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「ファースト・キス」 (Fasuto Kisu)
“First Kiss”

This week on Zetsuen no Tempest, flashbacks highlight the calm before the storm… and I must say, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this kind of episode done so well. Not only do we get an in-depth glimpse into events gone by, but also a tremendous amount of development into our respective protagonists, as well as even more examples of how influential Aika has been.

And to say the least, Aika was definitely something else. Despite all the flashbacks and all the material we’ve had to work with to discern her personality, the thing that really strikes me is how I still can’t really settle on who she really is. On a flip side, she seems exceptionally mature beyond her age… but at the same time, there’s some feeling of it being unnatural (perhaps, forced?) too. She has this quiet air of confidence that virtually no one has at her age and her words are constantly indicative of the large amount of thought put into them. Yet when you think about it, you can’t help but realize that you actually don’t know much about her… In turn, it’s here where you also realize that in ways, Zetsuen has managed to lull us into this mistaken belief that the overriding mystery behind the series is the Aika’s murder, when it’s possible that the real mystery is actually not the murder, but Aika herself. In addition, when you think about the fact that she’s so different from others her age, you can’t help but associate her with the word “irrational”… and well, when you consider how the Kusaribe clan and the Tree of Genesis are supposed to counter irrationalities… suddenly things start getting a whole lot more interesting. I mean, really, if you consider things from this point of view, it makes it so that what Mahiro and Yoshino consider to be irrational (her death), may indeed be the opposite and thus everything is anything but what we think it is. Hmm…

In any case, another key aspect of Aika’s personality is the fact that she just seems to know things. Her description of Yoshino as someone with “high adaptability but no individuality and someone who can can act normal under any circumstance, but will not take the initiative or change the status quo” is just spot on and just further highlights not only the contrast between Yoshino and Mahiro, but also how that contrast is also ironically the reason why they’re still together after all this time. There’s just this great commentary here about how opposites do indeed attract and at this point it’s just like, “wow,” because it’s amazing how well everything is depicted and how well virtually everything links together to create one solid story. The quotes and concepts aren’t the deepest or most complex ones, but how this story weaves the individual elements together sure make it look that way. The series just deserves its kudos.

Moving on, another big thing that really highlighted the differences between our main protagonists (as well as of Aika’s personality compared to them), was the whole discussion about stars. On one hand, we have Aika and her like for stars in the summer and the fact she likes them because of how hard they try to shine (in order to show they exist). On the other hand, we have Mahiro’s like for stars in the winter and his reasons being because they’re “cold and dignified” and “high up, but can’t easily be reached”. And they’re significant because not only are these views great contrasts to each other, they’re also massively symbolic too. I can go into a long discussion here, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say Aika’s description = Yoshino and Mahiro’s = Aika.

In the end I mean, this was just an amazing episode. The double date just added even more to our protagonists’ developments and to their contrast… the discussion of girlfriends and separation in the middle of the episode just highlight how little Aika and Yoshino actually got to do together and Mahiro’s propensity not to notice the obvious… and so on and so forth. We’re just seeing a lot about how the characters used to be and who they’ve become now as a result of Aika’s death and it’s just an amazing amount of content. Looking forward, it looks like the confrontation of Samon awaits and the series just looks like it can only get better from here. It looks like it’s approaching a kind of final battle… but with all of this content and the obviousness of the emphasis on this being “final,” I can’t just help but think there’s going to be a lot more left even after this coming confrontation. Guess we’ll see…

Mochi’s Corner:

  • I could go on at length, but – p-poor Mahiro… Everyone just runs circles around him don’t they ;—;

Full-length images: 2, 3, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 27, 28, 30, 33, 36.

 

Preview

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November 16, 2012 at 12:28 am
38 comments »
  • November 16, 2012 at 12:57 amDualash

    The beginnings of the tempest…

  • November 16, 2012 at 1:55 amAccess

    As unlikely as I think it, I won’t give up the hope of one day seeing Vampire Juujikai, another work of Shirodaira Kyou and probably my favorite one, animated. After all he did Zetsuen no Tempest and Spiral: Suiri no Kizuna. Both of which have now received adaptions.

    Oh well, a man can dream.

  • November 16, 2012 at 1:56 amAlec

    Thought the anime was going to be 2-cour -_-
    Guess the anime will be pretty straightforward then

  • November 16, 2012 at 2:30 amScruffy

    There’s a good pausing point coming up soon in the manga (around ch 16-17) so 1 cour should be fine.

