「魔法使いは、樽の中」 (Mahoutsukai ha, Taru no Naka)
“The Sorceress in the Barrel”

“The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!”

The start of the fall season continues with Bones’ adaptation of the fantasy/mystery series Zetsuen no Tempest. Following the stories of childhood friends Fuwa Mahiro (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) and Yoshino Takigawa (Uchiyama Kouki), the first episode stays quite true to the source material, as well as the basic premise description:

Following the murder of his sister, Fuwa embarks on a journey to try and find the killer. One month after Fuwa’s sudden disappearance, Yoshino finds himself at the Fuwa family grave. There, he is questioned at gunpoint by Fraulein Yamamoto about his friend’s disappearance and his potential involvement in various events across Japan. Fuwa returns just in time to save Yoshino from his predicament, armed with new powers granted to him by the sorceress Kusaribe Hakaze, whom he has agreed to assist in exchange for her help in finding his sister’s murderer. Meanwhile, the city falls under a curse known as iron sickness, caused by Kusaribe Samon’s (Koyama Rikiya) attempt to revive the Tree of Zetsuen to empower his clan’s powers… and potentially lead to the world’s destruction.

And well, that was pretty much the first episode in a nutshell. The overall premise does come off as somewhat generic, but there was definitely a lot to like despite that. For one, there was the superb animation by Bones. Maybe it’s partially because the original character designs from Saizaki Ren are just good for animation purposes, but the overall experience of Zetsuen was a visual treat to say the least. With breathtaking backgrounds and large, sweeping contrasts in lighting (such as the vivid red/orange hue here compared to the dark gray/black here), there’s just a sharpness to everything, and you just can’t help but notice the details in the scenes that you normally wouldn’t care for. To top it off, there’s some great action scenes to highlight these aspects, and a dramatic, but well done sequence of orchestral-isque music by Oshima Michiru in the background too.

In addition, there are the characters themselves to like who while also a bit generic in exterior, seem to have some complex layers to them as well. Take a look at Yoshino for instance. He continues to insist that he has a girlfriend, despite the fact that she was Fuwa’s sister and died years back. Combine this with the fact he and Aika seemed to have kept it a secret from Fuwa in the first place and you just have to wonder at what scenarios they’ve had to deal with to result in such a predicament, as well as the mind sets that led to that in the first place. Then there’s Fuwa. While his mission to find his sister’s killer is quite standard and not surprising in the least, the part of him that says he wishes to save the world despite his obvious dislike of it, points at something deeper too. Granted, there’s a chance that this aspect doesn’t quite develop much, considering the genre involved, but at the very least the characters are decent enough to watch the show for. And if anything, their dialogue and quotes from Hamlet should provide some kind of foreshadow or at least commentary on various themes and topics relating to the world in general. Remember, Hamlet was a tragedy, and we’re already seeing some of the tragic aspects already. And while I’m at it, let’s also not forget to mention that the series doesn’t seem to want to waste much time with the whole question and need to believe aspect regarding Yoshino and magic, which is also a positive.

Moving on, let’s not also forget the main heroine, Kusaribe Hakaze. Voiced by the ever superb Sawashiro Miyuki, she’s a really interesting X-factor in both the context of the story and in the respect that she’s probably one of the first heroines I’ve seen in any show that leads while stranded on an island with nothing but sandals and a dress. Her message in a bottle to circumvent the magical barriers that make the island invisible for normal people hints at some intellect on her part, and the fact she seems to be incredibly powerful also gives her some added recognition as a heroine who may yet separate herself from the pack.

And last but not least, perhaps the most interesting vibe that Zetsuen gives off is that it’ll be fairly straight forward in nature. As the first episode demonstrated, as well as some of the beginning source material, there’s just no real dilly dallying. It certainly seems like the story’s meant to start and continue on a fast pace, and while the story may never develop into something exceptionally grand, it should still be a fairly fun ride. It helps also that the OP (used as an ending this episode) is catchy and the series seems to be able to mix a bit of comedy in with the fairly serious nature in from time to time too. Quotes from Hakaze about at least being stranded with a dress rather than just in her underwear was just one of many that made me chuckle for a moment, along with Fraulein’s whole “I’m not suspicious at all” quip with Yoshino. It’s no easy task mixing in comedy in a fairly straight forward and serious show like Zetsuen… but those that have been able to mix the two have ended up fairly successful.

