「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.

Full-length images: 33, 37.


ED2.21 Sequence

ED2: 「僕たちの歌」 (Bokutachi no Uta) by 佐香智久 (Tomohisa Sako)



    1. So we get to see the side of Aika which we all wondered about, she cared for both Mahiro and Yoshiro,thought in many flash back she seemed rather coldish at time. Regardless she gladly accepted her fate and role for their sake.

      I wonder if Aika knows that Hakaze is getting close to Yoshiro? maybe that was the true intent behind that FALCON PUNCH

      1. She did take it really well, too well I would say. “I am from the future and your gonna die in a few hours!” “Oh ok but I am so badass no one could kill me except myself, so I better commit suicide.” O_o

  1. Aika’s personality was definitely….special XD. Still though, she’s just too amazing.

    “Please understand. Yoshino-san, Mahiro.” -Aika. That one scene nearly put me to tears. Although we haven’t really seen too much of her until now, I almost wish Hakaze succeeded in stopping her. But of course, it was inevitable.

    The ending song seemed more emotional this week than any other time. And goddamn, it looks like Hanemura grows a pair, Mahiro and Yoshino look like they lose it next episode. Especially Yoshino with that intensity in his face.

    This series man…this friggin series. I can’t say it enough, and I’ve said it about every episode from about 19 so far, this friggin series is POWERFUL. Friggin GOD-LIKE.

    And poor Hakaze. Is it possible to HATE anyone in this series??????

    Zephyr. . . THANK YOU. Thank you for continuing to review this god-like series every week.

  2. Definitely love this episode.

    Man, put yourself in Aika’s situation. Seriously, how would you even feel in a state like that? Knowing that you will die at a destined time in the near future and that there’s nothing you can do about it. Loneliness? Despair? Hopelessness? Just imagining it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Even with her calm and collected demeanor, she must be torn apart on the inside especially since she will never see Yoshino or Mahiro ever again.

    Sayonara, Fuwa Aika.

    Sidenote: Damn, when that ending song came up… Those feels.

  3. Probably a great use of a curb stomp, because it suited Aika’s… Indescribable… personality so well. “While I simultaneously shrug off all your attacks, excuse me while consider the predicament I am in.”

  4. The seriousness flew into an unseen corner of the world when Aika whipped out the two swords and started repelling the tentacles by reflexes ALL WHILE thinking of the situation, what to do, and the best solution all in the air. My god.

  5. Just superb, this season is being carried so hard by last seasons shows it’s not funny. Thursdays/Friday mornings is something to behold with the master classes in story telling from Tempest, social commentary from Psycho-pass and expositionary genius of Shin Sekai Yori.

  6. I’m still hoping Aika isn’t dead. Maybe she faked her death? Then maybe she gave a portion of her power to Hanemura and that is why he isn’t complete and she is just waiting on the sidelines or something

    1. This is close to the impression I got as well. Remember Hanemura’s mystery “girlfriend?”

      Now that Hakaze went back in time and told Aika who should have these “incomplete exodus powers,” it’s childplay for Aika to go and give him them herself. It’s not so easy to accept the potential red herring of her explanation, a “backup latent mage awakening.”

      Not that it means anything, but the next episode bears her name and we seem to hear her voice (?) in the preview.

  7. ” I don’t think many of us expected what would come after…”

    Actually, last week myself and a few others predicted it. Really, knowing that Aika is the Mage of Exodus, which other possibility remained?

    This said, to me this is easily the best anime episode of the entire season (at least if we don’t include Nekomonogatari).

    1. No offense to you in particular but I really hold little stock in all of these “predictions” of Aika being the Mage of Exodus and offing herself… given that this stuff was already in the manga raws before the series even began airing. And most people who made these predictions were spouting bullshit like “well I dunno why but I just can’t shake the feeling that she committed suicde”. Yeah, right…

  8. Amazing episode; again my praise has to go to this show’s ability to be so operatic but slip in those subtle emotional moments like the scene with Yoshino running past Hakaze. Im glad most of the answers surrounding this series was revealed but one questions still reverberates within my head; We now know that the murderer was Aika, but then that means she was the one responsible for killing Mahiro’s parents. Why did she kill them as well instead of just killing herself? Did they know of her identity as the mage of exodus? were they willing to sacrifice their lives as well for the sake of stopping the world from being reset? I was hoping they would touch open that since the series showed that they still remembered that Mahiro’s parents were also murdered (Hanemura mentioned it when calling out Mahiro’s sis complex)but I guess we’ll ever know…or maybe it might be explained next episode. Anyway awesome ep

  9. I know she’s already famous so it’s not like she needs the recognition but still I want to say that as a Hanazawa Kana fan her interpretation of Aika is one of my favorite performances by her,sure the screenplay has a lot to do with how great the character is but I feel some of it is also due to Hanakana’s delivery.
    When most people think of HanaKana “femme fatale” isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind, people tend to associate her with Genki girls like Mayuri from Steins;Gate or shy girls like Shiori from TWGOK but here she really manages to make Aika quite a charismatic and confident character that shines on the screen every time she shows up.

