It’s funny how one of my blog posts is titled ‘it ends in fire’.. because it’s how this series actually ends ultimately. Even without watching Fate/Stay Night ( the sequel ), I kind of guessed it correctly.
The Holy Grail War culminates in a nerve-wrecking decision by Emiya Kiritsugu to destroy the Holy Grail by using Saber’s Excalibur. However, ‘destroying’ the Holy Grail was not as simple as it sounds. Moments later, an ominous, albeit familiar- looking red liquid materializes above him, rupturing the very sky and drowned the landscape in a blazing deluge – the huge central part of Fuyuki city is scathed almost entirely in that moment. Kiritsugu could only stare in horror as he fled into safety. The fates of Kotomine Kirei and Gilgamesh were unknown.
After the ensuing chaos abates, Kirei wakes up to a ravaged land filled with nothing but debris, death and flames. Seated on a pile of debris is a naked Gilgamesh in human form, staring down at his former Master. Kirei figures that it would be Gilgamesh who had kept him alive through the disaster, as the wishes of the King of Kings himself was somehow granted – thus explaining his mortal incarnation in flesh. Kirei laughs off this incident and sought to ‘seek deeper meaning’ behind this destruction that had so long been the answer to his life’s questions; hinting the awakening of the evil entity ‘Angra Mainyu’.
Elsewhere, the daughter of the Homunculus wakes up from a nightmare where she saw Kiritsugu running in distress from a world engulfed in fire. The spirit of Irisviel comforts her, assuring his safety and return. Realistically, he can never return, of course.
The daughters of the Tohsaka family reunite after their long seperation. They have Kariya to be grateful to– or so Kariya himself thinks. In his version of reality, Aoi-san was back to life and Sakura was brought back together to be with Rin. His fate was actually to be the food of the creatures that have once given him the power in the War, by the hands of the obedient [ to Zaken Matou ] Sakura.
At the very least, Waver is alive and well and seeks new frontiers following the end of this Holy Grail War. He fondly remembers of Iskandar ( Rider ) and seemingly underwent a change in behaviour.
Relatives of Tokiomi Tohsaka gather in a fateful afternoon to mourn his death. With no capable immediate family members to become the head, Rin has the responsibility upon herself to carry on the will of the Tohsaka forward.
All hope’s not lost for Kiritsugu, as he finds a single juvenile soul alive beneath the smouldering surroundings. Unhesitatingly, he adopts him and builds a residence – all that – from what provisions he has left, for the boy who survived the great fire.
His name is Shiro
p.s Commentary will be added later
The episode starts out with Archibald having a dream about Lancer’s life – when he was a Knight of Fianna . Diarmuid O’ Dyna – Lancer’s real name – charmed the princess of his kingdom during an engagement ceremony and got into a royal trouble.
Labeled as traitor, he fought for his life until his relationship with Grainne was acknowledged. It only ended with a bloodied Diarmuid facing the sky.
Sola-Ui tends to the severe wounds of Archibald, and explains that only restorative magic has been keeping his vital organs alive. His magic circuits, the essence of spellcasting abilities, have been broken by Kiritsugu’s special bullets and he will never be able to use magic anymore.
She then demanded for control over Lancer and shifted from pleasant to ruthless in her mannerism. There was no other choice to but to cut off his right arm to seize the command spells.
Back in Eizbern castle, Saber and Irisviel tended to her injuries and watch over Maiya, hoping for her swift recovery.
Saber suggested that Caster should be chased after first, but Kiritsugu insisted otherwise and went off to finish Archibald himself. Saving a few children is obviously not Kiritsugu’s goal in this war. Iri and Saber stayed back in waiting.
Lancer stoods outside the decrepit building. Sola-ui approached and declared herself to be Lancer’s new master, for Lord El-Melloi has abandoned the War.
Lancer remained resolute and proclaimed that he can only serve one lord, and thus he has lost any purpose to further involve himself in the war. Sola-ui reasoned with him by saying that only a miracle can heal Archibald and that is her only intention behind continuing the war with Lancer. Lancer finally acknowledged her mastership.
At Waver’s Residence, Rider laughed heartily while rejoicing to an extra-large beer on the house.
