Invoking Shakespeare in your story is risky business because like one comedian making reference to another, it invites comparison. And being compared to the stories of whom many would consider is one of the greatest writers ever is not a battle many writers are up for. This is true from a predominantly Western context, but from an Eastern point of view? A Japanese point of view? Shakespeare perhaps doesn’t hold the same reverence having not cast a shadow over several hundred years of literature.
have a good ol’ magical scuffle and lay waste to a not insignificant chunk of Japan
This is all academic really because regardless of its overtures towards Shakespeare, Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster (Blast of Tempest) is below par. It starts out intriguingly enough with the awakening of something grand and unknowable leading to the quiet annihilation of an entire town. Only Mahiro survives thanks to his estranged friend Yoshino and a voice from afar, Hakaze. From there the trio must evade the attention of the Kusaribe clan and try and stop the awakening of an even greater power which threatens the world.
Darling of the erudites and intellectuals, Mawaru Penguindrum is a series quite unlike any other. A visual and cerebral feast, it explores the ideas of fate, of families and, as the title would suggest, penguins. Its allegories and layers however are unfortunately but an enticing mask for a flaky and unsatisfying story beneath. Morsels of exposition are stingily doled out when not being secreted away behind monologues or incongruous character histories.
there is thought and care applied to every scene and word, and it poses complex and interpretive questions
By and large those back stories all boil down to child abuse, meted out by deranged parents. Parental sins visited upon their children is a theme that underscores each of the main characters and, perhaps because of that, every one of them is utterly reprehensible. Doing away with any chance of empathy, the spectrum runs from simpering do-gooder to austere ice-queen but results with a cast that is hard to like, but unique enough making them hard to hate.