So sad that it moved me to tears . . . of laughter! Ha ha ha, I am so clever!
I actually think the episode gets decent once it hits its and has some solid action and intrigue, and introduces scenes where the bombastic score is given room to breathe and be awesome instead of heightening angst for characters we barely know. Sorry, but I’ve seen too much goofy angst to be automatically heartbroken~ when a character gets beat up and looks longingly into the sky while a single snowflake falls onto his hand. It’s so sad, everyone!! The stuff with the sister is a bit better because there’s at least a tiny bit of clever thought put into how it’s presented. I’m guessing those feelings are as hidden from Onii-chan as they were from the audience. What a wonderful train of angst that shall be!
Everything else is mostly setting up the larger story: a disease that pretty much instantly kills whoever gets it (maybe there’s a reason our hero doesn’t get it aside from plot armor?), butterflies everywhere that herald the arrival of the disease, evil people who want to fuck up the world, a sorceress stuck on an island who wants to put a stop to that shit, and our other protagonists who have their own reasons for getting involved with all this. I can see the No. 6 comparisons people have been throwing around (though this is at least nice enough to let you know at the beginning that there will be magic out the ass), but there’s also a dash of A Certain Magical Index and, of course, all that Shakespeare.
I’m a bit ashamed to admit I needed a bit of help on that front. Weirdly enough, I caught at least the basic allusions to The Tempest easily enough even though I haven’t actually read it (helps that, you know, it’s in the title and all), but the Hamlet lines went over my head because it has seriously been almost a decade since I read it. Jesus Christ, I am fucking old. More knowledgeable people than I could probably go on about whether the references actually color perceptions of the characters and their motivations, or whether it’s just trying to be cool like Garth Marenghi quoting a random line from King Lear before the first episode of Darkplace. But if you’re into that sort of thing, it’s there! It’s totally there!
Because I am secretly Michael Bay (except not a racist), I dug all the fighting and crazy occult stuff that went on during the latter half of the episode. That is what the BONES folks bring to the table when the studio’s creators are on their A game. The sorceress seems pretty cool, although I wonder how she managed to get her magic walkie-talkie working when there’s apparently a magic blocking shroud over the island. Hard work and guts, no doubt! Also, the dynamic between the protagonists could be interesting. There’s the sense that the sister isn’t lying when she says special snowflake is a con artist who can lie with a straight face. It didn’t seem like Onii-chan knew they were seeing each other, yeah? Well, there you go! That automatically makes him more interesting than your typical Insert-kun.
So, hey, a decent first episode. It could always crash and burn horribly from here on out, but it at least has my attention for now.