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Well, here we are. I must say, I was pumped for this episode…but it actually surprised me. I originally thought it was going to be an epic battle action spectacle, but they’re holding off on that to really delve into a big character piece and a big character reveal. I’m going to split things up by segment, as is my usual method, rather than hopping back and forth as the show does.

We find out some interesting things as our heroes confront Archer. The pendant that Rin used to save Shirou was actually the catalyst that Archer possessed that led him to be summoned as her servant as Archer. This leads to several questions; was it during the same circumstances that she saved Shirou? If so, in Archer’s time as Shirou, was there an Archer there as well?  Is this, to some degree a big time loop for him? I feel that’s unlikely, I get more of the multiverse and alternate timelines vibe, but it is interesting.

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Its also great to see part of his motivations. He can’t stand Shirou as he is because of what he’s experienced, just as Shirou can’ stand him for betraying his own ideals. They’re polar opposites even though they’re the same person. Even more, we get a bit of insight in how much Archer knows about Saber. This makes me think that, at the very leas, Archer’s past had Saber as his servant. Even as Saber discusses how wrong it is for Archer to try and change his past, Archer has the perfec response.

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Its here that Shirou (and the audience for those who have watched no other Fate product) learn of Saber’s wish; to undo being king of Britain. She chose to take up the sword, and become the king to protect her people, but ultimately comes to regret it and seek to change it. However, a difference is, while Archer is out to change i for his own sake, Saber wants to undo her rule because she hopes it would give her people a better king in her stead. Even in her deepest wish, Saber desires to give up of herself for her people.

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This is contrasted heavily with Archer’s backstory. wherein we find out something; he’s not a heroic spirit. He’s a counter guardian, a human who makes a deal with the planet itself; he gives up his afterlife to become an agent of the earth’s will, destroying anything that would endanger the planet (though we aren’t told exactly what that means.) All we know is that it meant he killed people o save others, by a large amount. A man who wanted to become a hero, but then ended up being a cold killer who killed the few to save the many? Does this sound familiar to anyone?

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So, in his own way, Archer is a twisted reflection on both Saber and Kiritsugu, which is striking due to how much they disliked each other. He tells how he tried to be a hero, only for his ideals to fail him again and again, and with him feeling he has wasted his life, and he regrets his decisions.  We then touch upon the real reason he wants to kill Shirou; to be free. There’s no expiration date on his tenure as a guardian, so for the rest of time it is his fate; but he thinks that, if he kills his past self, in both body and spirit, he can cease to be. This is even though Saber says it can’t work, once you’re a heroic spirit, you are one for all time, regardless to changes of history since the “throne of heroes” they come from exists outside time.  He knows this, but also knows its his only chance to be free. Shirou’s response?

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Blind stubborn optimism; its not a new idea but he gets alot of use out of it. However, its not just bravado he has, or blatant denial; its his choice. He decides he won’t give up trying to be a hero, and will press on regardless, and succeed where Archer failed. Archer pretty much accepted he couldn’t make Shirou kill himself, and so readies to do so himself (which is sort of the same thing but not).  Saber steps out, both because of the sake of honor and because…this isn’t just about survival anymore. This is about Shirou and Archer putting their beliefs into their blades, and fighting to answer the question on who’s conviction is strongest. It looks like it will be an awesome fight. And now..for the exact opposite of awesome….

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We have Shinji. Shinji’s being a doucheface, as he normally is, taunting the tied up Rin as if not-being tied up is a superpower he has to lord over her.  He pretends to do the seduction part, and gets all sorts of uncomfortable in Rin’s face about what he can do, even though I think even tied up Rin could find a way to kick his ass.

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I seem to remember those legs firmly kicking you in the gut, Shinji.

However, this then leads to one of the best shots in any scene of any anime ever.  I want you all to pause, and ready yourself for its glory. You ready…you ready? Ok then.

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Just look at it..contemplate it, burn it into your mind…Lancer as a spirit punching Shinji in the face so hard it warps his face. This..is beautiful, a transcendent moment. Just..magical. But, anyways, Lancer comes to save Rin, and everything seems to be good..but then, guess who shows up?

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“I’m here to make everything worse. By the way Rin, that piece of cake you had in the fridge? I ate it…not because I liked it, but so you could never have it.”
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You can just see the joy in knowing her caretaker is alive and well……Nah, she knew it was just ‘wishful thinking’.

 

Now of course you may wonder..why is Kirei here? Well, the answer is simple: HE is Lancer’s master. He’s been having his own plans, working with Gil and Shinji (for some reason), with the grail. Rin points out how bs it is for someone who’s supposed to be the arbiter for the grail war being a member, but he laughs it off. When she mentions out how long he’s been playing this game, he asks her what she means, and you know he’s deliberately toying with her. Sure enough, the pieces begin to fall into place and she realizes the truth.

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We can see how much Kirei loves her finding out, relishing her pain and anger. He likely knew she would, but wanted to savor it, let the time come so he could fully enjoy her anger. And Holy shit she goes apeshit on him. She rants and insults the way only a tsundere who’s been pushed over the edge can with rant and insult after insult.

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Even Shinji is utterly shocked at how much Rin blows up at Kirei…just look at his stunned face.

