Fate Zero Episode 18 – Resident Evil Zero

Okay, so when do we get a separate series about Kiritsugu’s childhood, cause I’d be down for that.  This episode is a lot like the Rin episode a while back, because it shows just how diverse this show can.  The difference being that this episode actually kind of had something to do with the main story.  The episode with Rin felt more like a spin-off, but this felt more like a prequel.  This episode could have honestly been it’s own OVA or something, and it still would have been good without any prior knowledge to anything else in the Fate/Zero series.  I’d be perfectly fine with some Higurashi knockoff with zombies being an actual show, so go ahead and make it happen, Japan.

Even though the episode was good, I think the story it creates is kind of odd.  Supposedly Kiritusugu’s dad was trying to make some kind of something-or-other that would allow people to live forever by stopping them from aging.  For whatever reason he’s doing it, the new character in this episode seems to think that it’s a good thing, because it potentially help people.  Now, we all know that if you ever have an immortal character in some work of fiction, they almost always are looking for a way to die because they’re tired of life, so there’s that to consider.  But also, how the hell is a society of immortal people supposed to work?  Wouldn’t overpopulation become a huge problem?  And how is living forever supposed to help everything and make everyone happy?  Isn’t the fact that life is finite what makes it so special?  And it’s not like it’s everyone’s wish to live until they’re 5,456 or something; as Mr. Neil Young said: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”.

And how the hell do you expect me to think that those things are vampires?  They’re without a doubt zombies.  Vampire’s aren’t brain-dead flesh eaters who stumble around like an eighty-year-old lady with chronic arthritis looking for people to eat -we call those things “zombies”.  Speaking of the zombies (not vampires) the second part of this episode was really strange.  The part with Shirley killing the chickens was good, but then everything got really crazy; we had zombies running everywhere, members of the Dark Brotherhood running around with knives killing then, the assholes from the Mages Guild burning the everliving shit out of the town, and finally there was Leon Kennedy’s long lost sister.  Perhaps all of this makes more sense in the Fate universe to people who have been exposed to it longer, or have read the novels, but at lot of that stuff kind of went over my head.

I assume that this episode was meant to show how “Kerry” (I don’t really understand what’s so hard about pronouncing Kiritsugu) became who he is now.  Perhaps he wants to save the world form people like his father, and he really wants to try to help the rest of the world, but if this event is supposed to be an excuse as to why he’s so cruel and relentless in attempting to win the Holy Grail War, then I call bullshit.  I mean, come on, the kid shot his own father (after he stabbed him, mind you) without so much as a second thought.  He didn’t try to get him to stop, or ask why he was doing what he was doing, he just killed him.  Granted, his dad was a pretty selfish and apathetic asshole, but still, that’s his dad.  I don’t so much buy this as the reason for Kiritsugu’s ruthlessness, but I can at least understand how it could be used to explain it.

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Posted on May 6, 2012, in Episodic, Fate/Zero and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. You kinda look over a couple of things.

    1. If Kiritsugu killed Shirley back then, he might prevented the disaster. But he was too afraid to do that, so the island was wiped out by the Church and the Mage Association. If he sacrificed one, then he might be able to save many. This is the first time he realize that.
    2. Noritaka (Kerry’s dad) did not show any remorse or anything at all about his research bringing disaster to the island. The only thing he cared was that his research was a failure. He was willing to continue the research of becoming a Dead Apostle (more about that) elsewhere. He’s even willing to test his research on human subjects too. In the novel, he stated that he expected this to happen but it’s just soon than his expectation, implying that he’s going to test the potion with Shirley later.

    So with these two reasons combined, Kiritsugu realized that letting his dad go would create a tragedy like this again. So he’s willing to sacrifice one to save many, something that he could not and regret when he had to make a choice with Shirley.

    About vampires, Nasuverse’s vampires are kinda different from other lore. Dead Apostle is a type of vampire (another would be True Ancestor, a nature spirit and guardian of Gaia) that is created by another Dead Apostle. Typically, the process is very long to become a full-fledged Dead Apostle. You started of as a corpse that goes on drinking blood without a mind (normally controlled by other Dead Apostle, but many also not the case). Then, after many years you gain your mind back but still very weak. After years passed from that point, you become a full Dead Apostle with superior power and full intelligent (but still with desire for blood). The process normally takes hundred years and low chance of becoming one but those with special magical talent can accelerate the process with high chance to be a vampire. Noritaka’s research is about reaching the Dead Apostle state and by-passing the time he needs in order to complete his transformation. The result was a failure so Shirley becomes more of an incomplete Dead Apostle that cannot control herself. Shirley, however, skip the first step because, as Noritaka said she has a talent for magic. That’s also a reason why Noritaka chose her for an assistance, since he want to tested his potion on her later.

  2. Actually when I finished the novel (in Japanese) this episode made SO MUCH sense (yeah, as absurd as that sounds for watching anime along). In the original novel, author spends paragraphs after paragraphs to describe the unstable mental states of Kiritsugu, he even literally proclaimed that every effort to judge his actions by normal standard is futile, since the extreme experiences have made him twisted and cold-hearted (I know, a smart way to avoid all the logic accusations xD)

    One message that TV episode failed to deliver (which you can’t blamed Ufotable for cutting scenes in the anime adaptation, the novel is just so…brain-wrecking, as expected from Gen, who has a tendency to torture the main-character in his works [since you finished Guilty Crown, I assume you understand how that feel]) is: Kiritsugu hates his father, but he hates himself even more, since he didn’t manage to finish Sherly off while he can, and now the whole villiage has fallen into victim. This made a huge impact to his life, which he attempts to kill people in order to save more, even the ones he treasures the most (aka his father, and later [spoiler]).

