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Zetsuen no Tempest – 03

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「できないことは、魔法にもある」 (Dekinai Koto Wa, Mahou Ni Mo Aru)
“There Are Things Even Magic Cannot Do”

If there’s one thing that I like paying attention to, it’s the title of every episode I watch. Some series tend to have titles that hint at things to come or aspects they’ll be covering in the episode… and Zetsuen seems to be one of them.

“There Are Things Even Magic Cannot Do”

And well, that’s exactly what this third episode’s about for the most part, and just one of the many reasons I’m watching this series. Because for a series revolving around magic, it’s surprisingly grounded in reality. You can’t just go around reviving the dead or wielding things like fireballs and lightning. There’s a prescribed “logic” and order in the Zetsuen world, and it’s just a testament to the additional, conscious effort made by the creator to reduce the amount of potential plot holes, while also providing detailed and reasonable explanations for how things work. Not only that, the explanations in turn link into the more general aspects of the world itself, and manage to generate a bit of intrigue where there normally would be none.

Think about it. The whole explanation about how Kusaribe magic works combines with the discussion about the Tree of Genesis. In turn, that’s linked with the observation by Yoshino, where he notices that Kusaribe magic draws upon civilization as a source of power, while Iron Sickness seems to be doing something of the opposite. There’s a hint here at the general workings of the world being all linked in some kind of cycle, and it’s just very intriguing when you note that this observation comes linked at the end of an explanation as to how their magic works in the first place. Everything’s just linked in an intricate manner, and it makes the series exceptionally solid in terms of its foundation. It’s just hard to find series that are… well, so solid and so grounded, and it’s just something that puts Zetsuen as a series worth watching despite the fact it doesn’t necessarily wow or break new ground.

And while I’m on the topic of things being intricately linked, there’s also a really big commentary on fate vs. coincidence being brandished as well. I mentioned this in the discussion for the previous episode already, how everything just seems to link our two male mains and the Kusaribe clan, but it’s something that’s really hammered in this episode.

Do coincidences like this happen? Or was this somehow inevitable?

And it’s just something that’s pretty powerful, considering the context, and a bit thought provoking as well.

Moving on, another big aspect that’s played a large part in my enjoyment are the protagonists themselves. There’s none of the brooding and the “emoness” you see in many other series when “shit goes down” (for lack of a better term). The characters here are all at a point where they’ve already brooded, already settled down on their conclusions about the world, and already forced to have matured in some shape or form. And what results are protagonists that are quick witted, work together exceptionally well, and just form a great dynamic with one another. Seeking out Mahiro with healing magic… Mahiro luring Natsumura into the fuel… both of them luring him into the firing zone of the helicopters… phew* It was just nice to see protagonists that don’t waste their time going “ah man, I’m screwed” and proactively doing something. On that note, this Natsumura fellow is pretty darn resilient isn’t he?

And last but not least, two other big aspects I’d like to discuss. First, the nice mix of comedy within the seriousness. Continuing from the previous episodes, there’s just this nice mix of jokes in between everything, and it really serves to contrast the situations our mains are in, as well as highlight how well the interactions are done. And second, there’s the nice, rather subtle commentary (at least in my view) about the influence of those who have passed on. Aika might be dead, but at times, it sure doesn’t seem that way from how we see her motivating our protagonists from beyond the grave. I can’t remember many times where I’ve seen a deceased character used in such a way to garner such impact and influence, not only as a point of motivation, but also as a reason for why our mains are how they are (personality-wise).

Overall, just another solid episode. I know I’ve used the word solid many times now, but there really is no better word off the top of my head that adequately describes what Zetsuen is. And well, both Bakamochi and I will be here for the long haul, as we have decided to pick up Zetsuen no Tempest for permanent coverage from now on. Sadly, she’s been sick for a little while and couldn’t help out this episode, but she’ll be back! Either way, from this point forward, chances are it’ll be me writing the post and Mochi doing the caps… with the occasional post+capping done by one person from time to time depending on how our schedules work out. We hope you’ll enjoy our coverage and we’ll catch you guys back next week! :D

Also: “Hungry? Grab a Znickers!

