One of the best shows is ending, and so did the life of one of this show’s best characters. Yet this episode was less action packed than I had imagined..well it did have action but not on the level I was expecting. Nonetheless, this was by far the best episode of the show and this episode proves that the more character development someone has, the more impact their death brings to the viewer.
And thus, we say goodbye to Rider. The King of Conquerors gave it all that he had, but it was obvious that not being at full power really lessened his odds of beating Gilgamesh. But what was surprising and by far the most shocking thing to happen in this series was how easily Rider’s Ionian Hetairoi was taken out by Gilgamesh’s Ea, considered to be one of his most valued weapons. What Ea functions as is an “Anti-World” Noble Phantasm, essentially it has the power to destroy Reality Marbles and things of that nature. Thus, Rider’s last real strength was vanquished effortlessly by Gilgamesh but the heeding of Waver and the command spells pushes Rider to a final showdown with Gilgamesh.
It was amazing how much Gilgamesh acknowledges Rider’s powers: he used his most powerful weapons at his disposal, even acknowledging Rider as a true opponent – such a different side of Gilgamesh that normally doesn’t show (though, there’s the creepy obsession with Saber that is more in-depth in the sequel). I know some find characters like Gilgamesh to be really unlikable and irremediably evil, but that’s the kind of character I enjoy seeing and seeing him pull an almost complete change in character was pretty surprising. But back to Rider: having his death as a simple, non-flashy one was the right decision because I admit that it was a much better approach then the all-out, dazzling wonder that I was expecting to see and its the kind of thing that Fate/Zero brings: unlike Fate/stay night, the cast is all adults, the tone is consistently mature and dark and death is portrayed more flashy in F/SN rather than F/Z.
I find such contrasts are easily comparable to political ideologies: Fate/Zero is the conservative, it only does things that are necessary and uses the least amount of outside help as possible, which is why things like alliances never worked in this show. Indeed, Rider proposed to Gilgamesh an alliance, but that was quickly rejected by the golden king and don’t forget the almost alliance with Tokiomi and Kiritsugu. While Fate/stay night is dominated by teenagers, ignorant or understating the powers they have, the deaths are always flashy and alliances are always being formed at the drop of a hat – this sort of thing is what you’ll see in virtually every major shounen series. Whatever approach you like more is your opinion, but I find Fate/Zero’s to be a much better alternative.
The other sorta big development this week was the true identity of Berserker: It’s Lancelot, one of Saber (Arturia)’s knights which is how he was able to stop Saber’s attack because he knew how large Excalibur was. I’m curious as to how he went from loyal servant and friend to such an insane powerhouse – it’ll probably be revealed next episode as there’s only two more episodes until the finale. Reminded of the fact that this show ends in two weeks has left me a little saddened: I’ve really come to appreciate the Fate/ series after watching Fate/Zero and how its much, much better than its sequel (that includes the VN), but I do hope Gen Urobuchi is given another chance to work on a big name franchise and put his own spin on it, even if that ‘spin’ is his trademark despair and nihilistic view on life.