    One thing to be sure, Fate/Zero novels have made huge impacts to Chinese/Japanese readers not because of the setting, but the huge amounts of plot twists and EXTREMELY dark plots. You think Ep16 Lancer’s death is the best? Save that for later, beause I am sure the upcoming plot will below your mind, like all Gen’a work, IT’S SO CRAZY that it’s so good.

  3. well, the mages never stop nor they hesitate to get to the ‘Root’ in the nasu universe. It is their only will and they will do anything. Kiritsugu knew that if his father runs, he will do the same thing again. Plus, he saw the village turning to ashes because he didn’t kill shirley. So this time, he just…well, tried to do better. And now, you have that troll at episode 16. Killing anyone to save more lives.

  4. I’ve read conversations between people who are well versed in the Nasu-verse but even they weren’t totally unified on what the “zombies” in the episode actually were according to the lore. I guess in Tsukihime the Dead Apostles were closer to vampires but they could have minions that were more like the run of the mill zombies we see here. It doesn’t really matter what they are called, anyway. They are zombies.

    The way Shirley saw Norikata’s (Kiritsugu’s dad) work was that of him preserving life, which sounds pretty good on the surface. We later learn that Norikata just wanted to become immortal himself so he could reach the ultimate collection of knowledge. No worries about an immortal society! The significance of this episode is that mages are immoral douchebags and Kiritsugu learns that the few must be sacrificed for the many. The village was destroyed because he couldn’t bring himself to kill Shirley and Kiritsugu figured if he let his dad continue his research another disaster like this would happen, so he killed him. Also, his dad was extremely non-nonchalant about a village being wiped out in addition to Kiritsugu’s crush.

    All that said, the conclusion that he needed to kill his dad seemed way more mature than what a kid is capable of thinking of. Killing your parent for the greater good would be a difficult decision for a level headed adult, let alone a traumatized kid. If I were to re-write the story a bit I would have Kiritsugu flee with the new lady and hunt down his father later, a few years after he matured and could make a rational decision.

  5. Noritaka was researching immortality so that he could reach Akasha (the Spiral of Origin, the source and the end of all existence, which is the supreme goal of most magi) during his lifetime.
    About zombies and vampires- what Shirley transformed into was an incomplete Dead Apostle, which is the closest thing NAsuverse has to conventional vampires. Dead Apostles’ bodies are constantly degenerating, and they need to drink blood to sustain themselves. If a vampire mixes his blood into the body of his victim, that victim becomes one of the Dead, a vampire’s familiar, a mindless puppet vampires use to collect blood without being endangered themselves. Shirley, being an imperfect, artificially created Dead Apostle had no control over her “servants” so they just went berserk.

  6. The Dead Apostles (they are called in this way because in tsukihime you can find another kind of vampires, the True Ancestors) have different stages of evolution. From Ghoul (flesh eating corpse) to Living Dead (non-sentient vampire) to real vampire.
    Usually a Ghoul needs 100 years or more to become again a thinking, full-fledged vampire. Noritaka work was not “tryng to create immortal people”. That was a lie. He just wanted to reach the Root, like Tokiomi. But he needed a lot of time, centuries or maybe even more, so he studied vampires and tried to prepare a potion to skip all the vampire evolution stages and became immediately a sentient vampire. That potion was a failure.

  7. It’s just a matter of terms. I actually thought only those vampires who can break free of their master’s will will be called Dead Apostles. Though in general it can also be pretty much any former human who became a vampire, either by getting bit or by using magecraft. The term kyuuketsuki, which is normally translated as vampire, is a general term for True Ancestors and Dead Apostles. Natalia called the victims Dead Apostles, so that definition is probably the one she uses.

    Shirley should be a vampire who can’t control her impulses, while the other victims are either “The Dead”, which is to say mindless familiars of the one who bit them. Or they are ghouls, the first stage of becoming a full fledged vampire.

    Kiritsugu had a stupid dream to save everyone and being responsible for the deaths of the two persons he loved the most was probably quite… traumatic. He already failed once, so killing his father would prevent another incident like that because his father wanted to pursue his research without regret or shame. Must have hurt him a lot, since both father and son had a deep bond.

    Noritaka was a genius, that’s why he was designated to get sealed. He achieved quite a lot for being only the fourth generation. Even more impressive that he managed to hide from the Association for 20 years and he raised Kiritsugu alone, since his wife was killed by the Enforcers shortly after Kiritsugu was born. With enough time, he could have reached the Root. Using the time manipulation to become a Dead Apostle was another great idea imo.

    Anyway, another flashback episode next week. I just hope we’ll have enough time left for the final battles and the aftermath…

  8. As you can see, Kiritsugu’s dream of becoming a “seigi no mikata” was shattered when he was only a child (while Shirou will be faithful to his ideals at least until adolescence). Understanding that “saving everyone” is impossible was the first step to becoming the cold-hearted magus killer he will be in the future. (as many of you have already explained)

    Also note that Noritaka’s research about time and immortality will be the root for Kiritsugu “Innate Time Control”, only used as a reality marble inside his own body.

  9. Some of the questions about immortality here are explored in the recent book by Drew Magary, Postmortal.

    Highly recommended. 🙂

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