Fate/Zero – 16

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If this is what saving looks like, I’d rather not be saved, thanks.

Obviously, that was a mighty powerful episode, easily the best of the second cour.  There’s no question in my mind that episodes like this one are where Fate/Zero shines brightest, because they’re the ones that best show off Urobuchi Gen’s massive talents as a writer.  He can do big action set pieces like the one that dominated this season, but you can almost sense him going through the motions a little when he does – that what really excites him are the great philosophical debates that drive this series.  So when you have scenes like the one that finished this ep or the Summit of the Three Kings last season, all you can do is watch in astonishment at the kind of dialogue this guy is able to deliver.  I know some viewers rail against these moments as too dialogue-heavy, but for my money they’re F/Z at its best.

We had an interesting little discussion here last week about alignments and how they apply to the servants and masters here.  I won’t re-hash it, but it certainly is interesting to try and capture these characters using that model – and Kiritsugu is the most interesting of the bunch.  I love moral ambiguity, and clearly so does Urobuchi-sensei – but you’ll rarely see it elevated to the level of art that F/Z does.  I never liked Kiritsugu to be honest, because I’m never ascribed to the moral relativism that guides his life.  In brief, I believe once you start down the road of self-justification he travels, there can be no limit to the atrocities you commit in the name of whatever goal you claim is paramount.

Heck, Kiritsugu even admits this himself – “If I must stain my hands with every evil in the world, I don’t care.”  Urobuchi is obviously intrigued by this world view and characters who espouse it (Kyuubey certainly fits the mold almost perfectly) and it definitely makes for interesting television.  There are so many holes in Kiritsugu’s line of reasoning I can hardly begin to list them, but here’s one – what if you’re wrong?  What if this goal you’re so sure is worth committing evil under the sun turns out to be the wrong goal?  Kiritsugu’s philosophy is fundamentally a one-man religion that worships his own ego, and I feel no sympathy for his perspective.  He’s an evil man who couches his evil in terms of necessity, and justifies his actions by the surety of his own essential rightness.  Hitler, too, surely thought he was doing the right thing for humanity – he just happened to have a very specific definition of humanity that didn’t include a good chunk of it.  Kiritsugu is not Hitler, but once you devote yourself to the path of winning at all costs, there’s no stopping that train – the brakes simply can’t handle the grade.

Mind you he’s certainly not totally wrong in his disdain for the Code of Chivalry, as defined here by Arthur and Diarmuid.  Whether you agree with Saber’s memorable line, “If you commit evil out of hated for evil, rage and hatred will merely birth new conflict” is up to you, but I do share Saber’s view that there must be some underlying code of morality that governs our actions if we’re to attempt to live in a world governed by justice and decency.  But Saber’s view is, on the whole, too idealistic and Kiritsugu is quite right that it’s the kind of moral certitude that she espouses that has led countless young men to horrible death on the battlefield – and Urobuchi clearly avoids the juvenile naiveté that commonly exists in anime, celebrating this viewpoint unquestioningly. Where Kiritsugu’s gone wrong is that his hatred for Saber and her ideals has twisted him into a monster incapable of being governed by decency or reason.  His laughable assertion that he “never lets personal feelings interfere” is only further proof of how disconnected from reality (and self-awareness) Kiritsugu is.

Urobuchi continues to demand much from the audience here, and pushes us to choose what we believe.  Certainly Rider has called out some of the same flaws in Saber’s philosophy that Kiritsugu has, but he still lives under a moral code – it’s just a different one from hers, a kind of Church of Personal Greatness.  He and Archer probably present something of a middle ground in this moral debate, different as they are from each other – both are egoists but also pragmatists, with Rider’s ideals pushing him more towards the view that what’s best for the King of Conquerors is ultimately best for the world, whereas Gilgamesh seems fundamentally interested in ruling all because he should, and in using the world as his plaything because he has every right to do so.  The dead Caster and Uryuu represented pure animal savagery, blood lust and cruelty for its own sake, but ultimately they were at least predictable – and thus, never really a threat to win the game.  Nero and Caligula were some of the worst Emperors in the history of the Roman Empire for a reason.

I wonder if we’re looking at a “death of the week” pattern now, though with 10 episodes left the numbers don’t add up exactly.  I presume we’re looking at a “last man standing” scenario and we have four servants and five masters left, though as Kiritsugu pointed out if a master dies a servant can theoretically contract with someone else.  This week’s tragic events were certainly impactful, though I do worry about emotional fatigue if someone gets offed every week.  That seems to be a bit of a box Urobuchi has written himself into here, and I’ll be interested to see how he navigates it.  With Kayneth and Sola eliminated along with Lancer, the other death of interest was Risei’s at the hand of Kayneth.  With Risei dead and Kirei obviously wavering under Archer’s seduction (the thrill of disobeying his master by saving Kariya is going to act like a drug) Tohsaka’s safety net is tearing all around him and I can easily see him being among the next to die, though what that means for Archer I’m not sure.

