「罰あたり、ふたり」 (Batsu-atari, Futari)
“The Cursed Pair”

To say the least, there are many ways to succeed. It’s true in real life and it’s true when pertaining to creating successful anime. Some series rely on an immensely complex plot that blows you way, others go in with something more straight forward, and stick to it the entire way. Of course, by now, you’ll know that Zetsuen no Tempest definitely fits in the latter category. Four episodes in, it might not be the most complex thing you’ve ever seen, but its straightforward nature gives it a unique charm that elevates it a cut above the norm. And how does it do it? Simply by not trying to do too much. Too many series aim for that complexity and that high ledge, but lose track of the foundations that made the series what it was along the way. What Zetsuen does is avoid this completely by just basically saying: “This is what we want to show. This is what you’ll get, nothing more, nothing less.” It caps the ultimate ceiling the series reaches, but this too is one way to succeed.

And well, if there’s one thing you’ll notice with Zetsuen as a result, it’s that virtually every event and even most of the dialogue, is rife with its own meaning, link, or commentary. Sure, it’s quite obvious at times, but the way these events and dialogue are inserted are so well done that you just don’t mind ’em at all.

Take for instance, the two children you see at the beginning of the episode. It’s obvious that they’re present there as a contrast to Mahiro and Yoshino, but at the same time, the way they’re weaved and connected into the back story of our protagonists and the rest of this episode, make it so that you don’t mind it at all. I mean, there’s just so much that comes from it, despite its obvious nature. For one, there’s the nice commentary on how Mahiro and Yoshino’s relationship as “buddies” and “friends” isn’t anything near what those kids and normal people in general had. They were forced together by circumstance and never did manage to have those carefree moments the kids are having in that scene. At the same time, the deaths of these children also highlight just how ridiculous this world is and to a degree, the fate and destiny that our two protagonists have. Basically, it says “they might be normal, but they’re not the ones alive now. However, you are, and you’re responsible for doing what needs to be done as a result,” and it’s not only some strong commentary, but links to the Shakespeare quotes from earlier. Furthermore, while it’s a rather simple message, its impact is much more than “simple”.

Moving forward, the differing reactions to these children further highlight not only the differences between our main characters, but some similarities as well. And it highlights the effects each of them have had on each other. See, Yoshino attempts to save the children, despite his knowledge of the scenario and the fact he should know better. Mahiro on the other hand, doesn’t bother at all. In this respect, Yoshino does exactly what Mahiro would do, which is react on instinct. It’s something that not only contrasts with what he normally does (in that he’s more reserved), but also seemingly (albeit loosely) shows Mahiro’s influence on him, similarly to how Mahiro’s actions at the end of the episode seem to have been influenced by Yoshino. There’s just that dynamic interaction between the two and it’s just nice to watch, despite the rather simple nature of it all.

Shifting around for a moment, there’s just a measure of irony in taking a bath in a cursed village, as well as the fact that Mahiro and Yoshino are even friends despite their seemingly opposite natures. In turn, this makes the decision to include the flashback of the past in this episode that much more pronounced, as we not only get the answer as to why they’re together, but also a further reinforcement of one of the repetitive themes of this series: fate and destiny. And well, at this point, it really seems like they’re linked together by fate for a certain destiny, because no matter how strange it is to see them together, no matter how much Yoshino’s attempted to avoid Mahiro and vice versa, both of them have ended up together despite that, and even more surprisingly… both have benefited from the exchange. Yes, the concept of being destined for something isn’t something new, but the method Zetsuen uses to emphasize this (which is indirectly through events and dialogue rather than actually saying they’re “the chosen ones” or something) is rather novel and differs just enough to make it a successful tool for making the anime more enjoyable, once again, despite its simplistic nature.

Overall, the same results seem to come out every week for this series. It doesn’t necessarily blow your mind away, but it does enough with its straightforward nature and its acceptance of itself as a series that won’t try to go too far out of its norm to wow you, that you just can’t help but enjoy it a little bit. Sure, it is a tad bit slow-paced in ways, but it’s definitely a solid (there really is no alternative word to use) series. And with that, I’ll catch ya next week. Hopefully, the impending hurricane/storm won’t knock out my internet/power though…

Finally, before I end things here, I’d like to give BakaMochi my thanks again, for her cappin’ of this episode. Thanks! 😀

Mochi’s Note: Banzai manservice!

Full-length images: 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 20, 23, 24, 35, 36.




