Zetsuen no Tempest 16 — Abusing Shakespeare

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Why does this show feel the need to heavy-handedly mention Shakespeare at every opportunity? Can’t their show stand on its own merits? I don’t get it.

Take the quote above. What the hell is that supposed to have to do with anything? Usually when you quote something you take a good quote that says something about the topic under discussion. “Seems, madam! Nay it is; I know not ‘seems.’” This is an awful quote. In context it means something, but out of context it’s completely useless. It doesn’t even sound particularly good. Zetsuen no Tempest appears to flip to a random page of Shakespeare and choose a line. “Oh, look, it’s Shakespeare, this is some brilliant writing!” No it’s not. Not when you just take a random not-particularly impressive line out of context.

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Then we have Mahiro’s interpretation of Hamlet. There are many different, equally valid ways to interpret a piece of literature. So how does Mahiro interpret Hamlet? That Hamlet’s mistake was believing in ghosts. Come on dude. Seriously? The ghost is just a plot device. He doesn’t matter at all. His dad could have written a letter before he died and it would barely have changed anything.

What’s even more amusing is the rest of the cast’s evaluation of Mahiro: “He denies the existence of ghosts, but loves Hamlet.” How are these two statements supposed to be logically connected? I don’t believe in ghosts. I like in Hamlet. Is this supposed to make me a hypocrite or something? Am I not allowed to like A Christmas Story either? Does the fact that I don’t believe in wizards mean I’m not allowed to like Harry Potter?

Shipping

With all that said, I did like the non-Shakespeare parts of the episode, which was most of it.

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Hakaze coming back is the best thing that happened to this show. It’s amazing how much it better it got when they turned from four episodes of arguing on a fallen log to comedy.

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Hakaze’s internal monologues are hilarious. All the crazy plotting of the previous episodes, applied to flirting.

Further Thoughts

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BUUUUURRRRRNNNNNN. Best line this episode.

8 thoughts on “Zetsuen no Tempest 16 — Abusing Shakespeare

  1. Methinks the Draggle doth protest too much! ;P

    The characters like Shakespeare, so they’re going to quote from him. I don’t get why a lot of people get so upset about it. My friends quote random movies and TV shows all the time, and though I rarely get the references it doesn’t bother me. The quote in this scene is actually pretty pertinent though, since it’s about someone observing something about another. In Hamlet, it’s his mother observing how gloomy Hamlet seems–to which Hamlet retorts that of course he’s gloomy; his father is *DEAD*! In Tempest, it’s Hakaze saying it seems Yoshino will only believe in what he can see; Yoshino retorts that this is indeed the case (but *is* it?). And in the flashback, Yoshino questions why he seems so “terrible”, but Aika is saying that’s just how he is! Because Aika is Aika, and she likes to act like she knows everything (which she might). Of course, all these scenes could operate just fine and dandy without anyone saying anything about Shakespeare… but that’s kind of Zetsuen no Tempest’s thing, you know?

    And I don’t think Natsumura was saying Mahiro wasn’t allowed to like Hamlet. He was simply reporting two things he observed about Mahiro. (Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. I don’t think we were supposed to read so much into it.)

    I do think though that Mahiro has a point when he says Hamlet’s belief in ghosts caused Hamlet’s downfall. If you accept Mahiro’s belief that there is no such thing as ghosts and that grieving people just dream up their existence, then that means Hamlet had an irrational mind from the very onset of the play. Hamlet’s actions were a result of a delusion–had the call for revenge come from a simple letter, Hamlet may have acted very differently from how he did in a play. (Obviously, this can be up for debate, like all things in literature.)

    1. Part of the reason it bothers me is it just seems so pretentious. I had this one friend who was really full of himself. He spent a month carrying around a massive book (Ulysses I think?) and would quote from it at every opportunity, even if it was totally unnecessary. Quoting from Shakespeare is the same. And even if that quote did make sense (it takes a while to wrap your head around it, regardless) it’s not one of the most quotable passages in Shakespeare. It rubs me as an extension of the horrible idea of biblical “proof texts”— citing some random ass verse completely out of context to prove whatever the heck you want— except with an inferior source text.