I can’t wrap without talking about Lancer’s death, which was something I’ve been expecting for a while but still kicked pretty hard.  I’ve really loved this character from the beginning, as his tragic story is one of the most compelling of the bunch.  I don’t dispute his honor for a moment – I think he’s even more committed to personal honor than Saber, actually – but fate is incredibly cruel to him, denying him over and over the chance to redeem the honor he lost in life.  Some would have called him a fool for giving Saber her Excalibur back (though he did so for the greater good) and her one for refusing to use the left hand restored through Lancer’s chivalryto kill him – but I think both deserve at least respect for their consistency, and being willing to die as they lived.  Fool Diarmuid may be, but he deserved better – a better master than the foolish and vain Kayneth, and a better demise than at the hands of the twisted ghoul Kiritsugu, a man completely devoid of honor himself.  Diarmuid’s way might not be realistic, but it’s noble – and his death is the cruelest moment in the series so far.  I suspect Kiritsugu will give us many more cruel ones before it’s over.

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  1. J

    Hands down the best episode this series has shown me.

    I've never been too fond of those over convoluted debates. I thought most of them didn't fit in and broke the pace.

    But here, it was perfect. This was the episode that did it for me: F/Z and Urobuchi Gen are awesome.

    You also mentioned that there were more Kiritsugu-dark kills remaining…Damn, I'll be looking forward to what they are.

  2. Not a spoiler – just a guess! Have not read the LNs.

  3. b

    And this is why Kiritsugu is seeking a miracle. Because throughout his life it's been about saving people by killing people. It's a path he thinks will yield the best outcome in a world filled with wars but in the end he realized too late that it doesnt lead to salvation. There will be an episode dedicated to Kiritsugu and how he became the man he is. He became broken with pursuing his simple ideals and one day it will surely haunt him but for now he believes this is the path to take.

  4. Deleted due to F/SN spoiler…

  5. I

    Sorry, great episode though.

  6. J

    Wow that was so cruel, knowing Lancer backstroy, him to die from his master's hand, but the development until it is something I did not expect. Damn, Lancer's dying words send chills down my spine, I have tear-up. Even the death of Kayneth and Sola is just….damn Gen Urobuchi. And to think the last episode was awesome, yet they created this episode much more, F/Z how the hell do you do that.

  7. F

    Nero … worst Emperors in the history of the Roman Empire for a reason.

    You haven't met the right Nero's. Umu!

  8. A

    More like the "correct" Nero. Modern historians agree that Nero wasn't that depraved and was victim to historian's bias. He was most definitely not the one who started the Fire and was even quite generous in the reconstruction of Rome. There's even a documentary for that: "How Nero Saved Rome".

    It was this sympathetic version of Nero that Nasu used when he conceived the Heroic Spirit Nero. Umu!

  9. LOL.

    Modern historians don't "agree" by any means. There are some revisionists who question if Nero was guilty of the worst of the offenses ascribed against him, but the vast majority of historians still consider him one of the worst of all Roman Emperors.

    But then, he did provide Rome with a valuable new light source – burning Christians!

  10. A

    Fate/Extra Nero: ''I didn't start the fire! It's always been burning since the world been turning!''

    And let's face it, when you base a religion on the idea that light = good while there is a mentally unstable person residing as the head of state, you are sort of setting yourself up for a rather unpleasant end …

    But seriously, let's not confuse the fantasies and historical re-writes of the Type-Moon universe for the actual historical evidence. Nero didn't save anyone, certainly not Rome, by the horrific actions he had taken.

    Sometimes I wonder why does Type-Moon does these re-writes when they could always go for a truly heroic legendary women like Boudica, who tried to stand up against Nero, instead of trying to paint a villain in a better light …

  11. A

    It's not a fantasy. There really was a documentary.

  12. A

    Type=Moon fantasy. I wasn't denying that there was a ''Nero saves Rome (LOL)'' documentary, which IMO sounds like it falls into the same mistakes other works such as the Rise and Fall of Napoleon fall into, and that is rather than try and tell history as it had occurred and give an idea of how things had come to pass, they try and rework the historical context to fit with the idea that Nero worked to ''save'' Rome, that Napoleon had a sudden ''rise'' and a definitive ''fall'' etc.

  13. S

    Awesome episode and great review as always, though I admit I have a very different view.
    We've known from day one Kiritsugu is no saint but I think Saber and Lancer are equally bad, if not worse. The knightly code of honor is not a luxury everyone can have, especially when you're fighting to survive. Saber and Lancer try to force their values upon others and condemn those who don't have their idealism, that’s the ultimate form of selfishness and egoism in my opinion.
    Lancers bitterness when he was betrayed by Kayneth is to put it bluntly, exactly how a sore loser looks like. His assertion “Do you want to win so desperately that you’ve crushed MY remaining wish” is laughable and preposterous. Kayneth made a good point on how Lancer was silly to accept Saber’s challenge when that’s clearly not the urgent matter at hand. Lancer was so fixated on having his own “honorable” duel that he even failed to prioritize Sola-Ui’s rescue. Mind you, he knew very well she was barely alive, with her hand chopped off to say the least.
    Saber and Lancer knew what they were getting into when they sign up, it’s not a battle among knights or nobles, it’s a battle royale and by definition, you kill to survive. I understand that’s how Saber and people of her generation are wired, but she as Rider put it very well acts like idealistic little girl, full of hypocrisy and naivety.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone Kiritsugu’s crooked methods and I agree the world (fictional or not) does need more justice and decency, but at the very least, Kiritsugu has a clear vision on what he wants to achieve and that is winning the Grail War. It’s an unfortunate truth that you almost never win when you fight fairly and the nice guy almost always finish last. If Saber and Lancer don’t even understand that, I’m not even sure why they’re taking part in this battle royale – Were they even fighting to kill this week? That to me shows how disconnected from reality they are (quoting from your post).
    Gosh, that was a very long comment! Urobuchi Gen inspires me like no one else. What a great writer 😉

