Anime

Review: Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 10: Lost in a Maze and a Spirit Spurned

Quick Summary

In Otome Yokai Zakuro episode 10, “Creeping Shadows,” the gang at the Ministry of Spirit Affairs is all excited to visit a local festival. Once they arrived, Riken noticed that everyone, even the vendors, were cordial with the half spirits. Susukihotaru said it was because the festival was in honor of two Lion-shaped gods, Lord A and Lord Um. The gods jokingly told Kei Agemaki that if makes Zakuro cry, they’ll bite his head off — much to Zakuro’s embarrassment. As our heroes were about to enter the main attraction, a maze in the center of the festival, none of them saw the strange talisman fluttering above them. Will Kei be able to work up the courage to tell Zakuro how he feels? Is that spell in any way dangerous to them? And what was Kushimatsu saying about the Village of Oracles?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What’s in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: An Overwhelming Realization

Zakuro had no idea what to do when she realized Kei was to confess to her. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

We’ve seen the contrast between Zakuro’s amazing strength and her emotional naiveté. She thinks nothing of facing off against a Spirit, even if it’s massive. But at the mere thought that Kei might have feeling for her, she panics. That’s well-established. And in this episode, a moment of panic is both endearing and highly relevant to the plot.

Kei started slow, asking her if she were mad at him . She said she wasn’t “really mad,” (07:29), and Kei took that as a sign to continue. After a little more small talk, he took her hand — much to her shock — and said he wanted to talk. She tried to pull away, but he was gently insistent.

You could see her panic rising, but she still had it under control. He continued to slowly build up to the moment by saying he used to be scared of her. She said she knew that. He said he wasn’t at all scared of her anymore. She said she knew that, too.

Kei had figured out how he felt about Zakuro, and he wanted to tell her. I think this might have been his bravest moment — so far! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Then he turned to face her and, with his most serious expression, asked if she knew how he felt about her.

She couldn’t take it. She turned and ran away (09:21). Seeing their roles so totally reversed — him calm and in control, Zakuro nervous and running away — was almost painful. And finding out what happened next to Zakuro made it even more poignant.

Moment 2: A Bittersweet Yet Comforting Memory

Zakuro might understand her own feelings a little better now. Too bad the situation is so dark… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Under Hanadate’s orders (we now know his name is Omodaka), Zakuro had been brought to the Village of Oracles and imprisoned. She had just endured Omodaka telling her he wanted her to bear his child, and the idea of romance or consent didn’t seem to be on his agenda. However, she’s still Zakuro and she still had her strength. Her forceful rejection had caused him to retreat. At least for now.

Later, Zakuro wondered why he was doing this. There may have been a lingering through dying memory of when he had seemed attractive to her.

“When he came,” she thought (16:06), “I didn’t want him near me.” Then she remembered Kei facing her and asking if she knew how he felt. This time, there was no panic on her face. She just bowed her head (16:16).

Zakuro just could not understand why Omodaka was doing this. I think that’s probably healthy from a mental perspective… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

There have been several scenes comparing Hanadate to Kei. It started after Hanadate left her on the dance floor, alone, to fall victim to the two brutish officers. In the previous episode, Kei was about to confess his affection for Zakuro to appease the non-spirit. Zakuro stopped him, afraid of hearing him lie. Hanadate stepped up and confessed. Back then, you could see in Zakuro’s expression that she didn’t feel any warmth at all from Hanadate. And now, the contrast could not be more complete.

If the situation weren’t so dire for Zakuro, I’d be feeling pretty good about Kei’s chances about now! As it is, I’m hoping she can get herself out of this, Kei and the others can rescue her, or all of them can collaborate on an extraction.

Moment 3: The Strong Protecting the Weak

Once she saw these guards behaving cruelly, can you guess how long Zakuro let it go on? Answers can be in tenths of a second… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

There’s one good thing about Rangui’s terrible temper: it gave Zakuro an edge when they fought. Rangui was so enraged by Omodaka’s unforgivable sins — telling Rangui she was “a filthy demon” (18:21) and saying how much he loved Zakuro, a half spirit — that she decided she was going to kill and eat Zakuro.

Fortunately for Zakuro, Rangui’s first strikes broke the bed she was chained to, then the chain itself. Her combat experience gave her the mental discipline to watch for opportunities. She saw that the attack had not only broken the bed, it had pierced the floor. Zakuro evaded another attack and dropped through the opening.

Still breathing hard from the fight, Zakuro crawled through the space between the floor above and the ceiling below. She might have been frightened, but she was still Zakuro, so when she saw two guards cruelly mistreat a pre-teen half spirit, she acted instantly. She dove through a vent and demanded they stop (21:23). The guards recognized her and ran off to tell Byakuroku.

Acceptable answers to the previous image’s questions range from 1/10 to 3/10 of a second. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The scene continued to play out, but Zakuro’s dedication to her ideals were what really impressed me. Sure, the tactically smart thing to do would have been to remain hidden. But Zakuro couldn’t stand seeing a little one harmed.

Of course, I think that speaks well of her courage and confidence — two things that are clearly lacking in anyone serving Omodaka. Almost seems like there’s a cause and effect there somewhere…

Thoughts

What did you think of how Zakuro treated one of her captors? Some time after Omodaka had visited Zakuro, Byakuroku visited to bring some clothes and what not (just after my second favorite moment). Zakuro tried to talk to her, but Byakuroku acted haughty and dismissive. Unfortunately, she’s still recovering from her visit to our world. She started coughing. Zakuro, who by all rights should be angry with Byakuroku, instead shared some of her own power with the ailing half spirit. Byakuroku’s look of surprise and wonder showed she was not used to this kind of treatment.

Now, compare that to how Omodaka treats even his most loyal compatriots like Rangui.

Byakuroku had never experienced anything like this before. Remember how Rangui had “treated” her wounds before? Zakuro’s approach is much better than laying cold, naked, and alone on the floor. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

In a way, this show is all about contrasts like that. Zakuro introduced us to one of those early on: the tension between traditional Japanese cultural values and Westernization. We’ve seen the tremendous contrast between how Hanadate/Omodaka treats Zakuro and how Kei treats her. All of these contrasts come together around Zakuro.

If this were a Western show, I’d be tempted to interpret it as an old versus new theme — traditional Japanese culture bad, Western culture good. But this isn’t Western, and it’s much more nuanced in its presentation. Zakuro herself, as a half spirit, is a representative of the older Japan. So are Kushimatsu, Amaryouju, Susukihotaru, Bonbori, and Houzuki. On the other hand, Kei, Riken, and Ganryuu represent the more modern influences, and they are clearly on the same wavelength as Zakuro and the others.

I think the show is suggesting that culture isn’t the determining factor in the quality of its people. It’s how the people interpret and implement that culture that makes the difference. The people who worship Lords A and Um are every bit as kind and accepting as the followers of Omodaka are cruel and prejudicial.

It’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed so much about this show. It’s given us a robust and interesting world with people I care about. I think it’s healthy to spend time with such quality people!

Even if they are “just” characters.

What did you think of the Hanadate/Omodaka reveal? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts about This Series

Other Anime Sites

This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)

Please let me know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.