Zetsuen no Tempest Ep. 4: A pair of fruits has appeared

I’m referring to those giant eyeballs, of course. I understand that in revealing Yoshino and Mahiro’s past, the show attempts to reinforce one of its main themes, i.e. there’s a certain level of logic to the world, but quite frankly, this episode is boring. The only new stuff we learn pertains to our two protagonists, but neither of them are particularly interesting nor complex enough to warrant such an excursion.

Notes:

• There’s still no explanation of just exactly how our two protagonists got through the quarantine. I guess it must not have been that extensive.

• When Hakaze declares her veneration for just the Tree of Genesis, we get a close-up to one of the komainu statues. Rain drops make it look as though it is crying:

These statues originated from China, and they have typically served throughout history as guardians to repel evil from hallowed grounds. Shortly after Hakaze says that her “only god is the Tree of Genesis,” a fruit appears and the black iron syndrome strikes again. I’ve no idea if there’s any real connection between these two events, but I figure I may as well point it out.

• The episode then contrasts Yoshino’s pure-hearted nature against Mahiro’s somewhat cold-hearted approach. I can understand Yoshino’s desire to protect the old couple and the two children, but things get a little cheesy when he gives up his umbrella to the two-kids-turned-statues. On second thought, this is probably just custom. I guess Yoshino sees a bit of himself and Mahiro in the two kids.

• The characters keep referring to Yoshino as though he’s rebellious, but again, the notion doesn’t seem to fit. Of the two, Yoshino’s the one who is hesitant about lodging in a some random person’s home even though Mahiro reasons that their actions won’t matter to a victim of the black iron syndrome. He even apologizes to no one in particular before stepping foot into the house. If Yoshino’s lying, he’s such a good liar that he’s even putting on airs when nobody’s watching (except the audience, of course).

• What’s with this anime and celery?

• I don’t understand the redundancy sometimes. Take Yoshiro’s conversation with Hakaze, for instance. You could honestly edit much of the voiceovers out and just trust the visuals to do the heavy-lifting. I am specifically referring to these lines: “Mahiro’s father was a pretty prominent figure back home. Because of that, the school couldn’t admonish Mahiro, since they were worried about trouble with his father. The other kids got that feeling, as well. So he was sort of in a different league.” So what do we see?

We see a younger Mahiro come to school in an expensive black car. A chauffeur even opens the door for him. As Mahiro makes his way to class, all of the other students stare at him nervously. It is obvious from these images then that Mahiro’s in a different social standing than the other kids. It is equally obvious from these images that Mahiro gets special treatment from everyone. So why, I ask, does Bones not just allow the visuals do the work it is meant to do? C’mon, anime is a visual medium. It is thus so unnecessary and boring for the characters to drone on incessantly instead of allowing for the subtleties of the visual narrative to come through.

• I guess on some level, Mahiro’s suspicion about the mugger reveals two related notions about himself and the world around him. First, Mahiro seems to have always had this desire to make sense of the world. The anime’s been hammering us over and over with the idea that the world conforms to some sort of logic. Even as a kid, Mahiro didn’t accept that it was simply an accident that a mugger ran him over with a bike. This plays into his current desire to make sense of his sister’s murder. Secondly, Mahiro’s suspicions about the mugger weren’t unfounded. As such, nothing happens without a reason. This ties back into Mahiro’s desire to not necessarily avenge his sister, but to find the culprit. There has to be a motive to why she was murdered, and her brother has made a deal with Hakaze to find out why.

• We get to see that the younger Yoshino has finished his celery for no damn reason other than the fact that the anime is obsessed with the vegetable. Plus, Yoshino’s telling this story to Hakaze, so I have to imagine he decided out of nowhere to include this little anecdote: “But the second time around, I put mayonnaise on the celery and had no problems finishing them!”

• I wonder if Yoshino’s account of how he and Mahiro became friends is even close to being a hundred percent truth. We keep getting hints of Yoshino’s more duplicitous and rebellious nature, but even as a kid, he seemed rather white-bread and straightforward. Of course, this is his story, so he could just be misleading Hakaze… but for what purpose?

• The teacher goes so far as to pin “Mahiro’s Guardian” to Yoshino’s shirt? Is this another example of the show’s humor? Honestly, I can’t tell. I just find it ridiculous.

• In the end, Mahiro visits the two-kids-turned-statues and leaves behind a half-finished bottle of water. Like Yoshino leaving behind an umbrella, Mahiro is sort of venerating the dead. I know firsthand that Chinese culture will leave offerings of food behind to venerate the dead. If Japanese culture shares this particular custom, then I guess it doesn’t surprise me one bit. On another level, the scene is trying to convey the idea that Mahiro’s nicer than his outward nature might imply. Like the rest of the episode, however, there seems to be nothing more to the idea than just this.

16 thoughts on “Zetsuen no Tempest Ep. 4: A pair of fruits has appeared

  1. alsozara

    I can see where you’re coming from here, but I actually rather enjoyed this episode. Basically, I am finding the two interesting enough to warrant such an excursion.

