I should have known something was up when masters and servants were getting killed left and right at the beginning of the second part of this series. As I said before though, I don’t really have any problems with these flashback type of episodes because of what they reveal about Kiritsugu’s character. However, I do think that with a cast as large as the one in this series, offering too much time to one character isn’t really fair to the rest of the characters; I mean, how long has it been since we’ve seen Waver. Though if there was one character to focus on, I suppose it should be Kiritsugu, but I still don’t think he should monopolize so much of the show’s time.
But really, Type Moon better just go ahead and start production for their Kiritsugu prequel/spinoff thing, because this episode just made me want to see something like that even more than I already did. I don’t think that too many people would be against the idea of a “Kiritsugu the Vampire Slayer” series. For the most part this episode seemed to be just an explination for the way Kiritsugu is and how he learned to do what he does. Plus, we also got to see that scene where Kiritsugu gets his ribs ripped out from way back when in the first season, and we got some context and explanation to it as well. It’s always nice when things come back around in the end. I do think some of the things in this episode, such as the Bee dude and what exactly Natalia does were explained a little more, but this is more than likely a one time flashback episode, so It’s understandable that they skipped around a lot. I do wish that this episode would have been more chronological, but that’s just a minor complaint.
It seemed to me that the main point of this episode was that no matter what, even when faced with losing everything that is important to him, Kiritsugu still holds to his ideals and his desire to save all the people that he can. I see it as reflecting that old Spock quote, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, and it seems that Kiritsugu holds very strongly to that. But even with how strong his convictions are about saving people, he seemed to be trying to justify what he did to Natalia pretty soon after he destroyed that plane. Obviously allowing the plane to land would pose a huge threat, but it’s not as if it was impossible for him to attempt to control the Bee Zombies and try to save Natalia at the same time. Although Kiritsugu does try to do all he can to help people, he does it in the harshest and most unflinching way possible. Could he have possibly save Natalia and stopped the Zombies? Maybe, but the risk was too great. Was it cruel to kill Kayneth and his wife after he made Lancer commit suicide? Yes it was, but if there was even a fraction of a fraction of a chance that Kayneth could reenter the war, Kiritsugu was going to do what he had to do to make sure he didn’t.
Now we’ll probably be going back to the actual story arc of the series, which hopefully means that Archer and Kirei are finally going to come out as partners…. in a Master and Servant kind of way…. no, not like that. Anyway, with so few servants and Master’s left, I imagine that things will start to get pretty eventful from here on out. If I had to put money on it, I’d say that Kariya and Berserker will almost certainly be the first ones to go. After all, leaving the three legendary kings to duke it out seems only fair. After that, I’d assume that Rider and Waver would be the next to go. Then, I’d assume that Kiritsugu would win, but the fact that the war happens agina (Stay/Night) kind of seems to contradict that, but maybe his wish just didn’t work right, or something along those lines. Regardless, I expect an epic showdown between Saber and Archer, and Kiritsugu and Kirei, so don’t let me down here.
Best episode ever. No, you cannot argue with this, it is scientifically proven to be one hundred percent true. This episode was complete and total badassery to the very core, but not only that there was a lot of it. Awesome dialogue, awesome action, awesome everything; it was simply fucking amazing. Hopefully, this marks a darker and more violent turning point in the series, because I don’t there’s been this much shit happen collectively in the entire series, let alone in a single episode.
About the point that Kayneth shot the priest, I was pretty convinced that shit was about to go down. However, I certainly didn’t expect it to go down as much as it actually did. I’m still a little confused as to how Kayneth got the command seal for killing Caster. First of all, I assumed that he had given all control of Lancer over to his fiance, but apparently he is still technically involved in the contract. Second, the only part that Lancer actually played in killing Caster was shooting himself in the foot so Saber could one-shot the bastard, so it doesn’t really make sense as to how he should receive the extra command seal. I guess it doesn’t really matter; if nothing else we can just call it a plot device for the epicness that happens later in the episode.
