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Yozakura Quartet – Hana no Uta – 08

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「イバラミチ。」 (Ibaramichi.)
“Thorny Path.”

It does feel a little strange to find ourselves back at Yozakura Quartet’s “downtime” not just because of the amount of intensity stuffed into every fiber of these last few episodes; it’s also because it showed how significantly the narrative has actually shifted in tone since the start of the show. As one might expect from the fantasy slice-of-life of Yozakura Quartet, it still exudes the same atmospheric, relaxed vibe we saw before, that just seemed to confidently work itself. Yet this is an episode that also feels far weightier than what we saw before; it’s in the amount the show and its characters has grown over its first major arc, so much so that it’s ambient tone has seen these collective changes.

To be fair, it’s not that I was expecting a complete return to the idyllic episodes we saw before – although in the back of my mind there was the very real possibility of it happening. But I still can’t help but be a little surprised at how almost every aspect of the narrative had grown noticeably reflective, and the dialogue’s become considerably more introspective of the characters as well. In the first half of the episode as we follow the quest for the rally stamps, Shinozuka’s small talks with each leading character are palatable piecemeals that do their part in contributing to the bigger story; we see Aoi’s reaction to her brother’s fate, learn about Kotoha’s resolution about being a half-youkai, while Akina and Hime had their own mini-segment about her being a youkai.

But this is all just appetizers for when we got to the second half of the episode, where the real buffet got served up. Plotwise we’ve a lot of heavy exposition to get out of the way in order to lay the foundations for the next arc, and an equal amount of fuel for the Youkai-Human crisis that’s repeatedly been raised in the storyline. Enjin’s Youkai Hunters are already potential avenues of explorations for this, seeing as how they are half-youkais themselves. But the bulk of this focus was squarely on the Elders, ambiguous old coots as they are, who purportedly set up the anti-youkai field we saw previously in multiple towns. Admittedly, this is one of the times we really get to see the strengths of Yozakura Quartet’s investment into world; the Elders are constantly forcing proposals of demon eradication onto Akina, the only person with the tuning capability to carry out their plans, but who refuses to see the reason in their plan. Unsurprisingly Ward Chief Yuuhi is involved as the person who somehow orchestrated this meeting, and always seems to be one step ahead of the game. There’s a lot of agendas being pushed around, and nothing that seems particularly clear-cut.

Even as interesting as these developments are, I again wonder how much of it we’ll see actually factor into the plot – after all, these are the big, narrative developments that probably won’t get addressed within the single cour series. I suppose more than an objective flaw, it’s a complaint from a disappointed me that we won’t see these plotlines come to fruition; if there’s one thing I hate in a narrative more than anything else, it’s incomplete stories.

On a final note, this episode basically leads us into the starting scene for the OVA001’s Hoshi no Umi arc. But if you’d ask me I honestly can’t tell if we’re getting a summarized account or a completely redone storyline to fit more organically into Hana no Uta’s narrative. Regardless, if you were still waiting to watch the OVAs, now’s the best chance to do so.

Full-length images: 05.

 

Preview

Yozakura Quartet   Hana no Uta   08   Preview 01 Yozakura Quartet   Hana no Uta   08   Preview 02 Yozakura Quartet   Hana no Uta   08   Preview 03
November 30, 2013 at 12:49 am
13 comments »
  • November 30, 2013 at 2:43 amsonicsenryaku

    Im thinking we are gonna see a different take on the hoshi no umi arc

  • November 30, 2013 at 3:08 amc2710

    Needs more Isone Kotoha…….

    • November 30, 2013 at 6:41 amewok40k

      In hot weapon-summoning action, preferrably!
      I loved how everyone accepted Shinozuka and his apologies (or said there’s no need for them).

      • November 30, 2013 at 9:05 pmc2710

        Kotoha x Nurse Juri is even better

  • November 30, 2013 at 4:37 amgh

    This series is great although I hvn’t watch the 1st season yet.

    • November 30, 2013 at 12:28 pmSortedeVaras

      They are not connected, this is a reboot.

  • November 30, 2013 at 10:13 amkevinball

    mmm HimexHiizumi vibes <3

  • November 30, 2013 at 3:36 pmSDFGS

    Yeah, looks like they are redoing the OVA’s into the series….which kind of worries me since I’m wondering how they’ll be able to top that? Plus I’m kind of hoping they change some stuff around because while I wouldn’t mind seeing the revamped animation…I really don’t want to watch something that is basically a copy scene-to-scene. Though this will be a treat to any of those who didn’t watch the OVA’s.

  • November 30, 2013 at 10:51 pmWuz

    I want more of Mina, Ayahi Takagaki does her so much justice.

  • November 30, 2013 at 11:00 pmCybersteel

    Now understands why Kotoha is able to ram people with airplanes.

  • December 1, 2013 at 7:06 amhyacinth

    I don’t get the Hiizumi clan at all. First they sacrifice their brethren, then they refuse to tune any youkai because “they can’t be sure about the other side.”
    And yet we see that Akina’s granddad tuned Hime’s grandma, and yet we see that Akina tuned Gin.

    So they knew no one ever comes back, they refuse to tune any customers (Youkai who traveled to Sakura-shinmachi to be tuned), but they keep sending their loved ones to the other side?

  • December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pmExinjeru

    The first part of this series is actually Thorny path, between episode 8 and 9 is the Hoshi no umi OAV. Episode 9 and on is the actual Hana no uta arc.

    They also are doing a new OAV with a later arc right now, Tsuki Ni Naku, but that would have spoilers for hana no uta in it. I don’t recommend it until after the series finishes.

  • December 1, 2013 at 11:56 pmUDoh

    And they literally skipped all the Hoshi no Umi arc and re-started it from the aftermath. REALLY better watch the OAD now if you haven’t