Hakaze, princess of the Kusaribe mage clan, has been betrayed and marooned on an island by her own people. They seek to revive the Tree of Exodus, an incomprehensibly powerful entity of alien origin, to save the world from the tyranny of its antithesis: the Tree of Genesis that powers their magic. Hakaze, however, believes their efforts put humanity in jeopardy; and with her power limited, she can only reach out to the world to beg for aid. Her call reaches Mahiro Fuwa, a young man grieving the mysterious death of his sister, Aika. He and his friend Yoshino agree to help - on the condition that Hakaze track down Aika's killer with her magic. The deal is made, and the battle that will determine civilization's fate is begun: but who will play the part of its villain, and who its savior?
The Mage in the Barrel
He Said She Was Very Beautiful
There Are Things Even Magic Cannot Do
The Cursed Pair
Everything Happens For a Reason
The Paradox of the Skull
The Hour to Suppress the Princess
How to Make a Time Machine
Girl of Time
Absent Thee from Felicity Awhile
I really wanted to like this show, but ultimately I had to force myself to finish it. I felt that it started out strong enough, and, at least at the beginning, the characters seemed deep and interesting. In general, however, I found myself less and less interested as the series progressed. As a number of harsh critics have pointed out, Blast of Tempest fails to deliver a scenario, story, or world, where the decisions of the characters actually matter: fatalism. While not everyone feels the same way, I personally became extremely apathetic regarding the future of these characters and the outcome of the show. At some point it became obvious that the writers were playing fast and loose, disregarding any real “rules” established by the series. Once time travel was arbitrarily introduced, I realized that anything could happen in this series, and for no other reason than “just because.” STORY: Blast of Tempest takes place in a world where magic is accessible through an earthbound deity called the Tree of Genesis, who requires sacrifices of manmade objects, especially weapons, in exchange for magical power. When dissention arises within the ranks of one prominent mage clan, their Princess – the most powerful of them all – is marooned on a small island with no access to manmade objects, and therefore no ability to use her magic. But, oh yeah, she’s still a human and can make things, so she uses magic anyway (le sigh). SPOILER/RANT/CRITICISM So why did they leave the Princess on an island instead of just killing her? Here’s the series’ logic: Samon (the main bad guy, who ends up not actually being a bad guy at all…or even important as a character) might need her still alive to stop the Tree of Genesis from fully reviving if his plan fails. BUT, it turns out that he kept the princess asleep with magic for two years before placing her on the island. And she was only on the island for four months before the events of the series, so why didn’t he just continue to keep her asleep with magic somewhere nearby where he could get her quickly?! Because lazy writers need a paycheck, that’s why. Seriously, am I really expected to believe that Samon, who is built up as being exceedingly meticulous and thorough, is careless enough to make such a remedial error? I’m insulted. END SPOILER/CRITICISM/RANT Meanwhile, two average school boys are contacted (through magic) by the Princess and become involved in a series of events that will determine the fate of the world. But as I stated earlier, the actions of the characters fail to have any real bearing on the major events in the series. The two main characters (Yoshino and Mahiro) inexplicably become the most (superficially) vital characters to the story, while the most powerful mages, characters in the government, and even the Princess herself become, for all intents and purposes, useless. Season one is essentially a shounen drama, but the series then instantly changes into a rom-com at the very start of season two. Had the transition been less abrupt, I think they could have gotten away with it. Personally, though, I felt I had been the victim of bait-and-switch. It’s almost as if an entirely different set of writers had been brought in for the second half. In any case, the audience is essentially left with one incomplete shounen, coupled with one incomplete rom-com. At least, that’s the impression it left on me. The story twists and turns quite a bit, and it does tend to be unpredictable, but I attribute this to the writer’s blatant disregard for coherency and consistency. As I stated earlier, this is one of those shows where wild stuff emerges from a lack of discipline in its construction. At the whim of the writers, characters can accomplish anything, regardless of how absurd it is (I quit watching Heroes many years ago for the same reason). This might not have bothered me as much had the series not made such a fuss over logic. For a universe in which logic is so crucial, there sure were a lot of illogical things that happened. SPOILER/RANT/CRITICISM Like the end where a super magic sword appears from nowhere to end the Tree of Genesis. What?! And all the characters