Fate/Zero 18-19: What makes a Magus Killer?

Moral of the story: Life’s a bitch, deal with it!

The recent Fate/Zero Kiritsugu’s arc gave me quite a challenge. If you have been keeping up, I’ve been experimenting with my episodics and having the Type-Moon knowledge, I just thought to make this a special post on Kerrytugu. Like before, I won’t be recapping anything rather throwing explanation wherever necessary. This episode is also Shiki approved because we get not just one, but technically three Kara no Kyoukai reference.

Now that the panther’s out of the bag, rather than wasting my time on reviewing what happened, I’ll divulge myself into the character that is Emiya Kiritsugu. Love him, pity him, hate him, despise him; do whatever you want with him. Because he won’t even glance back at you (unless you are a carbon copy of Shirley or Iri), being oblivious to everything except his ultimate goal of saving humanity. Tall declaration for anyone but at least he’s 200% sure about it and doing everything in his power to achieve it. You have to give him props for that.

The feature that ruled his life is misfortune and loss of every single person that he came to care about (father, first love, and mother, while his right arm and wife are in danger zone as well). There is no explanation of what happened to his biological mother except for the fact that he had been with his father since he opened his eyes. It’s said that he was born in Arimango island but anime wasn’t clear about this except for Shirley making fun of his name, which was not in novel. Most probably his mother was a local that Noritaka married after exiling himself to the island. Who could have passed on due to some labour complication soon after his birth? Not sure about this but Kiritsugu had been the resident of the island most of his childhood years if not all.

Catalyst

Noritaka caused the biggest event in his life, making his normal life go up in flames. People can contest that it was Shirley who stole the potion but who do you think influenced her to do so? Who kept on saying with a serious face that this is all I can do; grow numerous beautiful flowers, which would never bloom to their full glory as their life span was controlled by his experiment? Of course, to Shirley he was the god, who wanted to cure cancer and the reason she gave her own body to show the experiment as success. We know the results but it still breaks my heart thinking about how Kiritsugu decided to kill his own father, only to stop him from making more failed dead apostles (vampires), like Shirley. His childhood was over in the instant he fired that gun (FYI, there was no dagger play in the novel, the gun was the only weapon supplied by Natalia, which she regretted forever later).

A gaping question remains, why was his father so important that Association and Church both came after him? Well, he was special, being given the title of Sealing Designation. These are the special magi, who have inborn special abilities that Association vie to acquire their live sample/study/family crest, while Church wants to eradicate them if they go rogue (complete termination). Given this title means that the magus will either live a life of hermit (self-exile and only in few cases, teaching their magic to selected disciples; like Aozaki Touko), or Philosopher (who do whatever to reach their magical goals and experiment nonstop; like Araya Souren). Noritaka was a mix of both and as soon as the organizations got wind of his research, they came after him.

Her name is Koko, she is loco, I said OH NO!

Following Mother’s Footsteps

The decision to keep Kiritsugu came naturally after. As Natalia worked with the Association for Noritaka’s capture; with her connections, she got around half of Emiya family’s magical crest transferred to Kiritsugu’s body later so that he could use it to hone his killing skills. Of course, Association made sure that he won’t use the crest powers to walk down his father’s footsteps (like hell, he would). And the concept of origin bullets via the Contender was just another weapon that Natalia added in his arsenal along with the innate skills of Time Manipulation (as shown in his combat against Kayneth).

Backpacking with Natalia in war zones, which were sometimes influenced by the then ongoing war between Magus Association and Church, even his teenage years didn’t last too long. Seeing death over and over again made him mature for his age so that depth of his voice even in teenage years makes sense. Without Natalia even realizing, she forgot that she always worked alone and Kiritsugu just fit right in. Till her last moment, she agreed to the fact that Kiritsugu has too much potential because he never got cold feet of a killer except once in his life (against Shirley). This was the same instinct that she trusted him with to make a decision to submerge her plane with 300 ghouls because that was the only way to quarantine it, rather than starting Resident Evil all over again. Their conversation was touching and almost waltz-like, saying everything they wanted to say, while knowing full well what the other was expecting. After ending his own mother’s life to save the many faceless New York citizens, he ended his teenage years with gory screams of frustration and anguish. Yes, he’s not so emotionless after all but such moments come rarely.

