The story revolves around four teenagers; Akina, Hime, Ao, and Kotoha; each of them having their own unique abilities. They run an office called Hiizumi Life Counseling Office, where their job is to help and protect the townspeople of Sakurashin, a town where humans and youkai co-exist. The town is protected by a barrier created by the spiritual sakura known as The Seven Pillars. The Seven Pillars exist in both the human world and the youkai world and is the only thing that keeps both worlds connected to each other. However, recent bizarre incidents have occurred in their town and someone has threatened its safety. It is up to the four of them to protect the town they love.
Yozakura Quartet had five volumes published in English by Del Rey from February 26, 2008 to September 29, 2009, before the publisher became defunct. Kodansha Comics USA has taken over the license, and has been publishing the title digitally since August 2, 2016.
Ever heard of too much character development? If not, here's a nice example.
STORY: Yozakura Quartet (Rolls right off the tongue, right?) is about a quartet of teenagers (For those who don't know what quartet means, it's another word for four, but truthfully the group is actually six or seven teenagers, but that doesn't matter) consisting of three unique demon girls, Hime Yarizakura the town major, Ao Nanami who has cat ears and can read minds, Kotoha Isone who can summon things when she emphasizes words, and one human boy, Akina Hiizumi the human boy... STOP!
Now I know what you're probably thinking, that it already sounds
like the unoriginal basic set up of any typical harem story, but Yozakura amazingly dodges that bullet and is really about the daily lives of the characters, filled with action, comedy, drama, and supernatural elements that uniquely mixes a little bit of shonen and mostly slice of life elements into a slightly different style of story telling.
The characters themselves are very likable and are ripe with personality and humorous quirks with solid character build up that occurs in very chapter (Almost enough to give it a 9 instead of an 8, it's more of an 8.5).
And with a very fast paced and to the point first chapter, it makes it a very promising series to get into.
Truthfully there's actually quite a lot of character development, and it spends most of it's time doing so...
I mean thats not a bad thing per say and it shouldn't be considered one, but it gets to the point where you'd think the manga artist may have forgot about including a plot (although it is very apparent that there is one, it's just very easy to completely over look such a paper thin plot), but there is one, you just have to dig into it to actually discover one (The first story arc that makes progress in the story I mean).
This, unfortunately, robs Yozakura of a decent paced story that doesn't explain a lot of story essential elements that acur early and doesn't bother to get around to do it at any appropriate moment, keeping curious readers in the dark.
(Basically the character know something important, but doesn't care to even think about, but instead occasionally hints about it).
And really, the majority of the character development is watching the character ponder around for several chapters, literally looking at them live their daily lives, you'll even feel like you're eavesdropping on the characters rather than reading an actual story (I mean really,one chapter is focused on one character's entire daily routine, from getting up out of bed in the morning to watching them go back to sleep).
The result ending up making said early events not making any sense as the story continues on at a snails pace with it's characters go about their daily routines.
ART: Complementing the characters personalities are well thought out and stylish character designs (As a bonus to anyone who are into Durarara, this manga is created by the same artist who made Durarara's character designs) and overall very detailed and clean artwork.
The only glaring flaws are easily mistakable assumptions that can make some think the characters are typical archtypes (Like tsundere or moe), and some of the most laziest monster designs that you'll ever see and laugh at.
+ Great fleshed out characters to be interested in.
+ Excellent art and stylish character designs.
- Spends too much time on character development and pondering.
- Slow story, and slower development on everything else.
Yozakura Quartet gives you plenty of reasons to be interested in the characters, unfortunately it does seem to forget that a good paced story is required to help keep ones interest.
However, to me it is charming enough to keep me very interested (And enough reason to grade enjoyment an eight), and I would recommend sticking around for at least ten chapters as it slowly starts to develop an actual ongoing story and for you to deceide if you become interested in it like I have.