Otome Youkai Zakuro is not just your ordinary "shojo" series. It’s more than that.
Based on seinen (yes, it’s seinen despite that the appearance is shojo) manga by Lily Hoshino (known for her BL mangas), this series tells about the adventures of the Ministry of Spirit Affairs which comprises of spirits and humans. The leaders are Lord Amaryouju (an elephant guy) and Kushimatsu (a fox spirit). Under them are four female half-spirits: Zakuro, Susukihotaru, Bonbori and Hozuki and 3 human soldiers: Kei Agemaki, Yoshinokazura Riken and Ganryuu Hanakiri. Together, they work as one despite their differences as spirits and humans. And these young people are the bridge between humanity and the spirit world.
I was told that the show is not following the manga very much. I only seen 3 chapters of it and there’s one chapter which was not featured in the anime. But it’s not very important to the story actually. Anyway, I have no idea what direction will the story take. But you can guess that three soldiers will have a half-spirit partner (or partners in Ganryuu’s case). Eventually, there’s a possible hint of romance but not much. As the story progresses, we get to realize that this story centralizes much on the heroine, Zakuro, who I dubbed her "The Chosen One".
I actually like the whole cast except for Zakuro slightly since she’s textbook tsundere. She’s a bit close to Maya of Occult Academy but not a carbon copy of her. Agemaki is also a bit close to Fumiaki of Occult Academy but the difference here is that Agemaki never takes advantages from other people and despite the danger he faces, he manages to conquer it. But I enjoyed their relationship since it mirrors the relationship of Fumiaki and Maya.
Riken is cool and awesome like Kazura of Night Raid. Susukihotaru is like your typical shy girl who also can fight. So far, their pairing is the most enjoyable. It reminded me of HeiXYin of Darker than Black. Ganryuu, well, he maybe a bit young but he’s a cool prodigy. I find it funny that he’s paired with twins. So, yes, it’s a threesome.
The villains are okay. I pretty much hate the masked guy whose identity is a prince charming by day. But I felt sorry for him after we got more background on him. The half-spirit siblings, Byakuroku and Daidai, were okay since they were manipulated by the big bosses. The Black Widow aka Rangui is like your typical slut queen bitch. Other characters are okay too
I like the character design. It’s clean and smooth. The guys are good-looking. The girls are cute. I have no problems for it. The flowery effects are okay but I think it’s too much. The OP could have a better feel with the music. But I like ED since three different songs were used in every episode.
I liked the voice acting here. I’m very amazed on Satoshi Hino since his common roles (usually wimpy or weak guys) are opposite to his role here. I think he’s following the same route as Daisuke Namikawa. Well, it’s an all star-cast here. I congratulate their efforts.
The soundtrack is all right but not very memorable except the battle song sang by Susukihotaru and the twins. I’m not much a big fan of sphere who sang the OP. They remind of those J-pop girl bands which I despised. The ED is cool except for the song which was supposed to be sang by Zakuro’s and Agemaki’s seiyuus. It seems that Zakuro’s seiyuu (Mai Nakahara) is the only one singing while Takahiro Sakurai (Agemaki’s seiyuu) is only narrating. Srsly?! I already heard his singing voice which is quite good. But how come he’s not anymore singing? I noticed that since the Code Geass Drama CDs in which his character, Suzaku, doesn’t have his own song.
I actually enjoyed the show here. But I was hoping for more action from the guys since the girls also do the fighting. Most especially from Zakuro since she’s the "chosen One". But at the same time, it’s not too boring since I anticipated the development in the relationship of the main cast.
The manga is currently running and scanlated. So, I can’t compare the show to only 3 chapters which I’ve seen. And I can’t say which version is better. Clearly, this show is a combination of Sakura Wars, xxxholic and Occult Academy.
Before you say that it’s shojo, think again before you judge it. The genre doesn’t matter much here because not only female viewers enjoyed it but also male viewers. So, it’s a show for everyone. If you like supernatural with a mix of comedy, historical and military and wee bit of romance, then this is the show for you.
Highs: Good story with satisfying conclusion, great characters and voice acting
Lows: Forgettable OST,too much focus on one character