Excalibur and more tentacles.
The fight against Caster is underwhelming to say the least. It’s essentially a three on one, but, Caster’s sheer power, along with Saber’s disabled left arm stunts the expected progress. Elsewhere, Gilgamesh is still screwing with Berserker in a game of extreme tag, and Kariya is still trying to kill Tokiomi. Rider bids for Saber to retreat, he has a new stratagem in handling Caster.
The first part of his plan involves drawing Caster into his Noble Phantasm, Ionioi Hetairoi: The Army of the King, which effectively brings Caster into a Reality Marble. Although the soldiers summoned from the Phantasm are superfluous in number, they pose no threat to Caster; instead, the marble serves to only entrap and restrain Caster away from the town. The second party of his plan is unknown; he didn’t make one. Rider is the type of person that allows history to repeat itself; he’s heedless, impulsive, and at times, asinine; but, he is effective. He wants victory, but not at the cost of the defeated’s anguish; each servant holds a specific type of “honor” in Fate/Zero; from Saber’s piety to Lancer’s chivalry, and even Caster’s dedication to his innate instincts and the desires of his master [He mourned the loss of his master and promised to uphold his master’s ideals.] He commands Waver to stay outside the marble, along with Lancer and Saber. Now, the pragmatic thing to do as either Saber or Lancer would be to kill Waver, he’s a shitty magician, and his servant, Rider, is away; but, since they’re honorable, they’ll protect Waver.
Elsewhere, Tokiomi is in combat with Kariya. Kariya essentially has to use his body as a catalyst while channeling an influx of Blade Wing Worms. Kariya’s essentially the most ill-fitted, surviving master of the Holy Grail War as of right now. He denounced his family’s traditions, and left, only to return and participate in the game due to Sakura. Given this, he’s had very little Magi training, and relies solely on the Matou Family Crest Worms, which in turn, makes him a “glass cannon”.
Elsewhere again, they struggle to come up with a plan. Rider’s Reality Marble was meant to distract Caster, while the three form a plan. Iri receives a phonecall, given her lack of knowledge, Waver answers it in her stead. It’s Kiritsugu, but, he doesn’t reveal that [Keep in mind, most masters believe that Iri is Saber’s master, rather than Kiritsugu]. He relays his plan to Waver; he also telephones a message to Lancer. Waver tells Lancer that Saber’s left arm is an anti-fortress Noble Phantasm.[There’s different subsets of Phantasms, for example, Rider’s Phantasm is anti-army, while Saber’s would be anti-fortress. An anti-fortress Phantasm would be suited against fortresses, basically, giant structures, or in this case, Caster.] Given the situation, Lancer treasures honor, his morals, more than the victory; he destroys one of his Noble Phantasms, Gae Buidhe: The Yellow Rose of Mortality. This effectively relinquishes the hindering status on Saber’s left arm, allowing her to use her Noble Phantasm. This is effectively giving up a crucial, astronomical advantage to do the right thing. ‘Tis the phenomenon of honor. She uses her Excalibur soon afterwards, but, she’s then pursued by Berserker in a game of extreme tag.
Kirei finds Kariya’s. At first glance, he prepares to execute him, Wolverine style; but, a flashback occurs: Gilgamesh’s speech about him and his inner desires. Basically, he questioned Kirei if he’s fully content with being just the pawn, a tool of Tokiomi’s. It appears that he wasn’t, he heals Kariya.
Waver communicates with Rider; he tells him about the plan. Rider is to release, and end his reality marble at the location where Kiritsugu launches the flares. Rider’s messenger replies with the possibility of doing so, but, time is a constraint, it has to be done soon. Saber’s the crucial component to the plan, but, she’s currently engaged in combat with Berserker; Lancer, offers to intervene. He obliterates the fighter jet, effectively murdering the pilot on it, but, with Gilgamesh’s unbridled irritation, Berserker plunges into the water. Immediately afterwards, Kiritsugu fires the flare, and Waver sends note to Rider’s messenger; the messenger complies, and dematerializes.
Saber charges up her Excalibur, from what appears to be, the environment.
“Her sword shines, a dream that all warriors scattered in battle, past, present, and future, hold and mournfully exalt as their final moments approach. She carries their will as her pride, bidding them to remain steadfast in their loyalty. Now, the undefeated king sings aloud the name of the miracle she holds in her hands. It’s name is… Excalibur!”