Walking on the Thorny Path of a Killer

Even when Natalia was around, they often took missions from the Sealing Designation Enforcers (Association taskforce specifically made to retrieve all Sealing Designation research), and same happened after she passed on. During his death mongering to save humanity (as per his own definition), he came across Maiya, a warzone soldier. She was rescued by him and from then on, she became his weapon, considering him her god. She did whatever he said, silently and without hesitation. An interesting fact, half of her tongue was cut during her warring days, which is the reason of her slight lisp.

After some time, Kiritsugu was hired by the Einzbern to kill all magi in their path to acquire the Holy Grail and that is when he met the vessel, Iri. He never thought, he would find love again but he did and the ten years he spent there were one of the best of his life because there was no killing (he also left smoking, just because his brand wasn’t available there). Though, he was powerless in stopping the oldman Acht in magically experimenting on Iri for her to give birth to Ilyasviel, his precious daughter. You should remember his lament from the first episode that aired.

He went through all of that because he wants to acquire the grail and literally eradicate every man like his father off the face of this earth. And he has almost readied himself to see his wife sacrifice herself too (though this was not by choice but destined since her inception). He has nothing to lose; he’s a lone wolf, walking towards his ultimate goal, which is not flawless but riddled with blood.

Graveyard of Loss

Such, a heart-wrenching story… I remember reading this and literally stopping for a while just to take everything in. There were some additions by ufotable to the story that really made the kid Kiritsugu seem more human. That high jump off a cliff to almost aloofness towards Shirley and slowly realizing his feelings, were all little crumbs that led to gather strength to fire that shot. Like any other boy, he wanted to be a super hero of justice, who can save the planet from all kinds of morbidity. Though, only very few take it so seriously and make it their lifelong goal. The past events sure escalated everything but this is not the end and you can already guess more suffering looming on the horizon. I have no positive words to say except for the fact that enjoy this story because you rarely see such adaptation and to such detail. There’s no good end, kids, but even with a bad end, some hope would still be left.

Let me leave you with some positivity though, because it’s Type-Moon Trivia Time!

During our live stream of this episode watch on Saturday, we got a question from Magus _Killer that if the first baddie Kiritsugu killed during the chase scene that opened the recent episode was Araya Souren or not. Well, no way, because he was uglier than Araya and a magus of his caliber won’t run like a sissy. Though, most of you did miss some wondrous Kara no Kyoukai references. Let me put you up to speed:

  • So, who did a cameo appearance in previous episode? None other than Cornelius Alba, whose pyro skills we missed in the movie, but damn, at least he looked more sane this time.
  • Technically a reference: Natalia’s character design is very close to Aozaki Touko’s original designs from KnK novel minus the megane (she had short light-purple hair unlike the red pony-tailed siren we saw in the movies).
  • That cigarette packet that Natalia passed on to Kiritsugu is identical to the ones Touko used in Kara no Kyoukai: Paradox Spiral as the brand she liked.

Preview: Back to the Holy Grail war; see what the Broskander is cooking! Also, Kariya’s still alive and more than kicking. Till next time, ja ne~

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27 Responses to “Fate/Zero 18-19: What makes a Magus Killer?”

  1. The_Magus_Killer says:

    Wow. I got a special mention. Thanks Kyokai. =)

    I’ve been wondering though. Would Emiya Kiritsugu be able to defeat Araya Souren if they fought each other?

    Also, I heard somewhere that Kara no Kyoukai was an alternate universe from the once occupied by Fate/ and Tsukihime. If so, what is Cornelius Alba doing outside the KnK universe?

    *Here’s hoping I would not walk down the path of my anime handle, but the idea of being a Magus Killer sounds cool XD*

    • Rakkyo says:

      Hi there. Yes, I know you and maybe you know me too lol.
      Been around Metanorn for a few months now, just never posted before.

      Now to answer the questions…

      Since Kiritsugu’s magic is pretty much non-existent other than his Innate Time Control, the only thing he will fight Araya with is weapons so lets look at those. Ignoring the OPness he gets while he’s in his apartment, Araya has a barrier around him which freezes things entering its range (due to his origin “stillness”). This basically means Kiritsugu’s weapons are useless, even his prized special bullets as they can’t even hit him. Then again, that would mean Araya will not be able to beat Kiritsugu either thanks to his Innate Time Control.