Full-length images: 05, 07, 10, 11, 24.

 

Preview

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October 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm
33 comments »
  • October 18, 2012 at 8:16 pmPockyG

    Seems like this is the case for most Bones animes these days. Competent and solid but nothing truly outstanding. Thanks for the coverage.

    • October 18, 2012 at 9:24 pmGlassShadow

      Hmm, I already see that as a feat in itself. I mean tuning out outstanding work once in a while is definitely amazing, but never letting their standard drop below average is also commendable. I think Bones has been exploring new grounds the past two years, through shows like Star Driver, Gosick and Un-Go. While those shows are not exactly my cup of tea, I could appreciate why they wanted to step away from their comfort zone. On average, they are already faring a whole lot better than many other studios, it’s just that the few shows they put out each year always attract a lot of attention because people generally have a higher expectation for the studio.

      • October 19, 2012 at 1:37 pmPockyG

        Heh, you’re right I do have high expectations. I have nothing against Bones, in fact they’re one of the very few studios that I expect nothing less than excellence. Zetsuen so far has been exceeding those expectations which is nothing to scoff at and I am really enjoying the series so far.

        However when I use the term “outstanding”, I don’t that word lightly. It’s usually reserved where it is clearly the best series of the season. Of the 25+ titles this season, I’d rank it easily in the top 25%. Other studios have really stepped up their game but Bones is nearly always in the top 5 of a season but almost never considered the best of season by me (Although I may argue for Star Driver).

        I’m not ready to judge this series yet after 3 episodes, but outstanding simply isn’t a word I would use to describe Zetsuen at this point. Recommended? Yes. Excellent? Sure. Solid? Absolutely! I just don’t believe this is clearly best this season has to offer, simple as that.

      • October 19, 2012 at 9:13 pmGlassShadow

        lol, no worries, I totally get it. Bones is a pretty unique studio, one that puts a lot of thought into what they do, and always instills a style of their own even within adaptions. But I do agree with that many of their works are great, but not outstanding from an objective perspective. I know one thing that they are criticized for is the tendency to be frustratingly ambiguous and leave plot threads hanging in midair. Though for some weird reason, I connect most of Bones’ shows even when they are deeply flawed and grow attached to them over time. I guess in a way I’m more tolerant towards their shortcomings. As for Zetsuen, it feels like the type of show that falls into Bones’ comfort zone, but I am concerned about how it will be paced especially in the second half of the series. For now, let’s just enjoy it for what it is. =)

      • October 20, 2012 at 1:31 pmTre

        Well, Bones hasn’t always produced complete masterpieces, but as GlassShadow said, they are always incredibly consistent, never letting their work drop below a certain standard. To me, their the top animation studio in Japan for consistent quality (well, for studios focused on TV, so I’m ignoring Studio Ghibli and the like in this consideration). Every other animation studio has its fair share of garbage along with its quality work.

  • October 18, 2012 at 8:21 pmvolant

    I have to agree, “solid” is the best way to put it. That’s the same word that has been running through my head as I’ve been watching this show.

  • October 18, 2012 at 8:24 pmSceptile

    Actually more than just solid, this is probably the second or third best of the anime I’m watching this season, and this is an extremely strong season. I look forward to it a lot now.

  • October 18, 2012 at 8:25 pmShouhei

    Speaking of Znickers (Snickers), when my mum was pregnant with me, she craved Snickers constantly. Somehow it rubbed off on me, and I grew up loving Snickers. I think I’ll have one.

    • October 18, 2012 at 8:28 pmZephyr

      Ah, yeah, it’s been said that some things do rub off like that. :D

      But man, I was really laughing at the snickers bit. It’s like “MAN I’M HUNGRY”. Bar appears right next to him. “Oh thanks!” “WAIT WTF”

    • October 18, 2012 at 8:41 pmv3000

      Damn, more Snickers? xD

  • October 18, 2012 at 8:49 pmdeathtogenericshows

    “Zetsuen no Tempest might not necessarily break any new ground, but it’s definitely something worth watching.”
    Says Zephyr.

    I agree. It’s a fair statement. No one is mistaking this show being the BEST of fall 2012, but it’s a show I don’t mind spending 20min of my time watching.

