The parallels between Kiritsugu and Madoka Kaname (a fellow Urobuchi work, Madoka Magica) are just to hard to ignore with this new episode dedicated to providing a backstory to one of the most enigmatic characters on the series. Gen Urobuchi, you just love to torment your characters don’t you?
Things start off well, almost too well for young Kiritsugu Emiya (Miyu Irino), nicknamed Kerry by the locals because his name is too hard to pronounce. He has an obvious crush on his friend Shirley (Ayahi Takagaki), but being relegated to ‘little brother’ status pretty much means he didn’t get the girl. But the bigger picture is his father, Noritaka’s intrigue in studying whether or not humans can actually live forever. Soon he got his answer in the form of Shirley drinking an elixir that ended up causing her to turn into a Dead Apostle – more or less a vampire who acts like a zombie.
Very knowledgeable Nasuverse (Type-Moon) fans will note the prominence of the Dead Apostles, which were introduced in Type-Moon’s first and major visual novel Tsukihime. Even more down in the weeds is the appearance of a certain character – Cornelius Alba from Kara no Kyoukai, another Type-Moon work. Whether this means something substantial or not is unclear right now. My knowledge of these topics is scarce, as I haven’t read Tsukihime or seen the Kara no Kyoukai movies so If my interpretation or definitions are wrong, feel free to correct me.
Kiritsugu’s motive to kill his father is questionable, but certainly had he lived it would have been even more chaotic and widespread than just a single island falling victim to the Dead Apostles. But this marks the beginning of the Kerry we all know and it really pained me to see such a happy and cheerful Kiritsugu turn into such an emotionless, brutal man. That’s why I really love Gen Urobuchi’s works: he takes characters we care about and systematically destroys them in the slowest way possible, showing every grueling second of their fall into demise. I wonder if he had a bad upbringing himself, because such detail makes me assume that Urobuchi must have a lot of demons inside him (much like Gundam’s Yoshiyuki Tomino’s “Kill em’ All” phase). But Kiritsugu’s episode definitely showed the viewers he once was a normal kid until
Urobuchi things outside of his control happened. He quickly gets introduced to the dog eats dog world of the Church and the Mage’s Association – they’ll do anything to preserve their secrets by killing witnesses and covering up events.
Shirley’s death wasn’t a ‘curiosity killed the cat’ scenario but a defense of someone she cared deeply for, and having her repeat what she said to Kerry “What kind of adult do you want to be when you grow up?” right as he shoots his father is more or less his answer to her question and that was by far a very emotional and well structured scene. There’s a lot to like about this episode – the references to other Nasuverse series, the emotional destruction of Kiritsugu’s character and a new ED song by Kalafina – that make this a memorable episode.