「ファム・ファタール(運命の女)」 (Famu Fatāru (Unmei no Jo))
“Femme Fatale (Woman of Fate)”
Once in blue moon, an episode comes by that just blows your mind. Usually a byproduct of great development, superb writing, and strong characters, these are the episodes people watch anime for — apexes of storytelling that just leave your mouth wide open as time just flies by. With this week’s Zetsuen no Tempest, I have to say that this was that episode — the one where 20 episodes of crazy twists and turns ultimately result in answers well beyond what we ever expected and anticipated. Because in the end, no matter how many of us were right about Aika being the Mage of Exodus, I don’t think many of us expected what would come after…
…not the fact that she ended up being the one who took her own life — that she was the victim, detective, and murderer all rolled up into one — or the fact that the Tree of Genesis really was the ultimate enemy all along. And gosh darn, it’s bloody spectacular. Virtually every loose end has been tied together with the revelations this episode — providing not only the answers we’ve been looking for, but managing to do so while continuing with the references to Hamlet and The Tempest, fitting in some darn gorgeous actions scenes, raw emotion from its characters, and setting up the ending as well.
And as it turns out, the ending will be one that ultimately culminates in either the Tree of Genesis’ destruction… or civilization itself. The final test is here, and when you think about it, it really just hammers in the events that Aika’s death sets into motion. Granted, we’ve mentioned this multiple times already, but gosh darn — Aika’s death and its influences continue onward even through time loops! There are more things in Heaven and Earth than dreamt of in your philosophy indeed, Horatio, and Aika is truly a “woman of destiny”.
But yeah, this week was just a superb episode — buoyed in particular by Aika and her exceptionally… unique personality. Because in the end, there’s no other word that even comes close to describing her character, and she’s fast rising up my list of favorites as a result. In many ways, she really is the definition of a femme fatale — and one whom I’d gladly fall for, despite the potential negatives inherent in such an association. On that note though, Hakaze’s also rising up as well — buoyed by her show of force and determination to prevent Aika’s death, no matter the effect on the timeline. And well, I don’t think there’s anything better to demonstrate how well they’ve been developed when you consider how we’re able to so easily stomach how, despite them both being the two characters most capable of saving civilization, they really could care less what happens to it. They’re in it only to save those that they care about — the world being saved just an added bonus — and it really just tosses out the whole “hero saving the world for the sake of it” trope. Furthermore, it kind of just laughs at the general nature of many series in having not only one, but two exceptionally notably female characters playing large parts in the story.
In any case, I don’t think there’s anything else to say. I mean, there was the usual in terms of comedic elements stuck within — including Aika’s whole “Oh, I’m dying tonight. Shucks, if I knew that I wouldn’t have studied so hard” moment and her other moment where she laughed at Yoshino being suspected as the Mage of Exodus — but at this point, it’s just par for the course in terms of what this series gives. Really, there’s just nothing left except but to sit back and enjoy the ride while it’s still going.
ED2: 「僕たちの歌」 (Bokutachi no Uta) by 佐香智久 (Tomohisa Sako)