Last episode on Fate/Zero, Saber and Lancer were facing off against each other. By process of elimination, Lancer’s master must be that lecturer guy, but we still don’t know very much about him. Also, Lancer is I think the only Servant whose identity hasn’t been revealed, either in the anime or in Fate/Stay Night. So this is possibly the only chance we will have for Saber to fight against a truly unknown opponent, like in the good old days of playing Fate/Stay Night. I guess Berserker is an unknown quantity too. I am having real trouble taking that Matou kid seriously, though. Berserker always loses, Matou always loses, and if you look at him, he just has the face of a loser. I have trouble taking him seriously as a credible threat. That lecturer, though, he is a highly regarded mage from a good family that even Kiritsugu said would be a troublesome opponent. Let’s see how Saber handles him in episode 4 of Fate/Zero.
…thirty minutes pass…
Yeah, King Arthur. We know, dude.
This episode was just amazing, from start to finish. We finally got our first real battle of the Holy Grail War, and it made me realize how lacking the depictions of combat in the F/SN visual novel were. You would get the sound of metal clanking together, flashes of light on the screen, and some dry text to read about how one Servant was parrying another Servant, or about how one Servant was making a blow that could not be dodged and the other Servant was dodging it because she was Just That Good, or whatever. If you were lucky, you might get a special static image overlaid on the screen of Berserker being stabbed a million times. I didn’t get far enough in the F/SN anime to see how well they animated battles, but I doubt they did it this well. I couldn’t find a good screenshot, unfortunately, because the battle was so dynamic. (Please enjoy Rider Red’s laughing face instead.) It reminded me of what was good about the lightsaber battles in the original Star Wars series. You had lots of fancy footwork, jumping around, weapons swinging around dangerously, and every so often there would be a break in the fighting for the combatants to talk to each other about who is whose father or whether or not they are super honored to have the chance to fight one another. I’d say it’s probably better than the lightsaber battles, actually, just because the Noble Phantasms and the guessing game as to the opponent’s identity give a strategic element that wasn’t as present in Star Wars. (Speaking of which, are the Irish the only ones who use spears in combat? It’s cool to see Irish culture getting its due, but it’s a little weird.)
It’s cool how Kiritsugu is just hanging out on the battlefield with a sniper rifle, and still hasn’t intervened despite Saber suffering a crippling wound. Sure, I guess he doesn’t want to reveal his presence to the Assassin hanging out watching the fight, but it’s Assassin, seriously. If Assassin doesn’t already know you’re there, and wasn’t spotted by you intentionally as part of a ploy, Assassin’s not doing her job right. (It seems like she isn’t, which makes sense because the real, full Assassin is dead, but Kiritsugu doesn’t know that.)
And now Rider Red is getting in the mix screwing everything up. He really is a perfect fit for Waver. They both have hugely inflated ideas of their own importance, they both treat the serious business of the Holy Grail War like some kind of game, and they can’t neither of them wrap their heads around the idea that someone might be legitimately better than them. I guess this will be a good chance for Waver to test his hypothesis about how little a magus’s lineage matters, eh? I hope he gets properly stomped by the lecturer guy.