  14. Hitler certainly had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve.

    If you try to do good, you'll either end up achieving good or evil. If you try to do evil, you're guaranteed to achieve evil. Saber and Lancer are naive and bear some responsibility for what that has wrought (especially Saber, who was a ruler) but Kiritsugu's way is indefensible, in my view. Moral relativism is a flawed philosophy, though there are certainly those who disagree with me about that.

  15. d

    I too disagree with you. Kiritsugu may use underhand tactics to win a fight. But that was how he was trained and underhanded only came about because of honor/glory from legends.

    He is a professional killer and that is why he is detached from his job. He does not like killing. He is a professional. Like a professional lawyer, doctor, accountant. These professions require a code in doing stuff. Like accountants do not commit fraud and have integrity (basically doing their job properly).
    Kiritsugu is doing his job perfectly. His emotional detachment is due to professionalism. That does not mean he is not in touch with reality. He does love his family and is doing the best for the world. (Saber wish is not for the one). (Was Hitler doing what he thought was best for the world? or for himself?)

    His view of the world is surely different from the normal man. That is why the normal man must understand his world before normal logic comes in. The OP song shows him walking on a beach, war zone and something else. progression from a happy child on a beach to a killer child?

    His best skill is killing. And if his skill can save the world so be it. Hopefully, you will change your mind as episodes roll by. (Unlikely as it is)

  16. S

    Enzo, I don't think it's fair to compare Hitler to Kiritsugu, that's like comparing Kim Jong il to Caster.
    The Grail War is a dog eats dog battle royale among 7 teams to begin with, you fight to win and that's exactly what Kiritsugu is doing, nothing more, nothing less.
    I don't really see this as a question of good versus evil, moral or amoral. Kiritsugu is no saint as I've said, but he's certainly not disconnected from reality. In fact, he speaks the truth most of the time, and both Saber and Lancer are certainly as egotistical as their masters or even worse in my opinion.

  17. Do you honestly believe he's connected to reality? His claim not to let emotions interfere with his actions is patently false – just watch him. He's driven by hatred (some of it self-hatred, to be sure). Hatred is an emotion.

    I said numerous times that Kiritsugu is not equivalent to Hitler, but that's the point with this "all's fair in love and war" BS – once you commit to that choice, there can be nothing legitimately disqualified on moral grounds. And to answer dv's question, yes – I do believe Hitler believed he was doing right by what he saw as the only part of humanity that mattered, the "Master Race". Hitler believed he was doing the right thing, as he saw it. So does Kiritsugu. So did Kyuubey. The minute you decide your way is the only right way and you close yourself off to the possibility that it might not be, you're lost.

  18. A

    Enzo, my pal. Just drop this Hilter thing. The moment you brought up the Hilter card (a mistake), you're losing it over that a little. And now Norway Killer? Why are you bearing down over a trivial matter of which just started as a simple character dislike, I don't understand. Your message board is getting steamrolled over this issue.

    Simply saying "I don't like Kiritsugu and you can suck it" should finish the issue here. And move on. No need to keep bearing down and bringing extreme cases after extreme cases.

  19. What lives under bridges in Norway? Hmm…

  20. S

    I agree and that's my point Enzo, "all's fair in love and war" is indeed BS, and that's what Lancer & Saber don't seem to understand as well. The war is ugly to begin with and no knightly code of honors can make it less so, no matter how much you try to deceive yourself or others.
    We're all driven by hatred to a certain extend and that's certainly not disconnected from reality, it's just a fact of life (nobody's that Zen!). Kiritsugu recognizes that, on the other hand, Lancer and Saber continue to condemn those who don't follow their ideals or indeed play by their knightly ways.
    Neither is correct, but just looking at this particular story, if I've made the choice to take part in a battle royale, fighting till death for a Legendary Grail that can grant any wishes, I really don't think playing by the knightly code of honors is the best way to achieve that and certainly, I wouldn't assume the other 6 team to be as naive =3

  21. I'm not saying The Chivalric Code is right or realistic, Seishun. But to the specifics of your comment – if you agree that "All's fair…" is BS, why do you disagree with that specific element of their POV? It's Kiritsugu and the relativists who basically espouse that – at the very least, Saber and Lancer would say all shouldn't be fair in love and war. In terms of that one limited portion of the debate, I don't see the beef.

