An Oasis of Thoughts

Fate/Zero – 20

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With five episodes to go, it’s a mad dash to the finish line Holy Grail and along the way, lives will be lost. In fact, lives have been lost already but the death count keeps increasing each episode. With it, those who didn’t read the novel or the Fate/stay night visual novel (anime? what FSN anime?) will find themselves seemingly out of the real, gripping emotions as the major players to this war will meet their ends. For me, I have my foot halfway outside the door: I didn’t read the novel but i did read F/SN, so I have an idea of how things are going to end but not how it gets there.

Another nice conversation scene with Rider and Waver, revealing that Rider has almost exhausted his mana from using Ionian Hetairoi against both Assassin (way back in season 1) and recently, Caster. This leaves Waver gathering up as much mana to give to Rider, because obviously fighting at half to little strength is reckless, and at this stage in the war it’s guaranteed suicide. They decide on a course of action at nighttime, and things switch to the shed at Kiritsugu’s temporary residence. This is where Irisviel tells Kiritsugu that she probably won’t last much longer and to take care of their daughter, Ilya and that she’ll commit herself to Kiritsugu’s goal because she doesn’t want Ilya to end up becoming a master. Those who haven’t seen Fate/stay night will find little emotional care to the name “Ilya”, but for everyone else it’s..painful to say the least. But after Kiritsugu goes to kill Tokiomi (who’s already dead thanks to Kotomine), Rider suddenly appears in front of Maiya and using his command spell, Kiritsugu orders Saber to go back and protect the two. What she finds is a dying Maiya, remarking how empty and hollow her life is and takes pursuit after Rider.

Of course, I highly doubt it’s actually Rider who kidnapped Iri. But then, who did? I think it could be Berserker (judging from the preview, and more Kariya screentime) but Gilgamesh/Archer is another possibility. Regardless, this confusion will likely send Saber to fight the real Rider in a glorious battle of the Kings, in which Rider wants to show the ‘confused little girl the right path’. Rider, Saber, Berserker and Archer: we’re down to four, and it’s time to start guessing who will lose next. My money is on Berserker, as Kariya clearly doesn’t have much time left (He even says so this episode) but who knows…well the LN readers do.

I do agree with some that Gen Urobuchi’s real weakness is creating an emotional connection with characters, not as major as it sounds but seeing a certain blond-haired mahou shoujo die less than two episodes after being introduced doesn’t give me much to care about. But I think with Fate/Zero, that problem has been less notable but judging from bits and pieces of the light novel I have seen, Urobuchi has improved and it’s up to ufotable to get those key moments down, and not Shaft-ed to the BD release. That’s another variable in the equation: ufotable has done a magnificent job with the series, but some key details have been cut out of the TV broadcast (to fit the 24 minute length) and placed on the BD Box release. I’d hate to see some of the important dialogues ahead cut out, but chances are 50/50 at this point.

It’s really hard to not let Fate/stay night spoilers loose now that the major characters from that show are going to be referenced more often..but I’ll zip my lips. But all of you really ought to check out the visual novel: it’s not written by Urobuchi, but it’s still a really impressive work nonetheless. Be warned, there are H-scenes and they come out of nowhere most of the time. This is one of the few times where I actually have some advanced knowledge of an anime due to prior source material, because I never read manga or light novels (nor do I plan on) and I really understand how hard it is to keep spoilers out. Also, Zouken (pic #4) is the most disgusting and evil character I’ve ever seen, I’m glad Urobuchi didn’t do much to make his character even more horrendous than in Fate/stay night: putting those worms in Sakura is nothing compared to what he does in the sequel.

Score: 4/5

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