And so, what can I say? Bones does a great job in its adaptation of the the original material, adding in a few anime original scenes to great effect, and giving the series a much bigger visual impact than I expected from the previews and preliminary research I did regarding the series. For now, it seems like a typical action, fantasy series… but there are hints at a mystery aspect down the line regarding Aika’s death, so it’s not going to be typical generic shounen. And even if it is, I can’t say it’s not worth watching either way, considering the superb job by Bones so far. I only managed to peek at the beginning few chapters of Zetsuen so far, so I can’t say I know much about the future to give a definite prediction, but the vibe I get is that there’s definitely the potential for this series to succeed. If the production values stay firm, the story doesn’t try to suddenly veer from its straight forwardness and try to do something it’s not, the mystery portion picks up in combination with the already good action, it might just impress much more than anticipated before season’s end. Either way, definitely worth a try, especially if you’re a fan of the action/fantasy genres.

Note: As of this moment, weekly coverage of Zetsuen no Tempest has not been confirmed.


Full-length images: 04, 10, 13, 29, 35.


OP Sequence

OP: 「Spirit Inspiration」 by Nothing’s Carved in Stone



  1. Another great series and yet again I went straight for the manga after the first episode 🙂
    The music and the great production values should make it a great anime to watch for though…

  2. hmm… thanks for the post zephyr 🙂
    I kinda feel the same way as Yoshino felt… the whole situation is absurd, but accepting all of these as “settings”, then the first episode is entertaining and makes me want to continue… so I guess I will check out the manga then xD
    ps. why does a lot of characters in this season’s shows resemble other anime characters from seasons back? (MC in this show, Haru from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Himiko from btooom…)

  3. A great adaptation of the source material. I can confirm it won’t turn into crap like how Guilty Crown did or into moe of the week how SAO did. A show worth a watch. BONES is up to their standard on the animation front.

  4. While there wasn’t anything particularly incredible this was definitely a solid episode and there are plot threads that seem like they may lead into interesting situations so I’ll continue watching this.

      1. Awesome. That sounds great.

        This show looks fantastic and with those great visuals and animation and Michiru Ooshima doing the score there’s so much sweet promise here. 🙂

  5. Pretty interesting premiere and as with anything BONES, the animation is certainly beautiful and fluid, and we have the usual bevy of pretty boys (Braids and earring, really Yoshino?) and cute girls (Sawashiro Miyuki <3) too. I'm expecting a lot of fast-paced action scenes down the line and the premise with the curse and mages seem promising enough, not to mention there is a nice element of mystery surrounding Aika's death. I just hope the story is not too big and complicated for an anime adaptation and Bones' track record is certainly not the most convincing.

    Seishun Otoko
  6. I hope someone picks up this show. It wasn’t the most spectacular episode but I think it did a lot to build up as interesting and set it up to move forward in a good way. I am looking forward to seeing what this show ends up as and I am glad to find out that I am suppose to be as confused about Aika as I currently am.

  7. This is my favorite show thus far this season. Fuwa is giving me vibes of Seifer from FF8 for some reason, though I can’t really complain about that, as it’s not an archetype I see often in anime. Definitely looking forward to more episodes of this.

  8. Hopefully this series gets regular cover in RC, I felt so since I saw the schedule.
    Zetsuen no Tempest isn’t really action-focused, it’s more psychological tactics (fighting with mind games etc). It’s similar to Spiral Suiri no Kizuna (same author), just to me a lot more complicated and large-scale.

