Put Shakespeare and BONES together and you’re probably not going to get something low-key – and Zetsuen no Tempest doesn’t disappoint.
It’s been an awfully long time since I read “The Tempest” and I’ve never read the manga this series is based on, but it seems as if we’re in for a fairly liberal take on The Bard’s original story. This one feels like a BONES series through and through – unapologetically dramatic and filled with florid dialogue and lingering close-ups of slightly androgynous bishounen faces and acres of female thigh. And as you’d expect from BONES, it’s yet another fall series with really fluid animation and no lack of visual flair.
The two fronts of the story are the deserted island where Kusaribe Hakaze (Sawashiro Miyuki, who’s become overexposed to the point where I’m starting to get a little tired of her) a young mage and apparently a princess, has been marooned and left to diem and the small-town high school where Takigawa Yoshino (Uchiyama Kouki) and his best friend Fuwa Mahiro (Toyanaga Toshiyuki) do daily battle with bullies. Mahiro seems to be high up on the troublemakers list with the local police, and his younger sister Aika (Hazazawa Kana, also ridiculously overused at the moment) roundly derides Yoshino to Mahiro, but also dates him. Tragedy strikes, Fuwa disappears, and a tall dark stranger named Yammamoto Evangeline (Mizuki Nana) makes an appearance, after which Yoshino’s life is never the same.
In some respects I have a feeling that ZnT may end up being a series I appreciate more than like, though I’m going to try not to prejudge. This isn’t a style that tends to connect with me, though based on the premiere it’s a style that’s executed very well. The added element of the Shakespeare connection adds a wrinkle that could make the difference, if the mangaka and the writers at BONES can pull it off. The “Black Iron Syndrome” that’s devastated Yoshino’s hometown is a fairly standard anime MacGuffin for now, but again, too early to tell. In the end premières are all about the impression they make on you, not detailed analysis of whether the plot is going to work. Any style is better than no style, even if it’s not normally my cup of tea, so this premiere comfortably places Zetsuen in the safe zone for now.