  22. S

    Indeed, there are two very different perspectives of "All's fair…" that you can look at, both from Kiritsugu's and Saber/Lancer's POVs.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments, Enzo. I had fun 😉

  23. A

    I don't see how Kiritsugu's a moral relativist. If anything, he's an absolutist. He believes that killing is always wrong, no matter the circumstances or the justifications (unlike Saber, who believes killing can be made honorable by adhering to chivalry). He thinks that what he's doing himself is evil.

    However, he also believes that by winning the Grail he can prevent any violence from ever occurring again in the history of forever. Because… miracles. It's a miracle. An impossible dream. He's willing to sacrifice everyone, including himself, to that dream. Which is certainly something you can disagree with or even loathe, but it's not because he's not a moral relativist or a hypocrite. He's just kinda crazy.

  24. M

    I can never agree with Kiritsugu or see him as anything other than Evil. I disagree with Saber about what she says about war and battle field, Kiritsugu is right to say all battlefields are hell, however is there isn't any sort of moral code that we follow, we won't be different from monsters.
    I'm guessing Kiritsugu is following "the End justifies the Mean" since he thinks he can do all the evil in the world as long as he can get to his goal. the thing is, no matter how honorable and glorious is goal is, if it is obtained through evil mean, it'll be tainted with evil hence will not be good at all and will never last long.

    But I gotta say Kiritsugu is one of the most interesting characters in this show, along with archer, the most unpredictable. All the characters in this show are interesting, and have their own way of thinking that makes them very real

  25. A

    I have to heavily disagree with you about Kiritsugu Enzo. They are in a war here. As Kiritsugu said, War is hell, and there are no rules. Lancer and his Masters were not forced to play this death game and joined willingly. Just because Kiritsugu does not play by there rules of honor, that doesnt make him Hitler.

    "Where Kiritsugu’s gone wrong is that his hatred for Saber and her ideals has twisted him into a monster incapable of being governed by decency or reason."
    pff lol right, because the guy who loves playing with his daughter and almost dropped out of the war in episode 7 for his family really fits that bill doesnt it?

  26. Take off the rose-colored glasses. Kiritsugu is willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to achieve what he sees as the right result. He's willing to brook no possibility that he could be wrong, and completely blind as to his own prejudices. The fact that all of the other masters and servants are flawed in their own way doesn't make Kiritsugu right.

    I'll say it again – moral relativism deosn't work. The path of history is paved with the corpses of the victims of that philosophy. Once you start down the path Kiritsugu has chosen, tragedy and disaster is inevitable. Saber being wrong too doesn't change that.

  27. A

    hey, a fellow Anonymous, I'm Anonymous, too. Anyway, yes, Enzo, if Kiritsugu is like Hitler, is Kenshin Hitler, too? You know Kenshin killed at least 70-100 times more people than Kiritsugu ever will do. Kenshin is a mass murderer. Certainly suits the bill more than Kiritsugu. C'mon, you just don't like Kiritsugu since he's a cynical adult jerk, Enzo. He should've just kept quiet and got some botox injects to have more youthful looking (silence youth killer trope). Instead he goes on insult Saber, the big no-no on many fans (except for me and my friend Anonymous).

    Yes, war is hell and I don't care for beatification of such blank check for killings. It's a sorry excuse for justification in my opinion. Naturally I don't buy Saber and co.'s war propaganda (not that I approve of Kiritsugu all that, but hey at least he knows that war is hell, not some playground for unicorns to dance over hero's achievement).

  28. A

    ok, I don't want to beat the dead horse here, but I bet if one only compares Kenshin as Battosai and Kiritsugu in FZ, there is zero difference. I know Kenshin is a story about redemption and all that, but for argument's sake, let's pretend that it's just Battosai and Kiritsugu. They both are willing to sacrifice anyone (except for their loved one, Tomoe and Irisviel) to achieve what they believe as peace and doesn't doubt their view might be wrong. They kill in cold blood. I tell ya, there is no difference so if one like one character, but not the other, it's clearly a biased view, in my book. If Kiritsugu tries to atone his sins after achieving his goal like Kenshin does after achieving peace, I don't see what the issue is; every one is willing to forgive Kenshin's action as Battosai after all.

  29. d

    #Enzo: He is willing to sacrifice anyone. all those people in the Hyatt hotel in season 1 would have died too. He setting off the fire alarm warned the enemy of their presence. Have you seen him do collateral damage so far?

  30. Lots of bridges in Norway are lonely tonight…

  31. A

    Does wanting to achieve your goal make you an evil person? Once you enter war there is no turning back, either you win it by any means or get killed. Kiritsugu just does his fight and does it well.
    Moral relativism simply means, that you are accepting, that other people may have different values from you. Is it such a wrong philosophy? Do all people have to share common believes and ideals?
    I don't really get hatred towards Kiritsugu. He is not a hero, but neither were Kayneth or Sola. If he didn’t kill them, they would have killed him for sure. Also, Lancers ideals were unrealistic and his death was a good demonstration of their worth.

  32. I want to point out that this very same argument was rampant on the Madoka Magica boards during that series' run. Is that a coincidence? No – Urobuchi knows exactly what he's doing. And he's consistent with the questions that fascinate him.

