Carry on my wayward son style.
|Hello everyone! Apologies for the delayed post but the Metanorn Anniversary preparation, podcast scheduling, E3 2012 graphics, Aniblog Tourney campaigning and lots of randomosity in our IRC channel had my hands full. Though, I always have something to say when it comes to Fate/Zero. For your reading pleasure, I have also prepared a track from Fate Violin Zero album to suit the progress so far. So, let’s catch up and not in summary way!|
Play while reading this post.
In the last few episodes, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about Kiritsugu not showing any reaction in his last meeting with Irisviel. It was because he knew it was the last time meeting his wife. He has been a killing machine throughout his life and even if his mask has cracked in rare occasions, he’s still a ruthless killer with a very solid purpose. Don’t sell his resolve short, when he had finally acquired his old-self back.
Seeing his history of killing his father and foster mother, he is the man who discards everything precious in life. The reason he saved the child soldier and gave her Hisau Maiya name was to make her a tool to achieve his ultimate goal. He did falter in his path while falling in love with Irisviel, but the moments of joyous happiness were short-lived. Knowing what he has overcome, you should understand that his faltering in front of Maiya was one of those rare cracks. He didn’t cry, didn’t scream but his resolve only deepened to finish the war he started since he decided to kill the first of many rogue magi. In a striking contrast with these two ladies, he doesn’t trust Saber at all and if it weren’t for the rule of having a heroic spirit fight for the grail, he would have tried to acquire it with his bare hands.
An important conversation that ufotable skipped (I’m sure due to time), was the reference of being a mother that Irisviel and Maiya share with each other. Did I just hear some gasps? Well, yes, indeed. Maiya became a mother at a very early age but not on choice. Belonging to a warzone, it’s a hard fact of being raped and used many a times. A boy was the resultant but she never found out he survived the war in her country or not.
Both of them not only share the ‘harem-status’ of Kiritsugu but the decision of giving their life for the man they love and cared about. For Maiya, it was more of worship because he got her out of the hellhole, while for Irisviel, he was the bringer of love that she never even knew existed. The nine years she spent with him were the best and her ‘entire’ happy life. Their conversation was very moving and along with the last few breaths of Maiya, this finally showed her female tenderness, hidden under her serious expression.
Do you hate Kariya? I still can’t. You can see him as a pathetic character, who couldn’t deal with his problems but he is more than just that. Out of the new masters (Ryuunosuke, Waver and Kayneth), he at least knew what he was getting into and why. His reasoning was not entertainment, revenge or higher social status but a measly and almost small hope of saving the girl who was being punished in his stead, while dreaming about becoming a hero in front of his childhood sweetheart.
On paper, his intentions look noble and all but what he did during practice was nothing but appalling. Then again, you can’t really blame him when most of his body has already disintegrated by being food for Crest Worms and the guilt of consuming Sakura’s purity (that Lust Worm scene had me blanching), who he had been trying to save with all his might. This is where you really see the sadism of Urobuchi with Kariya caught in Kirei’s web of deceit—who leisurely waited in shadows like a spider with its many limbs quivering in anticipation of food—of becoming Tokiomi’s killer in front of Aoi. Him losing all reason and going plain mad enough to strangle Aoi was not surprising. How can you hate this guy? I feel only pity whenever I see him writhe like the worms eating his insides just because Berserker’s out on a rampage.
Voyeurism’s New Model
If Kiritsugu’s life was all about repeatedly discarding everything, Kirei’s was filled with nothing but emptiness and purposelessness. Though, it all seems pretence now because since discovering Kariya’s pain and making his life miserable in every aspect, even wine has changed taste for him. People might point fingers at Gilgamesh for making him stray from the right path but seriously, do you think so? Kirei’s not a clueless character. He’s the killing machine, who perfectly knows his strengths and possesses enough brain cells to strategize the demise of many a formidable enemies.
He has been obsessed with Kiritsugu because he saw his own mirror image and thought, if he found out what makes this man tick, maybe he would find his self in the process too. However, after the revealing discussion with Irisviel, he despises Kiritsugu from every pore of his body. For a man like Kirei who continued to be lost, to find even a single piece of such joy and happiness that Kiritsugu’s life experienced is nothing by unforgivable. His insatiable thirst and unrecoverable loss was mocked in a simplistic way ‘of saving the humanity from all evil’ that pushed him over his endurance. Even if he’s purposeless still, his only goal right now is to stop Kiritsugu from his goal and show him nothing but despair.
Holy Grail’s Descent
Before getting into what happened to Iri, let me remind you of the conversation between Kirei and Zouken. Not sure if this was covered in episode 22 or not but after tromping on his excuse of helping Kariya just because he thought Tohsaka killed his father and sadistically laughing on his own son’s pain. He clearly commented on something odd about the current grail, the signs of which had started from the third war. He can actually tell because he’s the old relic, who has been around since the first war. Calling forth an evil spirit like Caster rather than a Heroic Spirit was a big giveaway for something foul afoot.
