A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fate/Zero – Episode 16

Last episode on Fate/Zero, Casterthulhu had just been destroyed.  Good work, everybody!  I guess probably it’s going to be Kiritsugu who gets the free Command Spell as the reward, since he’s the one who killed Caster’s master and his servant was the one who struck the final blow against Caster.  Anyway, that probably exhausts this show’s fight scene quota for the next couple months, so let’s settle in for a nice long boring conversation in episode 16 of Fate/Zero.

…thirty minutes pass…

You can't always get what you want.

Cool episode, not the boring talkathon I was worried it would be.  It’s kinda lame that Kiritsugu doesn’t get another Command Spell despite all the hard work he put into defeating Caster.  I’m not sure it makes sense for the lecturer guy to be able to kill the Church overseer as easily as he did.  How can the Church claim to be effective in their role of presiding over the Holy Grail War if one guy in a wheelchair with no magic powers can take them out?  Actually, I felt like the lecturer guy’s fiancée went down too easily, too.  What’s the point of being a wizard if some random chick with a knife can come and cut your arm off any time she wants?  The Holy Grail War is a high stakes murder game, it seems like if you can’t even fend off attacks on that level, you shouldn’t get involved with it.

I enjoyed pretty much everything about the duel between Saber and Lancer.  I thought it was great how  Saber resolved to fight him with one hand behind her back, in recognition for the sacrifice he made in the battle against Caster.  That’s why people with a sense of honor can cooperate! It’s beneficial for both of them for Lancer to increase Saber’s strength if Saber is willing to refrain from using the extra strength against Lancer.  Of course, the end of the battle demonstrated the dangers of trying to cooperate with someone without a sense of honor.  Poor Lancer.  I don’t want to say “poor lecturer guy” because they went out of their way to show that he was an asshole who didn’t deserve any sympathy from us, but I do feel bad for Lancer.

And then after the battle, we got a nice philosophical debate between Kiritsugu and Saber.  This episode was all about showing off how badass Kiritsugu is, that he’ll take hostages and have people murdered in cold blood for the sake of his ideal.  He takes the most efficient path toward saving as many as he can, even if that might mean blowing up an occasional passenger plane full of people. Despite that, I thought the writing of the debate was fairly well-balanced, and it’s hard to tell who got the better of it.  Saber has a point, after all.  It’s really useful to maintain limits on the horrible things we’re prepared to do to advance our ideals.  The easiest way to see this is by looking at the Cold War – civilization is still standing, because the USA and the USSR both limited themselves to not using their most horrible weapons against one another.  But we can also look at how Saber was able to cooperate with Lancer against Caster.  Would anyone ever be willing to cooperate with someone like Kiritsugu, now that they know what happened to Lancer’s masters?  And what Saber said about how after what he did she cannot trust him to use the Grail for the good of the world also rings true.  By not betraying people, by acting with honor, you show people that you are nice and friendly.  If you show yourself by your actions to be a good person, other good people can align themselves with you and feel comfortable that your ends will be good.  If you act as a bad person and say “no but really I have good intentions”, are they just supposed to trust you?  These are all reasons why a code of honor like Sabers might not just be a pointless limitation.  Kiritsugu’s point about the horrors of war and the dangers of considering a battlefield “glorious” is well-taken too.  But I’m not sure it applies to Saber, exactly.  I don’t think she’s a war-monger to the extent that Archer or Rider are.  She was fighting to protect the people of Britain.  As I recall, it was mentioned in Fate/Stay Night that she went to great effort to win decisive victories instead of constant back-and-forth fighting specifically to reduce the negative impact that battles had on the civilian farmer population.  So I think he’s being a little unfair.  But so is Saber when she says “you’re just bitter because you tried to be a hero and failed”, which is totally irrelevant to the philosophical question at hand.  So I don’t know who I would say won that argument.

There are only four Servants left!  We still don’t know who Berserker is, so they probably aren’t going  to kill him off any time soon.  The Kotomine/Tohsaka rivalry is playing itself out extremely slowly, too.  And Rider and Waver have gotten much less screentime in this season than in the last.  Probably they’re the next ones to die.  It’s too bad, I really liked them.

Bonus Image Corner:

It's not all boring talky bits!

Saber made him so mad he grew pupils!








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