Blast of Tempest – Review

So yep, following up on my exploration of the first episode, I ended up marathoning Blast of Tempest and putting together a streaming review. The end result was frankly pretty unsatisfying – I know some people love this show, but it’s just such a messy thing that I could only rarely feel legitimately invested. It rambles and overtells and often feels like it lacks a strong throughline, failing in terms of storytelling fundamentals even as it impresses in terms of personality and creativity. It’s certainly an interesting show, and the cast is great, and I don’t regret watching it… but I can’t say it’s a show I’d actually recommend. Still, for better or for worse, I now feel like I’ve pretty much seen all the acclaimed 2013 anime. So I guess that’s something?

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my copious episode notes below!

Blast of Tempest

Episode 1

Aika, Yoshino, and Mashiro

Jeez, Yoshino’s getting skewered by Aika. She calls him a con artist immediately

“The time is out of joint. O, cursed spite. That ever I was born to set it right!” Shakespeare it up

“The Mage in the Barrel”

An overtly theatrical setup

And overtly theatrical shot-framing too. A switch from these massive wide shots to the intimate shots as the girl slowly draws herself out of the barrel, with weeping strings in the background. A very evocative setup

“Damn you, Samon. This was your plan…”

And yep, she’s a mage marooned on an island. Overtly riffing on The Tempest

Kusaribe Hakaze

Aw dang, nice match cut using the waves to jump back to civilization

Mashiro has apparently disappeared?

“If promises carry weight…”

Yep, now we’re flashing back to the three of them together. This sure is a messy first episode

Yoshino keeps Mahiro out of trouble

“What you want isn’t just hard to acquire, it’s also trivial. Even if you got it, it wouldn’t make you happy”

A lady in a ridiculous outfit named Yamamoto appears

They keep doing that billowing hair shot over and over again

“Mahiro isn’t the type to rescue anyone”

Aika is Mahiro’s younger sister, apparently

And Aika is dead

She was killed in a “burglary” about a year back

More of these dramatic shots of characters standing at odds

The show is an overt, intentional melodrama, which makes sense given both the theatrical motif and Okada as a writer. Okada is one of the few anime writers who can pull off embracing melodrama as one of her preferred storytelling modes/genres

“Isn’t the absurdity of life the human condition?”

A swarm of butterflies appears, and then Mahiro… teleports in to save him?

“What is your connection to the black iron syndrome?”

“He’s already beginning to metallicize”

Some mage family is trying to awaken something, the syndrome is a harbinger, and only the island mage girl can stop them

Mahiro found Kusaribe’s message in a bottle, which lets her use him as an agent

“Even in my underwear, I’m still pretty tough”

“Aika’s death was senseless. Magic is senseless. Join the two, and it all starts to make sense.” If you say so!

The Tree of Exodus

Episode 2

Pretty simple episode – Mahiro explains the situation and ends up in another fight, Yoshino ends up teaming up with leather skirt lady

Episode 3

“There are things even magic cannot do”

The show has reasonable animation for its fight scenes so far, though no real sense of weight or choreography to them


The show’s been pretty heavy on mages hunting people, which is actually very compelling

Lol, these boob shots

As Yoshino wonders if they can use fireballs, his friend yanks a pipe out of the ground

Mahiro’s an idiot

They’re actually laying out the magic powers in very understandable ways. Trying to make the fights parsable as real drama, which is encouraging

The Tree of Genesis demands sacrifices of man’s ingenuity to grant magical power

And that explains why Hakase can’t use magic effectively – she has no fruit of civilization to sacrifice. A very unique system

This is a very compelling fight!

Mahiro inspired by a memory of his sister

The government is planning to bomb the area

Their magic is about “protecting the logic of this world”

“There are no convenient miracles, and there is logic that should be inviolable”

Magic used in an intelligent way for Yoshino to find Mahiro – following the trail of healing magic. Very strong fundamentals so far

And then they used the helicopters to attack the other mage. Great battle plotting in general – really intelligent scripting

More grave premonitions about the battle to come!

