Zetsuen no Tempest 02 – 03 — Trees

I was getting all psyched to write about the symbolism with the Tree of Genesis and the Tree of Exodus for these episodes. But then I actually listened to what the characters were saying.

In Japanese, the Tree of Genesis is referred to as 始まりの木 (hajimari no ki), which literally means tree of beginning. The translation tree of Genesis makes sense here. But in Japanese, the Tree of Exodus is called 絶園の木 (zetsuen no ki). That’s the same Zetsuen as the Zetsuen in the title. What does “zetsuen” mean?

I turned to my friend the dictionary, it didn’t know. Maybe one of you does. But we can consider the meaning of each character. The first, 絶, means “discontinue; beyond; sever; cut off; abstain; interrupt; suppress”. The second means garden. I’m not sure how we get to Exodus from this.

The magic from the tree of beginning keeps things in their intended order, it stands to reason that the magic of the tree of zetsuen breaks the established order. As they like to say, “time is out of joint.”

Further Thoughts

This girl’s only purpose is narration and boobs, she’s pretty annoying.

It’s too bad the best character is dead.

This guy totally looks like a girl. My theory: this way they can have one character be both a lesbian and gay. He was a lesbian with the sister, and now he’s gay with the brother. It’s just like in biblical law. The brother inherits the sibling’s hand-me-down spouses.

8 thoughts on “Zetsuen no Tempest 02 – 03 — Trees

  1. The only thing that’s keeping me interested in this show is the hope for some wonderful tragedy. That was the same thing that kept me interested in Code Geass, and, like Code Geass, I’m expecting an irrational plot twist sometime soon.

    1. I hope you’re right, the more irrational plot twists the better! I just hope we can get the tragedy without angst and with as little Shakespeare as possible.

  2. Meh, it’s some good action and it’s by Bones so it has great animation. I’ll probably finish watching it unless it gets unbearable.

  3. From how the series’ title is translated I would have guessed zetsuen = civilization. This could make sense as civilization (cars, helis, nuclear bombs etc.) creates disorder and messes up the paradise-like state of nature (reference to Genesis!) Hakaze currently enjoys. But then again it’s the Genesis tree, not the Zetsuen tree which asks for pieces of civilization.

    Also I wonder how all of this could relate to Exodus. The biblical Exodus, as I recall, is the Israelites leaving Egypt where the were oppressed. So it seems to me that this exodus was basically a good thing from the bible’s point of view. In our series, though, the Zetsuen/ Exodus tree is linked to the bad guys from what I understand. How does all this fit together?

    And maybe Zetsuen should be translated as “expulsion” (referring to expulsion from paradise) rather than “exodus” or “civilisation”?

    1. So the title is Zetsuen no Tempest, and the subtitle is “The Civilization Blaster” (in English). That’s where they get the civilization part from, I think.

      Expulsion might make sense as a translation, I don’t really know Japanese well enough to say. If that’s what the translators were going for with Exodus, that would make sense. The words “Genesis” and “Exodus” are loaded words with connotations that, as best I can tell, aren’t present in the original, but “Tree of Beginnings” and “Tree of Expulsion” would make perfect sense.

      If we take the expulsion as being from the garden, well, the tree of Genesis could be the tree of life, and the tree of Exodus could be the tree of knowledge (which leads to the expulsion). I’m not really sure how to interpret the magical system in this framework though. The tree of life requires the sacrifice of the products of civilization, which are the fruit of the tree of knowledge? So does the tree of knowledge require the sacrifice of life to work? I guess logically it makes sense, but it doesn’t make sense to me in the context of the original story. Perhaps they will add additional details to the myth of the trees to explain this.

      1. The moment that they began to quote Hamlet, I came to wonder whether “Tempest” in “Zetsuen no Tempest” could refer to the eponymous Shakespearean play; which in itself entails as a premise isolation (zetsuen) on an island. Similarly, there is a distinct contrast in civilisation and the lack thereof featured therein.

        1. That’s a good point, you’re probably right. I’ve actually never read / seen that play, so I can’t offer much insight unfortunately…

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