    • October 18, 2012 at 9:29 pmmistress_kisara

      Same here… :D

  • October 18, 2012 at 9:33 pmGlassShadow

    I held off reading the manga because I didn’t want to constantly compare the two versions while I watched. So without really knowing the source material, I already find the two male leads very interesting. Like Zephyr said, “another big aspect that’s played a large part in my enjoyment are the protagonists themselves.” I think the setting so far is still quite generic, but the character dynamic could come off as something exceptional if it’s continued to be developed in this way.

  • October 18, 2012 at 9:48 pmEmD

    Who is more frightening? Mahiro, who is clearly irrational and powerful? Or Yoshino, who is cunning and unreadable?

    • October 18, 2012 at 9:53 pmZephyr

      How about Hakaze, who manages to do so much only via a wooden doll? :D

      • October 18, 2012 at 10:21 pmDangerMouse

        Yeah, she’s pretty awesome. :)

        Been quite enjoying this so far and I think the visuals and soundtrack have been fantastic so far, personally I think it’s somewhat better than the “solid” rating it seems to be getting in the comments since it’s actually gotten quite a bit done in just 3 eps and as mentioned in the review is already creating a setting with rather interesting “rules” for how the magic system works rather than just glossing over everything (It makes me think of the detailed worlds of shows like FMA and it was one of my favorite parts of even lesser known shows like Armed Librarians: The Book of Bantorra).

        Just to add, Nakamura’s appearance is giving me Kimblee vibes thanks to them giving him that white suit and hat, plus his resiliency and perhaps subtle stuff in the animation since this is also animated by Bones.

      • October 19, 2012 at 1:37 amCybersteel

        Maaakise Kurisu!!!

    • October 19, 2012 at 12:45 am4randomc

      It would be Yoshino for me.

    • October 23, 2012 at 10:19 pmNaavi

      It’s Aika,It’s definitely Aika followed by Yoshino.

  • October 18, 2012 at 9:51 pml3reezer

    In the long run, I don’t think this series will be considered the best of the season. Nonetheless, it’s faring well in my top four, currently. Solid is definitely an accurate description of each episode. The animation quality seemed to drop a wee bit this week around, but nothing too irksome yet. In which last week was a great portrayal of intensity and thrill, this week was more of a shonen-esque victory for our characters.

    • October 18, 2012 at 10:25 pmDangerMouse

      I think it’s heights might also depend on how many episodes this gets. If it gets enough eps (it’s currently scheduled for ~26 right?) I think it could grow into something pretty cool with the foundation we’re getting depending on how it grows.

      • October 19, 2012 at 9:12 amThe Moondoggie

        This show will be making an original end. The span of the translated manga can be covered in one cour. I feel it’s a mistake to have animated this in the first place because the story is still short. I don’t want another Stigma of the Wind.

  • October 18, 2012 at 10:30 pmAlset

    After reading the manga, this three episodes are only an introduction. A very long one, yeah. And the next one is filler… I can’t wait for the surprise in episode 5, then.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 19, 2012 at 12:55 amLightnDark

    Solid is probably the most relevant word used to describe Tempest, at least for me. Literally every aspect of the whole show is done in a solid manner, from the animation itself, to character designs, to the VA cast, to the intriguing plot itself. Tempest doesn’t have that kind of flair to make it stand out as one of the “Best of the season” kind of deal but on the overall it’s pretty darn good. Just think of it like that kid in class who always had above average grades but usually looked over in favour of the prodigies, that’s how I feel about Tempest at the moment, it’s definitely K/PP/Chuunibyou/LB but it’s still entertaining for sure.

    Glad to see the coverage here as I really feel that this show is overshadowed by the bigger “hits” this season.

    One last thing, about Aika. Somehow I don’t think she is really dead (this is purely speculation on my part, not read any source material). As Zephyr mentioned she just keeps coming back and it’s HanaKana behind the voice after all. Their not going to just get her to voice a character for just a single episode and deem her gone for good. Even if she is really dead (My bets are still on no she isn’t), she’s no doubt going to make more appearances throughout the entire series.

