Zetsuen no Tempest Episodes 22+23: Aika Fuwa, The Battle of Genesis
“I just want to be there when those I care about make important decisions!” -Yoshino Takigawa
Summary: Hakaze travels back to the present and tells Yoshino and Mahiro the truth behind Aika’s death. Both boys react to this news in a rather unexpected way, while the rest of the time is spent planning the impending attack on the core of the Tree of Genesis. Yoshino and Mahiro successfully convince Samon and the others to let them come along on the mission, even though they can’t use magic and really have no reason to fight. With the fate of the world resting on Hanemura’s shoulders, the final attack commences, and a shocking twist leaves us with a great cliffhanger heading into the last episode.
Impressions: Woah! What a way to end that episode! We’re in the final sprint to the end here folks, and I still have no idea if things will end in tragedy or if they’ll go more of the route of The Tempest. Episode 22 was more of a subdued affair, as it mostly focused on Yoshino and Mahiro’s reactions to finding out that Aika killed herself and also on the upcoming battle against the Tree of Genesis. Episode 23 shifted into things into high gear, as Hanemura, Hakaze, Samon, Mahiro, Yoshino and the rest of the crew all head out to finish things once and for all. Of course, things can’t be too easy for our compatriots, so there was quite a surprise at the end, leaving Yoshino’s fate up in the air.
In my mind, episode 23 was s0-so. After the surprising events of last episode and finally finding out who killed Aika, I understand the need to have a “breather” episode before jumping right into the next big (and final) sequence before the end of the show. Plus it did start to set up some of the events of episode 24, especially regarding the Tree of Genesis. With the worlds military powers (or what’s left of them at least) choosing to defend the Tree of Genesis, it’s going to be hard for our team to destroy the thing. I think it’s important to understand why they would defend it, since it’s presence not only has essentially stopped wars and violence, but also that once the Tree is gone there will be major power struggles as countries rush to fill the power gap that it leaves behind. With the level playing field created by the destruction of almost all military forces, it would be first-come-first-served as to who can grab the most power, land, and resources.
Mahiro and the other’s are very aware of this fact, and they still decide that that fate is better than the world being reset back to zero in a couple of years time, thanks to the Tree of Genesis’s powers. It’s a tough choice to make, since they’re essentially taking on the world and shouldering the responsibility for what could potentially happen if they manage to destroy the Tree. It makes the final battle to come even more high-stakes than it already is.
More interesting is both Mahiro and Yoshino’s reaction to hearing the truth behind how and why Aika died. They accept her reasoning for taking her own life without much fuss, and just calmly decide that she made the right choice. Neither of them blame Hakaze, even though she blames herself a bit. If she hadn’t gone back to the past, Aika never would have killed herself. But hindsight is always 20/20 and that kind of thinking all the time would lead to nothing ever being done in fear of it causing something bad or unwanted to happen.
It was surprising to see Hanemura of all people get so upset about the way the boys were acting, going so far as to punch them both. He is right that it’s not good to bottle up your emotions, and of course I can’t help but feel that part of the reason he got so upset was that because of Aika now it falls to him to “save the world”, but I can see Yoshino and Mahiro’s point of view too. There’s really no point in crying over spilt milk, especially (I guess) when the milk made it’s own choice to be spilt or not. It was still great to see Hanemura beat up Yoshino and Mahiro though. He’s come a long way, but he’s still not totally a “hero” figure yet, which is kind of a nice change. He really is the definition of an unlikely hero, especially when compared to everyone else around him.
Episode 24 on the other hand, was much more action packed. The end fight with Hanemura and Hakaze and the Tree of Genesis? Yeah, that was good stuff. The animation was great, Mahiro’s tricky plan of having Hakaze dress in the Mage of Exodus costume and Hanemura dress as the Dancing Princess in order to trick the guard ships away from the tree was clever (which this show does very well), and certainly Yoshino getting shot was a nice surprise to keep things from going too smoothly for our heroes. Hanemura is going to have to really pull out his all in order to defeat that huge pillar, and half of me isn’t certain he’s going to be able to do it. He’s got the weight of the world on his shoulder’s, which has got to be hard for him since his self-confidence is a little, shall we say, low. I’m fascinated to see if Yoshino’s going to make it (there was a lot of blood there) and if Hanemura will be able to pull of defeating the Tree of Genesis all on his own.
Yoshino and Hakaze’s little pool scene was also very cute. For a minute there I though Yoshino was going to splash out into the pool and at least hug Hakaze. Like Yoshino himself says, I think he has started to get over Aika in a way, and is seeing the possibilities in Hakaze. I really like that Hakaze is so straightforward about telling Yoshino that she loves him (because to often are girls like “what is this feeling in my chest? Could it be…?” God, I hate that). She’s totally right in telling Yoshino to keep his eyes on her. I mean, who doesn’t want to do there best when the person they love is watching?
What else? Oh, Natsumura and Tetsuma being all uncomfortable in there new cloths was hilarious. As was Junichirou’s porn collection and his weird need to take a whole suitcase full of it with him. I really admire the shows ability to mix in these strange little flashes of humor that keep if from getting too bogged down in it’s own seriousness. A lot of times, stuff like that doesn’t really work, but I think Zetsuen no Tempest pulls it off admirably. Now all that’s left is the last episode, and I’m excited to see how things wrap up. How is Hanemura going to defeat the massive Tree of Genesis? What about Yoshino? What’s going to happen to Hakaze and the rest of the Kusaribe clan? Will Bones be able to pull off a decent ending?? There’s a 50/50 chance it’ll go down in flames, so either way, it’s going to be good (because hey, who doesn’t like a little bit of schadenfreude?)
Final Thought: I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over my laughing at Natsumura’s face.