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Sakura-Shinmachi, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan. The one town where humans and Youkai can coexist. The gateway between this world and the Otherworld, the dimension from which youkai originally came. Protecting the town are Hime, Sakura-Shinmachi's superpowered high school girl mayor, and Akina, an "ordinary human" who holds the power to send youkai back to the other dimension and runs the Hiizumi Life Counseling Office to help keep them in this one. Along with their friends — the employees of the Life Counseling Office, mind-reading satori Ao and the embodier of words, Kotoha; Kyousuke, Hime's oni assistant, and Touka, Kyousuke's little sister — they protect the town from threats both external and much closer to home. In between hanging out like normal teenagers and eating copious amounts of ramen. Helping out are Yae, the nun-outfitted katana-wielding Land Goddess of Sakura-Shinmachi; her older brother Yuuhi, the dirty old man in a young boy's body Land God/Mayor of Setagaya Ward; his cosplaying immortal assistant, Mariabelle, and Juri, the nurse-outfitted youkai doctor idol of Sakura-Shinmachi. Yozakura Quartet is full of deep characterization, puzzle-piece plots, slice-of-life comedy, and more heartwarming moments than you can shake a stick at.
Debut manga of Yasuda Suzuhito, character designer of Kamisama Kazoku, Devil Survivor and Durarara. Serialized in Monthly Shounen Sirius since 2006. Received an anime adaption in 2008. The anime went into production when the manga was on its second volume, making in the anime and manga different enough that Suzuhito encouraged people to think of them as separate and enjoy them both on their own merits.
Provides examples of:
- A Bloody Mess: Kyousuke accidentally crushes a tomato thrown to him unawares, when he has his Power Limiter off, covering his hand in red. Almost immediately after he's asked if he wants to hold a baby. Cue seeing the stains still on his hand and a sudden freak-out.
- Action Girl: Hime, Kotoha, Touka, Yae, Juri.
- A Day in the Limelight: Several.
- The "Walking Pilgrimage" arc focuses on Yuuhi and Yae's arrival in Sakura-Shinmachi some 200 years ago and their decision to become local Land Gods, and how Mariabelle came to serve Yuuhi. It also explains the source and cause of felling along the way.
- The opening chapter to the "Hana no Uta" arc focused on Juri's history and her reasons for coming to the town.
- The "Separately" arc is composed largely of different secondary and minor characters getting their own limelight chapters.
- Adventure Towns: Sakura-shinmachi.
- Alertness Blink: Right there in the OVA opening.
- Alliterative Name: Kyosuke Kishi
- Ambiguously Brown: Zakuro in the OVA.
- Another Dimension: The Otherworld, the dimension from which the youkai came and where Akina's power send them back to. And which Enjin's power of "dropping" can draw things from.
- Badass Abnormal: Half-youkai by definition, being normal people who gained powers after struck by felling and recovering. Also Juri's sister Lila, whose magical abilities are on par with a very powerful half-youkai yet has always been fully human.
- Badass Adorable: Touka
- Badass Beard: Shidou
- Badass Crew: Given their youkai origins, this fits the main cast. It applies to the non-demons as well.
- Badass Longcoat: Gin/Enjin
- Badass Long Hair: Hime
- Badass Normal: JURI. No demonic powers such as super strength, the power to conjure emphasized words, or reading minds. Just control of her bones and muscles allows her to overpower Hime and Touka at the same time and stop speeding cars.
- Bag of Holding: As a sidegag: Kyosuke's front pocket contains at least three handkerchiefs and a ricecake.
Akina: "What's the deal with that pocket?"
- Barrier Maiden: Although being a land goddess makes you powerful, it also makes sure that you're tied down to the area of land you're supposed to be guarding. This becomes a problem for Yae when she wants to kill Enjin.
- Berserk Button: As the town mayor, Hime doesn't like it when you try to attack her townspeople.
- Big Eater: All of the characters to an extent, but Hime is in a league of her own.
- She even eats while sleeping and crying at one point.
- Big Fancy Gun: Kotoha, being the German military nut she is, really loves to summon the 88 mm Flak 36 gun, otherwise known as "Acht-acht".
- Big Fancy House: Hime's house is huge. In a flashback, she tells little Kyousuke and Touka to move in with her and her grandmother, because there's too much room for just the two of them. And this is the middle of Tokyo.
