Zetsuen no Tempest – 01

Takigawa Yoshino’s best friend Fuwa Mahiro has been missing for a month, not long after his younger sister Aika is murdered in a robbery. One gray afternoon Yoshino visits Aika’s grave and is confronted by Evangeline Yamamoto, a government “volunteer” who wants to know the whereabouts of Mahiro. She pulls a gun on Yashiro, but Mahiro flies in and disables her using magic. He’s made a deal with the powerful mage Kusaribe Hakaze to aid her in exchange for helping him locate Aika’s killer. Hakaze is the heiress to a powerful magic family tried to awaken something, which is causing a metallicizing epidemic to spread across Japan. She has been stranded by her relation Samon.

People deal with grief in different ways. Some of them find a wooden doll in a bottle washed up on the shore, and follow it’s instructions to drive a nail into it so it will grant their wish, at which point it becomes a sort of walkie-talkie for communication between them and a powerful sorceress stranded on a remote island by her family with nothing but a dress and sandals, who promises to help them bring justice to those who took their sister away. Others…don’t go that far. They simply maintain, keeping on their cell phone not only a photo of and last text from the girl who always pretended she hated him around her brother but in reality was his girlfriend. And not being interested in anyone else. This was an awesome twist at the end, by the way. And now, here are these two lads, reunited, with the latter about to be swept up in the tempest his wayward friend brought with him.

This is a very impressive start to what could be a definite keeper among those shows we hadn’t initially considered trying out. However, we took a look, and were very glad we did. Full of complex emotions and dilemmas and populated by interesting, flawed characters, and told primarily from the point of view of someone like us who don’t see enough magic to be comfortable with it. It’s also wonderfully animated, with a badass fight and some creepy rituals. It’s got great scope and epic scale, and is full of intriguing possibilities. There’s no way we’re missing the next episode.

Rating: 9 (Superior)