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Hail Mary's just flying around this episode.
As good an episode of Zetsuen no Tempest this was, I just can't get over how long it's taking to get to the point. One of my biggest gripes with the manga has transferred over to the anime as well, and this just makes me a little impatient. Right now Zetsuen no Tempest has the same problem as Uchuu Kyoudai; adapting the manga too faithfully.
Putting pacing aside, this was yet another solid episode. Whereas the previous episode was all about planning and scheming, this one was all about desperation. Sounds odd yes, although it works very well with all parties involved. Samon is trying to stop Mahiro from joining Yoshino's side, then Yoshino does the same thing etc.
As fun as it was to watch Yoshino and Samon play the one-up game, it didn't completely make up for the pace. Taking up yet another episode just for conversation is enough to put many to sleep. Whilst you may not have been put to sleep, I bet some of you were thinking about your bed in between scenes.
Luckily, there was one other saving grace for this episodes. We did have to get to the end before finding it out, but I'd say learning about a new mage is the most exciting development we've seen in a while. Now the mystery expands to the main antagonist and not just Aika's murder, which at this point is stale.
I would have liked for there to be some more urgency and tension in this episode. There wasn't really a sense of urgency on either Samon or Yoshino's part. A tension that could have tied it all together to make the episode a little better. Whether it would have saved the episode is unknown, but it couldn't have hurt.
Zetsuen no Tempest is playing it too safe. As if afraid piss off the manga fans, it takes its time with the story. By now its a foregone conclusion that we're looking at a multi-cour series, but that still shouldn't make Zetsuen no Tempest so drawn out.