Everything in the whole last half of the episode was almost flawless, from Kayneth insulting Lancer, to Saber and Lancer’s duel, to Kiritsugu’s bribery of Kayneth, and the aftermath of everything was amazing. Lancer’s death after all that was the icing on top of the cake, but what happened to Kayneth after that was the icing on top of the icing on top of the cake. I am kind of upset that Lancer has been eliminated relatively early in the War, but at least he had an awesome death, I don’t think many people can deny that. As sad as the fact the he didn’t even have any control over it was, his final “Fuck you and fuck the War” speech was pretty damn cool, and it was made even cooler by the fact he was dying as he gave it. We all know that dying while telling people off is the epitome of badass, that’s why Captain Rhodes’ death inDay of the Dead will always be the most badass thing ever.
Now, everybody is surely going to jump on the “Fuck Kiritsugu” bandwagon, but I for one will do nothing of the sort, as he is still one of the most interesting characters in the show. For a while, I just assumed him to be a careful and organized who knew how to get what he wanted, but now we all know that he’s pretty much a completely uncaring killer, if only for a greater purpose. Basically, this whole episode encompassed the main theme of Code Geass better than Code Geass itself did. In a rather broad sense the idea behind both Kiritsugu’s and Lelouch’s motives was the principle of Machiavellianism, or more simply “The end justifies the means”. It’s not as this is an unexplored topic in entertainment or even anime – hell, that’s even one of the big ideas in Evangelion – but nonetheless it seems to fit really well in the context of this show. Seeing as how the Grail can do pretty much anything, it seems like a perfect time to apply that principle in the search for a greater good.
But like always, Saber and her absurdly unflinching pride can’t even seem to comprehend the idea. Of course what Kiritsugu did was dishonest and cruel, but doesn’t the saying go “All’s fair in love and war”? Saber still continues to maintain that there absolutely has to be some kind of sacredness to battle and that chivalry must always be upheld, but she seems unable to grasp the concept that things may have extenuating circumstances sometimes. Even if Lancer was honorable and kind to Saber, even if Kayneth just wanted to save his fiance, their goal in the War is to kill everyone else, even Saber and Kiritsugu. So does that mean that they must adhere by some vague and self-defined sense of honor in such a situation? I would say, no, it doesn’t, and even though Kiritsugu may seem like a heartless monster, the goal of the Holy Grail War is: to win, not: to win while being as nice to everyone as you can.
Once again; a lot of action, not much dialogue amongst the characters, and some things that didn’t quite make sense in this weeks episode. But still, it’s Fate/Zero and it was still really good. At least now both Caster (may his insane soul rest in peace… or wherever he goes back to when he dies) and Ryunosuke have been officially dealt with and now the rest of the servants can finally get back to the real War without having to worry about giant octopi that eat planes and stuff.
There’s one thing that I kind of forgot about for a while that I think is worth mentioning. For the longest time the fact that this show takes place in our reality kind of slipped my mind. Well, it takes place in a semi-reality; we don’t really have mages colleges and the like. And if mages are an open commonplace thing, I would think that seeing the way that this world really worked with the use of magic would be interesting to see. But still, all this stuff that’s going on has got to be pretty shocking, and I doubt that all these people, no matter how used to magic they are, probably don’t really know much about the Holy Grail War. And for that matter considering that the Magus college that Waver was attending is a real institute open to the public, exactly how much to the normal residents of this world know about magic and the way it works?
Other than Caster’s death one of the other big things that happened this episode was Kariya’s supposed “death” by the hands of Tokiomi. First of all, he was fucking set ablaze and was burning alive for at least thirty seconds before throwing himself off of a god-damn two story rooftop. The possibility that he wouldn’t have really died is probably less than zero, and the likelihood of him having such minor burns are even less than less than zero. I guess his weird magically sick body protected him from that, but an explanation for that really needs to be offered. It was kind of surprising that Kirei didn’t kill him and from what I assume, tried to heal him instead. Perhaps all of his conversations with Archer are paying off and changing him from the stoic Wolverine fan that he is into a much more important character in the show. I think that going against order that were probably given to him by the Church or Tokiomi is a good way to start becoming your own man.
