March 3, 2013

“People die when they are killed!”. Hah. I can’t resist using that line whenever I remember about the Fate series. However, don’t expect any of such bloopers in Fate/Zero because it’s going to be grim. Much grimmer than before. This series is a prequel to the Fate/Stay Night anime and it tells the events that happened 10 years before that fateful tragedy that engulfed the entire city of Fuyuki in flames.

As those who are familiar with the series or even played the visual novel game that it is based on, the story line pits seven different Mages against each other in the battle over the Holy Grail. Each Mage will summon a Servant class, supposedly Heroic Spirits from the past to do battle on their behalf and the last remaining Master-Servant will win the right to the Grail and get any wish granted. Sounds easy? Well, the previous 3 Grail Wars ended in an inconclusive fashion. Meaning, no real winner is produced. So you can see why the lineage of Mages are getting desperate to win this fourth Grail War at any cost. Will a new history be written or will history just repeat itself. Well, the answer is clear. For those who have at least watched Fate/Stay Night, that is.

Episode 1
In this 47 minutes prologue, we go back 8 years ago at Einzbern Castle, Kiritsugu Emiya’s wife, Irisviel “Iri” von Einzbern gave birth to a girl, Illyasviel (Ilya). However he feels he has no right to hold her and will be responsible for his wife’s death though Iri accepts her destiny. She believes the Holy Grail will save him. Next change in scene to three years ago somewhere in Italy. Kirei Kotomine talks his father (in real life and occupation) Risei and Tokiomi Tohsaka about the Command Spell he received on his hand as proof of been chosen by the Grail despite having no relation to magic. He is given the basic explanation about the Holy Grail War at Fuyuki City, the summoning of Servants by Masters and how the Church will act as judge during the battle since Mage Associations tend to favour their own kind. They also discuss about the Grail that will appear in Fuyuki does not belong to the Son of God but too powerful to ignore it. They devise what-ifs scenarios should it fall into the wrong and right hands. Thus Kirei’s participation in this war is to assure Tokiomi’s victory though they’ll be acting as enemies as the Einzbern and Matou families have forgotten the wish they once shared. Thus Kirei will be transferred from the Church to Mage’s Association where he’ll become Tokiomi’s student for 3 years and study magic. Though Kirei still has his suspicions over why the Grail had chosen him, Risei notes he recently lost his wife so a change of goal in life may just be what he needs to recover. A year ago in Fuyuki City, Kariya Matou pays his childhood friend Aoi Tohsaka and her daughter, Rin a visit. But he is devastated to learn the younger daughter Sakura has been adopted by the Matou family. So he goes to confront the family he left, the patriarch of the Matous, Zouken (looks like that baby boss in Half Life) to make a deal with him. Knowing he wants the Grail for immortality and will toss away Sakura after he has obtained it, in exchange to release Sakura, he will win the Grail for him. Can somebody who hasn’t practise magic become a powerful Mage in a span of 1 year? But it is already too late as Zouken has tossed Sakura into the bug room! GROSS! BUGS CRAWLING EVERYWHERE OVER THAT POOR GIRL!!! I don’t know if she’s dead or alive. Of course alive but ‘dead’. If Kariya is serious in saving her and take her place for a week, he’ll consider. So be it.

Kiritsugu and Iri learn another Master has been chosen by the Grail, Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald from the Mage’s Association, Clock Tower. At London, Kayneth is lecturing the basics and importance of bloodline in magic to his students. The reason being he has read a thesis of one of his students of his ideas about wizardry in the new century. Something about those without the bloodline of Mages can also do magic. In short, he finds it a complete nonsense and a juvenile’s fantasy. That kid, Waver Velvet just thought he wanted to point out issues the Mage Association was reluctant to address. Unfortunately Kayneth continues to mock his stand and he became the laughing stock of the class. Not pleased with the way things turned out, Waver bumps into a lazy delivery guy who wants Waver to pass an important package to Kayneth. So what’s a vengeful kid got to do than to open the package himself? It contains a relic that is needed to summon a Servant. Then he researches on the Holy Grail War and finds out Kayneth is participating in it. He learns more, its history how the Holy Grail was founded by the 3 families of Einzbern, Makiri and Tohsaka. Since the Grail can only answer 1 wish, it soon turned into a big bloody battle. Ever since, the Holy Grail appears once in 60 years in Fuyuki City and it selects 7 Masters the right to summon their Servants of different classes to a battle to the death.

In a secret hideout, Kirei has his own Servant, Hassan the Assassin. Kirei and Tokiomi discuss the Einzbern taking in an outsider 9 years ago out of the blue. He is Kiritsugu and they think they must be desperate to win the Grail to cast away their pride in pure blood. Further details reveal that he is a skilled mercenary and earned the nicknamed of Mage Killer because of he has no qualms in using underhanded tactics to kill his targets. Since he lacks the pride of a Mage, it might be money that is motivating him. At the same time Kiritsugu is going through the list of known Masters. Apart from himself, Tokiomi, Kariya and Kayneth, he notes Kirei’s strange personal history. He seems to be working his way up the path of the Church but suddenly leaves it to join its secret organization. He was also once an Executor, another name for what Kiritsugu once did as a mercenary. He feels odd he one he masters something, he throws it away and moves on to the next type without looking back. Why is he risking his life for the Grail then since he has no wish and doesn’t believe in anything? Similarly, Kirei is intrigued with Kiritsugu during his time as a mercenary in warzones. It’s like he chased after death and was obsessed with it. His string of battles came to a sudden halt 9 years ago and must have found what he was seeking in the Einzberns. But what was he seeking in those battles then?

Kariya’s face is really messed up. I’m not sure about the bugs crawling inside the veins of his face!!! FREAKING SCARY!!! Zouken is amazed he could last for a year and had made some progress as a Mage. Waver is happy that the Grail has chosen him because he too has a Command Spell on his hand. He goes to have breakfast with his grandparents downstairs but in actual fact he has cast a spell to make them think he is their grandson back from overseas as an exchange student. Kiritsugu and Iri discuss the Excalibur relic. Kiritsugu notes that despite the Servants being heroes from the past, as long as they are Servants to their Masters, they are no more than just mere tools. Knowing this relic will summon him Arthur Pendragon and the best Saber class, he figures out a strategy on how to use this Servant. Meanwhile Rin packs her bags and is to leave with Aoi to go live with her family (the war is coming). She doesn’t like Kirei because he couldn’t promise her to protect her dad (Tokiomi) during the battle. She won’t forgive him if her father is hurt during the fight. Kirei sees Tokiomi and just in time, he has received a relic from the package. Kariya talks to Sakura as the latter fears he might be turning into a different person. He tells her he will be busy with an upcoming ‘job’ and once he is done, he promises to bring her along with Rin and Aoi to somewhere fun. Somewhere faraway. It will be like old times. He goes to see Zouken who has made preparations to summon his Servant. Likewise all the other Masters too prepare and chant the right verses to summon their very own Servant. If you have watched the prequel, you would have known Kiritsugu got Saber while Tokiomi got Archer (Gilgamesh as he was known and we are more familiar with in Fate/Stay Night).

Episode 2
Waver gets Iskandar the King of Conquerors who has been summoned as Rider. The kid isn’t pleased Rider is stealing books of… The world map? Preparations for war? Okay. But war cannot be waged without maps? Hmm… Maybe you need to know where you are and what you’ll be conquering. Talking about the Grail, Rider hopes he won’t wish for world domination because the world can’t serve 2 lords. Waver mentions his desire was to have everyone at Clock Tower treat him fairly but Rider slaps him for having such small ambition. If he really wants people to respect him, maybe he should use the Grail to grow another 30cm. Was that a joke or sarcasm? Waver is pissed and wants to use his Command Spell on him to show who is boss. But he calms down upon knowing one can only use it 3 times for absolute obedience. Since Waver wants a demonstration of his power, with a swing of Rider’s sword, a couple of heavenly bulls complete with a chariot zap down from the sky. Rider tells Waver to find him another Hero or two if he wants the Grail. Until then he shall entertain himself with the world maps. He loves maps, doesn’t he? Kiritsugu is spending some time with Ilya as Saber watches on. Thinking if this is his true self, she feels she might have offended him when he summoned her. But as Iri points out, it wasn’t the fact that King Arthur was a woman that Kiritsugu is upset. Rather, how the people around her forced a young girl into taking up the role as king and that she herself accepted that fate. Saber feels Kiritsugu and Iri’s desire to save the world is right because she too wants to save Britain.

The recent string of murders are done by this young adult name Ryuunosuke Uryuu. Yeah, he is in another one of those killings. Each murder has baffled the authorities because there are weird pentagrams drawn. Seems Ryuunosuke found out his ancestors were trying to summon demons and he thought he had to find out if they really exist. Plus, the media is labelling him one and if demons do exist, wouldn’t that be an insult to them? Yeah, he kept a boy of the murdered family alive just in case the demon needs sacrifice. Suddenly a Command Spell appears on Ryuunosuke’s hand. He has summoned Caster (fish eyes?). Ryuunosuke doesn’t understand this Grail thing because he mentions his hobby is killing. Especially women and children. Offering the kid as sacrifice, Caster surprisingly lets the boy go. When the kid least expected it, Caster unleashes some ferocious darkness to violently kill the kid. I’m not sure about his explanation about the more intense the fear, the more the emotions die and that this is the taste of fresh terror and death. Hell, Ryuunosuke doesn’t understand what is happening but finds him so cool that he wants to follow his footsteps. He couldn’t care less about the Grail as long as he could kill. Caster is glad his master is understanding. Ryuunosuke asks his name so Caster takes on the nickname of Bluebeard. Kirei has learnt the final Servant has been summoned. He sends Assassin to kill Tokiomi by infiltrating his house. Looks like he is going to make his first move of betrayal. Assassin waltzes easily through the magic field but when he gets to the main magic generator, Archer slays him with his rain of swords.

Episode 3
Tokiomi thanks Gilgamesh that everything is going as planned. His actions will prove further his status as King of Heroes. Gilgamesh on the other hand wants to explore this age and see what is important to add to his treasure collection. Failing which, Tokiomi will pay with his life for wasting his time summoning him here. Waver is happy that Assassin is dead but Rider doesn’t seem to give a damn. Yeah, he’s bumming around watching war movies. This is much better than that sneaky guy who posed no threat to him in the first place. He wants to buy those bomber planes too?! They talk about Noble Phantasm (special attack or ability that defines the Hero) and how Servants are limited to only one each. Waver mentions he saw Archer’s flashy attack that involves throwing dozens of swords at the enemy. Plus, each sword was different. The night was too dark so Waver couldn’t see any more details about the enemy. Rider then wants to go out. Seeing that not only he knows the death of Assassin, this means other Masters will make their move too. If they encounter any other teams, they’ll crush them as they go along. Meanwhile Kirei seeks protection in the neutral Church since his Servants has been killed. Risei allows him in. He assures no one will be watching this place because it will be against the rules and any Master caught doing so will be censured. Suddenly out from within the shadows, dozens of Assassins. Shadow clones? Seems there is a ploy to have Masters believe that Assassin is dead as this will let their guard down. Iri and Saber arrive in Fuyuki (Kiritsugu arrived 12 hours earlier). Saber mentions how Servants receive knowledge on the modern world upon materialization. For example she can pilot a plane if she needs it and just needs to let her intuition take over. We also learn this is the first time Iri has stepped out of her castle and she laments she is just a puppet created for the Grail.

Kiritsugu meets a subordinate, Maiya Hisau in a hotel and looks like she has all the equipment he requested for here. Does he really need all that firearms? Also, his plan of having Saber accompany Iri is to deceive enemies to think she is Saber’s Master. Maiya shows him videos of the incident outside Tokiomi’s mansion. She suspects something amiss. Since Assassin is a master of stealth and creeping in, it is hard to believe he was detected so soon. Like as thought his presence was expected. Plus, in battles among Servants, learning their identity is crucial. So why did Tokiomi expose his Servant for all to see? Learning that Kirei has retreated to the Church, Kiritsugu wants Maiya to send a familiar to keep watch there. Despite being a forbidden operating zone, he wants it to keep it as close without the priest noticing. Iri and Saber are together at the shore. Iri likes the sea but Saber doesn’t because it is where her enemies always come from. Then they feel a presence of a Servant. More like that Servant is inviting them. They decide to take up the offer. Elsewhere Rider and Waver are watching on top of a steel bridge. It is a strategic vantage point according to Rider. Waver can’t take anymore of this and wants to go home. Home to England. Regret getting involved in this war? Saber and Iri confront Lancer at the harbour and it seems Lancer had sent out ‘invitations’ to all other Servants but Saber only responded. Both Servants prepare to face off. Saber is more worried Lancer’s Master is nowhere to be seen and perhaps plotting something. She hopes Iri will cover her back despite all she can offer is healing as support.