Mahiro thinks they should fight the mages head on, because the killer is someone from the Kusaribe clan

“This, too, is just a kind of fate”

Episode 4

Mahiro and Yoshino head out to the boonies

Ah, they’re heading out to pick up more of Hakaze’s stored talismans

Yoshino wants to save people from black iron syndrome

He tries to save a pair of kids, but fails

These three are an interesting trio

Hakaze points out how they wouldn’t be natural friends

Backstory on Mahiro and Yoshino’s friendship

Using the celery as a linking factor between the flashback and current time, along with the dramatic framing of the bike crash. Lots of dramatically purposeful details here – Okada really does care about the details of storytelling more than most writers

Young Yoshiro doesn’t beat around the bush about not caring for Mashiro

Mahiro believes the “mugger” who hit him was actually paid to kill him

From his early years, Mahiro learned he couldn’t trust anyone else

“I decided to eat everything I dislike first.” A quick metaphor for his relationship with Mahiro. And he’s a diligent person in general, in contrast to Mahiro’s reckless decisiveness

So Yoshino’s a laid-back mastermind type

Yoshino essentially just got stuck with Mahiro

Mahiro’s actually a very unusual type – proud and reckless, arrogant and violent. Not a hero type at all

“It’s because you were able to go far that you were able to put up with him”

“Why is there celery in the miso soup?” CELERY METAPHORSSS

This show’s storytelling is actually very elegant. Not even graceful, but elegant – full of purpose and embelishment

Young Yoshino trolled the hell out of Mahiro

And then Mahiro admits he might not have made it this far without Yoshino

And he leaves the water bottle at the metallicized kids. Really strong episode

Episode 5

Yoshino and Mahiro find their way to an aquarium, where Hakaze has hidden another talisman. Yoshino is reminded of an old date with Aika there, where she referenced the Hamlet “more things in heaven and earth” line and talked about how “everything happens for a reason.”

Everything leads to a purposeful, beautiful conclusion

Another attack

Yoshino senses a connection between the details of the current events and his relationship with Aika

And now Hakaze is talking about how their current meetings were guided by fate

“If everything happens for a reason, are you telling me the reason you were killed is so Mahiro would save the world?” Yoshino doesn’t want to accept that

Mahiro threatens to fry the group chasing them

“As long as the world’s logic sides with me, you cannot win”

They meet Junichiro, a friend of Hakaze, in order to pick up a talisman

“So unfortunate for you that Hakaze took a liking to you”

Junichiro thinks Hakaze is dead – in fact, he verified her body, and says she died on an island

Samon has her bones inside a barrel?

Episode 6

The Tree of Genesis protects Hakaze, and the Tree of Exodus is what Samon is trying to awaken

The internal politics of the mage clan are pretty unique. Lots of rules and politics

Junichiro mentions that it’s the Tree of Genesis and Hakaze who are more likely to destroy the world

The special talisman is an actual gun

Aw dang, Yoshino had a secret deal with the leather suit lady!

Of course Mahiro and Aika weren’t blood relatives

A secret government organization that formerly had ties to the Kusaribe clan, which deals with magical incidents

This sequence… doesn’t really make sense? I don’t know why they’re fighting Mahiro, or had to stage this whole fake kidnapping. Couldn’t Yoshino have just met with them secretly?

“Even though we share a final goal, our feelings are quite different.” How? What do we even know about the military?

Some very pretty backgrounds this time

Yoshino and Mahiro each have pretty interesting psychologies

More deliberate visual motifs linking periods – the flowers of Mahiro’s feelings

Episode 7

Mahiro questioning his feelings towards Aika, and then saying she can’t get into a relationship with anyone. Cool guy

The clock keeps spinning

“All the irrationalities will soon be redressed”

“Revenge is the only reason for the current Mahiro’s existence”

It seems like any human action is a move towards “irrationality,” and away from the logic of the world

Aika talkin’ bout kissing

They head to Aika’s family’s summer house

Yoshino gets roped into a double date with Mahiro and some girls

“A girlfriend isn’t something you get just because you want one”

“Yoshino has a high degree of adaptability, and no personality”

“He needs a woman to lead him”

“The one best suited for Yoshino would be someone like you, Mahiro”

Mahiro asking Yoshino about his relationship

“Mahiro might never realize that he was in love with Aika”

Of course we’re dealing with a classic, melodramatic love triangle, featuring star-crossed lovers and false siblings and all of it

These flashbacks do feel pretty natural, which is rare

The stars “trying to let us know they exist before they disappear,” says Aika

While Mashiro says they shine “without a care in the world”

Yoshino and Aika biking through a field of sunflowers. Yellow flowers again

“The sunflowers are watching”

More dramatic classical music, flutes and strings and all of it

“Purpose is but the slave of memory.”