And finally we have Saber’s big epic ray-gun laser-beam Noble Phantasm. By the way, what the hell does “Anti Fortress” mean? It’s used to destroy castles or something? Anyway, her not even telling everyone else about it once again asserts her almost selfish pride that Rider and Archer look down upon so much. It’s not as if her having pride is necessarily a bad thing, but she was willing to put everyone else at risk and attempt to solve the problem another way. That’s like digging a ditch using a hoe because you don’t want to ask your next-door neighbor to borrow his shovel. Just like Rider stated earlier, she was willing to shoulder everything herself and not receive assistance from anyone until it was forced upon her. And Lancer continues to be a badass in this episode. It probably sucks giving up half of your weaponry in a war like this, but he was willing to do it if it could help Caster be stopped. In my opinion he’s really much more worthy of the title of “King” than Saber. It’s kind of a shame that there really is no chance of him actually winning the war.
With all that solved, it’s finally time to get things moving in the real battle stages of the war. Two Servants have been eliminated, and now there rest are ready to duke it out. But more than anything I’m looking forward to Archer and Kirei teaming up, because I just know that it’s going to happen. Everyone knows that it’s always cool to see the underling of an organization usurp his leader, even more so when he usurps him by stealing his super-powerful legendary magical Servant from another dimension. Kirei and Archer need to get together ASAP. No homo.
Kind of late, but better late than never I guess. Anyway, finally after around four months of waiting Fate/Zero makes it’s return to computer screens everywhere. However, it didn’t really feel like it warranted the huge break in between the two parts of the series. What I mean by that is, this doesn’t really feel like the start of a new season, and it probably isn’t supposed to (seeing as how it’s been called episode 14 everywhere I looked), but I still that the gap between the last episode and this one warranted something bigger. This isn’t really anything to criticize, because it’s not like the show cut off right before they fought Caster and we had to wait to see if there would be another season, but still, another forty-five minute episode would have been fine by me.
This episode contained a lot of action, which is fine by me, but some of it did seem a little over the top, such as the dogfight between Berserker and Archer. Speaking of Berserker, it’s about damn time he finally came back – him and Kariya both. Karyia and Tokiomi’s conversation was one of the few things in this episode that wasn’t all out action, and I was really glad that Kariya finally got to have some time in the spotlight. Seeing as how he’s entered into the war for completely selfless reasons, it seems kind of odd how downplayed he’s been so far, especially with his badass Servant. For a standard show, it would stand to reason that someone with such a noble cause would be the main hero, but Fate/Zero isn’t really a standard show, which is a good thing. Maybe he’ll come into the show more now, especially since Ryunosuke is dead.
But other than a series of brief conversations between Archer and Tokiomi, not much else really happened in this episode. Even though Caster’s master is dead, he could still technically find another master before all of this is over, assuming that the other servant’s don’t find a way to beat him somehow. But I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Caster’s going to be out of the money pretty soon here, seeing as how it’s a kind of common trait in anime for a villain pull his biggest gun right before he dies. That and the fact that I don’t think Caster could bear to go on without his oh-so-amazing master Ryunosuke. Who will slaughter children and make artwork out of entrails with him? Who could possibly find the same joy in the screams of innocent women having their flesh torn from their body? Only Ryunosuke….
Anyway, there isn’t a whole lot to say about this episode, considering about half of it was taken up with Caster tearing shit up, Archer not wanting to kill him, and Berserker flying around on some demon-possessed jet. This show has been plenty good so far, so I don’t really have a reason to believe that that’s going to change any time soon, I think I just felt that this episode was a little underwhelming as a big epic come-back episode, but perhaps that was just my presupposition of what it should have been. Hopefully next week, we’ll finally get to see the first servant fall, even though it will be a little sad to say goodbye to Caster and all of his craziness.
Another year has come and gone, and with it tons of shitty anime. You know what I’m talking about; the shows that don’t really exist for any other purpose other than the fact that Japan is the most sex-crazed country in the world, those that are made because Japan will throw insane amounts of money at anything they deem cute enough, or those that are just plain retarded. Yet, every year a handful of people in the industry decide to actually try to make something good. It’s rare, I know, but it does happen, at least a few times a year. These shows are the reason I continue to watch anime, because I know that deep in Japan’s erotic and perverted bowels there are people who really want to make shows that are entertaining, fun, and visually unique.