    • November 16, 2012 at 2:31 amScruffy

      eeps … that was supposed to be a reply to Alec

    • November 16, 2012 at 8:50 amAlec

      It is.

      The way the anime is right now, it should be perfectly fine if it ends in 12 episodes.
      I’m expecting a good ending from this anime.

      Still, I definitely would’ve welcomed the idea of the anime being 2-cour

    • November 17, 2012 at 9:52 pmNic

      I’m seriously hoping this is getting a 24-26 episodes treatment. Seems very unclear at the moment, do you have a reliable source to confirm it’s only 1 cour?

      An additional 13 episodes could allow the series to dig into the unscanlated parts of the manga, which is something I’d really love to see. Although yes, there’s a very good point in the series to end things which means it could definitely fit into 13 episodes if they cut out some of the dialogue.

  • November 16, 2012 at 4:13 amSatyr

    Something tells me Mahiro learned about his sister and Yoshino,Lost it,killed her and subconsciously blanked out the whole incident.

    • November 16, 2012 at 7:19 ammugi

      K this is not….

      • November 17, 2012 at 2:56 amSatyr

        Who said anything about K, This has Memento/Hamlet flags all over it:

        -They’ve never shown even a glimpse of the killer nor describe exactly what happened to her beside her death.
        -The Fact that Mahiro is so obsessed with finding his sister killer regardless of what might happen to him or the world,talking constantly about what he is going to do to him if he finds him.
        -His deep incestuous feelings for his sister and the fact that she had a hidden relationship with his best friend,And his reaction when she told him she might be seeing someone…
        -Mahiro is not exactly mentally stable…pointing his gun at Yoshino To the point where yoshino didn’t know if he was serious or not…

      • November 18, 2012 at 2:32 pmDungkong

        In response to Satyr, I can guarantee you, RIGHT NOW with 100% confidence, that your hypothesis is wrong. it was a Show Spoiler ▼

        . I won’t expand on it though. It will reveal too much spoiler :D

  • November 16, 2012 at 5:33 amSin1505

    Yoshiro is indeed very passive but the scary type, in a *GOOD way*! Him and Mahiro are quiet similar yet so different in many ways, I wonder if Aika had genuine feelings for Yoshiro. Because it is quite obvious that there is a attraction between Mahiro and Aika, to the point that Yoshiro is very well aware of if they had met in different scenarios the outcome might have been different.

    What really pokes my interest, is Yoshiro’s reason to follow Mahiro, so far it seems his movement are quiet passive, despite him seeming to have genuine feelings for Aika, despite his lack of interest in finding her killer or avenging her…

    I think Aika did not kiss Yoshiro for Mahiro’s sake…
    Or because she wonders if he actually care..?

  • November 16, 2012 at 5:37 amTranquin

    Those who are wondering, 90% of this episode is anime original.

    • November 16, 2012 at 6:40 amZephyr

      Hm… darn good one nonetheless even if this is true. *_*

    • November 16, 2012 at 11:34 amzleihsh

      Actually, no. If you read the RAW’s then you will know this ep’s material is definatly in the manga.

      • November 17, 2012 at 5:19 amd-LaN

        Do you mean this part is actually in the later part of the manga tht is not scanlated yet?

      • November 17, 2012 at 7:22 amzleihsh

        Yes, it is around chapter 30-something…..

      • November 17, 2012 at 9:46 pmNic

        Ah, very informative thanks. I’m up-to-date with the manga and I didn’t recall that flashback so I was curious whether that was really original material to expand their relationship or in the unscanlated parts of the manga.

        Although obviously, there’s still some original content to make it fit at this point in time,
        that was really excellent. Breaks the pacing a bit but otherwise, it continues presenting Aika in an almost haunting manner. Even where I am (chapter 20 I think), Aika is still a huge mystery.

  • November 16, 2012 at 7:20 amShiden

    It’s a lot of anime-original material, but I find myself not really minding. They’re fleshing out the characters and giving them more backstory than what’s in the manga.
    That said, while I’m enjoying the series now, I’m sure I’d be in love if they dropped the original content and went further than where it seems it’s going to end. Needs more Hakaze.

    • November 16, 2012 at 7:28 amSteelman

      Bones is clearly padding the story as much as they can so that they can reach a good stopping point (chapter 16) by the end of this 1-cour adaptation. Understandable, and they are doing a good job out of it, but I am not sure I like it too much… mainly because they are turning a suspense/mystery story into a psychological study.

      • November 17, 2012 at 9:58 pmNic

        To be fair, even if this was original material (zleihsh indicated it is not) a good part of the mystery surrounding Aika concerns why she killed.

