「それぞれの物語」 (Sorezore no Monogatari )
“To Each, Their Own Tale”
Here we are again. Another season’s gone by in a flash, and with it, comes the end of series we’d rather not say goodbye to. One such series is Zetsuen no Tempest (of course), whose finale ends up being a showcase of what the series has been about the whole time—the characters themselves. Yes, we got a lot of flashy action scenes throughout to support things as well (Bones did a really great job with this series by the way), but at the end of the day, it was the characters that really made this series. As such, it’s only fitting that the finale ends up being not so much about the final battle, but about the developments as a result of it. It’s about the culmination of the journey that led our main characters to this point, how the end is just another beginning, and most importantly—the things that they’ve learned as our characters return to some semblance of a normal life…
…one no longer ruled by Gods (or should I say, giant Trees of Destruction?). As Mahiro puts it aptly, “the dream is over,” and it’s quite the statement. Because in many ways, the world they’ve been living in has never been quite real, having been guided by magic and filled with illogical/impossible events. With the Trees both now gone, people can actually now live a life where they’re able to write their own scripts—or in Mahiro’s and Yoshino’s cases, actually live normal lives.
Speaking of scripts though, Aika’s final message just highlights the philosophy she had toward life, as well as how her circumstances led her to living her life the way she did. Her comments about how she believes life is something where you’re an “actor on a stage (who) cannot change their script,” as well as her belief that you’ve fulfilled your role if you manage to “exit beautifully,” really just hammers in the situation thrust upon her as the Mage of Exodus. In many ways, it’s quite tragic in and of itself how much that power (and responsibility) made it so she could never really ever maintain a life many would consider normal. At the same time though, it’s quite amazing at the same time how she was able to still live on despite knowing that her life would likely never hold the same things many people take for granted, which just combine to make her one of the most memorable characters in recent memory for me. I’ve said this time and time again, but there are few shows where a single character ends up playing such a significant role in the story. Yet, Fuwa Aika manages to achieve this (this scene kinda looks like a curtsy/bow now that you think of it), despite having been killed before the series even started. Indeed, it only helps further that she’s a female character as well, and combines with Hakaze to make Zetsuen no Tempest a rare beast in terms of having not one, but two strong and complex heroines in its cast (three if you count Evangeline).
Shifting back to the views on life for a moment, it’s also admittedly interesting how Mahiro and Yoshino ended up being complete opposites—fighting against a script someone has written for them, rather than acting it out. Of course, one could still say it was all fate regardless, but going from the assumption that this wasn’t all destined, it serves as a nice contrast to Aika’s point of view. What makes it even more notable, is the fact that Aika’s decision actually ended up serving as the spark that led them to this result, which kind of just brings everything full circle…
…which was another big thing for me this episode. Because as the sequence above demonstrates, it’s that everything is linked. Everything that has happened in this series has happened as a result of something else, and everything just builds on one another. The characters build off of each other, the plot developments develop off the characters, the story builds from great plot development—all culminating in a spectacular feat of storytelling. Interestingly enough, this whole notion of one thing leading to another and the butterflies we see this episode, make it so that I can’t help but think of the Butterfly Effect as well. By definition, the Butterfly Effect describes a situation where one small change can lead to a large difference at a later time… which in many ways feels representative of many of the things that we’ve seen happen in Zetsuen no Tempest.
Ultimately, this is what I mean when the finale ends up particularly fitting for the series. Everything just wraps up nicely, and it’s a conclusive ending that stays true to what the series has been about. The flashback montage at the end was just spectacularly done, as was Aika’s final message—which just highlights the person she was, as well as notion of how one should cherish the little things many take for granted. With that said though, this finally brings the series to an end. Sadly, the ending to this series is not another beginning, as we’ll likely never see anything else come out regarding this universe. At the very least however, the end of this paragraph is, as you’ll find some final impressions after the ending caps below.
Full-length images: 13.
Looking back to the beginning of the series, I was admittedly somewhat skeptical about Zetsuen no Tempest. Having peeking at the first few chapters to compile the preview, I remember being somewhat intrigued, but unsure how it’d develop in the long term. I decided to intro the first episode as a result though, which combined with Bones’ superb animation to keep me interested. One episode turned to two, and well, you know the rest.
Now a full five months later, I’m exceptionally glad that I decided to (and had the chance to) give this series the coverage it deserved. In retrospect, it’s not quite a masterpiece, but there was a lot here to distinguish the series from the run of the mill shows. Well developed characters, great plot twists (and facial expressions to those twists), superb animation, and a nice complementary soundtrack really came together to launch this series above and beyond all my initial expectations. That said, the ending of the series leaves a kind of void as a result, in addition to a bittersweet aftertaste. Because as many of you have probably found out the hard way, series like Zetsuen no Tempest just don’t go on trees, and it’s just sad how we’ll likely never receive anything more regarding this series/universe. On the other hand though, one has to take the moment also to bask in the glory of a series vastly exceeding expectations, which does at least nullify the post-great series depression somewhat.
And well, there’s not much to say here when you get down to it. I think I’ve made it abundantly clear how much I’ve loved this series (and what I’ve loved about it) through my weekly posts,and I guess all I can say is I hope that those of you reading this managed to get the same amount of enjoyment I did from Tempest. I’d also like to hope that my coverage contributed at least somewhat to that as well and look forward to seeing some of you guys again in some of my future posts as well. Until then, I guess we’ve reached yet another end eh? At least in this case, “the end is just another beginning.” To that end, just make sure you ain’t following anyone else’s script, you hear?