Episode 4
While Saber and Lancer begin their bout, Kiritsugu and Maiya are keeping a close watch on their battle and the surrounding area. Kiritsugu spots Lancer’s Master and was about to take action when he spots Assassin watching from another location. Isn’t he dead? Assassin is supposed to be Kirei’s eyes watching the match. Kirei is reporting what he ‘sees’ to Tokiomi. Upon learning Iri is in the battlefield, Tokiomi thinks she is an Einzbern homunculus and that Kiritsugu was just a pawn Jubstacheit had in store for them. Believing Iri will greatly influence the outcome of this war, he wants Kirei to keep a close watch on her. Kiritsugu too doesn’t want Maiya to act hasty to take out the rest and for now just observe things. Saber and Lancer exchange powerful blows and due to the inconvenient rules of the war, they can’t conveniently reveal their true identity which isn’t something honourable for knights. Saber watches Lancer and tries to determine which of his 2 lances is his Noble Phantasm. Despite exchanging chivalric words, Lancer’s Master tells him not to delay and end the match. He gives him permission to use his Noble Phantasm. Lancer drops his shorter spear, proving his long spear is his Noble Phantasm. This spear can also dispel the Invisible Air that keeps Saber’s sword hidden. Now that he has seen her sword, he can estimate her attacking range and need not hesitate. Saber comes up with a tactic to slash Lancer when he charges but her waist got pierced by his lance instead. Iri heals her back to normal and Saber thinks hard how his lance broke through her armour since she was pretty sure it would deflect it. Wait a minute. Her armour is still intact. She concludes the lance went through her magically woven armour. She understands the secret of his red lance. It cancels out mana. So facing him with this lance is as good as being naked. So how? Saber makes a bold decision to cast away her armour but must cut him down first since her sword can’t defend against his lance. Lancer thinks it’s a foolish decision. Saber charges when Lancer suddenly picks up a golden spear from the ground. Realizing a Noble Phantasm need not be limited to just one, Saber although gets cut, manages to avoid ultimate defeat though the tendon to her left hand is severed.

Rider isn’t thrilled the battle may soon end. He thought that the other Servants will show up but fears at this rate Saber will be defeated. To him, it would be faster to fight everyone together instead of finding them one by one. After all, how often do heroes of different age get to fight each other? This is a rare chance for him to face up to 6 heroes. Waver thought they’re supposed to kill each other for the Grail but Rider tells him about true conquest. To win but not to destroy. To conquer but not to humiliate. Rider summons his chariot and will be joining this battle. Iri is baffled because Saber’s hand is supposed to be fully healed but it isn’t. Lancer reveals that she did realize her armour was useless before his Gae Daerg (name of his red spear). But had she not abandoned her armour, she would’ve guarded against his Gae Buidhe (gold spear). Saber realizes the red spear negates magic and the gold one is a cursed blade that inflicts wound that never would heal. Coupled in with his women-enchanting-mole beneath his right eye, Saber now knows his identity as Diarmuid of the Radiant Race, the first of the knights of Fianna. Since Lancer has seen her Excalibur, nobody will ever mistake she is the legendary King Arthur. Now that they know each other’s name, they can fight honourably. Saber rearms herself with her armour and they prepare to make their final attack. However Rider gatecrashes in between them. He has no qualms immediately revealing his name and class to everyone. I guess he is the only one who looks the happiest. And though the rest put on a surprised expression, none is as surprised and in disbelief as Waver. Just unbelievable.

Episode 5
First thing Rider asks is to give up the Grail and join him as his subjects for world conquest! Offer rejected!
Saber and Lancer think his interference to their fight is an insult for knights. So much for his negotiations. Lancer’s Master, Kayneth learns Waver was the one who stole his relic since Rider was supposed to be his Master. He is going to show him what a fight to the death between magicians is all about. Now Waver is wavering, scared sh*t in his pants. However Rider stands up for Waver. He commends the kid for being brave enough to ride into battle with him unlike Kayneth who can’t even show his face. Rider then calls all those watching in the shadows to come out or face his wrath. Archer pops out and is as arrogant as ever. Because Rider couldn’t tell who he is, Archer is going to kill him with his pair of Noble Phantasm swords. Kariya orders Berserker to enter the fray and Archer didn’t like the cursed Berserker ‘gazing’ to his eyes. He shoots his swords at him but Berserker swiftly grabs the first one and uses it to destroy the second one. Archer fires more but Berserker dodges or deflects them all. Now that Archer is so mad, he is going to unleash his Babylon Gate even further. Tokiomi didn’t like who Archer is acting so rash and uses his Command Spell to quell his anger and have him withdraw. Though Archer is not pleased Tokiomi got the nerve to order a king, he has to obey and leaves the scene. Suddenly Berserker goes crazy and picks up a pole to attack Saber. Rider observes whatever Berserker picks up becomes his Noble Phantasm. Saber doesn’t stand a chance and her head could’ve been knocked off if not for Lancer deflecting it. He hasn’t settled business with Saber yet and shouldn’t just barge in. But if he refuses to back down, he’ll take him out. However Kayneth thinks this is his best chance to take out Saber. Lancer’s pride as a knight wants to take care of Berserker first. Too bad Kayneth isn’t that kind of Master he uses his Command Spell to order Lancer to assist Berserker and kill Saber. Against his wishes, Lancer with Berserker charge at Saber. Saber wants Iri to run but she will stay because she wants her to believe in her Master.

Kiritsugu is scrambling to end this madness. He will take out Kayneth while Maiya attack Assassin on his mark. But that won’t materialise because Rider rides his chariot over Berserker. Berserker then retires from the scene. Rider tells Kayneth not to spoil the magnificent battle between knights with his petty tricks. If wants him to withdraw Lancer and if he insists, Rider will assists Saber in taking his Servant down. Kayneth has no choice but to order a withdraw. Both knights are grateful to him. Till the next time. Saber wonders about Rider’s intention when he first arrived. Let’s say he didn’t have any and the reason he interfered was because he believes Saber and Lancer should settle their business first. This is because if Saber doesn’t and undo the curse, her severed left hand will be a liability in facing other Servants. Whoever wins will face him. I think Waver has had enough for tonight and is out cold so Rider leaves. Meanwhile Kariya in the shadows is happy everyone turned and ran from Berserker (was it?) especially that arrogant Archer. He wished he could see Tokiomi’s disappointed face. He suddenly vomits blood (with worms!) and knows he won’t last long. But if he can control this, he can win. Elsewhere a subordinate reports to Kirei that she found a familiar sent to observe this church though it was outside their field. Ryuunosuke is thrilled in seeing the Grail War via Caster’s crystal ball and hopes he’ll take part too. Yeah, they aren’t special effects either. But Caster starts crying in happiness because he claims he has found his holy virgin, the maiden of his destiny. I’m sure Ryuunosuke is at a lost on what he’s ranting about. So Saber is his holy virgin? Did he mistake her for somebody or is he just deluded?

Episode 6
Iri is taking Saber for a spin! She’s drifting and loving it! Man, she’s good! I guess this is what happens when a countryside girl gets loose in the city. But they are stopped dead in their tracks when Caster appears before them. He has come for Saber whom he has identified as Jeanne d’Arc but Saber doesn’t recognize him nor have they met before. He is appalled she has forgotten about him and tries to make her remember by identifying himself as Gilles de Rais. He has been praying for her return and spent his life waiting for this miracle. In return for revealing his identity, Saber also reveals she is Arthur Pendragon and he must have mistaken her for somebody else. But Caster isn’t listening and thinks she has gone mad. Furthermore, he curses God for inflicting such a curse. He says the Grail War has ended without fight for the Grail has chosen him as his wish for her revival has been granted. Saber strikes her sword but misses. This is just warning. Noting her heart has been tightly sealed, he promises to return when he has made the necessary preparations. Assassin is thrilled he has killed 2 birds with 1 stone because he has located Caster and must tail him. Ryuunosuke must be happy with his ‘work of art’ but returning Caster is furious that God still wants to keep his beloved. He is going to create a hill of live sacrifices. That means a killing spree, right? Ryuunosuke isn’t so sure about going for quantity over quality. Lancer gets lectured by Kayneth about his actions that made him waste a Command Spell. His fiancee, Sola-Ui thinks Lancer did a good job and mentions Saber has been inflicted with a wound that will not heal so he can finish her off anytime. She also reminds him of the advantage he has over other Masters. Because of the special alteration to the usual Master-Servant contract, Kayneth gets the Command Spells while Sola-Ui acts as an additional Master and supply mana.

The alarm bell rings and there is a call to evacuate the building due to fire. Kayneth knows this is a direct attack by Saber’s Master because he would want to lift the curse as soon as possible. He orders Lancer to greet Saber while he will allow her Master to enjoy the magic filled traps throughout the tower. All the residents of the apartment are safely evacuated and the management is taking a roll call. Kiritsugu pretends to be Kayneth since they can’t remember every resident, right? Once everyone evacuates, Kiritsugu gives the order to blow up the entire building! He orders Maiya to withdraw for now but couldn’t reach her. She is in a fight with Kirei who knows she was the one who sent the familiar to observe the church. Maiya is injured in the fight but manages to escape. Assassin then appears to inform Caster’s location have been identified. Kirei reports to Tokiomi that Caster and his Master are the ones responsible for the murder spree and have been abducting sleeping children in the area. They have already kidnapped 15 kids and are using magic without hesitation and do nothing to hide its trace. Clearly they are violating the rules and must be eliminated. Since defeating another Servant needs another Servant, Kirei notes they can’t send his Assassin. Risei will allow a special rule change and mobilize other Masters to defeat Caster. Kirei returns to his room to see Archer in casual clothes bumming around. Yeah, he’s bored. He’s disappointed in Tokiomi for being boring. They talk about accessing the Root and this leads to Archer asking Kirei’s wish for the Grail. He doesn’t have any but Archer doesn’t buy it. If so, shouldn’t he wish for pleasure? Kirei dismisses it because he links pleasure with sin. Archer rubbishes his logic because only pleasure through evil is sin and no philosophy calls pleasure a sin. Archer finds him interesting and lectures him about entertainment, something he really needs. I’m sure a king like him has experienced all kinds of pleasure so he can give his 2 cents worth of opinion that pleasure is basically a form of the soul. That is what Kirei is lacking since he doesn’t see the form of his soul. He wants Kirei to start by joining him in his entertainment and though he has been given a mission by Tokiomi to watch the other Masters, he can do in between. What’s in it for Archer? He loves observing humans and is bound to find one or two who are interesting. Kirei agrees with his plan but will need time. Archer will wait. This way, Kirei may learn what it is that he seeks.

Episode 7
There is a large mercury ball in the middle of town. Something weird happens to you if you touch it. Risei informs all Masters a temporary change in the rules to cease ongoing combat and to defeat Caster. The one successfully exterminating Caster will receive an extra Command Spell, unused and left behind by previous Masters of the Grail War. But it’s just a ploy for other Masters to hunt and weaken Caster for Archer will deliver the finishing blow. Since there were 5 familiars on the scene, this means Kayneth has survived. Meanwhile Rider gets his first courier package. A t-shirt with a fitting motto of “War Tactics” printed over it. It’s amazing the shirt didn’t get ripped. Is it XXXXXL size? Watching Saber in her modern clothes gave him an idea since he too wants to explore this world. Waver warns him about going outside. Not without proper pants. Yeah, he forgot to order that too. He’ll buy him all the pants he wants if he defeats an enemy Servant. Kiritsugu discusses his next plan. Having Caster mistaking Saber as Jeanne is convenient but doesn’t allow her to fight and would prefer to focus on the enemy attacking Caster as they make better targets. Also, since her left hand isn’t healed, this could mean that Lancer is still alive. Despite the new rule, Kiritsugu can’t trust the judge because he is sheltering Kirei and is most probably in cohorts with Tokiomi. Later Kiritsugu talks to Iri if they could just drop everything and run away. Even if he says he can, she knows he is lying because he would never forgive himself for abandoning the Grail and fail to save the world. He’d take his own life first. They sense an enemy entering the area. It is Caster and he has brought little children with him to draw Saber out. He plays a game of tag with them. How far can those children run? How long will he take to catch them? Well, if he catches them, there’s a live demonstration something horrible happened to one of them. Iri orders Saber to defeat him.

Saber runs into the forest to see Caster and a child. The rest are dead. Caster releases him to her and while Saber tells him the path to safety, the boy dies when a monstrous plant bursts out from his body. And the other dead bodies too. It binds Saber in a strong grip. Angry with Caster, Saber will no longer fight him as she was fighting him for the Grail. Saber cuts through the flowers but notices his mana is not reducing. She realizes his spell book is his Noble Phantasm. A grimoire to command demonic legions his friend left behind. Just as Saber is about to be defeated, Lancer drops in for a much needed assistance. Both sides have their reasons why they want to claim Saber as theirs. Since Lancer’s order was only to defeat Caster, it’s best they cooperate. Kayneth infiltrates the castle with his mercury familiar to challenge Iri to a duel for the Grail. The place is besieged with traps but luckily the mercury protects him from all sorts of harm. He will now exterminate her. He comes into Kiritsugu who tries to make a run. Kiritsugu uses his Time Alter Double Accel skill to slow time down to avoid being killed. Kayneth knows this magic puts a strain on his body so he is confident he can’t run far in that physical condition. Kiritsugu is catching his breath hard and uses Time Alter Triple Stagnate to slow down his heart beat and breathing to prevent that mercury thingy from sensing his presence. He manages to fool Kayneth for the moment and pulls out his special pistol.

