• Titles: Otome Yokai Zakuro, Girl Demon Zakuro
  • Genre: Action, historical, supernatural, yokai, romance, magical girl
  • Episodes: 13
  • Studio: J.C. Staff


Kei Agemaki is the perfect guy. He’s kind and generous and ever so handsome. Despite his resplendent golden hair, he’s a humble Japanese boy who respects his ancestors and loves his country. And he likes cats. Did I mention that? Guys who like cats are immediately 30% more attractive.  He’s a rising military star who has just been assigned to the spirit bureau to handle the most complicated and dangerous cases in the country. And even the spirits can’t help but to fall for this guy. Except for for Zakuro that is. She can see right through him. She knows he’s just a big wuss. What’s so great about that.

This anime has two titles. I’ve seen it simply as Zakuro or as the longer Otome Yokai Zakuro. I actually had only seen that latter one until recently and assumed the show was a reverse harem. Because otome.. obviously it had to be a game adaptation, right? With Yokai!!! Wrong, it’s not. Also, otome actually means maiden and not dating sim…who knew? Everyone except me? OK then….

… hi …

Production

Otome Yokai Zakuro looks a little dated. Actually, let me go check when it came out. 2010, I see. I should clarify what I mean by dated. I don’t mean Zakuro looks bad, because it doesn’t. In fact, the characters look 👌. Hopefully, this emoji will show up.

However, it’s an art style that was a lot more popular some years ago. How can I describe it? Everything is long. The characters are long, with long legs, long eyes and very long and pointy noses. The girls are a bit more rounded off, because that’s cuter, but compared to more contemporary titles, they’re still a bit long. Also, the colours look all faded. As such you get the impression that it’s not a recent show.

That’s not actually a bad thing, mind you. What could be seen as more of a flaw is the backgrounds. Like I  said, the character designs are great but I  found d the backgrounds a bit disappointing. There were plenty of opportunities to create very elaborate or just strikingly unusual backgrounds but most environments look very plain and they repeat a lot.

see this background??? You’re gonna see it a lot

Story & Characters

Zakuro is not a reverse harem. It’s not a harem at all although it does have some things in common with one. Namely a whole bunch of characters falling in love(?). There are two pairs and a potential thruple that form during the series. That’s a whole lot of lurve to cram into 13 episodes and if you are a fan of traditional romance then Zakuro has got you covered.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you guys, I was a little bored by the romance. That’s more of a personal issue than any fault of the show. It was pretty cute and generally healthy in the way it showed relationships so I have to commend it for that. Well except for all the incest at the end there…we’ll get to that. It’s not shown as romantic.

This said, even for those who like me are too immature to appreciate a fine tale of love, there is a whole lot of action in Zakuro to keep you busy. And feet.. A lot of focused shots of feet. Very Tarantino of them.

You could see Zakuro as kind of a classic magical girl show. Zakuro and her friends are half spirits and therefore have certain special powers that allow them and only them to fight other spirits. They fight with sakura branches they keep in their garters and chant this really cool song whenever they go into combat mode. It’s clearly a magical girl transformation sequence even though they don’t actually change their appearance in any way.

the backgrounds change though

As for the boys…well they’re sort of decorative. Most magical girl shows have love interests for their characters, at least the ones that have male characters at all. It’s just that we don’t usually see them all that often. In Zakuro they are front and center the whole time, being all handsome and kind and stuff. 

And that’s about it. Oh wait, I  said I would get to the incest. There’s a pretty dramatic ramp-up in stakes that takes place in the last three episodes. For me, it was just short of a shark jump. Things got really dramatic and a bit cuckoo all at once. Let’s just say your mileage may vary. There’s always been a melodramatic or operatic side to the genre, and some people quite like that. Let’s just say that for my part, I found the action engaging but I  could have used less incest and the mother’s story was a bit too tragic. It got sort of funny for me because they were laying it on so thick. But otherwise, I thought the pacing and suspense surrounding the ending were well done.

Even though I personally thought Zakuro was a pretty standard magical girl show just with Yokai, I also realized that it had been years since I had seen one that wasn’t just torturing the characters the whole time. It was pretty refreshing to see a straightforward application of the genre and as far as I’m concerned, pretty enjoyable too.

I don’t think Zakuro is a must-see show but I do think it’s a pretty good maho shoujo if you’re looking for one!

You might like this anime if:

You want to watch an action-packed romance with a touch of magic

My favourite character:

Sir Ganryu and the twins as a unit. I would love for them to get their own show. They won’t…

Suggested drink:

The St. Ignatius Cocktail

  • Every time Kei sparkles – take a sip
  • Every time Zakuro gets mad – duck
  • Every time Susuki blushed at Riken – oh my…
  • Every time Kei gets scared – gasp!
  • Every time the twins tease sir Ganryu – take a sip
  • Every time anyone laughs at Kei – take a sip
  • Every time Mamezou calls someone Big Guy – take a sip
  • Every time you see a sakura branch – duck again, maybe hide behind the sofa
  • Every time Zakuro has her hair in a ponytail – nice!
  • Every time the kids wanna play – take a sip
  • Every time any of the girls gets cat eyes – get ready
  • Every time anyone says “Jesuit” – take an appropriate sip
  • Every time the Tanuki girls sow up – take a sip
  • Every time anyone is barefoot – worry
  • Every time we see Zakuro’s mom – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

12 thoughts

  1. When you said the characters were long all I thought about was the Vision of Escaflowne. I love that show. Beautiful piece of 90s anime. I know it’s off topic, but I wanted to say it.

  2. Yes! This was such a good maho shojo anime! It’s cute, there’s yokai girls with fox ears, there’s dapper gents in uniforms, and it’s in the Taisho era! My favorite! The twins were also my favorite characters, I would love to see a spin off focusing on them.

  3. I really liked the show. I thought the setting was well executed, with the recent Westernisation driving traditional youkai into a corner, and out protagonists being neither human nor spirit, so really having no place (a common anime trope that). I think my favourite episode was Zakuro meeting the parents; there was so much packed into it, and our male protag remains oblvious to the end. There were other really cute scenes, too, as the sudden game of guess the twin, when they realised he was calling them by their names… casually, and the resulting delight when they realised he really could tell them apart.

    As for the ending: I hear it was anime original, and as for it being overly dramatic, well, the writer’s Mari Okada… It worked well enough for me: no shark jumping for me, though definitely a drop in quality.

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