“Today marks the end of this revenge play”

Aw man, this was a great episode

Episode 8

Mahiro saying that even now, Aika’s death feels unbelievable. Trying to find sense in a senseless world

The Tree of Exodus appears

They run into a barrel, and Samon

“You’d pull the trigger and destroy the world?”

“Without the Tree of Exodus, you could never save this world”

The Tree of Genesis awakening would let the world be “reconstructed” into its correct form, which would require destroying the current world

Lots of exposition and speeches

Why is this guy just monologuing to himself?

So awakening the Tree of Exodus is a plan to stop the Tree of Genesis

While Hakaze says that the Tree of Genesis will merely fix instabilities, and that fighting it with the Tree of Exodus would make things far more unstable

“We may be its followers, but we are not its slaves”

Mahiro just doesn’t give a damn either way

Mahiro himself is a pretty Shakespearian character. Living only for revenge for his dead love

“Thinking of it another way, it could be said Mahiro’s sister died for my sake.” Time is fluid

The show does move a bit slowly

The skeleton again

Really don’t know how this is at all supposed to be convincing

I assume it has to do with time being out of joint, but we gotta have some context to hold on to

Yep, the princess exists out of time with them

She’s talking to them from two years in the past

This friggin’ sword

Episode 9

There better be a damn good explanation for this time travel twist, jeez

Ah, of course, the doll couldn’t find a connecting doll in the present, so it connected through time

“Why didn’t I guess that two years could have passed?” Because it’s an absurd plot twist

Jeez, we’ve been stuck in this conversation for over an episode now

More solid visual metaphors

And of course Mahiro doesn’t care who grants his wish

Why is Samon taking so long? Does he even know what Mahiro’s wish is?

Okay, good, he actually asks for the wish and accepts that it’s a perfectly reasonable cost for his desires

“You’ll still keep pushing your logic forward, for your wish’s sake”

Yoshino suddenly realizes their current situation mirrors The Tempest, which Aika once referenced

Yoshino decides he’ll take the role of Caliban

“I will not allow things to become even more uncertain!”

“I’ll tell you the identity of Aika’s boyfriend” DUN DUN DUN

“Who cares about some boyfriend? Why are you torn by this? REALLY?!?!” oh my god Samon is the best

Aika against the world. Quite a cliffhanger!

Episode 10

This plot does move incredibly slowly. So little has happened in ten episodes

Yoshino explains that Samon is probably deceiving them, and this whole time travel ploy was a countermeasure

Yoshino guesses that Samon actually put her to sleep for two years, instead of somehow developing a “time prison.” Which is way more reasonable

It seems Yoshino’s theory is actually wrong, but it’s far more plausible than what Samon is proposing

I really like Mahiro debating the two theories, acknowledging the weaknesses of Yoshino’s point

Using the barrel as a focal point to prove the time disparity

Samon’s melodramatic reactions are the best

Episode 11

Samon being such a ham

Junichiro’s motivated by boobs. Great

Transferring Hakaze’s body while leaving her skeleton behind in order to avoid a time paradox. Quite a plan

Samon flips it, talking about the Tree of Genesis likely set up Aika’s death to force Mahiro to help Hakaze. This continuous flipping argument is pretty great

Yoshino’s dedication to Hakaze is also a way of finding meaning in senseless tragedy

Discussing how the clan has a strict taboo against murder, and must ask for forgiveness from the tree for going against reason

It makes perfect sense that Hamlet would be Mahiro’s pet play

The killer is not in the clan!

The mage of Exodus! DUN DUN DUN

More great melodramatic classical music, too

Episode 12

This show is so 100% destined to be love it or hate it. Very little middle ground on this one

The Tree of Genesis appears!

