Zakuro 9, Soredemo 8

It looked at first that Otome Youkai Zakuro 9 was going to be another silly filler episode in a series that is running low on episodes, but at the end they toss a little surprise.

A Kokkuri is a sort of manifestation of maidenly thoughts of love. One’s been going around freaking people out. Hanadate requests Spirit Affairs investigate. This is fine for the annoying servants, as this means attracting it and then asking embarrassing questions, such as “Who does Zakuro love?” With all the characters sort of paired up but not at the romance point, you can imagine how they feel about it. And I’m thinking “Just great. They’re running low on episodes and they’re going to waste another one.”

The trouble with the Kokkuri is that they can’t get rid of it with their usual magic. The thing is not a spirit. So the new plan is to find the thing and say a few false words of woo in its presence. I was not getting any happier with this episode by now. I understand it’s a romantic show as well as an magical-adventure one, but I saw no need for characters to say they love each other when they might not. Story-wise, what’s the point? But I hadn’t counted on Hanadate inviting himself along.

In the end, it’s Hanadate, whom Zakuro gets all blushy about, who says the words of love to Zakuro. Zakuro says them back, and the Kokkuri vanishes. Hanadate adds the zinger. “I’m a poor liar,” implying that his words were the truth. Naturally Kei gets depressed. He shouldn’t be. He tried to say the words but Zakuro stopped him because she didn’t want him to say something he might not mean, suggesting she takes their relationship seriously. She had no problem with herself saying words to a different person. And I’m still thinking that they’re wasting too much time with all this until the ending, where we learn something about Hanadate that we didn’t know before that brings the story arc right back into the mix. So I guess it’s okay. But they’re still running out of time …

Both stories in Soredemo Machi ma Wamatteiru 8 are pretty good. The first one is more of the silly time-wasting type. In the second one, stuff happens.

The girls are stranded and drenched outside a laundromat. Hey! Let’s dry our clothes in here. No one will come while there’s a downpour, right? So of course you expect that someone will. Possibly that cop. But no, they dry their clothes and hang out. They try out the weird vending machines and say a lot of pointless things (apart from Hotori’s splendid question about weathermen having batting averages. You know, they should). Nothing more to it. But it’s done well enough. Some shows can get away with nothing but aimless banter.

The only problem in the second story is the lack of surprise. The girls want to participate in the school festival, Futaba has a slot in the performance section, but no band. Anyone who’s watched the end credits knows that when Hotori says she can play a keyboard instrument and Toshiko knows a stringed instrument knows they don’t mean organ and guitar. A joke in episode 8 was given away at the end of episode 1. Never mind. The rest is good fun.

Sounds about right.

They add some stuff about practicing in the cafe, and they work the nonexistant Toshiko/Sanada romance angle, and waiting backstage, but then they go out and perform. … And they’re pretty good. The song works with their odd instruments, the lyrics are nice and snarky, and the crowd loves them. My favorite line “This song’s a little too hipster for me.” What’s more, the girls are having fun. For one of the few times in the series with no overall story line, or even a story, characters set out to do something and then actually do it. They really ought to keep the band together.

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