The Fate series and universe has seen a lot of retelling, reboots and spinoffs. You have got to be a real obsessed fan to follow and understand each and every Fate universe there is. And now, here is another ‘alternate universe’ of this Fate series. One whereby there is no killing over the Holy Grail but rather everyone enjoying the delicious cooking of Shirou! Wait! What?! Yup. You read that right. Emiya-san Chi No Kyou No Gohan is about our titular character thinking on how to fill the bellies of everyone with his cooking instead of filling the Holy Grail with blood. I guess it is true that a way to a man’s heart (or in this case, everybody) is through the stomach. And that when you are more inclined to be angry on an empty stomach. Hangry. Yeah. So stop fighting. Let’s enjoy what Shirou is going to cook for us today. And on his menu today is… Itadakimasu!

Episode 1
Shirou and Saber are out doing their shopping errands for the New Year. Of course the streets are packed with people. Saber notices the osechi dish that many are preparing to welcome the New Year as Shirou explains its meaning and significance of people doing so. Back home, Fujimura and Ilya are ‘victims’ of the kotatsu. Too warm to leave. Fujimura claiming she needs to conserve here energy for tomorrow. You mean, snagging a man in her kimono? Okay. When Saber falls ‘victim’ to the kotatsu too, it is now that Shirou begins to cook. He explains the simple steps and tasks he is doing to create the many mini dishes. Eventually he puts them all together for a special shrimp soba AKA toshikoshi soba. Definitely great as you see them enjoying their meal. Also, Shirou explains the significance of making such special soba on today as it represents longevity and health. After done, Saber accompanies to Ryuudou Temple. They hope Issei is alright as they are going to be receiving a lot of people tomorrow. Along the way, Shirou mentions another symbolic meaning of toshikoshi soba: To be near each other forever. Oh my. Shirou you saying that makes you awkward because Saber putting on that confused face. I guess we’ll go with best wishes for next year.

Episode 2
Lancer is working as a fishmonger. I guess he knows how to sell his fish so this makes Shirou feels he wants to eat salmon baked in foil. As he makes his purchase, he notices an extra salmon. It’s not really on the house. Lancer wants to try that salmon dish too. So please cook one for him as he’ll be coming to his place for dinner. He’s serious. I suppose Lancer closed early to hang out at Shirou’s place and even makes himself at home. Signal for Shirou to start cooking. All the while, Saber is on her guard and having her suspicions but Lancer is only here for dinner. Once done, it’s time to get digging. If you think it is delicious, wait till Shirou introduces you to wasabi mayonnaise to add extra oomph to the taste. Lancer loves it so much that he hopes they can do this again sometime. He’s serious. To show his appreciation, he helps to wash the dishes but much to Shirou’s suspicions. That’s because Lancer is staying for tonight and now takes out the alcohol to party. Now he’s singing to Fujimura’s tune. More headache for Shirou…

Episode 3
Ilya heads to Fujimura’s place as per requested. Seems she dresses her up in a real cute kimono. Then she is brought to Shirou’s place where all the other girls are waiting. Ushering her into a room, it seems they want to surprise her with a Hinamatsuri celebration as there are the Hina dolls on display. I guess she’s the only loli in the cast so what better way to wish and celebrate for them to grow up well and healthy. Even though Ilya is literally a foreigner… The gang now bring out the foods they made. Especially this special cake known as spring chirashizushi. Flashback sees how Shirou and Sakura prepared this and with the other girls having their other roles, Rin doesn’t want to be left out and does something to add to this dish. I think it is some mini dish made out of a variety of food to resemble the Hina dolls. I have this conspiracy that everybody is doing this so they could see the cutest satisfaction loli face. Mission accomplished. After thanking them for going through a lot of preparation for this surprise, Ilya then bugs Shirou for his comments on her kimono. An excuse to hug him. Is that a surprise for the rest of the girls?

Episode 4
Shirou helps Neko (Fujimura’s former classmate) at her liquor store. He accompanies her to deliver some liquor to Ryuudou Temple and is greeted by Reikan the monk. After done, Shirou notices some vegetables wrapped together and starts thinking how this would make a good sandwich. Speaking of which, this makes the rest hungry as now they want him to make them that said sandwich. Looks like his part time job just got extended. And so we hear Shirou narrate how to make spring greens and bacon sandwich. I guess he made extras so he gave some to Assassin. Not bad, right? When Issei returns, I think he got jealous that the rest got to taste Shirou’s handmade sandwiches. Don’t rush. There’s more if you want. And Neko thinks they should add this to their menu. Shirou will be making them of course. Does she pay him enough for all this?

Episode 5
Issei hands Shirou some bamboo shoots. They are from Reikan as thanks for the sandwiches. Meanwhile Sakura and Rider are out shopping when they bump into the former’s senior. As she learns she is making gratin for dinner, this gives Sakura an idea to do the same. However making gratin the usual way feels boring. But don’t worry. Luckily Shirou has soaked the bamboo shoots and they can use this fresh new ingredient just in time before the whole thing gets bitter. So we see them prepare the other ingredients they need to make their gratin and voila! The bamboo shoot gratin that you’ve all been waiting for. Sakura makes the same gratin for her jerk brother, Shinji. That guy sounds unappreciative at first but finds it a little different. You know her cooking is so damn good when he finishes the plate clean! Sakura is one happy sister today.

Episode 6
I guess rainy days sometimes bring back certain memories. Like in this case when a young Shirou and Fujimura went out shopping together so they could make their first Hamburg steak. Shirou is the one doing most of the work as Fujimura reads the instructions on how to do so. Finally it is done and they call Kiritsugu to join them. He is impressed they made this and it is also that delicious enough that you can see some life returning into his eyes. Yeah. Shirou hopes to improve and make better food for Kiritsugu so that he doesn’t have to travel and stay here forever. Kiritsugu looks forward to his growth. And now all the girls arrive at Shirou’s place to enjoy his Hamburg steak. You won’t be disappointed definitely.

Episode 7
Rin, Shirou and Saber are having fun at the water amusement park. When they see Rider here, Rin gets an idea to play indoor beach volleyball. Of course Rin-Rider pair dominates since Rider is tall. Before you know it, Shirou-Saber now faces off with Archer-Lancer. Did they hijack this match? Then it becomes a power play that could almost kill Shirou. I’m amazed the ball is still in one piece even though the ground is ‘destroyed’ after all that hard hitting power spikes. Saber won’t lose and that means another round? Oh Shirou… When they return home, they feel their energy zapped so what better way for Shirou to help regain their strength by making a simple ochazuke. So delicious that Rin has a few helpings. Don’t worry, she won’t grow fat, right? With her strength almost regained, there is just one more that Shirou needs to do for her: Massage. Heh. Even if Shirou is not a Servant, he is somewhat their manservant…

Episode 8
Shirou helps clean Rin’s house that is filled with books and letters and whatever. With the clock hitting noon, time for lunch break. Now what shall we have for lunch. For once, we take a break from Shirou cooking as Rin takes the liberty to cook Chinese fried rice with Sakura assisting her. The usual explanations and everything and as expected, everything turns out nice and delicious. Sakura showers Rin with a lot of praises and hopes to learn a lot from her. This has Sakura flushed with embarrassment. But I guess we all need to remember her tsundere specialty and hence the reason she is acting so. Girl, it’s only food. Calm down.

Episode 9
Caster desperately seeks Shirou and finally finds him. Earlier on, she overheard Kuzuki talking to Reikan about eating taro simmered in broth. However she has no idea how to cook it and hence the only ‘saviour’ is you know who. Hence Shirou has her accompany him to buy the ingredients before heading back to begin their cooking lesson. Saber returns and is suspicious of seeing Caster over. But Shirou guarantees she isn’t up to anything fishy and lets her taste her cooking. Now we’re cool? They make the perfect Japanese dish and this gives Caster motivation to make the same for Kuzuki. However back at her place, she followed the instructions but yet it turns out less than perfect. Did something go wrong somewhere? Kuzuki finds out what she is up to but he still eats her ‘failure’. I believe it isn’t whether or not it taste good but rather because she cooked them. He tells her even if she fails, just try again. He’ll always be by her side. And the ‘newlyweds’ continue their happy dinner.

Episode 10
With the cultural festival looming, Issei rejects the track club’s seafood grilling booth. Yeah… With more headache as he goes around inspecting booths and reprimanding those who do not follow the procedure, I guess you can say the entire student council body is working overtime to ensure the smooth flow of this festival. It’s late at night and Shirou heard how they are sick of eating sweet bread and want some meat. Oh well. You know what to do, Shirou. Everyone lights up when they hear Shirou is going to cook for them. You mean he is this famous? I guess we don’t need any approval for this, right? So Shirou gets straight to buy the ingredients and cooks fried chicken. Safe to say the student council members are invigorated with his cooking. Yeah, better than any energy drink. Now they can go on all night. Better than any Energizer battery. Then Shirou realizes he forgot to cook for Saber and rushes home. She knows what is going on but even if she tries to be considerate and says she isn’t hungry, her stomach can’t lie. Here’s some fried chicken. Good for the soul. Damn, Shirou should just make his own fried chicken, SFC.

Episode 11
Archer is supposed to pick up Rin after her shopping. As he waits, he notices Lancer bugging Shirou but the latter doesn’t want to go along and escapes. Archer doesn’t care about this but here comes Lancer bugging him now. He needs his help to cook in the café he works part time since the chef bailed last minute. Archer didn’t want to do it but with Lancer noting he will bug Shirou again since he cooks better, I guess Archer won’t let that slide. And here he is. We see Kuzuki and Caster entering. At first she hates to see such familiar people but Kuzuki tells her it doesn’t matter who is around as long as they’re together. Then Saber comes in. Noticing all the familiar weirdoes and Archer behind the kitchen, she orders omelette rice. Turns out good. Didn’t know he could cook this good. Remember who is his alter ego, right? When the café is closed, Lancer points out a guest wants to see him. Turns out to be Rin in disguise and Archer realizes he has missed the appointed time. So after all his work, he only has coffee on the house? Anyway, Archer feels ashamed but Rin doesn’t think so. She heard from Lancer and understood the situation. She wants him to cook omelette rice for her too. When Saber tells Shirou of Archer’s omelette rice, Shirou is going to put more effort in tonight’s dinner. What’s with this indirect competition?

Episode 12
Ilya hosts a Christmas party. Liz went to fetch the other ladies and due to traffic, they’re running late. Hence Liz takes the shortcut by diving directly up the mountain! Could have been the biggest mishap ever had not Rider taken control. Rider now becomes Driver? Tame this motor beast! I hope they have their appetite once the wild ride is over. Luckily Shirou was there earlier to spare him that nightmare. Otherwise he can’t help finish his cooking at Ilya’s kitchen. Despite the many dishes he cooks, the highlight is his roast beef. He explains how he made it but too bad thanks to budget limitation, it isn’t fillet mignon. But still tastes good nevertheless. Later as Shirou is lost trying to find the toilet, he gets the shock of his life when Berserker returns! Yeah, he is back with a real Christmas tree as Ilya’s servants quickly decorate it. Ilya then gives Berserker her cute cookies she made for him. Aww… How sweet. Even big retard guy gets some loli love.

Episode 13
It’s going to be a cold and wet weather so what better way than for Shirou to make a hotpot nabe for Saber and his guests. Definitely hits the spot. And once the nabe is almost over, Shirou adds some rice with egg into the pot for some zosui goodness. Fujimura almost ‘ruins’ everything by giving everyone tangerines. Finally when everybody has left, we hear Saber give her heartfelt thanks that her life here is interesting because everybody is around. Especially you, Shirou. Here’s to another good year. Yeah, Shirou’s cooking made all the difference, eh? Here’s to another good year of Shirou’s cooking!

Fried/Sautee Nappe: Unlimited Bake, Woks ~ Haute’s Fill
Wow. With such delicious meals, it is no wonder that nobody is going to fight for the Holy Grail anymore. Damn, this is the most peaceful Fate series ever in the history of the Fate universe! Not even that Ilya spinoff series could tops how peaceful this one is. All because of the secret ingredient called food. That’s right, people. Just like how I said in my opening paragraph on how one tend to get hangry when you’re hungry, with everyone’s tummy being filled with the good ol’ cooking of Shirou’s cuisine, screw the Holy Grail! Shirou is God! Thank you for your patronage. See you again tomorrow for the next meal. Wonderful. Peace has been achieved and everybody’s dreams have come true. Thank you, Shirou. People are happy when they are full. XD. Yes, Shirou is the only ‘Master’ in this Fate universe.

Oddly enough, this series didn’t follow the ‘usual format’ of being aired in a particular season. What do I mean? If you have watched another series called Katanagatari, then you will understand how the airing of this show works. Because they only released an episode per month! So yeah, it has been over a year that we can only finish and see what Shirou has to offer us. Like the Chinese often say, slowly eat. But if they’re thinking of making us hungry and worthwhile as we wait for the next food on Shirou’s menu, then I don’t really think it’s working. Because I’m not a big Fate series fan and I had other anime to binge. Besides, me binge watching this series is already proof of it. Uh huh. Oh, this series just ended? Finally. Time to binge watch and see what all the fuzz is about after putting this series on the back burner for a year. Yeah… To be fair, this series was released over the internet instead of the usual TV airwaves.

Although the foods are the highlights and the ‘main stars’, this series isn’t exactly a cooking show or those exaggerated ones such as Shokugeki No Souma, Toriko or Yakitate! Japan. No people dying and going to heaven and then coming back to life after they taste Shirou’s goodness. Nothing of that sort. Therefore, it is sometimes a dilemma if everyone enjoying a good meal makes this series the most ‘boring’ in the Fate series but at the same time the calmest of them all (have you seen Amaama To Inazuma?). You can pretty much guess the outcome of every episode because our characters will definitely enjoy the cooking of Shirou (or any other character behind the knife or pan). No big twist or convolution in the plot. Everything turns out just fine. Sorry to break it to you people. But it looks like Shirou here is the Noah of this Fate series. Uh huh. Noah managed an ark filled with so many meat eaters and none of the animals got eaten. It’s the same for Shirou here. All the Servants are properly fed and hence avoiding any sort of hostile conflict. Now you know why Shirou is God in this series?!

A reason I said this isn’t exactly a cooking show is because even though Shirou does narrate and explain how to make that certain dish in focus, his explanations are still very much bare bones. If you really do want to cook the way he does and turn out to be this perfect, it is better to follow much detailed instructions you can find over the internet or even your grandma or mom’s recipes. I mean, for a person who doesn’t really know how to cook, the way Shirou explains how to prepare and cook everything of course sounds so majestic and magnificent. Pro cooks may find this to be basic knowledge and nothing stimulating. So instead of taking out a pen and paper to note down what Shirou says, you’d be better off finding recipes over the internet or even watch dedicated YouTube videos if you are really serious in trying to cook those foods.

Almost everyone in the original Fate universe showed up here. But I was wondering why they left out Kirei and Gilgamesh. I guess those two are so antagonistic that they would ruin a good meal if they ever showed their faces? I mean, even Kiritsugu at least had an appearance despite it was a flashback and just when I thought they have forgotten about Berserker, here he is at the penultimate episode. So really, maybe nothing good comes out from these two? At least even that Shinji jerk had a short cameo. The most ‘shocking’ character is Lancer because I didn’t really expect him to be seen as one who does odd jobs and part time jobs all over Fuyuki. Like he is the go-to guy if you need some fish or any other sort of delivery. Then you have Rider being so docile and friends with Sakura and she is just so different than the one I remembered her in the original Fate series. What about Caster who is more interested to play Kuzuki’s wife?

The art and animation are fine especially when the food is done. I am not sure because I have seen so many good food themed anime series, I have somewhat become immune to it. They still look yummy but it isn’t to the point where my mouth would start to water and I have this feeling I want to take a chomp out of the monitor. Also, with the animation style being light, bright and sometimes the characters being close to chibi and non-threatening, it really gives an air of peace and calm instead of the usual dark, bloody and gory ones we know. Yeah, you can feel that everybody is having a great time. Everybody is everybody’s friends and not enemies. As this is animated by Ufotable, you can still tell the quality is there despite the lightness of the visuals.

One thing I also like in this series is the very hip hop and catchy opener, Apron Boy by DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan. Really? Misoshiru & Gohan? Okay. Itadakimasu! Anyway, despite the singer’s voice sounding like as though she wants to copy that out-of-tune Nano Ripe and that her voice sounds a bit out of tune almost going to ruin the song, but as you slowly get into the flow of this piece, it is no big deal. I suppose this song is light enough to make you want to dance or even good for a light disco theme. The ending theme is also not bad. But Collage by Sangatsu No Phantasia sometimes feel like a song for sleeping or preparing to sleep! I don’t know, hearing this piece somehow reminds me of Nichijou’s Zzz! Thankfully I didn’t fall asleep.

So basically if I had to put it in an honest way, it is just a so-so passable cooking themed anime using the characters of the Fate series. It isn’t anything that special or extraordinary but it is just something different than your usual Fate style and execution. Only Fate fans can appreciate this even more like fine wine while everybody else who is just casual might be going, “Uhm… Okay. I guess this doesn’t suck”. At least we can all say that if Shokugeki No Souma and Toriko cook foods that are way beyond our reach and taste buds, we have at least these small time ‘saviours’ who can whet our appetite and stay grounded, looking forward to the next meal. It doesn’t have to be creative and so haute cuisine that it is out of touch of reality. It can be as simple as your mother’s cooking. Putting your heart and soul for others to enjoy is already half the battle won in making a delicious meal. Thank you Shirou for giving us such visual delights. Gochisousama!

Fate/Extra Last Encore

September 22, 2018

Another season, another Fate series adaptation. After the rather okay Fate/Apocrypha (I was satisfied with it although the general public or rather the hardcore fans were not too happy about it), I was wondering if they wanted to give the red Saber its due debut. The one in Apocrypha didn’t really count, okay. Fate/Extra Last Encore is another one of those alternate universes like Apocrypha that isn’t directly related to the original works so I thought there would be something new instead of reusing the same 7 Masters with their 7 Servants fighting each other to win the ultimate Holy Grail and get their wish, that tired storyline that probably has been done to death in the Fate universe. Probably. I’m not a fan of the Fate series and have only known and see them in their anime format. But this series involving the moon and digital format thingy? Oh no. Smells like a heap of confusion ahead. Hold my breath and take the plunge…

Episode 1
Wow. Starting off with Saber fighting Buddha? In space? And lost! We now go to the current scene. Hakuno Kishinami is a student of a school, the teacher talking about summoning of Heroes and other mumbo jumbo I can’t understand. After class, he hangs out with his friends, Shinji and his girlfriend, Misao Amari (this loser has a girlfriend?!). They talk about limbo and existence. Not that I understand again. They go watch a chess match that is won by Leonardo “Leo” Bistario Harwey. Popular enough to have his own legion of fan girls. The mind boggling thing is that the loser in chess got killed off! Even more so his body just left there after the crowd disperses! Hakuno examines it and is met by Rin. They take it to the infirmary as the school nurse has him ‘take out the trash’ at the incinerator as she has no authority. After dumping the corpse-like thingy into the abyss, some scientist dude tells him about the different layers of this world something about illusion and paradise thingy and the days repeating itself. WTF. Angelica Cage. Sea of the Seven Heavens. Don’t get it. Before Hakuno could ask for what it all means, he is told time is up and didn’t make it. Kirei announces 100 participants have qualified and because 28 spots remain, the remaining participants have to kill each other to qualify before the final purge. Hakuno meets up with Shinji as they run and hide. But Shinji betrays and stabs him to death, believing Hakuno has no desire to win this game like him so he should die for him. Yup, best friends alright. After the last spots are taken up, the purge begins. All those who failed to qualify are being killed by Terminator robots. Apparently Hakuno is still alive. He makes his way to the incinerator as some Archer clone tries to kill him. Apparently Archer clone is bad in dealing the lethal blow so Hakuno falls down. Deep enough until he reaches some area with a red sword in the middle. He slowly walks to pick it up. The enemy slowly walks to kill him. Eventually Hakuno picks it up and he summons Red Saber. To show how awesome she is, she destroys the clone with devastating strikes. At the end, she asks him if he is her Master. Kirei narrates about the Holy Grail War abandoned long time ago and hence the activities conducted in this paradise were a mere echo of the past. Things repeated and the results were the same. But with Hakuno as the 129th Master, a miracle has happened, his existence is his final task.

