On-going Thoughts: Fate/Zero 18/25

It’s a flashback episode about Kiritsugu. This should be pretty damn insightful for his characterization; not much is known about him.

His father appears to be a scientist; his research seems auspiciously similar to the Einzbern’s homunculi technology. Contrary to the Einzbern, his father’s experiments seems to be share more similarities with researching immortality rather than vessels. Anyways, Kiritsugu lives with his father on the top of a hill clouded with local legends; Shirley, a friend of Kiritsugu’s, appears to serve as an apprentice to his father. Kiritsugu wants to do what Shirley does, but, his father essentially tells him that he’s too young.

Needless to say, since they’re foreigners, people tend to be xenophobic. Shirley’s a western name; Kiritsugu’s a Japanese name; from the complexion of Shirley’s skin and the Church, it’s probably somewhere in the West. I really hope Shirley doesn’t screw Kiritsugu’s father; it’s just awkward shit. Shirley does inform Kiritsugu that his father’s capable of much more than botany; he possesses the ability to impress immortality. She contemplates that she isn’t his father’s apprentice; she’s not capable of such things, at best, she’s an assistant; she notes that Kiritsugu, on the other hand, possesses the potence that she herself lacks. She assures him that his father does intend on passing down his research to him; it just isn’t time yet. I don’t sense a good end for Shirley.

She takes Kiritsugu to a lake; she reasserts his potential for greatness.

Well shit, this can’t be good. I suppose a happy, heartwarming episode doesn’t fit Fate/Zero. Needless to say, he goes to town. Well fuck.

Well, at least she’s not dead. And at least she’s not screwing his Dad. I’m glad that Fate/Zero didn’t go for a cliche scare, much like Another would have done. She pleads with him to kill her; she tried to prove Kiritsugu’s father’s research as viable, but, shit didn’t go as planned. It seems that an obligatory shitty past is needed. She begins to mutilate herself. Well fuck. He ends up at the Church, and talks to the reverend. The reverend tells him to stay put, and heads off to warn the village. Needless to shit, an obligatory zombie invasion is mandated.

Magi arrive to cleanse the village. It really is, quite bluntly, a zombie invasion, the mechanics are inherently similar to that of one.

It’s like Maiya, but with white hair. She seems to be with the Magi, probably from the Church too; give her eye color, a Westerner. We learn that these villagers aren’t zombies, but vampires Dead Apostles. They work similar to vampires; they drink blood to survive and reproduce. The cleansing was done by two prominent parties: the Church, with the executors, and the Mage’s Association. The Church killed the Dead Apostles; the Mage’s Assocation burned down the village. The Executors are preoccupied and concerned with vehemently upholding God’s will, while the Mage’s Association prefers to keep the concept of the Dead Apostles esoteric. Two similar, yet very different groups. Her on the other hand, she’s more so a mercenary for the Mage’s Association. Basically, they’re looking for his father.

His father was not in Fate/Zero, therefore he’s going to die. He informs his father of Shirley’s demise; he seems to be more objective then empathetic; although not bluntly cold, he views it as the past, and unalterable. He questions his father on whether he’s going to meet the same fate as her. He considers the question asinine. He questions his father on their escape; his father mentions an escape boat.

I suppose a ruthless apathy is understandable after you essentially kill your own father, and presumably your first romantic interest. The mercenary notes the shitty reason for patricide; she offers to take him off the island, what he does after that, is up to him. Essentially the inception of his future.

On-going Thoughts: Concluding Thoughts

Well, that was a fairly enjoyable episode of Higurashi Fate/Zero. I realize the lack of constructive commentary in this episode; there just wasn’t a lot to mention, allude to, or build on. My knowledge is fairly linear, and given the circumstances, this flashback is essentially all new to me. I can however, give my thoughts on it. For one, that ending theme is fucking awesome. For two, Fate/Zero manages to instill fear without resorting to cheap scares. It’s not only eminent here, but also during most of Caster’s murderous scenes during the first season. In this episode, there was a blood trail, if this was Another, Shirley would emerge from the fucking floor with red eyes screaming profanities while on fire.

