anime review: Zetsuen no Tempest (Blast of Tempest)
All good things must come to an end.
To start things off, here are my thoughts on the final episode. Overall, I greatly enjoyed it. Tell you the truth, I was a little worried after that forced penultimate cliffhanger. Just as expected, Yoshino only got grazed but from a dramatic standpoint, it’s a big cop out making that whole cliffhanger absolutely pointless. On the other hand, I’ve noticed many people complaining about the Sword of Exodus appearing as if it pulled a deus ex machina. I was one of them too, but after thinking about for a while, it’s actually quite logical considering how illogical that world is. The Sword of Exodus was actually mentioned by Aika herself during her meeting with Hakaze so that proof alone rules out the deus ex machina assumption. Though I can’t help it but to scratch my head on it’s “nick of time” arrival. The last 2/3 of the ep is dedicated to the epilogue which is something you don’t see much often in animes nowadays. A month has passed since the final battle and everyone’s got a happy ending. However the last scene has gotten people worked up on the possible Hakaze and Yoshino hookup. It’s a bit out of character for Yoshino to immediately accept Hakaze’s feelings for him because of how sudden it is. In the manga, Yoshino rejects her since he feels he doesn’t deserve her but she responds that he’s the only one for her. Either way, it didn’t bother me as much as others did. Criticism aside, seeing Aika one last time was touching and hilarious when she trolled our boys. The grave scene where Mahiro and Yoshino coming to terms with her death is a great closure. Mahiro pretty much nailed every line that made Aika flawed. She based her life on a written script rather than following her own. I think it’s quite fitting when Mahiro said, “Here’s where it begins.” because magic no longer exist and a new journey awaits them.Looking back when it started, I had no idea what this show was going to be about. The character designs looked very bishonen from the 90s and to hear that it was BONES doing the animation caught my attention. The first two minutes on the debut episode got me hooked. Right when Yoshino and Aika blurted out Hamlet lines, I knew there was something special emitting from this show.
The time is out of joint. O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!
The best way for me to describe this show is – Shakespeare style in anime; A murdered girl, brother seeking revenge, secret lovers, schemes, sorcery, deceptions. It’s theatrical, operatic, thought provoking and unlike anything in recent years that surely leave a mark on my anime viewing history. Out of all the shows in the two previous seasons, this is the only one that got my 100% attention. Everything else felt stale after watching newly aired eps. Zetsuen no Tempest isn’t a perfect show as it does share some flaws. First off is the rough pacing in the first half of the show. Yoshino and Mahiro were stuck in the same town in the first 3 eps and the fight with Natsumura lasted an entire ep and half. Then we have the arc with Samon taken place at Mt. Fuji. In the manga, that arc alone took up to 10 chapters. Thankfully, the show compressed that down to 4 eps. None the less, it was still interesting to watch the mind battle. 2nd flaw is there was not a single mention on fate of both Yoshino’s and Mahiro’s parents. Were they just written off?
I viewed the first 12 eps as the tragedy arc and the 2nd half tragicomedy. A casual viewer would be disappointed because most of the serious tone has dissipated in the 2nd half as it makes room for more comedic scenes. But for those who’ve read The Tempest by Shakespeare, the change should be obvious, let alone the the title itself. Needless to say, I loved the show throughout its entirety. I found the 2nd half to be a bit more enjoyable with its romantic comedy subplots. There are lots of Hamlet lines being quoted throughout, though most of it are the same ones being repeated but has a deep meaning matching the circumstances of the plot and little bit of The Tempest. While the story is predictable, it’s where the execution matters like in all Shakespeare stories tells you the outline of the plot before reading it.
As for the characters, most of them start out as archetypes but develops as individuals. It’s hard to pick which one would be my favorite since they’re all very likable. Mahiro came out to be most impressive outta the bunch. He started out as an irrational short-tempered badass, then as the series progresses, he happens to be very intelligent and reasons with logic before he bursts. I saw Mahiro as the avatar for Hamlet while Yoshino is the representative for The Tempest. The character dynamic between Yoshino and Mahiro has always intrigued me. These two friends were the face of betrayals and yet still managed to trust each other as buddies. Another character that should be mentioned is Samon. This guy I nominate for being the unintentional humorous character of the year. Poor Samon, all he’s trying to do is save the world but small troublesome things always baffles him especially when he gets caught in a fight between kids. Hanemura, a pussy character who shows up in the 2nd half, deserves many credits for doing the unconventional by taking on main character roles and having the most common sense. Lastly, the character who was dead before the show began, Aika. She made such a huge presence for a dead character, pulling the strings of fate. Any flashbacks with her always turns that moment into gold. One would call her a manipulative bitch, however after the plot twist, there’s no helping it but to love her. Except she lived her life according to Shakespeare’s script as Mahiro pointed.
The animation good for the most part of course since it’s BONES. It’s too bad the animation loses its quality over time. The character designs is the most attractive I’ve seen, even better than Guilty Crown. There’s not much to say about the visuals other than majestic.
There really is no anime music as grand as this. That obviously I’m talking about the soundtrack. Both ED songs can shoot themselves to hell. The first OP is a great song called Spirit Inspiration by Nothing’s Carved In Stone, a j-rock who can actually sing in english no problem. OP2 is done by Kylee, j-pop singer who did songs for Gundam Unicorn ED and several others. The sweeping orchestral soundtrack is a big surprise since it’s the first thing I immediately came to love. It’s hard to believe someone like Yuki Kajiura gets more recognition than this composer. This soundtrack is just as compelling as Joe Hisashi’s work.
Zetsuen no Tempest isn’t a masterpiece but it’s something that will be remembered. It’s been a while since we had a series so ambitious and audacious. Thank God there are people in the industry who cares about anime market not being flooded with moe/loli harem blobs with self-insertion otakus. This show gets my highest seal of approval. It’s a must buy in your anime shelf… except there’s one problem, Aniplex USA. Ugh, never in my life I wanted a company to go out of business since Harmony Gold.