Hauling materials into his room, Waver set up a chemical test using the samples of water collected from the city’s river. There was but one spot along the stretch which did not contain traces of magic remnants in the water. Without delay, Rider and Waver rode into the sewers to check the anomaly.
Upon arriving, the welcoming horde of abominations and mutilated body parts all-round gave away Caster’s hideout. Waver quickly got nauseous and teary eyed; for a moment he was crying over his pride. He nearly injured by a nearby Assassin who waited in the darkness. Rider fended them off and even with two remaining; they retreated back into the shadows. They made desecrated the hideout as they made a fiery exit.
Back in the church, Kirei and Tokiomi’s conversation revealed that the ambush was merely to discern Rider’s trump card.
Most people can’t get enough of Rider’s hilarity – and I am one of them. He lightens the mood to every skirmish in the series, while maintaining the fervour that has to be present in a battle with his vivacious personality. That aside, the pre-opening clip shed some light on Lancer’s background ; it was enough information for me to discern his story, but I felt that a bit more details put into the story.. Just to do him the respect. The Assassins have yet to demonstrate their real mettle, or in a more casual way of putting it – I think they suck in battle, so hurry up and show me your worth other than reconnaissance and stalking. No offence intended. If you don’t see Episode 10’s review, I probably got assassinated.
As Maiya and Irisviel made their escape, Irisviel’s senses detect another intruder breaching the vicinity’s barriers. It was Kotomine Kirei, and they knew very well that they had to stop him from reaching Kiritsugu at all costs.
Kiritsugu continues to pelt Archibald with his sub-machinegun fire, while readying his Walther in the other hand. The bullet of the Walther penetrated right through Archibald’s defenses, and severing his left shoulder.
Left bewildered, Archibald cursed as Kiritsugu flees to find another strategic spot for the next [fatal] ambush.
Kotomine Kirei arrived at the scene, and was greeted by a barrage of machinegun fire from Maiya. Feigning injuries, Kirei quickly subdued Maiya in highly deadly close combat as he deflected all incoming projectiles.
Irisviel knew of Kirei’s motive behind coming here- this startled Kirei for a bit. In an attempt to distract him, she conjured a magical bird-like familiar that entangled Kirei onto a nearby tree. Kirei was disarmed for the time being, or so they thought.
The ladies could only watch in horror as he literally halved a tree by using his own body’s strength. The entanglement was effectively broken after that. The ruthless Executor (his real title) proceeded with passing execution onto the desperate females.
Not very far away, the swarm of Caster’s abominations corners Lancer and Saber. They quickly deduced that his Noble Phantasm – the spellbook he held dearly in his hand, powers Caster’s source of never-ending minions.
Quickly weaving a battle plan, Saber utilized Excalibur’s brimming energy and propelled Lancer forward in a tunnel of whirlwinds. This allowed Lancer to get a clean strike on Caster’s Grimoire.
With that, the army of fiends disintegrated and Caster escaped in a blood-lusted rage.
Jumping into a flashback, a young-looking Kiritsugu stared in awe at a bullet put against the ceiling’s light, held up by a shady-looking woman who resembled Maiya.
It was revealed that the bullets originated from Kiritsugu’s ribs, and that it was able to cripple a mage’s magic circuits (magical flow of energy in the body ) – though there were a limited number of bullets.
Kiritsugu crept into the dark corner of one corridor and awaited Archibald’s arrival. Archibald remarked that Kiritsugu was merely lucky in landing a single shot – it will not happen again.
Regardless of the form of defense, Kiritsugu’s time manipulation abilities, alongside with his enhanced bullets, penetrated Archibald’s defenses and severed his vitals. Near-death, he fell flat and bathed in blood.
Sensing his Master’s imminent demise, he hesitated to move, but was given the green light by Saber to proceed. If not for Saber’s knightly code, the two masters could have ended up dead, as Lancer arrived in time to shield Archibald from the touch of death – he was more than able to impale Kiritsugu in a second.
Kirei proceeded to question the motives of the two women; if not Kiritsugu’s, whose wishes or motivation did they act upon?
As if the answer mattered, the Executor stabbed Irisviel in the torso and left them dying upon knowing of Saber’s arrival.
If not for the relic, Avalon, that rightfully belongs to Saber, Irisviel would have died from injuries. Only Saber being closeby could supply her mana to harness the Avalon’s restorative powers.