      Next, the Nasuverse has really blurry boundary lines between Fate, Tsukihime and KnK. Since Alba is a rather unimportant/side character, and that he was in the Mage’s Association, technically that gave him the ability to traverse between the three works since it will not really conflict with any important concepts. This applies to other side characters as well, such as Asagami Fujino or even Fujou Kirie.

      Damn that was longer than I expected. I didn’t really plan on posting here at all though, guess its just the Type-Moon fanboy blood in me screaming at me to answer these kind of questions lol.

    • Kyokai says:

      @Magus Killer, mention not. Your question was interesting.

      In my opinion, Araya Souren would win because his boundary of stillness do not tax his health because he’s already almost immortal, while Kiritsugu can use his Time Control with intervals and can’t pressure it too much or else will face heart failure or even death on continuous usage. Araya Souren also uses magic as a higher power with reverence, while Kiritsugu uses it as a tool so he doesn’t have a lot of aces up his sleeve against such a powerful magus.

      This is not the first time a character from KnK has entered Fate-verse. The first instance was mention of Aoko in KnK, and later mention of Touko in heaven’s feel of fate/stay night. Interestingly, Church and Magus Association are present in all nasuverse works so cameo appearances are no big events. Also, I’m sure this was like fanservice from ufotable because Kara no Kyoukai franchise is still one of their biggest projects (7 movies + Epilogue OVA).

      @ Rakkyo, Interesting responses. I’ve been fangirling on Type-Moon for a while now, why haven’t I seen you around here?! 0.0 Still though, thanks for delurking. Who would you have liked to see make a cameo appearance btw?

      • Rakkyo says:

        Hahaha yeah, like I said, I’ve only been here for a few months.
        Actually got here from RandomC, but I liked the style of posts here so I stuck around.

        For a cameo, I would’ve liked to see more obscure characters from the Church or the Mage’s Association being animated. People like Barthomeloi Lorelei or Merem Solomon would be perfect. Carnival Phantasm has eye-catches of them, but being animated is a whole different thing lols.

        Guess I’ll be posting more often then XD

        P.S.
        Interestingly, my handle name is just a “different version” of yours.

      • Kyokai says:

        Thanks for staying around and commenting. We love it when our lurkers, delurk~ :3 And high five on having the same ‘origin’ to our screen names. I’m always glad to meet TM/KnK fans.

        I think ufotable took the middle ground with Alba and Touko’s cigarette pack because first, except for hardcore fans no one would even recognize people like Barthomeloi Lorelei or Merem Solomon. Heck, a lot of people missed recognizing Alba even because he didn’t have his trademark hart, long hair or that evil smirk. I’m sure this was just fanservice and a kawai reference that we goggle at.

        Carnival Phantasm was an awesome adaptation and now I’m just waiting around for All Around Type-Moon to be green-lit as a continuation of it because that has Shiki in it. What would I give to see her in Fate/Zero but the timelines are pretty impossible. xD

  2. Reaper says:

    Hohoho, oh ufotable, I see what you did there; first Cornelius Alba and his Sea of Flames trick, then Natalia’s design being based on Touko’s original design, then the packet of cigarettes with the yin/yang symbol on it. You sly little dog, oh how I love you people :D

    I love the way how Kiritsugu’s backstory was animated, from his innocent days as a mage’s son, to the cold-blooded killer he will become, even to the point of sacrificing those he love in order to achieve his objectives. I remember a lot of people flaming Kiritsugu back when Kayneth died after Kiritsugu tricked him but I don’t blame him, especially knowing all the hardship he went through; I mean, after seeing all of the sorrow and grief up til that point, I think most people probably go off their nut or go off themselves but nope, Kiritsugu’s got this like the BAMF he is, but still holding onto his humanity by burying it deep within himself, revealing it only when he no longer needs to walk the path of an assassin.

    Oh Natalia, you’re definitely the more action-centred version of Touko, a facsimile right down to the brand of cigarettes; too bad though, I cracked up laughing when my bro wondered why she just didn’t light up a whole mouthful of them to put the bees to sleep but that wouldn’t have helped with the ghouls I guess.