- Blade on a Stick: Hime's weapon of choice in the anime.
- Boobs of Steel: Well, in regards to the girls' competence in battle. Compare nearly flat-chested Ao and Rin, who are either beat down quite often or don't fight at all, with stacked up Hime and Kotoha, who can undoubtedly hold their own in a fight against stronger enemies.
- Bumbling Dad: Shidou seems like one to Mina and Kana even though they aren't his kids. Prolly adopted.
- Butt Monkey: Akina constantly takes blows from everyone, friend or otherwise.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: The entire main cast. Hime becomes even more of a Big Eater (and kind of maudlin as well), Kotoha gets affectionate and flirty, and Ao and Akina tend to pass right out.
- Car Fu: Touka is fond of this, chucking a car at Enjin when they think he's killed Akina. Shinozuka gets in on the Car Fu earlier in the same fight.
- Catch Phrase: Lila usually says, "No gimmicks, no tricks..." whenever someone asks about her magic.
- Character Development: Pretty much the main draw of the manga.
- Cherry Blossoms: Let's see... There are seven cherry blossom trees in Sakura-shinmachi, "sakura" is in the town's name, and Yozakura means cherry blossoms in the night!
- Chivalrous Pervert: Yuhi, oh so much...
- Cloudcuckoolander: Almost everyone has shades of this.
- Combat Medic: Juri's a doctor, but that doesn't mean she can't kick your ass.
- Compressed Adaptation: Some of the characters that are deeply developed in the manga barely get introduced in the anime. The anime also takes the plot of volumes 3 and 4 of the manga and chops it up into Frankenstein pieces, leaving out important things like character motivation and coherency.
- Conveniently an Orphan: All of the main characters are conveniently orphans, and many side characters. This is later explained by there being a "gap" generation. It is hinted that the generation the kids' parents belong to was sacrificed or sent to the Otherworld in order to stop the blooming of the Nana-gou. There seems to be no one between the ages of thirty and sixty left in Sakura-Shinmachi, at least no native Sakura-Shinmachi-ians.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Most of the stuff the characters do in fights rely on this.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Here and there.
Akina: "Heh heh heh. Don't do anything crazy, they said."
- From the end of the first anime sequence, Kotoha begins using her power to describe something. When you realize that Kotoha is an artillery otaku, that she's right next to several sets of train tracks, and what the dimensions of a Krupp K5 are...
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The manga is chock-full of them.
- Such as the reaction of Rin's human employers/foster parents upon learning that someone who harmed Rin might be in town. It's sweet when the huge, burly, bearlike man puts an arm protectively around Rin, saying that the town's humans will protect the youkai. It's downright awesome when the kind older lady drives a cleaver entirely through a chopping block and embeds it into the counter below while calmly smiling and saying she'd like a long talk with the abuser.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Just Tune, the opening for the anime could count.
- Cute Monster Girl: Nearly all youkai in this story are humanoid. All humanoid youkai are good looking (even the two Oni), and most of them are female...
- Cute Bruiser: Hime and Touka.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Hime, Kotoha, and surprisingly, Rin.
- Deadly Fireworks Display: Although it's not a real fireworks show, Great Fireworks is the name for the final formation of Hime's Dragon Spear techniques.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Mayor Morino, Shinozuka, and Zakuro.
- Faced with the prospect of perhaps dozens of half-youkai "monster hunters" coming to the town, each more dangerous than the last, and supported by someone who can fell them at will for more power?
Akina: We look forward to it. We'll make sure that they'll be happy in this town.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: One of Mariabelle's cosplays.
- Empathic Weapon: Implied with the Dragon Spear.
Hime's Grandmother: Be beloved by the people. Be beloved by the town. Be beloved by the Dragon.
- Expy: Kotoha bears more than a passing resemblance to Mari Illustrious Makinami
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Hime, who even with the vast majority of her power sealed, is still much more powerful than anyone else in the manga.
- Or the Land Gods. Holy crap, Yae.
- Evil Sounds Deep: In the OVA, when Zakuro was shown to be a perfectly amiable person, her voice is actually rather high pitched. However, after her Face Heel Turn, her voice noticeably sounds sinister, and deeper, as a result.