Episode 8
Iri and Maiya are escaping through the forest but Iri senses another enemy approaching: Kirei. Despite knowing Kiritsugu ordering Maiya to protect her, Iri feels Kirei must not reach Kiritsugu and vows to protect him. She wants Maiya to believe in what is to be necessary, not what Kiritsugu told her. When Kiritsugu fired his special pistol, the special bullet pierces through Kayneth’s magic barrier and into his shoulder. Kiritsugu makes his escape and Kayneth is one mad Mage. Kirei is ambushed by Maiya’s trap but she let her guard down thinking he got snagged by one of them. Kirei easily overpowers her and beats her up. Iri shows up and uses her magic to bind Kirei’s hand to the tree but his magic is so powerful that the tree splits. Saber and Lancer aren’t making any progress with the demonic minions. They need to dispose of Caster’s grimoire. The plan is Saber will make a path so that Lancer can run with the wind up to Caster and destroy the grimoire. They only have one chance. Saber sets the plan in motion when the demons attack. Lancer manages to cut the grimoire and turn all the monsters into a river of blood. As the duo face off with Caster, the coward flees by casting a red mist. Lancer feels uneasy as he realizes his Master is in danger. As a knight, Saber wants him to go protect him because they swore to settle matters as knights. Kayneth is weakening though his angry grows. Eventually he finds Kiritsugu and vows not to kill him so easily. Kiritsugu fires his special pistol once more and Kayneth is confident his trick won’t work a second time because he has beefed up his magic barrier. We have a short flashback of Kiritsugu meeting with some woman. She told him the properties of this special bullet. I don’t understand all that technical explanation except that it works very powerful against Mages. It destroys Magic Circuits and then reconnects them improperly. The more powerful, the more the Magic Circuits will lose control and they won’t recover as a Mage or human. That’s why his mystic code is Origin Bullet and has only 66 of them (I believe it was made out from his ribs). So use them sparingly.

The special bullet once again tears through Kayneth’s defence and it is breaking him apart. It’s like as though he contracted some sort of deadly virus. Kiritsugu is about to finish him off but Lancer protects him. He knows Kiritsugu is Saber’s Master and won’t allow him to easily kill his Master. He also won’t kill him and lets him live for now. He can thank Saber’s nobility as the King of Knights for that. Lancer takes Kayneth and leaves the castle. Kirei is interrogating Iri for answers. He knows she is not Saber’s Master because she lacks Command Spells. He knows the ladies fought him to protect Kiritsugu but wants to know on whose will they are doing so. Assassin reports Caster, Lancer and Kayneth have all left and Saber is coming soon. Kirei stabs Iri with his swords and escapes. He can’t believe these women fought him on his own accord and not someone else’s order. He believes Kiritsugu is just like him. Understood and acknowledged by nobody. Empty to the core. Saber arrives on the scene with Maiya heavily wounded while Iri has lost lots of blood. But no worries. Iri suddenly gets up. Iri remembers Kiritsugu giving her the Noble Phantasm called Avalon which heals all wounds. Since Iri will accompany Saber from now on since Saber needs someone to supply mana to her or the scabbard’s effects won’t manifest. Kiritsugu wants her to keep this a secret and not even tell Saber. As Iri heals Maiya, she notes they were lucky today to have fought against the Executor and lived. She is certain she can’t let him reach Kiritsugu.

Episode 9
A short flashback of Lancer’s life as Diarmuid. Fionn MacCumhaill, hero of Aillen and leader of Fianna got engaged to Grainne but it was Diarmuid that Grainne has her heart on. They both elope and Fionn sent a chasing pack after them. Despite Fionn recognizing their marriage in the end, he still won’t let go of the old grudge and thus Diarmuid was betrayed and left to die. Those were the memories that Kayneth saw. He is in a daze, still shocked from what has happened. He is strapped to the bed and Sola-Ui is by his side. Noting that his Magic Circuits are destroyed and that he can’t use magic again (his organs were regenerated by her and it’s a miracle he didn’t die), all is not lost as she is confident the Grail will restore everything to the way it was if they win. She wants him to give her his Command Spells and take over as Lancer’s Master. He refuses seeing Lancer won’t easily abandon him and swear loyalty to her as his Master easily. Besides, he thinks Lancer is hiding something because he doesn’t believe that he has no wish for the Grail. Persuasion failed. Time to get nasty. Sola-Ui breaks his little finger to coax him into giving the Command Spells! If he still refuses, she will have to chop off his right hand! Devil woman! Iri puts Maiya into bed as Saber feels the need to hunt down Caster soon before more children is sacrificed. Iri goes talk to Kiritsugu and it seems Maiya won’t be able to move for another day or two. Kiritsugu decides to hunt Kayneth down himself and knowing Saber wants to stop Caster, he reminds Iri that their goal isn’t to save a dozen of children. Although Saber does not doubt Lancer’s sincerity, if he betrayed them, the Grail War would be over for them. Sola-Ui summons Lancer and concocts her own story that cowardly Kayneth has abandoned the Grail War. She shows the Command Spells on her hand as proof she has become his Master. Lancer refuses to acknowledge her because he only serves 1 Master and that he is a knight before a Servant. Sola-Ui tries to persuade Lancer to work together but he is willing to not seek the Grail if Kayneth has abandoned this battle. Finally Sola-Ui tells him the only way to return him back to normal is to win the Grail. He needs a miracle. She even swears on her heart that she will seek the Grail on Kayneth’s behalf and not her own. Lancer notices the look in her eyes is the same as Grainne. All he sought for in this life was the loyalty denied to him in his last.

Rider seems to be making himself like home, drinking and laughing with Waver’s ‘grandparents’. Back in his room, Waver takes out his alchemist set and conducts experiments from the water samples he took from several points along the river. Most of the samples turn out to be spell casting residue and if he follows the lead, it might lead him to Caster’s hideout. Finally there is a spot that is clean without any magic remnants and Waver deduces this is where he may be hiding. Rider is eager to take on Caster but Waver cautions that he has the greatest advantage when it comes to territory defence. Rider wants to strike when the iron is hot. After all, territories can change within seconds in battle. Miss it and you might regret it. Rider and Waver ride through the sewer tunnels, crushing over the little monster familiars over the place. Though Caster is not in, Rider doesn’t want Waver to look at this hideous spot. Against his advice, Rider takes a peek and can’t handle it. It must be so gross and sickening that it can’t even be shown! Feel like puking? Blood everywhere… No time to get emotional because Rider just deflected a blade from Assassin. Waver is surprised because he thought Assassin had died. Apparently a few more Assassins pop up to flank them but they soon disappear into the shadows. Noting this is their territory, Rider advises it’s best they get out of here. Not before torching the place so Caster have no place to return and hide. Kirei reports to Tokiomi about the discovery of Assassin’s existence by others. Tokiomi wants Kirei’s Assassin to continue watching Rider to uncover his trump card but be extra careful.

Episode 10
Rin tries her hand in magic but fails. Tokiomi demonstrates and shows her how it is done by controlling his mana, be careful not to put too much power in it or it will backfire and most important of all, do it with elegance. It may be hard for Rin now but with hard work, she’ll be able to do it. She is after all the daughter of the Tohsaka family. In school, Rin is quite a popular girl. At least her classmates seek her guidance in doing school work. Feisty Rin was also cool enough to help defend her friend Kotone from a couple of bullies. When Rin learns that she will have to leave Fuyuki City with her mom because daddy is participating in the Grail War, she becomes upset that she is unable to help out and thought they’re just in the way. Still adamant in wanting to help, she goes through Tokiomi’s collection of grimoires. I don’t think those complicated stuffs are of her level. One of the grimoires got activated and tried to pull her in. If not for Tokiomi putting a stop to it, Rin could’ve been devoured by the book. He gives her a mana compass that detects anything with mana. If its needle goes out of control, it means that mana is beyond her capability and should be careful. The serial kidnappings of children in Fuyuki have become so rampant that it causes Rin to be worried for Kotone. She didn’t come to class for days and when one of the bullies went missing (though a funeral was held, his body wasn’t really in the coffin), she thinks it’s time to head to Fuyuki City by herself to look for Kotone.

Fuyuki City looks scary at night. It’s like a different world. Mana is everywhere.  Rin walks around to search for clues when she sees a strange guy with a kid out this late. He is Ryuunosuke and it seems he has hypnotized a kid to come with him. Rin follows them till she realizes he got another kid in his hand. Feeling she won’t accomplish anything at this rate by tailing in the shadows, she decides to go on the offensive. This leads her to an underground closed bar. To her horror, she sees Kotone and other children lying around with no response all over the place. Of course Ryuunosuke spots her and ‘invites’ her to join the ‘party’. Not enough people? Either way he’s not going to let her go. Rin realizes his bracelet is the one controlling the kids and focuses her magic into destroying it. The backfire causes a slight painful distraction to Ryuunosuke. All the kids awake from their spell and in a daze. Rin tells them all to make a run for it. In the aftermath, the police have cordoned the place off and Rin heaves a sigh of relief watching the events close from an alley. Suddenly her compass goes berserk and a monster plant drops beside her. Kariya saves her before she becomes monster food. Aoi is driving all the way to Fuyuki City unable to believe her daughter went there all by herself. She finds Rin sleeping soundly at a park bench and to her surprise, Kariya. Even more shocking is half his face has become hideous as the price paid for using the magic of Matou family. You offer your flesh, it devours your life slowly. Kariya lets her know that he will win the Grail War to release Sakura since Zouken only covets the Grail. He is confident Sakura and Rin will become sisters again and they can all play in this park like they used to. Aoi wonders if he is planning to die after killing Tokiomi. Life returns to normal for Rin. She takes her magic practice one step at a time, working hard to uphold her father’s teachings. Till then, she’ll do her best elegantly.

Episode 11
Saber and Iri are walking through the ruins of the castle when Rider rides in. He’s in his t-shirt…  I guess this means he isn’t here to fight and invites Saber to drink. At the open garden, they talk about the Grail War and he wants to ascertain their ranks among each other and to see who is more suited to be king of the Grail. Archer makes his appearance and it seems he was invited by Rider too when he saw him in town. Arrogant Archer didn’t want to drink from his cheap wine and lets them have a taste of his fine wine. Truly good indeed. But Rider quips the Grail isn’t a drinking cup so it doesn’t automatically makes Archer the king of them all. Archer asserts all treasures in the world could be traced back to him and thus each one of them belongs to him. Anyone who thinks of taking it is just a brazen thief. So is he saying if they ask, he’ll give them the Grail? If they become his subjects. Rider points out Archer doesn’t really want the Grail and his reply is that he has to administer punishment to thieves. Because he is king, he makes the law, he executes them. For Rider, his style is to take whatever he wants. All that’s left now is to cross swords. Saber is puzzled because Rider acknowledges the Grail’s ownership to someone else and yet he wants to take it. Rider embarrassingly reveals his goal for the Grail is true incarnation. Wasn’t it world domination? He won’t have some cup do it for him and he would prefer to that with his own hands. This is what true conquest is about. Saber disagrees his way to be a king. Her wish is that she wants salvation for her country and avert Britain’s destruction. Kirei reports to Tokiomi about the kings having their conversation. Tokiomi wants to distinguish the strength between Archer and Rider so her orders Tokiomi to send Assassin to attack. Regardless if Assassin win or lose, they have nothing to lose in this gamble since they’ll be able to discern Rider’s strength.

The conversation between kings continues. Saber feels guilty and responsible for the downfall of her country. Archer couldn’t hold back his laughter because she calls herself king and is praised by everyone and yet she laments it. Saber feels it is a king’s duty to sacrifice and ensure the prosperity of his nation. Rider thinks otherwise. A king does not sacrifice but it is the country and people that sacrifice for the king. That sounds like a tyrant? That’s because they are tyrants that they are Heroes. If a king regrets his rule or conclusion, that king is a fool, worse than a tyrant. Saber points out Rider’s crumble of his empire and dynasty but Rider doesn’t regret it. He may feel sad but certainly he would never regret. He won’t even undo it. By doing so would be a mockery to those who fought with him to build his empire. Saber adds only brute warriors find glory in destruction. She doesn’t mind dying for her just ideals. Even if it’s not how a human should live, being a king means forfeit being human. She doubts he will understand because he only seeks the Grail for his own benefit. If that’s the case, Saber must have been a saint in her life. But who will admire the martyr’s thorny life? Being king means to be greedier and more furious than everybody. He must exemplify all things, good and evil. That’s why everyone adores him. Saber’s righteous ideals may have saved her country once but what happens to those who are constantly saved? Saber may have saved them but she never led them. She never showed them what a king should be while abandoning everyone who got lost as she followed her own petty ideals. She is just a little girl bound by a false idol of a king who serves others but not herself. Saber is pretty stunned by his words. I guess she realizes there are truths in them. In fact, all. Archer couldn’t help laugh because seeing her anguish expression was really a sight to behold. Like a virgin getting deflowered. He likes it. Saber draws her sword when suddenly the place is surrounded by Assassins. They proclaim they are one but split into many. Rider offers them to drink and talk but Assassin throws his knife to break the ladle. If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get and regret.