This show’s fanservice is so weird

More invented Genesis/Exodus stuff

Mahiro doesn’t trust how well the cards have fallen for Hakaze

Second-guessing, triple-guessing, and quadruple-guessing their own and each other’s logic

The Tree of Genesis sends another, ridiculously improbable offering, demonstrating its potential power to Hakaze

“Yoshino, you look surprisingly young. Nothing like the villain your actions have made you out to be”

A giant fight between trees

aw dang, the tree kills Yoshino and Mahiro!

Everything goes to shit

Episode 13

Mahiro lying in a field of snow

They seem to be in the wreckage of the trees

And then he wakes back in a house, and Aika’s there

“It’s another story of revenge, right? Then it must end in tragedy”

Both edges of the season speak of the ship being crashed

“A tragedy, so we can end sadness with sadness”

“Wasn’t the point of that journey to save the world?”

Recap stuff

Mahiro’s younger self, watching the past happen

“This story doesn’t end in tragedy”

And now he wakes up in a hospital, and… ah, it’s his early meetings with Yoshino

The Tree of Genesis absorbed everything that opposed it

The Tree of Genesis now prevents all war and violence by absorbing anyone who threatens them. It’s the world’s peacemaking dictator

“You won’t be satisfied unless you get your revenge?”

“Who would have believed the sight of the red flower that bloomed from her?”

Another largely repeat episode, even with the new content. This is a very messy show

And Mahiro wakes again, and Samon is there this time. Mahiro’s been asleep for a month

“Mahiro, could you kill Yoshino?”

Episode 14

So now most of the cast is on the same side, searching for the mage of Exodus

Some people worship the tree, others say the mage of Exodus can return the world to its old self

“The Tree is ruling over all of us”

Yoshino and Hakaze are traveling together

Some new dude appears

“If I could save the world, maybe my girlfriend would come back!”

“Currently, the princess makes every decision with Yoshino in mind”

Yep, Hakaze’s got a crush

“Considering his own qualities, I’m sure Yoshino’s girlfriend is perfect”

Time for teenage feelings!

This show sure does move slowly. As often happens, it’s basically 15-16 episodes of material across two cours

“I think I am that mage of Exodus.” WELP

Hanemura Megumu

He’s a really timid guy

And now leather lady is thinking about Yoshino’s actual girlfriend. This really is a soap opera

Samon thinks Yoshino may be the mage of Exodus

Samon theorizes that the Tree of Genesis didn’t actually intend for Yoshino to be there

“His arm really did bend the other way!”

“He isn’t able to kill anyone. I don’t believe this boy has the heart of Exodus.”

Samon believes that only the mage of Exodus would be able to lead Hakaze away from the Tree of Genesis’s influence

Episode 15

Samon examining underwear

Samon talking about whether he’d prefer to be told he has no power in a world ruled by fate or not

Hamemura makes one of the trees disappear

And then they take him to Mahiro for his “murder investigation.” lol

He was with his girlfriend Yu-chan at the time of the murder

Aaand she’s dumped him recently

Jeez, Samon and Mahiro bullying him

“It doesn’t matter if billions have died. This is the way the world always was”

Basically a date scene between Yoshino and Hakaze. Though of course they’re rambling about the way of the world

“You realize you’re in love with Yoshino, right?”

“I don’t need to hear that from someone with a sister complex like you!” oh my god

This whole episode is about romance fluff. People must have been furious about this second half, lol

Hakaze being thirsty as fuck, damn

The army dude has some plan to learn more about the trees

Hakaze doesn’t give a shit

The show overtly makes a joke out of the tree stuff being way less important than this love story. Pretty great

They’re actually going to have Hamemura dress up in a sentai suit to destroy trees. This show was always ridiculous, but wow

Episode 16

Again making a joke of how much Hakaze is more interested in the romance stuff than the actual dramatic plot

This mage of Exodus outfit sure is something

“I imagine you’re the type who wouldn’t say you’d seen a ghost, even if you had”

Aika accuses him of becoming a “boring person” who wouldn’t accept irrational things

“What if it were my ghost?”