Episode 2
Hakuno and Saber ride the Moon Mile Ladder, a capsule that heads to the moon. Inside is a luxurious facility for them to recuperate as well as explain to us the things we need to know. All participants are to fight each other until one is left in Moon Cell (moon’s version of Holy Grail) and the winner gets to fulfil their wish. More mumbo jumbo about this is all just artificial spiriton world created by the moon’s mainframe. During the preliminary stages, participants’ memories are suppressed but will only regain them once they become a Master in the main tournament. Even so, Hakuno has not had his returned yet. Not that he cares. Participants are supposed to fight their way from the lower stratum to the higher one but it seems Saber is amazed with this festival-like atmosphere of this first stratum. Of course they go around not only to have fun but to find opponents. In this bar, Saber thinks the bar master is a Master but is told many Masters who reached here have sold their Servants to Central Tower because life here is too good so there is no need to fight in any Holy Grail War. Saber leaves disappointed but Hakuno is given a tip that there are some Masters in this stratum who haven’t sold their Servants yet. A bevy of hot policewomen take the duo to Central Tower as they talk about besides Masters, everyone else is NPCs and not humans. The mayor of this stratum is Shinji?! He explains this might be the lowest stratum of SE.RA.PH but it is liberated and has its own laws and government. Shinji buys the Servants to turn them into efficient resources to help provide comfortable lives for all Masters. Shinji wants Hakuno to sell his but after hearing this, his decision is easy: He will not sell Saber. Shinji takes his next action to eliminate them. He separates them and has Saber fight 3 Berserker Servants. Meanwhile Hakuno gets stabbed by the police babes. This is the second time he gets stabbed… But don’t worry. Looks like his intense hatred and again has him pull out their swords. Oh sh*t! Is his true form or memories some sort of monster he is? Dead Face?

Episode 3
Just in time, Rin. Her hacking saves the duo from whatever troubles. Rin is a Master without a Servant and is fighting as a resistance. As they recuperate, Rin explains about the situation. Masters who fear fighting and death all are stuck in this stratum. It is all due to the creation of that wheel in the sky, Chakravartin, the rules of the Holy Grail War has been broken. Each stratum became independent and Masters no longer have to kill. But there was one who won his first round but for some reason could ascend to the next stratum. So Chakravartin changed how SE.RA.PH works and as the only one left on this stratum, he became Floor Master. He used all this resources to create this city. Even those from higher stratum descend here to this city to live in peace. Angelica Cage is acting weird and the only way to find out is ascend to the highest stratum. You can only do that by defeating another fellow Master. Speaking of which, there is only one here who is no other than Shinji and he is the Floor Master. Hakuno gets his resolved to kill him. Payback time? Rin hacks her way and becomes the bait so the duo can ride up to the next floor to face Shinji. Flashback shows he killed another Master to win. Realizing he is the only one left, he feared killing again and will die with nothing to show for. To prove he is alive, he will create a city to house Masters who have given up on the Holy Grail War. If he can gather hundreds of spiriton hackers, he could accomplish something. Now Shinji gives Hakuno the right to fight him. The city is flooded as he summons his Servant, Rider whose real identity is the pirate, Francis Drake. Saber met her before as that bar master. Shinji activates her Noble Phantasm. Not sure if Saber can’t swim and is drowning so Hakuno swims down to kiss her. It’s his way of transferring mana to her. Yeah, she likes it. Because of that, Saber rejuvenates and with a great stroke of luck cuts down Rider. Shinji will not dissolve his contract with her and risk disappearing along for he doesn’t believe she has lost. Saber’s win was just fluke. Shinji regrets of being unable to do anything for a long time that he started going mad. He had nothing and stayed here because the thought of humanity would be judged as worthless if they disappeared here. Hakuno stops him, probably doesn’t want to hear his sorry story. At least he won’t hate him anymore. So are they friends? Shinji’s sarcasm says no. Hakuno and Saber take the Moon Mile Ladder up to the next stratum and Rin just manage to join them in time.

Episode 4
Hakuno ponders about Rider’s last words of why he wants to ascend. He has no memories and only hatred of wanting to ascend. Saber doesn’t care as it is human nature to be greedy. Just go for it! In the next level, Dan Blackmore’s wait has finally end with the arrival of Hakuno and Saber. He will defeat them and ascend to the next stratum. First he snipes at them but Saber being quick to deflect his bullets before they jump into the forest for cover. Dan sends Archer to eliminate them. Archer uses his invisibility to mask himself and his arrows and his poison mist in order to slow them down. Saber uses her body to protect Hakuno from an arrow when he fell into a trap. But before everything could be over for Saber, some miracle burns away Archer’s arrows and causes him to be visible. Archer retreats. It is hinted that Hakuno may have used a Command Spell to get out of this situation and their saviour is Rani VIII. She too is a Master without a Servant like Rin and is fighting the resistance on this level. She explains about Dan who became Floor Master and started hunting Masters who came here. Rani didn’t descend as she saw the stars that a Master who strives to ascend will appear. That was 50 years ago. More about Moon Cell constructing this place as an ideal environment for humanity’s soul to go. It could have been humanity’s utopia had SE.RA.PH been used correctly but is now facing destruction. Hakuno dreams of that scientist telling him about his Holy Grail War was just a means for Moon Cell to gather data on humans but people misinterpreted it and started helping themselves rather than its roots. He will choose one who is fit for the Holy Grail. Hakuno is more confused since he was killed by him and if he was kicked out from Angelica Cage. Later Hakuno sees Rani attending to the graves of the fallen Masters. He asked about that 50 years thing so she is disappointed he failed to notice it himself. The year is now 3020, about a thousand years since SE.RA.PH broke down. Earth’s population has dwindled far below 10,000 and reaching unsustainable levels. If you consider civilization to be the core tenant of humanity, those in SE.RA.PH are the last remaining humans. If SE.RA.PH is destroyed, so will humanity.

Episode 5
Flashback 999 years ago when Dan was fighting as a Master and lost despite being far superior in ability and determination. Apparently he realized it is the quality of that will that gives one the strength to go forth that is important. He questioned his goal to win the Holy Grail to get back his dead wife. Normally that would be the end for him but due to some error in Angelica Cage, he is summoned back to this stratum with his Servant, restored. He took up the challenge to fight again. Rani discusses their battle plan. On Dan, we learn that he isn’t a real Master because he initially lost. That is why all the Masters he killed, Moon Mile Ladder will not appear. Hence he is fighting a futile struggle. Archer’s identity is Robin Hood but they must beware his Noble Phantasm that is triggered after you take a shot from his arrow. Poison will flow into your blood stream before finally exploding. To do that, he must reveal his name. The battle begins with Saber facing off with Archer while Rani takes Hakuno to the tower where Dan is supposedly based. But upon reaching the tower, Rani is sniped. She tells Hakuno not to save her. For Dan didn’t kill her outright so as to lure him back out to kill him. Hakuno is in a dilemma that his selfishness will kill and sacrifice her. Then he transforms into his Dead Face version to swiftly save her before Dan could even see anything. Archer thought he has Saber in his palms. His arrow has hit her and the poison spread throughout her body. All he needs is to use his bow and let her touch it to explode. However nothing happened and Archer is sliced. Apparently Saber drained her entire tainted bloodstream! Was there a character in history who could do that? With the explosion heard from the tower, it means Dan is also defeated. We see how Hakuno snuck in a sniped Dan. Uhm, that easy? Me no understand. Dan lies satisfied in his death as the sound of the bells reminds him of his happy days with his wife. With Moon Mile Ladder here, Hakuno wants to go back down to save Rani as the stratum is collapsing. But Saber reminds him that Rani hinted she never wanted to ascend with them. Her wish is to stay here with the dead and their dying wishes. So up they go. One question: If Dan isn’t a real Master and not qualified to ascend, how can Hakuno a real Master defeat an unreal one and ascend? Double standards? Rin who has been sorely missing since this stratum, pops up to hitch a ride with them again. Sneaky…

Episode 6
We start off by seeing Hakuno claiming victory over loli, Alice. I guess it’s not nice to see how a loli gets defeated. She doesn’t want to be left alone so he promises to come back after getting the Holy Grail before ascending to the next stratum. So okay, we get to see what happens. Arriving at this strange forest, the trio trek through as Rin explains about cyber ghosts. Yup, they can exist in this world. Hakuno thought he saw a loli. Indeed. Alice is happy to have found someone and has been alone for a long time. She admits she is a ghost. They play a few kiddie games together as she tells him once he leaves her, he will forget all about her. He wonders if this is a Servant’s ability. Alice explains her wish to be cured of her illness. After a war that killed everyone, she was alone in a hospital. The adults did things that hurt her. Eventually she died without being cured. She is happy to be in this level where her wishes could come true. Hakuno has had enough and leaves. When he reunites with his girls, he can’t remember meeting somebody although he could feel he did. As they trek further, Rin sees a vision of her confronting Amari on this level. Amari claimed to have cast away everything and came this far to win. She challenged Rin but was given a disappointing excuse why she would not. At the same time, Hakuno sees a vision of Amari and talks to her. Something about she hates her own name because it means unwanted. Her mom got knocked up by a bigwig and then abandoned. Amari was then also abandoned. Her wish is not to be laughed at so she abandoned everything in order to win. But the first few rounds was easy because in order to be stronger, she observed and used a weaker opponent to her advantage. At this stage, there were no weaker opponents. Alas, she had no choice and will still fight. Back to reality, the trio realizes this place is something off. Their sense of time is off and they have been seeing weird visions. After seeing the blood on the wall, Rin suddenly remembers why many Masters fled this stratum. There is a monster that cannot be killed. Don’t look now because it is here! Saber engages it but before they know it, they are back at starting point. Rin realizes the Servant has a Noble Phantasm that restarts the day when defeated. That way she can read all the stories she wants until she gets it right. The Servant’s true identity is Nursery Rhyme. Even a personification of children’s fairytales can become a Servant? Oh well, you don’t know how scary some fairytales can be. Although the motive of the Master is unclear, they continue to stay here and repeat this one day.

Episode 7
I’m confused of the timeline here. Anyway, we see Alice walking around in search for Hakuno but to no avail. She doesn’t care about the challenge Amari throws to Rin. In her bit to replenish her resources, she turns into that monster. So when all the other Masters see her, they attack her out of fear and she kills them all. She knows Hakuno will not recognize her like this but will keep waiting nevertheless. The trio re-enter the place, prepared defeat that monster whom they believe is the Floor Master’s Servant. We see another scene of Hakuno spending time with Alice. After that Amari confronts him to tell him off that he is doing nothing as Alice is his opponent. One must kill the other. Hakuno asks Saber if there is anyone who has ascended without fighting. Surprisingly she says yes. If the opponent resigns, the other wins by default. They are attacked by the monster. As Rin puts up her barrier, the monster is too strong and breaks through. It would have killed her but Hakuno uses a Command Spell to restart again. This is when Amari shows Hakuno the truth. The real Alice is not this cute loli. She is just the dream of the real Alice who is a creepy mummified sick child hooked up to all the IV drips in a hospital bed. This Alice cannot do anything and is being left all alone. After all, saving her makes no sense as she is already dead. The trio begin their trekking again. This time Hakuno talks about this place being a cyber ghost and attachment of the past just like him and his hatred. It is so piled up here that it smothers the present. Saber adds that even if one reaches Angelica Cage and defeat Twice Pieceman, there is no guarantee Moon Cell will even grant that wish. Everything is questionable and uncertain and yet with that people still chose to fight and ascend. We replay that opening scene of Hakuno defeating loli Alice and going to ascend. Because she is dead to begin with, Moon Cell can’t kill her. After picking up the book, they start to remember. No one is really left here. Now the trio fight against the monster and defeat it for good. The book disappears and only leaves behind a bookmark. Hakuno at least now wants to ascend with hope. Alice’s ghost doesn’t think this is such a sad fate and bids goodbye to Hakuno.

Episode 8
The fourth stratum was probably so easily that we see them ascending to the next level! Maybe we’re running out of episodes too? In this next stratum, Rin explains there is no Floor Master and there is a ladder to ascend to the next stratum. Easy. But of course there is a catch. There is a maniacal killer on the loose and his equally insanely powerful Berserker. That maniac is Julius Bistario Harwey, Leo’s brother who is said to be the best warrior. Saber and her previous Master once defeated him but luck played a great factor then. As Rin scouts the area, Saber and Hakuno talk about one being a talented genius. It doesn’t take long before both sides start fighting each other. Saber has a hard time fighting Berserker but with Rin now able to transform and use some spear weapon thingy, she leaves it to her while she goes find Hakuno who is fighting Julius. Hakuno transforms into his Dead Face to fight on par with him. Julius can also do the same. Hakuno remember memories of him and realizes he was killed in the Holy Grail War. So is he a ghost? Julius laughs like a maniac. He claims they are both lower than ghosts. Hence this flashback of Hakuno talking to the scientist to explain more incomprehensible mumbo jumbo. Sighs… Apparently there is a difference between ghosts and Dead Face. Taken prisoners by death, they are curses acting as members of the dead to spread death. Something about death of body and death of spirit is separated in SE.RA.PH. When Angelica Cage closed and Holy Grail War ended, SE.RA.PH became a digital hell with the regrets of the dead stopped being purified and left as they were. He wanted to reform humanity but failed due to naivety. Hence he decided to stop the growth of all humans and killed all victors. Some were worthy heroes but neither were enough to bring salvation. With the regret and hatred piling up, someone who was not anyone awoke to bear those burdens: Hakuno. Thus this Hakuno isn’t the real Hakuno but a repulsive homicidal maniac given form simply from hatred towards living. He is a mass of death. He ascends in order to kill. Normally Hakuno would have died from Julius attacks but you know, he is already dead. With Saber coming into the scene, Julius backs off. However Saber soon collapses as she used her body to stop Berserker’s attack on Hakuno. Because Berserker’s Noble Phantasm kills the enemy in a single blow. Julius and Berserker go off to deal with Rin attacking them while Hakuno is filled with regret for letting this happen to Saber. So we see him walking and wallowing in that regret as the voice of Saber tells him to be positive. He enters a room where a movie is about to start.

Episode 9
This video is supposed to help Hakuno remember the important thing to become a Master. Great. A motivational video? We see Saber’s ex-Master being berated by Julius for not being up to par. Even so Saber came to her defence. She was also shocked that she was an NPC but Saber lifted her up with her positivism. She took Saber as her Servant but misinterpreted she had a joyous life. Hence Saber told her true identity that she wouldn’t at first for fear of learning her bad repute. She was a Roman Emperor, Nero Claudius who loved everything. She too had her enemies and they plotted her downfall. When the Senate put her on trial, she thought the people would be by her side but none did. In the end, she killed herself never ever knowing what true love is. Despite all that, she continued her positivism. Hakuno may have called her out due to desperation but to her, that calling was irreplaceable. After a few last motivating words about himself from the ex-Master, Hakuno wakes up. Apparently Rani still lives and is treating him and Saber. Saber is glad they’re both okay and wants to go take on the enemies. But Hakuno is still filled with guilt and doesn’t deserve to be her Master. She slaps him and tells him off he got the order of things wrong. He fought because he didn’t want to die. He ascended because he didn’t know anything. He didn’t awaken to be another person. Even if things change, the foundation doesn’t. Hakuno is Hakuno. The person with the same feelings and heart. Saber’s ex-Master is also Hakuno. But now he exists with a different face and gender. With renewed motivation, they vow to stay by each other side and defeat their enemy. Saber lets him know her true name for she needs to unleash her Noble Phantasm. Saber does so in her fight with Berserker. She kills him in her grand Coliseum thingy. Now Hakuno faces off with Julius. The latter laments he is like a recurring nightmare that can’t be killed. Hakuno claims he isn’t the Hakuno he knows and won’t share his nostalgia trip. Eventually Hakuno defeats him and Julius warns the dead cannot change things. He will soon become just like him. Uhm, can Julius also die because I thought he was the same like Hakuno? With that, the duo ascend to the next stratum. It is revealed that Rin and Rani are in cohorts to lead the duo as proper Master and Servant before the next Floor Master. Their role is over but Rin still wants to stick around (claiming she is worried) and follows them. She parts ways with Rani.

Episode 10
Flashback shows Rin and Rani as the only 2 Masters left. They propose a truce and form a plan to get out of their predicament of finding another Master and drag them up here to the sixth stratum. Hakuno dreams of a conversation between Rin and Rani back on Earth. Rin worked as a wizard but from her position, she is considered a terrorist by the government. In her fight against the Harwey Conglomerate, she followed Leo to the moon. He might be heavily guarded on Earth but on the moon she has a chance to take him out. You see, with the dwindling resources on Earth, if the people from Harwey wins it, the conglomerate will control everything. The future will be screwed. Hakuno wakes up as Saber brags about how she defeated Berserker. Now that Hakuno is aware of what he is, he theorizes he is able to pull off battle experiences from dead Masters as well as their weapons. Arriving at the sixth stratum, it is a foggy land of nothingness. They are attacked by, uhm, Rin? Oh here comes giant Rani. But Rani kills Rin? But Rani killed by Rin clones? Who are then killed by Rani clones? Rinse and repeat. Hakuno and Saber run for it as they witness this never ending loop as well as the unlimited corpses of Rin and Rani. As they theorize about the situation, the real Rin pops up to refute it all. Although, she claims some of it is true. She admits she and Rani are the Floor Masters here but refuse to elaborate more. It is also true they were trying to kill them. Because their objective of having them reach here has been achieved, Rin doesn’t care if they live or die so she takes them to the safest place around: The dome. But right before they enter, Rin breaks up and disappears. I guess inside the dome they’ll find their answers.

The voice of Rin and Rani’s consciousness explain to the duo about this dome being the centre of this stratum. They fought as Masters on this floor but neither won. Neither winners nor losers, they cannot die nor ascend. At the same time, the Holy Grail was suspended and their original bodies became installed in the centre as supplementation devices. Their souls went into deep sleep and themselves refined. Hence each time they dream of fighting and killing each other to ascend to the next stratum but each time they regenerate new avatars. Thus their meaningless battles and the endless numbers of their corpses. So they thought of an idea if Moon Cell put down a verdict, this endless slaughter will end. Therefore their plan to find another Master to reach this stratum. They found one who didn’t give up on the Holy Grail. They hope he would defeat one of them in hopes that one would be freed. In the centre where their bodies lie, Hakuno has to make a choice who to save. Rin wakes up. So did he choose her? She sees Hakuno by Rani’s side. Her body on the verge of disappearing. It seems he wanted to save both of them. But Rani’s body was somewhat complicated and he failed. Rani doesn’t want him to regret and thanks him. At least she now has a proper chance of saying goodbye to him. Rin realizes that had Hakuno killed one of them, the results would have been still the same but it was a path that would at least let one of them rest in peace. Before ascending to the last stratum, they even have time to make a proper grave for Rani. Rin vows to support the duo as long as she lives.

Fake/Extra Bad, Last Straw
I would say that this is the worst Fate series that I have watched. One reason for me to attribute that is that there is no real ending. All the Fate TV series that I have watched have some sort of ending. And they were 2 cours. This one doesn’t even last a dozen! Oh, that Illya spinoff was somewhat ‘incomplete’ but it is ongoing. So we are left hanging and the final fight on the final stratum is not shown. Couldn’t they just have this season a dozen episodes instead of the same amount normal people have as fingers? You see, there was an extra episode released months after this season ended. However I saw that its running time is 2 hours!!!! FREAKING 2 HOURS!!!! Holy (Grail) sh*t!!!! That’s like watching a movie. Watching just 24 minutes of an episode in this one feels like an eternity and you expect me to sit down for that special for 2 hours? Forget it. I’d rather be disappointed and confused now than risk be confused even more. Yeah, if I was a Master taking part in the Holy Grail, I would have been the first to sell my Servant, give up and live the luxurious life in the first stratum.

Hence I will never know if the final extra long special (pun not intended) would really give a closure and a proper end to this series. Because while watching this series, it also felt like as though there are many other parts cut out or missing. For example, the fourth stratum. I mean, out couldn’t be that easy for our main characters to advance to the next level without any sort of fight, right? What about that Leo kid? It’s not proper to ‘introduce’ him and then for the rest of the season for him not to appear at all, right? But his brother got a shot? Plus, I saw the promotional poster for the special, Leo’s face is on it so I suppose he is going to appear there after all. Remember that big conglomerate Rin was trying to take down? Can’t turn that into a red herring, can we?

So I thought perhaps the special episode would like in this series, pepper throughout its duration some flashbacks as part of this series’ trademark to fill you in and piece the puzzle together. I’m not a very smart guy so trying to understand what the hell is going on is already confusing. Yup. Trying to comprehend this series is my hell and dystopia. I guess it wasn’t going to be as simple and cliché as Master and Servant pair fight together stratum by stratum until they reach the final level and defeat the final boss to get their wish fulfilled or whatever answers to their question. We learn about the opponents’ struggles, we learn more about the characters, add drama and tension, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, and voila, there you have it. An end to another mediocre Fate series.

One of the obvious things I noticed first when I set sights on this series is how the art style and animation is so Shaft-like. Yup, it definitely wasn’t Ufotable handling this Fate series. Hence all the Shaft trademarks from the bizarre angles and their trademark head tilt are ever present. It is so permeating that I won’t blame you that you would first see this as a Shaft series instead of a Fate one. Heck, when I watched the first episode, I was starting to think if I was actually watching a Monogatari series! Not joking. The art style and presentation are so similar that I was thinking they may even do a crossover. Even that episode involving that Alice monster, I thought it was taken inspiration from another anime series Shaft produced: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The monster especially reminding me of that Gertrude witch. You know… Scissors? Yeah… But other than the Shaft-like features, the art style just feels rather normal because when you talk about this segment for this series, you cannot help but compare it to the very superior quality of the Unlimited Blade Works TV remake and its prequel, Fate/Zero. This one is just okay.