    Consequentialism, relativism, Machiavellian, whatever you want to call it – this philosophy has many names and this argument goes back Millennia. I have several more posts to get out, so I'm going to cede the field to you guys, or else I would be here chewing this bone all night. Have fun, and keep it civil.

  33. d

    The reason people hated QB was not because he was a lying prick. Not because of the system of witches and magical girls he created. If he came clean from the beginning it is a different story.

    In this case all the masters/servants knew what they were up against. (Except pyshco killer shounen).

  34. w

    It's good to question if what you do is "wrong". However, morality is much more complex than that. It's more a SOCIAL concept that anything else. What goes against social norms are considered immoral. Morality is not some kind of universal truth. You need social context to define morality. I.e. if you want to live in society, morality are standards defined. It is not something written in the laws of the universe.

  35. T

    Hmmm. Looks like Kiritsugu rubbed you in the wrong way, Guardian Enzo. Granted, he is not the paragon of virtue, but he is sure damn interesting.

    "If you try to do good, you'll either end up achieving good or evil. If you try to do evil, you're guaranteed to achieve evil." – quoted

    Aren't those words an example of moral relativism in itself? I am not with you 100% on that statement for there have been evil acts that did end up producing good (whether it was intended or not), from a certain point of view, anyway.

  36. t

    Enzo, most of us arent saying that Kiritsugu is perfect. He is totally fucked up, and not at completly correct, however in my opinion calling him an inhuman monster and comparing him to Hitler is way, way too much. You make it sound like he is the same as Caster and Ryunosuke level evil, and i think thats why so many of us are objecting.

    As for the Madoka comparision, In my opinion Kiritsugu is different from kyubee because he is human. He has emotions, and he does get hurt and feel bad about his actions. Whereas Kyubee is just a blank slate who never feels a thing. The anime has not been that good about showing kiritsugu's human side, but its there and there is still more on the way. Im looking forward to seeing what you make of Kiritsugu in the future, because even though i don't fully agree with you, you arent really wrong either. Its complicated

    …God I love Urobuchi's writing. If it wasn't for the fact that im a wimp with horror stuff, id probably check out Saya no Uta.

  37. w

    Well moral relativism is often misunderstood. As an umbrella term, there are even different scales and schools of moral relativism and they disagree with each other. Extreme relativism imply that relativism itself is an oxymoron as it tries to force a meta-framework from an objective point of view. If you go meta-meta, relativism and absolutism and universalism are all acceptable frameworks with various advantages and flaws. Good luck trying to combine all of them together. Then you will get someone with a quite interesting world view (mine shifts depending on my moods)

    "Evil" and "good" are meaningless if its long-term effect gives the opposite effect. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work in binaries. It would have been easier that way…

  38. A

    well now that Uchuu Kyoudai 4 is out already, we can safely say that this like/dislike Kiritsugu argument is irrelevant now.

    Seeing Enzo fuming with Kiritsugu hatred makes his character even more appealing to me.

    BTW why none of anime writers so far is courageous enough to make a villain win fair and square? Whether it's Light of Death Note or lelouch of code geass, Johan of Monster, Darth Vader, I could go on… they never win. Even if they win, they lose. If they win, no matter, they will create a sequel or two where they lose. It sucks!! There is never "happily evil and sinister for ever after". I'm very certain Kiritsugu or Kirei won't buck the trend here. What's the matter, writers, you don't think we can't take villain winning outright?

  39. w

    To Anon: because of morality. The social norms will not permit such media to be released. Also, normal people who follow social norms will not be able to identify themselves with such characters. If you write a series about how criminals always win, mostly prison inmates or criminal-wannabe will enjoy it, unless they put something more appealing to their character. It just won't work and it will be awkward for majority of audience.

  40. A

    Now we know why Ilya is so merciless. :XD He got it from him

  41. A

    Did you actually invoke Godwin's Law GE? I thought you were better than that.

    You're really stretching it too, because its already been established that Kirirtsgu doesn't involve innocents. In case you forgot back in season 1, he had an entire building evacuated before blowing it up. He himself even pointed out that he wouldn't normally do that.

    Kayneth and Sola are not innocents, they are part of a war with very loose rules. They weren't saints either, Sola tortured her own fiance and Kayneth murdered Risei just to gain a small advantage. Yes, what he did was horrible but how much different would it have been if he just shot them with a sniper rifle? I just don't see why his entire character should be judged that scathingly by what he did when the others are just as bad as he is.

  42. A

    I can't understand why so many guys here are defending Kiritsugu's actions and claim he's right. What really stood out in this episode for me was not Lancer but Kayneth's and Sola's deaths. They were both helpless and could do no harm anymore, yet Kiritsugu killed them both. Man, that was so cruel and I was really shocked. And Kiritsugu's reasoning makes no sense here. If he considers Kayneth still a threat, he could have taken both his arms or something like that. But no, he had to kill him and his wife. I know Kayneth is not a character to feel sorry for but man, he lost everything, was at his lowest and weakest point and Kiritsugu acted like a true villain here and I really dislike his character now.