  1. It was a really good episode, much better that the last one.
    They really made interesting the past of the boys.
    It really start to feel more like No. 6.
    But it needs more imouto. A lot more of Imouto love.

  2. I had to laugh when the Mahiro fanservice scene showed up XD. Nice cheeks ;).

    That was ingenious of Yoshino to get his own back at Mahiro with the saving a puppy story :P. At least these two share a somewhat bromantic relationship now :).

    Celery FTW! 😀

  3. I really liked the way they handled “fate” in this episode. Two kids who want absolutely NOTHING to do with each other end up being one hell of a team. They may not have grown up as friends, but it’s clear that they need each other now more than ever. It also made it much more enjoyable to have Hakaze listening to their story and judging the two of them at the same time lol. If I had to pick one thing I’m really enjoying from this show it would be how well the characters interact with each other. Even the influence of Aika lingers around after her death. It’s a nice way to connect all the characters even if they aren’t physically around one another. So I definitely agree with calling this a “solid show” especially in terms of character.

  4. Fantastic episode, seriously that’s how a downtime episode should be handled, and it seems that the dynamic relation between the three main character (Hakaze, Mahiro and Yoshino) is handled really even though Hakaze isn’t even there with the two main characters (same goes for Aki even though she is dead) .. i guess the series really has a knack for making character have a strong impact despite distances or even death.

    I also have to say that the way Mahiro and Yoshino met as children is very Shakespearean, it was fate that brought them together and they had no choice in it at all … i like a series that knows how to use it’s inspirations well (so far it managed to keep the Shakespearean undertones very well, even the music gives a Shakespearean vibe XD), and Yoshino puppy story “revenge” against Mahiro was hilarious yet very intelligent .. for someone like Mahiro who doesn’t let anyone close to him easily having the whole class praising him and breathing down his throat at every moment becasue they think he is “a nice guy” is a revenge of Shakespearean proportions XD

    Judging by the preview things are going to go crazy next episode, can’t wait to see it.

  5. Useless filler episode :/

    There’s enough chemistry between the two leads already,
    they shouldn’t have broken up the pace of the interesting plot just to show a silly childhood flashback.

    1. While I’m not sure if this occurred later in the manga then rearranged here or completely generated for the anime, it does build the base and explains the origins of the two.
      This flashback wasn’t given before Show Spoiler ▼

      in the manga, so it was nice getting this before we got too deep.

      Anywho, I feel oddly conflicted about Mahiro manservice this week.

  6. We are still in the chapter 3 of the manga, volume 1 (it’s monthly). In the manga, they needed this three chapters to set the world… So I would not still make any judgement. Manga-wise, is too soon.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  7. I found nothing odd with the way they became friends. It see it just the same as when people are assigned playmates by their parents or when you grow up with cousins your age or something of the sort.

    Actually my best friend since elementary was once my rival in sports. We didn’t like each other since we wanted to be the best soccer player at school. Until 5th grade some new dude showed up and made a fool of us… yeah he was that much better than us…

    Since then we’ve kept contact even if we went to different high schools and college.

    1. I loved how the way yoshino interacted with the celery was directly linked to how he treated Mahiro. At first he wanted nothing to do with it, then he eats it first thing in the plate, and now he includes it in the miso soup, an everyday meal, as if to show Mahiro is part of his everyday life. Quite the quirky metaphor.

      1. oups sorry didn’t mean to answer this post. But yeah to stay in topic, I have no idea why you would complain about this kind of fanservice, which is quite subtle when you compare it to K’s fanservice, or the first 3 minutes of the latest episode of Psycho-pass.
        What’s more I bet you’re not that irked when a girl shows a little boobs in a series, so let the girls (and some boys) have their fun too 😉

      2. I didn’t notice that until you pointed it out, but yeah, thats actually pretty clever.

        As for the Manservice, gotta keep the fangirls happy, Justin. Just go stare at the naked Aika in the OP for awhile if you need to clear your mind. Besides, Hakaze is her skimpies in every episode due to her circumstances. 😀

  8. Instant fangirls hit with MANservice!
    Other than that it is interesting to see how the two ever got paired up cnsidering their opposite personalities – and how they have a bit of each others influence deep inside.
    Hakaze is also nice touch with her inquisitive nature propelling her to ask questions.
    The series might not be flashy, but does its job very well. My this thursday ranking: third, below Psycho-pass and Btooom!, but slightly above Robotics;Notes.


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