    PS Love the images of Kiritsugu you guys have drawn up/found. Definitely show his character, both his human side and assassin mask. :D

    • Kyokai says:

      Best fanservice EVER! Well, at least in terms of Natalia’s design, it was Takeuchi’s own doing while drawing illustrations for Fate/Zero than ufotable. I see a lot of character comparison in Nasuverse, like Alice Kuonji with Shiki and of course everyone knows about Enjou Tomoe being the real Shirou.

      I definitely loved how ufotable gave homage to Kiritsugu’s character and animated this arc brilliantly. There was nothing major they left out except for the long-winded information that I squeezed in above. It was a treat to see him hunt together with Natalia because that is from where got all his skills after all.

      Your bro is hilarious, that could have been an awesome way to kill them if only addled with magic fumes? Who knows? And yeah, for pics, I used zerochan and pixiv to find some gems and they fit right in with the situation. I’m glad a lot of fans have read the novels and worked on moment-based art.

  3. Kitty says:

    I enjoy the Fate series because it make you ‘feel all the things’, a notion I think most other anime’s have lost. I also like that it took the time to give us those 2 episodes of character background. I, personally, greatly enjoyed them and Kiritsugu is one of my favorite characters next to Rin. I adore that girl!

    I appreciate you tying up the lose ends. Connecting how Iri came into play. I think the anime might still yet explain this, but I like knowing it now. Thank you oh goddess Kyokai, she who can read the light novels.

    • Kyokai says:

      Thank you, Kitty-chan! Love Kiritsugu and even Rin too. I am biased about all nasuverse characters though, even if they are supposed to be branded ‘evil.’

      You can say with Fate franchise, Fate/Zero being the lead have set new standards and milestones for the many series adaptations to come with their brilliant production work as a whole. From character details to pacing and even what to highlight and not has been exemplary. I have no critic whatsoever because I love the story as a whole, I just want my readers to enjoy the same way, I am enjoying it. XD

      So, if you like Rin, did you like her fanservice episode last season?

      • Kitty says:

        Personally, Rin is always in fan serve mode! Her skirt at the back *nosebleed* But yes. I love Fate / Zero but the lack of Rin makes me sad!! I can’t wait for Fate / Zero to finish for then I shall watch Ultimate blade works! fate / extra was fun to play because of all the bratty Rin XD

  4. anaaga says:

    Raging so hard when I saw Cornelius Alba because he was one annoying sissy blondie who needed to grow up GGRRR GGGRRR GGRRRR. Of course, he didn’t get to grow up properly because of what happened in in Tomoe’s apartment. Not that I mind since we won’t see him EVER again ;)
    …Tomoe… *remembers the last scene in Paradox Spiral > feels like sobbing now*

    • Kyokai says:

      Hahahaaaa! I think we saw him because we didn’t get to see his pyro skills in KnK?! Though, I’m sure they couldn’t have brought in a prominent character because people would just go nuts.

      Man, Tomoe was awesome (that epilogue scene ;__;). He is the original Shirou but damn, FSN Shirou was so annoying!

  5. Bob from Accounting says:

    When I was watching episode 18, I thought that Natalia had to be Maiya’a mother or something. They look so similar! Disappointing that we didn’t get anything about Maiya at all. To us anime-watchers, I guess she’ll always just be the crazy lady who shoots shit. Ah well, from how you describe it, her story sounds disappointingly boring anyway.

    • Kyokai says:

      Their character designs or even the way they talk are similar; though their stories are miles apart.

      What makes you say, she seems boring though? I still think Maiya’s interesting; though, we never find much about her through the novels like we did about Kiritsugu or even a bit of Shirley. Like any other character of Fate, she has been through a lot of suffering.

  6. Baka-Raptor says:

    I’ve been experimenting with my episodics

    Consider the experiment a success. Moar plz.

  7. Tofu says:

    Kyo might’ve started something new here guys~! :O It’s like an episodic post but an editorial post at the same time! HOLY SHIT!

    • BlackBriar says:

      Agreed! Kyokai, you’ve really stumbled onto something great here with two versions of posts in one together. More power to the boss lady!!!

