Zetsuen no Tempest – 21

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Angst all around, next episode!

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University student and the one at Metanorn who's known for wearing glasses. Likes blood, insanity and plot twists, but also plays otome games and adores cute romance anime. It balances out... somehow.
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26 Responses to “Zetsuen no Tempest – 21”

  1. Highway says:

    Ah, this episode was so heartbreaking. Aika completely kicked Hakaze’s ass, by definition. I don’t really recall, but wasn’t there something in the show about why the Mage of Exodus couldn’t just walk up to the Mage of Genesis and say “Hey, this is what we need to do?” And Samon’s plan had started well before this activity in this episode so it’s somewhat odd that Aika hadn’t felt anything about it.

    I still want Aika to have not died. But unfortunately, suicide fits the bill completely, especially with conjured blades that would presumably disappear upon the death of the Mage of Zetsuen. I kept thinking that it would have been better if, knowing that thinking her to be dead was necessary to set everything in motion with Mahiro and Yoshino, wouldn’t it be enough to find a way to fake her death? Especially for the mage of Zetsuen? Maybe figure out a time-travel dodge like Hakaze has used?

    And speaking of heartbreaks: the scene where Hakaze had to watch a stricken Yoshino run past her. And she’s gotta be thinking that it’s her fault: If she hadn’t come back and talked to Aika, she wouldn’t have had the idea to kill herself to start it all! So even though Hakaze didn’t actually kill her, she has to feel like she did.

    • Karakuri says:

      …Uhh. I think there was something about it being a test for humanity? I don’t know what was holding her back. They might have mentioned it, but I was a bit busy sobbing over Aika to tell you the truth. I think she mentioned warning the Kusaribe if they were going to raise Genesis, but she never said anything about if they were raising Exodus. Plus as far as I know/remember, they only actually started it (like the chanting and such) a relatively short time before episode 1 happened and Aika died a year ago.

      I thought about her being able to fake her death too, but then there’s the fact that Hanemura is around. He got his powers the day after Aika died or whatever steev said in my last post and I assume that he’s the real deal.

      She gave her all to stop it, but yeah, Hakaze must be feeling pretty awful. The heartbreak was just made even worse with the scene of Hakaze crying followed up by that scene from the ED with Yoshino and Aika holding hands. Damn, the ED was sad before, but that had me in tears. I just wonder how Mahiro will take all of this.

  2. Soul says:

    I want your opinion Karakuri…..according to you what is the probability of this show getting a dub???

    • BlackBriar says:

      The studios behind Zetsuen no Tempest are Bones and Aniplex who are known to have partnerships with Funimation in the past where dubs are concerned. If Zetsuen gets a dub, it will most likely be done by them and if so, there’s a high chance of it happening. It would take about a year, two years tops for the release.

      The animes being simulcasted by Funimation this season will later get a dub. They are: Senran Kagura, Haganai NEXT, Minami-ke: Tadaima, Psycho-Pass and Robotics;Notes. I don’t think they’d pass up a gem like Zetsuen.

      • Highway says:

        I’m actually somewhat surprised to learn that Zetsuen no Tempest is licensed in the US by Aniplex of America. I had expected it to be Sentai Filmworks, since it’s being shown simulcast on CR.

        My personal opinion, tho: English dub actors are a definite step down from original Japanese VA’s. That’s not trying to dump on the dub artists. I just find that there’s more enjoyment in watching the original and reading the subs than with dubs. And that’s even losing out on a lot of the nuance that happens when you’re spending some of your brain power and attention reading the show. When I sometimes rewatch shows without subs, as part of trying to learn Japanese, I can hear a LOT more subtlety and nuance in the voice acting that I missed because I was busy reading the dialogue.

        • Rathje says:

          Notable exceptions to the “dubs are worse” rule:

          Cowboy Bebop
          Black Lagoon

        • BlackBriar says:

          I share almost all the same views you do on english dubs except for Funimation. They’re the exception to that curse and their voice actors do a rather good job voicing anime characters that honors the Japanese counterparts. I haven’t seen an anime made by them that’s disappointed me. I even have some of their box sets to show how much I like their work (Trinity Blood, Witchblade, Claymore, Burst Angel and 3 DBZ movies featuring Broly).

          Favorite female voice actors: Laura Bailey, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Jamie Marchi, Monica Rial, Carrie Savage, Stephanie Young.

          Favorite male voice actors: Troy Baker, Johnny Yong Bosch, Justin Cook, Chuck Huber, Jerry Jewell, Vic Mignogna, Christopher Sabat, Sean Schemmel, J. Michael Tatum, Eric Vale.

