Essentially a First Impressions [of the new season].
This is the second season of Fate/zero; it was split into two halves to ensure the high production quality. I didn’t do episodic reviews of the previous season, but I did do a Concluding Thoughts.
Anyways, I have huge expectations for this season, let’s hope it carries out.
On-going Thoughts: Opening
First things first, the art and animation is fucking awesome for the opening. The beginning of the new opening parallels with the old opening, the only noticeable thing within the first few seconds is the pigment change, from a cold blue, to a warm orange. As for the song, I really liked it. I thought it was better than the first season’s opening; it’s called “to the beginning” by Kalafina [They did the endings for Kara no Kyoukai, as well as the ending to Madoka].
On-going Thoughts: Episode
Fate/zero picks off from the previous season: Saber, Rider and Lancer are united together in the fight against Caster. Although they’re inflicting seemingly heavy damage towards Caster, he simply regenerates.
The scene shifts to a dialogue between Kirei and his father. The fight has gone public, so, they’re requesting aid from the Mages’ Association. For those who don’t remember, Kirei is the mediator for this Holy Grail War, his father was the mediator for the previous one. The Church and the Mages’ Association aren’t exactly friends, just bitter “enemies”. Kirei on the other hand, is a member of both the Church and the Association, making him more so, the common ground between the two. Given the inherent disdain, they’re requesting aid from the Mages’ Association as a last resort. Kirei is then ordered to aid Tokiomi, Rin’s father, while Risei, Kirei’s father, will handle the cover up.
Tokiomi, Rin’s father, asks Gilgamesh to defeat Caster. Tokiomi cannot afford an influx of witnesses, his name is at stake. But, he’s met with the predicament of commanding the King of Kings, if provoked, Gilgamesh could retaliate and kill his master. Unlike most Heroic Spirits, he doesn’t need his master to live, or stay materialized. Through careful wording, and superficial begging, he succeeds.
Driven by a sense of an acute pride, he attacks Caster, and sacrifices four of his swords. He then bids for departure, with Caster, still intact and well. Tokiomi pleads with him to defeat him, to use his strongest Noble Phantasm. Gilgamesh, enraged by the proposal, threatens Tokiomi’s death. Tokiomi then contemplates on the usage of a Command Spell, which forces the Heroic Spirit to comply; but, it would severely damage their relationship. From a dual perspective, by using it, it’s an insult to anybody; an action forcibly commanded that supersedes their own will. Additionally, it’s the equivalent of a commoner forcing the proud King to do his bidding, it’s a grave insult. On the other hand, Tokiomi is already down a Command Spell, this entire situation was fueled with the goal of restoring it; so, wasting one to get one would be counterproductive. Suddenly, two fighter jets are seen in the background.
They appear to be doing some initial reconnaissance on the situation at hand; one of the pilots encroaches closer, for a better look. It’s effortlessly consumed by Caster. The other fighter pilot, driven by adrenaline and a just sense of retribution, retaliates. Berserker suddenly appears, latching itself onto the plane, apparently using it as a medium for its magic. However, his target seems to be Gilgamesh, rather than Caster. Tokiomi then informs Gilgamesh of his wish to dispose of Berserker’s master, he’s granted permission. Gilgamesh initiates the fight against Berserker.
Tokiomi confronts Kariya, for those who do not remember him, Kariya is driven by his “love” for Sakura, whose mother is the wife of Tokiomi [Sakura was adopted into the Kariya family, to fulfill the need of a Magi, while Rin, Sakura’s sister, stayed with the Tohsaka family.] Anyways, Tokiomi commences the discourse; he taunts Kariya for his abandonment of magic, and his sudden return into The Holy Grail War [Kariya was “the first scion of his family to be born with magical potential in several generations; despite this, he grew disgusted with his family and cut all ties with them for more than ten years prior to the 4th Holy Grail War”. He deflects the taunt, but instead, questions him in return.
“Tohsaka Tokiomi, I have one question for you. Why did you give Sakura to Zouken?”
Sakura is essentially the only reason he’s fighting the war, to take her place. Tokiomi inquires his intentions; Kariya reasserts the question.