- Evil Old Guy: One of Enjin's disguises.
- Fan Service: Happens to every female character and often goes to ridiculous extremes.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Two characters are half vampire, half mermaid.
- Fantastic Racism: Youkai are discriminated against and feared everywhere other than Sakura-Shinmachi.
- Fighting From the Inside: It's implied for Gin to be doing this.
- First-Name Basis: Kyousuke to Hime.
- Flower Motifs: Lila in particular and the "Hana no Uta" (Song of Flowers) arc in general, where Lila serves as the arc's antagonist. To a lesser extent, Juri and her hairpin which Lila copied the shape of to brand on her face when they were younger, trying to "be more like" her beloved older sister. Yikes.
- Foreshadowing: At first, there seem to be no real reason why Hime and Akina always sit one seat apart at the restaurant, that is until we find out that the middle seat used to be occupied by Gin
- Fur and Loathing: Enjin's pimpsational fur-trimmed trenchcoat.
- Grand Theft Me: Gin's body is taken over by Enjin when he goes to the Otherworld
- Half Human Hybrids: When a human is felled, there's a window of time where a tuner can exorcise them (which can last years in some cases). Done almost immediately, they will become a normal human again. If too much time has passed before exorcism or the felling is too powerful, then they will retain some powers and be a half-youkai, such as Kotoha. Sometimes the felled half-youkai simply can't be exorcised and must be tuned completely over to the Otherworld.
- Explained later as not being a case of someone being "50% human, 50% youkai," but being both 100% human and 100% youkai as if two separate beings existed in the same space. Zakuro takes this to mean she needs to go on a diet.
- Heel Face Turn: Zakuro
- Holding Hands: A tuner risks sliding off into the Otherworld if he uses his power too much, and the simplest way to re-anchor him to Earth is very simply... for another human to hold his hand. A half-youkai can do it too, being still half-human, but isn't as quick and effective. Holding hands with a full youkai does nothing. Carries undertones of Take My Hand when done in the middle of a fight or other emergency situation.
- This becomes a source of angst for Hime (and to a lesser extent Touka) as symbolic of her non-human nature and what she fears is a fundamental distance between her and Akina, and also that she just won't be able to help him in such a simple way if he ever needs it. Also possibly because Akina gets to visit Juri for his regular "check-ups."
- Hope Spot: Hime rushes off to get the fake Dragon Spear, and is almost assured victory, until she messes up the last move in a special technique, and gets the fake Dragon Spear broken in two.
- Ho Yay: Akina and Kyosuke.
- Hypocritical Humor: In Volume 5, Hime and Juri are examining a broken sign. Juri deducts it as the result of someone going on a drunken rampage, with Hime getting a little antsy about it. It even gets a lampshade hanging by a nearby Rin.
Hime: "People should be more responsible when they drink!"
- Idea Bulb: One appears above Touka's head at the beginning of chapter 40 - and then balances precariously on her head afterward until she snatches it off and holds it out to Kyousuke, as something fragile for him to grab to test his control of his unrestrained strength.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter is called a "Night" (so chapter 1 is "1st Night: Cherry Blossoms Bloom," for example). As well, each chapter of a longer story arc has the name of the arc followed by a number, with the final chapter bearing the arc name alone (so numberless chapter titles indicate either a stand-alone chapter or the conclusion of a story arc).
- Improbable Weapon User: Hime likes to use a lacrosse racket in the manga. Averted in the anime due to her using a spear. Interestingly, when Kotoha conjures one up for her, she chews her out for giving her something dangerous.
- Informed Ability: Side character Junta is said to be one of the greatest singers of Sakura-Shinmachi, alongside Kotoha.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Dragon Spear.
- Is That What He Told You?: Remember Akina's ancestors who wanted to be sent to the demon world in order to stop the merging of worlds? As it turns out, they were forcibly tuned and sent to a world they knew little to nothing about. As a result, the ancestors sent the Nana-gou in order to merge the human and demon worlds together anyway.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hime. A big heart of gold, just... tends to go to far and forget why she did something in the first place.
- In Volume 3, Kyosuke is asked why he protects Hime, but he only remembers her complaining and cries of hunger, which causes Akina to remind him to remember the good things. That heart of gold is buried VERY deep.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Pieces of the complex plot are slowly revealed amongst all the character development. In the manga, anyway.