On a side note, I just want to note that some of the female characters, Saber and Rin in particular, they look more cute than they are to mature. Just a few more modifications, they can be in their chibi format. Really. But looking at them sometimes had me thinking if they are dolls because they really looks as cute as one. Seriously. I also want to comment on Saber’s outfit. While even the original blue Saber’s battle outfit isn’t really practical for battle and more for aesthetic purposes, I find that this red Saber’s outfit to be a little of a wardrobe malfunction. Although her outfit is made out of a few separate layers, I can’t help if there was a design flaw or because some horny dude decided to design it so as you will notice there is an obvious hole at the back, just enough to see her butt! Yes, she wears some weird one piece swimsuit to cover her boobs down to her tummy and ass (but leaving her back wide open naked) but still it is an odd ‘fashion design’. And of course, Saber’s outfit is also to flaunt her delicious boobs. Yummy.

After watching this Saber for a while, it had occurred to me that she has a more bratty personality despite her sunny and positive disposition. In a way, she sounds more like Shinobu of Monogatari series than Saber! Another reason why I thought this might be Monogatari series. Yeah, I thought Saber’s true identity was that vampire girl! Haha! It would have been mind blowing had that really been true. Compared to the original Saber who has more of that arrogant pride, sure they both Sabers are different Heroic Spirits but this bratty Saber makes it feel like as though she is a kid and her reeking bubbliness sometimes makes it annoying. There is a limit to how positive one can get. Or maybe it is just me being a gloomy otaku loser :’(.

Hakuno himself is a big mystery. It is understandable at the start that he isn’t supposed what he is supposed to be but as the series progresses and bits of his identity is revealed, the more confused I get. By the time the series ended, I am still confused if he is the reincarnation of the female Hakuno or as stated, an accumulation of hatred from all the fallen Masters. Because with all that talk about being ghosts even in cyber space and everything, it just made it more baffling. I mean if you die in cyber space, can you really become a digital ghost? Heck, you already exist in digital format but then you ‘die’ so technically if you’re a ghost you’re still in digital form, right? Argh. My brain is so hurting now.

Hence Hakuno having no clear intention except for the fact he moves on based on the sole emotions of hatred and anger might sound like lazy writing at first because well, plot convenience. Then at every level you start noticing that some characters ask the same thing to him, why he is ascending. Ah, there must be a reason. They might have explained it but my mind was already going haywire so I probably didn’t understand well. So if Hakuno actually wins this Holy Grail War, will he himself get the wish or all the mass he is made up? Unlike Saber whom I thought felt like Shinobu, I don’t feel Hakuno is in anyway a counterpart to Monogatari’s Araragi. He lacks the sarcastic punch line the latter has. And he has got no harem. No, Rin and Rani don’t count.

Rin feels like a sneaky scheming little rat rather than someone prideful. Probably she had no Servant so this is what she is reduced to. But it confuses me as I am not sure if the entire event is repeated again, although it is likely it is so. Because Rin remembers something like that. Heck, everybody remembers something like that. It is said that this Holy Grail War repeated itself many times with the same results but only this time (this series that we are now watching), Hakuno somehow broke that cycle and is now part of the happening. Unprecedented? Hence Rin is like the mysterious guide to lead the duo to where she and Rani are in hopes to find an end. And Hakuno being the good guy despite the irony he is made out of mass hatred, tried to save them both.

I don’t really understand how the Holy Grail of the Moon Cell works but assuming it is all digital and there is a winner, wouldn’t any wish be very much feasible because you know, the internet is capable of creating anything! You want to live forever? Sure. In digital format. Forever. You want riches? Sure. Have unlimited amounts of Bitcoins. You want a harem? Of course. Dating simulation for all eternity! Whatever you want, the internet can provide! Hence the thought of people’s souls being trapped and locked down here and the only exit is if somebody wins the whole thing (plus if you die here, your real body also dies) feels like a rip-off from Sword Art Online. Too freaking similar… After all, this series came out a year later after Sword Art Online which debuted in 2009 – almost a decade ago!

The action stuffs are just okay. Just enough to satisfy your thoughts that since this is a Fate series and it involves the fight for the Holy Grail, therefore there must be some fights between Masters and Servants. So the usual Noble Phantasm that is used once because you know it’s not a good thing to always spam your trump card. I think it would have been a little more awesome if we get to see the format of all 128 participants fighting each other for the next stratum. You just need to kill 1 opponent for the next stage. Or at least a battle royale in the early stages. Like PUBG or Fortnite. I suppose with Hakuno as the 129th one, it screws up the perfect elimination format. Heck, it could just mean that somebody may get 2 kills or an unlucky participant gets left behind forever stuck on the first stratum. But instead for some plot twist, we have our main heroes fight a boss of the floor instead. Yeah, it feels like they’ve been put there waiting for this very sole reason.

Some of the old seiyuus of familiar characters were retained such as Kana Ueda as Rin, Hiroshi Kamiya as Shinji and Jouji Nakata as Kirei. New ones are Sakura Tange as Saber (Jack in Fate/Apocrypha – damn if she was voiced by Maaya Sakamoto, I would have continued to make my assumptions how Saber is indeed Shinobu reincarnated), Atsushi Abe as Hakuno (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Asami Sanada as Rani (Kurumi in Date A Live), Ayaka Imamura as Amari (Angie in Princess Principal), Urara Takano as Rider (Maria in Sakura Wars), Mugihito as Dan (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love), Kousuke Toriumi as Archer (Mercurius in Dies Irae), Ai Nonaka as Alice (Kyouko in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Wataru Hatano as Julius (Gajeel in Fairy Tail) and Romi Paku as Leo (Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist).

The opening theme is Bright Burning Shout by Takanori Nishikawa. Hard rock music which feels suitable enough for the theme of this series even in its entirety it is not action all the way. If the ending theme, Tsuki To Hanabata sounds freaking similar to you, then you must have seen the anime series, Kuzu No Honkai. Yes, the same singer, Sayuri sings both songs and you can tell how freaking similar Tsuki To Hanabata is. Damn, I thought it was the same song! I suppose this must be her trademark singing style like how Ali Project is to mischievous gothic and that out-of-tune-voice is to Nano Ripe. Yeah… Fortunately because I like Heikousen, this piece also doesn’t sound too shabby.

Overall, not one of the best Fate adaptations and only hardcore fans can either appreciate or hate it to the core with disgust. Or both. But I have a feeling it is more of the latter. Ordinary viewers like me would just be so confused since it is very much assumed that you would have read the Fate novels and played its games to have some very basic knowledge. With Shaft handling this spinoff, it feels more like a Monogatari series than a Fate series from the way the complexity story is told and its visual angles. Having a Holy Grail War and a Fate series in a virtual world sounds like a bold and fresh attempt. But I figure there is a reason why this series has to be the original physical format of Masters versus Servants. At least magic by default looks and sounds more acceptable unlike digital hacking and cheating. You might get banned from the server but cheaters will still find a way to come back and continue cheating. Not even the Holy Grail can ever stop that from happening.

Fate/Apocrypha

May 6, 2018

Not really sure if they want to animate all the stories and spin-offs in the Fate universe. Because after the awesome Fate/Stay Night remake (or rather the other routes that was animated), now we have Fate/Apocrypha. Not being a Fate fan, as I understand this Fate story takes place when somebody stole the Holy Grail during its third war and hence there was no conclusion. It re-emerges during the same time when the original fifth edition was supposed to happen at Fuyuki. This time the organization who stole it declares war on the Mage Association and a new and different Holy War format begins. It is not just ever Master and Servant for themselves but each faction possessing each Servant class against each other. Well, the more the merrier?

Episode 1
Kairi Shishigou makes his way to the office of Rocco Belfaban, the head of summoning. We are told of the Holy Grail War system but that system collapsed during the third edition when a master tricked the German army and stole the Holy Grail. Its whereabouts are unknown and hence the subsequent Holy Grail War never happened. However recently it has been found. The Yggdmillennia clan of Romania declared they have it. Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia who fought in the third Holy Grail War as a Master is believed to have kept it hidden for 60 years. He looks like he didn’t age… With that, Yggdmillennia has announced they will be seceding from the Mage Association and forming their own. Though 50 of their elite mages were sent to retrieve it, they were all slaughtered. Only a Servant could have done this. Shishigou will not become a Master in this next Holy Grail War. He will be the Master of the Red Faction. In the previous system we know, 7 Masters and their 7 Servants fight each other in a battle royale. Now, it will be 7 on 7. 7 Masters and their 7 Servants of the Red Faction (representing the Mages Association) against the 7 Masters and their 7 Servants of the Black Faction (Yggdmillennia clan). Rocco hands him a rare artefact that would enable him to summon a hero from the English history. The Red Faction’s supervisor is a church priest going by the name of Shirou Kotomine. Darnic talks to Avicebron (Black Caster) who is the unparalleled master of the golem arts. He is using homunculi as his servants to create them to avoid draining his power. Avicebron’s dream is not the Holy Grail but the original giant of the legends of his people. Completing his Noble Phantasm is all that matters to him. Several of the Yggdmillennia clan Masters summon their Servants. Shishigou finishes summoning Mordred (Red Saber) who is the heir of King Arthur.

Episode 2
Flashback shows Jeanne D’Arc being burnt at the stake after being accused as a witch. All she could do is pray to her God. Astolfo (Black Rider) is a cheeky and lively one as he seeks to get to know everybody else. The rest of her summoned servant comrades are Chiron (Black Archer), Frankenstein (Black Berserker) and Siegfried (Black Saber). Their Masters are Celenike Icecolle, Fiore Forvedge, Caules Forvedge and Gordes Musik respectively. Under the command Vlad Tepes (Black Lancer), they officially begin their war. All that is left is for the Jack The Ripper (Black Assassin) to arrive from London. Looks like she is leaving a trail of bodies in her path… Mordred warns Shishigou not to pry further into her past. Legend has it she betrayed King Arthur and killed him. Her wish is to pull out the legendary sword. That is all. Gordes is mad when Siegfried doesn’t tell him his wish since he has none and has accepted his death which was necessary. Shishigou goes to see Shirou. The latter introduces his Servant, Semiramis (Red Assassin). Shirou hopes to share knowledge and mentions they have identified the fifteenth Servant also known as the Ruler class whose role is to ensure a balanced Holy Grail War. Shirou wants them to meet the other Masters but Shishigou believes he can do this on his own and will take their own path. After they left, William Shakespeare (Red Caster) enters in his poetic fashion to inform that Spartacus (Red Berserker) has gone on a rampage alone to the Black Faction’s fortress to fight. Shishigou and Mordred are in one of Yggdmillennia’s towns. They are immediately surrounded by golems and homunculi. Despite their victory, the Yggdmillennia clan is watching to test their aptitude. Karna (Red Lancer) is summoned by Shirou to eliminate Ruler (Jeanne) who is bound to get in their way.

Episode 3
A homunculus sees how his other failed kind gets wasted. That fear breaks him out of his containment as he weakly crawls out. Meanwhile Astolfo is bored being sexed up by sex-crazy Celenike and goes off on his own. He stumbles upon that homunculus who collapsed from exhaustion and brings him to Charon’s room (since Celenike might just barge in anytime). He doesn’t intend to tell Avicebron or his Master, Roche Frain because it’s more fun that way. Karna engages with Jeanne but Siegfried pops up in time to protect her. As the Red and Black side fight, Gordes hopes for Jeanne to join his side but she remains neutral and will not interfere. We see snippets of Siegfried as a dragon slayer. He was hated by his country who wanted him dead. He accepted that in hopes his death will put an end to the war. As the sun rises, it seems Karna is considerate enough to note Gordes will not last. So they agree to put their match on hold and withdraw for now. Gordes would love to show Jeanne their base but she too declines. When the homunculus wakes up, he is already given something to think about. Because of his limited life (he will die in 3 years), it is best he decides what to do with it. Caules tries to get to know more about Frankenstein. Legend has it her master feared her after creating her. She chased him down in hopes to create another one like her for company but he refused. In the end, she killed herself via self-immolation. Caules’ wish is for the Akashic Records but if any of his family members die in the battle, his priority is to revive them. On the other hand, Fiore talks to Chiron about his wish. It is to regain immortality after Hydra’s venom robbed him for it. Fiore also tells him her ‘selfish’ wish. As she is paraplegic, implanting new legs means losing her mage powers. She wants both. As Spartacus inches closer to the castle, ignoring all warning shots, Vlad will have Darnic come up with a strategy that will turn him into their pawn.

Episode 4
Spartacus happily destroys all the golems as Atalanta (Red Archer) and Achilles (Red Rider) watch from afar. They feel odd to have not seen their own Masters’ face and have been ordered into this battle. Vlad easily disposes of Spartacus and has Darnic try to force a new contract on him into their faction. Siegfried and Berserker are tasked to intercept Atalanta and Achilles. Gordes is not amused that Siegfried is fighting for enjoyment. So he forces a Command Spell to make him use his Noble Phantasm. However he is promptly stopped by Darnic who admonishes him for wasting his Command Spell. With Chiron providing excellent range backup, the Red Faction duo are forced to retreat. During all that commotion, Astolfo tries to sneak the homunculus to escape. But nothing escapes the eyes of Avicebron as he informs everyone to bring that precious specimen back. Gordes and Siegfried intercept them. Astolfo fights Siegfried so the homunculus could escape. Gordes corners him and the homunculus fees the desire to live and prepares to fight back. Gordes panics and uses his magic might to strike back, killing him. When Siegfried wants to help the homunculus, Gordes opposes and is knocked out by him. Jeanne enters the scene, confused with the in-fighting. Siegfried was swayed by Astolfo’s words to help others on their own will and instead of just doing orders as Servants. To atone for it, Siegfried sacrifices himself and gives his heart to the homunculus. His wish for Jeanne is to keep him free. Siegfried disappears but with no regrets. The homunculus returns to life, shocked that he is still living. Jeanne introduces herself and swears to protect him.

Episode 5
Jeanne checks the homunculus and hears Siegfried’s heart is working fine. The other Masters and Servants seeking an explanation and are shocked to learn Siegfried died in this fashion. Jeanne reminds them this homunculus will not join the fight as he is unwilling. However he is not totally unrelated as he has Siegfried’s heart. If everyone attacks Jeanne, they will definitely lose. So Vlad offers her to join them but she remains neutral. As long as they fight honourably, she will not intervene. Astolfo is punished by getting his hands cuffed? That’s like a slap on the wrist. His last advice to the homunculus is to live since he is now allowed to. So the first order is to name himself. He settles for Sieg in honour for the one who gave his heart. Then he teaches him about food. Shirou learns that despite they lost their Berserker, the enemy’s Saber is also gone. They’re confused to what might have transpired. Astolfo is lightly tortured by Celenike. Not in the mood for sex? But Vlad intends to release Astolfo soon as punishing one who won’t repent is useless. Besides, it looks like they can re-contract Spartacus on their side. Their next problem is Jack The Ripper because her Master is found dead. Looks like some crazy woman is in possession of her and they’re playing house as mother and daughter. Jeanne explains to Sieg she wasn’t summoned by anyone but the Holy Grail. However she couldn’t construct her own body and is currently possessing the body of a French girl, Leticia who answered her plea. Even in battle, her body will not be harmed. She notes her failed summoning shows something is wrong with this war. Could it be she is summoned here not as a judge but for some other purpose? Sieg is still unsure what to do with his freedom. She suggests going back to where he came from. What about his other homunculi comrades? Noting he just didn’t want to die and his comrades never had the will to leave, she tells him never to return there. Jeanne leaves Sieg in the hands of a kind farmer, Serge. This is where they part. She knows she lied to him as he tells him to live peacefully because she has saw visions of him dying in the battlefield. She intends to fight that fate even if it means throwing away her wish. Shirou sees the other Masters of his faction. He tells the Holy Grail War has ended and that they have won. As part of the agreement, they will give him their Command Spells.

Episode 6
Flashback shows Mordred killing everyone to force Arthur to relinquish to throne. Unfortunately she got done in as Arthur tells her it is not because she is the son of a witch that she did not do so but rather she lacks the qualities to become one. Shishigou and Mordred are on site to investigate the case of serial murders. As told by El-Melloi II, all those who were killed were actually mages. They also have their magic drained. It is safe to assume this is a work of a Servant. It couldn’t be from their faction since all Red Servants have been summoned. It would be odd for Yggdmillennia to let this happen in their own backyard so it must be some third party. Shishigou then goes to the morgue to check on the corpses. All of them have their hearts gouged out. Looks like the perpetrator is bulking up on magic by eating them. As mages are being targeted, they are the perfect bait to lure them out. So that night as they wander about town, a strange fog suddenly shrouds the place. They are forced to get out since it is poison gas. Once in the clear, Jack could have almost sliced off Shishigou’s head without him suspecting anything had not Mordred reacted fast enough. Mordred and loli Jack engage in combat but the latter uses her agility and speed to her advantage. An explosive arrow fired by Chiron breaks them up. Jack has sustained injuries and escapes but Mordred is now targeting Chiron. She intercepts him and he knows better if he wants to win this, he cannot do it without injuries. Shishigou on the other hand encounters Fiore who is walking around in her exoskeleton that makes her look like Dr Octopus. She warns him to leave this place and will overlook his trespassing violation. Guess not. Shishigou surprises her by being reckless like throwing a grenade and then ramming her with a car! Is she done for seeing that all that’s left is for his bullets to reach her.

Episode 7
As expected, Caules saves her. Archer knows he has been cornered and will lose so he informs Fiore to retreat. With that, the battle ends. Sieg asks Serge the meaning of freedom. I suppose gramps have lots of experience but no definite answer because it is up to Sieg to find out what it is. Jeanne enters Shirou’s church but finds no one. She needs to meet him. Speaking of the Red Faction, looks like what’s left of their Servants have all gathered. It is time for the final fight but Shakespeare says he will not fight since it is not his style. He just wants to watch this battle and record it. So how is the Red Faction going to fight? Semiramis uses her Noble Phantasm. This floating fortress is actually the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Cool. They have the walking undead skeletons for the grunts too. The fortress stations itself near the Yggdmillennia’s castle. Vlad leads the Black Faction’s Servants and gives them roles in their upcoming attack. Sieg has thought hard and looks like he has decided on what he wants. With that, Serge allows him to leave (not knowing what it is but then again, why should he) and do as he wishes. Oh, take this belt of his with you. Conveniently it can fit his sword.

Episode 8
Atalanta destroys the homunculi and golem horde to clear the path for Achilles to bulldoze through. Then she supports Karna in his fight against Vlad. Vlad has the power of his homeland and he is powerful because the locals see him as a hero but Karna is the Sun God and has very strong armour. Achilles is stopped in his tracks from the golems. Then he tries to trace Chiron and face him. Once he does, he gets the shock of his life. Flashback shows Chiron was Achilles’ master as he taught him the ways of combat. He was then told about his heels as his weakness. He might be an immortal hero but his heels are still mortal. Sieg returns to the battlefield and helps treat a fellow wounded homunculus. He plans to help as many as he can and hopes to free them. They return to the castle since most of the rest are out fighting in the battlefield. Semiramis is not thrilled that Shirou is itching to join the fray. If he dies, her plans will fall apart. Shirou explains he wants to know if God is testing him. If He doesn’t allow his way, he will die. If everything goes well, it means He approves of his will and thus his wish upon the Holy Grail to grant mankind mercy and comfort. Semiramis then gives him permission to fight. Semiramis now deals with Astolfo who has flown close to the fortress. Mordred is mad that she is late to the battle so this gives her an excuse to drive madly? Hold on tight! Avicebron barely manages to make Spartacus under his command and convinces him that the Mage Association are the oppressors. He sends him out to destroy them. Frankenstein is thumping the undead in her path. She then stumbles into Shirou who offers her to join his side in place of Spartacus.

Episode 9
Darnic narrates he went to Japan to steal the Holy Grail. He got the Germans’ cooperation and then betrayed them. Now that he has sufficient magic, he will be able to open the gate to the Roots, the means to fulfil wishes and become the victor. Frankenstein rejects Shirou’s offer and fights him. Shirou will welcome her if she changes her mind so he fights with a sword that Shakespeare has tempered with. Crazy Spartacus crashes into Karna’s fight. Karna needs to concentrate on Vlad so he has Atalanta take care of him. I don’t think a few arrows into him can work. After all, Spartacus has very quick regenerative abilities. Sieg frees all the homunculi in the lab. Astolfo approaches Babylon but is shot down by Semiramis. Not sure if Sieg has super zoom vision because he could see Astolfo falling down. He is in a dilemma to go save him because he has to see through his responsibility of saving his brethren. The other homunculi assure they can take it from here. The permission Sieg needs to go to Astolfo’s aid. Mordred’s reckless driving almost crashed into Astolfo. I’m surprised that car which has been trashed can still run. Shishigou lets Mordred fight Astolfo as he gets out of here. Jeanne is trying to meet Shirou but Semiramis is trying to prevent that. Jeanne knows the Red Faction are trying to kill her and feels something is wrong. It would have been understandable if they wanted her aid to join their side but to rid of her? As Semiramis cannot stop her, she reports to Shirou so he has to flee and return. Frankenstein surprisingly pursues him so Shirou leaves it o Shakespeare to buy some time. He casts a spell on her. She sees her tragic past whereby her creator hated her. All she wanted was to be loved but he kept rejecting her and calling her a monster. So it was confusing when she sees him extending his hand and wanting her to stop fighting. She goes berserk beating the crap out of him. Caules is forced to use a Command Spell to calm her down. The enemy has escaped. Mordred learns and mocks how Siegfried pathetically died. This riles up Astolfo and he won’t forgive her for making fun of him. Semiramis’ powerful magic is still unable to stop Jeanne. So Shirou relays to Atalanta to lure and send Spartacus to fight against Jeanne. Mordred is about to finish Astolfo. But look who showed up? Sieg is going to fight Mordred?

