「ファースト・キス」 (Fasuto Kisu)
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…
- I could go on at length, but – p-poor Mahiro… Everyone just runs circles around him don’t they ;—;