    PS: Aika keeps reminding me of Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari. Anyone got the same vibes? From the looks down to her “tundra” behavior.

  • October 19, 2012 at 1:11 amSchmell

    I am quite impressed. I have approached Zetsuen no Tempest with some prejudice, since it is you know…shonen, and people were talking about it like it is 2nd guilty gear for no apparent reason.

    It is actually very well executed, storyline looks solid (at the moment at least, and i’m not familiar with source material) and graphical part is just outright gorgeous. Hope they will keep it up, looking forward to it.

    PS. Only negative thoughts i have about series is that opening song is bad and somewhat spoiling all the fun :( The fact that it is not in my musical taste may not be relevant, but lyrics… Spirit inspiration…oooh :-S

  • October 19, 2012 at 1:34 amCybersteel

    This kinda reminds me of Pompei where a whole city of people get turned to stone from a volcanic eruption. Since civilization is the source of power, then how much would an entire city of sacrifice would amount to?

  • October 19, 2012 at 5:02 amewok40k

    Oh well, a bit of explanation we got about the nature of magic. The Tree seems to be a source of it, and it seems the faction led by red-headed Kusaribe boss is about to resurrect it somehow? There is a distinct possibility they are going to clash with the “logic of creation”.
    This means they might have find a way to ressurect dead people, too… Which coincidentally was first idea Yoshino was thinking about when heard of magic. There are possibilities to develop plot in unusual way. There is also that nagging doubt about Yoshino’s possible involvement in Aika’s murder – could he , not knowingly, be a Kusaribe clan member and a potential mage?
    The “technology offerings” actually make Japan a magic user’s dream, and conversely the deserted island where Hakaze landed, a total nightmare. Still even strong mage like Natsumura can be at least temporarily defeated by a Hellfire missiles… so I am not sure if hecan get so unscathed from direct hit by them or something even more powerful. Plus, there are many more deadly technologies in modern army’s arsenal…
    Speaking of the army, it seems Yamamoto is somehow working with them after all, and I bet we haven’t seen the last of her…

    • October 20, 2012 at 8:00 amHunterWulf

      It isn’t one tree, there are two of them, the Genesis Tree (which is the source of the Kusaribe clan magic powers and basically the Tree of Creation), and there is the Tree of Exodus, which seems to be the opposite of the Genesis tree, the rouge faction in the trying to resurrect the Tree of Exdous not the Tree of Genesis .. and in doing so (as mentioned before) they will destroy the world logic (probably along with the Tree of genesis the governs that logic).

      And if i might guess (and i haven’t read the manga) the tree of Exdous probably requires human sacrifices to be appeased (the opposite of the technological offering given to the tree of Genesis).

  • October 19, 2012 at 8:33 amKira526

    I think I laughed the hardest during this episode when the “Znickers” popped up! I kept trying to pronounce it but couldn’t ^^;;; Great episode yet again! This anime brings really strong and interesting characters to the table. I’m really happy to hear you picked up this show! I was hoping you would! Thanks to you and Mochi for all your hard work :)

  • October 19, 2012 at 1:54 pmKaka

    If this series was to be aired during the summer or winter season, the kinds of reaction would be way more hyped up. The solid storytelling is way above average but with the other solid ones like PSYCHO-PASS or Little Busters, it doesn’t shine as it should have. Nevertheless, this is definitely worth watching, as we have now crossed the 3-episode line.

    • October 20, 2012 at 5:43 amewok40k

      To add insult to injury, Thursdays are packed with ambitious shows, K!, Btoom!, Zetsuen no Tempest, Robotics; Notes and Psycho Pass all air in one day…

  • October 19, 2012 at 11:16 pmUnajuuphile

    Regarding VAs, did anyone realize that: Mahiro=Shun from Kimi to Boku, Yoshino=Yuuta from Kimi to Boku. Every time I watch this show, imagining a bad-ass Shun with Yuuta just cracks me up.

  • October 20, 2012 at 7:44 amhoh

    Actually I’d say there are quite a lot of deceased characters used in Aika’s way. The difference is in the execution. The way Aika motivated our two mains seems quite natural whilst often you feel forced in this situation.