Episode 10
Astolfo is not amused. He didn’t save him so he could die saving him. So much about the freedom to choose, huh? Now that they are both liabilities, they could have been toasted had not Caules using another Command Spell on Frankenstein to attack Mordred. But after all that hammering, nothing happens. Frankenstein is incapacitated after Mordred counter attacks. Then she kills her off. Now Sieg is mad. Amazing his puny sword can put a dent in her armour. Too bad he too gets killed off. Right in the heart. Oh, now Astolfo is getting mad. Wanna have a go? Shishigou interrupts her to remind her if she had ascertain Frankenstein is dead. Oh, body missing. Frankenstein sneaks up on her and restrains her. Caules uses his final Command Spell so that Frankenstein could release all her limiters and do a suicidal Noble Phantasm move to take out Mordred. After all that power explosion, just a big crater. Mordred is still there. Frankenstein’s gone. Caules can only regret he should have expected the enemy too has Command Spells. During the blast, some of Frankenstein’s power went through Sieg. This means Sieg seeing visions of Siegfried who lived his entire life trying to grant others wishes till his death. So what is his wish? Siegfried asks that same question back to him. Then a sword stuck in the ground appears before Sieg. He is told to pick it up. He can’t. Siegfried asks his reason for fighting. He doesn’t know. He just wants the power to help others. With that, he pulls it out. Mordred and Astolfo are shocked to see Siegfried before them. Is he revived? More accurately explained by Shirou, he possessed Sieg’s body. A normal human would have died but being a homunculus makes it possible. Not sure if Shirou is being overconfident because he doesn’t intend to help Mordred as he thinks Siegfried will not last long. Shishigou suggests using a Command Spell to enhance her skills for this fight. Both Sabers clash. Time to power up. Is this some light sabre show now?

Episode 11
Atalanta leads Spartacus to attack Jeanne. His Noble Phantasm is to transfer any damage receive into power. This explains why he is now some ugly ballooned monster. Mordred is not pleased her Noble Phantasm didn’t wipe out Siegfried. But he has taken enough damage and is at his limit. This means he reverts back to Sieg. Shishigou tells Mordred to get out of there. Looks like Spartacus is going to explode from all that power. Jeanne’s barrier protects and saves a lot of lives and damages. The impaling and burning fight between Vlad and Karna comes to an abrupt halt when Shirou calls Karna to come back. Something happens back at the castle. It looks like Babylon is stealing the Holy Grail. Darnic did not expect this. He narrates about the prophesized downfall of the Yggdmillennia clan 80 years ago. His dream of becoming a first class mage vanished. He made many allies, betrayed them and feed on the souls of others to extend his own life so as to get the Holy Grail. He will not let anyone else have it. Vlad, Chiron and Avicebron infiltrate Babylon. They face off with Karna, Achilles and Atalanta. Vlad’s rematch with Karna seems a bit off. Vlad notices his power is not working well here. Indeed. This is not his territory. Flashback shows Vlad talking to Darnic about the ridiculous fantasies of people throughout the generations that tainted his legacy. His wish to win this war is to erase that disgrace. He warns Darnic never to use his Command Spell to force him to use his Noble Phantasm even if he is at the verge of defeat. Darnic agreed at first but looks like he has a change of heart. What he protects is Yggdmillennia and what he wants is the Akashic Records. For that he needs the Holy Grail. Sorry, Vlad. Gotta use the Command Spell.

Episode 12
Flashback shows Shirou knows Darnic and has waited 60 years of hardship to finally end all this. Oh, something about Iri being dead too. With Vlad not at optimum, Darnic reminds him about his Noble Phantasm. Of course Vlad is not pleased and sternly reminds him. However Darnic will not let his wish slip away and reminds Vlad of his place as a Servant. Then he uses a Command Spell to make him use his Noble Phantasm and turn him into the legendary Dracula! Vlad attacks him and tries to suck his blood but this is all part of Darnic’s plan. Using another Command Spell, he has their souls fused together. Now Darnic and Vlad are one as Dracula! Dracula then bites and infects other homunculi and turn them into similar familiars. The other Servants join forces to take him down but he is formidable. Jeanne arrives and understands the situation. She bestows the Servants power to take down Dracula in this temporary truce. The epic fight is formidable but when it seemed Karna is going to deal the finishing blow, suddenly the Red Faction’s Servants start to weaken. It looks like Shirou has extracted the Noble Phantasm from the other Masters. I thought this was already done? And of all times, now? Jeanne tries to chase down Dracula as he makes his way to where the Holy Grail is. This is where he encounters Shirou. He is shocked he is still alive because he should have been dead during the Fuyuki Holy Grail War. Uhm, surprise?! Shirou then uses his purification swords to purify and turn him into ashes. When Jeanne arrives, she is shocked to see Shirou. He is actually a Servant and also of the Ruler class. She asks why he is breaking the rules. Because he couldn’t help anyone if he was bound by them. Jeanne wants to know what is his plan, the plan of Amakusa Shirou Tokisada. To save all of mankind.

Episode 13
Astolfo has a bone to pick with Sieg. But in the end, she is glad he is alright. Too bad now Celenike has got a bone to pick with Astolfo for sullying her name. Shirou argues he has planned and waited for 60 years for this chance to happen so there is no way in hell he is going to turn back now. With the other Servants present, Achilles and Atalanta want to know what happened to their respective Masters. Shirou tells them about the Command Spell transfer agreement that makes him their Master. They don’t agree and attack. Semiramis and Karna protect Shirou and feel the need to make clear a few points. Shirou starts off by suggesting Chiron and Avicebron defect. Celenike uses her Command Spell to force Astolfo to kill Sieg and wants to see his tormented face. When Sieg opposes, she torments him. Celenike is about to use her Command Spell and detail how he should kill him slowly when she is suddenly decapitated by Mordred for being too noisy! And then she leaves. WTF? So she killed her but not Astolfo because technically she is noisy and not the enemy? Why was she nearby in the first place? With Celenike dead, Astolfo is going to disappear but Sieg wants him to make a contract with him. Somehow he has Command Spells on his hand and will be her Master. No regrets? Okay. Then it’s done. Avicebron agrees to join Shirou on a condition he doesn’t hurt his Master. Avicebron will put his dream above pride and morality so Chiron turns on him. Mordred joins the fray by attacking Shirou. She considers him the enemy the moment he tried to deceive her Master. The fight lasted long enough for the rest to escape. With that, Avicebron makes his contract with Shirou. The other Yggdmillennia family members are arguing with the homunculi defectors who want to live. Just in time for Sieg to join in and argue on their behalf that they don’t need salvation but the freedom to choose. Oh, also why does Astolfo introduce himself as his Servant sound like he is his boyfriend or something? Fiore gets word from Chiron about Avicebron’s detection. She needs to warn Roche but where is he? Happily giving Avicebron some component he asked for.

Episode 14
Shirou retreats now that he has the Holy Grail. Jeanne must be having a headache now that Sieg is Astolfo’s Master and he can turn into Siegfried too. She has no choice but to accept him as a participant in this battle. As though he is going to listen to her if she says no. Avicebron uses Roche as the core for his ultimate golem. Roche is very disappointed of this betrayal as he looked up to him as his teacher. Don’t say Avicebron didn’t warn you he was never interested in the Holy Grail in the first place. With Roche absorbed into the golem, Avicebron begins bringing paradise to this world by destroying it? So his Eden is turning the surrounding areas into some creepy forest? The other Servants attack the golem but it’s not use. It absorbs. Especially life. Touch it and it absorbs you. Although Chiron aims and kills Avicebron, the latter is not worried. His role was already over when he activated his golem. He puts his trust in it to bring forth paradise. Jeanne has an obligation to destroy it since the golem is beyond the scope of the Holy Grail War. However she lacks enough strength to take it down and time is running out because when the surrounding area is turned into Eden, the golem will become immortal. Fiore needs Chiron to use his Noble Phantasm when the time is right but he needs at least one more Servant to help out. Jeanne summons Mordred to assist. Chiron relays his plans how the Servants have their specific roles in taking down the golem and this includes Sieg temporarily turning into Siegfried. In short, the battle ends with all of them playing their part well and destroy the golem’s core before it could reach immortality. Jeanne is worried about Sieg but he looks fine. Later Fiore meets Shishigou. For now they team up.

Episode 15
Achilles and Atalanta are back in Shirou’s side but have questions. They are assured their Masters are safe as they all reveal their wish upon the Holy Grail. Shirou begins detailing his plan to save mankind. Meanwhile the Yggdmillennia clan is holding talks with Jeanne and Shishigou about Shirou who might know a way to make the Holy Grail grant his wish. This means if he has this twisted idea that salvation is killing everyone, the Holy Grail has the capability to do that. Later Chiron talks to Caules and asks if Fiore is fit to be the leader of Yggdmillennia. He is talking about if he could really kill someone. Caules tells him about some pet dog she used to have. It was forbidden in a mage’s house but she tended and loved it. Then when it died, she started crying. Chiron tells Caules he will be the only one left to support her after he is gone. Jeanne replenishes Command Spells for Shishigou and Sieg. She warns Sieg not to use the final Command Spell. Because his situation is a miracle, the last one would cause a problem. There is no such thing in this world as a free miracle. This prompts Shishigou to remember his own family shame as he tells it to Mordred. Something about his lineage became great necromancers but it was also a curse. Kids they adopted and try to pass their magic crest poisoned them instead. His wish is to have descendants. Shishigou and Mordred will again travel and act independently from the Yggdmillennia. Their plan is while they are busy fighting the Red Faction, they’ll sneak in and steal the Holy Grail. Achilles and Atalanta discover Shakespeare knew about Shirou’s plan all along. He is helping because it is interesting. Interesting because despite all the suffering and losses he has gone through, he is still going to save mankind and not abandon them.

Episode 16
There are black patches over Sieg’s body. Chiron examines him and it is believed he is slowly transforming into Siegfried. As he has transformed into him twice for a total of 5 minutes, the magic inside his heart is mixing and eating away his body. But they can’t tell him what to do. It’s his choice. We take a detour to tackle Jack’s case. She has been on a killing spree and last night alone she killed 8 mages and gouge out their hearts. Fiore has to seek Jeanne’s help since they lack the manpower and have to solve this in 3 days before they attack Babylon. The problem is, Chiron and Fiore cannot remember Jack’s face and think her Noble Phantasm that leaves no impression. Investigating the death site of one of the mages, Caules uses his trance to see the mage’s final moments. This means reliving the excruciating pain. Noting that he has been tortured before he died, Caules then realizes that Fiore is in danger. He calls her but cliché signal is out. It seems Jack was torturing some to find out codes to disable the castle’s security. You don’t say because Jack is already here and using her poison mist to kill those who inhale too much. Don’t look now Fiore because here’s Jack! Right timing from Sieg prevents Fiore from being Jack’s latest victim. With reinforcements coming, Jack retreats but vows to kill Sieg next time. At this point Fiore already cannot remember Jack’s face.

Episode 17
The plan is for Jeanne and Sieg to be decoys to lure out Jack before other Servants take her out. It is believed Reika Rikudo is currently her Master. She was supposed to be a sacrifice for the original Master but she turned into a serial killer instead. Jeanne and Sieg experience life in this little town. Jeanne learns Sieg volunteered for this mission to avenge his fellow homunculi. He has no regrets as Jeanne relates she threw everything away but was eventually burnt at the stake. Despite all, she still believes in the good of people. Meanwhile Achilles questions Shirou’s goal to save all mankind. He calls him a liar because he claims he got this goal after being betrayed and killed. Should he have hated mankind even more? He once hated everything but for the sake of mankind’s salvation, he had to throw away everything. Even his hatred for his killers. This means he will save all mankind, whether good or bad at all cost. Sieg poses a question for Jeanne that if Shirou knows a way to save mankind with the Holy Grail, shouldn’t Jeanne help him? She believes all of them as a Heroic Spirit aren’t supposed to lead mankind but merely guide them. Jeanne doesn’t hate those who burnt her at the stake. She can’t. That’s why she still protected Sieg despite being useless. Sieg feels grateful that he wants to repay her with his body? Wait. What?! Awkward talk gets interrupted by poisonous mist. Looks who is here. Sieg goes to save a woman who claims she lost her child. She turns out to be Reika as she shoots him in the heart. Somehow he doesn’t die so she runs away. Jack fights Jeanne but is shocked when her lethal strike doesn’t kill her. Something about resistance to curses is one of her abilities. Jack plays dirty by throwing in innocent civilians. However she is injured in the leg with Chiron’s arrow. She manages to get away as Reika carries her off. However Reika spots Atalanta and uses her body to protect Jack against her arrow. Right in the heart. Jack becomes distraught and pleads to her not to be left alone so Reika uses her remaining Command Spells to have her be fine without her. After that Atalanta fires a shot in Jack’s back. But Jack gets back up and explodes? Now they go back in time and place where Jack was living in hellish conditions.

Episode 18
Understandably Atalanta is freaked out with so many children surrounding her and wanting to be loved. Flashback on Atalanta’s past, she was tossed away by her father for simply being a girl but saved by Artemis. That is why she is kind to all and vows to love all children. Sieg is also haunted seeing this nightmare, especially the children of London being killed or rather consumed by River Thames. He becomes disillusioned with this world where nobody helps nobody. Jeanne too sees this but she is not scared. Although the children want her to save them, she will not and will destroy them. Atalanta cuts in and argues the children are not evil but victims. Jeanne agrees that she is not a saint as many view her as because she too has tainted her hands with blood. This world they are seeing now is just an illusion created by spiritual residue and by ‘saving’ them only means continuing their suffering. Atalanta still refuses to believe and is still murder. The children then confront Jeanne to confirm if she would really kill them. Yes. So you can move on. The children agree to be destroyed by her. Hmm… Feels like exorcism? Jeanne is disturbed by Jack’s last words that she finds her pitiful too. Atalanta is now broken, accusing Jeanne for abandoning the children. As she tries to fight her, other Servants enter the fray. Atalanta escapes and won’t forgive the evil that is Jeanne. Sieg is still confused. What he saw were normal humans, not mages. Jeanne explains the evil of humanity. If she was not burnt at the stake, she would have continued to kill others. She hopes he will not judge people and not give up thinking they cannot be changed. Hating is easy but loving is very hard. After all the despair and disillusionment, she still hasn’t given up. Sieg wonders why Atalanta calls her evil. Good and evil are complex and it depends on where you stand, your view will be different. Sieg had believed the world was always beautiful until that nightmare. While that will forever stay in him, he will not give up in finding the answer he seeks.

Episode 19
Yggdmillennia is planning to assault Babylon as soon as tomorrow but the best plan they can come up is an attack via plane? Easy target. Astolfo then mentions he has a Noble Phantasm that would nullify all magic. Just that he forgot its name. But he knows the condition to summon it and it is on a moonless or new moon night. However that will only happen in 3 days and by then Babylon would have left their airspace. Caules talks to Fiore who is indecisive. He notes this fight will make or break her as a mage. He is hinting she should just be a normal person as she cannot handle death. Remember that dog story? She sure does. Otherwise, where would it have to go? So that’s why. Is it an insult or compliment if he prefers her to stay as a useless girl? They do a process to transfer her magic circuits to him. Painful and why must it be that dog episode? Anyway it is successful and Caules is now the new head of Yggdmillennia. For those who have been wondering if Astolfo is a guy or girl, this confirms it. Jeanne had the misfortune of seeing him stepping out of bath. Shriek at the dick… Sieg and Astolfo bump into Mordred in town. Sieg asks her bluntly about humans. To her, they are not worth saving. Sieg loves humans until Jack’s episode. He is now unsure. Mordred chides him as there is now right or wrong answer. You do what you want, how you want it. Astolfo asks if she would like to be a good or bad king. Good of course. Later Astolfo tells this to Jeanne. He believes Sieg should continue to love people. This prompts Jeanne to ask if he fancies Sieg but is asked back the same question. Why is she blushing? With Sieg still hesitant, Jeanne has to remind him Sieg is Sieg. He is wonderful as he is and doesn’t have to be a Servant or Master. Later Jeanne continues to ponder and worry about Sieg. She can’t help wonder why she doesn’t want him to fight or die so badly. Can I guess this is the work of love? Mordred asks Shishigou for advice to be a good king. Well, he hasn’t served one but here goes. He believes he must face her father even if she hates and adores him. If she wants to surpass him, then analyse everything. This upcoming battle would most likely be the last. Once it’s over, he’ll get his pay and Mordred will get his wish to challenge the sword and be king.

Episode 20
Caules leads his team to go after Babylon. Gordes and other homunculi are left in charge of the castle. Sieg believes he will not return here regardless if they win or lose so he says goodbye to his fellow brethren. Caules goes over the plan to intercept Babylon. Before Shirou heads into the Holy Grail to begin his salvation, he uses a Command Spell to Shakespeare not to write a tragedy about him. After Shirou leaves, Semiramis questions Shakespeare if he wants to see Shirou succeed or fail. He throws that question back at her. She would like him to succeed. He chides her for a textbook answer. Hence she gives her true answer that she would like to see a holy man fall into despair. But more importantly she wants to see the sight he wishes to see so much. How far will he go? How much will he show her? Shakespeare recognizes this adoration as unintended love and would definitely be a hit play. She would have killed him if not the enemies have arrived. Uhm, an army of Boeing airplanes? I am guessing they are all on autopilot mode. Semiramis gives orders to the other Servants on their roles. However Atalanta rejects hers. She wants to take on Jeanne. Achilles assures Semiramis he will cover for her part. The battle begins with Achilles having his rematch with Chiron while Atalanta becomes obsessed in taking down Jeanne. If they’re taking down so many airplanes, I wonder if the people below would be scared thinking it is raining crashing airplanes. Chiron questions Achilles’ goal to follow Shirou’s mad plan. Achilles replies he has been shown it is a worthy bet. Shirou isn’t annihilating men nor selecting who to live. Chiron calls it foolish because it sounds impossible. If that is the case, shouldn’t the purpose of the Holy Grail make the impossible possible? Chiron immediately understands what Shirou is doing. Shirou is going through a field where dead souls are trying to corrupt him but since he has casted away his hatred, he waltzes through until he reaches Heaven’s Feel. A priestess pops up and asks if he would like to activate the Third Magic. Shirou wants to make all of mankind’s souls turn material.

Episode 21
Chiron and Achilles are at odds with each other’s ideals regarding Shirou’s method in using the Holy Grail. Somehow Astolfo remembers his Noble Phantasm’s name and is able to chant it and nullifies Semiramis’ Babylon lasers. Since Karna is hot on their tails, Sieg transforms into Siegfried to keep Karna busy and his wish to fight Black Saber again. Astolfo then goes on a laser destroying spree but not without taking huge damage. He crashes into the garden area and Semiramis would have killed him had not crazy Mordred crashes her jet onto the place! Achilles invokes his Noble Phantasm to turn the area into his advantage. Both men decide to fight each other as warriors. Literally a fist fight. That soon turns into a boxing match. In the end, Achilles is able to deal the finishing blow to Chiron. Before Chiron dies, he unleashes his Noble Phantasm. Something about his Sagittarius constellation which means his bows will always be drawn and doesn’t need to call it. A beam strikes Achilles and although it doesn’t kill him, it takes away his immortality. Now we go back to Atalanta who is still b*tching about killing Jeanne. In her desperate attempt, she uses an item to stab herself in the heart to activate her Noble Phantasm, turning into a beast.

Episode 22
Sieg runs out of fuel to keep Siegfried materialized. Karna then calls out Caules and needs him for a favour. He wants to rescue their original Masters. They might have dropped out of this war but they are still the ones who summoned them. Caules also has his demands that if he cannot defeat Siegfried, he must let them go since it will be unworthy of him to defeat low level foes. After Caules has secured the Masters, Karna tells Sieg of his original promise to fight Siegfried. And hence Sieg transforms once more for a powerfully epic battle finale. Back to more Atalanta b*tching, Jeanne will not deny her wish to save all the children and have them live in a happy world. But she cannot condone her resorting to evil methods to achieve that. The fight is interrupted with Achilles taking over. He has Jeanne move along while it is time for him to put a stop to Atalanta’s madness. Jeanne confronts Semiramis and believes her wish to rule the world after Shirou saves it is a lie. Because an empress is unneeded in a saved world. More Karna-Siegfried epic battle. The tables are turned when Astolfo uses Achilles shield to help Siegfried. Prior to this, Achilles after his victory over Chiron, gave his Noble Phantasm to her as promise made to Chiron. Not really sure what this whole world thingy Noble Phantasm this is but it made Karna one step too late as Siegfried stabs him. Karna is satisfied to have fought like a hero the entire time. We also end Atalanta-Achilles fight as both their attacks take each other out. Atalanta knew her ways were wrong and wouldn’t save the children but what else could she do? If abandoning those children was the right choice, this world isn’t worth living. Even so, Achilles wanted to stop her from falling. Another 2 Heroic Spirits bites the dust. Yeah, I guess time’s running out so it’s time to let 3 Red Faction Servants die now. Jeanne has no time to chat with Semiramis as she makes her way to Shirou. Semiramis warns her of meeting Shakespeare as it will be her undoing.

