Nothing lasts forever. Not even the glory of a true hero.
|As informed, I am back with a week’s break to one of my favourite Spring show (along with the major two noitaminA titles). Things have definitely heated up with the right blend of action and dialogue in the last two episodes. Though, as the story progresses, I’m feeling the doom of end and of course a lot of deaths. BUT lamentation later and highlights now; not the tourney ones, silly.
This time, I’m experimenting with a new format and not waste much words on summary because hey, who is NOT watching this awesomeness? I’m sure you are not here to read yet another recap, rather my thoughts on it. Having read the light novels, I’m sure I would shed light on the events that were zoomed past or lightly touched upon in adaptation. Though, being the first in line and for two episodes; it has gone a bit on the longer side.
Alliance of Heroic Spirits
Teamwork when done right produces results and that is what happened with the cooperation of Rider’s Ionioi Hetairoi, Lancer’s Gáe Dearg and Saber’s Anti-Fortress Excalibur in offing Caster’s abominable monster. Even Gilgamesh pitched in to end Berserker’s advances towards his glory lady. In the end, everyone used their noble phantasms one way or the other for the greater good of Fuyuki. There were some people theorizing Lancer’s death by Saber to regain her left hand but no, both of them are nobler than combating an ally during such a tumultuous time. So, for the spirit of chivalry, Lancer broke his own lance (Gáe Buidhe) for saving humans. Of course, this was a burden for Saber, which she was quick to repay in finding Lancer after tackling the monster for a fair battle. I love it how honour is what all of them seek in one form another, even when they realize they are not real but have temporarily arrived from the Throne of Heroes to fulfill their own respective goals.
If his words seemed creepy to you–which he said before disappearing, showing his interest over Saber–you haven’t heard nothin’ yet because those lines really held a lot of meaning. Of course, he was laughing evilly but it had a hint of sorrow and remembrance as well. From the Epic of Gilgamesh and according to its legend, Gilgamesh was two-third god, a very powerful warrior and king. He was arrogant, haughty and very much promiscuous sexually. Looking at this trend, the gods made a human warrior who later fought with him and even became his friend and lover. A true companion. Though, like all such stories, a tragedy occurred. The same gods who made Enkidu, gave him illness because he dared to stand shoulder to shoulder with a god king. Gilgamesh lost him to illness and forever lamented his demise. Same thing holds true in his character fashioned in Fate/Zero and seeing Saber’s light, fueled by the dreams of all past heroes almost entrances him to remember his old time. And I quote from the novel:
It’s nothing new and we all knew it was bound to happen. Though, his special treatment and even saving Kariya was pretty creepy with him almost stalking him for days. This is the beginning of his realization that he likes to see people in pain (such an S!), and being Tokiomi’s loyal dog is nothing but suffering. Of course, it would be a setback when he finds the dead body of his father left by Kayneth but I’m sure he would quickly blame Kiritsugu for it. There’s only one gun guy in this game after all and clever of Kayneth to use it. It was more of a necessity though, because he’s completely dry, magic-circuit-wise.
Kayneth is a bastard
Nothing new, right? He’s such an asshole that he deserves his woman running on him for a heroic spirit, even if it’s one-sided. Maiya’s move on her was sudden and brutal I screamed, die bitch die. This definitely readied the viewer for upcoming cruelty, which was the height of what we have yet seen from this franchise. It was as if not enough for Kayneth to completely humiliate his servant and accuse him of the same crime like his last master (seducing his woman). But the biggest blow was him getting killed by his master again without any honour for the same reason. This kind of death is the worst for a hero of his caliber and if he cursed everything in the process, it was valid RAGE of a knight. His only reason to participate in the Holy Grail war and return to this world from the Throne of Heroes was to overcome that unhappy end. However, the end that he received was a replay of the same tragedy with the same bitter fate. I’m sure you experienced a small fraction of his despair and sorrow while watching this episode. Ufotable did skip his almost beast like roar but I think you should still see this.
The only thing that brightened Lancer’s heart before that cruel death was his fight with Saber. She came to him at an opportune time, knowing full well that no other would meddle in their affair because everyone was recuperating. She also didn’t use her left hand, which was originally injured by Lancer. Not out of pity, mind, but to simulate a fair fight as she didn’t want to be burdened by Lancer’s sacrifice of his weapon for her full power attainment. Seeing them battle it out as a dance of partnership and camaraderie was a total treat. Though, their path to glory and fighting spirit was short lived with the trickery of Kiritsugu. It was the same honour that made Saber finish off Kayneth to save him from further pain and prevented her from killing her own master, whose scheming came as a complete shock to her. But Kiritsugu is oblivious to her definition of hero’s honour because his methods have always been of the lowest but efficient kind. He didn’t even bat an eyelash at Lancer’s curse against the Holy Grail he so much desires. Even after all this, Saber understands her master well and pinpoints his exact wish to eradicate all evil but is it even possible to do this after causing so much destruction? Can such idealism even come to fruition?