Now, let’s remember the many failed homunculi during the afterlife that Iri witnessed. Why do they all resemble? Because they are fashioned in the image of Justizia Einzbern who crafted the first Grail with Zouken and Tohsaka Nagato. Iri has fused with the conscience of Grail; though, she’s just a speck in its vast being. Even if she tries, she can’t hand the grail over to Kiritsugu because she was just a container and now a simple consciousness that is not necessarily needed. Those snatches of memories that she saw along with Illya were heartbreaking. The Iri we knew is gone and something new and almost alien has invaded her mind and body. Treat her as the dark version of Iri.
I highly enjoyed the many conversations between Rider and Waver. In truth, Alexander made a man out of Waver and I’m saying this without any sexual connotation. Waver started out with a childish idea of proving his point to his teacher who looked down upon him. But soon realized, he was just a short end of the stick in the overall things when it came to the fourth grail war. But, Rider never complained and used his own storage of mana rather than depending on Waver’s slim supply. Alexander’s values rubbed off on him so much that by the end, he even accepted to take part in the fight against Gilgamesh.
This progress was glorious and even if he was labeled moe throughout the running of this series, he did become an inspiring character in realizing his own misgiving and dealing with them however possible rather than continuous denial. Becoming disciple of Alexander and deciding to spread his word of greatness will be done amazingly by Waver, who would become a teacher in future. Don’t look down on this dude as he had balls to stand up to Gilgamesh and deserves more than a pat on his back for shedding tears like a man than boy in the end.
This is indeed how kings fight and I have no words but awe for this sequence. Much love to ufotable for animating Ea, Sword of Rupture (the primordial sword present at the creation of the world in the Age of Gods as per mythology), so marvelously. I had heard of its amazing ability from hollow ataraxia but damn, seeing it manifest along with Enkidu (the chains that stopped Rider’s final blow), in one scene left me gasping for air; well, almost. Unlike Saber’s Excalibur that literally blows out high-pressured air, Ea the anti-world noble phantasm ends every material in its path. These are the two most trusted weapons of Gilgamesh that are actually named rather than the rest of his weapons from Babylon, which are unnamed and simply thrown without much care.
Alexander showed his true heroic spirit on not losing hope till the last slash even knowing full well that he was running towards his own death. Sure, his wish of becoming human was not granted but hats off King of Conquerors, who fought amazingly till the end. Bravo!
I’m kinda sad to see Saber’s motorbike getting destroyed by Berserker (was always fond of bike adventures), but finally the identity of Berserker is revealed! Everyone should realize why he went crazy every time he faced Saber. I wish, they would show some of their flashback in the next episode, which is essential in understanding the hatred Lancelot feels for his King. He was the most prized Knight of her round table but of course, his doom occurred when he fell in love. The fact of Arturia being a girl in Fate franchise is a pain too because nobody expects a teenage girl to be the legendary King of Britain. Add another girl into the mix and otakus will foam at mouth just thinking about yuri vibes… Let’s not pain Lancelot anymore because I’m really looking forward to their continued fight, which would touch upon her way of Kingship that Alexander scoffed upon. Yes, you have to lead people, not baby them as their saviour.
No, Saber does not qualify to be Watson, because he’s too cool for her. If you were confused about what Kiritsugu has been up to in the last few episodes, let me elaborate. At first, he was searching for Irisviel of course but soon he realized that it was showing his own weakness. He wore the magus hat and spent hours in zeroing down, which magical leyline would be chosen for Grail’s descent so that he could at least reach the Grail. Even if he wasted time in all the other places, like going after Tohsaka’s killer as Kirei and/or Kariya, he did figure it out in the end.
Originally there were three leylines: Mount Enzou (Kiritsugu was keeping a lookout in the familiar premise of Ryuudouji temple when he talked to Saber), where the first Holy Grail was crafted by the three ancient families, Tohsaka residence (this was Kiritsugu’s second stop after finding the church empty) and former residence of Matous’, the current Fuyuki Church. With time and first two Grail descents, an anomaly occurred in the city, creating another leyline in the third Holy Grail war, which is the least potent but still a leyline candidate site. That is where Kirei decided to setup his shop for a showdown. The recently built Community Hall of Fuyuki at the center of Shinto’s residential area. Kiritsugu is of course on his way and very pissed.
Overall, these episodes have been the highlight of Fate/Zero franchise, not only because of progress but amount of thrill and excitement that kept the audience at the edge of their seat. All our live-watch sessions have been rife with discussions of WTF happened, WHAAA, SHITT, NUOOOOO, etc. With the high quality eye-boggling action in the recent episode, ufotable has proven they are doing this right with every episode leaving us wanting for so much more. Case in point, the almost poetic delivery of 23rd Psalm by Nakata Jouji as Kirei literally sent shivers down my spine. All of this is to prepare us for the final stretch of tragedies. The stage is set and time has come for the last few epic faceoffs. The upcoming two episodes will definitely be a feast for your eyes. Stay tuned till next time, ja ne~
Let’s always remember everyone’s best bro: Broskander!