Animated by J.C. Staff, which translates to “screw the plot; here comes fan service.” Directed by Kon Chiaki, who is a bit famous for her debut work at Higurashi but the rest of her roster is one big failure. Nothing to see here, go home, Zakuro is yet another fantasy romcom for girls and just like the bulk of its kind, it is generic, far-fetched and uninspired.
The story is about humans cooperating with half-monsters against other monsters, as part of cultural understanding. And since this is a fan caring show, the human military officers don’t look like unshaved macho brutes oozing testosterone, but as fashion model gays. And the half-monsters don’t look like ferocious hairy beasts but as cute girls with animal ears; the stuff otaku wet dreams are made of. This is how realistic this show is.
But I am not going to condemn it for being good at what it aims (making the viewer escape reality). It’s the very own core elements that are taken as a joke and end up alienating any viewer who is not fooled into liking a show just because it has gays and nekomimis. For example, the core theme of the series is racism and how two different species need to understand one another if they are to cooperate better. Yet it is done very superficially to matter in the long run. I mean, who in the audience would REALLY hate these cuties just because they have animal ears? And to the most part they don’t even act any different that normal Japanese people, so what is the problem in understanding them? The very internal struggle of the story is not convincing or even captivating; it is just a silly excuse to pair cutties with hotties. I mean the show ends and nothing changed at all; it even feels like a typical harem finale.
So ok, the story sucks. How about the action? They are after all teaming up to take out dangerous monsters. Well no, not even that is good since the battles are short and way too simple. They just sing a silly song or the monsters are way too stupid and fall for juvenile tricks. Plus, it’s the girls doing all the work, while the males are just standing idle and looking all dazed with how cute they girls are. So they are practically useless in this otherwise teamwork.
Ok, the action sucks too. How about the characters? They all look different and there are several flashbacks showing the ill treatment the girls received in the past, which indeed works as character coloring on a basic level. Well no, they all end up being very shallow, besides Zakuro for having HALF THE SHOW centered on her. All the rest of the girls don’t have any side story of their own and the males are just idle spectators. Everybody ends up being defined by a sexual fetish, which in effect makes them all boring caricatures. As fan catering as other shows like Elfen Lied or Ouran High School may have been, each character there would start as a fetish but along the way would receive a unique side story that would set him apart from the rest. This does not happen here at all; they all go through the exact same events and have very similar simplistic backgrounds, so they only end up being the same character with different looks.
So ok, the characters suck too. How about the romance? It has a taboo pairing of humans with half-breeds so it must be good. No it isn’t. The so-called romance is very forced and shallow as all we see them doing is being paired by their superiors in the first episode. Well where is the romance if they didn’t chose their partner or fell in love with him/her BEFORE being paired? They could have being paired any other way and the result would be the same thus there is no actual love here. As for the evolution of their relationship later on, it doesn’t exist since Zakuro is the only one who has a story to begin with.
So ok, the romance sucks. How about the production values? I must say that the artwork and animation are well done for such a show, as everything looks like a dreamy setting, blending a retro look of Japan, along with fantasy and even occult. The use of colors and lighting is done great and you really feel woozy when they are fooling around and anxious when they go chase some monster. Plus the characters are all drawn from the stuff of wet dreams so it helps to keep your eyes open. The thing that is bad is the action scenes which are plain horrible in terms of duration and choreography. The music part is not so good as the soundtrack is passable pop songs and some voices may feel to annoying from time to time. Otherwise, not bad in itself.
As you can tell from the above, I didn’t enjoy Zakuro much. It was all too basic and superficial. I also don’t give this show any value as it is so generically executed, not even the target audience will be interested for long and will forget it as soon as the next fan catering anime pops up.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 0/3, Characters 0/4