How many times have we seen this scene now?
|Things come full circle! Man, Aika turned out to be an awesome character and I’m sad to see her go…|
I recall a lot of people’s problems with Aika was because of her ambiguous relationships with Yoshino and Mahiro. Hell, I know that her attitude was my main problem with her too. That was completely reversed this episode though since not only did we get to see exactly what she was thinking (and how she thought about them), but her difficult personality actually turned out… well, rather awesome. I think it’s safe to say that her affection for Yoshino was genuine and as for Mahiro, he was important to her as well since he treated her like a normal person. Now that I think about it, we’ve only ever seen her interact with Mahiro and Yoshino in the flashbacks (and now Hakaze). Not that anyone else who would have interacted with her is relevant right now, but that’s a good way of hiding that she was special if everyone else treated her differently.
We’ve only really seen Aika from the points of view of Yoshino and Mahiro and while both of them don’t seem like the type, I think they might have idealized her a bit. Or at least as Aika said, they viewed her as a normal girl where everyone else kept their distance since she was frightening. Though in a way like how Aika could be honest with Yoshino and Mahiro, there’s a kind of connection between her and Hakaze in the same way. Aika was an odd mix of a character. On one hand, she was brutally honest but on the other, there were tons of things she had to keep to herself. While she didn’t hold anything about her personality back, her final battle and talk with Hakaze was kind of like Aika finally being herself one last time. I really wish she could have stayed longer, but the plot is pretty insistent that she needed to die for things to be set in motion.
Hakaze had some good parts in this as well. For one, I couldn’t help but notice just how noble and selfless her character is, even though she claimed that she wasn’t. …Well, most of her actions now are for Yoshino (which is kind of noble and selfless in itself), but she was seriously trying to kill Aika so that Yoshino and Mahiro would feel better about the situation. Forget logic or how she would end up, she just wanted the best possible outcome (…for Yoshino and Mahiro’s feelings) and was willing to sacrifice herself for it. Actually, Aika was doing the exact same thing there, but she also kind of had a duty to fulfil for her Tree, where Hakaze took a more irrational path where she knew that Aika needed to die for their future, but ignored it anyways. though you could say that she’s not noble since she didn’t care about humanity and that she was fighting Aika to make herself feel better, but I do think that there’s something in the fact she was doing it for Yoshino and Mahiro’s sakes.
So who is Aika’s Shakespeare counterpart? I’m pretty sure she’s Sycorax from The Tempest. Sycorax was a female witch of sorts in the play who was dead from the beginning, but still mentioned by the other characters and she defines some of the character’s relationships with one another. Sound familiar yet? She was also a foil and kind of an antagonist to Prospero, who if you remember, is Hakaze’s character. The huge factor I find that ties things together though with the characters was that Prospero’s magic was emphasized for being logical and rational in the play and Sycorax’s was described to be mainly destructive, which sounds an awful lot like the powers behind Genesis and Exodus. So yeah, if you had known about The Tempest and it’s characters in depth, you probably could have called Aika out as the Mage of Exodus earlier. Though Sycorax was known for not having any lines in the play (or at least the original), so the fact that Aika talked might have thrown people off.
Aika had to kill herself in order to start everything. It’s amazing how clam she was about it, but I guess that’s where her odd personality comes in. It’s a bit surprising that Hakaze was the tip off that she had to do this since Aika was hinting at her death in the flashbacks with Yoshino and Mahiro, but I guess she wasn’t talking about that as much as she was talking about her unusual understanding on how the world works. Aika did know that everything happened for a purpose more than other people. It’s probably better this way anyways since otherwise, it might look like she was manipulating them where here, she was around them because she genuinely cared for them. The time loop worked itself out rather well too. Aika’s death was the start of pretty much everything, including her own death. …It sounds more confusing when written out like that, but I do think that the plot laid itself out here pretty cleanly. So yeah, Aika is dead for real and while her character was awesome while she was around, I guess things are better this way. I guess I just like the fact that her reasoning behind this wasn’t for the sake of civilization and humanity, but more for Yoshino and Mahiro. Again, she really did care about the two of them in her odd way. And now with the letters that Hakaze has from her, now Mahiro and Yoshino will have some sort of closure that they were previously denied.
Exodus being there first was something I was expecting, since it seemed like the kind of plot twist Tempest would pull (plus the anime has been putting most of the emphasis on Genesis, but it has ‘Zetsuen’ right in the title). …Though it’s kind of ironic since in the bible, Genesis came way before Exodus. Then again though, I have no idea where translators pulled ‘Genesis’ and ‘Exodus’ from since the Trees are ‘The Tree of Beginnings’ and ‘Tree of Zetsuen’ in Japanese. Tree of Beginnings I can see Genesis being pulled from and it’s just as confusing as the name Genesis for telling which Tree came first. Oh well.
So the truth about Genesis is revealed. …And following suit of every other antagonist Zetsuen has had, it’s not arbitrarily evil. It’s more just like an obstacle that the characters need to overcome. It also answered my questions on an earlier post about why Hakaze and the Kusaribe needed to provide sacrifices to their Tree, while Megumu didn’t need anything. I guess it’s good for Hakaze that Megumu isn’t complete since Aika throughly kicked her butt this episode. Not all of Evangeline’s speculation was to waste though since the old deities looking like the Tree came up again. I guess it makes sense that previous civilizations would have wanted to warn future ones. I guess the question here is that if they defeat Genesis here, will future generations need to as well?
Finally, an explanation as to why Megumu isn’t that powerful and confirmation that Yoshino being related to Exodus was just wild speculation (…as well as the alien thing; though that might still be proven true later). I think we can believe Aika on the point that Yoshino just has a horrible personality and doesn’t have the Heart of Exodus or whatever. It’s just that Megumu’s magic was given to him last minute due to Aika’s death, so he’s just kind of incomplete.
Ah, this was such a good episode. I’m glad we finally got to see inside Aika’s thoughts and the wait for the truth was well worth it. Hell, they didn’t even answer my questions with more questions, so I guess Zetsuen is finally heading towards it’s end. Of course, it’s not really a happy truth since Aika is dead for real, there’s still Genesis to deal with and Megumu is kind of weak. They’re certainly closer to an ending than they were beforehand though since with the truth, the characters will at least have a concrete goal to work for and with Aika’s words, some sort of means to do it. I mean, once they get over the angst, I’m sure Yoshino and Mahiro will come up with something productive to do. I can see the happy ending thing actually working out now. Aika’s death was sad for sure, but I do see the good that’s come out of it.
Angst all around, next episode!