Weekly Digest: 11/12/12 – Btooom!, Zetsuen no Tempest

[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_08.25_[2012.11.12_10.46.17] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_15.42_[2012.11.12_10.53.44] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.48_[2012.11.12_23.22.53] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.22_[2012.11.12_23.33.49]

Any week that marks the return of Evangeline Yammamoto is off to a good start.

Btooom! – 06

[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_00.17_[2012.11.12_10.39.02] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_00.39_[2012.11.12_10.39.24] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_01.48_[2012.11.12_10.40.34]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_05.17_[2012.11.12_10.43.09] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_07.29_[2012.11.12_10.45.21] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_12.40_[2012.11.12_10.50.31]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_14.14_[2012.11.12_10.52.06] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_15.21_[2012.11.12_10.53.13] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_17.09_[2012.11.12_10.55.10]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_18.06_[2012.11.12_10.56.08] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_18.15_[2012.11.12_10.56.17] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_19.10_[2012.11.12_10.57.12]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_20.10_[2012.11.12_10.58.11] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_06_[720p].mkv_snapshot_24.03_[2012.11.12_11.00.42] Little Busters - 06 - Large 21

Btooom is a classic dilemma – I really want to dislike it, but I’m fairly engrossed every time I watch it (when I’m not just grossed, anyway).  It’s a well-made action thriller, excellent pacing and a good premise.  I just wish they’d either left Himiko out of the cast or written her character arc differently.  Perhaps there’s an attempt here to be sensitive about abused women, but for me it just comes off as nasty and exploitative, and every time the camera focuses on her it feels like a dirty old man is behind it.  The obsessive focus on her short skirt and what’s under it is creepy, and the whole thing manages to be demeaning to both men and women, because she’s also played as every stereotype about the hysterical man-hating woman.  Here’s the basic formula – ToLoveRu is how you do fanservice.  Btooom is how you don’t do fanservice.

Setting that aside, this was another involving episode.  I knew as soon as Taira was bitten by the Komodo Dragon what was going to happen, because those beasties are legendary for their poisonous bites.  In fact, in reality I suspect Taira’s predicament would have been a lot worse even than how it was made out to be – I think we’d be looking at a battlefield amputation (and I don’t know if Sakamoto would have the stomach for that) or death; a few shots of vodka poured over the wounds wouldn’t cut it.

New revelations: Taira’s BIMs, which are homing types – very useful strategically, though not too powerful.  Clues that this isn’t the first time the island has been used for this type of experiment.  And the fact that you can’t use someone else’s bombs unless you kill them, which rather makes sense in the context of the game.  We also get a peek at the sickos who set the whole thing up, and there’s a hint of something extra weird going on there – mind control, maybe?  If Karma is to be the central theme of the series, one would think that the good folks at Tyrannos Japan have a healthy dose headed their way before this is all said and done.

Zetsuen no Tempest – 06

[HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_01.36_[2012.11.12_23.15.09] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.06_[2012.11.12_23.16.39] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.10_[2012.11.12_23.17.43]
[HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.05_[2012.11.12_23.19.19] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.58_[2012.11.12_23.20.22] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.31_[2012.11.12_23.23.35]
[HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.38_[2012.11.12_23.24.42] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.28_[2012.11.12_23.27.43] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.48_[2012.11.12_23.31.10]
[HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.04_[2012.11.12_23.31.27] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.41_[2012.11.12_23.35.26] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.56_[2012.11.12_23.35.41]
[HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.33_[2012.11.12_23.37.17] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.05_[2012.11.12_23.38.49] [HorribleSubs] Zetsuen no Tempest - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.22_[2012.11.12_23.39.07]

It’s sort of fun to blog this show side-by-side with Btooom!, because they could hardly be more different – the trashy and probably demeaning pulp flick and the operatic and classy mood piece.  But if I’m to be honest, Zetsuen probably deserves to have its own dedicated post because as I stay with it, I’m really starting to realize just how good this show is.  Having a director like Ando Masahiro in the big chair has a lot to do with that.

It’s hard to describe just what ZnT is, but it’s definitely quite unlike anything else that’s aired for a while.  It reminds me a lot of the glory days of the early 2000s, when BONES was doing indecipherable but fascinating epics and Gonzo was adapting all kinds of interesting source material in even more interesting ways.  In a sense this is a sort of hybrid of Rahxephon-era BONES and shows like Gankutsuou – not as good as either of those shows, but closer to that than anything airing now.  Of course it fits many other molds better than anime at all – there’s the obvious Shakespeare connection and the dramatic style is, for lack of a more elegant phrasing, almost like a spoken-word opera.  But more than anything I’m put in mind of a Greek tragedy with the intricate family complications and sense of impending betrayal – and of course Shakespeare based many of his plays on Greek tragedies.

While the mood of the piece has held my interest all along, it’s only now that I’m really starting to develop a real interest in the plot and feel something for the central cast.  I very like Junichiro’s addition to the mix – he’s a cool customer, a nice random element that’s obviously very powerful and dangerous and whose motives are cloudy (plus, he has a “Beautifulls – Hellow, Goodbye” poster on his wall).  I still don’t know what to make of his assertion that Hakaze was dead, and that he could tell from her bones – either he’s playing at something or Samon is, or both.  But I don’t get the feeling that Junichiro’s feelings for Hakaze – and vice-versa – are a ruse.  Perhaps even more interesting is his reveal that it’s actually Hakaze and the Tree of Genesis that are more likely to bring the destruction of mankind than the Tree of Exodus, and Samon’s assertion that whatever casualties there have been so far are trivial against the alternative.

