In a town where humans and demons co-exist, it takes more than a normal police force to maintain the peace. Enter the Hiizumi Life Counseling Office, a fantastic foursome of unique teenagers, each gifted with an amazing super power!
The Yozakura Quartet franchise has been an odd ball in the mix. Some classifies it as a supernatural comedy while others sees it as a fun series with shounen battles featuring a diverse cast of characters. While the series itself doesn’t venture too far or drag like long term battle shounen series, it does take some patience to get used to. Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta is one prominent example of where it’ll take more than patience to get through the show. It’ll take endurance to get yourself familiar with the themes. Once you do, you might find a little charm in this show. As
far as that goes, Yozakura Quartet still is like a stinger on a bee that might not always work out right.
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta is a brand new anime series based off of the manga of the same name. The series stands out on its own so it’s not completely necessary to watch the previous seasons or OVAs. Tatsunoko Production adapts the season that has its long history of animation production tracing back to the 1960s. Their more recent works such as Gatchaman Crowds also adapts supernatural themes into a modern life setting where everything seems normal at first; that is until the extraordinary strikes into the core of the story.
Bizarre may be interpreted as an overrated word for a show like this but it never escapes as the way it describes its style.
The story begins exactly as such in a bizarre way involving fish tanks, pigeons, and something we might be more familiar with – youkai. The way it sets it up makes viewers confused at first. This is especially true for viewers coming completely fresh into the show without expectations. What follows later makes more sense as we see other characters jumping into the problem and resolving it in their own little ways. They even get their rewards too such as enjoying the Sakura Festival. Because hey, we all need a break to enjoy ourselves after a day of hard work.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Yozakura franchise, one key factor to consider would be the diversity of its characters. Among the center of its cast are four main characters by the names of Akina, Hime, Ao, and Kotoha. While they seem normal at first with their teenager like outlooks, all of them have supernatural abilities. Not only that but one of them, Hime Yarizakura, stands as the protector of their city Sakurashin. Because youkai co-exists with humans, one should expect danger at all times as nothing is considered ordinary. For Hime, she plays the role of a guardian/mayor and the anti-thesis of a frail girl. She charges into the face of danger and puts others before herself. In one instance, she even tries to escape the hospital despite being injured. In her mind, it’s her duty and responsibility to protect the people she loves.
It’s not a surprise that most of the main female characters defies the typical fragile girl trope either. It’s bizarre since most of them are teenagers and aren’t fully matured yet, or at least at the age of the adolescence stage. Even bystanders at some cases that gets indirectly involved with the youkai displays some of their tendencies to help others. It’s bizarre to see on various levels with the fact that youkai are a threat to its citizens of the city yet people are willing to risk their lives. Normally in supernatural series, you would see people rushing away from scenes of danger. In Yozakura, it’s the opposite way around. But as much as fun as the series goes with its whole supernatural themes, it still falls under the typical story involving teenagers obtaining powers in a generic setting. Antagonists are stereotypical with their own ideologies and causing menace to the city’s people. Their physical appearances also reflects their actions that speaks louder than words. Although it sparks some interest at first, they can become dull as the story goes on with limited exploration of their character backgrounds or origins. It also opens up the fact that their lack of personalities gives them a hollow part to the main story. The resolution to most conflicts literally turns a villain into an ally that becomes repetitive to comprehend. While it stands out as a justification for their actions, there’s limited amount of characterization afterwards. On other hand, Akina Hiizumi is perhaps one character that has some depth with his own conditional way of thinking such as concepts involving destiny. Unfortunately, the majority of the characters in the show still lacks dynamics. The male characters are also portrayed as jokes on various occasions such as Kyousuke Kishi thanks to his powers.
If you’re into the story, the series does go into depth with some of its concepts. In between are some episodes that may feel a bit repetitive or oddly paced. The series itself is also only 13 episodes (one cour) but surprisingly adapts quite a lot of material from the manga in the form of packages/arcs. Along with adaptation, it even manages to insert various comedy scenes too to raise attention. While it doesn’t overly express fan service, the series doesn’t avoid with the pool outdoors. On the other hand, it sticks to its themes fairly well with the supernatural features. Although the story is predictable on various occasions, it can still be surprisingly entertaining thanks to its fluid action scenes and energy. On a more technical scale however, the story sometimes lacks details in terms of explanation. It also neglects a serious atmosphere on most occasions despite the dangers of the youkai. Perhaps the amount of energy the show possesses is too much for the story to stands for itself. Hime is just one prominent example but other characters also pours their ebullience to reflect its atmosphere. A mixed bag is also the comedy – some of them oddly coordinated while others works out quite well to make its point. This usually involves the character interactions, dialogues, and in general the way they play their parts in the story. While some characters don’t stand out as much as the others, comic relief is a prevalence of the franchise and is executed decently. Get ready to grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the laughs.
