Zetsuen no Tempest (also known as Blast of Tempest) is an anime series adapted from the manga of the same name handled by Bones. The studio is already known for some of their other works with the supernatural/super power themes such as Full Metal Alchemist, Darker than Black, and Star Driver. The story starts out with Hakaze Kusaribe, the princess of a clan of mages, contacting Fuwa Mahiro to help her extinguish an uprising instigated by her followers. Left stranded on an island by said followers, they can only communicate through magic. Hakaze promises to help Mahiro find his sister’s killer in exchange for his help. Mahiro’s friend, Takigawa Yoshino comes along for the ride, and together the three aim to prevent the Kusaribe clan from awakening the tree of Exodus, which would subsequently bring destruction to the entire world.
Tempest starts out as a very promising shounen anime with interesting characters and an elaborate setup in a world full of turmoil. Preferring to skip the dramatic buildup, Tempest throws you right into the action and chaos right from the very first episode. Its steady pacing keeps the viewers on the edge of their seat and eager for more of the story. It’s too bad that Tempest doesn’t keep this up for the whole series. Halfway through, the show takes a serious dip in quality in just about every area, aside from maybe animation and sound. Now to be fair, the first half of the series was pretty good. It was standing on shaky ground but it was still quite good. It may have been standard shounen anime fare “save the world with magical powers, stop the bad guys” but it had an interesting enough twist to keep it afloat. The characters were interesting; they had clear cut motivations that at least made some sense. The plot moved about at a comfortable pace with just enough action and character development shimmied into each episode. The rules of the universe made sense. All that was completely ruined by its mess of a second half.
The plot begins to contradict the rules it established in its first half. It makes no effort to even make sense of Hakaze’s ability to time travel for a second and third time. It presents a ridiculous plot twist that makes even less sense and gives a sort of barbaric edge to Aika’s character that the other characters don’t even bat an eye at. Other than that, Fuwa Mahiro and Takigawa Yoshino are perfect foils, making for a very interesting relationship between the two heroes. They get a significant amount of development in the first half of the show through a series of flashbacks, some of which involve Aika. Brash and arrogant Mahiro is the brawn of their duo, while the manipulative and analytical Yoshino is the brains. Their relationship is one of the most interesting ones of the series. How two young men who are so different from each other could end up cooperating so willingly and becoming the best of friends is a real mystery.
The soundtrack of the series has many Shakespearean like rhythm to them. It should not be a surprise though given the themes of the series. Kazuhiro Wakabayashi (Soul Eater, Wolf’s Rain, xxxHolic) orchestrates many of the music scores well and develop that sense of mysterious atmosphere in many episodes. In fact, the eerie soundtrack and factors with the dialogues matches well with the rhythms. The opening song, “Spirit Inspiration” by Nothing’s Carved In Stone from the first half has a strong representation in the sense of what the series may be potential be about. All the main characters as well as some of the supporting characters are presented along with potential conflicts. The first ED song, “happy endings” is presented by Kana Hanazawa who does quite a nice job with her voice. The song shows many of the more metamorphic images involving the main characters as well as the butterflies as seen throughout many times in the series. She also happens to voice one of the main characters in the series, Aika.
All in all, Zetsuen no Tempest represents a modern style mystery with some ancestry blood of William Shakespeare work brought to life. The life of one of the main characters no longer exists and that set off many of the conflicts. The conflicts from this series are quite a twist with the various plot holes and surprises. It can be thrilling even with the dialogues but at times, it can also be a bit bothersome. It’s a mysterious series to me and should be considered a watch.