        It doesn’t seem to be random at all so the psychology of Aika herself could very likely be a key part of why she was murdered. I just can’t shake off the idea that she seems to be a lot more than she’s letting on.

  • November 16, 2012 at 8:51 amQuestionPerson

    I’m still not sure if it’s 1-cour or 2-cour atm… on the official websites it’s still marked as unknown :/

  • November 16, 2012 at 11:47 amlorenzo

    I don’t know if someone pointed this out before, but speaking of Hamlet (the Shakespeare references are one of the things why I keep watching this show), many critics of the play saw incestous undertones in the characters’ relationships.
    It may be far-fetched to call this an intentional reference, and of course, romance between step-siblings is a way overused trope in anime (I’m looking at you, Sword Art Online), but since Zetsuen seems to take it way more seriously than other shows, I find the similarties with Hamlet quite interesting.

  • November 16, 2012 at 1:31 pmshadowalker

    didn’t like Aika in this ep, she gives off the vibe of someone whose just toying with Yoshino and Mahiro rather than actually caring about them.

  • November 16, 2012 at 1:36 pmshadowalker

    “high adaptability but no individuality and someone who can can act normal under any circumstance, but will not take the initiative or change the status quo”

    this is a very accurate description of Yoshino, maybe it’s just me, but i can’t help but think that there’s something missing.

    • November 16, 2012 at 8:01 pmCybersteel

      Things could have been worse for him… you know like casting Kaji Yuki for that role.

    • November 17, 2012 at 9:51 pmFluo

      What he is missing:
      A harem.

  • November 16, 2012 at 2:03 pmWTFisThisSHIT?!

    SOOOOO MUCH FILLERS! Seriously they are stretching the story with so many fillers that its note even interesting at all! Get back to the real story already!@

    • November 17, 2012 at 4:16 amTakurannyan

      Warning

    • November 19, 2012 at 10:36 pmKaka

      Actually I like the “fillers” more than the actual conflict within the clan. These character developments add depth to the whole story. Yeah, the clan did something (seemingly?) threatening to the society and two guys are helping out, so what? Honestly, what sets this anime apart from the generic save-the-world anime IS the psychological aspect.

  • November 16, 2012 at 7:36 pmryuuzaki

    more bitchy vibes from aika @.@
    i dont mind spoilers, so let me ask this. is aika always like this in the manga? you know, kinda bitchy attitude?

  • November 16, 2012 at 7:37 pmunknown2

    I dont know. I havent read the manga, but Im actually enjoying this original content or not. Definitely doesnt even feel like a filler for those like me who havent read the manga.

    The connection with Aika and Mashiro is quite interesting the inscest thing doesnt bother me coz its the cleanest way possible. 1 they are not distant relatives or blood related. 2 they didnt not grow up together. For all misfortune, they could have been dating from the start and then BOOM their parents decide to marry and now they have to break up. So this is totally ok in my book in regards to anime storylines

    I just realized that Mahiro’s voice is also Ryugamine Mikado from Durarara. What a gap, I swear I didnt even notice until my friend told me!

  • November 17, 2012 at 3:33 amhoiut

    Full-lengths 27 and 36 are gorgeous.

    Zetsuen no Tempest is really becoming something of a character study.

  • November 17, 2012 at 5:25 amchad

    I really like this series. I even started reading Hamlet because of it.
    I thought Aika’s description = Mahiro.

    • November 19, 2012 at 10:40 pmKaka

      Yeah it seems Aika’s description of stars does resemble more of Mahiro than Yoshino. One thing for sure, Mahiro shines much more brightly and violently than Yoshino, if he is shining at all.

  • November 17, 2012 at 6:36 amish

    fujoshi. HAH i knew it.

  • November 27, 2012 at 1:27 amewok40k

    Aika is amazing. She manages to convey so much more than mere words she’s saying… Loved how she described herself when she talked to Mahiro about himself. BTW boy, Mahiro is oblivious…

  • December 8, 2012 at 9:54 pmAshen

    A fascinating contrast of characters, and the achingly human traits that comprise them. I was surprised to see such levels of vulnerability from Mashiro this time around — it was a quick blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but his comments in response to Yoshino’s “being with someone you like” over just being with someone because you don’t want to be alone really struck me as such.

    I didn’t think this series would be 1-cour, but given how well it’s been handled so far, and taking into account what others have said about the manga’s timeline coinciding with a break in the plot, I’ll be happy with a wrap-up at this point so long as it’s done respectfully. There’s always a chance it’ll get a second season, right? *shrugs*