- Kick the Dog: Enjin does this to at least one person during each of his appearances.
- Late for School: Parodied in Chapter 23, as Hime and Touka oversleep, rush to school, and literally bump into Akina on the way. Hime even has a piece of toast in her mouth with the words "Late-For-School-Use Toast" on it.
- Les Yay: Kotoha, when drunk she declares that she "likes girls" and then gets touchy-feely with Hime. In both a small sketch and a short breather chapter, it shows that Yae wants Kotoha.
- Don't forget Rin and Zakuro.
- Also, Hime and Touka sleep together (not like that), take baths together, dress each other, and ditch the guy they both like to go home to take a nap together. While holding hands.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: It applies to both Yae and Yuhi. However, Yuhi goes for the more obscure side of the spectrum, with the best part of the last 200 years is observing how shorter the skirts get and having more stuff for Mariabelle to cosplay.
- Love Triangle: Akina/Hime/Kyousuke and Hime/Akina/Touka.
- Man in White: Shinozuka and Yuuhi in his adult form.
- Master of Illusion: Gin, and Enjin because he took over the former's body. Ao's getting there.
- Meganekko: Kotoha, though the glasses are fake. While she also wears real contacts.
- Meido: One of the many cosplays that Mariabelle is forced to wear.
- More Dakka: Kotoha, in the first episode, "Machinenpistole! Da, da, dadadadadadadadadadada!"
- Nice Hat: Ao wears one with cat ears occasionally.
- One-Winged Angel: "Felling." Enjin forces this upon Zakuro in order to get the upper hand. Crosses over with Super-Powered Evil Side since felling makes even a perfectly nice person (or normal animal) violent and sociopathic.
- Power Degeneration: Akina's power causes health problems if used too much. Specifically, he will unseat himself from Earth and slide on over to the Otherworld as a side effect of channeling too much power.
- This also appplies to Ao and Kotoha. Ao has to either eat a lot or go to sleep directly after using Satellite, and Kotoha loses her ability to talk for a while if she abuses her reality warping powers.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Akina when he uses the power of the Oyakume.
- Psycho Rangers: Sakurashin-machi meet the Demon Hunters.
- Ojou: Hime. Kyousuke even calls her "Ojou-sama." (Or M'Lady, translated.)
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Yuuhi and Yae.
- Reality Warper: Kotoha - Whatever she says happens, but if she uses it to much, she'll lose her voice for a while.
Kotoha: "I am called a 'Kotodama user'! When I say it will "hit"... it definitely will!"
- The land gods are another type of reality warper. Though so far it is unclear how strong their ability is.
Yuuhi "If a god says so, a black dog can turn white. . . Well a weak dog, might turn little better."
- Real Men Wear Pink: Akina is shown to be a pretty good chef.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Everyone goes on one when they think Enjin killed Akina.
- Though they weren't roaring, making this Tranquil Fury.
- A Tranquil Rampage of Revenge?
- Though they weren't roaring, making this Tranquil Fury.
- Running Gag: Akina accidentally groping a girl in the gag mangas at the back of each volume.
- Scarf of Asskicking: Hime's trademark scarf.
- Shaggy Dog Story: To an extent, the "Thorny Path" story arc. Hime's cousin Kohime intends on following in Hime's footsteps by becoming a mayor at 9 years old, and that means running against the mayor of the neighboring town in the upcoming election. After a lengthy conflict involving a kidnapping and hostage situation, a lengthy fight, and some property destruction, Yuuhi reveals that Kohime couldn't even have run in the election because she was too young. Hime was a special case. However, the arc also sets up a number of important plot elements and conflicts for later in the series.
- Shoot the Dog: Fourth chapter. The dog is a literal example.
- Tuning is actually more or less this trope.
- Shonen Hair: When Akina starts tuning, his hair becomes very spiky and messy. Justified because he seems to emit static electricity when tuning.
- The Smurfette Principle: Inverted. Akina's the only boy in the Quartet.
- Soaperizing: Not just the focus on character development and relationships and the softer, slice-of-life feel, but also... Evil twins! Love triangles! Dead parents! However, these things are generally played well in terms of story and character development.
- Spoiled Sweet: Hime
- Stay in the Kitchen: Hime to Akina in Chapter 17.
