Fate/Zero – 03

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Not a thing wrong with the third episode of Fate/Zero, except perhaps if you compare it to the first two.

I admit I was a bit spoiled by the first two eps of this series (or more accurately, the first two weeks).  They seemed larger than a normal TV anime – big and busy and beautiful and intense.  Given that this series is scheduled for two cours it’s inevitable and even desirable that there should be some off-speed pitches, so the audience isn’t sitting on the fastball.  This week was a bit of a breather episode, and I’m sure there will be more.  While it wasn’t as exciting or compelling as the earlier efforts it probably came at a good time for me and other first-time viewers to catch our breath.

That’s not to say there wasn’t important and interesting stuff happening, both on the character and strategic fronts.  It always seemed possible, but it was confirmed that the business of Kirei attacking Tohsaka via Assassin was a ruse.  Assassin isn’t dead, as he’s apparently a servant composed of many component forms (as hinted at in the OP/ED).  The idea, of course, was to convince the other teams that Assassin was dead and that Kirei was out of the running – a ruse continued by Kirei checking into the neutral church set up as a sanctuary for defeated masters.  So far only Waver and Rider seem to have been taken in – their combination of inexperience and bull-headed literalism seemingly most vulnerable to subterfuge – but I’m not sure even Rider/Alexander was fooled.  Tohsaka seems like the mastermind behind this whole plot and the leader of the alliance, to he’ll be the one to watch.

We met another servant this week, Lancer (Midorikawa Hikaru), a spearmaster whose name sounds a bit like “Lancelot” though we don’t know much else about him.  He seems to have a Knight’s sensibilities too, as he’s offended at being forbidden by the rules to give Saber/Arthur – whom he’s challenged to battle – his name.  This challenge, and  Tohsaka’s ruse for that matter, seem like part of a feeling-out process – not so much an attempt to defeat the opponent but to get the measure of him or her.  In Lancer’s case to see what kind of fighting strength Saber has, and in Tohsaka/Archer’s case to see who’s clever enough to worry about.  If we’ve been told who Lancer’s master is, I can’t recall it.

And on that topic, we also don’t know who Kariya’s servant is yet, either.  He’s been basically absent after being very prominent in the premiere, and from the wikis I’ve seen and simple math it seems like the other servants who could belong to him are either Lancer or Berserker, who we also haven’t met as far as I can recall (there’ve been a lot of faces and names).  Berserker seems to command a lot of respect among the others, so I assume he must be a badass.  As for Alexander, the only one he seems to respect as an opponent is Bill Clinton, who he sees on Waver’s TV.  That and a reference to the VCR serve as a clever reminder that this is indeed a prequel, set in the 90’s and not the present day.

Finally, there were some interesting scenes involving Kiritsugu’s wife Iris and Saber, as well as Kiritsugu and his servant Maiya (Tsunematsu Ayumi).  We already knew that Iris was fated to die in this battle, but now we know why – she was “created” (homunculus?) specifically for the purpose of winning this war, presumably by Kiritsugu’s sponsors the Einzbern Family.  There’s much I don’t understand about this situation – did she actually mate with her “husband” and give birth to Ilya, and is Ilya human? She appears to be a sacrificial lamb but it strongly appeared that Kiritsugu loved her and their daughter both – yet this episode finds Kiritsugu and Maiya making out in their hotel room.  Meanwhile, the scenes of Saber gallantly showing Iris around the city after she’d told Saber it was her first time away from the castle where she was created were some of the most quietly involving of the series.

Based on these three episodes, if we have a “main” character pair, it’s surely Kiritsugu and Saber. They’ve gotten the most development so far, have been major players in all thee episodes and Saber especially has a personality quite unlike all the other servants.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens once all these gentle preliminaries are out of the way and the battle is joined in full.

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  1. b

    Check the OP again for Lancer's Master. And by that you can also see who Kariya's Servant is. Both Servants are badass though :).

    And yes, Iri is a homunculus. Ilya is also one, though her body was modified more than normal. Kiritsugu gave his sperm and they used Iri's body to give birth to Ilya which is the first time the family did that. Still, Iri feels happy that she became a mother and a wife even with that.

    That kiss was just to calm Kiritsugu, nothing more. Kiritsugu only loves Iri. Maiya is only considered a tool for war by Kiritsugu, just like a gun. Same with Saber which will be an important matter later.

    To other posters, I will kill you if you spoil the remaining Servants' identities. Just saying 😉

  2. F

    Of course Kiritsugu and Saber are the main characters. I'm curious as to why you would ever think that wasn't the case.

    Personally, I'm fine with Kiritsugu working independently and cheating(?) on Iri, since the Saber and Iri scenes just melted my heart. Saber, you really are the King of Knights, and you know how to treat a woman.

    Totally was not expecting to hear Midorikawa Hikaru's voice come out of Lancer.

  3. b

    Check the OP again for Lancer's Master. By that you can also see who Kariya's Servant is. Both Servants are badass though :)

    And yes, Iri is a homunculus. Was mentioned in the early parts of the novel. Ilya was born by Kiritsugu's sperm and magically modified inside Iri's womb. This is the first time the Einzbern did this procedure as they only make full grown homunculus before. Still, Iri has emotions coz of Kiritsugu and feels happy to be a wife and mother even with that.

    Maiya is only considered as a tool by Kiritsugu even though they know each other for a long time. That kiss was just to calm Kiritsugu's wavering heart. But Kiritsugu's love is still his family.