Rider transforms into his battle gear and asks the final question if a king should be alone. Saber answers yes to that. Wrong answer. Rider will show them what it is to be a true king. Suddenly the field turns into an open hot desert. A place where his armies rode across this land. He can materialize this because it exists in his heart. Then he summons his army. They are other Heroic Spirits from around the world. Some are legendary fighters and they all are loyal to him. This is his bond with them, his greatest treasure, his path to kingship. This is his Noble Phantasm, Ionian Hetairoi. Every one of them is his Servant. Rider adds a king must live more vividly than others and collects the envy of all his heroes and stands as their guide. Therefore a king is not alone for his will equals that of all his followers combined. Rider orders his army to annihilate all the Assassins since they have a disadvantage of being in an open area with no place to hide. After the slaughter, they return to the open garden. Rider calls it a night and doesn’t acknowledge Saber as a king anymore. He hopes this little girl will wake up from her sad dream because if she doesn’t, she’ll lose that pride as a Heroic Spirit. The dream of kingship she spoke is a curse. After Rider leaves, Archer tells Saber she need not listen to him. All she needs to do is follow her own path in what she believes. After all, nobody would understand the burden she shoulders. Also, he enjoys seeing her face squirm in agony. So keep it up and she may be worthy of his love. After Archer leaves, Saber remembers a knight who claimed King Arthur didn’t understand his subjects. She feels those sentiments were shared by everyone at the Round Table.

Episode 12
Tokiomi and Kirei discuss Rider’s Noble Phantasm and they’re glad they have known it is on par with Archer’s. Should they have gone head to head with him, they might not be able to defend against it. With Assassin out of the game, Tokiomi will use the information Assassin gathered and mobilize Archer to defeat his enemies, confident a means to defeat Rider will manifest along the way. Maiya reports to Kiritsugu about Assassin eliminated for good. Kiritsugu summarizes the current state and location of the other Masters. He is baffled with Kirei’s actions because if he was cooperating with Tokiomi, he wouldn’t step out of the church but yet he went out and ambush his castle and Kayneth’s plaza. Archer sees Kirei coming into his room and notes how happy he is. Kirei is relieved that he has been taken off this burdensome game. They discuss about unused Command Spells that return to the Holy Grail should a Master loses his Servant. Then the Grail will choose a new Master and redistribute them to him. The Grail chooses the next Master it has previously found suitable thus there is a high probability an ex-Master will receive those unused Command Spells. That’s why participants in the Grail War kill enemy Masters rather than disable them. That’s also the reason why the Church protects Masters that have dropped out. Kirei believes he won’t be chosen again because if the Grail chose him to support Tokiomi, then he has fulfilled his duty. Maiya guides Iri and Saber to a new house, a Japanese mansion that they will use as their new base of operations. They check the insides of the rundown house and Iri feels it is too open to work her magic and needs a room that is walled off. Saber remembers the key Maiya handed her was for the storage and takes her there. Iri finds it suitable to craft her magic and starts making her preparations. Saber then asks about her not touching things today. She thinks she is not feeling well. Iri get permission to squeeze Saber’s hand. She has no power to even hold it. Because she wasn’t feeling well, she severed one of her senses (touch, in this case) so that it won’t interfere with anything she does. It’s an ability she has as a homunculus and she reminds she isn’t exactly a normal human so a normal doctor won’t be able to treat her.

Archer continues his conversation with Kirei. The latter thinks he is being mocked and his efforts wasted. On the contrary, Assassin’s death wasn’t wasted and paid off splendidly. The talk shifts to pleasure that Kirei is still having a hard time to understand. Archer points out that all of the Masters except for Tokiomi, he noticed has been somewhat obsessed with Kariya. He spoke of him in great detail. Kirei says the circumstances around him are complicated and admits he made a judgmental error as Kariya poses no long term threat and not worth the attention. Archer asks him to imagine a scenario if Kariya and Berserker survives till the end. What is the point of imagining Kariya’s victory? Archer points there is none. What he is trying to say is that the usually sharp Kirei would’ve immediately realized the pointlessness of investigation a Master that would be deemed unworthy. That was not how it went with Kariya. He abandoned his sharp wits and wasted time in pointless thoughts and didn’t mind if the effort was wasted. In short, he enjoyed it. Kirei disagrees that there is nothing entertaining in Kariya’s life but Archer feels he is viewing pleasure from a narrow point of view because he is confused and doesn’t understand. Kirei becomes upset because though Archer loves seeing the torment of others, to him that is the soul of a sinner and must be punished. Maybe that’s why he equated pleasure and sin together. Suddenly Kirei feels pain on his hand and the Command Spell reappears on it. Looks like he’s back in the game. This makes Kirei questions what he truly seeks from the Grail. He can only know that after he destroys 6 other wishes. Archer tells him to do as he desires. That is the true meaning of entertainment, which leads to pleasure and ultimately happiness. From now on, everything else is up to him.

Episode 13
Waver sees in his dream Rider reaching the sea of Okeanos. Next morning he has a ‘change of heart’ and brings Rider out to town. Meanwhile Ryuunosuke is disheartened that his works of art in the sewers are destroyed. Ironically he calls those destroyers inhuman. He thought they had too much fun and God punished them. Caster tells him God never punishes humans but only toys with them. That is because when he committed greater atrocities and blasphemies, God never once punished him. It was the Church and State to destroy him. The same people like them with self-interests. So what brought an end to his evil wasn’t God’s judgment but theft because the Church and State took his wealth and land after executing him. Ryuunosuke still believe God exists. He starts explaining how boring this world is and how one needs to find ways to entertain. There has to be an entertainer who is writing a saga for all the humans. To describe such feat, God is the only thing you could call that person. Caster wonders if God loves humans and Ryuunosuke couldn’t agree more because he writes the saga continuously and restlessly. He may love good virtues but also bad ones. Otherwise there’s no way fresh intestines could be so colourful. Huh? Caster admires his views but wonders if his atrocities would be a farce according to his viewpoint. On the contrary, God loves playing along with his antics. Caster takes that that both praise and blasphemy are forms of worship. He has a new respect for his Master and sees God in a new light. They need to stain His garden with brilliant colours of despair and terror. So the duo are going to begin the greatest entertainment on Earth as Caster begins chanting his spell over the river. Waver is at the library looking researching about Alexander the Great when Rider finds him. Yeah, he bought some video game and is eager to play it. Rider realizes what Waver is doing and finds it odd because he could’ve just asked the real deal in front of him. So was he this short as stated in the records? Well, no. But Rider isn’t upset and though people in power do want to leave their name in history for immortality, if it’s just his name and nothing else, he’d rather have a hundred of that to his life.

On the way back, Waver laments the boring person Rider is and even if he won the Grail War, he couldn’t take pride in it. He feels he should’ve contracted with Assassin. He is okay if he dies since he prefers to die in his own battles. Rider advises him this Grail War isn’t the most important event in his life but down the road, he’ll be forced into his own battles whether he likes it or not. Waver points out that he isn’t the only one who is dissatisfied with this contract and is sure Rider didn’t like to have a pathetic and incompetent Master like him. Rider takes out the world map and points out this is their enemy. He wants him to draw them fighting it side by side, which is impossible. The point is, against the enemy, they’re both the same. There is no point in comparing how big they are. Waver still feels inferior but Rider says that feeling is king’s quality because he may complain a lot but he knows how small he is and yet struggle to reach greater heights. When Rider mentions his dream of reaching Okeanos didn’t come true, Waver realizes the scene he saw was just an imagined scene Rider held very close to his heart. Anyhow, Rider is fine with a contract with him. Suddenly they feel something strange coming from the river. Saber and Iri rush to the scene and see Caster in the midst of his nefarious scheme. He is pouring and incredible amount of mana out. Caster gets absorbed by the giant monster surfacing from the river. Rider arrives and he tells Saber he went around telling others. Lancer agreed to help out and should be here in no time. Because Iri has fought Caster before she warns that the monster is currently maintaining its form via Caster’s mana but once it gets its own food source, it’s game over. They need to settle this before it reaches the coast and starts eating. But Caster has sealed himself within that monster so it won’t be easy to draw him out. Rider says as long as his Noble Phantasm is visible, he can thrust his Gae Daerg and destroy it in a strike. Rider and Saber will take to the frontlines then. Rider’s mobility means his road is anywhere but as for Saber, since she has the protection of the Lady of the Lake, no body of water can stop her. I take that she can walk on water! Rider and Saber being their assault.

Please! Einzbern Consultation Room 1
We take a break from the first half of the season to bring you this special from the DVD that lasts 10 minutes each. Here, we have Iri and her amnesiac student T-chan as hosts. Because T-chan is student number 0, she is nicknamed Zecchan. I later discovered she is Taiga Fujimura who lost her memories. They explain to us the workings of the Holy Grail War. So we are given the brief introduction of what is this war all about (the 7 teams killing each other for that single cup – you know this drill) and mainly the history of how this war came to be. The first war started out as an internal strife between the Three Families that discovered the system of the Grail. When they realized only one wish can be granted, they betrayed and turned on each other. Because 7 Heroic Spirits are required to conceive the Grail, they invited 4 other outside Mages to participate. By the time the second war came, the ritual turned into an all-out war and because there were no rules, everybody died in a murder spree. Thus the Three Families took precautions and establish precise rules for the third war which include inviting an outside third party, the Church to supervise the many Grail Wars. However the war hasn’t produced a single winner yet because in all 3 wars, everyone went down simultaneously. With no suitable to activate, the Grail disappeared from the world. It will take 60 years for the mana to accumulate in which a new war will begin. This segment ends with Iri and Zecchan discussing about Iri’s husband, Kiritsugu who is participating in the fourth war. Well, let’s just say she really loves him. Love is blind indeed.

Please! Einzbern Consultation Room 2
Now Iri turns her consultation room into a law office. No customers so far… The consultation continues with Iri defining the meaning of magic and how Mages preserve it by passing it down their generations that’s why bloodlines are important to Mages as each passing generation the Mages will grow stronger though the magic used by each family differs. Because magic is expensive to pursue, only wealthy and distinguished families remain in using them. Zecchan isn’t happy that Kiritsugu doesn’t look like a traditional magician because he uses modern weapons in his fight and no magic at all. As Iri puts it, there are champions of tradition, deviants of tradition and those in between. For example, Waver may be of the new age that values tradition but feels there are certain areas that can be revisited, Ryuunosuke knows nothing about magic while Kariya totally shuns them. Kiritsugu has no pride of a Mage and does what is needed once his enemies’ weakness is exposed. Next topic is about summoning of Heroic Spirits who are from legends and tales of the past. They are referred to as classes because one of the reasons is to conceal their real identity. Once their real identity is out, the enemies may use information to bring down him down which will be a severe disadvantage. After all, it is already written in the legends and tales of that Hero’s downfall. While Saber, Lancer and Archer are top combat classes, their ability to collect information is weak. Thus classes like Caster may not be strong in battle but his forte is collecting information. So simply being strong in the war isn’t enough to guarantee victory. Zecchan must have grasped the basics and probably would like to have a go at participating in this war and fight a Servant herself. She’s going to work hard and repay Iri’s kindness so Iri gets ecstatic and even quips her passion nearly turned her into a lesbian! She takes Zecchan out to drink. Only thing is she’s underage…

Please! Einzbern Consultation Room 3
Iri has remodelled the place to look like a kitchen. I don’t even want to know the ingredients she’s putting into the tea. Suddenly they receive their first customer! Wow! Who could it be? Erm… That’s Assassin, right? Well, whoever he is, he is still a customer. So we have Assassin introducing himself as Zayd, one of the many personalities of the Hundred Faced Hassan. See how he is stressing this point? He’s lost them. Yeah, he’s ranting on how great this Hassan guy is during the Grail War. So while we learn that this Hassan Sabbah isn’t just a guy but a religious organization (thus the reason why there are many of them and the separate multiple personalities is his Noble Phantasm called Zabaniya), Zecchan points it bluntly he is a fake among fakes! That must’ve hurt his pride. Even more so when Iri puts it he got killed in the second episode and tricked and used by his Master. Getting back on track, the trouble Zayd is facing is that he feels he has been used no more than for surveillance and can’t stand the slander of being called useless anymore. It’s not his fault. Suddenly Zayd finds himself in the dark room while the girls circle around him. They’re trying to question him if he didn’t do anything wrong. Hmm… His shady job, his snuck around coolly doing cool poses just to show off. So? Did he do nothing wrong? At this point Zayd is overcome with guilt and wonders what he did wrong. The girls relish in his reaction. Before he knows it, he’s back in the room and has repented. He’ll mend his old ways and wish to work for her by serving tea. However Iri says no can do because there is a place he needs to be now despite having his troubles cleared. He needs to go realize his ambitions as a Servant once more and to the battlefield. She knows he can do it. Zayd is touched by her words and encouragement and leaves. They ask him his wish and that is to leave his name in the pages of history as they have no name. Zecchan is excited that their consultation has saved troubled young men like him but Iri says they didn’t save him. You can’t change fate. The most they can do is listen to their problems so they can pass away without regrets. Zecchan becomes depressed but soon picks herself up and is confident the Grail can save anything. Lastly, Zecchan recites textbook style what she has learnt about the Grail War. I think I need time to digest everything. I’m puzzled because they say this Grail is the 726th when so far there has only been fourth of such wars. Iri is impressed with Zecchan and thinks she could be a good teacher. They’re going to work hard to bring success to this consultation room. Meanwhile Zayd is rushing along confident he has no more doubts and will earn Kirei’s respect. Suddenly he is absorbed into the wormhole whereby Rider is mercilessly slaying all his other personalities. You can’t change fate alright.