      What Natsumura said came across to me as him observing some sort of contradiction. Hence the “but” instead of an “and”. But who knows, saying that doesn’t make much sense so you could be right.

      Sure, you could not believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in ghosts. But that doesn’t mean I’m unable to accept ghosts in the context of Hamlet. Sure, perhaps it’s a reasonable explanation that Hamlet imagined the ghost, but it completely misses the forest in favor of staring at a clump of dirt.

  2. Tempest uses Shakespeare quotes in the same way Evangelion uses Judaeo-Christian imagery; as padding to make the overall work seem more complex & deep than it is. I don’t necessarily have an issue with that, but tacking dense subject matter onto a fairly generic title, is frequently used an excuse to ignore the faults & failings of the show; eg, see any number of light-novel/adaptations, eg Sasami-san@Ganbarana’s use of the Shinto gods, this season.

    My issue with Tempest is that I’m just not sure what’s it’s trying to do. I mean, I get the core concept of a modern retelling/homage to Shakespearean plays like Hamlet, or The Tempest, but that tale is constantly buried in random & clunky writing. So far the show has gone from a murder-mystery drama, to an average shounen series, to a poorly executed Death Note, to whatever this current rom-com/sentai hero story is about. The whole thing lacks any kind of focus, pacing or coherent directing. Plus why are we still hearing about the mindsets, methods & motivations of every cast member, as described by somebody else, instead of seeing the actual character display them with actions?

    I don’t know, a light-novel adapted by Mari Okada; perhaps I’m at fault for expecting better writing, but I still believe the basic story is an interesting one, just that wading through the crap to get there is becoming frustrating. Ah well, I still need to see whether my theory over who killed Aika is correct.

    1. Couldn’t agree more about the use of Shakespeare.

      I don’t get what it’s trying to do either. I liked the murder-mystery drama, and I liked the rom-com/sentai story, but yeah, not much of a coherent direction between them.

      Also who do you think killed Aika? My theory is that she staged her own death (or maybe actually died) but will still come back somehow or other.

  3. you seem perplexed young one, zetsuen no tempest is a writers take on the tempest. they used the basis of the tempest and made it more modern day – kinda like 10 things i hate about you is a modern day take on the taming of the shrew. therefore you would expect the tempest quotes to be all over it, but hamlet is also mentioned quite alot, this is due to mahiro’s way of thinking, mahiro is out for revenge which is the core plot of hamlet, therefore they link together quite well. also the tempest and hamlet were aika’s favorite books and since both mahiro and yoshino both love her they are bound to know pretty much every word written in them so under this assumption they would quote them themselves when the need arises.

    also you are reading too much into it, ‘he denies the existence of ghosts but loves hamlet’, all he is saying there is exactly what you see, he isnt questioning it he is just stating it

    also yes, it doesnt link what is happening together very well, it started with the hunt for a killer, then they brought hakaze back and it shifted slightly but the plot behind it was still murder mystery they were just filling in some gaps, then it shifted again with the blossoming love of hakaze and yoshino, but if you place hakaze and yoshino into the tempest it fits quite well. yes it is alittle scattered but its there

    1. Yeah, it probably would help if I’d ever read the Tempest. I’ve read Hamlet at least although it was like ten years ago so my memory’s a bit foggy.

      It is a scattered show but it seems to be coming together in the end. I’ve liked the latter half much more than the beginning.

  4. You really didn’t understand; “Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.” did you. When Yoshino says “I’m just wondering if that’s how i seem to people,” after Aika said “You seem troubled.” It means that he is actually troubled and it doesn’t just seem like it. (i’m pretty sure, don’t hold me to it)

    1. Except Yoshino’s not a madam…? And Yoshino’s reply doesn’t make any sense in reply to that question from Aika? Been a while since I watched this so I don’t remember the conversation aside from what you’ve said though.

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