    To other posters, I will kill you if you spoil the other Servant's identities. Just sayin' 😉

  4. Well how the hell would I know? I haven't played the VN, couldn't get through F/SN and I only have the first three episodes to go on. They were ensemble episodes and it wasn't really obvious until this week that they were "officially" MCs.

  5. That last comment was a reply to Fence, BTW, not Belatkuro. Slipped that comment in while I was typing mine…

  6. d

    Whatever you do, do it to the fullest.
    @Enzo: I think in the first ep it showed Kiri summoning a big muscular guy, So I would take it that it is not lancer, since lancer's muscles are more the compact and not the bulging kind. So Kiri should have berserker (as the name implies, berserker is like the hulk, all muscles).
    So i guess that professor guy, Ad…ZXXEFE? has lancer?

  7. A

    Honestly, with the director handling the material well as he has already, I really, really doubt that any "clarification" regarding any ambiguous aspects is actually necessary and/or helpful. Due to how faithful the adaptation is so far, I'm thinking that if there's anything that is omitted it was either superfluous or will be saved for later for better timing. That's just my take on novel information, as another novel reader.

    Well, aside from that, this was another great episode that serves to build up tension and suspense for Saber vs Lancer, which will most likely act as the first "real" battle in the series. I'm getting really excited at how this might turn out.

  8. S

    I'm loving Fate/Zero, don't think there's an anime that kept me this excited since Madoka. Guess I like Urobuchi Gen's work more than I thought. All the masters and servants are flawed in their own ways and seemed pretty smart which is definitely a breath of fresh air.
    Waver's lucky he ended up with Rider. Imagine if he has Gilgamesh as his servant, he would be mince meat by now.

  9. I'm waiting for Waver to show me something besides whining at this point. He's obviously not going to be a combat specialist but some cleverness, some insight – something to show he belongs on stage with the rest of the Masters. I suppose he's lucky in that Rider has a sense of humor, but frankly he seems oddly matched with any of the Servants right now.

    Mind you, I'm not asking for a spoiler – I'm sure we'll see that side of him sooner or later.

  10. b

    Waver's time to shine will come. At most we'll see some before this season ends and the rest is for next year. Meanwhile, enjoy his whining for a while :))

    @Seishun Otoko
    Nah I don't think he'll get Gilgamesh as a Servant in a summoning. The Servants summoned mostly follows the owners of the artifacts used. And the Servant summoned will mostly match the Master's personality in most summonings, even if an artifact doesn't have a specific owner. An example is Caster.
    So even if Waver didn't have an artifact, he won't likely get Gilgamesh in a random summoning.

  11. d

    @belatkuro: Did not the teenage murder kid have a a brown demon spell book? Is that not caster's artifact/spell book?

  12. b

    That was just an old occult book. In the novels it said that it was dated a hundred years ago. But it was enough of a catalyst for summoning. Even if you don't have an artifact of a hero it is still possible to summon one with only that and if you have Magic Circuits. The proper artifact is used so that the Servant summoned will not be a random one but the owner of that artifact.
    Or closely connected to it like with Gilgamesh.
    Caster's case is an exception in that Ryuunosuke was chosen to fill the last slot and he kind of fulfilled the requirements(his Magic Circuits were dormant but useable). Makes you think the Grail is playing tricks by choosing a murderer and summoning one as well.

  13. K


    No it is a book that contains magic incantations of his family, It has nothing to do with Caster.This is explained in detail in the LN, but isn't that important for the plot, so I guess it was simply ignored.

  14. Actually, I think the kid mentioned that the book was a family heirloom, and nothing to do with Caster or the grail war – that was certainly the impression I walked away with.

  15. d

    hmmm, could be the family's heirloom came from somewhere. Like a powerful pedo killer from the past?
    Does the LN explain how he managed to summon caster? He did say the summoning spell right?

  16. b

    Actually it was mentioned in the novels that the book that Ryuunosuke used was found in the warehouse of his old home. He returned to his old house first and then found that book.
    Quote from the novels:
    "The postscript says ninth year of the Keiō era. This writing is more than a hundred year old, dating back to the end of the Bakumatsu."

    And yeah he did the summoning like in episode 2. "Fill, fill, fill…", that incantation in ep2.
    He was just having fun and has no idea about what he's doing but in a cruel twist of fate he was chosen to fill the last slot as a Master.
    As long as you have a good enough catalyst(in this case the old book and that summoning circle of blood), and Magic Circuits(he has dormant but useable ones), one can be chosen as a Master.

  17. d

    @Bel: Did he not say the chant before he got his seals? the other masters got their seals before they did the summon.
    So the order of whether summon first or become a master first is not chronological?

  18. b

    Tokiomi explained it in episode 1.
    The Grail is the one who chooses the Masters, those who want the Grail(with the exception of course of Kotomine), and gives them Command Seals. Those seals are the proof that you can summon a Servant. They can receive them as early as 3 years(Tokiomi and Kotomine) before the war or even days before it starts. But the HGW is a ritual after all happening every 60 years so there's only a specific time for summoning.
    As I said, Ryuunosuke was chosen arbitrarily(or was it on purpose?) as a Master to fill up the seven Masters since time is running out and there isn't a magus stepping up for the last slot. And by coincidence he did a summoning circle so the summoning took place at once after he got the Seals.
    And there you have it, the 7th Master, a murderer.

  19. A

    Kariya – Berserker
    Waver's professor – Lancer

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