Yozakura Quartet ~ Hoshi no Umi ~ 03

We here at RABUJOI seem to have a knack for coming out with extraordinarily late OVA reviews. Case in point: this third and final part of the Hoshi no Umi trilogy aired back in November. Oh well, no anime blog is perfect…except The Perfect Anime Blog, of course.

This segment picks up right where part two left off: Kotoha’s utterly spent, but Zakuro’s just as powerful and evil as ever, and Rin is now in her clutches. The finale lacks the complete visual insanity that always accompanies the exhibition of Kotoha’s talents, but it still possessed a truly electric atmosphere; an irresistable energy that comes with everyone working together as a team, bouncing off of walls, and bounding across rooftops. The multi-vector attack and pursuit of Zakuro is stirring and expertly wrought, though her lines could be a little more inspiring (she mostly just yells ‘Shut up!’).

But while Demon Zakuro vows to kill every single human in the town (all 2,040 of them), she’s disappointed to find they’ve all been evacuated, so it’s pretty much a matter of chasing her until she gets tired and bringing her down. Neither is an easy feat, but the Quartet and their supporting crew are more than up to the challenge. That is, after Hime has a minute-long inner conflict (which Kyousuke even times). There’s also a very funny scene with everyone falling from an under-construction skyscraper and offering to cushion everyone else’s fall until they all fall on a giant cushion conjured by Kotoha on the ground, ending the debate.

So Rin is saved, the evil is drawn out of Zakuro, and everyone gets back to their happy lives. And it’s the little mayor’s job to keep ’em happy, along with the rest of the town. And now we move Yokazura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi into the “Completed” category.

Rating: 3.5

Sket Dance – 36

In the first half, Himeko breaks her beloved Cyclone defending the weak from bullies. After giving it a proper burial, she goes to the store to find a new one. Switch and Bossun tag along and are of little help until the latter finds the real manager tied up in a locker. Himeko grabs the first stick in reach to incapacitate the store robber, and decides to ‘stick with it’. The second half chronicles Himeko’s past as a tomboy new to Tokyo. She befriends Arisa Kanou and vows to protect her from a gang of bullies, but Kanou has been stringing her along; she’s the ringleader. Himeko loses it and trashes the gang with her hockey stick.

This episode’s first half was a pleasant enough diversion (Himeko’s intricate knowledge of hockey sticks was pretty funny), but we’re really suckers for Serious Sket Dance. We still consider Switch’s two-part story one of the best, along with the Bossun’s crush and the Windowbreaker caper. This week it’s Himeko’s turn to get some flashbacks, and look, she bleaches her hair! But even back then, she was willing to stand up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Only problem is, the person she’s standing up for – Arisa Kanou – turns out to be a stone-cold Bitch.

Arisa is a rich girl who pays off the bullies to make school life more peaceful. But that also means she looks the other way while the gang preys on other weaklings. Arisa resents what she perceives as Himeko’s arrogance and throws her concern back in her face. In response to this shocking betrayal, something awakens in Himeko. She lays waste to the gang, leaving Arisa cowering in the corner, for real this time. On one hand, it was righteous, but on the other, we were dismayed things had to turn out so sour…like a Pelocan. No peace in Himeko’s time.

Rating: 4

Yozakura Quartet ~ Hoshi no Umi ~ OVA 2

Ye gods, the first YQ OVA was pretty damn gorgeous in its own right, but this next one took the pretty visuals up to eleven. The character design is downright bangin’, the combat is as creative as it is lyrical, and the stakes for the town of Sakurashin have also been raised. Rin has become the puppet of the one who originally took her in, Zakuro. She’s under the control of Enjin, and has turned bad. She’s come to claim Rin back, but the YQ won’t let her have her without a fight.

And what a fight. Hime chasing her across rooftops was fancy enough, just as Yae’s awesome little battle in the first OVA. But the bulk of the fighting was done by everyone’s favorite half-youkai, Kotoha, who simply puts on a clinic of conjuring, sending, among other things, thousands of B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers, an Airbus A380 Superjumbo, and a bunker buster into Zakuro’s summoned earth golem. I can’t overstate how sweet animation for this fight was.

But it was all for naught, as Rin finally surrenders herself to Zakuro in order to forestall future killing. But despite being momentarily touched by the gesture, Zakuro isn’t her own boss, and Enjin soups her up into an even more powerful killing machine, who promises to wipe out every single life in the town. While I’m confident Hime and the rest of the YQ will be able to deal, we won’t find out how until OVA #3. Rating: 4