Posts Tagged ‘supernatural’

Otome Yokai Zakuro is a late 1800’s-to-turn of the century series that explores the synergy of the then-modern army and the Japanese spirit world in the creation of the Department of Spirit Affairs. A handful of soldiers are assigned to work with a group of half-spirits under the tuttelage of two full spirits. The half-spirits are female, the soldiers, male, and with the social ostrechization that the half-spirits face, you’ve got all the elements of this series on your plate.

Early on the plots are better, and the series peters out towards the end. Still, the character interplay and the romance keeps things watchable, especially since the romance isn’t easy for any of the characters. There are no great themes here, unfortunately, but trash is virtually nonexistent. A few episodes are interesting and show the direction the series could have taken towards greatness, but it somehow, never really caught fire. Too bad. Anyhow, Otome Yokai Zakuro is alright; it might be worth watching, but it’ll never be translated. Here’s the OO short guide.

1 – Good, although kinda stereotypical. Still, it’s pure-hearted, innocent fun with a dash of the bizarre and disturbing.
2 – Just ok. Nothing objectionable, but the plot is just weak and the whole spiritism is overmuch.
* 3 – Very good. There’s a bit of sickness towards the middle-end that’s a bit much, but there’s no gore. Character development.
* 4 – Another good one. Touching. Character development.
5 – Ok
6- Just ok. A slower-paced one. Some things don’t make sense.
7 – Ok. Mostly standalone.
8 – Half and half. It starts out low-key and gets better as it goes; the ending is eerie and interesting.
9 – Ok
* 10 – Good, the ending is a cliffhanger. Gets weird and a little freaky.
11 – Mostly a connecting episode. The actual plot is classic but lame. Things are getting sewn up.
12 – Cheesy! What happened, folks? The plot threads come together, but at maximum cheese factor.
13 – It ends ok; everything is tied up, but it’s just too cheesy in places. The final two minutes are well-done, though.

A few FS groups did this series, but ReinWeiss did the best job (towards the end, I think Underwater did a few episodes). It’s too bad that ReinWeiss doesn’t have a blog, as ordinarily I’d link them. Anyhow, grab the series while you can from the torrent hole of your choice.

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Maze (verb) — to daze, perplex, or stupefy.

Tori No Uta (Bird’s Song) is a bizarre, haunting, quietly sensual, melancholy, romantic picture drama. It contains less than a minute of animation, proper, but relies upon panning across still artwork or zooming in/out on such. Even stranger still, it works. However, it works because the music connects the frames much like the eye connects the panels in Japanese tryptiches to create one whole scene; the overlying and underlying effect is one of otherworldly melancholy. I cannot overstate it: the music makes this all work — it’s that powerful.

The story itself is captivating and odd in its own right, but at times it feels a bit thin, as if parts were left out or glossed over (perhaps, this was an adaptation from an epic poem?). Nevertheless, it creates the framework from which the art and the music hangs.

A child has a flashback of taking a different route instead of going straight home, where he meets a mysterious girl. As long as the rain endures, he remains with her, but at last the rain stops. She presses a feather into his hand and says that as long as he keeps this, they will meet again. He remembers that, for those are the first words she has spoken to him.

He searches diligently for the path he took that day, but never finds it or her. Finally, the boy grows up, becomes a man, and leaves for another city. When he is fifty years old, he returns to the city in which he grew up.

There, in another flashback, he recounts a second meeting; here, to be with her forever, he must sing the song of the rainbow within the glass correctly. (Yes, you read that right.) He recounts one story corresponding to a color, and she does the same. These stories are beyond odd. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you’ve made it to this point, you can expect the deep, symbolic, ride.

In the end, he fails, and finds himself sitting alone on a swing in an abandoned playground. Then she returns, and embraces the boy. They wander off, to where it matters not, as long as they are together.

My words only give a summary of what occurs, but they don’t convey the whole otherworldly, symbolic, deep, timeless, and ultimately, perplexing nature of this story. Is he falling in love with a goddess? Is she even real or a symbol for something else, perhaps desire itself? How to explain the shifting of time back and forth between the child and the man?

Outside of the sensual gauze that wraps up this story, there is nothing objectionable; no nudity, no profanity, and only one scene of gore, which you’ll never see coming.

Recommended viewing. If you ever figure out what it means, though, let me know.

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