Fate/Zero – 07

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I’m beginning to think that honor has about the same currency in Fate/Zero as it does in Game of Thrones, and it will likely get you just about as far.

There should certainly have been enough action to please any of the hardcore fans in this episode.  It was pretty breathless from start to finish, and in addition to showcasing several of the teams it also shed a good deal of light onto the characters.  It’s been pretty clear for a while which servants have honor and which don’t, but the masters have been harder to read.  For a game that has so many rules, most of them certainly don’t think twice about pissing all over them.  It’s been obvious for a while that Tohsaka and Kirei were jobbing the system, but revealed her was the fact that they’ve managed to buy the judge, too – the priest from the sanctuary church is part of Tohsaka’s plan.  And the suspension of the grail war to turn all attention to Caster is at least half a ruse, too, with the main thrust being the opportunity to poach the prize – an extra command seal – and maybe a free shot at picking off a couple of masters in the process.

What’s really interesting is that the “hero” of the piece, the guy we’re supposed to root for, is really no better.  Kiritsugu seems totally uninterested in stopping Caster’s slaughter of children, also seeing the manhunt as a way to get a free shot at unsuspecting masters during the cease-fire.  Clearly his wife and his servant feel quite differently, and indeed Saber takes Caster’s bait as he lures her out of their fortress with a small army of hostage kids he intended to murder until she comes to him.  Even then Kiritsugu is more interested in using the opportunity to try and finish the job of killing Kayneth, though the Archibald family head, with his odd mercury-like magic (alchemic?) seems to provide a bigger challenge than he expected.  Kiritsugu is clearly not an honorable man, using underhanded sneak attacks to try and eliminate the competition and ignoring Caster’s slaughter – he didn’t get the name “Magus Killer” for nothing.  Only the love of his family seems pure about him, for all his talk of saving humanity, though that might be his intention in an “ends justify the means” sort of way.  But why is he so frightened of Kirei?

Caster’s demon summoning book seems to lend him an enormous amount of prana, as he was able to field an army of tentacle monsters to throw against “Jeanne d’Arc” and inspire doujin circles everywhere.  With her left arm still useless as a result of Lancer’s curse, the noble King of the Britons was really no match for Caster’s Cthulhu cavalry, but as fittingly enough, it was Lancer to the rescue as Kayneth was off to do battle with Kiritsugu.  I’m sure Kayneth wants to replace that command seal he used very badly, but I’m equally sure than Lancer and Saber aren’t going to be up to the task of eliminating Caster so early in the story.  Frankly, I’d be going after the snot-nosed pimply serial-killer that’s his so-called “master” as he seems like a much easier target.  Caster is certainly an effective villain – I loathe the bastard with every fiber of my anime-viewing soul, but I suspect we’re going to be subject to seeing his atrocities for a while longer.

As for our old pals Waver and Rider, they were mostly comic relief again this week.  “At least put some pants on before you go out!” may be the most unexpected and hilarious line of dialogue in the series so far, but this was about as close as I’ve seen Waver come to actually growing a pair.  He forbade Iskander from going outside until he’d killed a servant and even refused to trek to town to buy him XXXL pants.  While Iskander was taking delivery from a bemused driver on his home shopping network t-shirt, Waver was receiving the summons to attack Caster.  I suspect that those two will go into action in the Caster hunt soon enough, but I really worry for Waver – he seems incredibly naïve compared to the others in the competition.  And truth be told, that’s the pair I’m rooting for at this point – Rider is just a GAR, “I don’t give a shit” barrel of laughs.

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  1. S

    Awesome awesome awesome, just plain awesome! Fate/Zero has the potential to become my favorite anime of all time and I didn't even like FSN to begin with.
    Both Kayneth's and Kiritsugu's have some pretty badass magecraft in their arsenal and I can't wait to see what the others can do. Saber's code of honor is probably not the best quality to have in this modern era war and it's no wonder that Kiritsugu didn't even want to acknowledge her in a conversation.
    Waver and Rider? That's an interesting choice. Kiritsugu all the way for me 😉

  2. A

    But why is he so frightened of Kirei?

    Well, so far right now everyone has either a clear motive and/or objective for the Holy Grail except for Kirei. Episode 1 had Kiritsugu explaining why he was so dangerous:

    – He's extremely diligent to accomplish what he's done so far with his life
    – He's completely unpredictable as he's thrown away everything that gave his life meaning several times
    – He's a former assassin that has years of experience being a Magus-Killer just like him.

    He was right to be scared in the beginning, and now even more so that he seems to be aiming purely at Kiritsugu. Everyone else he can probably plan ahead for as seen with this episode, but Kotomine remains the only exception.

  3. b

    Well, Kiritsugu is usually the hunter but in this case he is being the hunted now. Normally he would disregard this and fight with all he can but now he has loved ones(Iri and Ilya) which may get in the crossfire so he's scared. Also, Kotomine can read Kiritsugu's movements precisely with what happened in the hotel bombing last time. He used Kayneth as bait and set out to find Kiritsugu. That's why he's scared of Kotomine. He's different from his usual opponents.

    Also, I'm just gonna throw out that Lancer could have circled behind Caster and finished him off while Caster's focused on Saber. Makes you think about this chivalry of theirs. Or it could be something else 😉

    And what a fast episode. I was hoping that this would end at Lancer's entrance and Kiritsugu's fight would be for next episode. Not complaining, been dying to see Innate Time Control and Volumen Hydragenum animated. But that cliffhanger. Dammit I want next episode now!

  4. k

    Everyone seems to think that Kiritsugu didn't care about the kids and was willing to sacrifice them, I saw it slightly differently: He really does care about the kids, but his professionalism comes first. I believe he is actually quite torn inside, and it seems that Irisviel is the only one who truly understands who he is inside. To me, this was evidenced at several points:
    Right after the hotel bombing, as Kiritsugu departs he looks at the crying girl, and is quite pained.
    Second, in episode two when Saber and Iri are observing Kiritsugu playing with Ilia, we see that Iri has quite a deep insight into the man that is Kiritsugu, and this man, deep inside is actually quite an honourable, and caring man. But, as the great philosopher Rachel Dawes from Batman Beigins says, "It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you", and indeed Kiritsugu always puts the job at hand first.
    Which leads to the third point, which we see in this episode, the scene with Kiritsugu's emotional outburst further supports my previous two points, along with showing us a third one:
    That he wanted to run away with Iri and Ilia, run away from all the conflict.
    When they realised Caster was coming, he immediately discarded all emotion, once again proving he puts professionalism first.
    Again, Iri knows Kiritsugu very very well, when he says that he would never forgive himself for running away, and again showing that indeed, he wants to save the world. Unlike Shiro/Archer from FSN, Kiritsugu knows full well that to save one life, another must be lost; and to save many, a few so on and so forth.

  5. D

    The worst feeling for a hunter is to be hunted.

  6. d

    No one gonna say that Kiritsugu should have fired the automatic first and call the guy's name later?
    And referencing last week's episode preview of this episode… was it a troll? some lines said then was not repeated here…. troll

  7. k

    Clearly, the pistol he has in his hand is his trump card. His burst of automatic fire was probably to give Kayneth a burst of false confidence. What's that idiom about hubris before a fall again?

  8. b

    Whether he called out or not, the Volumen Hydragyrum would activate automatically.
    And he still fired at Kayneth even though he knows about the defense. That means he has a plan.
    And he's taunting Kayneth. Didn't you see how confident Kiritsugu looked when he pulled out the Thompson Contender? You'll see next episode what's so special about that gun and what he will do 😉

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