Last episode on Fate/Zero, we flashed back to the story of Kiritsugu as a young boy. There’s still plenty of Kiritsugu backstory to tell, we could see the story of him as an older boy, or a young man, or as a man older than a young man but younger that he is now. Probably the story of how he met Irisviel is going to get told, if not in this episode then at some point in the future. I really just hope that episode 19 of Fate/Zero gets back to the fun Holy Grail War stuff, I like it better than watching Kiritsugu’s wasted youth.
…thirty minutes pass…
Murdering your father in cold blood is one thing, but god forbid you smoke underage.
Well, we got the Kiritsugu flashback story I didn’t want. It was better than last episode’s, at least. I was happy that they at least addressed my concern about how quickly Kiritsugu became willing to shoot his own father. It wasn’t just the trauma of seeing his village burn, Kiritsugu really is a natural born killer. Which is a shame for his heroic aspirations, because it turns out that not all problems can be solved by murdering the people involved. You may say that you will sacrifice one hundred to save nine hundred, but maybe if you weren’t so obsessed with killing you wouldn’t have to sacrifice anyone at all? There has got to be a better way to deal with a zombie outbreak on a plane than blowing it up. Couldn’t you land it and then, I dunno, go in with flamethrowers? Land it, evacuate the landing area, extract your mentor from the cockpit via the window, then blow it up? She may just be one life, but if she works assassinating bad guys, she probably has positive effects on the world that go beyond that and make her worth trying to save. I guess she was talking about retirement. Never talk about retiring unless you want to die, that’s the one constant across all media.
So it turns out that the story we had heard of Kiritsugu’s callousness had been a bit twisted in the retelling. He didn’t blow up an airliner full of innocent civilians to take down one Magus target. Rather, he blew up an airliner full of zombies that happened to have his mentor and surrogate mother in it. If we take as given that that was the only way to stop a zombie outbreak on the ground, then he was justified. In fact, he’s more justified, because instead of killing a bunch of innocent civilians he killed one combatant who knew the risks, and instead of trying to take out a target to fulfill a contract, he was trying to keep a zombie threat contained. And it says more about his character, too, because it’s harder to sacrifice one person who’s personally important to you than it is to sacrifice the lives of three hundred strangers. But somehow, for exactly that reason, it’s less poignant to me. Anybody can be a hero if it’s absolutely clearcut that what they’re doing is heroic, if they’re visibly sacrificing something important to them to stop a visible threat. The true test of your heroism is if you can murder strangers because you think it will probably help maybe. In fact, I think the death of the lecturer guy and his fiancée is a better example of this now than the downing of the airliner. The lecturer guy and his fiancée were almost certainly not threats – they’d lost their servant and each been badly crippled. But Kiritsugu is playing for very high stakes, so what’s a couple of murders weighted against even the small chance that they’d find another servant somewhere? The only thing that makes it a little less meaningful is that they’d fought before, and so Kiritsugu might have been harboring a grudge that made him want to kill them even if he didn’t have to.
Bonus Image Corner:
Unfortunately for her, he’s actually trying to become a superhero.
Motherfucking bees on this motherfucking plane.
This scene was gorgeous. It’s not just fight scenes these guys are animating well.