Otoome Yokai Zakuro has rolled along nicely in its first half with a
mixture of quiet stories, decent action and a look at prejudices and
racism due to a number of spirits and half spirits who are trying to
integrate into society. These themes have been touched on in most
episodes to one degree or another, but over time we have seen a
softening of interactions among those in the Ministry itself, which is
to be expected when you have people working together with each others
lives in the balance. While Kei and Zakuro have started to get along
better, a wrench has been thrown into things with the arrival of Tae.
Tae's there to bring Kei back to the Agemaki family per request of his father, but that takes a bit of time to be revealed as the initial focus is the sudden jealousy that Zakuro feels when this woman throws herself on Kei. Tae brings a fair bit of tension to things and you can see how Zakuro really gets bothered by it all as she gets quiet and quick to cut down Kei on just about everything. It's interesting to see Kei's home and the sheer opulence of it all, but it certainly fits with what he know of his character, even if it comes as something of a shock to Zakuro. The way Kei lives his life is all the clearer because of this and it makes his mannerisms and approach to life more understandable as well, though that kind of personality just leads to more amusing conflicts as events progress.
While it's not a surprise that Kei asks Zakuro to go with him to the house, it does feel odd that he asks her to hide her ears which leads to some small silly moments to add a bit of lightness, which actually feels a little out of place in all of this. When it shifts to the meatier parts of the show, it's a bit of a drastic change for something so short as Kei's father is very negative against spirits, repeatedly calling them monsters, and having some brutal opinions about them that Kei and Zakuro have to keep quiet about. It's not a pleasant scene to watch as Zakuro has to listen to all of it and simply keep quiet. At least until they can get his father to start talking about war stories.