 

However, her anger only serves to amuse Kirei, even though he’s got business. When Shinji mentions Rin was supposed to be his, Kirei basically says “Shush child, the big kids are talking” and says how he plans to use Rin for the grail vessel.  Its unclear why Rin has to be the vessel, and why they needed to rip out Ilya’s heart and put it in someone else when Ilya was already the grail vessel in the first place.  I’m unsure what the goal is, but Kirie mentions she doesn’t need her heart for the ritual, so Lancer should kill her to prepare for it. Lancer’s response is…interesting. He says he won’t do it willingly, but he’d do it if Kirei used a command seal; Lancer knows he has to serve Kirei, but does show some agency. His entire relationship with Kirei seems like having an obnoxious boss you hate working for but have to because that’s the job. Kirei says alright then orders Lancer..to kill himself.

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Is it just…a thing for Lancers to impale themselves with their own spears?

It was actually really freaky seeing Lancer’s arm move against his own will to stab himself with his spear, and is sad after this time with him and seeing his good points.  So, we end of with Rin still captured, and Shirou going to face Archer.

Overall, this episode was great. The parts with Rin were good, and were given enough time without distracting from the main focus of the episode, Archer and Shirou. I genuinely did not expect there to be this dialogue before hand, but I really welcome it, it allows us to feel what the characters are thinking and why they will be fighting next episode. The next episode seems to promise an insanely awesome fight, and even more great plot twists along the way. I always wish the next saturday could come sooner.

 

 

 

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Wanderer

    “Is it just…a thing for Lancers to impale themselves with their own spears?”

    The only reason it happened in Fate Zero was as a callback to this scene, since by that point “everybody” was familiar with FSN and knew what had happened here.

    Anyway. Shirou’s reaction to Archer isn’t just blind optimism, not exactly. It is a form of thinking that is, arguably, necssary for human beings to remain sane. Archer discovered that the world is a cruel place, that following his ideal could lead to betrayal, and that hiis ideal was unobtainable. Because of that he abandoned his ideal, decrying it as worthless and came to hate anyone who believed in anything like it. But ideals are, by DEFINITION, something that can never be achieved. It is always impossible to reach them. the point of holding an ideal isn’t about reaching it and going “wellp, now I’m done, I never have to put any effort in to life ever again.” It is about having something that is worthwhile to strive for throughout life. It is about the journey, not the destination.

    Shirou KNOWS that he can never actually save every single person in the world from everything. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop trying to save as many people as he can from as many things as are within his power to save them from. It is not wrong for him to follow that ideal. He will never achieve it, but he will, in the process of following it, do good that needs to be done.

  2. Vantage

    RANSA GA SHINDA
    KONO HITO DE NASHI

    There’s being unlucky… then there’s E-rank luck.

    1. I don’t buy it. Lancer’s not done yet, at least, not if the formula of sorts is to be kept for the more prominent Heroic Spirits in this route. We only learned his name, but there was no real history on him revealed. Even ‘Sasaki Kojiro’ has more revealed about his past, I believe.

      We also didn’t learn his special skill, only Noble Phantasm(s). Rider had her Blood Fort, Heracles had his inability to be killed the same way twice, Caster could do anything in the realm of magic, Sasaki’s ultimate ability is on the level of a Noble Phantasm despite not being a true Heroic Spirit, Saber has her anti-magic and Gilgamesh is, well, a half-god.

      I might just be grasping at straws, sadly. I mean, we DID get A LOT of reasons to like him as a character and maybe that’s intentional in UBW to get us excited for Heaven’s Feel, back then and now, since I’ve heard you couldn’t play Heaven’s Feel without playing Fate and Unlimited Blade Works first.

      1. Vantage

        Who knows? 😀

        But not all three routes pay equal attention to all the Servants, and it was designed like that. As you say, the next route is only unlocked once you’ve played through the previous one, and you’re expected to use what you learnt in previous routes to help you through the next. UBW is a route that pays a lot of attention to Archer and Caster – the latter has a very minor role in Fate and HF, and if you’ve played/watched Fate you’ll know that Archer was only ever a nameless, mysterious Servant to the very end. One of the only hints we got was how he called Illya by her nickname instead of her full name, which she only allows those she feels comfortable with to do.

        How involved a particular party is in the various iterations of the Fifth War very much depends on what they get the opportunity to do, and that in turn is determined by Shirou’s actions. Heaven’s Feel is living, breathing proof of this.

        1. narrows eyes I see. Well, in any case, it’s been nice knowing Lancer. I like him as much as Fate/Zero’s Lancer, so I think I’ll watch that again, but the dub this time.

          So the whole conversation between Archer and Shirou in this episode never happened in any VN route? O_o I mean, I could understand why they’d make changes for the sake of anime-only viewers, but this would be quite a big change.

          As for Heaven’s Feel, one thing I do remember about my time wandering around the Fate wiki scared, alone and uncertain about such a huge series, it was that I found Heaven’s Feel the most interesting from its outset. Even though I was only skimming the beginning of each route and don’t remember any details but one now, that’s how I felt. Right now it just sits in my mind as the route where Rider gets more screentime and where Sakura takes the spotlight! 😀

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