  43. A

    Lot's of things to address in this episode …

    First off, Iri's reaction at the end was honestly fantastic. She looked like a mother who was angry at her husband (which she is!) and when you consider that her condition seems to be only getting worse as the war rages on, I wonder if her ''Speak to Saber, not me'' was more do to her not being able to talk much or if she just didn't want to talk to Kiritsugu after what she had seen. Perhaps it was a bit of both. After 10 years of Marriage, and how he managed to make her break from her shell as an artificial being and learning how to live, seeing how her Husband operate for the first time as a killer must have been a huge shock to her.

    As a side note to the little attention to details ,Kiritsugu says that he doesn't allow personal feelings to get into his professional matters, but what about calling King Author a ''glorified killer'' eh? Sounds like that's getting personal alright (as a side note, F/SN done it self no favor by having the line about Kiritsugu never speaking with Saber even once, because the way Gen-san has been trying to avoid having the two talk face to face is seriously limiting his writing)

    Lancer … I wont deny it, I thought that this episode was just awful from how good his death was. It managed to hit me hard how they just. Would. Not. Let. Him. Catch. A. Break. No matter what, even at the end when he thinks even his fellow Heroic Spirit had betrayed him … Major Kudos to Midorikawa Hikaru for the phenomenal job at conveying Diarmuid despair and rage at what he had seen from this world

    -cut for size-

  44. A


    Of course, the major source of discussion this time round was the end argument between Saber and Kiritsugu, and considering how much of a hot button the whole alignment discussion was last week, I suppose that was a given. I want to address something though that I don't think Enzo had (apologize if you already did) before giving my opinion on the matter.

    The idea that some try and say that Kiritsugu is the same as Kenshin is honestly laughable in my head, not because I dislike Kiritsugu (on the contrary, after the last season and the Drama CD, I actually find him fascinating and I see him being more of a tragic figure, but that's for latter) but because the situation, circumstances and characters are so radically different that it's amusing anyone trying to say that if you hate and disagree with Kiritsugu, you must also hate and disagree with Kenshin.

    Yes, Kenshin had killed people, a lot of people, back when he worked as an assassin. But the thing I see a lot of people gloss over is that Kenshin joined the military and worked as a soldier to kill people who were also soldiers in a civil war in an attempt to stop the senseless violence and try to unite the country. And afterwards, after all the bloodshed was over, after he realized where his idealism had lead him, down the path to hell, he decided to never take another life ever again, to not use the fame he had gained during the war to get a high position in the new government body, to live the life of a ronin, never harming anyone again. The path Kenshin chose after seeing war was a path of peace, a path that would insure that he wouldn't kill anyone and harm people for his ideas, it was a decision that affected him alone and he didn't try and push it on anyone else.

    Kiritsugu is different. Sure, if we go by what Saber said, it sounds like he faced the same thing Kenshin had, and having seen the horrors of war, he might have became jaded to the core. But the path he had taken was one where he would instead of trying to do what's right, is going for the insane option that would get the job done regardless of how much blood ends up being shed. It's a path that means he is causing harm to others in order to push away the ''greater evil'' (as he decides it). I don't disagree with the point he had raised about how the ideas of honor and chivalry had lead countless innocent youngsters to follow them to their doom (even if historically, King Author had been trying to *protect* the then Britain from being fucked over by the Romans, Vikings, and God knows who else wanted to rape and pillage every inch of his territory, so yeah Kiritsugu, it's not like Saber drove her people to fight just cause, it was because they had to to do to survive) but one good point doesn't make the entire argument sound.


  45. K

    Your argument on Kiritsugu being different than Kenshin is weak to me, Arabesque. What's with this pure fantasy on Kiritsugu haters about him "going for the insane option that would get the job done regardless of how much blood ends up being shed"?? So let's review what he's done in FZ so far: he killed 3 very evil people and one self-righteous ghost. Suddenly he's the evil who kills blindly for his goal? As dv mentioned in his post, let me remind those with blind hatred, he is willing to sacrifice anything, yes, just like Kenshin Battosai, but he DOES NOT kill randomly and kills innocent people!! People in the Hyatt Hotel didn't die.

    People forget how evil these two owners of Diarmuid are because it's what the anime makes you sympathize with their cruel death. You all have been had! You Kiritsugu needs a better argument than how Kiritsugu is evil because the truth is that he killed 3 pure evil villains cold. That's it. And prevent a ghost doing his silly self-righteous honor battle. Diarmuid is NOT a real person. Just a ghost! Get it already. The real Diarmuid has been dead for centuries. He didn't care for people trapped in this tragedy every 12 years or whatever and killing each other. He just wanted to have his fun honor battle with Saber. Kiritsugu so far doesn't deserve such hatred on his value. You all just hate him since he treats Saber like dirt.

  46. K

    You Kiritsugu needs a better argument -> You need a better argument

  47. M

    Close to 50 posts? Wow. This is certainly a controversial episode.
    On that note, easily the best one since episode 11. This show holds nothing back. Lancer's death hit hard. He isn't even allowed an honorable fight. Poor guy.

