Moe Sucks

Zetsuen no Tempest Ep. 8: Screw the world; my imouto is dead

Advertisements

Oh, don’t be fooled by all the tanks and weaponry at the start. This episode features even more talking than before. One of the characters even ends up talking to himself! Enjoy!

Plot summary: Both our duo and the Japanese military force (heh) confronts Samon and his cult. The latter soon confront Mahiro and Yoshino, and explains how the world will end if the Tree of Exodus is not allowed to awaken. Hakaze disputes his claims, but he soon reveals her skeleton and argues persuasively that she has been dead for a couple years now.

Notes:

• Samon speaks of ending Hakaze’s “good fortune,” but how does he reconcile a concept like luck with the narrative’s immense dependence on the idea that logic controls everything? Or is he just trying to be sarcastic and it didn’t come across that well?

• Since Evangeline just happens to be onscreen, she reminds me of how poorly developed these characters are. It’s not just about having a purpose; rather, characters should also strive to have an emotional underpinning that makes them compelling as characters. Mahiro’s emotional underpinning is simple, but at least he has one: he is angry and confused over Aika’s death, and he believes revenge will restore logic to his reality. Yes, his purpose is to get revenge, but you can also see how this purpose is fueled by his emotions.

You cannot say the same for most of the other characters. Evangeline’s purpose is probably to aid the government, but beyond that, we don’t understand much about her character or her feelings. She’s just sort of there to help move the plot along. The same could be said of Samon or Hakaze. They all have a purpose within the narrative, but none of them have any emotional impact. They feel replaceable.

• So how does the anime explain why the Tree of Exodus is actually necessary in order to save the world? By cutting to a lonesome Junichirou who proceeds to talk to no one in particular. Wha? I can’t be the only person who feels that there is a better way to do this, right? First, this is obviously just exposition for the sake of exposition. Second, who the hell is he talking to?! The guy is just walking down the street when all of a sudden he stops and decides to vomit exposition to the wind?

• The conflict here seems simple enough. The debate between Hakaze and Samon actually seems kind of interesting, but nevertheless easy to understand and follow. Each side simply disagrees on what would happen if the Tree of Genesis wakes up. What I am painfully reminded of, however, is all those strained attempts to hammer us over the head about the world’s logic in previous episodes when the conflict itself wasn’t all that complicated or convoluted to begin with. If anything, the previous world-building episodes tried too hard and comes off a bit pretentious now in light of this new information.

• Both Hakaze and Samon sound like ideologues though. Neither of them offer any evidence to support their arguments, so they’re just shouting at each other and we have no reasons to believe either.

• Mahiro: “Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit. I dare damnation. To this point I stand that both the worlds I give to negligence. Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged.” Again, Mahiro quotes Laertes. In other words, he doesn’t care not just about the world, but what happens to him as well. He only wants to avenge Aika.

See, this is what I don’t get. I keep reading elsewhere how Mahiro is supposed to represent Hamlet, but they are nothing alike. If anything, Mahiro is Laertes and this isn’t just because he quotes the guy all the time. Look, when he found out about his father’s death, Hamlet takes his pretty little time. He broods and simmers, questions and wonders until he finally understands the problem. Which of our heroes does this description fit more? Yoshino, right? On the other hand, Laertes jumps into action as soon as he finds out his father was killed. He immediately raises a mob to storm the palace and demand answers. At the same time, however, his rashness leaves him vulnerable. Claudius could manipulate him because all Laertes cares about is getting revenge. Mahiro, like Laertes, raises a “mob” of talismen, then storms the barrier. He doesn’t care about the fate of the world or why Aika was somehow involved with some strange clan. Mahiro just wants revenge, and Hakaze manipulates Mahiro’s blind desire in order to further her own aims against Samon.

Plus, there’s the small matter of Mahiro (Laertes) being in love with his sister (Orphelia).

• Oh dear, Hakaze has been communicating with our protagonists through time. But is there one timeline or are there two, one in which Hakaze is dead and one where she isn’t? Oh hell, I doubt the anime is worried about that. I never have faith that any fictional story gets time traveling right anyway.

Advertisements