In Otome Yokai Zakuro episode 7, “A Feline Home,” Kei Agemaki is surprised when Tae, a servant from his household, showed up at the Ministry of Spirit Affairs and threw her arms around him — but not nearly as surprised as Zakuro! What reason could she possibly have for being so demonstrative? Why did she beg for Kei to come home? With a resigned air, Kei begged Zakuro to go home with him. Did he expect her to protect him from his father, who is famous for disliking spirits? Or is there something more sinister going on — something to do with a spirit?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s in This Post
3 Favorite Moments
Moment 1: Kei’s Continued Bad Timing
Kei should really work on his timing. It’s for his own safety! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Kei continued his streak of really bad timing, at least when it comes to his interactions of Zakuro. In this episode, he seemed to chain these events for maximum effect. And not in his favor.
Kei and Zakuro met with Tae in a private room. After Zakuro used her powerful glare to scare off Ganryuu Hanakiri, Susukihotaru, Bonbori, and Houzuki as they tried to listen in through the keyhole, Kei introduced Zakuro as “his assistant” (04:45). You can guess how she felt about that! To her credit, she didn’t call him a liar to his face, but you could just see her plotting some kind of revenge.
Zakuro was less than pleased that she had to chase eavesdroppers away from her conversation with Kei and Tae. So she was already in a bad temper when he called her an assistant! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Tae said she had come at the request of Kei’s father, who wanted Kei to go home for a visit. He pulled Zakuro aside and begged her to come with him. She’s still indignant at being called an assistant, but she reluctantly agreed — if he authorized military payment for some sweets.
But then he demonstrated his terrible sense of timing again. He asked her if she would hide her ears while she’s in his father’s house (06:20).
I think it’s a sign of her growing affection for him that she didn’t just walk off and leave him to visit his father alone!
Moment 2: A Spirit’s Gratitude
Itsue finally got to tell Kei what she had wanted to all those years ago. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Kei had just finished telling Zakuro the tragic tale of how he had started fearing spirits. When he had been a kid, he had a beloved cat named Itsue. One night, he thought he saw a gigantic spirit with huge, red glowing eyes at the foot of his bed. Terrified and in tears, he ran to his father for comfort and protection. But his father berated him for being a coward.
Even worse, when he went to find his cat, she was gone. He looked everywhere, but he eventually came to the conclusion that the spirit had taken his cat. So between his father’s treatment and the loss of his pet, he developed a fear of spirits.
It was a quiet, emotionally intimate moment that he shared with Zakuro. Which she ruined by flicking him on the forehead and saying, “You’re such an idiot” (17:32).
He was used to her being curt with him, so he wasn’t exactly surprised. He was surprised when she started calling for Itsue. She ignored his objections until, exasperated, she said that the cat’s been in the house all this time.
“Show him,” Zakuro said, apparently to the air near Kei.
When something completely other takes a form that includes traits that we recognize as “cute,” it’s easy to accept them. To the point I wish there were spirits like Itsue in this world. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
After a gust of wind through the open window made him blink his eyes, he suddenly saw what was unmistakably a cat-inspired spirit. She smiled up at him as Zakuro explained that when a cat’s owner loves it enough, it can become a cat demon.
This is the part that got to me.
“When you were young,” Zakuro said (18:36), “she appeared before you because she wanted to think you for being kind to her.”
Kei had completely misunderstood the moment. I’ve had enough of too many of my own experiences that only afterward I found out would have been positive, if only I’d been receptive. What I liked about this scene is that Itsue finally got a chance to set the record straight and thank Kei for how he treated her. If only we all got such chances…
Moment 3: A Human’s Gratitude
Have we ever seen Zakuro show such an open, honest smile? I don’t think we have! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
I thought I had endured maximum cute-ness with my second favorite moment. Nope! This episode had more Cute Power to unleash.
It turned out that when Zakuro had said, “Show him,” the change meant that Kei could not only see her, but hear her as well. He instantly recognized her meow. Hardly daring to breath, he knelt in front of her and stroked her head. She leaned into his hand, still enjoying him petting her as much as when she had been in feline form.
