The town of Sakurashin is one of the few places where humans and youkai can coexist in relative harmony, but unfortunately, its location on the cusp of the two worlds also makes it a magnet for trouble. That’s where Akina, Hime, Ao and Kotoha come in- four teenagers with special powers who are also charged with keeping the peace. Together with their allies, these four pit themselves against all the forces who seek to disrupt the town, but even their combined talents aren’t proof against the revelation that their greatest enemy wears an all too familiar face.
Since I don’t seem to have learned my lesson about watching anime for purely superficial reasons (hey, it does pay off sometimes), I was drawn to Yozakura Quartet simply because I had seen a calendar displaying its distinctive artwork. Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, the series itself proved to be a classic case of style over substance.
Sticking with the standard ‘teens with super powers fight demons’ storyline, Yozakura Quartet has little to offer in the way of originality; the characters are insipid, the storylines are forgettable, and by the end you can’t really pinpoint what you got out of the series. Even the main plot, which had the potential to prove at least vaguely worthy, turns out to be repetitive and irritating as our heroes angst over having to fight a demon that has possessed their former best friend. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that powerful God Mode beings are always watching from the sidelines- even though the rules prevent them from interfering, it does remove any sense of jeopardy from the series.
Similarly, although mildly likable, the characters are hardly anything to write home about. We have Akina, the bland male lead with destined powers; Hime, the stoic mayor with hidden vulnerabilities; Ao, the immature cat girl and Kotoha, the laid-back half-demon who can create things with her words (a rather ridiculous power considering that with a little imagination, she could basically do anything with it). Add to that an equally uninspiring supporting cast, and you have the full grouping of standard anime personalities, none of which ever threaten to break out of their moulds.
Visually, Yozakura Quartet has the distinctive, angular designs that first drew me to the series, ensuring attractive designs even if the animation budget itself isn’t particularly well endowed. The background music attempts to be cool and edgy, but it isn’t particularly worthy of note.
A classic case of style over substance, Yozakura Quartet may have some nice character designs, but in all other regards it falls sadly short of expectations. Unless you like wasting your hours with bland, disappointing material, give this one a miss.