Otome Youkai Zakuro

Genre: Period, supernatural
Score: Good

Zakuro is a half-demon. Even with the dawn of the 20th century humans have an awkward relationship with the supernatural, so Japan’s Ministry of Spirits asks Zakuro and her friends to work with a group of human soldiers to deal with spirit-related problems.

Set in a clearly alternate version of the early part of last century, in which the existence of spirits is well known (though not comfortably accepted), but other aspects of life (such as the rapid westernisation of Japan) are similar, this series tells of the awkward process of gaining trust between the humans and half-demons. As the plot kicks in we learn a little more about where the half-demons come from, why they’re considered embarrassing both by other spirits and by the Ministry of Spirit Affairs.

Aside from the supernatural elements, the characters come straight from the era: the spirit girls are shy, giggly and old-fashioned, unfamiliar with western concepts like drinking milk. The soldiers are brash and forward looking, but with that strong Japanese sense of honour. It has a lot of period character, and it’s not an era that many anime show – the most obvious other example being Kenshin.