- Genre: Supernatural, action, drama, mystery, romance
- Episodes: 24
- Studio: Bones
Have you even seen The Happening? The evil tree movie by M. Night Shyamalan. I haven’t but I love watching reviews and parodies that rip it apart. So Imagine if that movie had been written by William Shakespeare, except in modern times and Shakespeare is 14. Also he just got dumped! That’s how you get Blast of Tempset!
Ok, ok… I’ll give you a real synopsis although if you do watch this series, you’ll see that my synopsis was brilliant! Take two:
Rougly a year ago, someone murdered beautiful young Aika Fuwa, leaving behind a loving older brother who’s turned his pain into a thirst for revenge at all cost, and a grieving boyfriend who’s numbed himself to the world. How is it even possible to move on from such an enchanting young creature? Mahiro and Yoshino are going to have to find an answer quick because something is turning people into metal statues. And a magical girl stuck on a deserted island, needs their help.
I picked up Blast of Tempest because AniList told me to… Ok what actually happened was that I watched In/Spectre last season and it reignited my interest in these type of supernatural action stories. It wasn’t a perfect series but it still left me wanting to see more. As I was going through the page for that show, AniList had a row of suggested “similar” titles and Blast of Tempest was first in line.
I took one look at those beautiful classic Bones character designs and in my Crunchyroll queue it went.
Like I mentioned, the series is from Bones, a studio with production values I happen to admire and respect. It doesn’t have a signature look but it’s willing to play with styles and techniques and usually puts out titles with great attention to visuals and animation. I often love how Bones’ shows look. Granted, Blast of Tempest dates back to 2012 and the studio was much less adventurous with production at that time. But it still looks great.
The high point of the production (in my opinion) is definitely the detailed and varied character designs. These stay fairly consistent and with a wide array of conventionally pretty anime boys and girls, it’s fairly easy to find someone you enjoy looking at. The animation is good, and there certainly is a lot of it in the series, but occasional shortcuts are visible. Stills or jerky movement due to lowered frame number, that sort of thing. This said, the animation is good. Don’t get it twisted. The show is almost constantly in movement and there are very few hiccups. A lot of new releases don’t live up to this.
On the flip side, the soundtrack was probably the low side, at least for me. There are some elements of this story that I find annoying but for the most part it was an interesting action mystery blend with some great supernatural elements. But the presentation really emphasized those annoying bits and by that I mean the music. The voice acting was a touch overly stern but that didn’t bother me as much. Oh and the main cast is entirely female! That blew my mind! Mahori doesn’t sound like a young boy, he infidelity sounds like a gravelly young man. Yuuko Sanpei is unbelievable!
The score though was, objectively speaking, rather pretty. The entire series had this grand orchestral soundtrack with sweeping pieces. And I mean the entire series. You know when you’re watching a show and you get to the climax of the season. Maybe there’s a huge reveal, maybe it’s the emotional catharsis, and the music swells with grandiose importance filling the scene and punctuating the significance of the moment. You get that 3 to 5 times an episode in Blast of Tempest. It is so overbearing and makes everything come across needlessly dramatic but not so much so that it’s parody.
My entirely unhelpful analysis is that the soundtrack was entirely too “intense” and loud…
And the story really didn’t need to be any more dramatic than it already was. It constantly references Shakespeare… I use to really dislike Shakespeare when I was a kid. I thought his works were just ridiculously overrated and often trite. Yes, I was a very insufferable kid… With time I’ve grown to appreciate the bard. He’s still not my favourite but I do think the prestige was earned and I respect the contribution to modern fiction. And I have to say the Tempest was and is my favourite of his plays. Having it quoted throughout the series is kind of sweet. But anything that spends that much time quoting tragedies (there’s more Hamlet than Tempest..) is bound to have moments of melodrama. And there certainly are more than a few.
I was able to soldier through mostly because I really wanted to now what was happening and because there was something under the stereotypical flat characters. Mahiro and Yoshino who carry the first half of the series seem like shallow stock characters with fanservicey tropes. The fiery rebel with a heart of gold! The mysterious calm one…with a heart of gold… Fine but nothing special. However there was always something just a bit off. And against all expectations, in the end, both were just petty side characters which in itself is pretty amazing.
Then there is Aika. The character is dead before the beginning of the series but we see her in some way in almost each episode. And she is the most important character was far as the plot goes. She is the catalyst for everything. And boy did I not like her. She’s very very pretty but beyond that it’s just the slightly mean and rather dull. Around the end of the series we get to meet her, except… it’s someone different.This girl is fun and charming and a lot nicer. I like this girl, I understand why the boys would too. But why did she change now?
And that’s when it hit me. We never actually got to see Aika, we got to see the memories and dreams of Aika of two boys that love her. And you know, the heart is deceitful above all things. There is no less reliable a narrator than one who is in love! And of course Mahiro and Yoshino felt hollow. They were husks of their former selves. And they also grow a lot in time.
It’s surprisingly subtle and well sustained character development out of a show that’s often clumsy with dialogue and way to on the nose with both symbolism and reveals. And there are a lot of reveals. I saw a few coming, some had me baffled and a few left me with my jaw hanging opening and staying up late to see what happens next.
I feel like I’ve talked a lot and didn’t say much. OK bottom line, Blast of Tempest is like a supernatural soap opera with moments of very smart writing sprinkled in a see of immature narration. And I enjoyed it. The characters were pretty to look at, if you disregard the music you get the impression that the series doesn’t take itself to seriously and the supporting cast is very charming!
It’s only superficially similar to In/Spectre. This said if you like magic and evil trees (oh yeah, there’s a lot of evil trees….somehow I forgot to mention that….) and the screencaps look good to you. I say give Blast of Tempest a watch. I had a good time with it.
Favourite character: Hanemura!
What this anime taught me: I want a sweater with a big letter I on it!
If life gives you lemons, Add VODKA
Suggested drink: Shirley Tempest
- Every time anyone mentions “Yoshino’s girlfriend” – take a sip
- Every time Mahiro and Hazane bicker – take a sip
- Every time we see a flip phone – take a sip
- Every time Aika goes on a date – gasp
- Every time Yoshino lies – shake your head and take a sip
- Every time we see Aika’s selfie – take a sip (selfie on a flip phone is just weird…)
- Every time Yoshino wears his glasses – squint
- Every time a talisman breaks – take a sip
- Every time anyone quotes Shakespeare – get some water, you don’t want to die
- Every time anyone talks of the “world’s logic” – take a sip
- Every time we see scary scary butterflies – close your eyes
- Every time Fraulein Yamamoto introduces herself – raise your glass
- Every time we see the stars – take a sip
- Every time Hazane is naked – clutch your pearls!
It’s a pretty sow, my Pinterest board ended up rather full. Here’s a taste