More of these smart transitions between past and present

Sana, one of the children Hakaze knows from the village, has gone missing

“Hamlet’s mistake was that he believed in a ghost. The second he believed in something irrational, he was doomed.” A very Mahiro statement

Mahiro’s pragmatic philosophy is reflected in his personality and desires – revenge is something hard and certain, he is blunt because he values his idea of logic and nothing else

“I don’t like Hamlet, anyway. It’s just that Aika used to quote it all the time”

Hakaze can’t avoid acknowledging her feelings, even if it puts the Kusaribe clan at risk

Episode 17

Opening with commentary on Hayakawa, the government official whose fortunes have risen with the relevance of magic

“The tree looks like a snake or dragon”

There’s basically no sense of momentum or active drama in the story. It’s always just explaining things and talking about things and waiting for things to happen. They dress the mage of Exodus up in a sentai costume, but even that isn’t framed in an exciting way

Hakaze’s fantasies are entertaining, at least

Some good Aika vignettes. She’s very much a Senjougahara type

And now Samon and the gang are trying to figure out who Yoshino’s girlfriend is

“A love comedy, with the fate of the world at stake?!?”

Nice direction for this dramatic confession scene

“Yoshino, make me give up on you!”

And the mage of Exodus states the obvious answer

“I loved Ophelia”


Episode 18

“No way.”

Man, everyone’s really shaken by this turn of events

“Have I really killed your girlfriend?”

“Would anger or revenge bring Aika back?”

“Did you willingly let yourself be drawn into this fateful struggle without any strong motivation?”

Exodus guy remarks on how both Mahiro and Yoshino reacted to everything that happened after Aika’s death with total numbness

“Can you ever be happy again?”

Yoshino with the dead eyes

“How can I be happy in a world without Aika?” Yoshino finally letting his emotions through

Great choking tears

As Exodus wonders why no one else figured out the truth, Samon floats away into another one of his absurd reveries. It sometimes feels like the show is completely making fun of itself

Exodus keeps being surprised by how ridiculous this story is

Leather lady takes her snake theory into alchemy and then “the tree of genesis is an alien weapon”

Hakaze is going to test the Tree of Genesis by acting against it, to see if it still obeys her

Hakaze appears to fight the mage of Exodus

“I shall dance for your love”

There are fundamental ideas within this show that are interesting, but the overall storytelling is just a total, absolute mess

Hakaze’s plan is intended to make Hanemura stronger

Episode 19

Mahiro and Yoshino each agreeing they have to have a conversation. Glad we’re on the same page

This story does maintain stylistic quirks reflective of Shakespeare plays, like the performative false identities, but it just doesn’t instill them with dramatic weight

Aika, to Mahiro: “Once you’re able to accept me like this, you’ll be a proper adult”

Leather lady’s alien theory employs the “Civilization Blaster” name, so you know it’s legit. She claims aliens use the Tree of Genesis to keep alien civilizations at a level where they won’t evolve in a dangerous way

The classic “any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic” line

“If it has evil intent, why make it possible for a human to control it?” And another line that reflects on the nature of fate/destiny, and the significance of our individual agency

“What would you ask a grave, which can never reply?”

Mashiro and Yoshino meet at the graveyard!

Like with Ophelia’s death, the brother and boyfriend meet in the graveyard

This scene is fantastic. Having them actually speak honestly like this is wonderful, and their original friendship shines through. It’s a shame the show spent half a season dancing around this, but still, nice scene

This scene is very well shot

“I don’t care what you do to get revenge for her death. But I want to be able to at least save the world for her death.” Mahiro is Hamlet, Yoshino is The Tempest

Each of them acknowledge the strength of the other in their owny way

“How long must I be troubled by such things?” Samon is amazing

Time for wacky love triangle shenanigans

Hakaze sure is a love interest now

Hakaze plans to return to before Aika’s death!

