Hopefully, not my last goodbye to the fate franchise.
With a heavy heart, I’ve prepared myself to say goodbye to this brilliant franchise that has kept me on my toes and delighted till the end. I have double excuse for the late thoughts: Tourney II had me busy like a bee but in truth, I just didn’t want to say goodbye. There have been multiple times that I sat across my laptop but I just couldn’t go on. This was that brilliant of a story that kept me hooked throughout and with a satisfactory adaptation, it’s really like saying goodbye to a dear friend. If I was Will, I would be swigging my gin bottle and spewing these words in a less-accenty voice than usual but as it’s me, just read this soliloquy:
From -285:42:56 to 00:00:00
From the beginning this was a story about a tragedy. Even if you have not seen or played Fate/stay night, the way Kiritsugu kept on sacrificing everything was an early omen of the end. After knowing what made the Magus Killer, it was easy to discern that he was ready to sacrifice everything including his self (pride, love, sense, family, health, etc.) to destroy the Grail that was corrupted by Angra Mainyu. Of course, Saber didn’t understand neither did Kirei, what made him take that decision. But it was because the cost was much, much more than the prize, which is not as simple as rubbing magic lamp and getting your wish. It’s even more twisted than the equivalent exchange defined by Truth in FMA. Kiritsugu and the last remnant of Iri saw the real face of Evil of Angra Mainyu.
But even with Excalibur’s power, Angra Mainyu was not fully destroyed (Excalibur is not the Ultimate Weapon after all). Well, most of it was destroyed but some of it escaped (remember the flowing liquid form?), and whatever was left touched the runners-up Kirei. It gave him a new black heart (replacing the one Kiritsugu destroyed), and showed him his true wish which was more compatible to Angra’s wish of utter destruction. Kirei’s repair also affected Gilgamesh as they shared master/servant mana and he got revived with a new human body as well. This was why he could stay in the world because by rule, heroic spirits vanish after the Grail descends. So, this loophole of his surviving was a gift by the corrupted Grail to bring them back but not as before. It’s like, if you wish for a burger, you might get a bite-sized wonton.
Though it perfectly worked for DAT POSE of ~I am sexy and I know it~
You can ask, why Kirei was not selected but Kiritsugu by Angra Mainyu first? Well, in short, Kiritsugu was more interesting than Kirei, who was just nothingness (coming from his purposelessness). Making Kiritsugu go through his life choices with different scenarios to bring down the number to his family showed Angra’s pure evil and twistedness. But on rejection and cursing him, it went to Kirei whose empty shell had one interesting factor, entertainment from destruction, which it latched on destroying a sizeable portion of Fuyuki. That laugh by Kirei was worth every dime. I mean, he was nothing but a pile of insecurity before but after seeing thousands of people die, he finally realized, other people’s death and destruction was undiluted entertainment for him… You can say, Kariya was a small time experiment and Grail destruction was big leagues for him.
After all he did. He still ended up being the Guardian of Rin as appointed by Tokiomi. It’s almost saddening that Rin never finds out what he actually did: getting satisfaction from the pleasure of violating a pure heart. Of course, Rin never warms up to Kirei but damn, he’s such a two-faced bastard to gift her the same Azoth dagger, which he used to kill her father (this dagger has significance in FSN and I hope you play the VN to find out). Also, Aoi survived and wasn’t choked to death by Kariya. Rather she fainted but I feel nothing but pity for him and Aoi; both children of magi families, whose sanity was sacrificed due to magic. Compare this to any current political or royal family and you’ll understand what the hell happened. Your own life not being yours and many saddening factors leading up to it. I heard some people were saying that scene with Sakura was not in novels but it was. This is the Kariya whose body was dying with every step he took because the Crest Worms had already stopped working. He just came to see her or even take her out of the Matou mansion but failed miserably in the hands of death. It’s also sad that Sakura takes his death as a lesson from Grandfather: this is what happens to people who disobey grandfather… OTL.
A King can only be lonely and proud
Fate/Zero is not Saber’s best fate story. Though, just because her character has been popular since Fate/stay night days, she will sell anything and the reason she has a prominent place being Kiritsugu’s servant. I’ve said this before but her leadership values are faulty and how could she lead her knights when she didn’t even know how they felt or thought? It was the gap of self-righteousness to practicality that makes her return from where she started: a battlefield of corpses of her men, who sacrificed themselves in the name of her morals, trying to uphold her honour but couldn’t. There’s nothing but tears from her in end, which would make her even colder and untrustworthy towards most in the next war (FSN timeline).
Kiritsugu’s Bright Salvation
In the end, from all the destruction, only one good thing came about: the bond between Shirou and Kiritsugu. Both of them lost everything in that fire but found solace in each other by being father and son yet again. You can say, but Kiritsugu had Ilyasviel; technically, he didn’t because the Einzberns totally shut him off after the failure of fourth war and his role in it. Due to the curse by Angra Mainyu, he was unable to perform magic with his body deteriorating faster than triple accel. So, even when he tried to enter their palace, he couldn’t.
My most favorite moment of the last episode however is one of my favorite scenes from the FSN VN, which was made part of the actual novel for a reason. It was a heartwarming show of Shirou to take his father’s wish because he’s an oldman. What breaks my heart though is the fact that after this moment Kiritsugu passed on. He simply closed his eyes and life left him. It was as if his spirit was battling the curse just for this moment when his heir would take up his ultimate wish and make it his own.
Don’t we all have a certain special wish that we swear to fulfill when we grow up? Sometimes fulfilling that dream becomes the highest point of our life. Seeing this, made me remember those innocent days when I knew I could do anything if I just pushed/worked harder. I’m halfway there and hopefully, after many years down the line I’ll achieve it. See? Out of all the sadness and tragedies, Fate/Zero still managed to give us hope in the end. At least I felt connected even when it might be hard to relate for some people. From the survivors, Waver grows up to be a bishie and the second Lord El-Melloi for good measure.
Overall, this was a wonderful trip that I highly enjoyed reviewing. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea because it’s not your happily ever after rather filled with lots of blood and tears. Maybe the reason I like most of Nasu stories so much because he shows the ugliest faces of people but everything has a reason and in some cases redeemable qualities make all the difference; not to mention small amount of hope escalates to something wonderful in long-term. Though this was written by Urobuchi, the sadistic writer, who can literally breathe life into pre-history, which makes it all seem plausible. No wonder, Nasu praised him in the end notes.
I had a ball reviewing this series. I’m not sure if any title this season can replace the excitement I felt for this but there is some good news in the horizon with Mirai Fukuin (the true Epilogue of Kara no Kyoukai) adaptation and Tsukihime VN remake lightening my heart. My suggestion for a continuation is playing the Fate/stay night VN, which has been fully translated by mirrormoon. It’s amazing compared to DEEN’s adaptation so just leave that and enjoy the VN. For this season, I will be reviewing Natsuyuki and hope to channel my endearing side rather than constantly talking about hahahaa-he died. Seriously, I’m not that much of an S! Till next time, ja ne~
So, what did you think about the end; satisfied or feeling jilted? Which series will you be replacing this with?