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Posts Tagged ‘turn of the century’

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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This is an interesting series; it’s based on the series of books by L.M Montgomery, and if you’ve read Anne of Green Gables, then you know what’s coming your way — tales of provincial Canada around the turn of the 19th century, filled with innocence and Romanticism. With that in mind, there’s little objectionable material here, except for some profanities that show up once in a blue moon.

The animation quality here isn’t the greatest, but it does reflect the spirit (I’m guessing) of the books. Emily could be drawn a little bit more attractively at times, but you get used to it. The voice acting leaves you with no complaints. The intro and outro songs are disposable, but the music used within each episode is high-quality, and the recurring musical themes are unforgettable. The funny thing is that this feels like an 1800’s shoujo series with the bright colors, and you do see some Japanese facial expressions and modern cultural slang that are totally out of place, but the heart remains. It’s not spiked with shoujo dazzle like say Skip Beat, but you can still tell that is aimed at pre-teen girls. However, it is a lot deeper than those series because of the source material.

The animation isn’t the most detailed, but the use of color and light is outstanding. The episodes get better upon repeated viewings, and work even better when you watch them one after another (unlike most anime` which is filled with excessively long recaps for the first minute of the show). Here, the recaps are short and sweet. The music and fx are orchestral and well-done, with only occasional excesses or off moments. Recommended for all fans of 1800’s/turn of the century literature.

1 Kicks things off with a bang, and we get to see a lot of Emily’s spirit. High emotions. Very good.
2 Emotional, but not as gripping as ep 1. It’s still quite good.
3 Very good, but just shy of 1 and 4. The conflicts with Elsie and the relationships among girls are timeless — some things never do change. The music when they meet Teddy is off.
4 Interesting throughout. Here a lot of the plot threads come together. One of the best so far.
5 Ok. Kinda ordinary, but there are some moments of foreshadowing that are interesting and make you wonder how they will play out.
6 Fantastic episode. Drama, innocence, and lots of emotions. This episode captures the heartbreakingly innocent spirit of L.M Montgomery’s works.
7 Ok. Not bad, but not a stand-out episode. A few moments that capture your attention, though.
8 Some great emotions, but gets a little maudlin towards the end. The use of color is fantastic, and I think we see some CGI stuff show up for the first time. I’m bummed how the episodes now seem to be stand-alone and don’t connect to each other anymore.
9 Eeh. Some profanities, no real character development except for the very end.
10 Ok, a little curious. Does Emily realize what she’s saying when she talks about building a future with Teddy? Does he?
11 Eeh.
12 Good, but an overly-sentimental scene towards the end between Emily and Jimmy. It’s another self-contained episode without any character development, really.
13 A little bit of character development, some emotions, but overall too schmaltzy. We do see where the romance is headed though, and I’m already starting to feel badly for the boys — one of them is sure to fail.
14 Ok, some character development.
15 A little bit better than 14. This one is a little bit spooky/eerie.
16 Finally, another excellent episode. I was beginning to despair. Character development, in unexpected ways, and full of emotions, and even some mystery. A positive portrayal of faith. One profanity (perhaps a mistranslation?).
17 Good. A stand-alone episode, but very emotional.
18 Excellent. High emotions, humor, and justice. One profanity.
19 Excellent.
20 Excellent. Heart-rending. Did you think that Aunt Elizabeth could cry?
21 Good. Warm. Kind of low key.
22 Excellent. One profanity, which I believe is a mistranslation (“nondayo” at least in what I’ve seen elsewhere is an emphatic “why” but does not imply cursing). Tons of emotions accentuated by orchestral music and character development. In short, this episode is the reason why the series is good.
23 Another excellent episode, building from bittersweet longing to a heartbreaking dramatic ending.
24 Crushing. Devastating. This might well make you cry.
25. Possibly the most emotional episode in the whole series. This will make you cry. The only thing that keeps it shy of perfection is a lack of divine themes.
26. The series ends, as it must, but it does end convincingly happily. It’s not fake or rushed. It’s not completely predictable either. You’re left with longing and a sense of timeless, piercing beauty. Also, make sure you watch all the way to the end for the closing scene, which is a nice touch.

This is one of the best anime` series I have ever seen, and it earns a spot in my hall of fame.

For your downloading pleasure:

Digital Panic

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