  9. What really struck me this episode was definitely the beautiful visuals and haunting sound track. Like damn, it really sets the atmosphere right. Though…I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s Bones we are talking about and stunning animation has always been it’s calling card. I do have a problem with shows trying to be more than they capable of, that includes self-important dialogue, dramatic acting, convoluted plot threads. Bones has a tendency to fall into that last one, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  10. Wait, it’s not even guaranteed to be covered?? D: After that first ep I thought it’d be covered in a heartbeat! If there’s one thing I love in an anime it’s execution, and far out did this show have it!

  11. It was interesting the only thing that worries me is that Fraulein Yamamoto got beat up right up by magic-bullet-proof Fuwa, making him a bit overpowered. Will watch a bit more but if he becomes another Akatsuki it will be a real downer for me. Hopefully we get more of her. not every day we get a 28 year old raven hair black leather with boots not suspicous character. WHy I always fall for the bad girl 🙂

      1. I see, thanks for clearing it up for me, what really confused my was the text he got midway through the episode warning him not to be late for the date I guess thats not for the sister.

  12. Having read the manga (knowing the development of the characters and story), and considering the quality of the animation, I think it is definitely worth it to continue blogging this anime. In fact, it would be quite a pity if RC discontinued this series…

  13. interesting characters.
    Yoshino Takigawa, that guy either has impressive control over his emotions or really bad at showing them.Being nice and polite always but at same time doesn’t seem too bothered by anything happening around him.
    Fuwa Mahiro, searching for his sister’s murderer for revenge, heard that before, but wats up with saying he doesn’t care about the world AND he will save it in the same sentence?
    Kusaribe Hakaze, surviving on a deserted island and sending the wooden doll in a bottle suggests a capable and intelligent character but her comments on not leaving her in her underwear and how tough she is, hints at a immature side to her.
    from wat i’ve seen from the first ep this anime is going to be awesome.

  14. The set-up is pretty generic but Bones’ interpretation makes it so worthwhile! If Bones did it any other way it would just feel cliche. I really hope someone can pick this up!

  15. I LOVED the composition of this episode.

    The way its introduction went full circle from its setting, to its characters, then back to the setting was nothing short of brilliant.

    And the already present interplay of secrets and mysteries about the characters are wonderful.

    Honestly, it’s almost Shakespearean in its effectiveness, and gives me a ton of hope for the show.

    BONES being on their A-game production wise is a plus as well.

  16. I think the Japanese society is collectively worried about their “ghost from the past.” I think this anime also plays on people’s fear that a small group of militant extremists can throw the course of the country towards self-destruction. From the look of the fist episode, there may be enough comical elements to make it a non-serious story. I will keep watching for a couple more episodes to see how it goes.

  17. I find the characters interesting, from Yashino and Mahiru as odd pair of friends to Yamamoto as “volunteer” witch-hunter, to Hakaze’s spunky attitude… Plus while magic seems to easily beat mundane weapons, they certainly do exist as a factor in the game.

  18. I do not read Hamlet…. mind showing/explaining the quotes @Zephyr/anyone??

    Also, nice BGM, animation and THOSE BUTTERFLIES. This sounds interesting!!

    Black Iron Syndrome… Apocalypse Virus magic ver??

    1. The quote pretty much pertains to them “having the responsibility to save something.” In this case, it would be the world, which they consider to be wrong and crumbling for the most part… and it’s their responsibility because it seems like they’re the only ones who notice (and now only ones who have the power too).

  19. For me, this was a solid first episode. An exciting – if short – fight scene, some compelling, seemingly layered characters, a dark theme with sprinklings of philosophical musings and thought-provoking questions, gorgeous animation, and some catchy music.

    Hoping RC confirms blogging this. I’m always thrilled to read the thoughts/dissections of such fine writers.

  20. Please, does anyone know what’s the name of the song that was playing on the end of the episode 12 of Zetsuen No Tempest ??
    It’s starts from 20:12 min until the end, it’s an orchestra I guess, but I would like to know the song’s name, it’s amazing!
    if anyone knows it, please send me the song’s name by email rkbm_blink182@live.com



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