On-going Thoughts: Fate/Zero 20/25

A return to dialogue.

Irisviel is essentially on her deathbed; she’s glad that Kiritsugu came by to visit; she was worried. She returns Avalon to him. She reminisces on how thankful, and glad she is; she’s elated. She didn’t expect to be loved, or to give love, she was created as a carrier, a homunculus suited for the Einzbern family’s needs. But, contrary to that, she lived a meaningful life. Kiritsugu apologizes for not showing her more of the real world, she denies his apology, but instead, she encourages him to redirect the happiness that she has yet to receive, to Ilya. He promises, then he leaves. Not exactly a warm embrace, but it does fit his character. Keeping objective shit in line over his emotions. Cruel in my opinion, but it works.

I didn’t really expect for Irisviel to die “peacefully” [then again, she may not.] I anticipated a much more violent death, given that it is Fate. But, it appears that she is dying content. I can’t say that I’m too emotionally attached to her as a character, it may be her character, or it may be Fate itself. I find it difficult to emphasize with mature characters in mature shows; it’s much easier to do so with school girls in school girl dramas. But by no means does Fate/Zero lag, or fall behind, they execute shit well, and that makes it a really good show. Although I can’t help but feel that watching Fate over the period of half a year does it any justice. I’d probably be more immersed, and much more empathetic if I marathoned through the entire series in a day. I also can’t help but feel bad about his promise. Knowing what’s to happen to him, and to Ilya, it’s not exactly a blissfully happy future.
He leaves to kill Tokiomi, and tells Maiya to take care of Iri.

Waver plans on staying near the ley lines where he summoned Rider; it’s to help him recover. Waver is going to spend the majority of the day sleeping, so Rider is free to siphon mana off him, as long as he doesn’t kill him. During the fight, Rider used his own mana reserves, rather than Waver’s, meaning, Waver didn’t feel the brunt of the exhaustion. Rider tells him that it was to ensure his safety; Waver could have died if he exhausted too much mana. Waver retorts; he came into the Holy Grail War anticipating a difficult fight, and along with that, the possibility of endangering his life; there’s no point to winning if he doesn’t contribute. Rider warns him to not put his all into something that may not exist. Rider contemplates on his quest for Okeanos; the lives lost, the heedless loyalty his men showed him; nobody challenged his ambitions, they assumed his word as law. However, Rider learned that Okeanos itself did not exist, the lives were meaninglessly lost; as he says, he’s done dying for fairy tales.
My fucking god, I enjoy the dialogue way too much. This discourse was more intriguing and enjoyable than the last two episodes were for me. Bleh.
Waver’s essentially the guy that’s often underestimated; he wants to prove himself. It goes back to the first episode, he challenged Kayneth’s notion of old families = more power; and that notion is correct, but Waver, nevertheless, persisted in proving himself.
Rider on the other hand, is in my opinion, a ridiculously good “leader”. He realizes his mistakes, he’s not arrogant enough to waive his naivete as a lost history. Instead, he comes to terms with himself, and accepts it. He learns from his mistakes; he’s putting Waver’s life in front of a grail that may not exist; contrary to his past, where he placed his pursuit of Okeanos above the lives of his men. Above all, he wants to defeat Saber. Why? I believe it’s because he sees himself in her. A naive king pursuing something unobtainable, in his case, it was Okeanos, in Saber’s case, it’s righteousness [or something similar]. He’s not doing this spitefully, he’s doing this to change her before the effort’s futile. Basically, ridiculous dialogue makes me squeal with glee on this inside.

Arguably, the most fucked up line ever. Kariya isn’t doing so well, he’s been trying to save Sakura, but, every other master outplays him. Zoken gives him the worm, that was the first to feed off of Sakura. Zoken forcibly gives Kariya Sakura’s energy. I’m not knowledgeable enough on worm mechanics to know how it works [Lorhand clarifies in the comments], but I’m assuming it’s done to increase his chances of winning, and to screw with him [Oh hey, I was somewhat correct].