Episode 23
Mordred and Shishigou walk into Semiramis’ throne room. But it is a trap to assault them. Mordred throws out her Master as she fights Semiramis’ sorcery. But the poison in the air overwhelms Mordred. Semiramis wants her to abandon her Master and join her as her knight. This has Mordred reanalyse her wish. She realizes it wasn’t to become king but to end her father’s solitude. She thought by becoming king would allow that. Mordred’s goal now is to defeat Semiramis but needs Shishigou’s help even if it costs her life. He barges back in and injects her some kind of drug that turns her into wearing a sexier armour? Heck, it’s more powerful and much more with Shishigou using his last Command Spell to defeat the king. Mordred slices through the monster and into Semiramis. With the battle over, Shishigou knows his days are numbered after the wounds received from Semiramis’ shot. Master and Servant have one last talk (and smoke) together with Shishigou revealing his goal wasn’t to find an heir but a lost child. Likewise, Mordred tells him what she has realized. After Shishigou dies, Mordred disappears. Jeanne encounters Shakespeare who initiates his Noble Phantasm. Jeanne finds herself in several locations of her life like the village which she has to say goodbye to her mother and the bloodied battlefield in which she accepted she will never die in peace. Things start to change while being brought to her burning stake. It is Sieg at the stake instead. Jeanne claims this isn’t so but Shakespeare says he is only merely reading from her memories and hence the killing of Sieg is her wish. The final scene is the Castle of Tiffauges, the fort of Gilles de Rais. He is also here in the flesh and as a Servant. He shows her a severed head of Sieg. Don’t really understand about this equal love of humanity thingy here and if she really loved Sieg, she would have done anything to the point of cruel to stop him. Jeanne trembles in fear while her inner voice regrets not telling her clearly that her heart was right.

Episode 24
So Shirou’s salvation is for mankind to lose their selfishness? Okay. Whatever. Out from the Holy Grail, Shirou is now dressed like a shogun? Shirou and Gilles continue convincing Jeanne about their salvation of mankind. Till Gilles had to say Sieg’s death. Time to wake up. Speaking of Sieg, here he comes. She is sorry he had to come to see her even if it means ending in his death. Shirou offers her one last chance to join forces with him and save mankind. No more evil and people will stop suffering. Time for Sieg to give his 2 cents worth of opinion. Something about good can turn evil and making mistakes is not a sin but just sad. He might be weak but wants to strive to become someone others can be proud of. So touched that Jeanne cries. She rejects Shirou’s offer claiming his salvation doesn’t give strength to the struggle but only crushes it. Gilles is shocked this won’t bring him salvation after all the innocent kids he slew. She tells him there is no way to repent. Even if God forgives him, his victims will not. So just accept his punishment? Because if mankind becomes immortal, they lose faith in their own potential and life would be meaningless. They just merely exist in an unchanging world. I guess talk is over. Fight time. Gilles decides to fight by Jeanne’s side after she lets him hold her flag. Short thank you from Jeanne to Sieg about opening her eyes before she powers up. Gilles defend her till his death while she prays when Shirou attacks. Although the fire blast damages part of the Holy Grail, Jeanne has taken too much damage and ‘dies’. Now Sieg is mad. Revenge? Astolfo comes to his aid but Semiramis holds her down powerfully with Shirou’s Command Spell. Now for a sword fight. With magic. Sieg amazingly is able to keep up and fight like a madman. As though he is like a Servant but maintains his own character. Caules realizes Sieg is displaying abilities of Frankenstein. When she died in the blast, it seemed she transferred her powers to Sieg who was caught in it. She has been fighting with them all along. Shirou might have stabbed Sieg but he unleashes a similar suicidal Noble Phantasm like Frankenstein.

Episode 25
Shirou wakes up on Semiramis’ lap. He is still dying, though. He wonders if she is mad for losing. She forgives him as she has lost as well. She wants to know if he succeeded, how he would have gotten away with tricking her. Well, if apologizing won’t work, he would give his life to her. Semiramis kisses him as her gift. After he dies, Semiramis disappears and Babylon dramatically collapses. Sieg and Astolfo are inside the Holy Grail. The priestess confirms them as the final Master and Servant, hence wining the Holy Grail War. Sieg’s wish is to undo Shirou’s wish. Sorry, no can do. Shirou has used most of its resources for that. The result will soon spread to the whole world in which mankind becomes immortal but lose their curiosity and be bound to the land. So much for granting wishes. So what can it grant? Sieg notices his hand has turned into of a dragon after all his Command Spells are used. He has a wish that the Holy Grail has enough power to grant. Astolfo is against this since it is a fate worse than dying. This is not the reason why he saved him. But it’s his wish. As his last order, he wants him to live in his stead and help others in need. Astolfo rides furiously as he takes Caules and Leticia out. Shakespeare is madly and happily writing until the entire Babylon crumbles. He calls it a happy ending. A dragon carries the Holy Grail. It is Sieg who used the Holy Grail to transform himself into one. As the Holy Grail has created immortality, he will take it to where it is not needed on the other side of the world where people cannot reach. Only the evil dragon Fafnir can do that. In the aftermath, Caules joins the Mage Association. They would have banished him for carrying the Yggdmillennia bloodline but I guess it’s not the time to fight after what happened. Uh huh. This incident put a scar on their reputation. Astolfo parts with Leticia and then sets off to see the world. Epilogue shows Jeanne finally finds Sieg the dragon. Touching him turns him back to his human form. She won’t leave him anymore and they will begin a new journey together. Before they leave, she confesses she loves him.

Fake/Apostasy Appall-Crap-Haha
So many mind boggling questions for the last episode. First, how can the Holy Grail claim Sieg and Astolfo are the last Master and Servant left? Wasn’t Shakespeare still around? If you mean last Master AND Servant together, yeah okay, maybe. But still, that is like breaking the rules, right? You need to be the last one standing to earn the right to wish upon the Holy Grail, no? And if Shakespeare’s Master is Shirou, why is he taking him so long to disappear? Shouldn’t he vanish in about a few seconds after Shirou died? How can Astolfo who is a Servant remain in this world if his Master is gone? Okay, technically he is a dragon but that’s not really him, right? Right?! Even so, that Holy Grail War has ended so Astolfo should go back to his era too? Why does he have the right to stay here? Master’s orders? I didn’t know that overrules the rules of the Holy Grail War. And what’s with this lame ass dragon transforming to hide the Holy Grail somewhere? You mean in another world or dimension? And now that Jeanne touched him and he turned back into a homunculus, who the f*ck is going to watch over the Holy Grail? If you’re saying that nobody will ever reach this place so why the f*ck was he guarding it in the first place? Besides, doesn’t the dragon look like he is sleeping on the job? Could he have just left it there and flown off? Oh right. Then Jeanne wouldn’t find him and they would forever keep missing each other and we won’t have that cheesy ‘romantic’ ending. Somehow I feel that spoilt the general vibe of the series although I was expecting it somewhere but not like this.

Generally if you look at the whole story, it is basically almost the same as in all Fate stories. At least the ones that I know (the adapted animes that I have seen, that is). The Holy Grail is the only device that could make your dreams come true the fastest way and in exchange for that, everyone coveting that cup must fight a battle royale until one is left standing. This spin-off is no different although the presentation and the storyline that goes about it is presented in a different way.

It starts off with the anticipated and usual Red Faction versus Black Faction. Pretty standard. But knowing this series has more than 2 dozen episodes, you will definitely know that something is up. There will be twists along the way. I mean, you really want to drag out the fight between both factions right till the end? Hey, this isn’t Dragonball series!!! Halfway through we see the breakdown of the Factions and both sides have their reservations that blurs the lines. While that is a good change in direction, somehow I feel that the mini arc of Black Assassin before the final showdown feels a bit of a diversion. I felt it could have been done without it because had Jack been a normally summoned Servant and part of the Yggdmillennia family, it would have been boring. With Jack being the wildcard, she is like the unknown variable that could spring some surprise. But personally I don’t find it surprising and like I said, a distraction. Unless it was to give Atalanta a reason to be mad (because you need a reason to take down a Servant instead of a mindless death in battle) as well as opening Sieg’s eyes about the cruelty of the world. I know he was just born a few days ago but could he have guessed if he is fighting this war? Sure, no innocent civilians were harmed so I guess that was the turning point.

Curiously I tried to find out why this alternate storyline is called Apocrypha. Thanks to my lazy Google ability and lack of interest in the series, I just search the meaning of the word and formed my own theory-cum-conclusion. Apocrypha means writings that have unknown or doubtful origins and is used to refer to Biblical texts. As this Fate spin-off isn’t from the actual timeline, hence this alternate setting could be one of those unrecorded and unidentified stories. You can say it is like a standalone. Thus there could be many other unrecorded stories and spin-offs of the Fate series that we are unaware of if you go by this theory. Uh huh. If the authors and creators decided to milk more money and don’t have anything fresh and new, they can just turn a what-if scenario and make it into a spin-off. It is after all might not be canon. And then it can also give hardcore paranoid fans to list down more conspiracy theories and how it all links. Not that I care anyway. On a side note to ponder, since the Apocrypha word popped up big and obvious in the final scene of the last episode, could it be that of everything that happened in the series, only Jeanne’s confession for Sieg is apocryphal?

From the promotional posters to the opening and ending credits, it is quickly established that the main stars for this series would be Jeanne and Sieg. I find it odd that despite this is an alternative setting, war still needs some sort of a ‘referee’. I mean, come on. This is a war so what the hell is the need to ensure there is balance on both sides? Because if both sides have the same power and tactic, it would end in a stalemate. A war is one by a side because of superior power, numbers or tactic so why again do you need a Ruler class here? Sure, this isn’t exactly a cruel war and one big tournament if you want to go so far as to look at it that way but still, having somebody to balance the fight just seems odd. I mean, this isn’t like a boxing match if your opponent tries to hit you below the belt, the referee steps in to stop. So Jeanne’s class here feels more like the referee in WWE… I guess since this is the Fate series, the main hero would always be someone who looks like Saber. That is why Jeanne is designed very closely to that. And since Sieg is technically living because of Siegfried the Saber class, there you have it, both technically Saber related main characters.

For Sieg, it is funny that a homunculus is trying to be more human than most humans themselves. And he is only a few days old. I suppose we were all once like Sieg when we were younger. We thought and wished for the world to be better place but as it turns out, it is still a sh*tty and hell place to live. That’s the meaning of life. So this brings to me the case of Shirou’s salvation. Time and time again when such good versus evil concept is brought up, the villain’s twisted answer to save mankind via such method is frowned upon despite it looks good theoretically. Maybe I’m an adult, that’s why I seem to connect more to what Shirou wants to save mankind than Jeanne and Sieg’s version. Sure, everyone might be some lifeless robot who is happy. No evil so technically no good as well. But if you’re living in such bliss, what that all matter? I mean, ‘good guys’ tend to believe that the current state of the world because it is evil, there is hope, we can grow to overcome it, blah, blah, blah, sounds more like they want people to suffer because that makes human, human. That kind of logic does not resonate with me nowadays. To them, that is not living. So are they the big sadists? Is living much sweeter after overcoming your sufferings? Maybe for you and a few lucky people. But for the many others who are not so lucky (Jack and those innocent children), I think they would just tell the world to f*ck off. Can we all just be happy and not sad? Not this way according to the logic of heroes.

Oddly, there seems to be small hints of Jeanne and Sieg hitting off as a couple. Because we lack Shirou x Saber (or Rin or Sakura, depending on who you support), hence we need that kind of romance too in this alternate timeline. I know it would look weird if a Ruler and a homunculus would get together and just date. Sometimes when the series gets to such scenes, sometimes I just find it cheesy. Because you know, Jeanne’s stance over loving everyone equally as well as Sieg not really being a human so it’s not like he totally understands the concept of love. But then again, most of us humans don’t either. So was the final scene some sort of salvation in this sense? Like I said, it did ruined a little the enjoyment as the series comes to a close. I mean, almost everybody’s dead or gone, might as well reunite the lost lovers.

Shirou certainly looks cool and badass compared to the Shirou in the original Fate timeline. Who could forget that hilarious and dumb people-die-when-they-are-killed line that became such a meme and joke. But the Red Faction which is supposedly the ‘good guys’ look more like a bunch of baddies because of Shirou disabling other Masters who are so sad that they couldn’t even get 10 seconds worth of screen time unless they are unconscious. Like as though Shirou is the dictator and commands the rest of his Red Faction’s Servants. On the other hand, the Yggdmillennia clan is supposed to be the ‘bad guy’ as they stole the Holy Grail decades ago but they look more organized. It isn’t any surprise since they are a military clan. And then they got just desserts when they got the Holy Grail stolen from them. So he waited 60 years for this to save mankind and it is all for naught? Well, it shows that mankind cannot be saved. Sad… Now I know why Jesus never made his second coming.

Commenting on some of the Servants, let me start off with some of them not really displaying their abilities in the class that they are supposed to be summoned in. The obvious offender in this category is Semiramis. She is supposed to be the Assassin class but yet display so much more abilities as a Caster. Then there is also Achilles who is supposed to be Rider but he prefers fighting with his lancer. Doesn’t that make him a Lancer class? Karna doesn’t feel like Lancer class though although he does fight with his ‘lance’ but because as the Hindi Sun God, we often see him using his flames in battle.

Because Arthur was turned into a woman in the Fate series, I expect that some of the Servants would have a gender swap too. Like Frankenstein. Now we have a sexy version of that monster. It is the same case to for Astolfo but something was very off. My guts were tingling that Astolfo might not be a woman. The paladin of Charlemagne sounds so girly and acts like one so there is a high chance this character might be a girl. Heck, there was one time Astolfo was wearing casual clothes and it is for ladies. Even if the character is so flat chested, so much more other anime female characters are also like that. Don’t judge and anime gender by the size of the chest! So Astolfo had to be a woman, right? My guts still tingling. And then that shower scene confirms he isn’t otherwise. I guess all you Astolfo fans who fapped to him thinking he was a she and now this, you must be so disappointed. It could be that Astolfo is just a cross-dresser…

Mordred as the Saber class feels like a delinquent version of the Saber we know in the original Fate series. Because Saber classes are like the main heroes, I always had this thought that Mordred would also be something like this. But she turns out to be a wildcard of the Red Faction instead. I didn’t see it coming that she and Shishigou aren’t the last ones standing. It feels like they are extras and their non-compliance and being solo from Shirou’s groupie makes them feel so. Siegfried who is of Saber class strangely becomes the first Servant to die but so as not to make him a waste, hence he lives inside Sieg and is called out whenever the time needs him to be. Imagine a Saber class who is an all-rounder to go out first. While it is not impossible but it is certainly weird because this is supposed to be the most coveted class by all Mages and being just that just shows the Master’s incompetency. Isn’t that why fatso Gordes got him? I also thought Darnic and Vlad would be the final boss but they only made it halfway. They sounded so important but I guess when Shirou ramps up his badass and goal, he becomes the new antagonist.

As mentioned, Jack feels more like a distraction since she was not part of the Black Faction’s line-up and serves to add some sort of variety and spice to the story. It would be just boring if the Yggdmillennia had all their Servants summoned in nice fashion order. The most ‘useless’ Servant award goes to Shakespeare who just wants to watch and witness the play unfold before his eyes. Sure, he had a role in the final battle but even that he wasn’t really even fighting. But it would be just odd to see a playwright having fighting abilities. Shakespeare kicking ass or slashing with a sword? No way, man. The ‘saddest’ Servant goes to Spartacus because not only he went berserk (living up to his class’ name), I feel he has the shortest amount of screen time compared to other Servants. He came in, got mind controlled to the other side and then died. Like as though they needed some big bang and explosion of this series. Oh, speaking of this…

Talking about the action parts, it still does not disappoint. They are quite good to watch but I tend to notice that in order to make the battles so powerful and epic, there are lots of explosions. Big huge explosions that if your bass and subwoofer audio was set on to maximum, there would be aftershocks and you might even feel the vibration shaking the floor. Mine was set at a decent mid-level and I could already hear and feel its effects. Who knows if it was set to maximum would my house collapse? Would my neighbourhood think it is some earthquake? But yeah, lots of explosions as proof that the clash is so epic. This is what happens when powerful power crash into each other. Literally, crash boom bang.

Next I want to mention about the artwork and animation. Unlike the other Fate series remake, this one is not made by Ufotable but A-1 Pictures (Ao No Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, Nanatsu No Taziai, Kuroshitsuji and OreImo). Although the artwork is still fine but it is not as grandeur as Ufotable. But I noticed this one has a drop in quality especially during fight scenes that are fast and furious. Like as though they were doing a rushed job and because this fighting scene is rapid and swift, they are counting on viewers not to notice it. And even if they do, they are hoping we will shrug it is off as because everything is so fast that it looks like lines but should be thankful that everything isn’t just simple lines. Well, I think that isn’t a good excuse, assuming that was the reason behind it.

Voice acting feels fine with some recognizable ones like Natsuki Hanae as Sieg, Miyuki Sawashiro as Mordred, Koji Yusa as Karna, Nobuyuki Hiyama as Darnic, Junichi Suwabe as Siegfried and Mai Nakahara as Reika. But the most surprising one to me was Saori Hayami as Atalanta. Never throughout the entire series did I realize it was her! She sounded totally different than how I usually knew her that I was having a hard time believing if it was her. Even trying to hear her dialogues again I wasn’t 100% sure. The other surprising one is Ai Nonaka as Frankenstein. It has been a long time I haven’t heard from her as I thought she has retired. Of course, Frankenstein didn’t have proper lines in the series and had only screams and groans that makes her sound like some retard until her final moments. I once thought Aki Toyosaki was behind Fiore but something was off. She wasn’t. Fiore is voiced by Chinatsu Akasaki (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby) and from my past experience, her voice resembles closely to Aki Toyosaki.

The other casts are Maaya Sakamoto as Jeanne/Leticia (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kouki Uchiyama as Shirou (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Rumi Okubo as Astolfo (Aguri in Gamers), Kei Shindou as Semiramis (Kuro in Kodomo No Jikan), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Chiron (Yamato in Nanbaka), Makoto Furukawa as Achilles (Banri in Golden Time), Kenji Nomura as Shishigou (Kugayama in Genshiken), Tetsu Inada as Shakespeare (Gamagori in Kill La Kill), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Caules (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu), Ryotaro Okiayu as Vlad (Byakuya in Bleach), Mitsuru Miyamoto as Avicebron (Steven in Kekkai Sensen), Emiri Katou as Roche (Aura in Overlord), Sakura Tange as Jack (titular character in Cardcaptor Sakura), Toru Ohkawa as Gordes (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist), Shizuka Ishigami as Celenike (Mito in Shokugeki No Souma) and Satoshi Tsuruoka doubling as Spartacus and Gilles (Caster in Fate/Zero).

The first opening theme, Eiyuu Unmei No Uta by Egoist tries to sound epic and all but I just find it as weird. I don’t know, it sounds like the singer sounds a bit off key while singing. It doesn’t match with the choir voices in the background and in fact it clashes and makes it sound a bit like cacophony. Ash by Lisa as the first ending theme is my favourite among all the themes. The tune and pacing are to my liking and makes it quite fitting as an epic ending theme. Come the second opening theme, Desir by Garnidelia turns into an anime rock and it gets weirder for the second ending theme, Koe by Asca. Its beginning has short bursts of the violin play and the rest of the song feels like it is fitting for a drama filled anime instead.

Overall, this might not be the best Fate series I have ever seen but it is still quite a good watch and a different as well as refreshing if you are tired of the usual characters from Fate (the orphaned Shirou and the Arthur’s Saber, that is). If you are not into the convoluted Fate lore and stories, perhaps the action bits would be enough to satisfy you. When you compare this spin-off to the might original Fate series, considering the awesome Fate/Zero and the Unlimited Blade Works TV reproduction, this of course falls short of all expectations especially to hardcore fans of the series. So maybe that is why this was better left off as an apocryphal version. Dubious, unknown, not canon that would spoil the original fun. If fans were in this timeline of this series, they would have wished for the Holy Grail to save this series instead of mankind. Yeah, I think it’s better to have our people-die-when-they-are-killed Shirou version.

So awesome the prequel that I guess that had to remake the TV series again. Yes indeed. Fate/Zero was just mind blowing and epic that another remake was in order. However they are not going to redo the original Fate/Stay Night series that debuted back in 2006. In fact, the remake is the Unlimited Blade Works movie. Therefore this remake is actually Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and follows the route of this version. Hmm… Something was wrong with the movie that they felt the need to redo it again? As I found out, the original Fate series and movie were done by Studio Deen. Fans of the series didn’t like the ‘poor’ quality that it was adapted. Well, when you consider how superb was Fate/Zero, everything before that pales in comparison. Making it even horrendous was the fact that the UBW movie was a very condensed version of the route and thus the many disappointments and the disappointed. Thus when a new studio, Ufotable took over the production of this series and made the prequel fabulous, it was time to do some justice to that UBW movie and thus the expansion and the need for this TV series. Either way, I know it is going to be just awesome. I know. I can feel it.