Episode 14
A couple of JSDF jet fighters are flying towards the monster. You think their missiles can work when the Heroes are having a hard time cutting it down? Thanks to its quick regeneration, it’s like wasted efforts. Risei feels the situation is going out of control. A thick fog is enveloping the river and there are more witnesses gathering. He feels the need to request aid from the Mage Association. While he handles the cover up, he wants Kirei to aid Tokiomi who is on his way with Archer to the scene (what kind of UFO are they riding?). Tokiomi wants Archer to eliminate the beast but he is reluctant to do the ‘dirty job of a gardener’. He agrees when Tokiomi mentions this is his perfect chance to show his true strength as a Hero since none of them can do it. Archer drops his swords on the monster but unfortunately it regenerates. Archer wants to leave seeing he has wasted 4 of his swords (he won’t take them back since it got ‘tainted’ by the beast). Tokiomi suggests drawing his greatest treasure to destroy it in a single shot but was shot down by Archer. He feels those words are insulting and should be punishable by death. Tokiomi is in a dilemma. Should he use his Command Spell? After all, all this was supposed to get him back his Command Spell but now it has backfired. Using another one would hurt his relationship with Archer.

One of the jet fighters closes in on the monster and gets devoured. His other comrade is going to avenge his death and fire everything he’s got when suddenly the jet gets taken over by Berserker. Tokiomi goes to confront Kariya while Berserker and Archer have an aerial battle. Kariya has only one question for Tokiomi: Why did he give Sakura to the Matou family. He only wished for a brighter future for his daughters. Any Mages with 2 children face a painful dilemma because only one can inherit the family secrets and the other must fall into the rabble. Because both his daughters had that high potential, they needed the protection that a Mage association can provide. As a father he couldn’t risk destroying the future of one for the other. No choice, he gave up Sakura for adoption and the Matou’s request couldn’t be more than a blessing. Kariya isn’t happy this will pit Rin and Sakura against each other. Even so, Tokiomi notes his descendents will be happy. Glory goes to the winner and the loser will rest, knowing it went to the family. Erm? Isn’t that a contradiction about his statement for a brighter future for his daughters? Tokiomi feels grateful to Kariya since he refused to carry on the Matou line magic, it went to Sakura. However he can’t forgive him for running away from the responsibility of his blood and death is the only answer. Enough talk. Let’s get on with the killing. Oops. Kariya sends his insects to devour him.

Ryuunosuke revels in seeing all kinds of guts and gore when suddenly he is shot in the stomach. Maybe he was too noisy that he was targeted? The monster stops dead in his tracks and Caster knows his Master is in grave danger. Ryuunosuke sees the blood from his gut and realizes it was what he was searching for all the time. Yeah, most beautiful thing ever? You could say it was right under his nose. The final shot to his head kills him and his Command Spells disappear. Caster is saddened over his death but will fulfil his promise by showing him the coolest parting gift. The monster starts moving again and grows stronger. Kiritsugu is revealed as the sniper and his next move now is to stop the immortal monster. They know the irreversible damage when it reaches the shore and the Grail War may even be abandoned. They need to destroy it in a single strike. A Noble Phantasm that is suited not for destroying people or armies, but fortified structure. Saber has that but Lancer’s curse on her hand leaves her unable to use it. He feels the need to show them the meaning of chivalry that they’re so proud of.

Episode 15
Rider wants everyone to regroup since they aren’t making progress. He suggests drawing the creature into his Ionian Hetairoi and even his combined warriors can’t destroy it. While he stalls the creature in his Reality Marble, he wants them to come up with a plan to victory. Kariya is bleeding like mad but his insects have no effect on Tokiomi’s barrier. Seeing the pitiful state he has fallen, Tokiomi gives him his final gift by burning him. Kariya falls off below. Kirei wanted to finish him off but remembers Archer’s words about entertainment and unconscious interest and heals him. Since Iri doesn’t know how to use her handphone, Waver takes the call. It is from Kiritsugu and he wants to know if Rider can position the contents of Reality Marble at a particular location. Only about 100 metres or so. Kiritsugu wants him to wait for the right moment when he’ll fire a flare. Rider is to materialize underneath it. He also wants Waver to tell Lancer that Saber’s left arm holds an anti-fortress Noble Phantasm. Lancer confirms with Saber this Noble Phantasm can kill the monster in a strike. However she considers this wound as an honour. Lancer as a knight cannot allow Caster’s terror to spread so it is not who should win this fight, but their knight’s path of chivalry. He breaks his golden spear to free Saber from the curse. Another problem creeps up because Berserker abandons his dogfight with Archer to attack Saber. Archer views this as an insult and he carelessly got slightly wounded by Berserker’s surprise shot.

One of Rider’s messengers appears to report that they can’t hold the creature much longer. Saber is having her hands full fending off Berserker so Lancer volunteers to take care of that pest. He destroys the jet fighter and Archer finishes him with his swords. Kiritsugu is at the designated spot at sea and fires his flare. Waver tells the messenger that is the signal for Rider. The monster materializes at that spot as Saber powers up her Excalibur that contains the hope of all warriors, past, present and future. Archer wants to see and judge her brilliance as a Heroic Spirit. In a single swing, Excalibur breaks open the monster. Caster is attracted by the light and believes this brilliance that blessed him and Jeanne. I guess that’s goodbye. Archer wonders if Rider’s opinion on Saber has changed after seeing her brilliance. He is still not convinced and that brightness is still what makes it tragic. Archer sees those tears she shed during her final moments as sweet. Rider concludes they can never see eye to eye but will settle this the next time. Archer allows him to retreat as killing him when he is not at his full strength will give him no satisfaction. Rider takes it as Archer is wounded from Berserker’s fight. Archer takes an interest in Saber and claiming himself as the only one in Heaven and Earth who has the right to love her in her destruction.

Episode 16
Kirei drops Kariya off at the latter’s home despite knowing he’ll be a threat to his master. However he is confused with this excitement he feels and does not feel regret. While Kayneth sees Risei to obtain the additional Command Spell for Lancer’s important role in destroying Caster, Sola-Ui is revelling in her Command Spells when suddenly Maya cuts off her arm!!! OH SH*T!!!Then she shoots and destroys the arm. Risei accepts Kayneth’s reasons and gives him the additional Command Spell. Soon after, Kayneth shoots and kills Risei. The reason being since he has only 1 Command Spell, he is at a disadvantage and cannot allow other Masters to acquire additional Command Spells. Lancer learns of Sola-Ui’s predicament and reports back to Kayneth. He is enraged he couldn’t protect her. She is now missing and because there was no proper contract between them, Lancer couldn’t discern her position. Kayneth is worried that she has the Command Spells but Lancer assures she is still alive because her mana is feeding him. Kayneth continues to admonish Lancer that he is all talk about his pride and thinks he was trying to seduce his fiancée. Saber and Iri soon arrive. Lancer learns they do not know about Sola-Ui’s case. Saber isn’t here to talk. She’s here to settle their match since the other Servants won’t be fighting tonight and will be on the defensive. This means they won’t be interrupted. Both Heroes engage in their honour fight but Lancer notices she is not using her left hand. She says not to get the wrong idea because using it will only dull her blade and a fatal mistake to make again against his spear. Thus this is the best strategy she can use to beat him.

Kayneth is appalled that Lancer couldn’t even beat Saber but his concern right now is that they should run and find Sola-Ui. No need to do that because Kiritsugu is nearby holding her unconscious at gunpoint as hostage. Kiritsugu throws him a Self Geas Scroll. From what I understand it is a magic binding contract that cannot be broken even in death. The condition for this Geas to take effect so that Kiritsugu can never kill Kayneth and Sola-Ui has Kayneth realize his fight for the Grail will end here. The honour match is interrupted when Lancer stabs his own heart with his spear. The Geas condition was to have Kayneth using his Command Spell to order Lancer to commit suicide. Lancer in his final breathe becomes enrage that they tainted his honour for their personal gain and curses them and hopes the Grail will bring only misery. With Geas in effect, Kiritsugu now cannot kill them. However Maiya snipes and kills them! Sneaky bastard! Saber finishes off the job since Kayneth is pitifully pleading to end his life. Saber is disgusted with Kiritsugu’s ways and now cannot believe that he will use the Grail to save the world even if she wins. Iri is also shocked and wants an explanation. Kiritsugu explains if only the Master is killed, the Servant would be free to form a contract with another Master. That’s why both Master and Servant must be simultaneously killed. He continues to add there is no honour and glory in a battlefield. It is hell itself and victory is the name for the crime paid by the pain of the defeated. Though his wish is still to win the Grail and save the world, what he did was employing appropriate methods at his disposal. He cares nothing about righteousness because it cannot save the world. He will make sure this Grail will be the last blood humanity will spill and will achieve it if it means staining his hands with every evil in the world. After Kiritsugu leaves, Iri collapses.

Episode 17
Kirei finds Risei’s dead body at the church and reports to Tokiomi who is visibly upset. Archer thought Kirei’s no-show of emotion was due to the fact that he didn’t have the chance to kill his father. Iri is healed back at their mansion when Maiya comes in with a letter from Tokiomi requesting to meet at the church to form an alliance. They discuss about him making elaborated preparations for the Grail War and if he is the one controlling Kirei in the shadows, all the more reason they can’t ignore this offer. Iri wants Saber to remember Kirei’s name for his is the man who can defeat Kiritsugu. Before Tokiomi proceeds to the church he stops by to meet his family. He talks to Rin, telling her to keep the Church in her debt. Everything else is based on her judgment and if she wishes to continue to be a Mage, she must undertake the responsibility of the Tohsaka family to attain the Grail. Tokiomi and Iri meet. He introduces Kirei as his student and once his competitor in this Grail War. Because 3 of the participants left are from the founding families and 1 an outsider, Tokiomi doesn’t want the Grail to fall to the outsider’s hands. Iri doesn’t want an alliance but a temporary ceasefire. They’ll settle things between themselves once other Masters are defeated. She lays down several conditions to work together. He must share any details he has about Rider and he must remove Kirei from the Grail War because there’s bad blood between the Einzbern camp and that Executor. Tokiomi seems surprised to hear this. When the leave, Saber rides first to check if the path is clear. Maiya follows behind and drives Iri home. Iri grows weak and explains about herself as a homunculus created for the Grail. That vessel for the Grail is disguised under the veil of “Iri”. She is surprised she could last this long. That’s why Avalon was left with her because it halts aging and has infinite healing powers. Its effects are what prevent Iri’s shell from collapsing. Of course the further Saber is away, the less effective it becomes. Iri is telling her this because she would acknowledge her and not pity her. Maiya promises to protect her with her life.

Tokiomi though would’ve preferred his dealings with Iri, dismisses Kirei from the participation. Kirei packs up but Archer comes to talk to him about his hesitation. Kirei gets a phone call and now he knows Iri’s location. Archer laughs and believes he is going to continue with this game. Kirei admits he once hesitated and did think of stopping and acknowledges Archer as correct because there is no other way to have his questions answered. He shows his arm filled with Command Spells. Before Risei died, he wrote in his blood a chapter from the Bible, Jn424 and Kirei took in all his Command Spells. Kirei reveals the truth behind this war. The ritual in Fuyuki is an attempt to open a passage to the Root through sacrifice of the souls of the 7 Heroic Spirits. Once can activate the Grail by killing all 7 Heroic Spirits. That’s why Tokiomi tried so hard not to use them as he needs one to force his own Servant to commit suicide once all the battles are over. Archer seems disappointed that this is all Tokiomi is worth. The both of them talk and indicate they should form a contract and be Master and Servant. Before Kirei leaves town, he talks to Tokiomi at his mansion. He gives a letter to Kirei that in worst case scenario, it leaves the Tohsaka family headship to Rin and Kirei named as her guardian till she comes of age. He wants her to train Rin as a senior apprentice when the Grail War is over. He agrees. Tokiomi gives him an Azoth dagger as gift as it symbolizes his mastery of the Tohsaka family’s magic and marks the end of his apprenticeship. As Tokiomi shows him the door out, Kirei stabs him in the back with the dagger! You can really say this is backstabbing. Kirei and Archer then make a pact and they become Master and Servant respectively. As long as Kirei continues to amuse him, he is okay to give the Grail to him as his reward. Kirei has no qualms in playing to fool till he seeks the answers he wants.

Episode 18
A little flashback at Kiritsugu’s past. He was growing up as a boy on a tropical island with his father, Noritaka as a researcher. One of the island locals, Shirley treats him like her little brother and even calls him Kerry (I guess his original name is hard to pronounce). Shirley is also Noritaka’s assistant in his research and has successfully created her first plant that will not wilt. Noritaka however has already reached his hundredth. He has altered the plants’ time flow and though they won’t age beyond their present appearance, they won’t die either. The question now is to test this theory out on humans. Shirley thought Kiritsugu should try planting one too but Noritaka forbids since it is too early for him. He only let Shirley tried because he believes she has the necessary knowledge and expertise. Even if Kiritsugu gets along well with the other locals, the villagers never liked Noritaka since he keeps all to himself. Even the local priest Simon hopes Shirley will stay away from his mansion for fear she might be possessed by a devil if she continues working there. Of course Shirley isn’t going to follow that and looks up to Noritaka. She believes his medicine could eradicate human mortality and just wants to people to understand that he is using his power for the good of the world. Even if Noritaka has given up on that, she believes Kiritsugu can do it. She also dismisses that she is her student and just an assistant. Her first flower has wilted. Next morning, Noritaka asks if his son had entered his atelier last night. Since he didn’t, he further warns Kiritsugu not to go to town today. Stay home. Shirley is late so Kiritsugu is worried and goes to town to find her. To his horror, he sees her killing chickens in her backyard and drinking its blood! Squirming in pain and trying to hold it back, she mentions all she wanted was to prove Noritaka’s research but it failed (must be some bottle Kiritsugu found emptied in her home). She wants him to kill her because she can’t hold back anymore.