One of the lesser greats of the episode was Shirley’s character; the development was rushed. It’s not too difficult to sympathize with a character, or in this case, Shirley; and they succeeded in doing that. Nevertheless, it seemed a bit rushed; the sudden discourse about Kiritsugu changing the world was a blatant “I’m going to die, here’s a heartwarming, sentimental scene that will result in you mourning, and avenging me.”, and he did just that. He killed his own father on impulse, apathetically. Understandable if it was the current Kiritsugu, but the scared-shitless, kid Kiritsugu, it just seems too forced.

I suppose I just expected different from Kiritsugu’s character. He’s always been the tactical, apathetic type, but when he’s juxtaposed with so linear a character, it just seems a bit off. It is understandable though, he is a kid; but still, I expected his character to be much more complex and driven by other means. This episode was pompous in the way that it characterized his entire persona by going “He was scarred as a kid, so, he’s now an apathetic, ruthless killer set to save the world due to a childhood promise with a girl that was developed within the time span of fifteen minutes.” Jaded? Probably, but hey, just an opinion I suppose.

But, by no means am I calling the episode bad. I actually really liked it; I got to write a lot less then I usually do, and it had pretty action scenes. It wasn’t a “Rin” episode like there was during the first season; this actually had meaningful development. [Contrary to popular belief, Rin looking adorable as fuck doing cute shit is ridiculously cool, but not a worthwhile development]. I really was surprised at the new ending though; it’s fairly obvious that it’s by Kalafina given their distinct voices; but still, came as a surprise. So yeah, that essentially summarizes my thoughts on the episode. Today was essentially a shitty day. For those who don’t know, I took the SAT today. First time taking it, and given the circumstances, I probably did shit. I know I got a perfect score on the essay [Probably going to regret saying that], but I was a bit sketchy on the writing sections, along with the critical reading and math. I missed a lot of simple shit, so I probably got a mediocre score. Taking the next one in June though.

Anyhow, an obligatory lesson taught by Fate/Zero.

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12 Responses to On-going Thoughts: Fate/Zero 18/25

  1. Tsuru21 says:

    I think what they were going for was that he didn’t kill Shirley, so she infected the entire island. And now he will kill a few if it means saving many.

  2. Lorhand says:

    Yue and Tsuru21 are right. Kiritsugu didn’t kill her, he wanted to save her because he wants to save everyone(his dream to become a hero) and obviously because he loves her. If he had killed only one person, he would have saved hundreds of people and of course his father. Note, that sadly Kiritsugu’s characterization is only rushed in the anime. We get lots of info about him, starting with the very first chapter of FZ and of course, as a prequel, FSN knowledge never hurts. The additions ufotable made for this episode were definitely good, only using the novel would have been confusing.

    Note: Shirley and Kerry are probably living in the Philippines, not in the West. Arimago Island could possibly be a reference to Alimango Island, a few Filipinos realized that. Western Names like Shirley and Kerry(with the accent) are not quite uncommon and location wise, it would make sense as it’s outside of the Association’s radar and a Catholic nation.

    Dead Apostles are vampires. You divide kyuuketsuki(blood-sucking demons, a general translation used is “vampire”) in Dead Apostles(Shito) and True Ancestors(Shinsou). The island’s residents were as far as I have seen either only “The Dead” or in the first step of Dead Apostles as “Ghouls”, while Shirley, as she drank the potion skipped the first two steps and became a vampire. Tsukihime knowledge is advised and probably needed, otherwise this part of the story sounds like an ass-pull and not very convincing – more confusing.

    Btw, Kiritsugu should be around ten, Shirley is 4 years older than him. Noritaka had to raise Kiritsugu alone, since he already got his Sealing Designation 20 years ago and his wife was killed by the Association’s Enforcers after she gave birth to Kiritsugu. And it may not have looked much like it, but both Kiritsugu and his father shared a deep familial bond, Noritaka was definitely not a bad father. Shirley becoming a Dead Apostle was just an unfortunate event.

    For being only the 4th generation, Noritaka’s research was truly magnificent. It’s no wonder the Association wanted to seal him. Innate Time Control to use a bounded field and see the end of the universe to reach the Root. All he needed was time to complete his research by becoming a Dead Apostle, which could have been achieved by using the mechanics of the Curse of Restoration. He was clearly a genius…

    Natalia Kaminski: Well, she sounds Polish, doesn’t she…? She is only working for the Association as a freelancer and a mercenary. And isn’t her hair blue? :D

    P.S. That blonde magus with the fire magic was probably Alba from Kara no Kyoukai. Nice cameo, ufotable. :p

    • mdz says:

      You know, you’re ridiculously insightful and I laud you for taking your time to actually educate someone who doesn’t know about this.