          I watched the english dub version of Deadman Wonderland after watching the original almost two years ago (and still have the videos even now to make comparisons) and I can happily say that the english voices hit the nail on the head.

          • Highway says:

            I found that even the Funimation ones lacked variety. I know we make a lot of jokes about HanaKana, and Kanemoto Hisako, and Sawashiro Miyuki, and other seiyuu that are in freakin’ everything, but I find that even if I can recognize a VA in the original, it’s usually not exactly the same voice as they use for everything else (the exception being Sawashiro Miyuki, and maybe Endou Aya, but both of them are worth it. I’d listen to anything Endou Aya does).

            Especially HanaKana, even with all the grief she gets for being in everything, has different voices for different characters. Sure, you can say that you can still hear that HanaKana quality to it, but that’s a good thing, in my book.

            • Soul says:

              Thanky uou very much for expreesing your views Blackbriar and Highway. I the overuse of VA’s isn’t a big deal for me. As long as it saves me the trouble of reading, i’m fine with it!

            • Karakuri says:

              I don’t know about you, but I actually like when I can place VA to characters without looking them up because (as you put so well), there’s a distinct quality to their voices. …Which is probably why I like Sawashiro and HanaKana so much. Hell, I started paying attention to Sawashiro because I recognized the voice quality in different roles and wanted to know who that was.

            • Highway says:

              I like recognizing good voice actors, but I don’t really like when one character sounds exactly like another. At the beginning of Sakurasou, I couldn’t get past Kirito being at Sakurasou. Thankfully, Sorata has now erased any associations that Matsuoka has with Kirito for me. But take Kaji Yuuki for instance: his voices as Hyoudou Issei, Asahina Satoru, and Hanemura Megumu all feel totally different to me, even though I can recognize the sameness in all of them.

            • Karakuri says:

              Oh yeah, I totally get what you’re saying there.

              For the same person thing, do you think that has to do with language use too though on some level? since I think Sorata and Kirito kind of use the same formality (with ‘boku’ and such. …Or at least I think Kirito used boku. Man, I tried to erase SAO from my mind so I don’t remember). I know for some characters, the flip from using ‘boku’ to ‘ore’ completely changes the character for me and the VA can be using the exact same voice.

            • Highway says:

              I will also say that a portion of the reason for me to watch anime in the first place is *because* it’s in Japanese. Or at least that’s some of my justification for watching anime. I’ve mentioned studying Japanese, and I’m using a semi-immersion style, so pretty much all of the music I choose to listen to, and all of the non-sports TV I choose to watch, is in Japanese. Watching dubs would take away some of that for me, and it’s not like there’s a dearth of anime in Japanese in the first place. :)

        • Jrow says:

          And Aniplex of America doesn’t sell cheap at all. Expensive box sets, and Madoka Magica doesn’t even have a complete collection.

          • BlackBriar says:

            What’s the usual price that they’d sell a box set at Aniplex? A complete anime box set from Funimation would start around 50 dollars at Best Buy.

            • Jrow says:

              At Rightstuf.com…

              -Durarara!! BD “lunch-box” goes at $150. The series started releasing stateside on DVD only, I believe in either 2 or 3 sets.
              -Madoka Magica has 3 volumes for the whole series, each volume is $40.
              -Bake/Nisemonogatari BD sets go for around $120 .
              -Kara no Kyokai, on DVD, goes for $150.
              -Fate/Zero has 2 box sets for 25 total eps, both are well over $300 each.

              The last 3 series I mentioned? No english dub. Each of these has some nice collectible content in them in what looks to be excellent packaging just from looking at the preview pics. To me, they aren’t worth the price. All of those series mentioned above I really really enjoyed and would have loved to own the home video copies of, but I just don’t feel like I’d get my money’s worth by forking out that much for a single series, especially the sub-only ones.

            • Highway says:

              I’ve thought about the pricing for these sets, and while I don’t like the pricing that folks like Aniplex (and everyone in Japan) use, I don’t see where it’s to their benefit to set it lower. For instance, the Madoka Magica and *monogatari sets at $120 for the series: If they reduced the price by half, would twice as many people buy it? Or are most of the people who would buy it at $60 also going to buy it at $120? And even if you assume that twice as many people would buy it, you’re *still* better off charging the higher margin, because if you produce a box set and sell it at $120, or produce the same box set and sell it at $60, that’s 60 bucks of margin. Selling another copy is far less than 60 bucks of margin, since all the fixed costs are replicated.

              So while I don’t *like* it, I can see where they’re coming from. Plus, on a personal note, as I’ve gotten older, the value of having physical media on a shelf with pretty pictures has dropped. I never watch anything I have on the shelf. And with digital licensing, I do watch stuff again.