Irisviel asks Maiya on her motivations. Why does she work for Kiritsugu? She replies by bluntly saying that she has nothing else; she doesn’t know her actual name, or her past; she just assumed the name of the first passport that Kiritsugu gave her. She lived in a war-torn country, plagued with poverty. She was raised as a child soldier, because well, it’s cheaper to kidnap children, and train them, than it is to enlist trained men. She states that she’s emotionally hardened, dead; but, she’s physically able. Even with her condition, Kiritsugu took her in. So, he can use her however he wants. Contrary, Maiya finds Irisviel’s dedication more surprising than hers. Irisviel doesn’t attempt to lie; she states that she doesn’t truly understand Kiritsugu’s ideals. She simply borrowed all her ideals from him. She jokingly tells Maiya to not tell Kiritsugu that, she’s always been supportive of him. Maiya questions her on her true wishes, unique to herself, not of Kiritsugu; Irisviel affirms the existence of said wishes. Se wishes for Kiritsugu and Saber to win the Holy Grail War [Fuck logic]. Contrary to the other families, the Einzsberns do not strive for the Third Magic[The other families strive for Akasha]. Irisviel, however, does not care about it; she only wishes for this to be the last Holy Grail War. If Kiritsugu wins, then the ceaseless onslaught ends.

“If Kiritsugu and I fail, it will be Ilya’s turn next.”

Fate/Zero seems to be a tragedy at its fullest. It’s full of characters, the majority of which are good, although not all likable. I don’t want to see Irisviel, Maiya or Kiritsugu die. I really don’t want to see Rider and Waver die. But chances are, they will. And it won’t be for a “great” reason; there’s a sequel to Fate/Zero.
Maiya states that she doesn’t expect to survive after the war, and even if she does, there wouldn’t be a point. Irisviel rejects her mindset, but rather, encourages her to seek out her family afterwards, for her. Maiya affirms that she will, after the Holy Grail War ends. Her character is ridiculously contradictory either ways, if she states that she will search, it means she still possesses the emotion to want to find her family, about her old self. On the other hand, if it’s a lie, she’s being sympathetic to Irisviel on her death bed.

Rider charges into the room; Maiya quickly calls Kiritsugu. He impulsively, without thinking, uses one of his command spells to summon Saber. It’s interesting, it appears that he genuinely, sincerely cares for Irisviel, regardless of his objective mindset. There is no objective need, there is no strategy, to save a dying asset. He’s doing this for Irisviel, not for a tactical advantage. The developments continue to invoke glee out of me. Fuck.

Saber gets there; Maiya is critically injured, but, she insists on Saber pursuing Rider, rather than tending to her wounds. She assures Saber that she’ll be fine; Saber tells her to hold out until Kiritsugu’s returning.

Well, I’m still an easily teary-eyed bitch it seems. Was a surprising scene I suppose, I do wish that they did develop more of Maiya’s past, regardless of how shitty it was.

On-going Thoughts: Concluding Thoughts

Fate/Zero is still ridiculously good. Albeit, it seems a bit difficult to conclude it in the next few episodes, considering that it took an entire season + one episode for the death of one servant, and that there’s four servants left.

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7 Responses to On-going Thoughts: Fate/Zero 20/25

  1. Lorhand says:

    I’m back. Quite late, but hey, we all have got stuff to do, right?;)

    Kariya isn’t doing so well, he’s been trying to save Sakura, but, every other master outplays him.

    Actually, no. Objectively speaking, during the war he never attempted to save Sakura. All he did was trying to get his revenge by killing Tokiomi. Two times he sent Berserker to fight and two times in a ridiculous chaos, while attacking Archer. It is only fitting the irony that Sakura’s energy allows him to keep going, though he isn’t aware that Tokiomi is dead.

    I’m not knowledgeable enough on worm mechanics to know how it works, but I’m assuming it’s done to increase his chances of winning, and to screw with him.

    Alright, this might be a very long explanation…

    Generally, there are two types of maryoku(magical energy) in the Nasuverse: Od and Mana, though essentially they are the same. It’s just that Od is internal maryoku that your Magic Circuits filter from the atmosphere, while Mana is essentially the maryoku in the atmosphere. UTW translates these two terms as external and internal mana because magical energy is too long and the pseudo-term “prana” sucks.