Episode 0
In this hour long prologue, if you’re a fan of Rin and Archer, this is your episode. Rin goes to school one morning as she notices the clocks are an hour fast. No wonder the school is void of students. It’s an hour early! She notices this happened after she found her father’s pendant. She meets Mitsuzuri from the archery and then later that douche bag Shinji tries to flirt with her but she just tells him off and this pissed him off (he deserved it). Then she notices Shirou helping Issei to fix some heater. Coming home from school, Kirei left a message on her phone in hopes that she would participate in the upcoming Holy Grail war but she’s not really thrilled to hear his voice. In her father’s basement, she is set for the summoning ritual. She does what is needed and a loud crash is heard from her living room. To her disappointment, it wasn’t Saber she had hoped to summon but Archer. However Archer is not amused that a mere child is his Master and just tells her not to get in the way of his fight. Rin is upset that she is looked down so she uses a Command Spell to order him to listen to her every word. Archer is impressed by her tenacity and agrees to serve her loyally. As for the Command Spell, it is wasted since her command was too vague. At least she has 2 more… Rin wants to know Archer’s true form to formulate strategies but unfortunately he is a bit amnesiac. Archer thought Rin is ready to get down to business but the first thing she tells him to do is clean up the mess he made. I guess Rin overslept so much so Archer has taken the liberty to even make her breakfast! Surprisingly good? Rin decides to show Archer around the city before they make their important contract.

They arrive at an abandoned park where the last Holy Grail war had taken place. There is also a little talk on some of the terms like Heroic Spirits for the uninitiated but those who are familiar don’t need to even bother about this. They sense somebody watching them but they cannot detect who. They then have a bird’s eye view of the city. Archer asks about her wish for winning the Holy Grail but she doesn’t have any. She’s participating and winning it as it is her family’s dream. Archer also asks if there are other mages in the vicinity. Rin notes there is one family but they are a shadow of their former selves and do not even possess sufficient mana to become a Master. That night, Rin discovers there are several insignias placed around the school grounds. This is dangerous because if activated, it will harvest all the souls within the field. For a person doing this, it could mean that person is trying to summon a Servant. They realize Lancer was watching them and this leads to the much awaited fight between Archer and Lancer. Their fight is interrupted (thus saving Archer’s life when Lancer is about to use his Noble Phantasm) when they realize there was a student still on site and has witnessed this. Lancer races to catch him and to eliminate the witness. By the time Rin catches up, that student is already lying in his pool of blood. She orders Archer to tail Lancer to at least find out about his master. She is overcome with guilt over this innocent student’s death. But there is a way she can still save him. She uses her father’s pendant. Later back at her home, Archer reports his failure to follow Lancer. But now the thought if Lancer’s Master learns the witness is still alive, will he not send Lancer back to kill him? They rush back and Rin is not going to allow her hard work of revival go to waste. When they arrive, they see before them is Saber.

Episode 1
The proper series begin but also another hour long. This time the events are set in the same time as the prologue but from Shirou’s side. We see his daily morning life, Sakura always comes over to cook for him and Fujimura (who is also his landlord). Shirou as we know is such a good guy who doesn’t know how to say no because he takes up small job requests to fix things like the spoiled heater. He still has nightmares over what happened to Fuyuki City 10 years ago and continues to ponder how to become a hero of justice. When he notices Sakura’s bruises, Shirou believes Shinji must have abused her again although she denies it. He hears more about that douche bag about his temper in the archery club, taking it out on newbies. When Shirou visits the archery club, he is attacked by a club member who mistakes him as Shinji. She apologizes after realizing he is the guy who fixes things for free. How the heck could she mistake that jerk with this guy? On the way back, he passes by a house that has been cordoned off by the police. There has been a murder and the entire family except the youngest child was killed. This reminds him how Kiritsugu adopted him right after that devastating incident. That is why he hates it when people tried so hard to save others but to only die in the end. Is he selfish to wish from everyone to be happy with smiles? Even more frustrating was Kiritsugu once said that one cannot save everybody. Shirou believes salvation isn’t limited to certain people.

Sakura requests to take time off and won’t be coming to make Shirou breakfast. I think she’s going to need it. At school, Shirou sees Shinji flirting with a couple of girls. He wants to talk to her about Sakura. Not interested. And since Shinji thinks he is falsely accusing him and then retracted his statement, how about making it up by cleaning up the dojo. I mean, he likes to help out, right? Yeah, it’s Shinji’s turn to clean but he rather go flirt and leave the dirty job to this good Samaritan. And this guy really cleaned the entire dojo! Sparkling clean, man! It is already night time by the time he finishes. That is when he heard some clashing sounds in the school yard. He takes a peek and is shocked to see super characters fighting. That is when he is discovered. He makes a run for it but Lancer finds him and stabs him in the heart. After being resurrected by Rin, he is surprised to find himself still alive although very much in a daze. He goes home thinking he could rest but he narrowly avoided Lancer’s attack. He tries to fight back but despite pulling up a surprise tactic, it is still weak and definitely no match for Lancer. He runs to his shed and I’m not sure what kind of ritual he did or maybe it was just all coincidence that everything was in the right place. Saber is summoned. Saber fights Lancer as the latter uses his Noble Phantasm move. Luckily for Saber, she managed to escape with her life. For Lancer, that move has to end with a kill and since it did not, he takes his leave. Shirou is still confused what is happening so Saber goes to hunt down Lancer. This is when she comes into Archer and starts fighting. Shirou wants her to stop and accidentally uses his Command Spell, irking Saber very much. Rin is surprised to see Shirou but greets him as a start.

Episode 2
Rin uses her magic to repair Shirou’s house and is impressed he fought off Lancer before summoning Saber. Then she explains to him about the Holy Grail war, the Master, Servants and all the other terms that veterans would have known by heart. But for further explanation, she takes him to go see Kirei at the church. Kirei is somewhat surprised but delighted to hear Shirou’s name. The kid is not interested in this fight but it seems yielding his Master status is not as simple as walking away. Shirou has lots of questions about the Holy Grail and Kirei has his answers though it is hardly anything satisfying. Like how all the Masters fight but it is the Holy Grail that chooses who wins. So I guess there is no sharing business of the cup. Although it is not in the rules that one doesn’t have to kill another Master, but when a Master is killed, the Servant vanishes. This is of course the fastest way. Also as Master loses his status if all his Command Spells are used. Shirou would love to use them all up right now but Kirei calls him a coward if he does so. But if he wishes to do so, so be it. After that, Shirou will be sheltered under his protection in the church as this is part of his job to oversee the war. Shirou learns this is not the first Holy Grail war and since the cup can grant any wish, what happens if it falls into the wrong hands? The only way is for him to win it himself to avoid it being fallen into such evil. Still not convinced? How about this. Did you know that the last Holy Grail war was the reason Fuyuki City burnt down? That convinced you? Kirei adds about the previous winner who thought he could summon the Holy Grail without fighting but that foolishness made it incomplete. Therefore obtaining the Holy Grail is meaningless till you settle things with other Masters. Shirou agrees to fight in this war and then confirms with Saber to be her Master in which she swears her loyalty to him. Now that Shirou is in the game, won’t that make him and Rin enemies? Well, she’s giving some reason about repaying her debt. Some sort of ceasefire between them for the next 24 hours. Why don’t you just admit being tsundere? However before them is Ilya and her Berserker.

Episode 3
No magical girl Ilya here. Yup. After 3 seasons of magical girl loli and a prequel that she had almost close to zero screen time, it’s hard to get used to seeing the original cruel bloodthirsty Ilya. She sends her Berserker to crush them and while Saber engages in close combat, Archer provides artillery support as he is stationed from a building block in the city. No matter what moves they pull, Berserker is like an immortal! You can’t kill him! Not even a scratch! Even more shocking is how he can move fast and agile! Was he supposed to be a tank character? Isn’t this like cheating? Big strong guy who is fast and invincible and can adapt fighting without his cleaver. Like the final last boss you can never defeat! Shirou gets mad that Saber is fighting Berserker herself (because they pledged to fight together). Oh really? You mean you can fight that hulk? Sure you won’t get in the way? Rin tries to sneak attack on Ilya but she’s ready for him. Her tricks didn’t work and this disappoints Ilya that this is all she’s got. Rin could have died had not Archer supported her. Then she bumps into Shirou and takes it out on him. Why so mad? She saved his life and he is willing to throw it away like that? Why does she care? Oh, she has a lot to care. Yeah, I know… They see Saber continue to take on Berserker at the cemetery. This is part of Saber’s plan because fighting in the open without any cover is like suicide. However at a place like this, she cannot count on any support from Archer. Like his arrows would deal any permanent damage anyway. Saber uses her Noble Phantasm to kill Berserker but oh look, he resurrects! Did he have a cheat code on?! Shirou senses Archer is going to use some awesome arrow so he takes Saber to run for cover. That arrow causes a fiery mini atomic bomb explosion in the area!!!!!!! Of course Berserker survives it and without a scratch. Ilya calls it a day and for Berserker to return. Seems she is quite interested in Archer now and would let them live. She thought of getting the boring ones out of the picture first but now her plans have changed. See you next time. Maybe all that excitement has made Shirou starting to vomit blood…

Episode 4
Ilya’s maids are not impressed she did not kill her opponents even after risking Berserker to show his Noble Phantasm. Don’t worry. Berserker’s Noble Phantasm cannot be destroyed. Besides, she wants to make Shirou suffer like Kiritsugu. Thanks to Shirou’s fast healing, his wounds are gone. Rin continues to give Shirou a free pass to live simply because it’s not her policy to kill somebody sleeping and that she didn’t feel like it. Whatever. Shirou talks to Saber and he learns about identities of Servants and why they must be kept hidden because once it is known, it becomes their weakness. The same case for their Noble Phantasm. Because Shirou is not an experienced mage, others may read his mind so Saber cannot tell him her true identity. He is fine with that. When Shirou is made to bring Fujimura her lunch, Saber wanders around the school and it looks like something tense is brewing when she sees Kuzuki. Luckily Shirou finds her. Saber sensed something different about that teacher but nothing to be alarmed about. Imagine Fujimura and Sakura’s surprise when Shirou says Saber is staying at his place. Sakura asks Fujimura if she will allow it. She okays it and considers it as home stay. Oh, Sakura… Even more so when Shirou hopes they can get along. Oh, Sakura… Meanwhile, Rin and Archer are destroying skeleton familiars. They uncover a room filled with poison gas and believe the culprit is a woman and the Servant is Caster. With the recent coma cases, they deduce the flow is originating from Ryuudou Temple. Rin wants to put an end to this before Caster flees so Archer notes she tends to choose the hardest battle and ignore the easiest ones. Yeah, she is giving excuses that she can take out Shirou any time and ignoring him as long as he stays hidden in his home. So what if he decides to become a real Master and kill her? Then she’ll kill him. Yeah? Can she?

Episode 5
Shirou manages to convince Saber to stay home and replenish her mana instead of following him to school every day. He then hears from Issei that Mitsuzuri didn’t come home after yesterday’s practice. A witness saw Shinji was the last person who talked to her but Shinji is absent today and they can’t get a hold of him. Sakura couldn’t give any definite answers as she rarely sees her brother these days. With the recent events, all club activities after school are cancelled and students are to go home. But Shirou decides to play detective. Rin confronts him and is not amused at how big his idiocy can get. He is walking around without a Servant like as though he is having a death wish. Unable to tolerate all that, Rin is now going to kill him. Not feeling tsundere today? Or has she turned yandere?! Shirou escapes her magic attacks but before she could kill him, they hear a girl’s scream. They find her unconscious and drained of her blood. As Rin tries to heal her, Shirou felt something bad. A target meant to strike Rin, Shirou uses his hand to block! It’s bleeding like mad but he decides to go play hero and go after the culprit. In the woods he is confronted with Rider. She traps him but before she could finish him off, Rin comes to his rescue and Rider flees. With what has happened, Shirou has the guts to ask Rin if she wants to continue their match. Let’s end it here for today. She treats him back at her home. They talk about that girl who almost became a Master’s victim to strengthen his Servant. Rin suggests calling a truce because she wants to deal with other Masters first. Good idea. We’re tired of hearing her giving tsundere excuses not to kill him. When Shirou casually reveals his magic arts, Rin is not pleased to hear such information because a mage will always try to hide it. Shirou’s views are different especially when he starts talking about his father who is a real deal mage. Rin has her views too but believes Shirou’s late dad puts his role more of a father first instead of being a mage.

Episode 6
Rin orders Archer to escort Shirou home although the latter is not too thrilled about it. He also learns that Archer does not covet the Holy Grail. That may just be peculiar to Saber for Servants have no free will and are just tools. Shirou is relieved that Mitsuzuri is found though in a daze. Since it is getting dangerous late at night, he wants Sakura to stay here for the time being. Shirou talks to Saber about the truce with Rin till the Master at his school is discovered. Saber helps train him for hands on combat. When Shirou talks to Rin, he discovers an insignia hidden in the bookshelf. They go around deactivating it. Before Shirou goes home, he is confronted by Shinji who claims he was the one who put those insignias for insurance. He wants Shirou to team up with him but of course he refuses. Because Sakura is staying at this place, Shirou promises he won’t rat out to others about this conversation. Threads tangle Shirou as he sleeps. He wakes up from a weird dream only to realize he is now in Ryuudou Temple. Caster has caught him and is not going to kill him right away. She is going to extract all his mana via removing his Command Spells so she can implant them on her Master. She admits she is the one behind the cases of people fainting as she was testing out this extracting move and building up her mana. Saber senses Shirou in danger and makes her way but at the gates of the temple she is confronted with Assassin. He does not hesitate to reveal his identity. He stops her from reciprocating as his blade will tell him all he needs to know of his enemy. If she wants to pass, then force her way. Before Shirou is dead meat, Archer sets him free. Now be wary the wrath of a furious woman.

Episode 7
Shirou and Archer are shocked to hear Caster revealing Assassin is her Servant since this is somewhat like breaking the rules. Then Archer and Caster start their fight. Shirou being the useless derp almost gets killed when Caster targets him and Archer has to save his ass again. Their fight continues and it ends when Archer uses his mighty arrow technique that pierces through her barrier and blasts her out of the sky. Saber is puzzled that she cannot break through Assassin’s defence despite his weaker physique. As Assassin has sensed things are not going well for his Master, he is going to use his special move. A move so fast that it cuts Saber down. Fortunately she survives this fatal blow. Caster is healing from her wounds and wonders why Archer spared her life. He was just testing her and that his objective was Shirou? Caster finds them interesting and alike although they vehemently disagree. She wants them to ally with her but they of course refuse. Archer would like this match to be called a draw since he is here on his volition and Rin did not send him so he has no reason to kill her. After she leaves, Shirou is mad Archer let her escape. Even more shocking, Archer wants Caster to continue what she is doing by reaping the mana from innocent people. She is doing this so she could defeat Berserker. Once done, Archer will take care of her. Shirou will never agree to this plan to sacrifice others but as Archer drills the harsh reality to him, if Caster wins, it would be more than this city that will suffer. Thus his logic is to keep that sacrifice minimum and sacrifice only this city. This does not bode well with Shirou because it reminds him of Kiritsugu’s words. Seeing only hypocrisy in Shirou, Archer strikes him down! Despite the bloody scene, Shirou still leaves and crawls his way out to the temple gates. Saber abandons the fight and catches him. Assassin allows them to let them go because he admires her loyalty to that inexperienced Master. Besides, it will be a waste to defeat her when she is not at her peak form. Saber is grateful and promises to settle this another day. Archer tries to strike them but Assassin defends them. While they fight, Saber and Shirou make their escape. As Saber patches up Shirou back him, he lets her know of Archer’s vile plan although Saber finds it funny he is speaking ill of somebody for the first time. She believes Archer is not a cruel person as seen from the purity of his technique with his fight with Assassin. Shirou wants Saber to help train him swordsmanship to fight and not just for exercise.

Episode 8
Shirou wakes up from a dream that he turned into a metal hedgehog! Actually, blades are piercing through his body. Although he makes improvement in his training, Saber is jealous he is basing his style on Archer instead of hers. The guys in school are surprised to see Rin waiting outside their class. And when she beckons Shirou, the ultimate shock. I know she’s tsundere but why is she acting like his girlfriend? At the rooftop, apparently Rin’s behaviour was because she had to use another Command Spell to stop Archer from killing him last night. Rin also learnt that Shinji is a Master and that he wanted to team up with her. Of course she turned him down and even cheekily said she already had Shirou. Rin won’t attack Shinji yet as he has no power as a Master. However she is shocked to hear when Shirou tells her he is the one who put up the insignias. Too late, Shinji has completed the ritual and now the school is under an evil barrier that is slowly sucking the life force out of the other students. As the undead golems are proving to be a pest, Shirou would like to return the favour and now uses his Command Spell to summon Saber. With quick lightning speed, she dismantles the horde. Shirou wants her to fight off the undead while the rest go to stop the magic source. Shinji gets cocky but when he sees someone approaching, he turns chicken and runs away while letting Rider handle the threat. Saber faces off with Rider but she soon realizes that it is Caster behind that façade. When Shirou and Rin find Shinji, he is cowering in fear in a corner. He insists this is not his fault. In the room, they see Rider dead! The barrier dissipates. Rin tries to force the face of the Rider’s killer out of Shinji. But that chicken sh*t guy believes he is no more a Master and thus they are the ones who should be afraid as they’ll be targeted. The students are still alive. Rin thinks of calling Kirei to handle things from here. Saber reports about fighting Caster. It proves she hasn’t left the temple. Rin is surprised Shirou is calm and can still think of the injured. It would have been impossible for her. It is no big deal to Shirou. He is used to seeing dead bodies. Why the shell shocked face, Rin?

Episode 9
Archer finally arrives when everything is over and since Rin didn’t like how he took his own sweet time, she still needs to fill him the details. He views Rider as weak and useless and this irks Saber who wants to challenge him to a fight. But they cool their heads and agree to investigate more and find Caster’s Master who is probably under the Servant’s influence. Back home, Saber wants to sleep close to Shirou after what has happened. He has no say. Despite just in the next room and a sliding door between them, I don’t know why Shirou finds it hard to sleep. Shinji runs to Kirei to seek refuge. Learning that he is the first Master to go out this way, he starts blaming everything especially the weak and useless Servant he was given. Kirei asks him if he still has the will to fight. Because he is lucky there is still one more Servant. When Shirou goes to school, Rin immediately grabs him. What’s with the moody mood? She believes Issei is Caster’s Master since he lives at the temple. As he doesn’t want her to do the investigation on him, he’ll do it. But he’s not going to ask him straight in the face, right? So how? Inside the room… Shirou tells Issei… To strip!!! OMG! This is just so gay wrong! Of course he feels violated but even if Shirou can’t find Command Spells on him, he can’t tell him why he did so. On the way home, Shirou spots Rin spying a distance outside Sakura’s house. She then forces him into hiding. They see a blonde guy standing outside her house. Rin wonders if this is the guy she saw Sakura talking to earlier (he was asking for directions). After he leaves, Shirou reports about his findings on Issei. She believes him since he is not the kind to lie. Rin then asks the odd question of a family member being given away for adoption without their consent. I think Shirou doesn’t understand the question well. So if that person is happy, then everything’s alright I suppose. Fujimura talks to Saber about Shirou’s childhood days and especially about Kiritsugu. This turns into a topic of why Shirou is obsessed in becoming a hero of justice. He can’t explain it well either. Is it because he is afraid of something? He just feels irritated remembering bits of this.

Episode 10
Rin dreams of how Archer became a Heroic Spirit. A lone survivor atop a hill with blades. Archer doesn’t think Shirou is a winnable material and thinks Caster would be a better person to team up. However Rin will not categorize herself the same with that monster. She will honour her pact with Shirou. Are you sure it isn’t about anything else? Shirou learns that Issei is close to Kuzuki and looks up to him like a big brother. When Rin eavesdrop that Kuzuki also lives at Ryuudou Temple, she wants to know if Kuzuki has been acting strange lately. He mentions that Kuzuki is going to get married soon as he introduced and brought his fiancée to live at the temple with him 2 weeks ago. Rin suspects Kuzuki as Caster’s Master and wants to test him. Late that night as they wait for him on his way back from school, Rin shoots a light magic burst at him. Caster protected him. Caster thought being out in the open was bad idea but Kuzuki thinks otherwise because they have caught their prey. Shirou then asks Kuzuki if he is being controlled by Caster. As an honourable man who would not condone to Caster’s doings, if he is under her control, he will only fight Caster. If so, this means he is equally a killer and would show no mercy. Although Kuzuki says this is the first time he heard of this, however what Caster does is none of his concern. Lives of other people do not matter to him. About this Holy Grail war, he will not participate in it and allows Caster to do whatever she wishes. Saber attacks Kuzuki but she is caught off guard by his punches infused with magic. It’s very damaging that it sends her flying and unconscious! Caster offer to deal with Saber and the Masters handle each other. Well, Rin got knocked out with a punch. Shirou is still standing after taking in a few. He has to. Otherwise Rin will die if he gets knocked out. Needing a cool weapon like Archer’s swords to fight, suddenly he materializes them with all his might. Saber revives and could have had Kuzuki’s head had not Caster saved him. Kuzuki wants to withdraw for now. Rin is baffled she never knew he had such magic. He admits he can do projection but it was so weak and empty Kiritsugu told him to focus on his fortification magic instead. Meanwhile Shinji happily meets the blonde, Gilgamesh as he has gotten another chance from Kirei to participate. He wants to team up to kill everybody and get his revenge on Shirou. But Gilgamesh tells him not to concern with other Masters if he truly wants the Holy Grail and there are other matters to attend to first. He reveals his wish for extravagant luxury but this world is overflowing with that and too much of it is sickening.