She then patched up Maiya, remaining as optimistic as ever.
I honestly find myself lacking words to express criticism over the series so far, because everything falls in place smoothly with the story. I would love to know how Kirei’s normal-looking priest robes could deflect bullets like flies flying into a wall – must be something up his or the church’s sleeve ( get it ? okay ). On a side note, I kind of enjoyed seeing Archibald thrash around in pain after Kiritsugu dealt the finishing blow. Anyone else had that pleasure ? Even in a visual depiction, we could feel the terminal pain [ or pleasure for sadists] of Archibald as his Magic Circuits are severed. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not starting a sadist cult here. The BGM for Kiritsugu’s battle was most befitting, it was upbeat and gave the fight a high-stakes kind of atmosphere it deserved.
A wild ball of mercury-like substance appeared in the site of destruction (proudly caused by Kiritsugu in the previous episode), seemingly unscathed by the destruction that had ravaged the vicinity earlier on. A throng of construction workers approached it and got their minds taken over by Archibald – earning him a free ride to another place to seek refuge. Obviously, a ton of explosives were not enough to take down the Archmage and his companions.
Back at the church, Risei briefed the masters on the emergency change of rules: take Caster down or the war cannot be resumed. He further incentivized this plan by giving the first Master to defeat Caster an additional Command Spell. With Archibald short of a command spell, he would be sure to chase after Caster more urgently than the other Masters.
Back at Waver’s residence, we see Rider goofing around like any normal human in his freshly made custom shirt. Unable to go out into public without pants, Waver promised Rider long pants if he defeats another Servant in the upcoming battles.
In Fort Eizbern (colloquial, I know ), Kiritsugu discussed plans of taking down Caster without needing the help of Saber – instead, having her away from the heat of battle while others chase after Caster. In dismay, Saber questioned Kiritsugu’s reasoning and his trust in her prowess as his Servant.
Kiritsugu walked up the fortress and stared blankly from atop the towers. He lamented about the War and yearned to get away from all this fighting.
The impending lovey-dovey moment between Irisviel and Kiritsugu was quickly ruined when Caster breached Irisviel’s magic barriers; it was none other than Caster.
Back inside the fort, Kiritsugu told Irisviel and Maiya to flee the opposite direction where Saber is engaging caster.
“I would be prepared the next I come” or so Caster said in the first meeting with Saber. And so, he brought along a group of children with him to play a grotesque game of tag – where one actually dies when they get caught. Responding to the call, Saber charged into the woods to stop the ensuing madness.
She could only watch in horror as Caster transformed the children into plant-like abominations that bid his doing.
Quickly getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of abominations that swarmed her, Saber could see no way out of the mess—until Lancer came.
Saber was somewhat relieved to see Lancer, but priorities had to be set straight- Caster must be taken down first before they can settle their own matters.
Breaking into the estate head-on, Archibald utilized the power of his magic as he hunted down Kiritsugu like a rat through his own vicinity.
His mercury-like blob protected him from any physical damage and Kiritsugu could only flee while he prepared means of attack. He was also shown to possess a slight degree of proficiency in time magic as he slowed down time and hastened himself when he fled from Archibald.
Running down an alley, he ambushed Archibald and confidently whipped out his trusty Walther P.22.
Lancer suddenly popping in to save Saber nearly made me go ‘not this last-minute stuff again!’, but it made sense due to Archibald’s dire need for an additional Command Spell. Contrary to my initial thoughts, Kiritsugu is not fully a hitman sort of person, as he can actually manipulate time using his slight proficiency in magic. Future battles will only get more interesting as more masters reveal their tricks from their sleeves.
Fate/Zero Episode 6 Review
The serenity of the mountains in the night was broken with the roaring engine of Irisviel’s new ride, supposedly a ‘toy’
bought by Kiritsugu for her. Saber expressed concerns, but it all just pep talk, seeing as how well she handled the vehicle, making difficult maneuvers around steep cliffs. Looking ahead, Saber noticed a haughty figure standing in the middle of the road – and immediately discerned that it was a servant.
She then assumed control of the car and made it scream to a standstill. There stood caster, wide open and illuminated, exposed by the headlights of the car. Being straightforward like no other, Caster proclaims that he has long missed Jeanne D’arc (historical link between a mage and Jeanne herself, go figure), who he has mistaken Saber for.