            • Jrow says:

              For Aniplex, they probably figure they can get enough suckers diehards in to by those sets that makes it worth putting those large price tags on.

    • Karakuri says:

      …Well, BlackBriar and Highway seemed to have answered the question somewhat, but I don’t see anything stopping this from getting a dub. Less popular anime have been dubbed before, so I’d say that the probability for this is pretty high.

      • BlackBriar says:

        In my opinion, Zetsuen is popular and the popular animes usually get priority when it comes to getting an english dub. Though it takes some time to do it if it’s a two cour series. The first season of Index in Japanese came out in 2008 while the english dub got released December 2012. Shiki was released Summer 2010 but got its english dub in May 2012.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    First Sakurasou and now this. This is too emotional and it’s hard to keep my composure watching this. Zetsuen is brilliant for making me emotionally involved in this. Requiescat In Pace, Aika. Her death was tragic and also sad. I would have prefered that she lived. In a point of view, she was a sacrificial lamb to help the others do what she, in the end, became unable to do, it confirmed my earlier theory of her setting this all in motion and explained why her body was set up in a presentable fashion.

    I admired that she understood all the risks and didn’t let it phase her. Others would have had a mental breakdown knowing the time and manner of their end. Aika is the most strong willed character Hanazawa has played other than Psycho-Pass’s Akane Tsunemori. If the Tree of Genesis actually supports the Mage of Exodus, then all the Kusaribe teachings and ideals were just lies to keep them motivated for their unknown role. It’s like playing chess and deliberately sacrificing the pawns.

    But the one feeling the most impact from this is Hakaze. I only imagine how she feels. It must have been like her heart was ripped out when Yoshino ran past her. She took a very dangerous risk saying she’d kill Aika herself. That would have ended up creating another tragedy. Yoshino must be something attracting women with supernatural powers.

    • Highway says:

      Thinking about it more, and referencing back to Hanemura, there are a couple questions and observations about Aika as the Mage of Zetsuen that I’d like to know more about.

      First, how does she know all that about the Tree of Genesis? Was there some ‘passing of the torch’ that went on where the previous Mage of Zetsuen came and trained her up? Or is it something more like this information filters in with the power as you get better? I also get the idea that the power of Zetsuen transferring that quickly is rather rare, in that usually it is just taken from the current mage and given to the new one (didn’t she say that noone is the Mage of Zetsuen for too long, in order to make sure that the current one is always up to the task of fighting Genesis should the necessity arise?). How much did Aika’s killing herself make it that much harder for Hanemura?

      • Karakuri says:

        I think the Tree had more time to transfer it’s power (and knowledge or whatever) to Aika…? I think she said something about Megumu having a human body and that being why he’s so much weaker than her, but then again, Aika said that she became aware of her powers at age 10 or something, so she was probably born human. I was under the impression that there can only be one Mage of Exodus, so I don’t think she had training… Maybe you’re right with the getting better over time thing. I don’t remember her saying anything about anyone being the Mage for too long, but maybe it was quick and rare because the other Mage’s deaths have been natural? Or maybe it’s the fact that she killed herself with Exodus’ power instead of something or someone else doing it that’s the anomaly here…

    • Karakuri says:

      You’ll see my thoughts when Metafap comes out, but I was too distracted by how Nanami can’t catch a break to be overly emotional about the other goings on in the episode…

      I’d label Aika as the Hanakawa character of 2013, but Akane was pretty damn awesome as well. On the same week too, what a coincidence.

      So I guess in the end, Yoshino is just a normal guy. I wonder if there will be a reason why the supernatural girls all flock to him (other than he’s useful to Genesis/Exodus).

      • Highway says:

        Well, I think a lot of why Yoshino if irresistible to Lady Mages is because he’s almost completely unflappable. :) They’re weird girls to begin with (“prickly” might be too kind for Aika) and he’s just this calming presence with Hakaze, and a black hole to abuse with Aika.

        I actually really loved Aika’s regrets upon finding out that she was going to die. “I shouldn’t have wasted time studying for those entrance exams, and I could have spent more time with Yoshino”.

        • Karakuri says:

          It seems like it had to be ‘him’ for both girls. I just wonder if there’s another reason behind it (since Zetsuen likes having reasons behind everything) or if he just fit the bill for both of them as a coincidence.

          I really liked her thoughts on Mahiro too like “if he was nicer, that would have been creepy” and how she wanted to eat something in the fridge before she died. I really wish we could have seen more character interaction from her point of view…

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