- Stoic Spectacles: Kyousuke.
- Squishy Wizard: Ao more or less acts like one.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: "Felling" (or "falling") brings this out of a being, humans and animals. Naturally happens because of an imbalance between the Otherworld and this world, since tuning sends matter and energy over but can't draw it back, so energy from the Otherworld spontaneously crosses back over and drives non-youkai life (humans and natural animals) power-mad.
- Enjin has the power to inflict this state on others, and is behind most cases of felling seen yet in the manga. This is because Enjin's side of the Hiizume family has the opposite power known as "dropping," which sends things from the Otherworld to Earth, which is why they were tuned to make the Nana-gou in the first place. Except tuning and dropping are really two sides of the same power, with the two family branches each naturally strong in one but capable of both...
- Super Senses: Hime is shown to have super-sight and super-reflexes, and possibly others.
- Super Strength: Hime, Kyousuke, Touka, Shidou. Also, the fully human Juri.
- Technical Pacifist: Sure the 'good guys' will whack you with a lamppost, throw a car at you, punch you out, shoot at you with machineguns and a rocket launcher, play russian roulette with you, zap you with electricity, and send you to another dimension that they really don't know much about, but they won't actually kill you.
- Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Sakura-Shinmachi is a real neighborhood in the Setagaya Ward of Tokyo. One chapter even provides a map, and the town song provides directions by train or car.
- Torches and Pitchforks: In Rin's flashback of meeting Zakuro Kurumaki, she is seen running away from people with lit torches. No pitchforks though.
- True Companions: The main characters, plus...pretty much everyone. They even refer to themselves as a "nakama" in the manga. For instance, when Kotoha tells Zakuro to "join the gang," the word nakama is used in the original Japanese.
- Tsundere: Hime to Akina, despite lack of twin tails. And at one point, you see her practice a song with elementary school kids which consists of repetitions of the words "Tsun" and "Dere".
- Hime to Kyousuke, also. He even calls her on it.
Hime: Don't take it the wrong way! I didn't fall asleep because of you!!
- Tsurime Eyes: Hime.
- Twelve-Episode Anime: The first anime adaptation.
- Unexplained Recovery: Played straight by Hime in Volume 3.
- Urban Fantasy
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Akina and Kyousuke can seem like this at times.
- Vomit Discretion Shot / Relax-O-Vision: An odd combination of both happens in the anime. After a ramen eating challenge, we cut to Hime, Akina, and Gin (since it's a flashback) prancing around in a field filled with flowers, laughing while being covered in Bishie Sparkle. Amidst all the happy images and music, the aftermath of the vomitting is heard in the background.
- Weirdness Censor: People don't suspect that Hime's a demon despite the fact that she can deflect bullets, jump several meters high, or chuck things most sixteen-year olds can't. Of course, this is a side effect of Yae sealing everyone's memories of her being a demon in the first place.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Morino during the "Thorny Path" arc.
- What Could Have Been: The main point of those small sketches after the end of each chapter. This includes...
- The entire manga itself being about music (hence the title) with its planned original title being Yozakura Falsetto.
- Yuhi looking more like a cute kid.
- Touka looking more like a female Kyosuke without the glasses.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Senate officially takes a dim attitude towards youkai, considering them an interfering presence in the human world that would be best banished, though individual members have differing opinions. Akina and the people of Sakura-Shinmachi take a hard opposing view, considering youkai as worthwhile as humans and more than worth fighting to protect.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Gin and Shinozuka.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Ao, being Gin's sister.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Felling causes this, making living beings far more powerful but also driving them mad.
- Yandere: One of the possible side-effects of felling as positive relationships are quickly twisted and soured. So far both Zakuro and Lila have acted this way during their times as villains, Zakuro toward Rin and Lila toward Juri, despite never having been felled, but just desperately wanting Juri's attention and love.
- Youkai: Most of the characters are youkai living in a town with humans.
- Youkai Sacrifice: The Senate's plan for dealing with the blooming of the Nana-gou. Implied by Enjin that it would really be a Senseless Sacrifice because the use of tuning is bringing the worlds closer together anyway and this would just speed it up.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Hime. It could also be the case with Yae, since the socks go up to her thighs, but you sometimes don't see them under her really long skirt.