5 – Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)
While I never really paid a whole lot of attention to Nichijou in it’s first half, for some reason I just decided to watch every episode I had missed in a day, and found out that I actually really liked this show. For one thing, comedy anime are now a dime a dozen; ever since Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star, everyone has wanted to cash in on the fad of ordinary girls doing ordinary girl things. Almost all of the time these aren’t funny at all, because they rely too heavily on lame, overused gags and some “Oh, I do that stuff too” thrown in for good measure. Nichijou, however, decided that everything that happens should be as crazy as humanly possible, which, as much as I normally don’t find random stuff funny, I actually thought it worked really well. I don’t know what it is that makes it so different, but I think it may be because it’s so obviously not trying to be normal and relatable, or it may be because the characters are actually supposed to be the source of humor, instead of just the situations they find themselves in. It’s kind of sad that this show didn’t end up selling all too well, probably because OMG IT ISNT AS KAWAII AS K-ON BOOOO, but I suppose that’s the price you pay when you don’t give those Japanese otaku enough kawaii, and instead try to do something that’s actually funny.
4 – Fate/Zero
Well, I’m kind of cheating here, since this show isn’t really finished airing yet. But hey, MAL lists the first and second seasons separately, so that’s my excuse. To be honest, I wasn’t too sold on the first episode of this show. To me, it seemed like some huge in-joke to everyone who had seen/played F/SN and I wasn’t going to have a clue what was going on. And the hour long episode of pure exposition didn’t really help matter much. Yet, after that first episode, I thought it was great. It’s rare that something that is essentially a big tournament/elimination anime is done as well as F/Z has done it. For the most part, all of the characters are interesting, though there is a problem with the sheer number of them. So far the story hasn’t really been too much of anything, but that’s too be expected, as it’s taking it’s time developing characters and building suspense for when people start to die. And if the second part continues to be this good, then I have very high hopes for this show.
By the way, has anyone seen the price of the Blu-ray boxsets of this that Aniplex is selling? Go check it out, it’s unreal.
3 – Madoka Magica
Overhyped? Yes. Awesome? Yes. I’ll be the very first to say that people are a little too firmly attached to this shows nuts to see that it isn’t the epitome of anime as we know it today. And I really like how everyone goes on and on about how it has revolutionized the magical girl genre, because of how dark it is and everything. I suppose none of these people have ever seen Utena, so I guess I have to forgive them. But no amount of hype can change the fact the Shaft is awesome and so are the visuals of Madoka, and honestly if this had been done by another studio it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good as it was. The combination of Shaft’s animation, the genuinely interesting story, and the dark tone it takes makes it one of my favorite anime this year (and in a while) but I’m not so on board with calling it the anime of the decade or anything.
2 – Mawaru Penguindrum
Uh, well I just wrote a whole bigass reveiw of this series so, if you want to see me ramble on why I like this show, go check that out. It had nice artwork and animation, a good (yet pretentious) story, and plenty of weird stuff to keep you wondering what the hell is going on.
1 – Steins;Gate
With this show being related to Chaos;Head, I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about it. I mean, I liked Chaos;Head well enough, but it’s problems with it’s sporadic story and lack of subtly didn’t really sit too well with me in the end. Another big thing that I thought would be a problem was the time travel aspect of the show, since the concept of time travel in any medium of entertainment is hard to pull off; you know, since it doesn’t exist and all. However, I thought the way it was handled in Steins;Gate was fairly interesting, since for a good portion of the show, they can’t technically “time travel”, and can only communicate with the past. And the fact that the series shows what everyone knows would actually happen if a bunch of random “scientists” in their twenties found a way to manipulate time made it even better to me. Although a lot of people didn’t really like that the story didn’t develop into anything too big, I was actually glad for once that everything didn’t turn into a classic “We have to save the future” scenario. Well, it did, but that plot point wasn’t that prevalent throughout most of the series. But the biggest reason of my love for this show is it’s main character: self-proclaimed mad scientist HOUIN KYOUMA!!! Call him Okabe, Okarin, or Houin Kyouma, he is the anime character of the year, without a doubt. He is hysterical, fun, and genuinely interesting, and takes this anime from being good to being great. Honestly, if some generic geeky/smart character had been the main character instead of Okabe, how much less awesome would this show have been? And while it may not have truly been the greatest anime of this year, this series simply made me realize why I suffer through all of the stupid and shitty anime that come every year; for shows like this, that are just plain fun to watch and experience.
