scaling gigantic corpse monsters Shadow of the Colossus style and unleashing her flurry of conjured attacks. There was something about her liquidity movement as she ran, jumped, and twirled to avoid attacks that made it very entertaining to watch, which may not have worked as well with arguably “stiffer” character designs.
The action itself definitely stood out in this second episode, starting with Hime’s unrelenting attack on youkai hunter/necromancer Zakuro, and continuing on with Rin hopping around like the Chinese zombie that she is. What was nice to see is a fairly substantial story develop alongside all the rapid exchanges, as it also led to a good cliffhanger to leave off with. While I really can’t say I sympathize with Zakuro after learning how she befriended Rin in the past, I did appreciate the bit of depth the flashbacks provided when she shoved Rin away from Enjin’s attack. That selfless act redeemed her character a bit, even though it was prompted by Rin’s decision to leave with Zakuro so that she wouldn’t be alone anymore. On the flip side, the latter is what made it a far cry from convincing me (as the viewer) that Zakuro is worth saving in her seemingly possessed state. Be that as it may, I suspect that Hime and the others will still try to save her for Rin’s sake. It’s the righteous thing to do and befitting of Hime’s personality as the town’s sixteen-year-old mayor.
As someone who has only seen the TV series, I find the best part of these OADs is how they aren’t completely jarring without having read the manga. Sure, there are probably a lot of subtle things that I’m overlooking from Enjin’s attempts to break the town’s barrier using youkai hunters, but it works well as a three-part supplementary OVA series centering around Rin. Thus far, there’s also been a nice combination of lighthearted moments and relevant developments, which is always a welcome approach in my books. There was surprisingly a bit of fan-service from Hime as well — something I don’t really recall seeing in the anime. Altogether, it’s a nice little addition for anime and manga fans alike, with the only downside is the long period between releases. The third and final episode is slated to be released on November 8th.