knew what it was, even though there was no mention of it even once before that. And why does it need some puny little kid to wield it? It already moves and floats on its own. You know why? To make it appear as though the characters actually matter, that’s why. And so the writers can get a paycheck. END SPOILER/CRITICISM/RANT The series’ conclusion is lackluster at best. The most irrational character is appointed to be the master planner for the final act (Plausibility? Hardly), and as I just stated, none of the characters’ actions are of any real consequence here. They appear to be important because they’re all given a specific task, but if you ask me, the whole thing is far too overtly contrived. When all is said and done, characters are dispersed in a rather predictable fashion. Almost no tension is built to make you doubt a happy ending. I was just glad it was finally over. ANIMATION: This is the bread and butter for Bones’ Blast of Tempest. Characters and setting manage to be richly colorful and vibrant, without being nauseating. Each character has a unique look and color scheme, even when outfits change. Backgrounds are detailed well enough, but not super memorable. I would say that the production value for the animation here is very high, and in general, this anime has a very pleasant glossy look. Too bad great animation doesn’t make a great anime. SOUND: I don’t speak Japanese, but I thought the voice acting was very well done. There were even a few times I was impressed, like one instance where a character was speaking while standing up from a crouched position, and you could actually hear that strain in her voice. I like that kind of attention to detail. The music, on the other hand, left no noticeable impression on me (other than the intros, which I was just too lazy to skip). Sound effects were adequate, and I can think of nothing negative to say about them. CHARACTERS: This is one of my biggest problem with the show. I just didn’t find any of the characters to be at all realistic. From the start, the two main characters lose everyone they love to a deadly disease, but they never show the slightest ounce of emotion about it. Granted, this is later addressed and “explained,” but I didn’t find the explanation to be even remotely adequate. Other characters are built up in an almost over-exaggerated fashion, but then exhibit behaviors entirely inconsistent with what we “know” about them. And then behaviors that seem immutable suddenly vanish as if they were never there. SPOILER/RANT/CRITICISM Like Mahiro being a super emotional hot-head over the murder of his sister, looking high and low for any trace of the individual responsible, willing even to sacrifice the world in order to exact revenge. And then suddenly when he finds out she killed herself, he’s all like, “Oh that’s cool. Let’s go get food.” I’m no psychologist, but even I recognize that people who are as emotionally unstable as that will look for anyone to blame and hate, even if they’re not responsible. Sorry, not buying this character at all: a super emotional megalomaniac who is extra cool when it’s convenient? Right. They should have just made him a villain. It might have been predictable, but at least that would have been consistent with his character. END SPOILER/CRITICISM/RANT They tried really hard to develop the characters through flashbacks (seriously, in every episode), but the more I learned about them, the less I liked them, and the less I cared. SPOILER/RANT/CRITICISM Seriously, Yoshino is an idiot. Aika was a terrible person who controlled and manipulated him for her own selfish desires. Anyone in love with a girl like that ought to have his head examined. Or better yet, hire a magic princess to use her tree god powers to go back in time, naked, and see to it that the script for this show is never written. You know, the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that this show it targeted at insecure young people. END SPOILER/CRITICISM/RANT All of the characters were constantly quoting Shakespeare. Apparently everyone in this contrived universe just sits around all day memorizing Hamlet and The Tempest. How convenient, since their lives are essentially a copy paste from these works. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t look the past these phony characters, and the Shakespeare quotes certainly didn’t help. SPOILER/RANT/CRITICISM Then there are the tree deities. Man, talk about characters with no personality. You know, the Deku Tree in Ocarina of Time was sick, and then it died right at the beginning of the game, and that dude had ten billion times the character of these useless “gods.” I mean, man, what a brutally moronic concept. Nothing of value is explained about them, you never find out what they really are, and then they just disappear without a trace. I read a better script in my alphabet soup when I was three! END SPOILER/RANT/CRITICISM OVERALL: At a few episodes in I had rated this anime at four stars. That rating slowly dropped to three, and now I’m kicking it down to two and a half. The more I think about it, the more I dislike this series. I will not re-watch it. I probably won’t recommend it. I’ll try to forget it. No. Just, no.
[Spoiler Free/ Shorter Review] This series is for adults, not children or teenagers, as such it should be given the "seinen" label. It's difficult to place this in any particular genre, since it distorts and inverts many of them. Shounen action with magic powers? It inverts that, the MC doesn't even have particularly powerful abilities, the most powerful abilities are in the secondary characters. How does that work for a shounen genre? It doesn't work, you see how that doesn't work especially since the end is a fight against the Last Boss? The closest I can classify this would be visual novel, eroge, romance, and drama with some magic in it. Sprinked with some sci fi elements such as in Steins;Gate and Hamlet/Tempest plays. The first half, the 12 episodes, is a tightly plotted thriller and drama, with shounen themes. The conflict at the end isn't a boss fight, it's an actual debate, something most Westerners know nothing about since debate and rhetoric isn't useful for a bunch of serfs and slaves. Only educated people would know anything or be interested in such. A sign of a decadent civilization, the one we live in, not the one being eroded in the series. If you played RPGs and wanted to mind manipulate characters instead of killing them or fighting them, this is a good thing to try betting on finishing. The amount of talking and description of rules, is something I normally expect in visual novels, not anime series. Many conflicts are resolved through negotiation, something FBI negotiators and Gitmo interrogators know more about than your average clueless civilian or weakling serf. Thus while the show often has shounen action themes, it doesn't necessarily cater to that demographic. Too much talking in negotiation and interrogation, you see. As for why I call it an eroge, there is no particular 18+ content, it is just the setting is set up like that. The relationships between the 3 main characters are incredibly deep and mysterious, unraveled over time and there's some big shockers even at the end of the 24 ep series. The romance is a major part of several sub arcs. All in all, it encompasses about 6-10 episodes in total. It fits well with the plot though, but is jarring when the first arc of fighting finishes, so this is why I don't consider it for teenagers, shounen demographics, or anything of the sort. For adults that have experienced a wider breadth of experiences and life challenges, this makes sense to a point. To children, it doesn't make sense, at all. Btw, in the US, sometimes you are still a child 25 or 30, because of circumstances. So don't take that label as anything definitive. The drama is mostly in how tightly plotted the thriller ride is in the first half, 12 episodes. Later on the tone changes greatly, given the division between first half and second half of the series. Generally speaking, the second half was more interesting on the emotions, but the first half was more fun from a thriller pov. The ending was satifactory. It gave that nice nostalgic feeling after putting in long hours on a visual novel or light novel, even though I didn't do any work. I especially liked the female characters in this series. Gyaku moe characters, in the sense that their physical appearances don't actually consist of their internal selves. The character build up is a hybridization, so it can be pretty confusing. It turned out well in the end.
Blast of Tempest was a show that left me wanting more. While it did conclude properly, I often feel that with most other anime I've watched, there should be at least an episode dedicated to the relationships built at the end of a series. Besides that Blast of Tempest had a compelling storyline. A fine mix of drama, romance and the supernatural, it appeals to a very wide audience. I felt drawn to the main character Yoshino and his story, the loss of his girlfriend and the need to hide it from her brother (aka his best friend). The loss of his girlfriend was indeed depressing, especially since they seemed to have such a wonderful, fun relationship. I was less impressed with Mahiro, who throughout the series is dealing with coming to terms with his step-sister's death and his feelings toward her. It's not as if he is unlikeable, I think it was more a question of personal taste than anything else. Hakaze was another interesting character and without spoiling anything, the development of her ties to Yoshino and Mahiro are interesting to watch unfold. Blast of Tempest is an amazing show that I'm glad to have watched. While I did come away with mixed feelings, this show is both immersive, dramatic and compelling. I can guarantee you'll be happy with the way everything turns out, but it's worth giving it a shot. The journey is far more important than the destination.
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