Episode 20

She’ll travel back to learn the killer’s identity

God, Samon is so good

And he trolls them about his hair being a wig. YES

“Being as troubled for as long as I am, you might want to crack a joke or two”

Samon raises the question of whether it’s this self that actually killed Aika

And Hakaze raises the counter-proposal of Aika having died meaninglessly, to some nobody

“I am also a woman. I may grow angry at Aika, and kill her in a fit of rage.” Okada shows kind of have a systemic weirdness about women

Yoshino raises the extremely good point that if Hakaze is alive now, it should also be possible to save Aika

Yoshino could have a split personality! Man, they overtalk everything in this series

Public favor is swaying towards the Tree of Genesis

the show never digs deeply enough into the morality of the tree for this to really be a meaningful debate

Holy crap, Aika knows everything. Whaaa

Aika is the mage of Exodus whoooo

hahahaha awesome shit

Episode 21

A particularly large tree has appeared

“I’m being murdered tonight. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have had to suffer through entrance exams.” Aika takes the truth very well!

Aika says the Tree of Genesis will utterly destroy modern civilization

Aika decides to play the detective in her own death, and deduces that she must have killed herself in order to set up the sequence of events that led to the Tree of Genesis being destroyed, and Hakaze herself coming back to figure out who caused Aika’s death

Not that we can necessarily trust Aika, either

Hakaze refuses to accept this ending

“In the end, we’re merely Caliban”

“Yoshino wept for you!” “You made him cry, didn’t you?!”

Hakaze refuses to let Aika die, for the sake of the boys

“I will not think about the consequences. Right now, I will stop Aika, at all costs!”

Really nicely animated sequence for this battle

We actually get to hear Aika’s thoughts, and yep, Aika is Aika

Aika reflecting on how her power isolated her

Both of them agree they don’t really care about this situation on the scale of civilization or humanity

Episode 22

Aika’s first meeting with Mahiro and Yoshino

“Might they hold an unjustified resentment to you?” “If only that were the case”

“If Aika did that, believing it was right, I have no right to question her beliefs”

Hakaze still wants somebody to blame her. She’s looking for her own kind of closure

Hamemura gets angry for them, angry at them

The heart of the tree is currently protected by hundreds of ships

Their first meeting is good stuff

Mahiro and Yoshino continue to follow their “logic”

And everyone continues to double and triple-describe everything

Episode 23

“Dying is pointless”

Mahiro and Yoshino demand to join the attack team

“In the end, she’s just a girl.” This show sure has its gender issues

Hakaze is troubled, and Yoshino goes to see her

Another dramatic love ode scene

“You have the power to make naivete affordable”

Mahiro and Yoshino both already demonstrate their importance through pep talks to the actual mages

Hakaze takes on the mage of Exodus costume to bait the fleet

Good plan – have Hakaze attack and Hanemura defend as the “Dancing Princess,” to allow him a chance to actually attack the pillar

the final battle is itself a play. another good trick

Meanwhile, the B team boards the survey ships and gets them to retreat from the pillar, to further minimize casualties

Yoshino gets shot DUN DUN DUN

Episode 24

And it’s just a flesh wound. Of course

Hanemura weathers an attack by giant flying pineapples

This tree fights dirty

“Something’s missing!” “What would Aika say at a time like this?”

The Tree of Exodus transformed into a golden spear

“This is the end, and this is the beginning!”

One more reflection on the butterflies

“The dream is over”

“Let’s face the truth, without relying on any dreamlike power”

The tree created a dream world, and now the dream is over

Time for goodbyes

“If they make a beautiful exit, I feel they fulfill their role. So lead happy lives.”

“I won’t live my life by another person’s script. I’ll write and act my own ending”

The banter between these two remains great to the end

Mahiro’s got a date with the girl he saved from the black iron syndrome, lol

6 thoughts on “Blast of Tempest – Review

  1. Solid review as always, B0bduh. As someone who loves Shakespeare’s work, I wanted to likewise love Blast of Tempest, especially after reading Bless’s recommendation. But so much of it falls flat. Particularly egregious was the ending of the first season, which like you mention in your review, drags on for far too long. It’s a shame too because the series starts off so strong and has some really interesting characters.

    • Yeah, Blast of Tempest is a disappointing one. It’s got all these great ideas and individual elements, but it’s just not put together well at all.

  2. I’m butting in here waving my arms frantically, saying: “you Missed the Point!”.

    (before anything else, I must say that I’m your longtime subscriber and I only expend the effort to butt in whenever some cosmic wrong needs to be – o cursed spite! – set right by me).