    Morals aside, as a character, Kiritsugu has proven to be too one-note for me. He's cold, intelligent, calculating, and ruthless. That's about all we've seen from him so far, despite his strange – and almost out of character – outburst over Kirei quite a few episode back. Kirei, on the other hand, has always fascinated me more. Wildly unpredictable and intriguing(hell, even Gilgamesh is fascinated by the guy), I'm almost terrified to see what he's ultimately capable of. He may even make Kiritsugu look like a puppy dog by the time all's said and done, who knows. Anyway, I've always seen the both of them as two peas in a pod, probably why they're so interested in each other. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say they're both scared of each other?

    So, yeah, phenomenal episode. Urobuchi's writing here is on a completely different level compared to his work on Madoka, and the crazy thing is, Madoka was a damn good show.

  48. A


    I will say that even though they might disagree strongly with it, Saber and Kiritsugu are probably the same person deep down. Both the two have been jaded by the wars they had fought and ended up regretting how things had become, to the point where they ended up going after a mystical device like the Holy Grail to undo everything. In that regard, and trying to piece togther what went wrong in Kiritsugu's past from what Saber said and the Drama CD, I think I take the same position as Rider had after the Three Kings Summit. I might disagree with them, but I sure do like them as a person (Rider disagrees with Saber's idea of a ruler, but he sure likes her more than Archer as a person).

    Finally, I couldn't help but think that Kenneth's downward spiral was really painful to see, from him killing the one person who had given a chance to fight again (in a Kiritsugu like fashion too. Hmm …) to his realization that he just wanted to get out of this mess and live with his wife … to his ''Just kill me'' … really, the best stories are the ones that make you feel sorry and sympathize of the worst type of people, since it shows just how great the dialogue is if it is able to incite a reaction from the viewer.

  49. A

    Kiritsugu is interesting- that much is definite. The way I see it he hasn't done anything wrong yet, certainly moral relativism can be dangerous but there is no evidence to suggest he really would commit just ANY evil for the sake of his goal (though he is likely inclined to if the situation forced it) because so far he's gone out of his way to only try kill the masters&servants (evacuating that building and helping stop caster though that was partly for personal gain) Theoretically Saber genuinely wanted to kill Lancer&his master and eliminate them from the war. Kiritsugu got the same result but without the honor, the smart least risky underhanded way. "led countless young men to horrible death on the battlefield" i totally agree with you Enzo and Kiritsugu. I really want to know more about Kiritsugu's goal to end all violence on earth once and for all- and if Kiritsugu doesn't win the grail what's going to happen to the world if one of the other masters wishes is granted? Tokiomi wants a higher 'status' Rider wants to conquer the world, Kariya would be happy if he could just kill Tokiomi…In short i think Kiritsugu's ideas are the most 'good' for the world, and that he's a tad less messed up and more realistic then the rest. Also he's BADASS 😀 of course he's still totally human (being a human and all) and even though he tries his personal feelings defiantly interfere

  50. A

    Did anyone else find it amazing that Kayneth still loved Sola that much, to the point of blaming everything on Lancer and accepting Kiritsugu's contract. Oh this episode was pure genius I've always loved lancer and never loved Kayneth but the tragic deaths they went though in this episode made me feel so many feelings (kinda overshadowed by Kiritsugu and Sabers grand end dialogue) that i feel ridiculously sympathetic for both of them now that their dead- R.I.P Lancer and R.I.P Sola&Kayneth i hope you can be together in some afterlife 🙁

  51. A

    Are you kidding ? They deserve to burn in hell.
    Even before being under the spell of Lancer's mole, Sola never loved Kayneth. It was all but a love marriage. Only a marriage of interest.

    They're just two interested people who abuse of each other, and they made Lancer their puppet.

    And some honourable guy needed a better Master than Douchebag Kay. If Waver didn't took Rider…

  52. F

    That was one hell of an episode. I already read the LN part of it, but seeing it animated delivered another level of satisfaction. The whole moral debate between Saber and Kiritsugu was interesting as well. The way Kiritsugu views heroic spirits as hypocrites that glorify killing really struck me.

    In many ways it's true that legends of epic battles and the likes have only promoted war and been used for propaganda. If I recall correctly, part of the Roland myths was chiefly used to motivate soldiers to fight against the Islamic invaders by showing off how awesome and righteous it would be to defend the country against the evil heathens. It seems like it's a part of human nature to think battles are "cool and exciting".

    It seems to me Kiritsugu believes if humans where exposed to and acknowledged the true horrors of war humanity could move towards a more peaceful coexistence, but this idea is just not practical on many levels. On one hand the ideals of heroic spirits propagate conflict, on the other hand they make the conflict more bearable.

    I don't disagree with Kiritsugu's methods and combat pragmatism though. They're not playing some fun game or participating in a laddered tournament. It's a serious battle royal/war. His moral relativism is somewhat debatable though. In essence Kiritsugu is a utilitarian. If there was an innocent child with a disease that would kill thousands, he would dispose of that child without a second thought. This way of thinking is alarmingly inhuman and Kyubei like. However what differentiates them is that Kiritsugu empathizes and understands his own evil.

