In a word, brilliant. This episode is brilliant.
Words will fail me here as I attempt to convey just how great this episode of Zetsuen no Tempest was. Not an obvious type of brilliant like with many series, but one that keeps you glued to the screen even when not much is happening. In fact, not much did happen in this episode but the events that transpired were phenomenal.
A treat for Aika fans, it’s a little sad that the episode felt too short. In retrospect, some of the best moment of Zetsuen no Tempest were flashbacks involving Aika, so it was great to see her being just as good alive. Not just good, but her usual Shakespeare-quoting, slightly sadistic self.
One thing I always gave Zetsuen no Tempest credit for was the use of Aika in the story. Her posthumous impact on the main story was always an interesting plot device, as it affected not only the story itself but the characters that drive the story. Mahiro and Yoshino’s actions have been dictated by her death, as did Hakaze’s later on in the series. It’s no surprise that she such a calculating person, given all the hints and her relationships with the our dual protagonists. Her decision to kill herself was expected – my suspicion from way back – but it didn’t stop it from having an impact. And that’s not all!
The highlight of the episode was without a doubt the fight. The well choreographed and effortless looking fight that left me holding my breath at times. It wasn’t a fight that’ll get your blood pumping in the traditional sense but boy was it beautiful. Every attack, every move just looked like an effortless and ended with the same grace it started. Doesn’t hurt that Aika was the victor by a mile.
Now that Hakaze’s time travel has yielded results, Zetsuen no Tempest has three episodes in which to end in either tragedy or comedy. This episode definitely didn’t help clarify things with, it just kept us guessing. With the revelation that the tree of Zetsuen was created as a countermeasure for the tree of Genesis, Hanemura’s in a more powerful position than ever. Now instead of being the last vote, he’s the one who has the fate of the world in his hands. That should make for an interesting 3 episode eh?