Episode 11
Shirou feels some pain through his body as he tries to hold it in. He starts noticing his left hand slightly numb. The school is abuzz because Kuzuki calls in sick. Rin makes a surprise visit to Shirou’s house since he forgot their usual meeting. He almost shut her out! Surprised to see her here? With Saber, they discuss about the possibility of Caster will self destruct and destroy the temple if cornered. Fujimura is shocked to see Rin here but Rin is slick enough to threaten her back so she shuts her mouth. Shirou continues to accidentally drop and break plates so they think he is tired and have him rest. Rin talks to Shirou about their different family lives as mages. Then she gets mad over his personality since he is considerate to everyone else except himself (WTF?). So does this mean she is staying at his place for the night? Don’t worry. She already got permission from Fujimura. Later Saber knows something about his left hand so he tells her about it and she thinks it might be the after effect of that projection. Archer is surprisingly here as he heard from Rin about his projection. He offers to see what he can do and as he analyzes his back, he detects nothing life threatening except that when he did the projection he opened something that was closed. With mana suddenly flooding his circuits he never used, it sends them into a state of shock, thus the numbness. He puts in some mana to recover him. He knows a lot since he had a similar experience himself. Shirou questions his ideals so he explains about Shirou’s worthless ideal to save everyone is just fantasy. Saving others is not true salvation. Since he has no desire to save himself, he will repeat that cycle till he dies, clinging on to ideals that aren’t his. In the end, he can neither save others or himself. Shirou still thinks that is wrong.

Episode 12
Another hour long episode. Your ears are not deceiving you when Rin wants to go out with Shirou! She tells him straight they’re going out on a date! Fujimura’s not shocked or anything. Because she too has a date herself! Actually that is paying a visit to Kiritsugu’s grave. Shirou is being like a douche trying to rephrase that he’s just accompanying her. Can you be just as cool like Saber? Though she’s just following them as their bodyguard. Nice fund date outing. Rin isn’t a parasite and has made sandwiches for lunch. So that explains the mystery of the missing bread from Shirou’s pantry. Though he could have just stopped there and not comment unnecessary about his thoughts that he thought she ate them as midnight snack. As they take the bus back, they feel something strange. There is no bus driver and the bridge falls apart. Though safe from the crash, they realize they are sealed in a barrier made by Caster. She has water golems attack them. How do you cut water anyway? They cannot make any rash moves because Caster has Fujimura as hostage. She makes Shirou an offer. Work under him and she’ll release her. Refuse of course. Rin is surprised to hear Shirou’s past an as an adopted son of Kiritsugu and thus Caster’s deduction he hates the Holy Grail, which in turn why he wants to claim it as compensation. In fact, she claims she can summon the Holy Grail right now and it is not necessary to have a Servant left. Therefore Shirou can avoid all the fighting he is against. However he still refuses to team up with her and wants Fujimura released. In that case, she will have his Command Spell. This will strip him of his Master status. Shirou is willing to have his hand ripped just to save Fujimura’s life. Saber and Rin cannot standby any longer and attack. However Shirou uses his Command Spell to stop Saber and in this moment, Caster uses her Noble Phantasm that negates all magic to stab her. Command Spells now appear on Caster’s hand and Saber is now her Servant. Caster orders reluctant Saber to kill Rin. Thankfully Archer finally breaks through the barrier and lets them escape.

Back home, Rin discuses with Archer why he is rooting for Saber instead of Caster. They agree the need to defeat Caster as top priority. Fujimura is healthy and under a sleeping spell. No threats, though. Archer believes her pact with Shirou is over since he is no longer a Master but she doesn’t think so. Until he says the fight is over, the pact is still intact. Did she just shift the goalpost? Shirou stumbles out from bed in his weakened state. He sees the familiar pendant and realizes that it was Rin who resurrected his life. Now he falls into super guilt that this is a debt he can never repay. Caster tells Assassin to guard to temple gates and her Master while she is away. Because he says something about doing this behind her Master’s back and doing it in hopes her love will reach him, she rips apart his chest as warning! Seems Caster is going to find a new base now that she has Saber (thus not really needing Assassin anymore who is just insurance) and claiming her prize ahead of schedule. She goes to see Kuzuki at the church. He claims she is breaking the rules by appearing on this neutral ground that no Heroic Spirit should be. But she believes the rules have changed when she shows him her Command Spells and Saber as her Servant. As for the Holy Grail summoning thing, Caster said that single Servant remaining rule refers to the big Grail. It doesn’t apply to the lesser Grail which she wants now. Since he refuses, she sets her golems to attack him. He has got nice kung fu chops and his blades to save his skin but how long will this last? Weakened Shirou looks for Saber and he wants to save Saber. Rin tells him it doesn’t matter to him anymore as he is no longer a Master. Being the stubborn mule he is, she tells him straight that he is a wreck without Saber. Already powerless himself, how is he going to rescue Saber? No more Saber, no more Master, no reason for him to be involved in this war. Stay out or die. You think Shirou has always been a good listener?

Episode 13
Saber is being tied up at the chapel and trying to resist Caster’s will. Though it would be just a matter of time… Kuzuki discovers Caster’s doing and wants her to explain why she did this without his authority (I thought he gave her permission to do as she please?). From obtaining Saber from her master to attacking the church to get the Holy Grail but to no avail, long story short, it’s all for his sake. Anyhow, he doesn’t care how she did it but as long as he gets the results. Rin and Archer make their way to fight Caster. Rin will take on Caster and wants Archer to concentrate on Kuzuki. She believes this is the best strategy. Once they get Saber back, they can reform another pact with Shirou. So as they begin their fight, surprisingly Archer protects Kuzuki from Rin’s shots! What is the meaning of this? Archer knows Caster’s true identity as Princess Medea. He wants to form a pact with her. Of course this is for his own goal but Caster agrees to play into his hands and make him her Servant since she wouldn’t be much of a mage if she cannot control him. The Command Spells are forcefully taken from Rin. Kuzuki targets her. Shirou who has been watching all this jumps in to be a hero but I guess he is still recovering so he couldn’t put up much of a fight. Archer wants Caster to let them go just this once as condition for him to join her by his own will. Of course if they cross their paths next time, they’ll be dead meat. Archer doesn’t want Rin to be angry at him. After all, Caster is the superior Master than her now. Rin promises she won’t give up and will defeat Caster to take him back. Then he’ll regret it. Shirou tries to console her but I guess it only makes her cry. So now she blames him and wants him to take responsibility? By hearing her beating up herself the useless person she is and couldn’t get things done when it matters? Shirou returns the pendant since he has one similar to this that was left by his side when Lancer killed him. She wants to know the real reason why he saved her. The real truth… He likes her!!! Tsundere girl doesn’t believe it but it’s true! Believe it! Shirou admits he does have feelings for her!!! Wait, romance at this time?! I suppose it’s the only way to mend broken hearts. Still, she is grateful for saving him.

Episode 14
Shirou explains why he is fighting in this war. Although Rin still opposes his idea, she can’t say no since after he saved her. Plus, she knows better of his stubbornness. So they’re still partners? Hey, I thought they should be a couple! On a serious note, they think of aligning with other Masters. Since Ilya is the only one they know, they head to her villa in the forest. A flashback on Caster’s past. She was a Servant to some guy whose family is new to this mage thing so he is only participating to increase the family’s prestige. He demonstrates his research that he pours his money and time into by sacrificing fresh lives to create mana. But Caster saw this as inefficient and demonstrates with ease her power. Impressed but jealous, he uses his Command Spell never to use her Noble Phantasm on him. Later he goes to complain to Kirei about Caster as Medea and wants to switch Servants. He has a letter he wants Kirei to give to Lancer’s Master to dispose Caster. When he returns, his lab is all in flames. Caster has burnt it down. If he is willing to listen, she will bring him to a place where the Greater Grail is. He is not interested and uses his Command Spell to kill herself. Nothing happens. He uses it again. Nothing. Because Caster’s Noble Phantasm is nullifying magic, although she cannot use it on him, she used it on herself. Then she kills him via some illusion. Shortly, Lancer comes in to finish her. As she lies dying outside, that is when Kuzuki picks her up and hears her story. He agrees to be her vessel. Rin and Shirou are outside Ilya’s forest but it is laced with magic barrier traps. Ilya is not happy her maids opposed to bringing them in to talk so she tells them to go capture them instead. However Shinji drops in at the courtyard. Still full of himself and looking for Berserker, the maids scare him off but that is when Gilgamesh appears. Shinji is his Master. He gives them a chance to go away but they viewing him as the enemy and attack. They died a bloody death. Ilya bursts in with Berserker. Mad that her maids are killed, she orders Berserker to kill him. Gilgamesh relishes fighting this legendary battle to alleviate his boredom.

Episode 15
As the epic battle rages on, Ilya believes Berserker cannot lose for he is the strongest. Time to have her flashback. After events of Fate/Zero, Ilya was anticipating Kiritsugu’s return. However some evil spirit in Iri’s form told her he betrayed them all and died. Ilya was then brainwashed that Kiritsugu had a son and that they are able to kill each other in the next Holy Grail war. So she undergoes painful surgeries every day to install magic circuits in her body. She finds a pool where it lies dead maids. Ilya hates this war as they explain they are just tools to achieve the Holy Grail. Ilya is told that she is the fines creation the Einzbern made and cannot be replicated. For if she loses, the Einzbern will give up on this thousand year research and they will be freed from their obligations. Ilya grew up to be a cold loli, not even caring when Sella and Liz became her personal maids. Berserker is summoned and she views him just as a tool for the Holy War. She even thinks herself as enough to win it. She experiences pain while trying to make a contract with Berserker. Then she just abandons him and wanders into the snowy forest. Hungry wolves target her. Before she can become their meal, Berserker saves her. It is then she realizes he moved not because of the contract or this Master-Servant thingy. He protected her on his own will. Since then a bond formed between them. Back to the battle, Gilgamesh has killed Berserker enough that he is on his final life. He mocks the big guy he would have stand a chance had he forsaken his Master but Berserker continues protecting her. In the end, Berserker is trapped by Gilgamesh’s Chains of Heaven and stabbed to death. Heartless guy then blinds the loli and kills her outright. Shirou is extremely mad and wants to jump in but Rin is using all her might to shut him up. Gilgamesh almost gets a heart attack when Berserker breaks out and lunges at him. Gilgamesh’s defence saves him and kills the big guy. Now that Shirou can scream at the top of his voice, what is he going to do? What can he do?

Episode 16
Gilgamesh tears out Ilya’s heart just to make sure. Shinji is being a jerk in taunting Shirou and offering Rin to join his side. He gets rejected again so he wants Gilgamesh to kill them. However he won’t since they have run out of time. Any further and this heart prize will ruin. After burying Ilya, Rin chides Shirou for his twisted ideals and wants him to spill what happened 10 years ago because right now he is broken. You know that Kiritsugu saving him story. Then they talk about Gilgamesh whose every weapon is his Noble Phantasm. They get defensive when Lancer is here. But they start arguing for the other to take cover. Since when this is a lover’s quarrel? Rest assured, Lancer isn’t here to fight them but to team up with them to defeat Caster’s little army. I mean, who else is left to team up seeing Lancer’s Master even don’t want a douche like Shinji. Shirou still can’t trust him since he was almost killed twice but with Lancer waxing lyrical about Rin, Shirou agrees. But he has a condition for him to be trusted: Don’t make passes at Rin! OMG! Is it romance time now? Rin could just blow up in embarrassment right now! Archer talks to Kuzuki about Caster’s wish. Kuzuki knows it isn’t about freedom but to go home although she herself isn’t aware of it. Lancer and the kids make their plan to fight team Caster. Lancer is to face Archer and although there is the risk Lancer might fight 3 Servants, he knows Assassin won’t be at the church where the big battle will take place as he is bounded at Ryuudou Temple. Lancer is concerned if they can defeat Caster themselves. Rin believes she can blindside her. Now at the chapel gates, Archer stands before them. Lancer and Archer clash so the duo rush in. Rin takes this chance to say this pendant is the only one and was the one Archer returned to her on the day he died. That’s all she wants to say. What? No confession?

Episode 17
Caster asks Kuzuki why he doesn’t have any wish. Something about his past living like a robot despite having free will to choose what he does. Therefore it is strange to have something to wish for now. Now that Rin and Shirou have entered the scene, Rin tries to mock Caster’s lame fashion sense and such. Their ploy is to separate them but Kuzuki knows it well and is not giving in. Well, time to get down to fighting business. But first we take a peek at the awesome battle between Lancer and Archer. It ends when Lancer uses his Gae Blog to strike at him. Archer activates his ultimate defence shield, Rho Aias. Wow! An atomic bomb-like effect! Although Archer survives, he is gravely injured. It’s safe to say who has won the match. More importantly, they notice Caster is not watching them anymore. That’s because now we go watch the less epic fight. It’s so mismatched if you think about it. Shirou is having a hard time trying to keep Kuzuki at bay while Rin employs her magic tries. However Caster sees through all of it. But perhaps this is just a ploy to make Caster think Rin has run out of magic gems because Rin then uses magic to fortify her body and beats up Caster with her fist. A mage would never have expected that. But before Rin can deal the winning blow, Kuzuki stops her. Did Shirou failed? Kuzuki wants Caster to wake up Saber now when Archer betrays and attacks Kuzuki. Caster protects him and gets stabbed. Kuzuki promises to fulfil her wish in her place but she says it has already been fulfilled. With Caster gone, does Kuzuki have any reason to fight? Well, he wants to finish what he started. Archer easily kills him. Since the church is crumbling, the slab falling on him saves the trouble of Archer dirtying his hands further. Rin has her suspicions of who Archer is because he said Shirou’s same words of trace on. If you think it’s over, think again. Archer misses in killing Saber. Then he tells off Rin that she is still not his Master. Now he is going to kill Shirou.

Episode 18
Archer answers Saber’s question about his pride as a hero. He has none and only foolish regrets. He regrets being a hero. Saber is weak as she fights Archer. Shirou takes over and is equally the same. Rin then recites the oath for a pact in which Saber agrees to become her Servant. Saber is now powerful enough to fight on par with him. They both talk about each other’s twisted ideals. Archer then shows them his true nature by unleashing Unlimited Blade Works. They are transport to a different reality. A hill covered with swords and giant cogs in the sky. Archer mentions he isn’t a swordsman or archer and was a mage in life before he became a hero. This world is all he has left and is his Noble Phantasm. After Shirou fights off his arrow of swords, they are transported back to reality. Archer has taken Rin hostage. He is not at full strength to take them on now and since he can last only 2 days without a Master, she is like insurance. Shirou tells him to take refuge at Ilya’s castle because if his objective is to kill him, Shirou also has something to say to him. Rin dreams of Archer’s sad life and deduces who he is. As I understand, Archer worked hard and thought his efforts would make others happy but he wasn’t rewarded of that and betrayed and exploited even after death. Although Heroic Spirits are summoned from across time, the rules didn’t say about summoning into the time when he lived to the city in which he once lived. Rin knows a fool who would sacrifice himself for others and would voluntarily do so in the afterlife. He sold his peace after death believing he could save more lives but in the end was betrayed by everything. Including his own ideal. So when Rin wakes up, she tells Archer about Shirou despite his naivety, she thinks that itself is sweet because it changed her. Shinji is at the scene but he is not here to fight. Archer tells him he can have Rin once he settles his score with Shirou by dawn. The douche agrees to wait and will gladly have her by then. Shirou has rested well. Time to go save Rin. He tells Saber he will fight Archer and wants her to stay out of it. He has a feeling that he knows who Archer is. I guess Lancer is bored so he decides to join this quest too.

Episode 19
Shirou deduces about Rin’s pendant. There can only be one of its kind. As she used it to resurrect him and had no other catalyst to summon a Servant, this means it was the Servant that held the catalyst and was summoned. As a Heroic Spirit can be someone who will exist in the future, Archer’s identity is the alternate future Shirou. Lancer offers to save Rin as it is his Master’s orders. Shinji is harassing Rin as his plaything when Lancer beats him out. He will free her and she is free to do as she wishes after that. Kirei opposes to that as he reveals himself as Lancer’s Master. He reveals his plan of deceiving Rin for 10 years as an important pawn. He needs her as a vessel to summon the Holy Grail and that’s why he entrusted Lancer to take care of her. From what Kirei says, Rin figures out he killed her father. Then you hear her spill all those uncouth insults at him. Shinji reminds Kirei about their agreement and that Rin is his but Kirei has important business with Rin. He wants Lancer to kill Rin as a vessel doesn’t need a heart. Lancer won’t do that and says he’ll have to use a Command Spell for that. Very well then. Why, he has got tons of Command Spells! He orders Lancer to kill himself! Archer talks about becoming a Heroic Spirit not on his own merits and only posthumously. Something about Shirou becoming a champion of justice and when Archer became one, he knew it was a mistake. Saber explains her goal for the Holy Grail is to undo a mistake she did but failed to do so and did not reach her ideal. Shouldn’t Archer be the realization of Shirou’s ideals? Archer explains after his death, he became some sort of guardian out of time to safeguard human history as a tool. He killed so many that he couldn’t care anymore. He just didn’t want anyone to cry. That is when it hit him Shirou’s ideals were shallow. It’s impossible to save everyone. It drove him to despair. He throws a sword for Shirou to kill himself. The ideals he had were ridiculed. All those he wanted to save were killed. He is sick of cleaning up the mess and repeating this eternal cycle. His only hope for this to stop if the hero never existed. Never born. Saber argues Archer will continue to exist as he exists out of time. True. But there is that possibility. Even if it doesn’t, at least this world will not appear a certain champion of justice. After Shirou confirms Archer’s regret, he is now certain they are both different beings. Whatever Shirou does, he won’t regret it. If Archer is his ideal, he’ll just have to get rid of that misguided ideal. Enough talking guys. Time to fight.

Episode 20
Kirei is going to take Rin’s heart. Sorry Shinji. Your protests are ignored! But before Kirei could kill her, Lancer stabs in the heart! Lancer wouldn’t have been much a hero had he die that easily. Shinji thought he has the last laugh now that it is only them. Still being the jerk. Because Rin still rejects him, he is going to kill her and make her submit. Lancer beats him up. Still not dead? Shinji thought of calling Gilgamesh to kill him but that blondie is nowhere to be seen. Now you’re screwed. Lancer just scratches him and that coward runs away for his life! Lancer and Rin talk about a few things before he burns the place to take Kirei along with him to hell. Back to Shirou and Archer’s fight, although the latter is clearly superior, Shirou’s ability to master his past abilities will have him catch up in no time. I suppose it is time for a change in scenery so Archer invokes Unlimited Blade Works again. As Shirou takes a beating, Archer continues to berate him of his hypocrisy and ideals. Shirou is just someone who is trying to copy the ideals of a dead man who has failed to live up to. As Shirou is struck down, he is left to believe all that Archer has said had been through. Though, he feels that he is forgetting something. After seeing all of Archer’s pain and killings, Shirou is finally at the scene where he was pulled out from the rubble of the great fire by Kiritsugu. So the thing Shirou thinks he has forgotten was about the true wish for this hell to be undone then. Even if his life becomes hypocritical and a machine, he will still continue becoming a hero of justice. After he pulls out a sword, all his wounds are healed. Something to do with Saber’s scabbard, the link that Kiritsugu implanted in them to save their lives. Despite their severed contract, it still continued to protect him. Shirou mentions his body is built of blades. He might lose to anyone but he won’t be beaten by himself. His heart was weak thinking of accepting Archer’s words. But now he realizes being right isn’t everything. He doesn’t care about that. He will become a champion of justice.