Upon revealing his name, Saber did likewise – instead, Caster went on to lament about how Jeanne’s memories have been erased and she herself maddened by the changing times, also blaming God for this process. Maddened for real, Saber donned her armor and ruptured the ground beside Caster using her blade. She reprimanded him for his inexcusable behaviour and warned that the next meeting will be his end.
Back in the ratways of the city, Ryuunosuke smiles at his grotesque ‘experiments’ and talked with the infuriated Caster about changing the ‘body count’ of their experiments.
In the highlife apartment of Archibald, Lancer had a serious ‘work review’ with his Master. Sophia, his daughter, popped in to comment on Archibald’s actions in the last fight – describing him as a cowardice and incompetent Master. Lancer interrupted the string of criticisms quickly, as he, as a knight, could not bear to see his master get shamed. Sophia, realizing that she had gone overboard, apologized and readied the plan for the night; they had set up a labyrinth of mystical energy to hinder the enemy’s progress.
And so the fire alarm rang and the residents of the apartment were quickly evacuated.They really thought that Kiritsugu would just charge straight up through the floors to fight him – in reality, he had a much more pragmatic way of doing things in mind.
Following the explosions, Kirei, who supposedly had tracked her all the way up the building, ambushed Maiya. Kirei was expecting Kiritsugu to be there, but found Maiya in his place. Attempting to extract information, Kirei attacked her, but Maiya swiftly escaped through the aid of a gas bomb.
Even in an all-out war for the Holy Grail, some protocols are to be observed. Back in the confines of the church, Kirei’s father, Risei, decided to mobilize all Masters to bring down Caster and Ryuunosuke after knowing their monstrous acts.
Archer, as nonchalant as ever, casually sipped Kirei’s wine in while idling in his room. However, he displayed substance in his speech when he asked Kirei about Tokiomi’s ambitions. Archer went on to lecture Kirei about the disconnect between pleasure and sin (as he was a king in his life ) – how to find one’s own desires without sinning and such.
Deep inside, Kirei only longs to find out Kiritsugu’s true ambitions, but that will have to wait till the day they meet face to face.
The action died down a bit (assuming blowing up an apartment into bits wasn’t enough for me) in this episode, but we can see it building up again just like how it did in the first few episodes. More servant-master development – especially the emphasis on the deviance of Archer’s character- and you’d be a fool to say that it is unnecessary. Something to say about the church ? They’re pretty ethical while remaining a shady organisation, I must say – not much is spared when an immense power is up for grabs in a war. Nothing much else to say, really, the show does all the job explaining the bits very well.
*Can’t upload pictures at the moment, technical difficulties
And so we finally see some full-fledged fighting in the series, and like any good fight in anime, it needs some time to escalate and reach its climax, thus, with no compromise, I have compressed the review for episode 5 into this one as well.
Swords clash with spears (in Lancer’s case) in a battle between the knights. Lancer starts out with a furious flurry of swipes with his two spears. Nevertheless, Saber was more agile than she seemed, despite donning bulky knight armor and being on the defensive. She deftly parried every blow from Lancer and was able to scathe him slightly without him even knowing it. In spite of direct commands from his master to slay Saber, Lancer manages to compliment her commendable swordplay and Saber, likewise, thought the same of Lancer.
In the shadows, Maiya and Kiritsugu initiate their reconnaissance-cum-assassination plan as they took up their vantage points in the shipyard. While the swordfight raged on, they scouted for Lancer’s master and other possible tangos through their scope.
Taking it up a notch, Lancer decided to use his Noble Phantasm, a class-exclusive skill of servants. He tossed aside his shorter spear and revealed the crimson gleam of his longer spear. Saber needed to be more cautious as the effects of his Noble Phantasm are unknown. Lancer attacked more furiously, splitting the earth and slicing cargoes in half. There was little room for Saber to breathe as she meticulously blocked every beefed up blow from the spear. Saber’s blade, Excalibur, was uncloaked with each blow from Lancer’s Noble Phantasm and Lancer figured why he could get struck without even knowing it.
