The Average Anime Demon Girl Zakuro

A couple weeks ago I watched Otome Youkai Zakuro, and let me tell you, I’m having trouble remembering much about it. It’s one of those anime that you come across where it’s not terrible, but it’s also not amazing. It’s only 13 episodes, but it felt like it dragged on for some reason. I think the main reason it just that it wasn’t all that interesting to watch, which is a little surprising considering all the tags this anime has: military, historical, demons, supernatural, romance, and seinen.

Quick synopsis – three male soldiers are moved to a new department where they must work with four demon girls to help humans and demons coexist in society.

Love the drills. Is this a real hairstyle?

First I want to dispel some of the tags because while the anime does technically have all of those elements, they aren’t all fully present or play a major role in the anime to the extent that you may expect. Sort of like a sales pitch that did not lie, but has a fine print or hidden catch that you don’t know about right away.

The military tag is first on the chopping block. Three of the main characters are soldiers in the military, wear military clothing, and are stationed in this new department to work with demons. That’s the extent of it though because there really isn’t much else you could call “military” about the anime. They don’t have guns, and there are no real battles that involve the military.

Next I want to look at the demons tag. I realize that the title of the anime is “Demon Girl Zakuro” (at least in English) but the four main “demons” that we see are basically human girls with kitsune (fox) ears (that you could mistake for their hair the way they blend in). There are a couple talking animals that I guess you could say are more “demon like” but even then I think its reasonable to expect a little more. This anime that is supposed to be about demons and humans in the same society decided to do the bare minimum when it came to the demons and make them as close to humans as possible while still being able to call them “demons”. I’m not going to say its necessarily a bad thing, but it was a little disappointing (although I may have higher expectations about this thanks to Nuraihyon no Mago).

No, this isn’t an exhibit at the zoo. Those are demons you are looking at.

Last tag I want to mention is the seinen tag, mainly because it didn’t feel like it fits the anime at all. There is not a lot of action, and most of the anime is spent showing interactions between the males (soldiers) and females (demons). Just my personal take on it, but the anime just didn’t strike me as seinen although it is a broad category.

Ok so the main reason I wanted to nitpick the tags is because I just did not find the anime interesting, and I think that what I’ve mentioned sort of sheds some light on why that is. The concepts in theory are interesting, and even when you read the synopsis it seems like it could be interesting. The problem is the way the anime used the concepts, which is that it hardly used them at all.

For example, you could take a bunch of “exciting” genres like: military, sci-fi, space,  and decide to make a story about an intergalactic marathon between the humans of Earth and aliens from outer space that decides the fate of the Milky Way Galaxy. Sounds pretty interesting in theory. Only now lets say that you watch this anime and this is what you see: the aliens look almost identical to humans, the marathon takes place at a regular track on Earth, and one of the human characters wears a military uniform. No battles take place, nothing out of the ordinary, just humans and other almost-humans running a marathon at a regular track.

It’s a pretty extreme example, but that’s sort of how I feel about Otome Youkai Zakuro – if you aren’t going to make an effort to use the more extreme concepts of your story you may as well not have them in the first place. I see this happen often in anime, where they play it too safe in production and end up creating something an average anime.

This guy’s facial hair is more interesting then the plot.

Like I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t amazing – I don’t regret watching it, and I didn’t drop it partway through. It was good enough to fill the time while waiting for the newest seasonal anime to finish up. It’s just an average anime where you can generally predict what’s going to happen and how characters are going to act. Maybe if this was 2010 when it came out I would have a different view on this, but at this moment I can’t see myself remembering  Otome Youkai Zakuro a year from now.


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