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I'll admit, I loved this episode of Zetsuen no Tempest.
All it took was one mind game to show us how devious, clever, cunning, etc. both Yoshino and Mahiro are. We've known that both of these guys have a darker side - Mahiro's may be a little understated - and now we get a situation where they both exhibit their more cunning side.
Mahiro is just the best. Seeing through Yoshino's plan and then making this into a competition to see who will give him what he wants first. His lack of loyalty and nonchalant attitude towards Yoshino's blatant lies make him the front-runner in the competition for most cunning. That said, Mahiro is the one who has quieter moments and then just wows us.
Samon ended up being a tool of sorts to give our two protagonists a stage to perform. I don't know why he ended up coming off like a bad comedy act with all of his overacting, but I'm more puzzled about why I enjoyed so much. Might have had something to do with Samon's irritating character that is put through stress and humiliation.
I've got to give it to Zetsuen no Tempest: this was truly Shakespearean. Not in the obvious way where comparisons are drawn or plots revealed, but through its characters and their actions. That slightly less obvious way of bringing out the series' inspiration was great to watch.
The composition and direction for the past few episodes have been excellent. It's really highlighted the mystery and has done wonders for the series. I'm especially glad because this is a major point in Zetsuen no Tempest's plot and one of the most suspenseful moments out of any anime airing this season.
Zetsuen no Tempest is picking up more steam. Certainly an improvement.