      But if he’s ridiculously close to his father, why did he kill him at the advice of someone he just met?

      • Lorhand says:

        It doesn’t have too much to do with Natalia actually.

        It’s because his father said he’d have to go back to the basics and alter his theories. That basically means such an incident could have happened again. Kiritsugu already blamed himself for all of this because he couldn’t bring himself to kill someone he loves, so he didn’t want to make the “same” mistake twice.

        From the novel:

        His body completely disregarded the thoughts in his heart, and only mechanically carried out things that ‘had to be done’.

        After his father’s death he(or was it his sub-consciousness?) called the corpse “ the thing that killed everyone and took everything away”, so hatred for all of this was involved, too. Kiritsugu is already turning into a machine who which sees every life as equal and will sacrifice the minority to save the majority. It’s reducing the damage and all that crap, blabla. Well, he just lost every person he cares about. That is quite different in the 4th war now. He has Iri and Ilya.

        Kiritsugu felt quite empty after killing his father. He was crying without noticing(at least in the novel), though it’s not clear whether he cried out of sadness or regret. Notice how he tried to throw the gun away, but couldn’t and then Natalia had to stop him.

      • Lorhand says:

        Btw, a short explanation of the steps you have to pass to become a vampire.

        Ghoul(1 out of hundred)—>Living Dead(1 out of 1000)—>Vampire(1 out of 10000).

        Generally you have to first become ghoul, then you’ll become a Living Dead and then you’ll become a vampire over time if you have the potential. If you don’t, you’ll just become a mindless puppet of the one biting you, you’ll become one of “The Dead”.

        In general, Dead Apostles are former humans, while True Ancestors… well, were vampires from the beginning. There are other definitions of Dead Apostles, e.g. after breaking free of their master’s will/kill its master who bit it. Others generalize it and just say all who were bitten by a vampire are Dead Apostles, otherwise Natalia’s comment that “almost everyone has become a Dead Apostle now” doesn’t make sense.

        A character from Tsukihime had such great potential that she became a vampire and skipped the Ghoul and Living Dead phase. You can also become a Dead Apostle via magecraft, as we can see what Noritaka tried to do. Nrvnqsr Chaos is an example of someone who succeeded. He was even considered being one of the 27 Dead Apostle Ancestors.

  3. mdz says:

    Is the light novel translated to English? It seems really insightful as to the entire storyline. Most of my presumptions were due to ignorance it seems.

    • Lorhand says:

      Both visual novel and light novel are translated. Just head to baka-tsuki and you’ll find all four volumes of Fate/Zero. If you ever have the time and want to play the visual novel of Tsukihime or FSN, go to mirrormoon for the patch(although torrents in general already have the patch…)

  4. Terry says:

    MDZ said: **Needless to say, since they’re foreigners, people tend to be xenophobic. Shirley’s a western name; Kiritsugu’s a Japanese name; from the complexion of Shirley’s skin and the Church, it’s probably somewhere in the West.**

    As stated above, this doesn’t take place in “The West”.

    And even if it did, it would only be a mirror reflecting darkly on Japanese prejudice (since the authors of this fantasy are Japanese), not “Western” ones (whoever that generalized stereotype of your’s is supposed to encompass).

    So in trying to make light of others people’s prejudices, all you’ve done is expose your own shallow bigotries.

    Word of advice: Stop self-righteously preaching about the moralities in some made-up Japanese fantasy. It’s more enjoyable that way.

    • mdz says:

      I’m just using logic. Asian countries are ridiculously xenophobic. I was corrected on the geographical error, it’s speculation.

      I was corrected on the West, it occurs in the Philippines. My speculation turned out to be false, but it wasn’t a shot in the dark. The majority of Japanese are are not of Christian faith, so I assumed it was somewhere in the West. I’m the idiot that forgot about the Philippines, so I was corrected on it.

      I personally don’t give a fuck about race. I don’t hold any prejudices, and any racism I do is meant to be humorous. I admit my flawed logic, but I’m not detracting as to why I thought of that. It’s your decision to read the blog, if playing self-righteous hero over the internet suits you, then go for it.

      Word of Advice: The damn header is commentary by an elitist tool.

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