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Yozakura Quartet (夜桜四重奏 ～ヨザクラカルテット～Yozakura Karutetto) is a Japanese manga created by Suzuhito Yasuda that began publishing by Kodansha in 2006, and was then published in the US by Del Rey in 2008. The series was animated in Japan and began airing on October 2, 2008; it comprises 12 episodes, all of which have aired. The anime was produced by Nomad and airs on TBS on Thursdays. An OVA coinciding with the 9th, 10th, and 11th manga volumes release consisted of three episodes which has also been released between October 8, 2010 and November 9, 2011.
Yozakura Quartet is Suzuhito Yasuda's first manga. Before the creation of Yozakura Quartet, he was an illustrator. He drew the original character designs for Yoshikazu Kuwashima's series Kamisama Kazoku and Ryohgo Narita's Durarara!!.
The story revolves around four teenagers; Hime, Akina, 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 yōkai co-exist with one another. 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 yōkai 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 the safety of their town. It is up to the four of them to protect the town they love.
- A sixteen year old high school girl with supernatural powers (according to the anime she is the human form of an ancient Dragon). In the manga she assumed the role of mayor of the city when she was a child after her grandmother was tuned by Akina's grandfather; in the anime, her grandmother simply died. She treasures her long scarf which was made by Akina. Her scarf was made to cover up her scar on her neck which was made by Yae Shinatsuhiko to seal most of Hime's yōkai power. In the manga, all of the townspeople including her friends had their memory of Hime being a yōkai sealed because when she was a child, she asked Yae to seal the memory so she can have a better perspective from a human's point of view and a yōkai's point of view. In chapter thirteen, everyone's memory of her being a yōkai have returned because Hime was threated and Yae had no choice to weaken the barrier.In the anime, it did not show this and everyone knew that Hime is a dragon descendant and that she is a yōkai. Hime happens to be a glutton and loves to eat noodles, especially those cooked by Akina. She is also quite sensitive about her weight; she trains using the teachings her grandmother taught her and patrols the town everyday. Hime uses her grandmother's teachings in the hopes that she will become a great mayor like her grandmother once was. She may appear harsh at times, but she has a kind heart. In the manga she uses a Lacrosse racket as her weapon, while in the anime she uses a contractible spear. In the 2008 version of the anime she has a deep friendship with Akina and Gin while in the manga and in the sequel of the anime of 2010 she doesn't know Gin and she has a crush on Akina.
- An eighteen year old young man in the employment of the city. He is the director of the Hiizumi Life Counseling Office and the only human who works there. He is able to perform "Tuning"; an ability that can send back yōkai to their world and cut off their connection to the human world. This ability can only be used by his family; the one who succeeds this ability is called oyakume. His hair grows longer whenever he uses his ability. Because of this ability, some of the yōkai view the oyakume as murderers. In the manga, Akina reveals that he can use the ability in chapter eight, although (as of volume 4) he tells everyone that he tuned Gin before the start of the series. In the anime, he is able to use Tuning from the very start.
- A fifteen year old female Satori who helps run the office and is the announcer of the town as well. She has cat ears, which she usually hides with a hat or headphones, and has the ability to read people's thoughts; she can talk to animals using this ability as well. Not only can she do both of these tasks, but she can also sense an opponents next move. She has a stronger version called "Satellite," which can read the thoughts of everyone in the city at once, though this drains a lot of her energy. In the manga, Ao happens to be a glutton like Hime but doesn't indulge very often. She has an elder brother named Gin, who went missing before the series started.
- A sixteen year old high school student who was once a human before she was possessed by a yōkai at a very young age and because of that event she became a Hanyō, half yōkai and half human. She is a Language-user (Kotodama tsukai) who can summon things when she emphasizes words. She can conjure up weapons or objects by saying one word, however there are certain objects where she needs to use a lengthy spell in order to conjure it up. She is also a gun nut which is shown in the first chapter of the manga. She once went on a vacation to Germany just to visit the Koblenz Museum of Military Technology, because of the tanks and weapons which were on display there. Kotoha is also known to be a great singer by her friends. In the manga, she admits to being a lesbian in chapter ten. This is more evident when all the other characters except Gin attend the party. Even though she wears glasses, she has said they are just for decoration. When she's mad, Kotoha tends to go a bit overboard in her fights. It is also should be noted that if she overuses her power, she can lose her voice for a while. Her last name is an alternate reading of the word "gojuon", an ordering for Hiragana, which is a play off of her abilities.
- The main antagonist. A yōkai who is determined to destroy the barrier protecting the city for unknown reasons. Later it is revealed that he has no physical body and is, in fact, possessing the body of Gin who happens to be Ao's older brother, a wolf-yōkai who was best friends with Hime and Akina. When Akina first met Enjin in the anime, he hesitates about using tuning on him because he knew that if he were to use the tuning ability not only will he send Enjin, but he will send Gin's body as well as Gin's spirit, which still lives in his body, to the yōkai world.
In July 2004, Suzuhito Yasuda was supposed to illustrate a demon manga series with someone else scripting the story, but his editor suggested that he should create an original series. In January 2005, Yasuda came up with a series called Glorious Life, a prototype for Yozakura Quartet. It was set in Sakurashin just like Yozakura Quartet, however the editor-in-chief shot it down. His editor suggested three girls and a boy as the main characters and that they could be demon hunters for hire. His editor commented that he wanted to make something similar to Charlie's Angels, which in August 2005 turned out as Yozakura Falsetto. However this too was shot down by his editor. He was told that he had a last chance to fix the series and in October 2005, his story was finally accepted. His editor told him he should change the title of his series though because it was too hard for their readers to understand, and suggested Yozakura Quartet instead of Yozakura Falsetto. The series finally began serialization in January 2006. The manga is published in the US and Canada by Del Rey Manga.
An anime adaption of the manga had aired on TBS in October 2008. The anime was produced by Nomad. The anime has been licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks and is distributed by Section23 Films. The complete collection was released March 2, 2010. On March 23, 2010, manga creator Suzuhito Yasuda announced that a new anime adaption that will start in October coinciding with the ninth volume of the manga. The cast from the first series will return for this series. The first OAV shipped on October 8, 2010, the second episode along with the 10th volume shipped on April 8, 2011, and the third episode to conclude the OVA shipped with the 11th volume on November 9, 2011.
- Anime official website
- Yozakura Quartet (manga) at ANN
- Yozakura Quartet (anime) at ANN
- Yozakura Quartet (OVA) at ANN
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