    All magi are blessed with Magic Circuits which are imprinted in your soul. The Circuits of the Matou magi were declining and Kariya is the last one with enough Circuits. However, as he never trained his Circuits, he is inexperienced and wouldn’t get enough mana to control a Servant(let alone a Berserker, but that was Zouken trying to torture Kariya some more). The Crest Worms in his body expand his own Circuits and act as mock-Circuits, but the price is high, as they feed on your health and actually your own mana. While male hosts will get crippled with these worms(as this is happening to Kariya), female hosts will get sexually frustrated and both male and female hosts, in one way or another, will receive extreme brain-torture.

    The worm Zouken gave Kariya is the first one that, well as he said, raped Sakura(thus essentially stealing her virginity) and is full of mana, as it absorbed Sakura’s energy for one whole year. Kariya’s mana reserves are almost gone, so rather than invigorating Kariya, it hurts him more as the worms inside Kariya see “fresh food”. However, it indeed helps him to fight on, but Berserker is holding back the whole time because he knows Kariya can’t provide him with enough mana.

    About Maiya: What was left out is the fact that Maiya actually has a son that probably still fights in her homeland. If she ever survived the war, she would have tried to find him. Perhaps(or probably not) he might have a chance to show up in future Fate stories, but I highly doubt it.

    That gives the reader an even better contrast between Maiya and Iri as both are mothers and love Kiritsugu, but while Maiya was a human that turned herself into a puppet and machine, Iri was the puppet that became a human.

    Contrary to the other families, the Einzberns do not strive for the Third Magic, she only wishes for this to be the last Holy Grail War. If Kiritsugu wins, then the ceaseless onslaught ends.

    I think you got something wrong. The Einzberns are the only family that seeks the Third Magic. What everyone else usually seeks is Akasha, the Root. For 1000 years the Einzberns strived to get the Third Magic back and after 800 years in shame created the Holy Grail of Fuyuki with the help of the other two families Matou and Tohsaka, yet they always failed and there was no winner of the Holy Grail.

    Once the Holy Grail is completed, the Einzberns shall get back the Third Magic “Heaven’s Feel”. As this is the true purpose of the Holy Grail War, every war is called “Heaven’s Feel”. It is Iri that doesn’t care about the Third Magic.

    • mdz says:

      By save, it was a more figurative save. I believe he’s taking her spot.

      And once again, really appreciate the clarifications and the bonus details. Did not know that the worms actually raped Sakura, assumed that it was just creative language. You’re ridiculously great at analyzing this, how much time have you spent reading about Fate?

      Fate/stay night’s visual novel seems a lot more appealing now, considering the anime didn’t pull me in as much as Fate/zero did.

      Seriously though, you’re awesome. Nothing catalyzes greater enjoyment of a series like insight.

    • Lorhand says:

      Haha, thanks a lot. The Type-Moon world is extremely complicated, so I wish to help by clarifying things. Almost all of Nasu’s works are referenced in the Nasuverse, as they are all somehow linked. And especially in the animes, the explanations are lacking.

      how much time have you spent reading about Fate?

      I don’t really know how much time I spent, to be honest. :P

      It started in 2007 with Type-Moon when I stumbled on the anime Shingetsutan Tsukihime(which sucks compared to the novel btw*sigh*, that’s why every hardcore fan will tell you that a Tsukihime anime never existed ^_^). That was the first Visual Novel I actually read and there was also a FSN anime, so I began to watch it.

      Simultaneously, at the end of the year the first Kara no Kyoukai movie was released. One thing led to another and I started to watch and read every TM work I found translated, including most of the material books and Nasu’s older novels like Notes, DDD etc. However, I only seriously started to read FSN at the end of 2008 when all three routes were translated. I finished the Fate/Zero and Kara no Kyoukai novels last year, so I spent a lot of time with the universe actually.

