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.
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 (神様家族?, lit. God Family) and Ryohgo Narita's Durarara!!.
The story revolves around four teenagers; Akina, Hime, 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 youkai 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 youkai 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.
- Akina Hiizumi (比泉 秋名 Hiizumi Akina?)
- Voiced by: Yūki Kaji
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 youkai 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 youkai 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.
- Hime Yarizakura (槍桜 ヒメ Yarizakura Hime?)
- Voiced by: Misato Fukuen
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 youkai power. In the manga, all of the townspeople including her friends had their memory of Hime being a youkai 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 youkai's point of view. In chapter thirteen, everyone memory of her being a youkai have returned when a group who is running against Hime's little cousin, Kohime, was running as mayor in another town, wanted her to drop out of the election and Hime to give her position to their leader by threatening them with a barrier that weakens all the youkai to a point that can be life threatening. Because of this Yae had no choice but to weaken the barrier that they made, which in turn returned everyone's memory. In the anime, it did not show this and everyone knew that Hime is a dragon descendant and that she is a youkai. 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.
- Ao Nanami (七海 アオ Nanami Ao?)
- Voiced by: Saki Fujita
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.
- Kotoha Isone (五十音 ことは Isone Kotoha?)
- Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro
A sixteen year old high school student who was once a human before she was possessed by a youkai at a very young age and because of that event she became a Hanyou, half youkai 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. One example of this is when Hime made Kotoha become her training partner and during the training, she accidentally destroys her plane ticket to Germany. At this, Kotoha conjures up an Acht, a German army's FLAK 36.88 mm cannon and fires at Hime. After her friends stop her from using the Acht, she noticed the damage she did and apologized for what she did. 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.
- Enjin Hiizumi (比泉 円神 Hiizumi Enjin?)
- Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki
The main antagonist. A youkai 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-youkai 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 youkai world.
- Kyōsuke Kishi (岸 恭助 Kishi Kyōsuke?)
- Voiced by: Daisuke Ono
An eighteen year old man who is an assistant to Hime Yarizakura. He is an oni (orge in English dub)with superhuman strength, but wears a seal that looks like a bracelet around his left wrist. When he takes it off his horns appear revealing his powers. He appears to be harsh towards Akina sometimes because in the anime, as he believes that Akina's power is not required to protect the town. In the manga, he believes that the youkai in the human world are suffering because Akina did not succeed as oyakume. Akina makes fun of him by saying that Kyōsuke has a sister complex, which usually ends up with the two fighting.
- Tōka Kishi (岸 桃華 Kishi Tōka?)
- Voiced by: Haruka Tomatsu
A sixteen year old high school student who is Kyōsuke's little sister. She is also an employee of Hiizumi Life Counseling. Just like her brother, she is a youkai with superhuman strength. She has a crush on Akina, which Kyōsuke is not pleased with it. In the manga, unlike her brother, she can not completely control her strength even with a seal. In the anime, she appears to have better control over her strength.
- Rin Azuma (東 鈴 Azuma Rin?)
- Voiced by: Ai Matayoshi
A fifteen year old Jiang Shi who recently moved to the city. Due to being constantly bullied by her human classmates during childhood, she loathed humans until being saved by Akina. She now works in a delivery store. In the manga, she had already worked for the noodle delivery service with no connection to the first episode at all. However her past was similar to anime as she was also hunted by humans until she met, Zakuro, a demon hunter who became her first friend.
- Yūhi Shinatsuhiko (士夏彦 雄飛 Shinatsuhiko Yūhi?)
- Voiced by: Sachi Matsumoto
He appears as a young boy, however he is really much older; He has been watching over Sakurashin for over 200 years and is the District Mayor. He is a Land God with great power, enough where Enjin and his associates fear him. In episode 7 of the anime, he claims he fancies Rin. He seems to be something of a womanizer, as in the same episode, he is told on many occasions that he is only to look at the women of the festival by Mariabelle and Yae. He is also called by his sister as the God of Woman. His hobbies is making Mariabelle cosplay for him. Even though he is a land god, as explained in chapter 38, it's his sister who wields the title of land goddess of Sakurashin, since she was the first one to take root in town, and according to him there can only be one land god in each place.
- Mariabelle (マリアベル Mariaberu?)
- Voiced by: Rie Tanaka
The District Mayor's assistant, which makes her Yuhi's assistant. She is an immortal human. The walking pilgrimage arc tells the story of how she became acquaintance with Yuhi. 200 years ago, Mariabelle once died from a deadly disease but her father resurrected her and use her body as a basis to make a cure for the disease to save her brother and her village. Now an immortal and a living dead, she and her father traveled to Sakurahin to have her tuned to prevent other half youkais who seeks her immortality but Yuhi mange to persuade them not to. As a sign of gratitude for saving her life, Mariabelle became Yuhi's assistant. She is always seen in various cosplay outfit due to Yuhi. She likes to eat Japanese food for breakfast and gets mad if she doesn't.
- Yae Shinatsuhiko (士夏彦 八重 Shinatsuhiko Yae?)
- Voiced by: Natsuko Kuwatani
Yae is Yuhi's younger sister, as she calls him "aniki", or older brother. She is the land goddess of Sakurashin and is usually shown dressed as a nun who wields two Katana swords beside her waist. She can easily cut a car in half using a technique called Spring Wind (名東風 Haru Kaze). She appears to be fond of bears and plush toys, to the point that she wore a bear costume helmet given by Hime to stop a robbery.
- V Juri F (V・じゅり・F Vī Juri Efu?)
- Voiced by: Aiko Ōkubo
A nurse who runs a clinic in Sakurashin. She has her own TV show called the Juri Channel. She appears to have superhuman strength, however she is really a human. Akina comes by to her clinic to get himself check over because of his tuning ability and can "re-tune" him just by holding his hand, but she stated that anyone from the human world can do it. Juri used to be an assistant for Hime when Hime was a child and had finally become mayor of Sakurashin. The V and F in her name stands for "Victor Frankenstein", the name of her ancestor and Mariabelle's father making her Mariabelle's great-grandniece as Juri is a descendant of Mariabelle's brother.
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. A second episode will be released, along with the 10th volume on April 8, 2011.
- "Sentai Filmworks Adds Yozakura Quartet, Tayutama Anime". Anime News Network. 2009-12-22.
- "Yozakura Quartet Gets New Anime Adaption This October". Anime News Network. 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- "Air Gear, Black Rock Shooter Lovve Live, Yozakura Promos Streamed". Anime News Network. 2010-07-14.
- "Yozakura Quartet Manga Gets 2nd OVA". Anime News Network. 2010-10-07.
- Official Site (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Yozakura Quartet (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia