Fall Impressions: Zetsuen no Tempest

Although I’m a big fan of BONES and have liked a lot of what I’ve watched from them, going into Zetsuen no Tempest, I wasn’t quite sure how interested or invested I would be in the story because I didn’t think it sounded terribly outstanding, and the mention of Shakespeare references brought back memories of that one Shakespeare adaptation no one likes (except for me I guess). Well, I feel pretty dumb now, having sat down to finally watch and discovering that it’s turned out to be one of the first shows this season that I’m actually really intrigued by, and one of the first that I can’t wait to see more of.

Mahiro’s sister, Aika, was murdered, and, after a year of no leads, he sets out to obtain the justice he believes has not been carried out. Somewhere along the way, he becomes involved with the self-proclaimed most powerful mage known to man who has been stranded on a desert island, and, in exchange for her help in finding his sister’s murderer(s), agrees to help her save the world. Joining Mahiro is his friend, Yoshino who was dating Aika at the time of her death, but is helping Mahiro out because of their friendship. Putting aside Mahiro and Yoshino, the mages are part of what makes the story as engaging as it is. Here we have a group that is supposed to protect and watch over the logic in the world, yet is looking to do something that appears to go the very logic that powers them and that they are protectors of. I’m interested to see what exactly their motivations are for doing what they are and what possible benefits would await them when they do. The Tree of Genesis, the source of their magical abilities, though, is one of the aspects of the mages that, by itself, is really intriguing mainly because one of the requirements in order to draw from it’s power is an offering of “the fruits of civilization,” or man-made objects. This aspect of the the Tree leads to some interesting questions regarding how it ties into what the mages are trying to resurrect. In towns where parts of the tree pop up, Black Iron Syndrome befalls the residents, turning them into metal. Since most of the offerings to the Tree  of Genesis look metallic in nature things and this syndrome turns people into metal, I’m curious to see if the metal people in affected areas will end up acting as a sort of final sacrifice.

In addition to the story, the main characters in Zetsuen no Tempest are also really interesting to look at. Mahiro’s desire to wreak his revenge, it’s plain to see, has consumed him to the point where, as Yoshino points out, he would probably do anything, regardless of whether it was right or wrong, in order to avenge his sister. Being driven by such a volatile emotion like revenge, though, tends to a double edged sword, especially if, one is consumed by it because that’s all he is focusing on. It’s ironic that a guy so consumed by the desire to kill Aika’s killer(s) is the one who the job of the world’s savior has fallen to. Brash and quick to jump into a fray without thinking too much about it, Mahiro reminds me a bit of a wild animal, though perhaps a more tame one considering he won’t lash out at anyone. On the other other hand, we have Yoshino whose hidden nature perhaps makes him more dangerous than Mahiro; though he’s more calm and level headed, he is also calculating and deceptive. Aika, especially, emphasizes the fact that Yoshino isn’t the good guy he appears to be. Taking that into consideration, as well as the fact that he asks Hakaze if Aika can be brought back to life, I’m curious to see if his motivation behind helping Mahiro is merely out of their bond as friends. Both boys are far from your model hero, but that makes them all the more interesting to watch and try and figure out.

Surprisingly, for a dead person, Aika has been playing a pretty major role in  the series. Besides her obvious influence over her brother, there’s a lot of hinting that she’s another character who is more than she appears. I mean, she doesn’t have 1/4 of the promo art and a considerable amount of screen time for nothing. I’m anxious to see what, if anything, comes from all the hinting.

On the animation side of things, I’m loving everything. As expected of BONES, everything looks great. The characters are detailed and move really well which makes the fight scenes more exciting and fun to watch. Though the show has a pretty dreary color palette right now, it fits the general atmosphere of the show well. Although, music in most series tends to not really pop out at me, I’ll admit that even I’ve picked up on how great the music is here. The use of violins and more classical pieces adds a dramatic flare to scenes that makes them pop out more or have more of an impact.

All in all, I am really excited by what I’ve seen so far. The show is interesting and the production, so far, has been solid. Although I’m not a great reader of Shakespearean plays, and I’ll admit I probably don’t appreciate the ones I have read enough, I think that the references to Hamlet are well integrated and actually add onto the quality of the story/characters which already do a good job of pulling me in and holding my attention, as well as leaving me wanting more. Unless the creators decide to throw everything to hell, I think I’m looking at one of my favorites of the season.

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