A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fate/Zero – Episode 18

Last episode on Fate/Zero, Tohsaka tried to enlist Irisviel’s help against Rider, but was betrayed by Kotomine.  Now it remains to be seen if the plan is going to go ahead anyway, or if Saber and Archer are going to be at one another’s throats.  You’d think that since Irisviel’s whole complaint was that she didn’t like Kotomine, they wouldn’t be able to get along now, but I don’t think Archer is going to be happy going after his beautiful doomed queen any earlier than he has to.  And Berserker’s still lurking somewhere, too.  Kotomine may yet come to regret saving Kariya’s life.  Honestly, there are lots of possibilities for what could happen in episode 18 of Fate/Zero – we might even get another Adventure of Rin, The Littlest Magus.

…thirty minutes pass…

And this is why mundane researchers have ethics review boards.

So this episode was The Adventures of Kiritsugu, The Littlest Magus Hunter.  It’s nice that we have an origin story for Kiritsugu now,  but this is definitely not the origin story I wanted.  The dude hates mages, so much that he has made a career out of murdering them, so much that he ripped a bone from his body to turn into bullets to kill them with.  He lies and cheats and accepts civilian casualties to get at them.  And this is all based on one village that accidentally got turned into zombies?  It’s not like his dad even told Shirley to test the medicine, she did it of her own volition.  So the reason he hates mages so much is that in some circumstances if mishandled by amateurs who should have known better, magic can cause small localized disasters?  If there were an actual threat of this turning into a zombie apocalypse, that would be another story, but the cleanup crew was on the scene, two different groups falling all over each other to see who could most efficiently contain the spread of zombification.   This isn’t a threat to the human race, it’s a threat to people who live in villages where mages set up, and even then only if their assistants act irresponsibly.  I could kind of see this as a metaphor for nuclear power.  Kiritsugu joined the equivalent of Greenpeace after watching the equivalent of Three Mile Island.

Even if Kiritsugu wasn’t able to take the long view, wasn’t able to see the loss of one small village as the occasional price of progress, it still didn’t seem like he should have shot his dad.  He couldn’t mercykill Shirley as she was turning into a zombie and begging to die, but he was able to shoot his father in cold blood?  It seemed earlier as though he respected his father as a great man, it was a shocking reversal.  Out of character, even.  It seemed much more in keeping with adult Kiritsugu than child Kiritsugu, and I guess the point of this episode was to show how a child turned into adult Kiritsugu, but these things should happen gradually.  I could believe him betraying his father to the mage-hunter, but not shooting his father outright.  Not unless the cold, hard emptiness inside him was there from the beginning.  In which case this episode had no point at all.

Bonus Image Corner:

What if you use the Holy Grail?

As opposed to say, using your power for the good of the world because it’s the right thing to do?


3 responses to “Fate/Zero – Episode 18

  1. Veldril May 11, 2012 at 2:06 am

    I think you miss a lot of points:

    1. He did not become a magus killer because he hate mages. It’s because most mages do magical researches that are dangerous and would willing test their result on anything (even human) as long as they keep them in secret. Kiritsugu kill those who would become a threat to the major of people. He just does not care about method.
    2. He could not sacrifice one, therefore a village is destroyed. That what drove him to kill his father. The reason he kills his father is because his father is a typical mage that does not regard human’s lives. Because he see the result of not “sacrifice few to save many”, and his father has almost 100% certainty that he will make thing repeat again. So he kill “few to save many”
    3. Anime cut this part a bit, but actually his father intended to test the potion on Shirley. That’s the reason why he chose her for an assistance. In the novel, he said “he expected to result this way but it’s just sooner than expect”, implying that he will eventually test the potion on Shirley.

    • suntzuanime May 11, 2012 at 2:35 am

      Well, my comments are based on the anime as a product in and of itself. I know this work is based on a novel, but if the anime can’t present the points in the novel effectively, it’s not a good anime, full stop. There are plenty of bad anime out there that ruined good source material, and even a few that redeemed bad source material.

      And if you’re talking about sacrificing “few” to save “many”, you need to take a broader perspective. This village was comparatively “few” next to the benefits to the “many” of continued magical research.

      • Veldril May 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm

        Actually, most readers consider the anime cover Kiritsugu’s past better than the novel.

        And no, “magical research” is all about reaching the Root. Mage does not consider other things. They will do everything to get to the Root. Be it people killing each other in the Holy Grail Wars, or making themselves into vampires that feed on other people’s lives. That’s how the mage work in the Nasuverse.

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