Zetsuen no Tempest established itself as complex within the debuting episode – and while it will be not till further that we have a greater understanding of what we face, potential already points to a few hints.
We’re told repeatedly that “Time is out of joint” – yet frankly, this is as meaningful as scribbles to us at this point. There’s not a single clue what it could mean – however, as it recurs multiple times throughout the first episode, we can at least determine that it surely holds some sort of substantial value.
For now however, set that aside – on a separate note of time, the delivery of the first episode seemed to transcend through several periods. None of these segments on the time frame are explicitly labelled – we know not the year, date, or similar; yet we can recognize them relatively based on a few present factors, such as ensemble of our characters.
Mahiro’s supposedly slaughtered imouto, Aika-chan, appears among the living only within two instances – one of which is a flashback featuring her in middle school seifuku, whilst the other is a photograph sent to our protagonist of her in highschool fashion. Yet we do see her a few other times, such as clad in white within a brightly lit room not much different than purgatory – with intricate streaks of blood patterned around her.
The crucial aspect in all this is to somehow figure out how all the scenes collectively correlate. Not just in a typical fashion of piecing together the puzzle, yet also as “Time is out of joint”. Watching the first episode, one will see that our protagonist is concerned with something unstated – he seemingly aware that the current progression of the world is unusual. And that being the case, the conundrum comes down to how the events of past relate to the present.
Jump to the second episode preview, seen at the end of the first, this clip also shows what looks to be another flashback of Aika-chan whilst she was still amongst the living – implying that the second episode is bound to have a few of its own, unsurprisingly. More importantly however, make note of the dialogue – “tomorrow’s promise will never come”. It may not have been that our protagonist received a text message within episode one – rather, he was torturing himself with memories of one that he received a day before the death of his, hopefully beloved, girlfriend.
If one watches the end sequence closely, a bit before it closes off, one can see Yoshino looking at the photograph of the text message once more. Perhaps while he may not appear it on the outside, our protagonist may be even more riled in sentiment over the death of Aika-chan than his friend. The second episode PV does actually end off with Yoshino looking infuriated – thus, not only is that idea plausible, yet it may not be long before we even start to see it manifest, the anger of our protagonist.
Now returning to the matter of time, as aforementioned, it’s through multiple notches on the timeline that the series outputs the tale of its premiering chapter. In spite of this however, they’re not straightforward – each stretch of the time frame did not break down reality for us from square one, it simply showed us an exerpt of our characters’ lives, leaving some details unclear.
These excerpts, when joined, would then subsequently gain value – for instance, we never knew that Aika-chan was Mahiro’s imouto till a later scene in episode one despite seeing her from the opening minute, and likewise, we hadn’t known her name was Aika-chan before it was later revealed. This series is showing us the pieces, but the puzzle only follows afterward.
There’s not enough evidence to go Sherlock Holmes in any single direction just yet – although considering all of the above, the single unmentioned component is likely a relevant one, and that would be magic. The way Aika-chan was portrayed as a corpse within the few second intervals in episode one makes her death out to be premeditated – and what other ongoing affliction is there in the world that possibly may have caused this? The single answer is magic.
Somehow or another, Aika-chan’s may possibly be related to the aspect of mages within Zetsuen no Tempest. With the strange stuff he’s seen muttering, our protagonist may be so as well – and indeed, Aika-chan is seen saying some strange things herself at the beginning of the episode. When Mahiro gathered arcane power, it could merely be that he’s late to a very strange party.
Yoshino is baffled when Mahiro tells him that he knew of his girlfriend – and it’s not just a hint of surprise, it’s as if Yoshino already foresaw or experienced a certain reality, yet is now being met with something not accounted for instead. Most of this remains little more than speculation – yet one can be sure that the imouto was not killed randomly, and that Yoshino definitely knows more than he says.