“There is nothing to say. I simply wished a bright future for my daughter.”
Now, that’s essentially the same as saying “Fuck you, that’s why.” Sakura was essentially subjugated to incessant tentacles, and a brutal onslaught of “training”, in order to make her “suitable” for the needs of the adopted family. That, paired along with the fact that Tokiomi essentially stole the love of his life, catalyzes a searing, passionate disdain. On the side note, Tokiomi also gave her away to make things much more suitable for his needs, only one heir can be made for each family. The heir has to be able to pass down the magic of the family; for each generation, the magic gets stronger. If the heir dies, along with it dies the accumulated power of the family [which is why “old” and “traditional” families are sought after as being the master magi, they have the most experience, the longest cumulative knowledge]. Both Rin and Sakura were born with high capabilities, to assure the best life for the both of them, they needed the protection of the strongest families [Then why have two kids again? They weren’t twins, but my knowledge of the Fate world in this regard may be corrupt.]
Tokiomi is essentially using both Rin and Sakura, as pawns for the Tohsaka family. If one of them fails, the other will succeed; if both of them need to compete against each other, then so be it. Kariya’s infuriated by his objective, demented thinking. Tokiomi asserts that the explanation was redundant towards one oblivious to the true wonder of magic, nevertheless a traitor who denounced magic previously. Kariya retorts, but, he becomes overwhelmed by his internal injuries.
Elsewhere, the battle between Gilgamesh and Berserker continues.
Kariya condemns magic, its beliefs, its customs, its practitioners. Tokiomi, although grateful towards Kariya for solving his dilemma concerning Rin and Sakura, cannot forgive one who shames the path of magic, and one who refuses to believe so. Thus, the discourse escalates to combat.
The scene shifts back to the battle against Caster. Caster appears to be indomitable, he’s effortlessly retaliating, and staying on the offensive. Suddenly, gunfire.
Caster’s master, Ryuunosuke, is presumably shot by either Kiritsugu, or Maiya.
“I see… I guess that’s why I never noticed. Sometimes you can’t see what’s right in front of you. The thing I was searching for… was in my own guts… this whole time … I’ve finally found it. I’d been looking for it forever… What the hell? If you were inside me… you could’ve just told me…”
His dying words are a bit cryptic. As he dies, he’s externally exposed to his own blood. He’s lived a life of pathological murder, incessantly, and apathetically, killing to satiate some unmet, unannounced desire. From his words, it insinuates that what he really wanted was death [much like Victim-Precipitated Suicide]. Like I said though, it’s a bit ambiguous, and doing half these reviews half awake isn’t helping the cause either.
Caster, Ryuunosuke’s Heroic Spirit, pledges to supersede his half of the partnership. He quotes Ryuunosuke, by aspiring for the “greatest cool”. Caster has the uncanny ability to stay materialized with a source of mana, previously, it was through Ryuunosuke, but, if he starts feeding, he can essentially play a game of hungry hungry hippos, and stay prominent. If that occurs, the Holy Grail War itself would need to be abandoned, in order to focus their efforts on the omnipotent, undying, regenerating immortal. Given its state, it has to be destroyed in one strike. Think of it as slicing an object in half. If you continuously slice it, it gets smaller, but it inevitably turns into an infinite strain of halves. So, in order to dispose of it completely, the object has to be destroyed at once, not just hacked at. Most practically, a Noble Phantasm aimed for destroying structures, not people, would be the greatest asset. Saber possesses that, but, since Lancer afflicted her with an earlier injury, she’s disabled from using it.
On-going Thoughts: Ending
Surprisingly, I liked it. I didn’t think much of it at first, but as the song progressed, so did my liking for the song. I thought the first season’s ending’s animation was more thematic, more effective than this, but, it could change as the series progresses. The first season’s animation was fairly blatant as to what it implicated, this, on the other hand, could either be plain images, or plain images with a subliminal meaning.
On-going Thoughts: Concluding Thoughts
Great first episode of the season, I have high expectations for this. I’d comment more, but for some reason, twelve hours of sleep warrants exhaustion still.