    • Lorhand says:

      Kariya’s mana reserves are almost gone, so rather than invigorating Kariya, it hurts him more as the worms inside Kariya see “fresh food”.

      I guess I explained this in a poor way. To quote the novel:

      The worms licked at burnt skin, and under that skin was new skin colored pink. It looked as if the burns were currently healing—though the reason was unknown.

      “It looked as if the Crest Worms intended to use Kariya’s body as a seedbed to extend his life. But this was completely useless. In order to re-grow the skin, prana had already been forcibly consumed; the few days of life left in Kariya’s body were also about to dry up. He could clearly feel that even the simple action of drawing a breath and then expelling it was depleting his strength.”

      The worm was filled with concentrated mana. The Crest Worms inside Kariya gained the ability to move again, so the mana did invigorate Kariya and the words, if one wants to call it that. He also regained his movability and his before stagnated body is “living” again, though I guess death is probably better than fighting on…

      One last thing: Zouken notices that someone must have helped Kariya to get back to the house.

      Now that I heard the preview, I guess next episode will be fun for Urobuchi/sadistic fans, hrhr…

      • mdz says:

        Should be an awesome episode. How was Fate/stay night’s and Fate/Zero’s anime adaptation in your opinion?

    • Lorhand says:

      The problem I’ve seen in both FSN and FZ’s adaptations are the lack of inner thoughts and monologues, which is a general problem if you want to adapt a novel. This way, Shirou, Kiritsugu, Kirei, Tokiomi etc. are very difficult to understand and are portrayed in a very umsympathetic way. One of the other things both adaptations lack are good explanations for certain terms and abilities. Origin, Dead Apostles or Akasha play a very important role in Tsukihime and Kara no Kyoukai respectively. Those who don’t know about Type-Moon’s other works will be left behind confused.

      Although fans hate DEEN for their adaptation, FSN was not absolutely poorly adapted, but I still say it’s at the best mediocre. Another problem that I saw is that DEEN dragged out scenes and added too much, which wasn’t originally in the novel(note: FSN anime depicts FSN-VN’s first route “Fate” – Saber’s route). Caster’s appearance in Fate for example was basically “Hi, bye, Gil now kills me”, while DEEN added some worthless bullshit from the other two routes. Some people also come to believe that Tokiomi gave Rin her red pendant(the one Archer possesses, too) personally, which is just wrong. Oh, and not to mention lolCGdragon(and in the movie lolCGdolphins) to replace the h-scenes. I believe 16 or at the most 18 episodes would have been enough for Fate.

      However, the anime did its job and advertised the novel. Sales boosted and the Fate-franchise gained a lot more popularity, so I cannot really say it was that bad, but it wasn’t good either. One could say the anime was a success, though personally I am disappointed to see such an adaptation.

      I can’t really judge FZ right now completely, but obviously the animation is better(2012 > 2006) and ufotable is a lot more faithful to the novel than DEEN was. The CG isn’t really that bad(and actually fits Berserker’s description), but the CG-cars were a bit too much for me. I was really impressed with the flashback episodes because this part wasn’t done very well in the novel, so that’s also commendable.

      One of the things I heavily criticized is episode 10. This filler-episode had great animation quality, while other episodes had to suffer because of this(e.g. ep11, even after the bluray-release fixes, it still looked bad compared to other episodes). Overall, animation is generally lacking in the non-action parts, which is apparent if one watches episode 1. What I also think wasn’t done really well were the merging of certain scenes and the one-dimensionality. I wouldn’t be so interested in Kirei if I hadn’t novel knowledge. He is portrayed way less complicated and interesting imo and Tokiomi(and Kiritsugu actually too, but the flashbacks helped) also has to suffer from that. Waver on the other hand was handled splendidly.

      Still, overall the first 13 episodes, after having seen the bluray release, were done very well. I will judge the whole series after the second bluray box comes out in September. Note that the the first 13 episode got over 40min more content on the bluray and another 30min explanations about the Grail and the families. It is probably the best if one watches all episodes(bluray release) without something like a 1 week/1 season pause.

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