    • Kyokai says:

      Thanks, guys! I guess my experiments worked out because of my passion for the Fate series and Type-Moon in general. :3

  8. lvlln says:

    These 2 flashback episodes might be the best this show has had to offer so far. I loved how Kiritsugu was shaped into the man he is at the time of the 4th Grail War, and it made me realize for the first time, hey, Fate/Zero actually has a protagonist, and it’s Shirou’s father (does that make Natalia his grandmother?)!

    I’m glad you filled us in on some stuff that couldn’t be shown in the anime, such as the reason why Natalia and Kiritsugu were in war zones all the time, and his age at the time of Natalia’s death. Given the conversation they were having and where Kiritsugu was situated, I figured he was going to shoot down the plane, but it was still heartbreaking to see him do it. I had held hope that there would be some way for Natalia to come out alive. I guess all the females around Kiritsugu have to suffer or die.

    I would’ve loved to see Ciel from Tsukihime make a cameo as one of the executioners from the church, either in the town destroying it or in the war zone battles that Kiritsugu got involved in. Given the time frame, her appearance would make sense. We got Alba instead, and he’s just not as cool a character. Though, was that really Alba and not just a doppelganger? Did the novel explicitly state that it was him?

    • Kyokai says:

      ufotable is outdoing themselves this time with Fate/Zero. Seeing this now, doesn’t everything in FSN makes more sense? I’m loving every moment of it, being a fan.

      And yeah, Natalia by relation is actually Shirou’s grandma but I’m not sure if Kiritsugu ever talked about her because Show ▼

      I would’ve liked some Tsukihime characters cameo here too because finally the term of Dead Apostles was used, even if on Ghoul stage. The Alba cameo was just fanservice from ufotable and not mentioned in LN at all. I’m sure, we didn’t see any major characters because that would be going overboard and couldn’t be proven as canon. Ciel, timeline wise could have shown up, she had been living since when exactly? Forgot the year.

      • lvlln says:

        Tsukihime never makes it clear when Ciel was born. But the backgrounds in the flashbacks give the feeling of France in the 1800s, so she could be over 100 years old. She’s similar to Kyouko from Magical Girl Madoka Magica in that way.

  9. BlackBriar says:

    What a painful past for someone who started out as a happy-go-lucky kid. So Kiritsugu’s father thought becoming a vampire was the only means required to continue the Emiya family research because he needed unlimited time? If he wasn’t a Mage, I’d have found it hard to believe that he believes in such beings.

    Dead apostles? I haven’t heard that kind of vampire in a long time. Not since the last time I saw Shingetsutan Tsukihime. Definitely Type Moon stuff. I loved Shirley’s character, I see why Kiritsugu liked so much and why it was so painful to see her as a bloodthirsty monster. Too bad she couldn’t control herself and all to prove her master’s potential. It’s clear to see she was closer to him than his father.

    I wonder what Natalia used to keep herself young. She hasn’t aged a day since she rescued Kiritsugu from the island. A heart-wrenching story indeed to kill the one person who had left to protect others. Her smile made it more sad and that final conversation made it a more empathetic situation. I see now how his wish and methods have twisted him up so much. He lost so much, and he didn’t ever think of himself. Do the ends justify the means? You’d be deadlocked trying to find an answer.

    • Kyokai says:

      Indeed. About Noritaka, his motivation was pretty basic magi research wise: to stop time so that they can reach Akasha. Though, he could never even do the first part successfully. As a father, he never wanted to involve his son in experimentation but Shirley became a wildcard, who tried to become more than just a tool. If not stopped by Natalia and Kiritsugu, he would have fled to another isolated place and continued his research. The amount of loss was nothing to him; in general magi are emotionless humans.

      I would have liked some powerful dead apostles, not ghouls! But still, these additions have been fascinating and feel so sorry for Natalia, who got brainwashed by Noritaka. ><

      Well, Natalia known magic as well and usually used prana to make her strong and shield her body. Not sure if that played any part on her aging but she was a fit woman (compare her to Valmet/Karen from Jormungand), since forever. And you have put Kiritsugu’s situation right because it is deadlocked and the awesomeness of this series shines through these unpredictableness and suffering.

  10. D-LaN says:

    Nice artwork.

  11. [...] | Best of 2010 Kyokai Edition | Mahou Tsukai no Yoru Review | Fate/Zero: What Makes a Magus Killer? | [...]

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