Magus Killer’s Purpose
Rules, chivalry, honour, code of conduct are not part of Kiritsugu’s dictionary. He’s a killing machine, born and bred and the reason that he used the Self Geis Scroll (I can almost familiarize it with the Unbreakable Vow from HP fandom). It’s a merciless magical contract (like Kyuubey’s), that absolutely cannot be disobeyed; using one’s own Magic Crests upon oneself. In short, once in effect, it can’t be nullified, even after the death of the magus because his soul will be bound with its curse if disobeyed. But of course, there’s a loophole of someone else killing the contractors and who can forget Maiya’s lethal ways? Kayneth and Sola-Ui’s end were pathetic and pitiful to say the least.
Coming to Kiritsugu’s point, this is twentieth century when the weapon of mass destruction is ruling the world. Is war as prideful and amazing as described by the noble heroes though? Can a knight save the world? There is no good and bad way to fight because in the end, it’s all fighting after all. This overly bitter declaration sure makes me want to pity him and that is what Saber felt. But over that husk of a man, who detests the battlefield more than anyone, beats a heart of a young hero, who wants to change the world, even if he has to take every pain onto himself. And I quote: “I’ll use this miracle to complete the revolution of this world, the revolution of all human souls. I will make the bloodshed within Fuyuki city as the final bloodshed of all human beings. For that, even if I am to carry ‘all the evils of this world’ – it won’t matter. If that can save the world, then I’d gladly accept it.”
I’m not sure how much of the above made sense to you all but out of everything that has happened till now, the contrast between Saber and Kiritsugu has been the most interesting for me. Kirtisugu’s declaration of taking all evil onto himself for world peace almost reflects Saber’s own wish of taking all the sins of her followers onto herself, remake Britain and not let it fall into destruction like the discord that happened in her era. So similar yet so different, this pair of master and servant, is very well suited to each other. Though, it’s alright to hate Kiritsugu even after all this (if you still do, that is). Discover this character for yourself because he has many facets and it will be a treat to know and cry with him.
So, when I said be ready for sorrow, I meant lots of deaths too. This is an elimination game after all and the last one standing gets it all. Now that Ryuu and Caster are dealt with and quite awesomely so, it was Kayneth, Sola-Ui and Lancer’s turn after and how cruelly it was done. Anyone would scream in frustration and raise their fist at Kiritsugu for being such an efficient yet brutal Magus Killer. He is aptly named of course and for the first time he showed this face to his wife, who had only been told of his shenanigans before. However, she never got the time to dwell on it much because she has her own problems, over and above which she’s burdened with guilt for Saber’s hero’s honour along with understanding her husband’s point of view as well. She is carrying a world’s weight indeed.
After waiting for fourteen episodes, the reveal of Excalibur was as epic as the legend itself. The beautiful animation and Irisviel’s commentary on the lost glory gathering in her blade was hauntingly beautiful. This is one of those scenes, which even leaves the light novel behind in description. Ufotable shines here with their brilliant execution. It was a nice touch to show the last few moments of Caster, almost wondering what the hell he has been doing and remembering the glory days influenced by the light, when he fought beside Joan of Arc. I’m sure the pacing is what made ufotable skip Enkidu’s remembrance but it would have been sweet, understanding Gilgamesh a bit more. Not to mention, fangirl fodder for an actual yaoi pair. But hey, Gil is bi and swings both ways, just like Alexander.
One technicality of Berserker still going crazy was missed and this is something that comes from the source material. When Kariya became a giant burning torch, why Berserker did not dematerialize as well? Why was it Gilgamesh that had to use his spears to end his material form? He should have gone poof once Kariya fell from the balcony. You can say, Kariya’s Crest Worms could be still providing mana to Berserker but no, it was Kirei’s revival that made them active again. Beside this little glitch, the pacing is pretty fast compared to the first season and I’m liking it. We are over halfway of the third novel and this is where more action will occur. So, stay tuned and take out a minute or two for feedback on this new format that I explored. Would much appreciate it!
Preview: Another death and this time you can almost tell from the preview who it’s going to be; the one with a rampant servant of course. During a live watch of this, lvlln asked, can a servant kill their master? They can, if they find a source of mana quickly and switch masters. The Knight class (Saber, Archer and Lancer), servants with strong masters can even store mana and be around hours/days after their master’s death. Also, Kirei would be appointed supervisor of this Holy Grail war because well, his father too, is dead. Anyways, information dump ends here. Till next week, ja ne~