Kiritsugu calls Simon and while he waits inside the church so Simon could go tell the villagers, he sees Simon getting killed by… Zombies?! Oh sh*t! The entire town is turning into the undead and the village is being burnt down. Men in cloak and suits are seen killing the zombies as Kiritsugu tries to run to safety. Just as he is cornered, a silver haired woman, Natalia Kaminski jumps in and coolly kills all the zombies with her guns like as though she’s a pro video gamer. Kiritsugu follows her and starts asking what the hell is happening. She explains the term of vampires whom they call Dead Apostles. They drink blood to reproduce themselves. Two groups are eliminating them. One, the Church’s Executors (guys in cloaks) who believes they have the right to kill anyone who defies the will of God. Of course this means Dead Apostles. Second, the Mage’s Association (guys in suits) who believe in keeping all secrets who create entities like Dead Apostles. In short, they kill anyone outside their circle whom they suspect of knowing such knowledge. They are the ones who set the village on fire. Natalia considers herself a salesperson for the Mage’s Association. Now it’s Kiritsugu’s turn to answer her questions. She wants to know the first person here who became a Dead Apostle, the medium that turned her into one and most important, a bad Mage who made it who is hiding on this island. I guess you know who that is. Kiritsugu returns home to confront his dad who is burning away his research notes. He wants to know why he is researching on Dead Apostles because Shirley used the magic on herself. He also wonders if he will use him one day like he did with Shirley. Noritaka regrets what happened and that it isn’t his intention but it means Shirley gave him her early answer. A Dead Apostle is a failure since it can’t control its blood lust. Since his research requires unlimited time and they can’t reach the Root with a mortal body, the failure of this time consuming research means he’ll need to rewrite his theory from scratch. He knows this would happen and has prepared an escape boat for them. However Kiritsugu coldly kills him with several gun shots. Natalia thought it was a weak excuse for a kid to kill his father since had he escaped, he would’ve continued his Dead Apostle research elsewhere. She will help him get off the island but what he does after that is up to him. Everything in the village is burnt to the ground while the duo leave the island on the motorboat. Kiritsugu decides to take nothing with him.

Episode 19
For the next several years, Natalia takes Kiritsugu under her wing and this means following her path as a bounty hunter. He was trained from how to assemble a gun and following her around the world to assassinate targets. She notes how he is aptly named because his name means cut and fasten. She was also the one who gave him the special bullets. As Kiritsugu follows Natalia around in her job, he learns that tragedies still occur in the world. I guess he was naïve when he killed his father thinking it would stop all evil. Natalia even ‘joked’ unless he got rid of every scum then it would be possible. Kiritsugu is also thought about survival and doing what it takes to survive and along the way picked up smoking from her (she didn’t give a damn. Hey, who is she? His mother?). One day Natalia got a request from the Mage’s Association to assassinate a Mage named Vorak. Apparently he is a Dead Apostle who uses bees as his familiar. Let’s say he’s such a dangerous guy that he upended the last town and a high bounty is placed on his head. So dangerous that he was one of the few failures in Natalia’s record. Now she gets the chance to clean up her own mess. They both cooperate and make plans to take not only Vorak out but his allies who are waiting at New York. While Natalia boards the same plane with Vorak, Kiritsugu is already in New York making the necessary moves. Suddenly it seemed so easy because Natalia just cast a spell behind Vorak’s seat and he just died. Kiritsugu has also taken out his allies. As Natalia neutralizes his bee familiars in the compartment she notices that the air stewardess is acting strange. Everyone on this plane has turned into a ghoul since Vorak had kept bee familiars inside his body too. Didn’t see that one coming. And Natalia didn’t make any preparations to skydive.

Somehow Natalia manages to make her way to the cockpit, re-establish communications to inform the control tower for an emergency landing and use all her knowledge she has to pilot the plane. Just a thick door separates her from being devoured by the 300 odd crew and passengers. Scary, huh? Kiritsugu isn’t just going to wait and pray for a miracle as he too makes haste on his preparations. Within the final few minutes before Natalia lands, the duo talk about how Kiritsugu had lots of potential as a killer because he was able to separate his feelings when he pulled the trigger (something that most killers take years to do), the gratitude of teaching him to survive and thus she is like a mother to him and the possibility of what she’ll do if she quits or retires (probably play that mother part). By now you could’ve guessed that the preparations Kiritsugu had been making by renting a boat out to sea and loading his bazooka is to blast the plane out of the sky! And he pulls the trigger without hesitation. BOOM! On the verge of losing his sanity, he feels what he did is right and didn’t mess up like Shirley’s case. For if Natalia had successfully landed, there is no telling how many more people might’ve turned into ghouls. So her sacrifice prevented that. Then he loses it and screams from the top of his lungs. I guess nobody can see him go crazy at sea. Then he hardens his heart. No more emotions. No more his naïve justice. Just like how we know him.

Episode 20
Kiritsugu visits Iri who is resting back at their house. She returns Avalon to him because he’ll need it. I guess when people are close to death, they get sentimental. Iri talks about being happy with him for 9 years and to guide Ilya and perhaps bring her to this country one day. Kiritsugu orders Maiya to continue and watch over Iri. He predicts a fight between Saber and Rider will occur and Archer will intervene. That’s why he is going to assassinate Tokiomi. But as he is staking out his house, he realizes something amiss. There is no magic barrier. He heads inside and sees blood stains on the carpet. Using some spray, he concludes it is Tokiomi’s blood and he has been killed. Saber heads over to Rider’s base but doesn’t sense his presence. Actually Waver is resting at the place where he first summoned Rider to replenish his mana. He knows he has exhausted them after the river battle. Waver is willing to have him use his mana then but Rider won’t put his Master’s life in danger. Because Waver is determined to fight and win the Grail, Rider mentions if that only exists. Just like him, Rider too fought for something that may not have existed: Okeanos. He told his people he would show it to them and they blindly believed and followed him. Many died along the way. When he came to this world, he saw the map and realized the world was round. It hit him and felt like a bad joke but had no choice but to accept it. He is done letting people die for his fairytales but is willing to risk his life for Waver for the Grail. By night fall, his mana will be replenished enough to fight Saber though he can only use Ionian Hetairoi one last time. He thinks it’s better to save it for their fight against Archer. As why he is obsessed in fighting Saber, Rider feels it’s his duty to guide that girl the right path or else she won’t learn. Meanwhile Kariya wakes up from a nightmare from becoming Berserker’s sacrifice. Zouken is impressed he lasted this long and gives him swallow some worm. It is his trump card for this stage and it contains Sakura’s purity. It had been devouring her life force for an entire year so make sure to make good use of that stolen life force and acquire the Grail. If he can, that is.

Iri talks to Maiya about her loyalty to Kiritsugu. She has nothing else. She doesn’t know her family or her name. Maiya is the name Kiritsugu wrote in her fake passport. All she remembers is her country is extremely poor. So poor that it can’t maintain its army, ironically there were killings every day. Instead of training an army, they devised a cheaper and quicker method to kidnap kids and arm them. Maiya was one of them. She is dead inside as a human but her body continues to move. That is her way of life. Even so, Kiritsugu took her in and she allows him to use her in any way she wants. But Maiya is surprised that for Iri who has spent most of her life within the castle walls, why is she fighting alongside Kiritsugu to change the world. She admits she borrowed his ideals and doesn’t understand what he is trying to change but her true wish is to end all conflict. She hopes this will be the last Grail War and that she will be the last homunculus. Because if they fail, it will be Ilya’s turn next as it’s the destiny of every Einzbern homunculus. Their conversation is cut short when Rider barges through the door. Maiya is able to contact Kiritsugu so he uses his Command Spell to order Saber to return to their house. However all she sees is badly injured Maiya. She wants her to go after Rider as he has just kidnapped Iri and can still catch up. She will wait till Kiritsugu arrives. I don’t know how far he was but it is already night when he arrives by Maiya’s side. He starts to get emotional but she wants him to save those tears for his wife instead. Kiritsugu assures to leave everything to Saber and that she has served her purpose. With her heart at ease, Maiya finally lets go her last breathe.

Episode 21
Saber weaves in and out through traffic as she chases after Rider. Even going the opposite traffic flow! Not to be emulated. When Rider notices she is catching up, he decides to settle their match via race. Saber’s bike is at its limit so I don’t know what she does to power up. Now it’s one mean looking machine and a faster to speed to match its futuristic look. Rider isn’t going to play by the rules either so he uses his chariot wheels to smash the walls and send it crumbling to Saber. Guess what? She outmanoeuvres all of them! Eventually she catches up and they clash swords (albeit just one strike). Then Saber realizes Iri is not with them. Where could she be? She was so sure it was Rider who took her. Meanwhile Kiritsugu notices some oddities surrounding Maiya’s death. He tracks it down and it leads him to a Matou subordinate. He interrogates the guy for Kariya’s whereabouts because based on his deduction, Rider’s Master is incapable of gathering necessary information to find the place and Tokiomi is in no position to attack. The guy swears he knows nothing except that he saw Kariya leaving with a priest. That could only mean one guy: Kirei. Seems Kariya and Kirei had made a deal. Kariya used 2 of his Command Spells to order Berserker to masquerade as Rider (the appearance of the real Rider made it better for them). In exchange for bringing Iri to him, Kirei replenishes both his depleted Command Spells. The other promise is Tokiomi and Kirei wants Kariya to come to the church at midnight where he’ll definitely find him. Soon, Kirei senses Zouken’s presence. The old fart is amused to see what kind of tricks he is going to use to break Kariya. He admits he loves seeing Kariya suffer and is torn between that or seeing his clan win the Grail. He believes Kirei has the same smell as him because like a maggot, they are attracted to Kariya’s rotting flesh. Kirei attacks him but he turns out to be just a familiar substitution. Zouken notes he is still a dog of the Church and hopes they will meet one day.

Rider and Saber prepare to face off. Rider notes Saber can only truly shine when she joins his army. Waver realizes he was never interested in his enemy’s power or wealth. He sought to conquer their souls without destroying or degrading them. Rider charges while Saber power s up her Excalibur. The results? Saber wins of course. Rider is hanging on the tree with Waver in his arm. His chariot is toast and could’ve been the same if he didn’t leap off. Saber leaves as Rider apologizes for his failure. Waver wants him to use Ionian Hetairoi but he is only willing to expend his chariot on her. So I suppose it’s a long walk back home. On foot. Kariya enters the church and sees Tokiomi sitting in the front seat. He starts boasting about coming back from the dead till he realizes something amiss. He’s dead! In perfect timing, Aoi just came in and thought he killed Tokiomi. I understand he is panicking but couldn’t he just deny he was the one who killed him? Instead, he starts blaming Tokiomi for the cause of their suffering when Aoi points out he had to go this far to win the Grail. When Aoi says he doesn’t understand a thing because he never loved anyone, Kariya snapped. There was a person he always loved. The reason why he went through this hell. So when he is denied that, what was all the pain and suffering for? If he’s going to die then he might as well kill her too. And so he strangles Aoi to death in his fit. When he realizes what he has done, he becomes hysterical and goes crazy. Archer and Kirei are watching this ‘horrible play’ that is ‘written’ by Kirei. Not bad at his first attempt? Kirei tastes the wine and it felt different. Archer points out it means his horizon of understanding is expanding. Now that he has a taste of such wonderful taste, he would love to sample it again.

Episode 22
Waver returns home and grandpa invites him up to the roof to talk. Seems he knows Waver isn’t his real grandson. He should be angry but notes he and his wife felt happy recently. Also, it’s not like he is staying here to harm them. He wants him to stay a little longer but Waver can’t guarantee that and might not come back alive. Noting that Waver is risking his life for something important, grandpa mentions that once you have lived very long and look back, you’ll realize that there is nothing worth risking your life for. Kiritsugu is waiting at Mt Enzou shrine. He notes that to win the war and summon the Grail, one must perform a ritual at one of the four Fuyuki ley line areas. Among them are the church and Tokiomi’s residence but Kirei is not there. That leaves this shrine or Fuyuki city hall. If Kirei chooses the latter, he can launch a frontal assault. If Maiya was still around, he would’ve had her secure the place. But now he’s alone again. Naturally. Iri wakes up and learns Kirei has brought her to Ryuunosuke’s hideout, a place Kiritsugu will never figure out. He notes the Grail War will end but when Iri points out he is different that Kiritsugu, he becomes angry. He admits he is an empty man but Kiritsugu is no different. Why does he want the Grail? Iri replies he wants to save the world from bloodshed and wish for eternal peace. Can’t understand? That’s the difference. Kirei thinks conflict is mankind’s primal instinct and wiping that out means eliminating mankind. Iri adds by explaining Kiritsugu’s kindness. He can’t help but love others despite knowing he’ll eventually lose them. Kirei than strangles and kills Iri. He has somewhat understood who Kiritsugu is and has a reason to fight. He will smash his ideals and the Grail to smithereens right in front of his eyes. That night, Rider and Waver see magical lights flaring up the sky.

