[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="title"]
When a manga artist decides to make a manga with quotes and inspiration from the works of Shakespeare you get Zetsuen no Tempest, and here is its anime adaptation courtesy of BONES. This isn't really for everyone but there are more problems than what's on the surface.
I'm a firm believer of cross-culture inspiration. Whenever I see Western works being inspired by works from Asia, it makes me happy and similarly when works such as Beck emerge from Japan I'm even more happy. As admirable as Zetsuen no Tempest is for trying to incorporate a little Bill Shakespeare into the work, it just feels like adding more clutter to the mix. My problem doesn't lie with the use of Shakespeare's quote but the mess that was created when his influence was added to the story.
"The time is out of joint O curs d spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!"
Is taken straight from Hamlet and is befitting Mahiro's character. It deals with one man's quest for revenge and desire to right everything that is wrong in his domain - in this case the world - however it is incomplete. I don't plan to reveal the rest of the quote out of fear that it may come up in future episode but you can see how nicely it was placed.
The manga actually had the same problem with its first chapter and I would have thought that BONES would recognize the messiness of it and decide to maybe trim some of the material in order to make it a little easier to understand. If you watched the first episode and were lost it's not your fault, but rather the studio and director's fault for not recognising a potentially fatal weakness the first chapter had.
There was just too much going which wouldn't be understood if you haven't read at least 15 chapters of the manga but I
have a hunch know that it gets better. Simply put the mystery will become more coherent, Hakaze's involvement will become clearer in the future episodes, the floating balls will be explained and so will the Tree of Zetsuen (or Exodus depending on the subs you watched).
One thing I did think that the first episode got spot on was the nature of the relationship between Yoshino and Mahiru. They don't trust each other, a point that came across well in the anime original opening of episode and whenever they talked about or to each other. Though it may not seem like it, this actually plays a huge part in the plot now and later on but it also shows how little trust there was between them that Mahiro didn't know that Yoshino's girlfriend was his sister.
In truth it's the story that was the biggest problem in the episode. The animation and soundtrack were great as you would expect from BONES and gave Zetsuen no Tempest a very dramatic feel appropriate for its story. The animation and soundtrack weren't limited to just giving the episode a dramatic feel but also delivering a great action scene between Mahiro and Fraulein Yamamoto.
This episode was chaos, it didn't do as well as it should have but it didn't completely suck and I'm still planning to watch this series knowing it will get better.