Nerd chills, I keep getting them, over and over again. Words and screen caps are not even enough to describe what a sick episode this is. In fact I took like 110 screen caps, even after filtering I was still stuck with 60-odd good ones and had to spend time deciding. In the end I decided to stick with 40, 4 more than usual. Also no captions for those because they are simply too awesome.
In essence, this episode comes down to a single word – EXCALIBUR!! I lost count of how many times I watched the scene in which the blast from Excalibur alone lasted 15 seconds. Overkill much? Not in the slightest. Even though I knew what was coming, my body was not prepared for it. The music and dialogue leading up to it, also something to simply marvel at.
The battle between Tokiomi and Kariya ended up to be one-sided, after all bugs ain’t very effective against fire. While I don’t really feel sorry for Kariya, it is important to remember that he fights for a noble cause even though that is mostly overshadowed by his vengeance. In the meantime, things are starting to pick up for Kirei‘s character development, as he recalls what Archer told him – “A soul naturally seeks pleasure, consciously or not.” It seems that he has an abnormal interest in Kariya, choosing to heal him over killing him. My best guess would be that he is actually, conscious or not, keen in observing Kariya’s struggles since it is a stark contrast in comparison to his own character. F/Z continues to impress me because every character has so much depth to it, even Kirei. Each and every one of them have their own motives and agenda, they all have very different backgrounds as well yet their fates are all intertwined together by the holy grail war.
Despite all these differences, there are similarities to be found within them. One such example is the path of chivalry that Lancer and Saber both champion. Lancer was more than willing to destroy his own Gae Buidhe despite Saber’s protest because they both realize that there is a bigger threat out there than the fight of honour in between the both of them. This might not seem like a big deal but it actually is, because what Lancer is doing is to basically cripple his chances of winning the holy grail war by gimping himself and restoring Saber to full strength. Thus the whole knight’s chivalry theme is something to be respected because knights were raised in such a way that they value honour over themselves.
As the Servants and Masters get eliminated one by one, it is Caster’s turn this time. His death scene was so exquisitely done. The blast from Excalibur causes him to literally see the light, recalling the memories that he had while serving Jeanne D’Arc before he succumbed to the dark side. There was no background music at all during this moment, signifying how solemn of a mood it was, as Caster finally comes to realization about his misdeeds before finally disappearing with a tinge of regret. It was a short yet impactful scene to watch.
The most thought-provoking moment though still revolves around Saber. The brilliance that surrounds her and her sword, the dreams of soldiers scattered in battle, past, present and future as they approach their final moment. She carries their will as her pride and they become a miracle that is known as Excalibur: Sword of Promised Victory. The thing about this brilliance is that it is borne from tragedy as soldiers whom are about to die place their hope upon Saber, which Rider rightfully points out. Most heroes are heroes not because they want to be one, but because they have no choice but to be one. Saber is a prime example of such, having to sacrifice her childhood and love life for the sake of leading her country. The question and thought of the day becomes: “Is such a brilliance beautiful or not?”
The same can be said for Kariya, who wanted to save Sakura and not win the holy grail war for his own needs. His tragedy gives birth to a brilliance that perhaps is what Kirei is so fascinated in.
It is through hardship where people start to shine, yet in the end is this sort of brilliance worth the tribulations? Rider feels that it is too much for a young maiden like Saber to bear the weight of a country, Archer delights in watching Saber head towards a path of self-destruction through her ideals, thus the beginning of a twisted obsession with her. There is no right or wrong, it is merely a matter of perspective, a matter of ideals. I never really saw myself agreeing with Rider on his views as a king compared to Saber’s. He was a king because he wanted to become one, whereas Saber became a king because she was needed by her people. It is about being selfless and putting the interests of the people above yourself, but alas it leads to a tragic ending because in the end, no one understands the difficulties Saber has to go through.
I’m very sure they will elaborate on Saber’s story towards the end of this series, the tragedy that befalls her and therefore the reason why she returned as a Heroic Spirit. But before that next week the showdown between Lancer and Saber will finally be settled. I don’t really expect the quality to be this insane since Ufotable pretty much invested heavily into these 2 episodes.
What is life without struggles? Ironic as it is, it is overcoming the hardships that make us shine as a person. That was the message I got out of the differing views between the King of Conquerors and the King of Heroes.
Lastly I want to give a shout-out to Berserker for being the mad dog that he is, because he clearly does not know how a free-for-all battle works nor how to win it. Still, that does not make him any less cool to watch because he simply does not care! His identity still remains a secret for now, even though I spoiled myself on it I still can’t wait for F/Z to reveal it and the enact his story out as well.
- Sad to see that the Reality Marble Ionian Hetairoi was not animated, but I can understand since they already have so much to do.
- Quality took a small dip but it is not noticeable by watching normally, since the drop in quality came from frames that flashed by very quickly.
- One does not simply attack a hero when powering up.