  10. Aika feels like a SHAFT character imo. I like to think of the tree of genesis as one of the old ones. Awakening from sleep, rising from the earth definitely one of the old ones.

    1. That’s how I view them as well. An ancient, otherwordly deity that pulls the strings of every intelligent being on the planet, and annihilates them the moment they get to a certain level? That’s an eldritch abomination right there.

      And wow, Aika was awesome this episode. She truly is a unique person, and her calm and collected stance even in the face of death makes it no wonder that she was able to wind the two boys around her finger like that. And to be able to do that to herself…whoah. I find it interesting to see how Hakaze has developed too – her earlier self would never have defied the logical solution so harshly.

      Well, we’re going towards the ending now, so I hope it goes out with a bang. It would make this show one of my favourites this year, anyway.

  11. Zetsuen no Tempest, blasting people away at every turn of the plot.

    I wouldn’t say Fuwa Aika’s one of my favorite now, but she certainly has made a huge impression on me as a character now that we get to see her in the fullness of her personality and disposition, thanks also in part to HanaKana as her seiyuu. If anything, I hope this episode isn’t the last we see of her.

    [quote]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.[/quote]

    Pretty much agree with you there Zephyr. Cliche as it may sound, both of them were pretty much driven by one thing – love. Aika for the future of Mahiro and Yoshino, while Hakaze for the feelings – or one could say, the ‘beings’ – of the two. One has the future in mind while the other the present. One accepts that there are sacrifices to be made while the other prefers none. Despite the differences, both were willing to take that step in achieving what they consider to be the best possible outcome.

    The irony, it seems, is that the ‘world’s’ logic in the form of Hakaze actually sounds more relational yet irrational as compared to Aika’s rational way of thought…though the punch most certainly refutes the assumption that she’s simply cold and uncaring. What a way to get a reaction, Hakaze.

    The preview does show us what has already been predicted, and assuming from the snippets of dialogue picked out Hanemura probably has good reason to get riled up. Would be quite an emotional episode. Other than that, with a show as awesome as this, I don’t quite entirely know what to expect. 🙂

    1. 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.

      Really?From what I’ve seen having female characters playing large parts of the show seems to be the norm for anime.

  12. Many people actually suspected Aika of being the Mage of Exodus. That she could have killed herself, would actually make sense considering lack of catcheable criminal. But damn, still the episode is a major WHAM!
    I really wanted Hakaze to save Aika somehow, but alas, it was not to be… now the final battle is upon us, with Hakaze and friends going against the Tree of Genesis. I think Hanemura will get to be useful at last as “backup” Mage of Exodus…

  13. Excellent review Zephyr.

    The only observation I want to add is to note the change in Hakaze. Just an episode ago, Fuwa Aika was only important to Hakaze in her relationship with Yoshino (“because of my love for you, I want to save her” – Hakaze to Yoshino). In these two episodes, I think Hakaze is playing the audience. We might know more about Aika than she does through the flashbacks with Yoshino and Mahiro, but they’re biased. Added too is our suspicion that she was the Mage of Exodus. Given these facts, I think we doubted whether Aika’s affection for Yoshino was genuine or not (at least, we should’ve doubted), and it was equally possible that she was simply the master manipulator behind the plot aiming solely for the destruction of the Tree of Genesis. Had it been the latter, I think the twist would’ve been equally impressive, but the emotional catharsis would not have been what it was. I think it’s to the director’s credit that our doubts were jettisoned early into the episode. It was like the director was signaling to us that “Yes, you can love Aika with no restraints now. You were wrong to doubt her, now you have to make it up!” Dutifully, logic, the fate of the world, and even Yoshino, is momentarily forgotten by Hakaze (just like us) and Aika is loved for her own sake. The tragedy is, of course, that the love must be so short. That fate chose this shoujo to be the sacrificial lamb. That’s why Hakze was crying and we with her. There’s three more episodes to go, but, honestly, I don’t expect another episode like this to come for another year.

