Anime

Review: Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 6: A Crisis of Cookies and The Emerald Pendant

Quick Summary

In Otome Yokai Zakuro episode 6, “Onward Together,” Ganryuu Hanakiri still felt humiliated about his performance in their last battle. Bonbori and Houzuki tried their best to console him until they see that nothing less than their ultimate weapon will help. How will Ganryuu survive the impact of their origin story? Zakuro can’t get the words of Rangui out of her mind, so she confronted Kushimatsu. The fox spirit knows the truth, but she refused to tell Zakuro — because Zakuro’s not ready. Zakuro felt understandably distraught. Is there anything Kei Agemaki can do to help? Or will he only make matters worse? And what’s so special about the emerald pendant that Zakuro wears?

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

What’s in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: The Resilient Smiles

Bonbori and Houzuki protected Ganryuu for a very, very simple reason. They loved him. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

Ganryuu was down. Really, really down. It was almost comical watching Bonbori and Houzuki literally tiptoeing behind him in an attempt not to upset him. He could not forgive himself for his poor combat showing against Rangui. Worst of all, he couldn’t forgive the weakness in him that had placed Bonbori in danger.

At one point, he tried to pull himself together and apologize (05:57). He said he knew he was being unreasonable. He said again that he blamed himself. Both of the sisters tried to get across to him that they protected him because they chose to; it wasn’t his fault.

I have to say his voice actor (Yuuki Kaji) did credit to his craft. There was a ton of emotion when he asked (06:28) why they would sacrifices themselves “for someone you barely even know?”

Why would they risk themselves to save someone they barely knew? For the twins, the answer was very, very simple. And no less profound because of its simplicity. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

“Because we love you,” they answered. They decided then to tell him their origin story. How when they were little, they were alone in a cave. They couldn’t speak to others, but they could talk telepathically to each other. A kind woman, worn by cares and labors, visited them sometimes and brought them food and clothes. But shortly after she stopped coming around, a man came in her place. That man blamed them for his wife’s death and chased them from their cave into the dark forest. He almost killed them before Kushimatsu rescued the twins.

As they reflected on the experience in their usual cheerful way, they said they never spoke to the woman “because we never realized that we could speak. Isn’t that funny?”

He practically exploded with emotion, saying it wasn’t in the least bit funny. Then he asked plaintively (11:32), “How can you still smile?

Their reply was heart-breaking. It showed that the love they shared as sisters brought them to this moment in a better frame of mind than anyone could expect. In a couple of sentences, they showed more maturity than most characters show in a lifetime.

“Sir Ganryuu,” they said (11:39), “we never want to wander through a dark forest again, in search of a loved one. We don’t want to stay back, hidden, and end up having to lose someone dear. That’s why we’re willing to fight for you.” 

Find yourself someone who…

Moment 2: Returning the Favor

Susukihotaru wanted to repay Zakuro for helping all of them be stronger. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

This episode was filled with emotional characters, wasn’t it? As he was looking for Zakuro, Kei came upon Susukihotaru, so he asked her if she’d seen Zakuro. When she told him Zakuro was visiting Kushimatsu, I could see the disappointment in Kei’s expression (15:28). Partly, he was bummed that she didn’t take him with her. They’re partners, after all! But he also told Susukihotaru that he was worried Zakuro was trying too hard to be cheerful.

She embarrassed Kei tremendously when she said that he seemed to understand Zakuro pretty well. His words made her reflect on the first time she had met Zakuro. Kushimatsu had taken her, Bonbori, and Houzuki to meet her for the first time when they were very little. Zakuro’s face was at first stern and hard — the face of someone who had faced disaster and adamantly refused to be bested by it. Then she gave them a dazzling smile. From that moment, Susukihotaru was afraid “that Zakuro might suddenly vanish… I don’t know why I felt that way” (16:50).

Susukihotaru then showed what a caring, supportive soul she is when she said that when Zakuro was with them, all of them were stronger.

“I wish I could do the same for Zakuro,” she said (17:08).

There are a lot of things I like about this series. The genuine affection the main characters have for each other is one of them. Watching this series is almost like watching the combat form of The Flying Witch.