Oh man, one more episode until the mid-series break, and this last episode better be awesome. Oh, and Berserker absolutely must make an appearance for that to happen.
This episode was pretty exposition heavy, but it was necessary exposition. The first part of the episode was a pretty standard recap-type thing, with Kiritsugu explaining what he knows about each of the servants and what he plans to do about them. But the one person he can’t seem to figure out is Kirei, because of how he’s directly attacked him, even though he shouldn’t have been able to leave the church. Apparently, Kiritsugu also knows that Kirei was only really an assistant to Tokiomi, and he and Maiya both think that all of Kirei’s Assassins are dead.
Saber and Irisviel’s part in this episode was rather small in this episode, and mostly served to show that Kiritsugu has moved his center of operations after the attack on his castle. I guess the place they are staying now is somehow significant, because if I remember from the little bit of Fate/Stay Night that I’ve seen, that house and shed are also in F/SN as well.
Irisviel removing one of her senses was kind of odd though. She said that because she’s sick for whatever reason, she removed her sense of touch because that somehow makes her better or something. But how does losing your sense of touch render you unable to grip things, doesn’t that just mean you can’t feel? People who get severe third degree burns lose their sense of touch on the burn area, most likely for years, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move their foot if it gets burned, remember Mr. Deeds’ foot? Well, she’s not a human, so maybe the same rules don’t apply.
The rest of the episode deals with Kirei and Archer, and talks more about the lore of the series. We finally get told, completely, what happens when a Master loses his Servant and vice versa. Because Kirei is still alive, even after all of his Assassins are dead, we know that a Master will not die if his Servant does (Kirei also confirms this when he talks to Archer about it). When a Servant is defeated, the Master’s command seals are taken and redistributed to another Master, who must then find a Servant of his own. The only real thing that matters is if the servant is killed, then that Servant/Master pair is out of the war. Kirei also says that if a Servant’s master is killed, the Grail chooses a new Master as well, but I’m not really sure if the new Master is chosen for the Servant, or if the Servant is removed and the new Master must find another Servant. I assume the later is true, otherwise why would Kiritsugu be trying so hard to kill Kayneth if his command seals would just be given a new Master for Lancer.
It’s good to know that even though Archer is a pretentious prick, he’s pretty smart. After a lot of vague philosophical talk about Kirei’s perception of joy and happiness, he brings up the subject of Kariya. Apparently, he’s been more interested in Kariya than any other Master. Archer also talks about how Kirei definitely has a desire for the Grail, otherwise he never would have been chosen, and when Kirei tells him for the hundredth time that he has no interest in the Grail, the command seals reappear on his hand. Then Archer pretty much says “Be my Master so we can win this thing”, and it’s more than likely going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. I mean, Archer has talked before about how he dislikes Tokiomi, he says he finds Kirei interesting, and very heavily alludes to wanting to be Kirei’s servant.
So far, Kirei hasn’t really been much other than an extension of Tokiomi’s plan, so if this actually goes how it looks like it’s going, then Kirei could be a much larger and more interesting character than he is now. Through this first half of the series he’s done little more than stalk other servants and try to kill Kirei, having him revolt against Tokiomi by stealing Archer from him would definitely be a really awesome plot twist. I’m pretty damn sure that’s what’s going to happen, but it seems hard to imagine Kirei doing something like that against the church.
This episode, in my opinion, was one of the better ones so far, enough so to make me okay with the fact that next week’s episode will probably be a cliffhanger. Let’s not kid ourselves, there’s no way everything that stuff with Rider, Caster, and Saber that happened in the preview will be wrapped up in twenty something minutes; there’s going to be a cliff hanger, and we’re going to have to wait four months to find out what happens. And even though it’s going to suck a lot, my experience with the Bakemonogatari ONA’s will finally be able to be put to use as crucial training for those four long months.
Isn’t it about time all of the kings sat down, had a drink, and just talked about their views on the Holy Grail War? And isn’t it time for more Rider? Yes, yes it is.
This episode was… different. I’m sorry, but I really can’t shake the feeling that the writers are stalling their hearts out to get to that mid-series mark, while letting as little as possible happen. That being said, I still like this episode, because it finally gave some idea as to why some of the characters wish to win the War.
