Delays, yikes! Despite everything that has been going in the real world, I got to say that this episode is by far the most dramatic/emotional one that I’ve seen yet (there’s more to come for sure).
The beauty about Fate/Zero is that it isn’t a show about rainbows and unicorns where everyone lives happily ever after. It is a show where people are dying left and right, in the most tragic and ironic way possible. The dialogue spoken presents ideals which are very realistic and applicable to the present. Characters have all have a distinct unique personality that sets them apart from the rest. All in all it makes for a very entertaining watch because it resonates so well with the viewers whom are able to empathize with it. Excluding the Excalibur moment, I felt that I connected better to this episode compared to the previous two, due to how the story focused more on the personal aspects of the characters instead of the large-scale fighting that was present earlier.
Let’s start with the finer details first. The stage is slowly but surely setting up for Kirei as he “subconsciously” helps out Kariya, which is in direct conflict with his master Tokiomi’s interest. Since I already know the major events that are going to happen, I won’t spoil or speculate too much since it is meaningless, but it is interesting to see Kirei gain self-awareness, almost like how a robot gaining emotions. If 16 episodes of Fate Zero hasn’t indicated subtlety enough, Kirei indeed has a much larger role to play later on.
After half a season of royal battle without a single participant getting knocked out, within 2 episodes 2 of them have already bitten the dust. In the grand scheme of things one could say that the order of elimination factors in the importance that each Master/Servant combination plays. The Caster duo was a pair that had no greater goal other than to just wreak havoc thus they were eliminated first.
Next up, the Lancer-trio combination. It is not very surprising to see them go out at this stage of the game due to what a huge douche Kayneth is. This is the sort of person whom you would not want to work for under any circumstances. Shooting the hand that feeds, treating your Servant like a dog, mind you he is a heroic spirit. I wouldn’t fault him for killing off the church master even though it is underhanded to do so. I do think that it is a little strange for the church dude to be killed off just like that, since I thought he was a vital story character in terms of the role that he plays. Either he has multiple lives; or maybe he does not matter anymore. The thing is why did no one else ever bothered to do finish him off in the past holy grail wars? Back to the point, Kayneth’s death is nothing to grief over, since he pretty much deserved it, but to be exploited by such a simple loop-hole, even a 3-year old kid could figure that out. Granted he did not have much of a choice in that situation but if I were him I wouldn’t expect myself to get out alive anyway. Grasping at straws would be the idiom to use here.
It is also sad to see Sola-Ui go just like that, while she didn’t have a huge role to play, she felt like an innocent party who turned yandere (yan on Kayneth, dere on Diarmuid) thanks to the curse of Diarmuid. She deserves at least 3 lines worth of mention no doubt about that!
Lancer, yet another tragic death. To see a knight who fought in the name of chivalry die in that fashion reeks of irony. However I sort of expected him to succumb to the dark side in his dying moments, after all one of the worse feelings to experience is the feeling of being betrayed, and to die in that process of betrayal? That is like adding salt to a fatal wound. I could really empathize Lancer’s feelings, to believe in the knight’s code of honour; to tolerate his Master’s verbal abuse; to be able to find solace in fighting Saber, only to have everything robbed from him in that instant. Not to mention I believe (I read on it before but couldn’t recall the exact details) he did die in a similar way in his actual life, so the injustice of having to die twice in the same manner caused him to give in to his rage, after all what need is there for playing the nice guy on your final moments?
While the highlight of the episode probably belongs to the death of Lancer, the gem of the episode still belongs to the exchange of words and ideals between Kiritsugu and Saber. I dislike being overly technical so I’ll simplify it to being “Process vs Outcome“. Yes there are proper terms for the philosophies that Saber and Kiritsugu hold, no I won’t be going on about that because Google is a better place to do so. My personal belief is that process will most certainly triumph over the outcome because what is the point of achieving the said outcome if one sacrifices so much in the process? It is almost as if it is a hollow victory of sorts.
Make no mistake, the stance I take also depends on what situation it is and the factors involved. In this specific example, or war as a whole, I have to side with Kiritsugu in that there is nothing noble about fighting on the battlefield. His words may sting but it rings true, when lives become the price of victory, valour and glory are merely an illusion in the face of the ugly truth.
In light of the conflicting views between Saber and Kiritsugu, Saber’s words also struck me hard. “Doing evil out of a hatred of evil will only give birth to another conflict.” Adding black + black does not equal a white. There is nothing wrong about Kiritsugu’s goal, but his method of achieving the means to an end is questionable, which leads me to this question – “Can righteousness truly save this world?”
The real reason why many people; including myself, are able to empathize and side with Kiritsugu is because of the fact that; as Saber pointed out, Kiritsugu was once a believer of justice. It really felt like a blast into the past where I used to naively believe that justice and righteousness is the way to go. As I grew up I slowly saw the real face of humanity and how hopeless it can be. As a result I have become somewhat jaded; disillusioned, yet at the same time I still believe in the very same values that I hold in my younger days. Seeing Kiritsugu is much like another reflection of myself. I’m sure many others will feel the same once you discover that the world isn’t a bed of roses and that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
If one thinks that this episode is sick; in more meanings than one, that is something I fully agree with, the remaining episodes are going to be even better from here on. Each character has their own story to tell and every time they do so, there is always a lot to write home about. Having top-notch animation is merely the tip of the iceberg, it is the writing that really makes this a top caliber anime, and let us not forget to credit the music accompaniment as well.
Random thoughts and side notes:
- No captions for F/Z from now on, they’re too sick for me to even attempt to poke fun at it.
- After watching Madoka (ironically by the same writer), signing contracts is a big no-no.
- I will never understand why some characters always have their eyes closed, I mean are they Medusa or something?
- For some reason the lack of eyeballs in certain characters isn’t that disturbing but why do they not have eyeballs?