Perhaps of even more import is that I’m finally starting to get drawn into the vibe between Yashiro and Mahiro.  The sense of tragedy and betrayal between them was strong even before Yoshino’s double-cross was revealed this week, but it’s starting to become clear that there’s something of real significance that will be lost when their relationship is torn apart.  It’s not a shock that Aika and Mahiro aren’t blood-related given the flashback episode (and we look to have another next week) but it makes Mahiro’s feelings even more logical, and the consequences of Yoshino’s first betrayal (which really wasn’t a betrayal at all) even more catastrophic.

As we usually do with BONES we have what amounts to an impossibly complex plot (and they didn’t even write this one) that’s managing to engage despite that fact.  This has been something of a comeback year for BONES with the excellent UN-GO and the criminally underrated Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean, but this one seals the impression that the studio is well and truly back – with Gainax on life support and Production I.G. the same chameleon they’ve always been, BONES pretty much stands alone among the old stalwarts as a studio with a signature style, and Zetsuen no Tempest exemplifies that style perfectly.



  1. A

    Enzo – your last screen cap for Btoom! is from Little Busters….

    Just thought you would like to know.

  2. A

    I think Riki might get sent to the island if he makes another Little Busters! girl cry or relive their trauma (inevitable, in other words).

  3. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what you're talking about.

  4. d

    Enough with the sarcasm Enzo. You just dont confuse people like that. Lol

  5. S

    Tempest is such a BONES series. They could make this show on auto-pilot, but they've put a huge amount of effort into it. It looks really good and we're in for 2 cours, so there's a whole lot of planning behind it. So, I'm really looking forward to where this is going. (It's also been getting progressively more important to watch quickly for me)

    Still, Tempest is going to have layers upon layers. Aika, who's driving a huge chunk of the plot from beyond the grave, is going to have 31 flavors of complexity to her, as well, and we haven't even touched on that yet. Samon and company really haven't come across as "evil" for most of the series, just supremely calculating. The purpose and the end results are likely to be shrouded in mystery for a rather long time, I imagine. (I put money on a "both sides are wrong" end result)

    I'm also not sure what the exact shout-out is, but the MP5 in the case as a "special" sacrifice was really quite good. There's also a good reason why it would be stored away, locked up and hidden. That'd be a really bad thing to be found in possession of in Japan.

  6. B

    Correction: komodo dragons aren't poisonous, they just have so many bacteria in their mouth that a bite becomes severely infected very quickly.

    Btoooom in a lot of ways is a grisly train wreck that I can't turn away from. I said after, I believe, episode 1 that the feel of the show reminded me of Gantz and that remains true, both strike me as shows that my psyche would be better off without but I just can't turn away. From the preview it looks like next week Sakamoto is going to figure out who Himeko is, so that should be interesting.

    Zetsuen no Tempest I've liked since episode 1 and since about episode 2 I was fully on board. The atmosphere of the show is great and I find the main characters engaging. Furthermore: Evangeline. Don't really think anything else needs to be said, if they don't screw it up this could very well end up top 3 for me this season.

  7. B

    Also is it just me or we getting more 2+ cour shows these days? Am I misinterpreting the numbers because of wishful thinking or are longer shows making a resurgence and selling better in Japan or what?

  8. K

    Actually the lizards do have venom.


    It's just that it's still disputed over whether it is the primary factor in killing their prey as their saliva itself has been found to contain around 58 different different (and primarily deadly) bacterial strains in it due to the communal eating habits of the lizards (they like to share).

    In short they have both venom and bacterial saliva the full effects of which are quite deadly. And that is just in combination to their strong tail, jaws, and ability to sprint at around 20-30 mph.

  9. B

    Hmm well upon fact checking I have to conclude I was wrong. I used to be a big time reptile nut but that was like 10 years ago and these venom findings are more recent than that, so I was operating on outdated information. My bad, looks like they are venomous after all, which is rather terrifying considering how large and impressive they are even without that.

  10. K

    Don't worry about it. I just keep tabs on scientific breakthroughs and new discoveries so this made the list of things that I noticed along the way. It did help that I did a paper back in my third grade (1995) on Komodo Dragons and have since remained interested in the animals as well. Learning something new every day is awesome after all.

  11. G

    Life's been so busy these days I only had time to catch up with Zetsuen and Tonari. Anyways, I agree that Bones is back in its home ground. I was kind of worried when they came out with Gosick last year, seeing Bones producing anything moe is devastating to me. On the other hand, Star Driver was just an excuse for Bones to fool around with preposterous mecha designs. I think people were too busy searching for signs of the original E7 to really appreciate what Ao has to offer.
    I'm glad to see the studio embarking on some serious projects that bring out the best of them. I'm loving the vibe in this show. It's dramatic but also enthralling, and it's really starting to connect with me on an emotional level. The dual lead setup was already interesting in the first place, but there is so much more than meets the eye that you can't help but wonder where their friendship may eventually end up. I'm actually surprised by how much depth this series is displaying. Well, it's Bones after all, mind screwing is a trademark.

  12. B

    i stopped watching btooom. i mean, i remember kinda liking it but i guess just not enough. dude, TEMPEST was so freaking amazing. at first i was kind of trudging through it, but for some reason i couldn't really give it up. i'm glad. the last episode was such a gem. now shit is really going to go down. (i've been reading the manga. and it is freaking awesome!)

    oh, and tonari was lovely . honestly, that anime is just so amusing. i pretty much adore it. 🙂

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