    Basically, I view Tempest somewhat similarly to Katanagatari, for example, since they are both best enjoyed not on the object level, but slightly abstracted. Obviously, Katanagatari isn’t just a wordy adventurous tale of the leads collecting swords, it’s first and foremost Nisio venting his bitter frustration at traditional Japanese culture, in his own circuitous way.

    Likewise, I posit that Tempest can and should be enjoyed on a more abstract level. It causes Tempest to make a lot of sense and greatly enjoyable. It is a matter of question whether such meta-narrative was actually intended to end up in the show, or it was merely pure chance that triggered my favorable interpretation. You can mentally include here the usual philosophical controversies regarding deaths of authors.

    So, to elaborate the Point. The core conflict in Tempest is reason versus cliche, or reflection versus falling into patterns and acting in accordance with expectations. The story is blatantly set up from the beginning to be an archetypical vengeance story with a classic good vs. evil backdrop. The characters are railroaded into specific roles as well. The antagonists are the trees (pushing for narrative compliance) and Aika, who sacrificed herself in a dramatic and convoluted way, basically purely in order to make the story happen. The overall story arc is about everyone reflecting on the situation, resolving conflicts, and eventually teaming up together to utterly derail the story that would otherwise leave them dead or miserable. It’s also neatly reiterated in the level of individual characters, who (especially Yoshino) gradually drop their acts intended to fool others and themselves. At the end basically the cast comes together as a merry band who engage in hilarious superhero antics to please Chtulhu trees and spectators.

    Now, this makes for a really unorthodox narrative, but I really liked it, and I was almost completely satisfied by the end. From this perspective, the structural flaws you perceived either evaporate, or instead transform into quirks and moderate flaws that can be effortlessly overlooked, much like you do each year for a fair number of shows. I also absolutely loved the stable time loops, which I found to be one of the most fun ever (and a hilarious Hamlet subversion/shout-out with the skeleton), although my disposition here is heavily influenced by my weighty experience in sci-fi literature and fiction, which others may not share.

    I do think that Tempest is somewhat bland in production and direction. Masahiro Ando is an extremely reliable craftsman, and he’s never one at fault for ruining a production. But the whole idea and story of Tempest is idiosyncratic enough to warrant something wilder and more unhinged, and more obviously abstract, something more akin to Ikuhara or Anno. I think it’s probably the pedestrian presentation that makes people think that Tempest is more down-to-earth than it actually is.

    • While I’m happy you’ve found something in the show that speaks to you, I personally don’t think the textual evidence is there for the show to be “all about” what you’re discussing here. Even among people I know who really love the show, they don’t seem to see it in the way you do – from what I’ve seen, they’re attached more to the show’s portrayal of the grieving process, which reflects the logic/unlogic thing in its own way. And honestly, even if this were the point, Blast of Tempest’s structural flaws seem /huge/ to me. I don’t mean to disparage your experience of the show, but I personally don’t find this argument convincing, and don’t find the show successful as a dramatic whole regardless.

  3. “Why is this guy just monologuing to himself?”

    Is this in reference to the scene where Junichirou just stops walking and starts thinking out loud? Because that scene pretty well reflects my problems with this show.

    I feel bad because I think it’s thematically solid, there’s a lot of potential pathos in the characters, and I even agree with some of the points made by the above commenter about the series as a meta-narrative.

    But stuff like Junichirou’s speech, long-winded explanatory dialogue that struck me as extraneous, and, like you mentioned in your ANN review, the feeling that a lot of characters were superfluous kept me at a distance. At first I thought/hoped it was just idiosyncratic, but by the later episodes, watching it felt like having to dig through a lot of excess to get to the good stuff.

    Incidentally, I felt that way about many Mari Okada shows I watched, though I try not to criticize her because I’m never sure to what degree she’s responsible for my problems, and I rarely like the shows enough to actually finish them.

  4. I had fun with Blast of Tempest when it aired, but I don’t know that I’d ever rewatch the whole series just to see the parts I liked. The storyline really is a hot mess, almost but not quite redeemed by a handful of quirky characters and straight-outta-left-field twists.

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