I did watch last week’s episode; I even watched it when it came out! You’ll notice, however, I failed to blog that episode. I just… I just didn’t have anything to say about it. I mean, it was an entire episode about whether or not Hakaze could be dead or not, whether or not she could be revived, etc. But y’know, none of it felt very compelling. Actually, last week’s episode almost felt like a bad parody of Ace Attorney. Let’s hope this week’s episode is at least blogable. But before we get to the episode itself, a brief word…
There are just so many things in this story to explain that it never stops. Even in the 11th (half-)hour, Hakaze is still explaining how her magic works. In this case, it’s detailing how one can communicate across time and space with just dolls, which leads to our trio’s inspiration to revive Hakaze by using her skeleton. Okay, I’m not saying one can’t enjoy such a narrative style, but I don’t think this sort of storytelling typically lends itself well to a visual medium. ‘Typically’ is the operative word here.
When people are just standing around and talking, it takes a lot of effort to pull it off in film, theatre, or even anime. There are certainly exceptions though. Take 12 Angry Men, for instance; it is literally a play or a movie (depending on which version you prefer) about twelve jurors arguing over a case in a single room. In fact, a lot of the movie just involves explaining the details of the case, i.e. whether or not it is possible that the woman neighbor could’ve seen the kid kill his father, whether or not the old witness could’ve gotten to the door fast enough, etc. So why do I think 12 Angry Men succeeds at doing the same thing that Zetsuen no Tempest is failing at? Because the former has great acting. That’s just it. The emotions come through. It becomes more of a character drama rather than the unraveling of some simple mystery.
Zetsuen no Tempest‘s main problem isn’t that it talks too much. Yes, I’ve been bitching about it all season long, but that’s just because I can tunnel-vision at times when I blog. The truth is that all the exposition and explanations are merely a symptom of a bigger problem: Zetsuen no Tempest doesn’t really emote. For a show that likes to quote Shakespeare, the characters are rather undramatic. Everyone’s too calm, cool and collected except our buddy Samon (which is why it’s so ridiculously funny that he’s freaking out all the damn time). Mahiro wants to avenge his sister dearly, but where’s the anger and frustration? He just seems rather… cool about it. Even when Hakaze briefly believed that she could not escape her island prison — that Samon had won when Mahiro temporarily switched sides — even she didn’t seem all that affected to the point that it makes me want to feel sorry for her.
To some degree, I think the creator of the story realized that the characters aren’t as compelling as they should be — that the character drama here falls woefully short of Shakespearean standards. As such, I think the gambit has been to overload up on a needlessly esoteric magical system and plot. If the circumstances surrounding Hakaze’s death and revival somehow piques your interest, then you’ll keep watching! After all, people put a lot of stock into the complexity of a plot for some reason. Look at Inception, for example; as a whole, the movie says relatively little, but whoa man, so many twist and turns in the plot! But once you get past all the talking and the mystery itself, Zetsuen no Tempest feels hollow.
Plot summary: Our trio of friends come to the conclusion that Hakaze can be revived, but she needs to find an offering strong enough to cast such a spell. In the meantime, Samon tries to convince Mahiro that the Tree of Genesis engineered Aika’s death. Mahiro continues to demand that Samon brings forth Aika’s killer, but Samon’s underlings tell him that no one within the clan is responsible for Aika’s death. This shocks everyone as the episode comes to an end.
• Welp, we’re off to a great start:
Sure, this is part of the show’s kooky humor. Yes, Junichirou’s probably joking. But in the bigger picture, it’s kind of sad. Evangeline has no presence as a character. None at all. She just often shows up in her mini-skirt and starts fighting. Now, she’s been reduced to a pair of large breasts regardless of whether or not it’s a joke. She’s the poster girl for the word ‘objectification.’ Evangeline adds nothing to the plot whatsoever; she’s just curves and legs.
• Retreat won’t work. It has to be tactical retreat!
• Samon argues that the Tree of Genesis killed Aika in order to get Mahiro to aid Hakaze. Yoshino counters that if Samon had never marooned Hakaze on an island to begin with, Aika would’ve never had to die. But if we’re going to follow that logic, we can just keep going back forever until we may as well take revenge on whoever planted those two dumb trees in the first place. Hey, that’s it! Let’s take revenge on God!
• Everyone is pleading to Mahiro, but he just stands there with not much of a look on his face. That’s the problem. He’s so pivotal to the scene, but he doesn’t add much of anything. This is Mahiro in deep contemplation as the fate of the entire world hinges on what he chooses to do next:
This is Mahiro when he’s irritated:
You get the picture. We do get scenes of Hakaze running and swimming though. That’s certainly great stuff.
• Aika: “Let us not burden our remembrance with a heaviness that’s gone.” This quote is borrowed from the last scene in The Tempest. As you’ve probably discerned, Hakaze is most closely related to Prospero because they were both betrayed and marooned on an island. Alonso is one of the characters who aided in this plot. In the end, however, The Tempest doesn’t end in a tragedy and Prospero doesn’t wreak his vengeful wrath on those who did him wrong. So when Alonso profusely begs for forgiveness, Prospero pretty much just says, “Bro, just let it go.” Since Mahiro insists that “some things in this world are simply unforgivable,” Aika quotes Prospero to basically tell her brother, “Hey, Yoshino is your friend. Just let it go.” But also, this is one of Mahiro’s flashbacks. He realizes there’s a good chance that Aika was fated to die for Hakaze’s sake. But let’s not hold a grudge towards Hakaze. After all, the world is at stake.
• So is the implication that Aika killed herself? Makes more sense anyway. From Yoshino’s flashbacks, she seemed to have known her death was coming.