Artwork is not a prominent factor but does play a key theme to reflect its style. It’s important for the show to depict its supernatural themes. Surprisingly enough, it did pull it off in that fashion. Youkai are designed not only with otherworldly features but also giving their malevolent appearances. None of them looks the same and offers a diversity of characteristics. The way the antagonists are designed also conveys their efforts well. On the other hand, fan service sometimes gets in the way as female characters are characterized with more sexuality than they should be. The background textures also seems average as nothing stands out as extraordinary or noticeable. Hime on the other hand has that noticeable scarf wrapped around her neck with a more definite meaning.
The soundtrack is solid for most parts. The OST performs well mostly during its action scenes but fades in the background during more of the calm scenes. There are some emotional scenarios in the series as well and the soundtrack reflects its mood consistently. However, it lacks the concept of originality with portraying shounen battle sequences. Cheesy dialogues are inserted in during fight scenes while the whole stereotypical laughs from the antagonists are echoed in the air. The OP song is quite catchy with its presentation and the memorable “lalalala” that once again reflects its comedic mood. And as I mentioned before, there is a diverse cast of characters so each of them should reflect a different sense of tone in their voice mannerisms. Most of the characters has their standards met. Hime in particular stands out with her tone as a girl with responsibility. Kotoha Isone is also a character to take notice of because of her ability that relies on words itself that are spoken. On most parts, the soundtrack and voices works out right but nothing earth shattering.
In the end, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta is one of those series that will strike out as bizarre yet appreciable. There’s that word again but it fits with the show right with its story, character, themes, and overall presentation. I won’t say this show is for everyone but shounen fans should definitely appreciate the style. The comedy can be appreciating with the drama and diversity of characters. On the other hand, some of the story itself feels blend or weak at various points. Its lack of character development sometimes makes the shows feels like it’s just another battle shounen on occasions. However, the energy will envelop and sucks you with its style in its Yozakurish way.
I'll write a brief review on this one (Spoiler Free). Hana no Uta is a reboot of the original Yozakura Quartet, and in my honest opinion, you can't enjoy the reboot to its fullest without watching its predecessor, you'll miss important character information and maybe some bits of the story that might make you enjoy this one a lot better.
I'll say the original was definitely not that good, the story was interesting but poorly managed and the characters could have been developed a lot better. And oh boy have they fixed it in Hana no Uta, besides the different takes with the art style and
the more common comical gags (and panty shots!), which were great additions, the series has become enormously better and more entertaining.
Why am I giving a 7 here? Because the story just felt rushed. The story is great, it is interesting and has plenty of options and directions to go from, but in 13 episodes there was barely any time to extend it and have those last questions answered (even though it had a good ending).
The characters had time for proper development this time, and this increased the story's value by tons. The past of Akina's and Hime's families were explained, and a lot of other backstories that I thought were missing in the original run of Yozakura.
My only complaint would be that 13 episodes (mostly the last ones) were too rushed, I wanted the story to keep going, and the last episodes to be explained better and not feel so rushed. They leave us with questions at the end, it actually feels like Enjin has to wait on the producers to put his plan to action. I don't know if any continuation to the story is coming or not, but I really hope so.
The art style is beautiful, the characters look stunning as well as the colouring. Action scenes did flow better than I expected and all the facial expressions were top notch imo, in comical moments as well as in serious ones. It might be a matter of taste, but for me it more than deserves this score.
Sound isn't my strong point. I found both the opening and ending songs amazing, the ED will give me nostalgia moments in the future for sure, it's just a great song. The OST felt fitting and in place, there isn't much more I can say about it.
The characters were already great in the original, but lacked stories behind them, well it's all fixed now. Everything's likeable about them, and this time you can follow their stories throughout the episodes. The reason I'm not giving them a 9 is because some of the stories felt rushed, like I mentioned above, doesn't make them any less good though.
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta works as a comedy, a slice of life and an action anime, when you put all of them together and it works, what's not to like? This is definitely worth the watch, I recommend it to anyone who's looking for a heart warming, funny and action filled story. If you watched the original, don't hold back, this one is a lot better and you will not regret it. If you didn't watch it before the reboot, you should, there's still important information in the original that transitions into the reboot without proper explanation in the latter.
Yozakura Quartet. The quartet of the night cherry blossoms. What a resonating name.
This is another one of those shows that started off with a bang. Nekomimi girl with pantsu shot? Check. Randomly appearing huge goldfish? Check. All that crazy spiced up with a dash of ecchi. Yummy. I am one of strong believers that the start and the end of an anime are the two most important parts to get right. After all, if you don't get episode 1 just right, you're gonna lose viewers. If you don't get the final episode right, you leave a sour taste in everyone's mouth. So there's that. Yozakura
Quartet. Great title. Epic start.
Characters were like-able right off the bat. You have the tsundere main girl who literally hums a tsundere song, sports a long-ass scarf for image which scores +1 in my book, don't know if it will in yours though, and kicks ass with a stick/spear/lacross racket. You have that usually-quiet, laid back main guy who actually secretly gives a shit. And a bunch of interesting side casts like nekomimi girl, oni girl, well-endowed glasses girl etc. Great eye-candy if your a guy.