Waver knows it’s a signal to means the Grail War is coming to an end. However that signal is not coming from the church so it’s like someone is getting ahead of themselves. Rider prepares to go to war knowing that tonight is where everything ends. Since his chariot is gone, he summons his horse. But Waver doesn’t want to go with him. He then uses up all his 3 Command Spells to order him to fight till he gains victory, win the Holy Grail and conquer the world. Now that he lacks Command Spells, he no longer considers himself his Master and can go anywhere he wants. But Rider picks up him onto his horse. After giving those annoying orders, it must mean he is prepared to see the end, right? Also, Rider doesn’t consider him his Master but his friend. He has ride into many battles with him and stands as his equal. It’s getting a little emotional for Waver. And off they go riding into their final battle. Kiritsugu knows that it is Kirei’s plan to bait and kill other Masters because he chose the place least suitable for the ritual. It also indicates he doesn’t plan to steal the Grail. Archer and Kirei had a last chat together and Archer is given permission to go out all out and fight the rest though he won’t be here to protect this place of ceremony. Kirei will then use a Command Spell to save himself. What about the Grail? He can’t guarantee its safety if he’s away. If fate has it that way, then so be it. Since Kirei still has no wish upon the Grail, Archer’s only recourse is to have the Grail reveal what is hidden in his heart. Asking about Iri, Kirei tells him he killed her after thinking there is no reason why she should live. Iri is in some dream whereby Ilya is crying due to a scary dream of becoming a cup and seven big lumps appeared inside her stomach. Iri assures she won’t let that happen. She then realizes she is inside the Grail and gets absorbed.

Episode 23
Rider sees Archer before him. But it seems unusual for both kings to have their last drink together. Rider asks a final question that if his Ionian Hetairoi were armed with his Gate of Babylon, it would be the most powerful army imaginable. Care to be allies and conquer the stars? Well, the world doesn’t need 2 kings. With that, Archer accepts his challenge and both kings get ready to battle. Rider mentions Archer might be the last opponent he’ll face but Waver reminds him about the Command Spell orders. Rider unleashes Ionian Hetairoi and with his army behind him, they charge straight towards Archer. Meanwhile Saber is ambushed by Berserker, who is going berserk with his machine gun. Firing as though there is unlimited ammo. Oh wait. Is it? He’s not giving Saber any breathing space. Close by, Kariya is squirming in pain. He sees a vision of Sakura asking why is he in pain. He needs Berserker to fight because Kirei told him to and in the end will be given the Grail to save her like he promised. Everything will return to as it is. Well, till he remembers he killed Aoi. There he goes crazy again. Berserker blocks Saber’s Excalibur (not that any direct hit would have any damaging effect either). She is surprised that he knows the length of her blade and thinks he must be one of her knights and demands he reveals his identity as a knight’s pride demands. Then when Berserker’s helmet cracks open, she is shocked to recognize him as Sir Lancelot! Rider’s words ring through her ears that she never guided her subjects. Though she is saddened at Lancelot’s fate, he is like a mindless beast being fuelled by grudge, continuing to attack Saber.

Archer isn’t sweating in his pants as Rider and his army charge closer. He summons his ultimate sword and greatest treasure, Ea and chants “Enuma Elish”! The desert starts crumbling, a wide abyss opens and all the army men fall into the gap. The sky is also disintegrating as Waver realizes the sword is an anti-world Noble Phantasm capable of destroying all creation. Rider returns to the real world. He asks Waver if he wants to serve him as his subject. Waver gladly will serve his king and wants to see his dream. Rider puts him down from his horse and wants him to live. It is his task to speak to future generations of his dream and tell tales of his glory. Rider charges at Archer but the latter opens the Gate of Babylon and fires all the swords at Rider. Even if the horse is down, Rider continues to trudge forward on foot. Eventually he gets stab and is this close in striking Archer with his blade. Unfortunately, the chains from the Gate of Babylon restrain him. Archer stabs him in the heart with Ea. Archer guarantees this entire world is his garden till the end of time and feel free to challenge him as many times he wants. Dying Rider sees Okeanos but realizes the pounding of his heart was the sound of Okeanos’ waves. Archer walks towards Waver and wonders if he is Rider’s Master. He says he is his subject. Though a loyal subject has a duty to avenge his king, Waver knows challenging him would only mean death (in which Archer doesn’t deny). He can’t do it since he was ordered to live. Archer respects his loyalty and wants him never to tarnish it.

Episode 24
Saber laments if Lancelot hates her that much and wonders if it’s her fault he became this mad. Iri’s body turns into the Grail as it overflows with blood. Kiritsugu and Kirei face off. His special bullet seems to have no effect as he realized Kirei used his Command Spell as his mana source so the bullet doesn’t work if he isn’t using his own Magic Circuits. Both men are neck to neck and Kirei matches his speed to give Kiritsugu a knockout punch. Thanks to Avalon, Kiritsugu remains breathing and his injuries healed. Both sides recount what they have left and the next recourse to take (seems Kirei has 8 spare Command Spells left). Kiritsugu plays dead to surprise Kirei and fire his special bullet once more. Though this time it only manages to disable Kirei’s right hand. The fight is about to reach its climax when the ceiling caves in from the Grail’s blood. Saber stabs Berserker through his chest with Excalibur and vows to win the Grail otherwise there is nothing she can offer to him as compensation. Kirei finds himself on the island and Iri telling him he is inside the Grail and that black moon in the sky is the Grail that has yet to take form. All he needs to do is make a prayer and wish to give it form. Kiritsugu knows she is not Iri and she admits she is using a pre-existing personality as a shell or else she can’t communicate. She is the Grail’s will and wants to be reborn in this world. How can it grant his wish? Iri adds he learnt to save the world a long time ago and she will take over from him and continue. She is going to show it to him.

Kiritsugu finds himself inside a room and a question thrown at him. Two ships, one containing 300 passengers and the balance in the other. They are the last of mankind. There is a hole in both ships. Whom shall he save? He picks the one with most passengers. But the one with least passengers capture him and demand he fix their ship. What will he do? Next thing he sees dead bloodied bodies all over. This is his supposed answer. He killed them all. Next, the 300 survivors split into another 2 ships. One having 200 passengers and the other only 100 and both ships have a hole forming at the bottom. Whom shall he save? Same thing. The one with more passengers but he is captured by the ship with least passengers and forced to fix their ship. The 100 are slaughtered. Kiritsugu views this as wrong because the scales are wrongly tipped. The Grail insists he was correct because he chose to save the majority at the cost of the minority. He has always been killing the minority on the lighter side of the scales even if it meant leaving a long trail of dead bodies. This is his truth. This is the course of action the Grail will take to grant his wish. This is not what Kiritsugu wished for since he was hoping for a miracle but the Grail says it cannot include a wish in which oneself is not aware of. If he wishes to save the world, it must be done in a way he can understand. So how is this a miracle? The deed he tried failed can be accomplished at a scale beyond the power of any man. The Grail points him out as Angra Mainyu, the one who is worthy of bearing all the world’s evil. The final question is thrown. Three people are left. Maiya and Iri-Ilya. Choose one. Maiya is killed. Kiritsugu finds himself in the happy company of Iri and Ilya. Iri tells him the Grail has realized his prayer and now all he has to do is wish for it. However Kiritsugu bids goodbye to Ilya and shoots her! Iri becomes frantic but he starts strangling her. So why did he refuse the Grail? Six billion people at the cost of two of his family members… Iri curses him till Kiritsugu breaks her neck.

Kirei wakes up to find Kiritsugu pointing a gun at him. He has also seen that dream and couldn’t understand why had simply thrown away something he worked so hard to obtain. Kiritsugu shrugs it off as a wish granting device so Kirei wants him to give it to him instead because if it is born, it can answer all his doubt. Kiritsugu shoots him. Saber arrives in the room where the Grail is floating. Archer stands before her and wants her to become his wife. She claims the Grail is hers but Archer tells her to throw away her foolish ideals and vows and why obsess in something so dubious. Be stained by his colours and he shall give you every pleasure there is to feel. Well, why want her answer when he obviously stated he did not ask for her opinion and it’s what he has decided? You think Saber would gladly give up so easily? Yeah. It wouldn’t be fun if she had. So Archer plans to give her more pain because it is essential to learn that before she learns the joy of serving him. Saber sees Kiritsugu behind Archer. He uses his Command Spell to order Saber to use Excalibur and destroy the Grail. The Servants are surprised at his decision. To show he is serious. Kiritsugu uses his last Command Spell to repeat that same order. Can you defy that?

Episode 25
Saber couldn’t understand Kiritsugu’s actions. Naturally how can she when she can’t understand the hearts of those who served her. This must be God’s punishment. The Grail is destroyed but it seems a black hole is forming from the sky and pouring out magma! It is flowing and burning through Fuyuki City! Ilya narrates how she woke up from a bad dream that she became a cup and it’s tearing her apart. She’s so scared but she can’t run away. She also sees Kiritsugu crying. Iri’s voice assures her that Kiritsugu is doing his best and will come home when he is finished. Kiritsugu is running through the city in a frenzy trying to find any survivors but his actions are all for naught. Kariya returns to rescue Sakura. We see him unite her with Rin and they’re both grateful for him. Aoi’s alive too? Well, this would be the scenario if he had won. In reality, Sakura kills him and lets his body get devoured by the bugs as punishment for defying Zouken. Kirei wakes up to find naked Archer sitting beside him. He pulled Kirei out of the rubble and isn’t sure what happened too since the ‘mud’ spat him out and thinks he has achieved true reincarnation. Kirei remembers he was shot and has no heartbeat so did Archer healed him? Not too sure either. He thinks with the others Servants gone, this means he has won the Grail and tells Kirei to look at his surroundings. If the Grail was really a wish granting device, then this destruction and annihilation is what Kirei must have wished for. Kirei starts laughing at the madness but he is not satisfied yet. Though the answer has been presented to him, he wants to know the workings to reach it and will use the remainder of his life to understand it. Archer finds him interesting and shall watch over him in his quest for truth. Kirei then sees Kiritsugu trudging through the rubble like a zombie, digging through anything he can find. He leaves him alone. The only survivor he pulled out is a boy, Shirou. He is so happy to find a survivor that is though it wasn’t Shirou who was saved but more like he saved himself. Despite Shirou on the brink of death, Kiritsugu’s gratefulness made him green with envy.

In the aftermath, we see Waver talking to his grandparents. He thinks of travelling but needs to get a job and earn some money. Till then, he hopes he can stay with them. They would gladly have him continue his stay. He goes back to his messy room and goes through all the stuffs Rider had bought. Kirei reads his sermon at Tokiomi’s grave with Rin now as the head of the family. He praises her for making a flawless debut and is confident she will do well in carrying on the family’s magic. Aoi is still alive but has gone senile. She is unaware of the bearings around her and thinks Kirei is her husband and Sakura is still her daughter. Kirei gives Rin the Azoth dagger and it brings her to tears. Saber finds herself back in her own time, standing atop the heaps of corpses. She remembers Lancelot’s last words when she stabbed him. He couldn’t stop loving Guinevere and thus couldn’t forgive himself. But Saber/King Arthur never questioned his crimes and continued to stand before them in her righteousness. Lancelot wanted his judgment and had she judged him then, he might not have set on his own path of madness to find atonement. He can say for all who served her, she is the greatest king of all. Saber vows to win the Grail someday and laments she shouldn’t have become king. Kiritsugu narrates he tried to visit Ilya but because he didn’t win the Grail, Jubstacheit never opened the forest’s magic field to their home. He never saw her again but will be the last person he’ll ever lose. He soon adopts Shirou and repairs the Japanese mansion. Five years later he tells Shirou how he wanted to be a hero of justice but gave up because being a hero is a limited time thing and it’s hard to call yourself one when you’re an adult. In that case, Shirou will do it on his behalf then. He’ll carry out his dream since he is still a kid.

All Because Of Some H-Cup…
So this is how it all happened. Reading back my blog on Fate/Stay Night sure did refresh some memories and made sense of everything. The pieces that I couldn’t understand then seem to have fallen in place. At least most of it. Overall, I could say that this prequel is way better than the sequel in terms of just about everything. The storyline, the presentation and the quality. The plot is interesting enough for me to be kept glued to the screen. If I can recall, there was never a dull moment even with all the conversational drama, some filler episodes like Rin’s bold adventure into the city or Kiritsugu’s flashback. I thought I was going to be bored and have my rhythm of the series interrupted with such episodes and boy was I wrong. Instead I was also engrossed in watching them and with each passing episode, the more I wanted to find out what happen next. So as the series ends in such a tragic and sad note, I feel moved by all the events that had unfolded that eventually will lead to the inevitable despite knowing from the beginning that I was going to expect something like this. To sum up this prequel, it is one brilliant and amazing piece of work done and perhaps one of the very few good animes that have managed to keep my interest afloat throughout the entire duration.