He couldn’t help himself. He scooped her up into a gentle embrace. Eyes closed, fighting back the tears, he said he was sorry for being scared. He asked her to forgive him.
I know that discussions of masculinity often degenerate into something less than informative, so I’ll just say this: In my world, it takes a real man to show affection in this way. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Her soft meow made it plain she did. But even as she forgave him, she began to dissolve into a haze of sparkling light. He almost panicked, but Zakuro, in an uncharacteristic show of sensitivity, told him all was well. Itsue couldn’t hold human form for very long. Even now, in feline form, she was rubbing herself against his ankle.
All of that was beautiful enough to count as my third favorite moment. What I really liked, though, was how Kei stood, took Zakuro’s right hand in both of his, looked her straight in the eyes, and said, “Thank you. Thank you, Zakuro-kun” (19:59). She even smiled.
This show is just beautiful. I love how the show builds moments to display such beauty by, in a previous episode, showing us a brutal dangerous and cruel cave spirit, and in this episode, showing us a spirit like Itsue, who is kind and supportive and warm. Between how much Itsue still loved Kei and the adorable relationship between Itsue and Kumiko, Kei’s sister, I was on the verge of cute overload.
Look, I don’t care how old we get. This is adorable. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
And a little sister who isn’t a bro-con? What a relief!
This episode had some more of what I’m finding is my favorite thing about the series: the developing relationship between Zakuro and Kei. We’re learning that despite her amazing personal strength, Zakuro is still carrying some emotional wreckage over whatever happened to her mom. She’s also amazingly naive, though I don’t know why that still surprises me. Someone who is strong can still be relatively inexperienced.
Maybe it’s that dichotomy between strength and experience that makes it so much fun to watch Zakuro’s reactions to her blossoming feelings for Kei. We get funny little moments like what happened shortly after they arrived at Kei’s home. Binding her ears to hide her nature gave Zakuro a terrible headache, so while she was alone in her room with Kei, she released them. Someone knocked and opened the door (09:01). Kei acted immediately by embracing Zakuro and pulling her head to his chest. She blushed furiously — she’s not sure what to do about her feelings, and here he was, pulling her close!
I think she’s still trying to tell herself that Kei’s just a coward who no one could possibly like. That would be one way to contain her own feelings! But Tae single-handedly destroyed that idea. When Kei left to play with Kumiko, Tae confronted Zakuro, asking (09:24) “What is your relationship to young Master Kei?” Zakuro’s embarrassed, of course, and tries to laugh it off by saying he’s just a wuss. Tae snapped back that she Kei treats her and the other staff with kindness; further, she says he’s a very kind person. That make Zakuro pause and reflect.
Unfortunately, Kei got caught in Zakuro’s internal cross-fire. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Kei got a physical demonstration of her confusion when he came back into the room and apologized for leaving her alone. Without a word, with her usual stunning physical grace, she rose and slugged him right in the stomach.
“Wh-why?” he asked from the floor (10:41).
“Huh?” he asked. She had hit him so hard he was almost coughing in pain. “Know what?”
“I don’t know!”
That exchange was amazing. It was everything I want in a drama: It was honest. It was representative of the character’s feelings. And it revealed more about the character than they knew about themselves.
Zakuro might still be uncertain about how she feels. Kei might be oblivious. But Kei’s mom knew. “…Kei seems to enjoy himself when he’s with you. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him relax. I must thank you. Please take good care of Kei” (21:23). I am convinced momma Agemaki knew that Zakuro was a half spirit. After all, her daughter Kumiko could see (and interact with) Itsue. I wonder when Zakuro’s self-awareness will catch up?
What did you think of Kei’s dad? 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!)
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 1: Prepare to be Bewitched
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 2: Crimson Brilliance
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 3: Tragic Past
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 4: Timid Distance
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 5: Sticky Trap
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 6: Onward Together
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 7: A Feline Home
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 8: Fickle Rain
- Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode 9: Joy of Love