Yozakura Quartet ~ Hoshi no Umi ~ OVA

Yozakura Quartet was a nice, safe, pleasant little supernatural action-dramedy that aired two falls ago. It had an endearing core of vibrant characters with diverse powers, but it never seemed to reach its full potential. This new Yozakura Quartet OVA exhibits that same promise, and even though the episode is mostly reintroducing the gang and building things up, it’s hard to overlook how beautifully made this OVA is.

The animators clearly stepped up their game, as they render both humdrum slice-of-life scenes as lovingly and expertly as combat scenes where all hell breaks loose, while faces and bodies move very fluidly. Similarly, the chemistry between characters and the excellent voicework hasn’t skipped a beat even after a two-year hiatus.

With so many different interpretations of “youkai” anime of late, Yozakura seems the most down to earth: youkai basically all look just like humans, and the town is a place where there’s a delicate balance. But Yozakura also never lets you forget how terrifyingly powerful and destructive a normally mild-mannered, cute youkai girl can become if manipulated by those who wish to stir up trouble. There’s at least one more episode to see if the OVA can best its predecessor. This was a great start, and I see no reason as of yet to believe it won’t. Rating: 4

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