Blast of Tempest, also known as “The Civilization Blaster”, is an alternate-earth anime in which magic exists, provided by one of two trees: the Tree of Exodus and the Tree of Genesis. These trees have slept for centuries after the Tree of Genesis overpowered the Tree of Exodus many generations ago.
The Tree of Genesis left the Kusaribe clan to protect it and the world while it slept to recover from its conflict. The leader of the clan is chosen by the sleeping tree of Genesis, and is given power far greater than any of the other members of the clan.
The Magic of Genesis
The most unique part of this show is how much of it is logical and cerebral. The ‘why’ of things is a subject frequently touched upon by the show – but it’s never quite clear, there’s always contention. One frequent example is that the concept of ‘luck’ is explained as one of the two trees favouring a person and arranging for matters to fall out to that person’s benefit(there is even some concern at one point that the world might ensure that a character’s significant other died because one of the mages had developed feelings for that character). The constant discussions and debates are something that truly fascinate me and, despite in a few cases them getting a bit out of control and overdramatic, kept me coming back to the show.
The magic most mages in this show possess is supposed to be purely defensive, and requires an offering to be performed. The offering has to be some ‘sign of civilization’, such as technology, and how advanced it is determines the strength granted. A curious twist is that the mage doesn’t need to actually have possession or ownership of the offering, just needs to touch it allowing for it to be used as a countermeasure against armed opponents(sacrifice their gun and they’re not so dangerous).
There is, of course, a magician imbued with powers from the other tree who is not bound by these restrictions, and this mage plays a unique and surprising role in the story.
Shakespeare, The Anime
Many events and characters in this show are loosely based on Hamlet and The Tempest(and some nods to other Shakespeare works). The two main characters – Mahiro and Yoshino – are based loosely off of characters like Horatio, Hamlet, and Laertes. Interestingly enough, one of the characters is somewhat obsessed with Shakespeare and constantly quotes these two works adding a layer of almost recursion to it.
It sounds stupid to say ‘the stars of this show were its main characters’, but it is particularly descriptive of Blast of Tempest. The interplay between the two main characters – friendly banter between two people so close they’re almost brothers yet so different it’s hard to believe they can stand each other – is this anime’s greatest asset. Add to that a cast of unique and believable characters that interact with these two, and you get a character drama amid what, at first, appears to be an action story that is a pleasure to behold.
The show does have some aspects that will turn away many potential viewers, though. While I, personally, found the logic fascinating since it went down paths that were well-worn in my twisted mind, I can see many being turned off by the crazy circles and convolutions found within. When the fate of the world hinges on one character’s ability to find a logical justification against time travel… things get a little weird.
Blast of Tempest’s pacing is a little awkward, with certain segments feeling really draw out. I suspect this is most likely a side effect of the more cerebral approach. While this has certain advantages, it does make it much more difficult to maintain a good balance of action. The combat and magic sequences are exciting and interesting, and leave you feeling almost anxious during the slower sequences… especially when those slower sequences try to overdramatize.
If you’re in the mood for something a little bit more thoughtful than the average action anime, Blast of Tempest might make a good case for your time. With well done characters, interesting – if infrequent – action, and some crazy logic… it is certainly one of the better shows of the 2012-13 Winter Season.