Amidst the growing tension, Kiritsugu was in for a rude shock as he found assassin perched atop a railing. Maiya advised taking him out from range, but Kiritsugu advised against it as they are not equipped properly to deal with the uncalled situation. Likewise, through the eyes of the assassin, Kirei notices a ‘Caucasian’ woman behind Saber. Tokiomi quickly deduced that it was a trick – for a Master would not be so wise to expose his or herself in the open without any form of defense.
Regaining their breaths, Saber contemplated of a one-hit tactic to end the fight quickly. Lancer can counter her attacks easily just by knowing the length of her blade; thus no point in extending the fight. Saber imagined Lancer doing a forward lunge that would barely scratch her armor, while she lands a quick across his chest. She hoped, at least. In reality, his Noble Phantasm sliced through her sides and caused her to bleed heavily. She skidded across, with a trail of blood dripping from her waist. It came to her realization that Lancer’s Noble Phantasm was one that nullified mana, rendering her armor useless – thus explaining her blade revealing itself during the fight.
Valiantly, Saber emptied the mana supply to her armor, and gained more mobility as a result. In a desperate move, Saber charged forward once more to damage end the fight. However, she forgot that his shorter spear was grounded just beneath his feet. Deftly, Lancer tossed the spear up to his chest and attempted to behead Saber. At an incredible speed, Saber dodged the slash and ended severing both of their wrists’ arteries by the end of their blades.
The other spear being a cursed one, Irisviel was unable to tend to Saber’s wounds and Lancer was more than able to finish her—until Rider came down crashing in a dazzling thunderbolt, effectively ending the fight.
Well aware of what has been going, he blatantly proposed for the two knights to be his companion in the conquest for the Holy Grail.
And so Saber and Lancer blatantly refused, as expected.
The blatancy in the episode climaxed when the pompous Archer makes a public appearance in front of the three Servants, effectively increasing the number of party poopers to two. As soon as Archer finished his grandiose and derogatory speech (as usual), a wild berserker appears.
Just when the fight could not have gone any messier.. Nevertheless, Archer’s despicable attitude has landed him an opportunity to be berserker’s first opponent in this segment of the fight. In an ever-dwindling array of magical swords, archer attempted to wipe out berserker in a single attack. In a rage (excuse the pun), berserker swiftly destroyed all the projectiles he has hurled onto him. Archer, becoming rash, decided to use his Noble Phantasm- for all to see- after a few rounds of futile attacks on Berserker. Tokiomi knew better and pulled the proud servant out of battle. Furiously (again, another pun), berserker reached for the nearest pole and channeled his power into it, breaking into a mad rush towards Saber. Despite her severed wrist, Saber was able to fend off his attacks—until Berserker wore her down, allowing him to do a temperament (stop it with these puns) sweep to end her life. Reflecting a knight’s pride, Lancer moved in to slice Berserker’s weapon, saving Saber from imminent downfall. His master was not one to care about a knight’s code and instead proceeded to evoke his Command Spell, forcing him to pair up with Berserker to finish off Saber.
In the far distance, Kiritsugu readied his assassination of Archibald as plan B, after seeing the tides of battle unfold this way,
Showing great restrain, Lancer apologized to Saber before joining berserker in the finishing move. Saber could only stand ready as she faced her seemingly inevitable end. Once again, Saber is saved when Rider intercepts their movement, crushing the less mobile berserker under the weight of the chariot in the process. Heavily wounded, berserker fled and so did Lancer. Saber expressed her gratitude to Rider, and questioned his motives for being here in the first place. As usual displaying lack of reasoning ( in a technical way ), he commented that he only wanted to see Saber and Lancer settle their matters first, before facing off with the victor between them.
And so the first great battle ended hanging..
In the dark recesses of the city, Caster looked through his orb and set his sights on Saber, probably mistaking her for someone else.
You could probably deduce my thoughts on these two episodes just from the title alone. It was indeed an amalgam of stuff –if you’d excuse me using the term ‘clusterfuck’, which would be an appropriate term to describe the events that have unfolded in the battle. All of a sudden, you have a grand total of three party poopers jumping into fray. Way to stir things up. Who doesn’t like full-blown action anyway ? The way the scenes transitioned from one to the next was rather cliche and over-the-top, which was my only point of contention with this battle ( not that I wanted dear Saber to finished off so quickly ). Personally, after watching the series so far, Rider is one servant worthy of note. It is perplexing that his actions are wise, but done rashly most of the time. Great episodes.