Sound was awesome for me. Like it could be all-peaceful and stuff, and then WHING WHANG WONG the action just ESCALATES out of thin air. It's the kind of in your face music and sound effect that I really like.
Overall, my only complaint it that it's too bloody short and I couldn't get enough of it. So what the hell are you doing reading this bullshit? Get off your rockers and watch it now.
Man, this show has everything: a vibrant art style, a sufficiently interesting premise, a diverse cast of characters, a series of pulse-pounding action scenes with fluid animation, a good mix of humor, and of course, a healthy amount of fanservice. So need I say more about this show when it seemingly has everything good going for it? For the sake of a longer review, I do.
Think of it this way. In reference to the title, a “quartet” can only pull off a beautiful performance when all four musicians play in sync with each other, complementing each other’s melodies to create the perfect harmony. It is
not about one musician playing exceptionally better than the rest. Everyone has to make compromises and work together to get the perfect sound. The same idea holds true for anime as well, in that it doesn’t matter how beautiful the art is, how profound the story is, or how interesting the characters are; if these components do not mesh well together you risk getting a bland mishmash of an anime that just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And that is exactly how I feel about Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta.
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta struggles to figure out its identity
The show struggled mightily to find the perfect balance between all the different genres it tried to be: at times it tried to be a serious fighting anime, other times a shoujo romance anime, and sometimes a lighthearted slice-of-life anime. Not to mention, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta was only a 1-cour, so the director didn’t have a lot of space to work with. As a result, I was questioning the identity of the show throughout because the show just felt like an awkward mix of genres that the director was trying to force to come together.
The starkly different pacing between shounen and slice-of-life anime not only messed up the pacing of the plot progression, but also messed with the “rhythm” of the show, especially towards the later episodes. Even in the midst of the fast-paced action during fighting scenes, slow-paced dialogues and tension-breaking humor would completely ruin my immersion to the whole scene. For example, for every little bit of fighting that went on there would be some sort of flashback about the villain or character in question. When the fight could have been over in about five minutes or so, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta managed to draw the fight out to almost a full episode or two instead, showing long flashbacks that didn’t really add anything new to the characters or the villains. Yozakura no Quartet: Hana no Uta pulled no such miracles in terms of striking the perfect balance between several genres, and the inconsistent pacing that came about as a result broke my immersion to the show.
There is a severe mismatch between the amount of fighting and the villain’s purpose
The show also had trouble trying to match its flashy action to a meaningful purpose. Every single villain that appeared in this show, except the main villain, had laughably trivial goals. The main villain was the only typical villain that wanted to achieve some form of “world domination”; the rest of the villains pursued explicitly personal interests that were as minor as wanting to reunite with a long lost sibling. And simply because of the fact that these personal interests involved our main protagonists in some way, there would be an “epic” showdown between the protagonists and the villains. As a result, there was a severe mismatch between the excessive amount of action and the triviality of the villain’s goals. The villains rightfully seemed menacing and intimidating when they were first introduced. However, once their goals were revealed, I skipped almost the entire arc and all of its beautifully animated fighting sequences because the end result was painfully obvious.
There is hardly any time for character development
With the story rushing right along and the fight sequences taking up the majority of the show’s screen time, there is hardly any space left for character development. With a relatively large cast of characters, I was expecting a more character-driven plot with developments primarily focused on our main protagonists. Instead, the priority of the show goes mostly into fighting and exploring the backstory of the villains more so than the protagonists. Additionally, for each arc the focus of the character developments are on the secondary characters rather than the main protagonists, so there can be a loss of immersion because most viewers want to learn about the protagonists they always see on screen more so than secondary characters that appear in just a couple of episodes.
What also hurt the character developments was the rather lukewarm development of romantic relationships between certain characters. Especially in a 1-cour anime with barely enough room to fit in a bunch of fighting scenes and character developments, the romance felt pretty random and unnecessary (even if it was just staying faithful to the original work).
Now, after having said so many harsh things about the show, would I still recommend Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta? Absolutely. I was not at all being sarcastic when I said that this show had everything. The art style is modern, young, flowery, and captivating; the premise is something we have already seen before but with a slightly different and interesting take; the fighting animations were exciting to look at, despite the large amount of fight sequences throughout the season and both OVAs; and finally, the humor was spot on for most of the show and the panty shots (and other forms of fanservice) were not too “in-your-face” about it.
However, my main complaint was that even with all these individually promising components, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta had a difficult time combining said components in a way that works. Just like how it is difficult to mess up a dish with Grade A ingredients, the director took great components of this show and just failed to add the right amount of spices. Regardless, the show deserves some attention for being one of the better reboots to a series and deserves credit for all of its positive aspects.
Fan service is not only about boobs and butts. There's also legs! They may be under-appreciated but they are just as good if not better. Let's help promote them by taking this time to appreciate their flawlessness!