「サクラサク」 (Sakura Saku)
Youkai vs. youkai battles take place in the cohabited human/youkai town of Sakurashinmachi on Thursdays in Yozakura Quartet. Adapted from the manga of the same name, the series revolves around a group of youkai teenagers that maintain order in their town by fighting against other youkai who threaten their peacefully coexistence with humans. In a small company led by Hiizumi Akina (Kaji Yuuki), the superhuman strength mayor Yarizakura Hime (Fukuen Misato), mind-reader Nanami Ao (Fujita Saki), and kotodama conjurer Isone Kotoha (Sawashiro Miyuki) maintain order in the town, but also perform the odd job here and there. While it’s easy to make the comparson to Rental Magica with Akina being the “somewhat unreliable yet key president character” akin to Itsuki Iba (much like Omni mentioned in his Fall Preview), I actually find that the similarities tend to end there. Granted the supernatural premise remains, but instead of an Astral magician dispatch service, we have an interesting setting in Sakurashinmachi where half the inhabitants are human and the other half are youkai. With that said, I liked Rental Magica quite a bit, so having a something along the same lines is appealing to me. My only complaint at the moment is that the first broadcast is in 4:3 instead of 16:9 when the series was clearly produced in widescreen, much like in To LOVE-Ru‘s case before.
On the topic of production, Yozakura Quartet’s animation was done by Nomad, the studio that brought us Rozen Maiden and sola, two series I enjoyed a fair bit. As such, I find that the visuals look good, but don’t particular stand out by any means. Matsuo Kou leads the production as the director, with the aforementioned Rozen Maiden and recent kurenai under his belt, which will hopefully translate into a well structured series. For a first episode though, the characters are what caught my eye the most, as there’s something about Hime’s personality and long flowing scarf that appeals to me. She’s rather serious for the most part, but has a goofy side that comes across well thanks to Fukuen Misato. (I guess even with health reasons, it would be dumb to turn down starring roles.) This is also one of the few series featuring Sawashiro Miyuki this season, so her playful yet somewhat psychotic portrayal of Kotoha is fun to watch as well. Music-wise, I really like the opening song and have been listening to it over and over again, but I admittedly haven’t heard anything from savage genius before. As for the opening sequence, it’s reminiscent of the funky style used in kurenai‘s OP, whereas the constantly changing color palettes of the ending sequence is something new to me. The ending song is performed by the usual “ROUND TABLE featuring Nino” duo, whose songs from Chobits and ARIA I absolutely loved, with “Nagareboshi” being no different.
Evidently though, there isn’t a whole lot else captivating my interest in what initially comes off as a generic looking series; therefore, I’m torn as to whether or not to follow it. It’s only slated for one season (something I tend to prefer lately) and has a strong support cast (see below), so I’m inclined to give it a couple more episodes before I decide. Thursdays is definitely not short on shows to watch though, with three more scheduled to premiere next week, so I’m going to have to juggle my priorities accordingly.
– Hiizumi Akina (比泉 秋名) : Kaji Yuuki (梶 裕貴)
– Yarizakura Hime (槍桜 ヒメ) : Fukuen Misato (福圓 美里)
– Nanami Ao (七海 アオ) : Fujita Saki (藤田 咲)
– Isone Kotoha (五十音 ことは) : Sawashiro Miyuki (沢城 みゆき)
– Hiizumi Enjin (比泉 円神) : Seki Tomokazu (関 智一)
– Kishi Kyousuke (岸 恭助) : Ono Daisuke (小野 大輔)
– Kishi Touka (岸 桃華) : Tomatsu Haruka (戸松 遥)
– Azuma Rin (東 鈴) : Matayoshi Ai (又吉 愛)
– Shinatsuhiko Yuuhi (士夏彦 雄飛) : Matsumoto Sachi (松本 さち)
– Mariabelle (マリアベル) : Tanaka Rie (田中 理恵)
– Shinatsuhiko Yae (士夏彦 八重) : Kuwatani Natsuko (桑谷 夏子)
– V Juri F (V・じゅり・F) : Ookubo Aiko (大久保 藍子)