Each of the ‘new’ characters in this series brings in their own life and dynamism to the story. They have their own past and reasons for wanting to attain the Grail even if it is something ambiguous and never proven to have come true. Until now. The best Servant character in this series in my opinion goes to Rider. His eccentric and superior character truly makes him a man to be reckoned with. Despite every character having their own views about leadership and such, Rider was probably the most convincing in his argument so that’s why I felt that he is such a cool guy. Perhaps if I were to participate in the Grail War, I would want this fun and sporting dude to be my Master. But putting him side by side with Waver makes it feel like a big mismatch and the total opposites between them make it feel like they are strange bedfellows. Having Rider as his Master proves to be a blessing in disguise because Waver gets to learn a lot and become a better person in the end. Saber may have been the main star of this show but it doesn’t feel that she t overshadows everything as other characters take their fair share of the centre stage. Because Rider and Saber are both kings in their own right, their views differ greatly but as seen during the conversation of kings, Saber lost out her argument to Rider. She was in a dilemma as her role as king and came to realize too late that it was probably her own doing that got her into this mess. Archer is arrogant and haughty in his own right, which suits his title as King of Heroes very well. How can he be king if he doesn’t show who is truly the boss around? It still bugs me if the Grail considers him the winner. After all, he is the only Servant that didn’t lose and return to his original time line.

Kiritsugu is a hard-bitten, hard-boiled and emotionless person who gets the job done thanks to his horrible past. You can say that his way of saving mankind is twisted, killing a few bad seeds for the sake of the majority. But it still doesn’t discount the fact that he leaves a trail of dead bodies behind. So what happens when you add up that tally? Yeah. He may have killed the entire human race by then. His cold, underhanded and merciless way of killing off his enemies would earn the scorn of noble Saber but I suppose for a guy like him to live in this harsh world, you do what it takes to survive and not get your emotion in the way. What happens when Kiritsugu’s final salvation in the Grail’s wish falls apart? You also see him fall apart. His twisted ideals once more crushed to bits. Thankfully a shred of humanity in him has been retained when he saved Shirou. Otherwise, my guess is that he could have become a crazy person beyond help. Equally as twisted as Kiritsugu and one who could stand equal as him is Kirei. He too has endured misery and suffering in his life so it’s no surprise that he doesn’t know what he seeks for in life anymore. I guess he revels in committing sin even if he himself doesn’t realize it. So is he the winner of the Grail War? He was shot, right? Kiritsugu couldn’t be such a lousy shot at such close range. What brought him back to life? Not even Archer knew. So it has to be the Grail, maybe? How else could you explain the Master-Servant pair still hanging around after Fuyuki’s devastation? Tokiomi I thought he got what was coming to him. He was so confident that his plan would work despite a little diversion here and there. How could he not suspect that Kirei would be the one to betray and kill him in the end? Either he was too trustful or just stupid. And it cost him his life. Never knew what hit (stabbed, rather) him.

Some of the characters just had me feeling that they didn’t really make much of an impact. What do I mean is, take for example Ryuunosuke. He is just a serial killer who loves killing and the colour of guts. I felt that bringing in a random ordinary person who has no relation to Mages and the history of magic was just to fill up the roles and have the Grail War start. Look, Ryuunosuke was the last participant to enter the fray and technically the first one to go out (Kirei and his Assassin wouldn’t count if you consider that it is all part of Tokiomi’s big grand plan thingy). So how the Grail chooses its participants is still a mystery. How Ryuunosuke entered the Grail War too was perhaps by luck since he was just drawing some random pentagram to summon demons. So if it wasn’t him, it could’ve been anybody else. Then there is this Kariya guy too. Besides having the goal to save Sakura, he is someone who is just lurking in the shadows. He doesn’t show himself upfront regularly so it’s hard to ‘feel’ him around. Though I think his fate is the most tragic one among the rest because he almost killed the person he loves and got killed by the very person he tried to save. Even sadder made by the fact that Zouken enjoys seeing him squirming in pain so much so that it seems that he has no interest in obtaining the Grail whatsoever. Even if he had, it was just an excuse to watch Kariya suffer. After all, he sounded like he never expected him to win it or put high hopes on him in the first place. Kayneth felt like a minor antagonist for the series. You know, you need someone who is prideful and such. When he went out of commission, I thought his scheming fiancee would take over next but that didn’t last long and it was a surprise that they were taken out together.

When the second half of the series started to get grim and serious, meaning that the pace of the story starts to pick up and we see the characters fall one by one like ants, there is at least one character that will die in each of the episode. Starting with Assassin’s elimination and Ryuunosuke’s assassination to get the ball rolling right down to Kariya’s death at the end. I considered Iri dead because she turned into the cup. That’s as good as being dead. Although Aoi is still breathing, but now that she has turned into a cuckoo state, that’s as good as being dead, no? I thought that the ‘new’ characters in this series would all eventually die but I guess this wasn’t made true because Waver is the only ‘newbie’ that survived all the madness. New as in those who did not appear in Fate/Stay Night because their demise is why they don’t appear, right? Despite Waver not appearing in Fate/Stay Night, I hope he is happily travelling around the world telling great tales of Iskandar. Or you can just pick up the history book and read what is believed to be written on him as him. Or just Google it.

It makes me wonder how the founding families did find out that the Grail was a wish granting device. If it was, whose wish was it that was granted first that led them to believe so and eventually the creation of this Holy Grail War? Though Einzbern Consultation Room did explain some bits of it but I don’t think people like me who don’t even play the game would understand. So now that some have witnesses it is not really a wish granting device and perhaps an Armageddon inducing device, will they drop this Grail War thingy? Not likely. As long as there is human greed and desire. The cup will always be there waiting to replenish itself. So it also bugs me that the next Grail War takes place in the next 10 years when it was mentioned that it takes 60 years for everything to gather once more. Maybe things got a little hastened? My guess that Saber is the only one who returned in the next Grail War is because she has yet to fulfil her wish. Well, she did promise she is going to have another try to win the Grail. If her, why not other Servants too? Caster probably saw shades of Jeanne and died happy. Rider probably has come to terms with his own dream so he doesn’t feel the need for it anymore. Berserker has already got the atonement he wanted. Lancer may never get the loyalty he wanted but he was unceremoniously dumped out of the war and who wouldn’t be raging mad after being forced to commit suicide. Heck, he even cursed the cup so what are the chances of him returning if he had the chance to answer the call again? Assassin… Who again? I don’t know much about him. Too many personalities. Archer? Did he really win the Grail like he thought he did? Well, he did return in Fate/Stay Night as the eighth Servant. Even so, he is hanging around as long Kirei can amuse and entertain him.

The animation quality is crisp and it is definitely superior than its predecessor. Whether it is the flow and reflection of the water or the sparks that fly when the swords clash or the casting of magic spells, each one look awesome enough to draw you into the world’s setting and get immersed in it. It also manages to pain a very dark and grim atmosphere and the tragedy that will befall onto the characters and the city. The action also doesn’t disappoint and personally I feel that each fight between the Servants is tantalizing enough to keep one glued to the screen. Each of the Servants has their own strengths and weaknesses so it is interesting to see how they use what they have to turn the battle tide to their favour. Whether it is the honour battle between the knights, the cooperation between the Servants to take down rampaging Caster and even the vehicle race-cum-battle between Rider and Saber is exciting and engaging. Although I had a hunch who would have made it further into the final moments of the Grail War (especially Saber and Archer), I still can’t help feel sometimes when Saber engages in battle, there is a chance that she will still lose since her rivals are no easy pushovers. However I lament her fight with Berserker because it felt somewhat short that it doesn’t do any justice. Don’t get me wrong. We see them engaging in a pretty close exhilarating duel for a minute or two but the way it ended with Saber suddenly overcoming Berserker and stabbing him in the chest with Excalibur, I thought it just felt cheap. So would have a longer battle suffice? Maybe. But perhaps that episode was more focused on Kiritsugu and Kirei’s bout and the former’s inner battle with the Grail. Also, I thought I could see the final fight between Saber and Archer but I supposed they only had their bout in Fate/Stay Night.

Due to the lack of subs, it is unfortunate that I can’t finish the Einzbern Consultation Room specials for the second half of the series (there are a total of 6 of them). It would have been fun to see what Iri and Zecchan continue to discuss so I just went browsing online and briefly read what the balance specials were about (I may be wrong so feel free to correct me). It seems Special 4 was about Caster ranting about his Jeanne and also the Noble Phantasms’ cost and power. Special 5 is about Lancer while Special 6 is extended to a half-hour special discussing about the skills of the classes, Lancer in his original form (and having more vocabulary and talking much more than we see in the TV series) and how his conflict with Saber came about, and the tragic fate that befalls on all Einzbern women. As I read, those who played the games would appreciate these specials better than those who only watched the anime. Maybe that’s why there are lots of stuffs that I didn’t understand.

Ayako Kawasumi is retained as the voice of Saber and she still commands strong presence as her character. It’s something like her other role in Kaibutsu Oujo as Hime. Kana Ueda and Mai Kadokawa are also retained as the voice of Rin and Ilya respectively. The rest of the other casts are also superb and they really fit perfectly with their character roles. Like Satoshi Tsuruoka (Usui in Maken-Ki) really made Caster sound like a mad magician and Akira Ishida (Gaara in Naruto) is convincing as a serial killer who enjoys killing children. Archer’s arrogance and superiority is made possible thanks to Tomokazu Seki (Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile) while Akio Ootsuka (Blackbeard in One Piece, Kyouraku in Bleach) truly made Rider sound like a brazen conqueror and Rikiya Koyama (Emonzaemon in Katanagatari) as Kiritsugu the hard bitten and disillusioned character. Other sterling casts include Sayaka Ohara as Iri (Alicia in Aria The Animation), Jouji Nakata as Kirei (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou), Daisuke Namikawa as Waver (Kazehaya in Kimi Ni Todoke), Tarusuke Shingaki as Kariya (Eishirou in Prince Of Tennis II), Sho Hayami as Tokiomi (Aizen in Bleach), Ayumi Tsunematsu as Maiya (Takako in Hanasaku Iroha), Hikaru Midorikawa as Lancer (Rukawa in Slam Dunk), Takumi Yamazaki as Kayneth (Harada in Mezzo), Megumi Toyoguchi as Sola-Ui (Ran in Super Gals), Ryotaro Okiayu as Berserker (Byakuya in Bleach), Akeno Watanabe as Natalia (Rito in To Love-Ru), Masashi Hirose as Risei (Hades in Fairy Tail), Masane Tsukayama as Zouken (Karl in Fullmetal Alchemist) and Hasumi Itou as Aoi.

The first opening theme is a rock outfit, Oath Sign by Lisa while the first ending theme is Memoria by Aoi Eir doing a powerful rendition of this moderate pace rock piece. The second opening theme is To The Beginning by Kalafina and it isn’t as ominous as I expected to be like the ones she sang in Kuroshitsuji II and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. But you can still identify her choir-like vocals. Though the special ending theme for Kiritsugu’s flashback by Kalafina, Manten doesn’t have that ominous feel too, this one has a hint of sadness in it which fits perfectly the direction and ambience of this back story. The second ending theme is Sora Wa Takaku Kaze Wa Utau by Luna Haruna and it feels like the tone for the series has been reduced with this song sounding like a pop ballad. As for the background music, from what I sampled from some of the OST, most of them have this grandiose feel with a full orchestra and choir voices to accompany them. They are most fitting for majestic battle sequences and dramatic scenes, though I may not have noticed them while I was watching the episodes since I was too engrossed in the storyline. Really. Of course there are some other background music that range from slow piano solo and just plain eerie.

At the end of each episode (where the title of the episode appears) right before the ending credits, there is a countdown timer to what I believe was initially the time left for the entire series to end. I didn’t really pay attention to this because in the beginning it seemed like there was a lot of time left. Then as the episodes dwindled, I began to notice that the amount of time remaining doesn’t seem to add up to the number of episodes left (each episode is worth around 24 minutes, so do the math). Then after thinking about it and subsequently confirming it with my ‘lazy’ online research, I realized that it is actually the countdown to the end of the Grail War. Then it becomes apparent when the timer reaches zero in the middle of the final episode. I guess this is only appropriate to the storyline and more suitable than a timer to signal the end of the series. Well, the time ticking down feels like a bomb. And we all know what happened, right? Nobody was able to cut the right fuse. Was there any? Just like a time bomb waiting to explode and there is nothing you can do about it.

So we can see that people will go to great lengths just to obtain something ambiguous and not proven to get what they want. After all the blood spills and lives taken, do you think your wish is really worth it all? Feels like playing God sometimes, huh? And as the Grail worded it, you don’t really expect some super miracle that only exists in our imagination and fantasy. If you want something done, it is best you get it done yourself with your own hands. By hook or by crook. That way, you’re already halfway of what you want to achieve. Therefore, don’t rely on some H-cup for some support because they don’t exist. Boobs that size don’t really exist in reality. Oops. I almost forgot this isn’t an ecchi series and made such a statement. Let’s hope the cup you seek is the one where you’d enjoy your favourite coffee or tea. And drink it with no worries that it will never spill over whatsoever. That would be better fulfilment and satisfaction. Thus always remember, cups are not meant for granting wishes but only for drinking or support.

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