Last episode on Fate/Zero, Lancer had been eliminated. That means there are four Servants left: Saber, Archer, Rider, and Berserker. We don’t know much of anything about Berserker yet, but this would be a good time to lead into his storyline, since we’re doing nothing else and he recently flipped out in battle at Saber for what probably were reasons. It’s true that the purpose of the Berserker class is to flip out and kill people, but he switched targets from Archer to Saber the moment she revealed her Noble Phantasm, so I’m thinking there’s something going on there. There are other open plot threads, too, I suppose. There’s Kotomine’s nascent betrayal of Tohsaka to deal with. That was set up six or seven episodes ago, so by this show’s pacing it’s about time to resolve it. Or we could get some more Rider scenes. He was the coolest character from the first season, and it’s made me sad that he hasn’t shown up much in the second. Let’s see where they take us in episode 17 of Fate/Zero.
…thirty minutes pass…
Maybe it’s Rin that should get more scenes, she was the coolest character in Fate/Stay Night.
So they wound up going with the Tohsaka story. Well, I’m glad to have that out of the way. I knew roughly how it was going to turn out, since I’d played Fate/Stay Night, but even if I hadn’t, it would have been hard to miss how laboriously they were setting up this betrayal over the past six episodes. There wasn’t any sense of drama to the scene where Kotomine betrayed and murdered his master, just a sense that finally, his character might be able to go somewhere new. The characters themselves seemed to feel the same way, too. Well, not Tohsaka, he was surprised by the whole deal (pictured below), but Kotomine’s discussion with Archer before the murder had kind of an awkward tone to it, like they were hashing out things that they both already knew, and they already knew each other knew, but they needed to make sure they were said openly. But they were both too cool to want to seem eager to work together, so they had to use a lot of circumlocution and make sure to say “no homo” after every sentence.
So I thought this was a relatively weak episode. Even the animation quality didn’t seem up to their usual levels, although I wouldn’t call it bad per se. But there were some nice touches. Everything surrounding the alliance meeting was good. I liked how Tohsaka was so worried that Saber would betray him at the meeting that he had to go and see his daughter first and tell her
that he loved her to remember to always be a good mage and uphold the standards of the Tohsaka family. Saber is like the most honor-bound goody-two-shoes to ever murder six people for the sake of achieving ultimate power. He should have been worried about Archer, the guy who visibly hates having to follow his orders and constantly calls him a mongrel. I guess maybe what he was actually worried about was getting his head sniped off by Kiritsugu. Which is reasonable, I suppose. You’d think if he were being properly cautious about Kiritsugu he wouldn’t have sent Kotomine away though. It’s just Kiritsugu’s style to get him to agree to an alliance and then shoot him while his back’s turned and he doesn’t have a trained mage-hunter covering it.
Watching how Archer behaved in this episode, I was struck by how similar he is to the god Xom from the game Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. Xom is the god of chaos in the game, and he constantly demands that his worshippers entertain him. If they fail to, he’ll summon an Executioner (or other nasty monster) to kill them, and then laugh at how stupid they look when they die. Xom also has an endless store of gold and magical treasures, although he seems a little more inclined to share them than Archer is to share his. Possibly because many of Xom’s treasures are, like, cursed hats with negative five enchantment on them. I don’t think Archer would keep that in his vault.
Bonus Image Corner:
I tell myself this every day.
Good thinking. The Holy Grail War is one thing, but I don’t think even the King of Heroes could get an airline to refund your plane tickets.