    Now for a bit of a tangent. At first, I thought the analogy of Aika being Caliban was a bit clumsily made. Caliban was a monster, hideous and lascivious. Aika conveniently left out that Caliban was made a slave by Prospero because he had attempted to rape his daughter…Yeah. But then after a bit of thought, I started to think that maybe the analogy was pertinent. In the Tempest, there’s a lot of emphasis that Caliban was destined for a miserable life. His birth from a hated witch had already sealed it air-tight. To a lot of literary scholars (not a scholar myself), Caliban’s pathetic war against his fate is the meat of the Tempest. In the introduction to the version of The Tempest that I read, it was noted paradoxically, that although Caliban was despised by everyone, it is he that speaks the most beautiful lines in the entire play. So yeah, ZnT is lot deeper than I thought 20 episodes ago. I have to apologize for the long post. I never posted here before but Zephyr’s truly excellent review prompted me to make a response. Just one last thing, I read the first 20 or so chapters of the manga and I think the anime vastly improves on it. Perhaps, just like Shakespeare, though the text might be great to read by themselves, the stories only come alive on stage.

  14. Not quite understanding a bit. Aika seems to say that the reason she needed to die was so that the princess would be convinced that destroying the Tree of Genesis was the right route, and in doing so would save Yoshino and Mahiro. However from everything we’ve seen so far, the powers of Exodus have been far stronger than Genesis in almost every way, especially when it comes to a directly confrontation between the two princesses.

    So why is it even neccesary that Hakaze be convinced to destroy the tree in the first place? Why wouldnt Aika destroy it herself?

    1. Yeah, I had the same problem too. I also thought that if Aika never died, then wouldn’t Samon have successfully revived the Tree of Exodus, and the Tree of Genesis would’ve been destroyed anyway. But apparently, and I’m not certain, but it seems Hakaze is the one who holds the ultimate power. It was stated that she was the one who decides whether or not the Tree of Genesis gets revived. Presumably, she must also be involved in its destruction as well. Aika, in this episodes, states that she had originally planned to reveal the truth to the Kusaribe clan, but she can’t cause she’s killed. Of course, it begs the question why Aika didn’t spill the beans earlier. To this, I would have to guess that the Mage of Exodus needed some prompt to make her active, like the revival of the Tree of Genesis. These are my thoughts. Hopefully, someone here can have a more coherent theory.

    2. Maybe Aika is much stronger than Hakaze as a representative of each tree but the the real tree of genesis is much stronger than the tree of exodus, so that’s why Hakaze must be enlighten since she can control the tree of genesis.. Just my opinion though..

      Faint Smile
    3. Hmmm, the way I saw it, the Tree of Genesis can only be destroyed/start the test if its core is revealed. And the only time it appeared was after Hakaze left, which meant Hakaze would not be there to control its revival/destruction. So in this case, Hakaze literally was the key to its revival in that her travel back to the past would let it revive. As such, Aika needed to die at that point to ensure that the loop stays on track to preserve this scenario. Also, per this theory, then the there was no Tree of Genesis to physically destroy during Aika’s time period.

      In addition, like Sock said, Hakaze may also be physically important in destroying the Tree of Genesis, as her being the “key to the Tree’s revival” can also be read to mean “key to its destruction.”

      That and just because Aika’s powers were stronger than Hakaze’s in a 1v1, does not mean she would be more effective at defeating the Tree of Genesis, because she states that “her power comes from the Tree of Genesis itself” and one would reason you can’t use back that power against it. In that context, if given enough sacrifices from civilization, you can argue Hakaze may be able to overpower the Tree, because her powers are indirectly from the Tree. Considering that the Tree is a test of whether or not a civilization is advanced enough, it makes some sense that this indirect way could be the key to overpowering the Tree, because the power generated in part comes from the civilization itself, rather than only the Tree.

      And in regards to what would happen if Aika never died, it’s possible the Tree of Exodus would’ve destroyed the Tree of Genesis, but we cannot be sure. Also, it would probably change the timeline that this links to — leading to the death of Yoshino and Mahiro in the timeline we were looking at.

  15. Suiciding to protect Yoshino and Mahiro, now that was interesting. So pretty much the reason for her death was to protect the two guys she cared for. That’s poetry right there. Man such a powerful episode at that. In the end Hakaze pretty much got what came to her: An answer and a note to give to the two. She did her best but the way it turned out is regardless of the situation Aika still dies. Pretty much like I said last episode that no matter what you do (like in Steins;Gate) and no matter how hard you try and change it the result always comes back to the same end.

    Jason Isenberg
  16. Wow… the amount of respect I hold for Aika after this episode is immense. After her reveal in the last episode, I figured she committed suicide in the end. But what I didn’t imagine was that she was actually doing it for the sake of Mahiro and Yoshino. I feel bad now because I was mad at her at first thinking she just killed herself because it was her duty as the mage of Exodus. So I’m glad to say this episode properly put me in my place and Aika will definitely go down as one of my favorite characters this season. Sacrifice like that is rare and powerful. My heart went out to both Aika and Hakaze as they were both fighting for the people they loved. This was a spectacular episode and I can’t wait for the upcoming epic conclusion.

