「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! 😀
Also: “Hungry? Grab a Znickers!”