Zetsuen no Tempest – 21

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Aika and Hakaze relocate to the riverside, where she warns Hakaze that the Tree of Genesis will reset civilization if not defeated. After some “sleuthing”, Aika concludes that she will use magic to kill herself, which ultimately led to Hakaze meeting Mahiro and Yoshino, which leads to the Tree of Genesis being defeated, which is her calling as Mage of Exodus. Hakaze, knowing how the boys took Aika’s death, tries to stop Aika with words and by force, but Aika’s magic is far more powerful, and knocks her out. When Hakaze comes to, she races to the Aika Manor, but she’s too late; Aika has killed herself again. A note she leaves instructs Hakaze to give the letter she wrote to Mahiro and Yoshino after their mission is complete.

Those of you who called Fuwa Aika being the murderer of Fuwa Aika, pat yourselves on the back. Us thicker-skulled ones, meanwhile, will simply step back and admire the awe of this latest twist in what has shaped up to be one of the best series we’ve watched since Penguindrum. Aika’s  suicide makes perfect “chicken-and-egg” temporal paradox sense. Her death led to the assembling of the people who will ultimately defeat Genesis and save civilization. Ergo, Aika must die no matter what. Hakaze puts the happiness of the lads ahead of civilization, but Aika points out that they’d probably die if Genesis isn’t iced. In any case, Aika is far more powerful (and a bit taller!) than Hakaze…by design.

Props to Aika’s epic downhill punch, and the girls’ subsequent mage duel, in which she dances through the air with her swords, cutting Hakaze’s attacks to ribbons.Props also to Aika’s assessment of the events as they will unfold once she dies. She defies Hakaze’s insistence she mustn’t die; it’s not Aika’s choice to make. As the human representatives of gods, she and Hakaze are slaves to them, just as Caliban is Prospero’s. Even if Hakaze sees it as a Hamlet-esque ending, she sees it as Tempest-esque. She’s just playing the role she must play: defeat Genesis, even at the cost of her own life. If she doesn’t, the whole stage (which all the world is) falls apart. Hell, props to everything about this episode. It just kicked ass.


Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)

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Kotoura-san – 09

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Kotoura recovers after passing out after having read the mind of a criminal who is killing high school girls, including one who attended their school. She’s scared and lets Manabe spend the night, but Moritani intervenes. The detectives on the case question the ESP society, but they know they wouldn’t believe Kotoura if she said she was psychic. Rumors spread around school that she knows who the killer is but is withholding the information to save her own skin. Her grandfather invites the society to a fancy dinner where they cross paths with Kotoura’s mother. She tells her she’s made friends and is doing well. Moritani is in an alley with a dead student, with blood on her hands.

This was a dense and nicely-layered episode, blending comedy and serious drama like a harmonious marble pound cake (that’s good). There’s a lot going on, and a lot to like, starting with Kotoura feeling she can trust and rely on Manabe at a time when she doesn’t want to be alone (and more to the point, shouldn’t be); unfortunately, a meddling Moritani foils their plans to stay together for the night. No matter how unlikely, if the serial killer is telepathic like Kotoura, she’s in just as much danger as his/her random victims. We were a little shocked at the cavalier-ness with which the rumors about the murders spread; everyone seems a bit to giddy about all this, but then we remember, these are high schoolers, many of whom are horrible, half-formed human beings who feed off the pain and misery of others.

It was also nice to show the pressure Kotoura is under while rumors about her spread (again, thanks to Moritani). But in both this situation and later when she bumps into her mother and freezes, she realizes that she’s not alone; her friends, in particular Manabe, have her back; literally, in the case of the restaurant encounter. It’s a nicely-choreographed scene in which she retreats backwards at her mother’s harsh words, but is “caught” by Manabe and Yuriko. We also continue to like how while her mother is still a total bitch, she’s not totally inhuman, and even steps up to defend her daughter when Manabe gets a bit too rowdy. As for the post-credits scene with Moritani in that alley with a body…well, frankly we knew she was no good the moment she ordered a hit on Manabe.


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. A hasty Yuriko believing Kotoura’s gramps will take them out to a fancy restaurant leads to a pretty awesomely hilarious visual when gramps initially them to a hole-in-the-wall, when she Manabe and Muroto are dressed for the prom. (she also rocks twin tails, a definite highlight of the episode XD).

Tamako Market – 09

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October 10th is Mochi day, and also Mochizou’s birthday, but he’s afraid Tamako forgot it. Anko is upset about something, and he learns that her friend Yuzuki is moving away on the 10th. On that day, Tamako sends An to his house to deliver fresh mochi, and give him a proper goodbye. Tamako catches her dad Dai singing the song she’s had stuck in her head; it turns out to be a love song he wrote for their mother, to convince her to go out with him. Before calling it a night, Tamako surprises Mochizou with birthday mochi.

This was a lovely, moving episode, with the overarching theme of “everybody loves somebody.” Anko is in love with her friend Yuzuki; Mochizou is in love with Tamako; Dera is in love with whatever maiden sneezes on him; and Tamako’s dad is still in love with his dearly departed wife. This has always a show not of big revelations, but of slow, quiet, incremental change. But things are definitely changing, especially after the events of this week.

Take Tamako’s dad: he was able to open up and allow the secret of his songwriting to come to the surface, showing Tamako a whole side of him she (and we) never knew or suspected; we just thought he was a traditionalist stick-in-the-mud, but he’s a true romantic who didn’t let a couple awkward encounters with his future wife discourage him. Mochizou could definitely learn a thing or two from him, and while his progress with Tamako remains slow, in the end his birthday wasn’t forgotten. We just hope Tamako remembered, and didn’t have to be reminded by An!


Rating: 7 (Very Good)