    Quite unclear as to the direction everything is heading, though. This is definitely one of those shows that I’m rather enjoying at the moment but won’t be at all surprised if it shits itself inside out by the end.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I just don’t see how the two became friends has anything to do whatsoever with the main narrative. Who cares? Even if it reinforces one of the show’s overall themes, I felt it did so weakly.

      Reply
  2. K

    “The episode then contrasts Yoshino’s pure-hearted nature against Mahiro’s somewhat cold-hearted approach”

    I found this statement interesting, considering how Yoshino’s deception contradicts what one might call a “pure-hearted nature”. Then again I feel that we may be purposely misled (eg. characters describing him “as though he’s rebellious [though] the notion doesn’t seem to fit”) such that we won’t have it easy finding out what kind of person Yoshino really is.

    Not sure whether this ambiguity surrounding Yoshino might be some key theme of sorts, but personally I find it quite interesting, as compared to Mahiro, who in this case may be a foil because he’s considerably easier to read.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I found this statement interesting, considering how Yoshino’s deception contradicts what one might call a “pure-hearted nature”.

      Do you mean him hiding the fact that he once dated Aika? See, I don’t really find that a malicious form of deception. Who wouldn’t have a hard time telling their best friend, “Hey, I was seeing your sister.”

      we won’t have it easy finding out what kind of person Yoshino really is.

      I see it like this. If he’s only pretending to be a good person, he’s doing a damn good job at it. At some point, you may as well just admit that you’re a good person.

      Reply
  3. caetano

    You have a point and I have a question: why the celeries, like other vegetables in the show, aren’t affected by the syndrome? After all, they are forms of life, no? They are this kind of special for the Tree of Genesis? I guess…

    Reply
  4. caetano

    I mean, probably is needed to be thinking to be affected by the syndrome. Otherwise, every little grass would be affected. But this isn’t evident in the anime. Anyway, I think that the reason for humans can make contact with the Tree of Genesis is because they are the only ones able to rationalize enough to control something that not by instinct. But they are also the only creatures who can enjoy the power only for his pleasure.

    The possibility of humans get contact with a higher power through words is a decent premiss. The physiological reactions of a thought are larger than any other types of forces exerted by animals. And the ‘thought’ that we have today is something that was not only natural, but also culturally created for ourselves. In what other ways could we think? I do not know, but we rationalize with that little voice in our head, even as I write this here. And, apparently, the tree of Genesis thought this was so “interesting” that meets the requests of Kusaribe’s clan from their speech.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      If thinking is required, it’s strange to see the syndrome apply to animals such as fish. Are fish complex enough to have some sort of rational thinking process? I’d imagine no, but I’m not a marine neurobiologist by any means. In any case, you might be right that the syndrome affects those with some sort of mental capacity, but I’m not sure thinking is the key.

      Reply
  5. wanderer

    I have pretty mixed feelings on this episode. I think as a stand-alone episode I evaluate it as you do: it’s not well-done as filler, is needlessly repetitive and redundant, and I’d add that the pacing and tone felt a bit off for me.

    On the other hand, I actually find it encouraging in the following sense: it’s anime-original material and largely filler, but it’s actually a decent choice for what to use for filler. It’s hard to get into without spoilers, but this is maybe 50% smoothing over some upcoming character stuff that was a bit out of nowhere in the original and it’s maybe 50% foreshadowing stuff that they’ll have to introduce much earlier if they’re going to try and reach some kind of ending soon.

    So it’s a poorly done filler episode in the details but at least it’s a reasonable choice of filler, and it shows the staff at least gets what the story has to try to do and seemingly tried to address some of the original’s weak spots, albeit a bit ineptly. Sad day when that’s an encouraging sign for anime but it is what it is. I’ll give it at least another episode or two now.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It’s hard to get into without spoilers, but this is maybe 50% smoothing over some upcoming character stuff that was a bit out of nowhere in the original and it’s maybe 50% foreshadowing stuff that they’ll have to introduce much earlier if they’re going to try and reach some kind of ending soon.

      I wonder if it isn’t better to just change what comes later than opting to create boring filler? ‘Cause honestly, whether or not this does make later episodes make more sense, as you’ve suggested, it doesn’t change the fact that I almost dozed off when trying to watch this episode.

      Reply
      1. wanderer

        Probably but it’s difficult to change (I guess you could say its underlying logic very logical but still an extremely rigid logic, har-har), and their original content as evidenced here isn’t that promising on its own merits. That said, certain segments could be cut down and I hope the adaption cuts them down to size.

        Reply
  6. Taka

    I’m like way late, I just burned through 7 or so episodes, but I actually saw the celery as metaphor for his initial relationship with Mahiro. Perhaps meaning he had to deal with Mahiro on his own terms in order to accept him as a “friend”. Hence the last scene where he tells the whole class Mahiro was saving a puppy when he got hit by a car. At least that was the impression I got. I don’t think it’s a particularly good metaphor though.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Algent Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.