Monday, April 8, 2013

Zetsuen no Tempest

I really liked Zetsuen no Tempest.  This is a pretty awesome series in just about every way.

Tempest is essentially about the death of a girl, and the relationship between two boys, who are sometimes friends, and sometimes not friends.  Takigawa Yoshino and Fuwa Mahiro grew up in the same grade in school and were thrown together very young.  Mahiro comes from a rich family, is spoiled and unfriendly and until Yoshino came along, had no friends in school.  When Mahiro is hurt in an accident as a child, Yoshino is randomly chosen to accompany the teacher to visit him in the hospital.  Yoshino very reluctantly goes and is asked by Mahiro to find the person and the reason why Mahiro was run down by a motorcycle.  Despite being very young, Yoshino does find the information Mahiro wants and the two end up blackmailing each other into being friends.  From then on they are paired throughout school.  Along the way, Yoshino falls in love with Mahiro’s younger sister, Aika, and begins dating her.  This is unknown to Mahiro, who himself is in love with Aika, who is unrelated to him by blood.  That’s the background, which the series lets you in on as the story progresses.

The actual story begins when Mahiro and Yoshino are teen-agers and several months after Aika has been murdered.  Mahiro has dropped out of sight, struggling to find Aika’s killer and make sense of her death, and Yoshino is just moving through his daily existence, not much caring about anything.  They come back together at Aika’s grave at a time when a strange new illness is felling cities full of people, turning them into iron.   Yoshina and Mahiro become embroiled in the plots of a clan of magicians, the Kusaribe.   

The Kusaribe are a family that has been magician-servants of the great Tree of Genesis for centuries while they wait for its eventual revival.  Along the way half the clan has come to believe that the Tree of Genesis will destroy civilization when it revives and they are trying to stop it by reviving the Tree of Exodus.  The leader of the rebels, Samon, has managed to exile the Kusaribe’s actual leader and head of the Genesis faction, Hakaze, Princess of Genesis, to a remote tropical island.  The Kusaribe’s magic only works if they have a manufactured object to give the Tree of Genesis in return for its power.  On a tropical island, with no people and no  manufactured objects, Hakaze is stuck.  She only manages to send a wooden doll in a bottle, which can be used to communicate with people off the island and which is found by Mahiro.  Mahiro agrees to help Hakaze in exchange for her finding Aika’s killer for him.   Thus Mahiro and Yoshino get dragged into the battles between the Tree of Genesis and the Tree of Exodus.

One of the interesting things about this series is that, especially for a dead character, Aika is extremely central to the plot and gets a lot of air time.  Her life and death affect almost every other character in the series, their actions and thoughts and emotions.  It’s almost uncanny how a dead girl can make such a difference and have such an impact.

This series was fun to watch.  I lost track of how many times during the series I said, “Wow!  I didn’t see that coming.”  The plot was twisty and interesting.  I found myself going back and forth between who were the good guys and who were the bad guys, and of course that always makes it more interesting.  On top of that, I really did not see Aika’s killer’s identity coming.  Also, the characters and anime are gorgeous and the music is excellent.    As an added bonus, the only main character who dies is Aika, and she was dead when the series began.   Given how much Aika’s character grew on me, I ended up kind of wishing she could end up not-dead, like Hakaze did, but I suppose the plot was convoluted enough and they decided to avoid the love triangle.

Overall Tempest was well worth watching.  The series going to be one of my favorites, I think.  

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