First Reactions: Blast of Tempest Episode 23

This week’s episode once again showed the show’s consistent ability to cycle on all cylinders. Appropriate to the week’s wait for the details of the heroes’ grand plan, we got treated to a wham-bam reveal and a complimentary visual feast.

I’m normally a big fan of elaborate webs of deception, and that’s what lets me say with some confidence that the way this show rolled out Mahiro’s big bad masterstoke was something special. Normally, when a suspense show keeps a plan unrevealed, it usually rests around some clever twist being revealed at a key moment. They couldn’t quite do that with this plan though – there were far too many twists built in. Hakaze and Hanemura swapping costumes was a good start, Hanemura’s subsequent swap with Tetsuma was a solid use of a double-blind, and separate strategies for dealing with the other countermeasures the G8 had in place. True, the second swap didn’t end up being necessary, but that’s how good surprise scripts distinguish themselves; one can never guess which clues are important.

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Plus, the original idea was clever enough

Not being able to reveal it all at once meant the staff had to get creative. The way the monologue explaining the grand plan was linked with the plan’s actual execution was something only a few shows could have pulled off. There were two main things in the staff’s favor as they started out. Firstly, the plan had a number of facets straight out of the Scooby Doo vintage, involving as it did everything from staged fights to costume switches to scuba-gear infiltration. Second, they had the mixed-genre nature of the show itself. The action scenes blended very naturally into the subterfuge bits, creating a superlatively flowing scene. Further, they were able to take advantage of the simultaneity of the plan to pull off a bunch of really impressive camera work, from some continuous-take pans to Masahiro Ando’s favorite action stills. Was I ever impressed or what?

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Scu bet I was!

And of course there’s that stinger at the end – Yoshino getting shot. Not that it wasn’t foreshadowed heavily earlier in the series. I mean, the first half of this episode devoted a few minutes to the kind of confession scene that gave birth to the term “death flag”. And Yoshino is farily likely to die. He’s inside the range of magic cancelling, and if the tree dies then they won’t be able to use magic after the battle ends. I would suspect we’re about to see Hakaze forced to make a hard decision to keep going with the plan (assuming she finds out). Couldn’t be more excited to see how the dice Mari Okada has cast will land.

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