    Unlike Kyubei Kiritsugu knows he's evil and hates to do what he believes has to be done. Lets say there really was a situation where an innocent was spreading a killer disease that would doom humanity, and the ONLY choice was to kill that person. Many people might wallow in indecision at the though of making such a cruel choice. Some would be afraid of the guilt, others unable to face the responsibility. Kiritsugu would take it upon himself to do the deed, but he would hate it with all his soul and curse the world for forcing such a situation to occur. He cuts off his emotions from his actions. That's part of why I feel Kiritsugu it totally different from Hitler and Kyubei.

    Granted he didn't hate killing Kayneth and his gang, but the circumstances were different. He sure as hell didn't take pleasure in it though. When he said he didn't kill Kayneth out of emotions I'm inclined to believe him. Still, one of the things that the anime can't show is Kiritsugu's inner turmoil and emotional thought processes. Without these critical components he's bound to come across as more dickish and evil than he really is, and moments like his freakout over Kotomine would seem random.

  53. r

    damn, i sort of wanted to see Waver fight Kayneth at least once or something

    this episode… downright amazing, i dont understand the people who are not watching this anime

  54. b

    Must be a record, over 50 posts. Goes to show that this episode really delivered well.

  55. d

    Too many anons…. too confused to read

  56. V

    "When you play the Holy Grail War, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."

  57. F

    Power resides only, where men believe it resides.

  58. A

    Power is a curious thing. It's a trick, a shadow on a wall.

  59. F

    And oftimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow

  60. F

    The moment you stop caring about anything else, just to fulfill your wish, even if that wish is good, is despicable, the greatest villians are the ones who thinks they're doing a favor to the world, they're just egomanical freaks, we must be ruled by moral and justice, if not earth couldnt exist, just hell.

  61. w


    Let's face it: everyone live by their wish and has their own ego. It would be totally hypocritical to assume otherwise. Whether your are caring for others or you are trying to achieve some goals, you are trying to fulfill your wish. The methods and means will vary and will make others judge your morality. However, ultimately, the root of the drive is still the same.

  62. F

    I agree with you to some extent, but i don't think humanity, would have survived so long, just guided by their own wishes and egos, sometimes you have to stop doing whatever the hell you want and accept thing as they come. Only like that, we could live together as a society.

  63. w

    Then, you are talking about something known as humanity's "collective wish". To adhere to that wish is one way how society works in general. The problem is that in the name of those collective wish people can still act egoistically. There is no clear way to distinguish where the motive start and ends.

    Thus, it's a quite pointless topic to debate. In the grand scheme of things, the actions of a few individuals can change history. The impact of both "good" and "evil" on the world often ends up being the same, unfortunately.

  64. F

    Yeah trying to debate something so ambiguous is rather pointless, but consider this, if all of us are just guided by what we want, how could we coexist with others?, at some point we all disagree, because we are not the same, everyone has different ways of thinking, but knowing that we continue to coexist because we know how to put our egos behind and go with the flow, that flow is called "survival", the true goals of our existence.

  65. M

    I think that a lot of people are overlooking several important points about Kiritsugu arguments.

    1 That he was really not talking to Saber.He does not care what Saber thinks about anything.He was really talking to Irisviel.The most important part was when he asks her how she felt after seeing him at work firsthand.

    2 He was lying through his teeth at least half the time.He may have been describing how he was before he met Irisviel but all through the first half of the show he went against everyone of his claims, such as doing anything to win,not letting his emotions interfere with his work, and so on.

    3 He is a mass of self loathing.Most of his speech was his own condemnations on his actions.

    4 He has lost his faith in humanity like Saber says.He does not believe that people will ever overcome their desire to kill on their own.But he is in a position to bring about that change if he can get the Grail.So he sees stopping every murder from the end of the Grail War on as the most important thing in the world.

    So bringing it back to Hitler it is just like the time traveling to kill him as a child moral dilemma.

  66. F

    To him saber is just a mean to an end, an object he use to fullfish what he desires, the only good trait of kirutsugu is his love for Irisviel and his daugther.
    Apart from that i cant agree with him.

  67. w

    @Felix: "how could we coexist with others?"

    Consider this: subconsciously, most humans will opt for survival and society (i.e. group together) is one way to survive since the dawn of humanity. Whether you want it or not, your personal wishes are integrated into the grand scheme of things. Even those who dissent, the loner and the outcasts, are all part of the scheme.

  68. J

    "If religion has taught me anything… it's that everyone is wrong"
    Gotta love reading all this argument about morality.

  69. A

    "If this is what saving looks like, I’d rather not be saved, thanks."
    um… what? Kiritsugu wasnt trying to save them. he was killing them to save others, to save the world and end bloodshed.

  70. A

    "and brave Ser Enzo ran away… from his own comment box on his own blog'

  71. I don't delete comments from trolls just for being idiots, but as a rule I don't encourage them by replying (I'll make an excpetoion here – congratulations). I do wish you'd stop wasting everyone's time by trying to prove how infantile you are, though.

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