  17. Finally things are starting to heat up again, ever since the first half ended the past few episodes have been relatively dull for me, can’t say the same about this episode.We have much needed answers regarding the two Trees and the Mages as well as the fleshing out of Aika’s character.I always like less emo(for lack of a better word) characters and it also highlights how similar Aika is to Yoshino – in the sense both of them make rational choices in extreme situations without any hesitation.
    If I found anything out of place about this episode it’s that how Aika automatically assumed the known future where she dies would be better than a unknown one she would live – it’s entirely possible that she could live and convince the Kusaribe clan(Samon for one is likely to listen to her) that the ToG must be destroyed.

    So basically the motivation of all four main characters is love?The Tree of Genesis must really hate love 😛

    1. I almost missed this on the first run but why doesn’t Hakaze use the doll to communicate with Yoshino and Mahiro, that would have been a better strategy to stop Aika from killing herself.

      True, but I generally don’t like Shakespeare or rather don’t like tragedy and most of I what read/watched of Shakespeare are tragedy.

  18. So then… What happened to her parents??? Did she also kill them to make the whole scene believable or could she have made dummies in their place and teleported em to Hawaii -_- …

    1. The grave is not specifically the grave of Aika and her parents only. It’s the grave/memorial for Fuwa House in general. Remember they are a rich family with influences, so they hogged that spot for all their main family members like rich people usually do, probably for several generations already.

  19. Fantastic, Aika not only kicked ass and blew us away by her unusual personality but she also managed to pull off the impossible .. a mystery case where she was the detective, the victim and the murderer all at the same time .. let’s see anyone top that XD

    Also, the moment she snapped and got all serious on Hakaze freaked me out, never expected her to get this serious, but it also shows not only how unpredictable she is but also how much she loved Yoshino and understood his personality .. that he would never shed tears in front of someone.

    But i wonder why didn’t Aika just go and destroy the Tree of Genesis .. they just needed the clan to attempt reviving the tree of Exodus like they did before and the Tree of Genesis will pop up to stop them .. BAM .. Aika wipes it out (just like Hanemura is doing in present day) .. i wonder why they didn’t do that if both Aika and Hakaze now know that the tree is the real source of danger/evil.

  20. This show is amazing. All the characters, details, plotlines are deeply linked with not much wastage. Great consistent story telling that kept me hooked all the way til the end.

      1. It is definitely the antagonist, but it’s not definitely evil. (assuming that they are right) It’s meant to be a test that worthy civilizations can pass, rather than just destroy all civilizations.

        That is meant to be passed by worthy civilizations could hint at the creators desiring to protect the universe as a whole, at the cost of “unworthy civizilations”

        This might not be the best idea ever, but it’s not 100% evil anyway.

  21. Zetsuen no Tempest is the only anime where the victim, detective, and murderer all rolled up into one… Awesome!

    Also, this episode has made me like Aika even more! XD

    I guess this and Psycho Pass would be two of the best anime this year. At least for me…

  22. FoA: Kudos to Kyō Shirodaira, Masahiro Ando and Mari Okada for this Intelligently done epic journey. If there were anime Oscars, Zetsuen no Tempest would undoubtedly be in the Best Anime Series category.
    They should really consider making Zetsuen no Tempest movie. The sheer magnitude of the story, the complexity of the well-thought plot, and IMHO one of the best cast of characters I’ve seen in a long time. At times overwhelmingly deep with a lot of subcontext, always underlining unclear dualism (Trees, Mages, Yoshiro, Mahiro) of good and bad, in such a way that we cannot begin to surmise what would be the right thing to do, nor which side to take, this anime succeeds in gradually building the momentum even though one of the main characters of the story [i.e. Aika Fuwa] has been deceased since the very beginning of the show. Oh and btw I find Aika to be -by far- the best female character in the world of anime today, ever since GITS’s Motoko Kusanagi. So adorably cute and charismatic, so profoundly beautiful and special in so many ways, and yet so simple in complexity of it all. True Mage of Exodus )). Seldom has there been such a strong and memorable anime character as Fuwa Aika. You just gotta love her. Episode 22 bears her name, what’s more the whole series could easily be named Fuwa Aika. ))
    After all is said and done ZnT earns a well-deserved place in my Top 10 anime series for being trully unique. Oh how rarely do we get to experience such a comprehensive, fundamental, Shakespearean -anime- story of love with a tragic fate. Two words: utter perfection…

    Kiritsugu Emiya
  23. It’s interesting how Hakaze who represents logic tosses it out of the window because she knew how Yoshino and Mahiro suffered, whereas Aika who represents ‘death’ to logic upholds logic by killing herself to allow ‘destiny’ to manifest in its ‘right’ place, even though she knew her two boys would always be in mourning. Love that sort of irony.

  24. I did said Aika was the best dead girl ever. Just sayin’.

    I’m glad this episode finally proved that. Silly people you must see to actually believe the awesomeness of this character. Shame I say!


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