Moment 3: Zakuro’s Emerald Pendant

When Kei is absent-mindedly himself — when he’s just being there for Zakuro out of an honest desire to help her — she seems almost defenseless. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

When Kiri and Sakura snagged their kite in a tree, Zakuro was disappointed to learn that Kei was afraid of heights. So, she had to climb the tree to rescue their kite herself.

Unfortunately, while she was up there, a limb snagged her emerald pendant and broke the chain. She was really upset. The pendant had been a gift from her mom.

Kei, after the humiliation of not being able to climb the tree, said he’d be happy to fix it, and set about the task right away. He had to ignore her sarcastic comment that the was surprised he was good with his hands.

Zakuro was elated when he said he’d fixed it. Even as she said thanks, she blushed and her eyes went wide. Without a thought in the world, he stepped up and began to clasp the chain around her neck. He seemed utterly oblivious to her emotional state.

Susukihotaru’s reaction was telling. Zakuro had never let anyone touch her mother’s pendant before. And there was Kei, having just fixed the pendant, placing it around her neck. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

“You don’t even realize what you’re doing,” Zakuro said (22:07), as she rested her forehead on his chest.

Susukihotaru happened to look over. Her hand went to her mouth. Zakuro had never even let anyone touch her pendant before. And there she was, letting Kei gently put it back around her neck.

Hanadate gave her cookies. Kei gave her back a treasure from her mother. I think this round goes decisively to Kei.

Thoughts

Damn. This show…

I want to give you an idea of how much I adore this series. As I watch a show I’m reviewing, I take notes about it in Scrivener. I’ll use the string “<— Contender” when I come across a scene that I think might quality for one of my top 3 moments. Most of the time, even with series I really, really like, I’ll give four or five of these scenes, which is good. It means I have enough to pick 3 of the very best moments. That’s a good episode.

In this episode alone, I had 10 “<— Contender” moments.

The attention to detail with the characters. The genuine emotional attachments growing between them. The contrast between Kei playing with Kiri and Sakura and the broken-hearted husband trying to kill Bonbori and Houzuki. It’s so beautiful and affecting that sometimes, on a bad day, it’s almost too much to bear. On a good day, it reminds me why I love anime.

This series’ emotional range is just wonderful. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

In that vein, I want to talk a little more about my third favorite moment. I have to feel bad for Kei. The poor guy wants desperately to impress Zakuro. When he tries to act impressive like he did in the cave, the situation collapses, and he ends up looking silly. In this episode, he was afraid to climb the tree, so Zakuro had to do it. On top of that, Lieutenant Hanadate had given Zakuro an amazing experience on the dance floor. He had given her a present of cookies that everyone enjoyed. Looks like he has the upper hand, doesn’t it?

Except…

Kei was in the cave. He may not have dominated the Spirit, but he was there. He tracked Zakuro down through the night to keep her safe. When he made the decision to follow her, he wasn’t trying to be impressive. He just wanted to be a good partner.

In this episode, he knew he could fix the chain. So he did. And then he did the next logical thing: he put it around Zakuro’s neck. In doing so, he walked right past Zakuro’s emotional defenses, to the point where she even admitted that he he’d done so by saying he didn’t know what he was doing — even as he was doing it.

When Kei’s just there for Zakuro… When he’s not trying to impress her, but he’s just trying to help her… That’s when she realizes the potential he represents. Capture from Crunchyroll stream.

She rested her forehead on his chest for one simple reason. She trusted him. Of all the humans she’d met — of all the sentient beings she’d met — she trusted him to repair her precious treasure, the pendant her mother had given her. And she trusted him to get close enough to her to place it around her neck.

The fact that he played with Kiri and Sakura, the fact that he’d followed her in the night to the cave, the fact that he’d rescued Kiri and Sakura from the confused spirit despite not being able to move afterward (back in episode one) — all of these moments meant he was there when she needed him. Even if she didn’t know it.

But in my third favorite moment from this episode? She understands it now, even as she realizes he doesn’t understand what he’s achieved.

And what he’s achieved is her trust. Something no one else, even Kushimatsu, has been quite able to do. Zakuro was able to act cheerful and defiant with all of them. For just a moment in this episode, she didn’t act anything with Kei. She just rested her forehead on his chest.

Isn’t their relationship something special?

What did you think of Susukihotaru’s reaction to Kei placing the pendant around Zakuro’s neck? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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