Zetsuen no Tempest – 18


When Hakaze learns Aika is Yoshino’s girlfriend, she blames herself for her demise, even if he doesn’t. After getting him to show some emotion over the loss he’s carried for so long, she devises a plan to determine once and for all whether the Tree of Genesis follows her will – and will submit to its own destruction – or is only using her as a tool to revive itself. She and Yoshino part ways and she flies to Yokohama in a costume to face Hanemura in a highly public duel in which she helps him push his powers to their maximum potential.

Tempest is a show that isn’t afraid to present lots of discussion, debate, introspection, and analysis, while lacking a defined weekly action sequence in which nearly all episodes climax (a la Bones’ Star Driver). Because of this, when it does break out the action, it’s almost  always unexpected and novel. We would have never thought Hanemura would evolve into the classic superhero…but we expected Hakaze to fly into the air in a gaudy outfit and play along with him even less. That being said, it’s a pretty awesome turn of events.

We also continue to admire Hanemura’s inconvenient perceptiveness as he casually opines that Aika is totally Yoshino’s girlfriend, and he’s never told Mahiro because Mahiro loves Aika too (he doesn’t say this bit aloud). But the comedy is again nicely balanced by plenty of poignant drama. Mahiro’s reaction to Hanemura’s theory is to simply sod off and clean the kitchen. But Hakaze’s reaction is far more involved. She even gets Yoshino to have a badly-needed cry in her bosom. Her love of Yoshino is no longer a distraction, but a key motivator in her future plans for the Tree of Genesis.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Kotoura-san – 06


Kotoura invites Manabe, Mifune, Kuroto and Moritani to her family home for summer vacation. Upon arriving in the town they are escorted via limousine to an abandoned hospital, within which is “Kotouraland”, a theme park her grandfather built. The next day they relax on the Kotoura private beach, and Manabe saves Kotoura from the ocean current, and finally gets to eat one of her homemade lunches. They end the night with fireworks, and Kotoura thanks everyone for coming. Her mother watches from the distance.

This very special episode of Kotoura-san was an in-depth investigation of the tremendous disparity between the super-rich and the middle class of Japan. Kotoura’s grandfather possesses seemingly infinite wealth, and it’s left up to our imaginations exactly how that wealth was amassed. Regardless, his creeper factor is bumped up a couple of notches by wanting to involve himself in every aspect of these kids’ summer vacation, including dropping them off at a spooky run-down building then revealing he meticulously designed and built a bizarre theme park featuring mascot versions of Kotoura and her friends. It’s all…a bit much.

While this episode doesn’t go as far as Sket Dance did in illustrating just how filthy rich the Unyuu family is, it still goes pretty far. In our opinion, all the opulence and all of Gramps’s ludicrously excessive gestures only harm what is at its core a lightweight but pleasant portrayal of Kotoura’s first summer vacation spent with actual friends and not alone. But her nightmare shows that Kotoura is still not quite over her past traumas. The appearance of her mother, an ice cold bitch who told her daughter she wish she hadn’t given birth to her, is not a good sign, unless of course she’s there to reconcile with said daughter. Judging from her expression, we’d think not…

Rating: 6 (Good)

Tamako Market – 06


The summer heat has driven away the shopping districts customers, so at the next meeting Tamako suggests they open a haunted house. Using the bathhouse storeroom, she and her friends prepare the house while the adult shopkeepers experience strange incidents that lead them to believe the district is cursed. However, three of the five incidents were explained logically by Shiori, and the other two fabricated by Kanna. The haunted house is a big hit, attracting lots of business to the district as intended.

As soon as the cold open projected a darker, more forboding atmosphere than we’d seen in the series to date, we were a little perplexed about what was in store this week, but after Tamako’s idea is revealed, it all became clear. With business in the toilet due to the summer heat, the promise of chills brought on by sundry frights proves a surefire way to bring the people out. Meanwhile, things like guardian stones and haunted houses bemuse and intrigue Dera, for whom they are foreign concepts.

It helps that everyone in the district is so tight, they not only promptly provide all the materials Tamako and her friends need for the haunted house, but they inadvertently perpetuate the rumor of the district itself being haunted, thus creating hype for the house. The adults did act a little goofily this week, but we’ll chalk it up to the heat. Ooji is absent this week, which is probably for the best, and at the very end the princess from Dera’s homeland appears, which should defintely shake things up.

Rating: 6 (Good)