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With a heavy heart we must say farewell to Zetsuen no Tempest. A heart that's eased by such a beautiful ending.
After weeks continued build-up, plot twists and cliffhangers there were a lot of expectations riding on Zetsuen no Tempest's finale. From one point of view, this was the finale to look out for, seeing as how we were left guessing for so much of the series, thus leaving us a little hungrier for the conclusion. Luckily, this final episode was more than enough to satisfy me.
Though very understated, it's as if Zetsuen no Tempest was meant for this type of ending. Hanemura brought a close to the situation involving the Tree of Genesis in the first beautifully animated half, leaving a very nice epilogue to be covered by the second half of the episode. Aside from being Hanemura's main spotlight event, it really was a display of visual prowess and a quick warm-up act before we got to the true core of the episode.
Seeing as the true core of the episode was the aftermath, it feels right that most of that time would be dedicated to Aika, Yoshino and Mahiro. The trio have been the main focus of Zetsuen no Tempest, but more than that Aika's had a presence in the series due to the lack of closure between herself and the two men in her life. Just as you'd expect from the series, the closure came in such a smooth and calming demeanour and finally brought peace to our troubled protagonists in the most understated of ways. Simply sitting there as they accept the calculated and teasing ways of the woman they loved was enough to sooth my heart and feel the sense of closure the two characters were due. It was also a bonus to see Aika messing with them.
For all the closure we had, there was also the start of something new. Depending on how much, if at all, you were invested in the romantic subplot between Hakaze and Yoshino might affect your feelings towards the ending. It would certainly leave some with feelings of frustration - what do you expect from Zetsuen no Tempest - yet I was to be found grinning throughout the ending. Actually, I was to be found cheering for this romantic pairing as it gave a dollop of much-needed happiness to counter the angst of the characters.
I'll leave it at that for my thoughts on the episode. Explaining why Zetsuen no Tempest was so good lies a little outside my reach, however it won't stop me from saying otherwise. If anything, this episode was just another to add to the list of great ones we've seen from the series.
Zetsuen no Tempest (Mini) Series Review
If this was the beginning of the Fall 2012 season and I was told Zetsuen no Tempest would be one of my favourite anime of the following season, I might have laughed. Whilst the story was interesting, the characters likeable and animation was high-grade there was something lacking. Simply put, Zetsuen no Tempest started off good but it became great.
The first half's slow start may have hindered my initial perception on the series, however it later became apparent that we had something great to watch on a weekly basis. If PSYCHO-PASS suffered from a strong start followed by a plateau, then this series is its opposite number. What we had here was a good, but unnoticeable start followed by a great ending. A real Tortoise & Hare story, for more than the obvious reason; I ended up favouring Tempest over PSYCHO-PASS.
By making use of the mystery in the first half, it brought about masterfully written conclusions and even gave us a few cliffhangers along the way. If that wasn't enough, the dramatic twists and turns we took to get to the conclusion made for one hell of a journey.