Rarely does a translation remain effectively poetic, UTW did a great job with this one.
Contrary to popular belief, Caster doesn’t assume Saber to be King Arthur, but rather, Joan of Arc. He dies regretful, correlating the light with his experiences in life. I never exactly viewed him as a black and white antagonist, it was merely how he operated. From an objective point of view, his master’s powerless; he’s an inconsistency, a summon by chance, along with the fact that he is notably a weaker “Caster” than most other “Casters”, his power is solely driven by his Noble Phantasm, which in turn, requires sacrifices. Objectively speaking, he would have been slaughtered if not for his strain of brutal murders, dead children in this case, does correlate with more power. However, the nature of his summoning could have affected his personality, to be a Heroic Spirit, you have to be somewhat notable, renown in history for something; perhaps if his master wasn’t a teenager with a boner for killing children, he could have been different. But probably not, considering he was remembered for his prolific crimes in promoting children as fair game.
In the previous season, Rider and Gilgamesh belittled Saber’s actual “ruling power”; she was naive. Gilgamesh questions Rider if he can think the same of Saber, after seeing the magnitude of her power, the sheer illumination.
“The light comes from her having taken all her people’s hopes upon herself. Its brightness is what makes it tragic. Especially when you consider that one bearing that burden is just a dreaming little girl. The girl never had a happy childhood, never fell in love, but was cursed by her ideals and ended up this way. It is too painful to look upon.”
The ceaseless argument on “How to Rule” has been around since the inception of leadership. In Saber’s case, it’s by her people; in Gilgamesh’s and Rider’s case, it’s more so by their innate lust for glory. Saber is essentially the accidental king, she was “forced” to lead her people in dark times, a role that should have been reserved for a mature ruler; Rider’s quote, accentuates that. The light, or in this case, the power, or the hopes of the people were sheer in volume, in this case, power. That paired with her naivette only poses to latch more responsibility, more struggles onto her; she doesn’t get to enjoy the necessities that most teenager girls do, whether it’s love, a solace found in only childhood, or even her own will. She was given the responsibility of the people, a responsibility staggering in scope and size; she doesn’t operate according to her on will, but rather, altruistically, through the words, and desires, of her people.
“Isn’t that what makes her so beautiful? Her dreams were too much for her. I imagine they destroyed the dreamer herself in the end. The tears of lamentation she shed during her final moments must have been quite sweet to the taste.
Given responsibility, comes an obligation to deliver. In Saber’s case, Gilgamesh predicts that her aspirations, her dreams, the desires of her people, will meet with an unrelenting failure. Once that occurs, shit ensues. Saber’s life revolved around carrying out the desires of her people, essentially, her reason for existence. Gilgamesh anticipates the day she meets failure, the dreamer destroying herself in this case, would be a life controlled solely by the people, and destroyed by the people; her tears of lamentation insinuates regret.
In this case, Gilgamesh and Rider share ambivalent views. Rider acknowledges Saber’s “right to rule”, but he doesn’t support it entirely given the consequences. Gilgamesh holds onto his belief that Saber will inevitably fall. Gilgamesh attempts to taunt Rider by molding his rage into steel [speak with your fists rather than words], but Rider admits that he’s too worn out to fight. But, he’s willing to try if Gilgamesh denies him leave. Gilgamesh allows him to flee.
Gilgamesh’s honor is driven by his inherent cockiness, he wants everyone to realize their inferiority, given this, he’s not the type to settle for a full power against quarter power fight. Gilgamesh was wounded in the battle against Berserker, he’s an opportunist, he wouldn’t allow him to flee.
On-going Thoughts: Concluding Thoughts
Great episode. My analyses may be inherently flawed with presumptions and flawed logic. Deep down inside, I like to believe that I’m somewhat accurate. Oh well, enjoyable episode.
On-going Thoughts: Download
The single for the opening came out today. Since I’m essentially a glutton for web traffic, I’m putting a download link here. Rather than have a shit aspect ratio, I added noise in addition to the original, faithful aspect ratio. The song’s name is called “to the beginning”, and it’s by Kalafina.