So, Rider invites Saber to a drinking party to discuss their views on what is going on with the war, and decides to invite Archer as well, to have all three kings present. Archer is his usual pompous and snobbish self, even going so far as to say he can’t comprehend the vastness of his own wealth. What an asshole. He doesn’t even get up when Rider uses his Noble Phantasm. Either way he really doesn’t do or say much other than making fun of Rider’s wine, showing off his liquid gold Patrón, and laughing at Saber’s reason for wanting the Grail. And that’s pretty much what this entire episode is about; Rider and Saber’s reason for wanting to win the war.
Although most people (and myself as well) assumed that Rider only wanted to win so he could conquer the world, he actually only wants to be able to live in the present as a human. It’s a rather normal thing to want, considering that the Servants really aren’t anything more than a magical manifestation. When Saber tells him how selfish his wish is and how she wants to win to save her country, Rider tears into her ass. It seems taht Rider tells her that a King who wants to protect their people so much that they act alone is not truly a King. He claims a King must honor his people and lead them, not take everything upon himself. Although this scene did kind of go on a little to long, it was still nice to see that Rider and Saber’s relationship evolve, or devolve rather. It was kind of interesting for Rider to disagree so vehemently with Saber, even to the point of claiming she isn’t fit to be a king.
Oh, and that Noble Phantasm. If Rider can truly use this whenever he wishes, I really don’t understand how he can lose. I mean, do they have like an SP meter or something? Can Archer just hurl giant swords out of another dimension whenever he wants? Please explain yourself, show. If it’s really and “endless” army, like he says it is, someone better figure out how to stop it, or all my money’s going to Rider. That desert thing was kind of out of left field though, but I guess it makes sense in the context of his power.
But I still want to know what’s going on with these back to back single scene episodes. Every other episode has gone back and forth between a few different story lines at a time, and though I was kind of skeptical about it at first, I think they’ve done a pretty good job at balancing all of the Servant/Master pairs, save a few. I don’t know, it just seems odd to stop having the episodes like they were so suddenly for no reason. Well, other than that the end of the season is getting near and they’re dragging things out.
Oh, Rin, if only all 6 year old girls were brave enough to ride a train into a city at night to save some girl who was kidnapped by a crazy child murderer by using magic hax. But joking aside, this was an okay episode, though it seemed kind of out of place in this series. I know that Rin is a major character in Fate/Stay Night, but it seems kind of odd to have a whole episode devoted to her saving her friend in this show, unless she somehow becomes a major character later on in this series. Plus, I haven’t seen F/SN and will not watch it until after F/Z is over.
But it really seems like they’re drawing stuff out to the end of this season now. This would have been acceptable as a part of an earlier episode, but it definitely shouldn’t have taken up a whole episode this late into the season; I mean, there’s only three episodes left in the season. You could argue that it did have some character development for Rin and some between her and her father, but let’s not forget, that doesn’t really matter in this series. Rin is NOT a main character, so I don’t really see the need to put this much focus on her, other than to drag out the series so they can have a good cliffhanger at the end of episode 13.
This episode doesn’t even really have a place in the timeline of this show. Seriously, just look at it, this could happen anywhere after the first episode to last episode, it really doesn’t matter. Kariya actually makes an appearance, but when he does, he just restates why he’s in the War, which is the same thing he said the last three times he was shown.
Even Ryuunosuke was kind of lame in this episode. When I first saw him taking those kids with him, I though some shit was fixing to go down, and Rin was going to step into a room full of mutilated corpses or something. But alas, he only put some magic spell over them and knocked them out, which Rin easily stops by going Super Saiyan on his ass while he just sits there and takes it. Seriously, this crazy child killer just sits there and lets Rin destroy is magic bracelet, and doesn’t even try to get away or stop her. She’s a six or seven year old child, don’t tell me this twenty-something couldn’t pull his arm away from her.
After Rin saves all the kids Kariya pops up just to let everyone know that he’s still alive, and the episode’s pretty much over. Now that I think about it, this is really and truly a filler episode, not a bad one, but still a filler episode. Why did this need to happen now, what about Kiritsugu going to kill Kayneth? What about Caster finding his lair destroyed? Is this really more important than all of that stuff? Nope, they’re just wasting time so they can end the season where they want to.