A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fate/Zero – Episode 9

Last episode on Fate/Zero, the villains all got away.  Caster was driven off by Lancer and Saber working together, but that’s not a problem for him.  He has infinite mana, he can afford to wait them out and turn the Holy Grail War into a grinding war of attrition.  The lecturer guy fared worse – he did get rescued by Lancer in the end, but not before Kiritsugu’s trap fried his Magic Circuit.  I guess he can’t lord his powerful bloodline over Waver anymore!  I bet he’d lose a straight up fight with Waver at this point; Waver has a lot more experience than the lecturer at being a shitty mage who can hardly summon any mana at all.   And then worst off of all is Kotomine, who fell prey to Irisviel’s psychological warfare tactic of senselessly charging at him and getting mauled.  Her selfless attempt to protect Kiritsugu is going to overload his brain, like a movie robot trying to calculate the last digit of pi.  “Caring about… others?  Does… not… compute…”  Anyway, let’s see if the heroes can chase down some of these escaping villains in episode 9 of Fate/Zero.

…thirty minutes pass…

This is a reference to the famous story of Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot.

This episode had a lot of the plot and character development that the last episode lacked, at the cost of reduced emphasis on the action scenes.  The brief view we got of Rider and Waver in the sewers grinding trash mobs for XP was enough to leave me hungry for more.  I liked all of Waver’s scenes this episode, especially the part where he got all Alchemy CSI about tracking down Caster.  It would have been nice to have made him the focus of the episode, and spent a little less time on Lancer’s tragic backstory. We could have had a nice drawn-out battle the Assassins had seized their opportunity for an all out attack – Waver was out in the open and vulnerable, and how could they let him live now that he knows their secret?  But no, Tohsaka keeps Kotomine on a tight leash.  For now, at least…

Kiritsugu’s making the right choice in going after Lancer instead of Caster.  As long as Lancer is alive, Saber’s hand won’t heal, and worse, Saber’s judgment can’t be trusted, since she’s seduced by his good looks and charm.  Kiritsugu doesn’t need an extra command spell, since he’s doing most of the work of this war himself, and while it might be nice to stop Caster from torturing children to death, letting them get tortured to death in pursuit of the greater good is what makes Kiritsugu Kiritsugu, what makes him a superhero.  It’s the difference between a serious contestant and someone like Waver.

Of course, being like Waver isn’t all bad.  Someone like Kiritsugu would have gotten punched by Rider.  Waver’s advantage is that he has been able to get his Servant to genuinely like him, unlike any of the other Masters.  (Well, Caster might genuinely like his Master, but Caster’s insane enough that that’s not very useful.)  If Waver were Saber’s Master, the two of them would actually be able to work together, instead of sitting at the dinner table and being like “Irisviel, can you ask Saber to pass the salt?” “Saber, Kiritsugu would like you to pass the salt.” “Irisviel, tell Kiritsugu I won’t pass him the salt until he apologizes for letting all those children get tortured to death.” If Kiritsugu and Saber were able to work as a team, possibly at least one of the enemies the two of them have faced alone so far would have been able to be defeated.


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