Episode 21
Archer has had it with this stupidity. There’s more talk about this ideal rejection. As for Shirou, even if everything for him is fake, he still finds it beautiful. But he knows his dream wasn’t a mistake. Shirou charges up to Archer. I guess due to old sentiments, Archer was unable to strike him as Shirou stabs his guts. It is Shirou’s win. Even if this matter between them is over, Archer is stabbed by Gilgamesh’s swords. In the biggest irony of his ideals, Archer saves Shirou out of harm’s way to get killed and then tells him to save the day. Well Shirou, you’ve always wanted to play the hero of justice, right? After mocking about originals and fakes, Gilgamesh and Saber meet for the first time in 10 years. He explains he remained in this world and took this form after the end of the last war. He explains the entire process of summoning the Holy Grail is nothing but a farce and pretext. What the mages wanted wasn’t the Holy Grail but its contents. However they were unable to fill it. As the Holy Grail must be filled with the highest and purest mana, that is why Masters and Servants were summoned. The more sacrifice, the better. When the Holy Grail burnt down the city in the last war, Gilgamesh was caught in it and he saw its true nature. It is actually a weapon perfectly tailored to kill. Therefore Gilgamesh’s desire is to eradicate all humans in this era by using it. If humans are wiped out, how can a king rule without any subjects? He wants to find those who can survive his hell. Those who do are worthy to be ruled over by him and those who don’t, well, that’s just too bad for those weaklings. Gilgamesh won’t kill them since he has slain his true target. Their lives are worth less than soot to him. He warns Saber to act quickly because he will soon produce the Holy Grail and rain down hell on this world. That Shinji dude is still alive? Yeah, he is blaming Gilgamesh for his minor injury he got from Lancer among other complaints! After mentioning Kirei is dead, he wonders how the Holy Grail will be materialized since they don’t have a vessel. On the contrary, Gilgamesh knows a Master whom he can sacrifice. He sticks Ilya’s heart into Shinji, turning him into an ugly mass of painful blob. Good riddance. I know we can be sure this jerk is finally dead but to see him go this way… Nah! He deserves it!

Episode 22
Rin wants revenge on Archer but certainly they can’t fight Gilgamesh without a plan. She has deduced the Holy Grail will manifest at Ryuudou because of all the familiars she sent to spy, that was the only one destroyed and this means Gilgamesh must be camping there. They plan in destroying the cup before it materializes and figured out that Shinji became the vessel. On who is to fight Gilgamesh, it seems Shirou thinks Saber won’t be right for the job. So he is going to fight that dude? Even Rin thinks Shirou has a better chance against him but the problem is his overwhelming Noble Phantasms. But Shirou might stand a better chance if he were to fight him in that Unlimited Blade Works’ world. Since Shirou does not have enough mana to even open that world, Rin is going to transplant her magic crests onto him. It might be her ultimate family’s legacy but she is willing to sacrifice that for her ultimate fight. So… How are they going to do it? You have to undress, eh? Body heat transfer thing, eh? No wonder Rin looks so embarrassed. Don’t worry. It’s just their top. And disappointment if you want to see Rin in her bra because she’s just wearing a camisole that looks more like a singlet you wear casually around your house. The transplant is successful but Rin starts blaming him for seeing it. No, nothing naughty. It seems during the process, Shirou saw her secret memories. He didn’t realize he was watching from her point of view all the times she spied on him! Rin, you stalker! And he didn’t know that strange guy was himself! She repeatedly smacks him with the pillow and he still doesn’t get what is happening. Later Shirou talks to Saber and the latter vows to protect them so they both can return to this house. Gilgamesh is in his final steps in making the Holy Grail pour hell over the city. Shinji is a hideous gigantic monster although his painful face still looks silly.

Episode 23
The plan is for Saber to enter via the front gate to fight Gilgamesh while the duo sneak from the back to save Shinji. Saber notes she can only user her holy sword one more time as she is running out of mana. Rin has to split her supply of mana to them. Why you so unhappy, Shirou? Someone else tries to be a little bit heroic and that is against your policy? As Rin and Shirou arrive, they see the huge blob that Shinji has become. Plus, the Holy Grail is spilling its curses and overflowing the place. To their shock, Gilgamesh approaches them. Then who is Saber facing then? How can Assassin still be around when Caster is gone? I don’t know about this special rule explanation since Assassin isn’t your typical summoned Servant. He even mentions he isn’t that Heroic Spirit. Although that person might be real somewhere in time, they are definitely different people for that Heroic Spirit might just be a mantle so Assassin was one who was most qualified to wear that using his skills. Rin pops some booster pill so she can wade through the curses to find Shinji while Shirou fights off Gilgamesh. He tries to trace all his swords and spears but it takes quite some time and energy. The Holy Grail then starts to absorb the malevolent wishes of humanity all around the world. Because Rin has pulled out Shinji, the curse that has lost the core is now seeking a replacement and trying to get Gilgamesh. He pulls out the greatest sword, Ea (a sword so fearsome that Shirou can’t even copy it) to put it back at bay. Shirou got caught in it. No, Gilgamesh. You didn’t hold back at all. Saber is hesitating over her options as she continues clashing with Assassin. Thus he has to hint to her about the things they are protecting and therefore there should be no doubt. He hints they are both running out of time. Seeing Assassin is near transparent, Saber reveals her Excalibur as both prepare their ultimate move. Assassin strikes with Tsubame Gaeshi but Saber dodges them all and cuts him. He lets her go before he vanishes. Oh, looks like Shirou still breaths.

Episode 24
Gilgamesh mocks the faker Shirou is. I thought Shirou was done with this? Because now he is reconciling the fact that he indeed borrowed his ideals, blah, blah, blah. Anyway Shirou is still going to believe in his dream even if he doesn’t achieve it. Saber comes to Shirou’s rescue but he tells her to help Rin because he knows he can defeat Gilgamesh. But first he apologizes he couldn’t save her. He believes the Holy Grail isn’t what she is looking for and should destroy it properly this time. Shirou then uses his power to transport Gilgamesh to his Unlimited Blade Works world. Because his body is made of unlimited blades, he doesn’t create swords. But a world with unlimited swords. Even if he is a fake and can’t rival the real thing, he just needs to surpass everything that is genuine and beat him. He even mocks Gilgamesh that he is a king and not a warrior. Therefore just like Shirou himself, he is a jack of all trades and master of none. He might possess every kind of sword but he never took the time to master any of them. I guess this pisses him off now. Going to fight with all your strength now? Stranded and weakened Rin warns Saber not to touch the curse or who knows what will become of her. She even uses a Command Spell to make her stay away since she is adamant in risking her life to save her. But when Rin realizes she cannot make it to safety, she uses another Command Spell to order Saber to destroy the Holy Grail now. In a twist of fate, Archer cannot stand this pathetic state and blasts open a path for her to safety. Rin uses her final Command Spell for Saber to obliterate the Holy Grail till no traces of it are left. She did such a good job that it is raining mini golden light balls. With the contract with Rin over, Saber disappears. Shirou powers up to repel every sword Gilgamesh throws at him and is even fast enough to slash off his hand before he uses Ea! It ends with a deep cut across his body. Back in reality, Gilgamesh acknowledges Shirou’s victory but will still kill him. However the Holy Grail turns into some sort of black hole and trying to absorb Gilgamesh. It might seem Gilgamesh is trying to pull Shirou in too but in fact he doesn’t want to die yet so he wants Shirou to stay put till he can crawl out. Archer fires right into his forehead before the black hole swallows him up. Rin talks with Archer and wants him to contract with her again. Although he has no more goals, she feels bad he cannot be saved at this rate. So he tells her to look after his other self and she agrees to do that so he won’t end up a twisted jerk like him. Rin meets up with Shirou and they go home.

Episode 25
2 years have passed. Shirou still feels nothing has changed ever since. Currently he is living in an apartment with Rin in London. Seems they are studying magic at Clock Tower, the Mages Association’s HQ. Shirou is more of her pupil due to some rule. Then there is also Luvia. Her first debut in this series. Already an annoying rival for Rin, she is also her classmate and neighbour. Sparks going to fly? Shirou treats her kindly because she helped him when he was lost and was the one who found them that apartment. Rin can’t stand her any longer and requests to fight. So in this wrestling match with magic, Luvia wins. Hey, at least Rin has got Shirou to console her. Rin talks to him about his invitation to officially join the association but he is still contemplating about it. Next day, Rin takes him to King Arthur’s grave so he could properly say goodbye to Saber. Then they talk about the big wide world, their insignificant selves and how the Holy Grail war was just one of the many events that sowed the future. We jump back to the past when Shirou is in high school and in the aftermath of the Holy Grail war. Issei is fine although Ryuudou Temple is undergoing major renovations. Shinji is recuperating in hospital as Sakura continues to stick by his side. Fujimura has them gather Kuzuki’s stuffs since that guy has gone missing. Issei still despises Rin but is shocked when she hints about her romantic relationship with Shirou. He never saw it coming. Later Rin tells Shirou about her invitation to Mages Association in London after her graduation. She is allowed to take a pupil under her care. So care to go with her? He is too shy to say it so she takes that as a yes. Now back in London, Shirou is grateful that she took him along. When a teacher passes by him, he asks about his reason to study magic because he doesn’t look like a mage and as a survivor of Fuyuki City, what motivation brings him here. Simple. He wants to become a champion of justice. But of course, Shirou turns down the enrolment to join Clock Tower because he feels he cannot change his way of life. Rin is not mad and expected this although she will be thrown out in 3 years too. Shirou has a feeling he will meet the same fate as him and Rin agrees too. But the difference is how far he can go before ending up in the same destination. Since Rin hints she wants to see the world too, looks like it is Shirou’s turn to drag her around. They’ll share the fun, the pain and everything together because the future is in their hands. Lastly, Archer narrating about a certain kid and his ideals and despite all that, he continues to believe himself is right.

The Cup Of Death
It doesn’t disappoint, to say the least. It was as of my expectations as it was as great as its prequel. And no, I did not set and lower my expectations like how I do to some of the anime sequels. I just couldn’t. And it was a good thing that this remake lives up to its awesomeness. Kudos and a very good job well done. As the series has a very deep and rich storyline with multiple alternatives, casual viewers like me who do not even play the visual novel game that it is based on might not understand some of the deeper aspects of everything. Nevertheless, the execution was smooth and seamless that even though I may not grasp entirely on everything, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the epic greatness of it all. Just that maybe the ending and final episode felt a bit lukewarm with its chatty drama but I suppose there is no other better way than to wind down and end the series after all that bloody bloodbath.

As I am not familiar to the routes of the Fate series, it was quite a shocker for me at first when I it was played out that Shirou and Rin are ending up as an item. In fact, this route is supposed to have them end up together. I only learnt that the original Fate series which is also dubbed the Fate route was Shirou x Saber. And now that there have been an announcement for another production of another route, Heaven’s Feel is going to be a movie for Shirou x Sakura. I suppose that is why they need to do justice to her character seeing she was completely missing in the second half of the series. Like her character didn’t matter anymore. Especially when Shinji the douche was used as the vessel instead of her in the original Fate series.

Watching the first few episodes at first had me thinking if they were going to just repeat what happened in the 2006 production. Everything felt the same but before I know it, it soon branches off to another route with different outcomes for different characters. Most notably is how Saber has been very much reduced to a supporting side character. As said, since she isn’t Shirou’s love interest in this route, personally I feel her presence was minor and not really of a great significant importance. I mean, Saber is still important. But not in the way that her character was played out in the original series. I figure that so as not to waste this, Saber ‘reprises’ her role again in destroying the Holy Grail and become the saviour of mankind for the current era. But then it feels like they want to usher her out of the scene quickly and make way for Shirou x Rin. I don’t know. I just felt awkward that it was like this way.

Another notable character is Archer. As this route is also about him and Shirou’s other self, he ‘lasts longer’ compared to the original series where he was taken out by Berserker. There are still some things that I don’t really get between Archer and Shirou but to each his own. Though, the only thing I can’t understand is his return to help Rin and Shirou in the final battle with Gilgamesh. I thought he really died and that was done with. By making his short comeback, it feels like ‘cheating’ because there was no other way our heroes could get out of this. So how? Bring back Archer when you least expected it! I don’t know about this. It just felt weird. Maybe there is something that I don’t understand but this kind of move makes me think it feels a bit cheap especially when you bring back a dead character. But who cares, right? Archer is a likeable character, right? Yeah well… I’m more into Saber… :-).

Taking a big hit this season is Rider. Her appearance reduced to a mere pathetic state since she was killed off as fast as she made her appearance! At least last season she had that fight with Saber, revealing her Noble Phantasm. Ah well. You can’t have everything. And I thought this would also in turn ‘kill off’ Shinji but that guy lasted till the end albeit he became a pawn for unbecoming reasons. Also the biggest casualty is the fact that Ilya died! It was shocking and heart breaking to see that this loli was killed off in a cruel fashion! Because in the original season despite she lost, she continues to stay with Shirou and thus contributing to the harem factor. As a result, this harem factor is also cast aside. Ilya’s dead, Sakura is ‘missing’ and Saber is just another loyal Servant. Oh, I forgot about Luvia but that is another story. As a result, the romance with Rin feels a bit on and off. I mean, you can’t have full blown romance when you are in the middle of a war, can you? So… No kiss at the end?

Caster seems to have more screen time this season albeit her role feels like she is playing the mid-boss and middle antagonist. Unlike in the original she was abruptly killed off by Gilgamesh, Archer betrays her and takes over the antagonist and final boss role before Gilgamesh becomes the ultimate final-final big boss for Shirou to overcome. I almost forgot about Lancer. That guy’s fate in all seasons feels tragic. No doubt he has more screen time here too, the original series sees him being killed off by Gilgamesh. Now, he had to kill himself. This was somewhat the same too in Fate/Zero. Poor guy. Same case with Kirei. Although he is a scheming villain, instead of being killed by Rin’s dagger before, now he gets killed off by Lancer.

One of the greatest contributing factor I believe in making this season as great as the predecessor is the awesome visual effects. They still have not lost their touch in producing all the visual eye candy and retain many of the good stuffs you see in Fate/Zero right here. So whether they are the air particles, the smoke steam, the water ripples and even the majestic effects in the fight scenes, it really does evoke that grandeur sense and everything you see here is made in top notch quality. Even the shadow and lighting of every scene are excellently done. Very good indeed. Hence it is clear to see why this series under Ufotable fares very much better than its predecessor. This is what you call quality.

The fight scenes are still as awesome and amplifying that effect as said are the special effect visuals that come with it. You will be in for a feast for your eyes when you see Servants taking on each other and guaranteed there is no short of breath taking epic blockbuster. Even if it might seem ridiculous, but please bear in mind and remember that these aren’t any ordinary people in an ordinary fight. You can feel the power impact each time they unleash your magic or strike their weapon. Well, at least I experienced it since I was quite engrossed and glued to the screen during the fight scenes.

Another great thing is that all the seiyuus who lend their voice in the original series, reprise their role in this season. Therefore there is no ‘shock’ in hearing your characters sound different than before. Although the visuals greatly improved, there is no reason for a change in the voice acting department since everybody did a splendid job before. Thus it is good to hear all your favourite seiyuus in their usual roles like Noriaki Sugiyama as Shirou, Kana Ueda as Rin, Junichi Suwabe as Archer, Ayako Kawasumi as Saber, Shinichiro Miki as Assassin, Hiroshi Kamiya as Shinji, Mai Kadowaki as Ilya, Jouji Nakata as Kirei, Nobutoshi Canna as Lancer, Noriko Shitaya as Sakura, Rikiya Koyama as Kiritsugu and Tomokazu Seki as Gilgamesh.

The first opening theme is Ideal White by Mashiro Ayano. Although sounding like a generic anime rock piece, the liveliness and upbeat pace will get you into the mood of the series. The second opening theme is slightly less lively, Brave Shine by Aimer. But it is still a good rock piece to hear and befitting the direction of where the series’ plot on where it is heading. The main ending themes are done by Kalafina. If you are familiar with their trademark voice singing style, you will feel right at home here. Believe is the first ending theme while Ring Your Bell is the second one. While the songs do sound great, sometimes you wonder if it is just the same song with a few modifications because many of their songs basically sound almost the same. There is a special ending theme but it lasts only for a single episode. The dramatic This Illusion by Lisa marks the halfway point of the series. Last Stardust by Aimer is an insert song in the form of slow rock.

Overall, this is definitely an amazing and epic series. Even if you are not a fan of the series or even one who is into the action fantasy genre, I will still recommend to watch this series for its great epic visual effects, fight scenes, characters and while maybe not so much the plot, at least enough of a story to drive the direction of the series and its characters. Some may say not to watch the original series but I recommend doing so in order to fully appreciate the great quality of this one. Not too sure if there is going to be any more arcs that need animating (not even sure if there are other routes in the series), but I am sure I’ll be waiting to watch if Ufotable picks it up. And I do know I don’t need the wish of the Holy Grail to make that happen. Speaking of which, aren’t there better, faster and easier ways just to destroy humanity? Like, taking away internet connection? Yeah…

Fate/Zero

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.

Fate/Stay Night

December 25, 2010

I don’t remember why I didn’t want to watch Fate/Stay Night when I had the chance to many years ago. Even if the local TV station did air it and even repeated its run, I was still reluctant. Till a few months back. I really don’t know. Maybe because something in my gut told me that I shouldn’t miss out this action-cum-romance-cum-thriller series. Even if I needed a reason, probably it was Saber. Yeah, love her outfit design.

Based on a game of the same name, the setting is Fuyuki City in Japan and our hero protagonist, Shirou Emiya who is an amateur mechanic, though he has basic sorcery skills and only uses them to Trace objects like reinforcing them. As usual, he gets involved in a battle of the Holy Grail between 7 magicians known as Masters and their 7 classes of Servants and the last one standing receives that said cup that will grant the winner a wish. There’s just a basic gist of it. There are several terms and jargons in this series like Noble Phantasm (powerful artefacts or abilities) and Command Spells (a spell that will force a Servant to perform an action and each Master is limited to only 3) or rules like each Master can only summon 1 Servant. But for a person like me, if I don’t think so much, I could get by enjoying the story without having figuring out what is what. Just accept it as it is! And that Master-Servant term doesn’t make it sound like some S&M play!

So yeah, episode 1. The previous Holy Grail war 10 years ago resulted in a great fire over Fuyuki City. Perhaps much worse than the one in England. Young Shirou is supposedly a survivor of it. Back in the present, another Holy Grail war is taking place so Rin Tohsaka tries to summon a Saber (considered an all rounder class) but summons Archer instead. Meanwhile we see Shirou, the adoptive son of the late magician Kiritsugu living up to his ideals to become a man of justice. That means he can’t turn anybody down if they’re in dire need of help. Since he is living alone in his big mansion, you can’t help that his childhood friend Sakura Matou and homeroom teacher-cum-guardian Taiga Fujimura always pays him a visit to do chores and such. Recently on the news there have been spates of gas leaks and murder sprees in the city. More reason for Shirou to be a hero of justice sooner. Rin and Archer go around the city in search for other Masters and their Servants.

In episode 2, Shirou and Sakura go to school. More characters introduced like Shirou’s best friend and student council president Issei Ryuudou and Shinji Matou who is Sakura’s elder brother and archery dojo vice captain. You can tell this Shinji guys is the kind of jerk everyone loves to hate because of his narcissist and arrogant attitude. How the heck did he and Shirou became friends? After school, Rin and Archer come face to face with another servant, Lancer (because he loves using lance as his weapon, duh). As the servants battle it out, it seems the school isn’t totally empty yet because Shirou has been made by ass Shinji to do his part to clean the archery dojo. See what I mean when he can’t turn down help? Seeing that there is a witness other than the participants to the Holy Grail, Lancer shifts his attention to Shirou and chases him. In short, Lancer kills him. How can a main character be so when he dies as early as the second episode? Thanks to tsundere Rin of course. Yeah, she uses her magic crystals to bring him back. Why does she pity a normal guy like him? Because she likes him. I’m guessing that as well. Must be. So Shirou still shocked over everything goes back home. But he gets another chance of dying because Lancer is back to finish what he started. Why didn’t he do it properly the first time? As Shirou fends off Lancer’s attack, Shirou’s magic accidentally summons Saber who calls him her Master.

Saber instantly takes on Lancer in episode 3 and though Lancer uses his ultimate move, it still wasn’t enough to beat Saber. Lancer makes a wise move to withdraw. Saber then senses Archer nearby and attacks as Rin summons her Servant to disappear though Saber wants to hunt him down but is stopped by Shirou. Rin learns Shirou as an amateur magician so it’s understandable that she can’t comprehend how he summoned a Servant she wanted most. Because Shirou knows nuts about the Holy Grail war, she takes him to see Kirei Kotomine who lives at a church to tell him what that kid needs to know. Kotomine is also a moderator in the current Holy Grail as his dad was in the previous one. So he lays down the rules and the Master-Servant thingy. Then something about the Servant is free to join other Masters if the Master can’t control the Servant and that the Master need not die to be out of the competition, just the Servant. Kotomine adds that the previous winner of the war wasn’t a fit Master and this caused the city to be engulfed in flames. So if you’re planning to let everyone wipe each other out while you stay in the shadows and take the final glory and beat the weary one left standing, that doesn’t mean the Holy Grail will acknowledge you as the true winner. Since Shirou was deeply affected by that great fire, he has no choice but to join in order to prevent another such catastrophe. As the gang leave, they meet a little Russian loli, Illyasviel Von Einzbern AKA Ilya and her Servant, Berserker. Man, are you going to really face up to that monstrous tank?

Another battle in episode 4 with Saber taking on Berserker but is injured. Rin’s magic could do no help. Shirou tries to be a hero and pushes Saber away from Berserker’s cleaver and ends up getting killed. Again. So everybody is so shocked that a Master would sacrifice himself for a Servant, Ilya doesn’t like it too and withdraws (possibly she has taken an interest in Shirou. Why are more girls flocking over to him? Is this a harem anime?). Yeah so Rin has the honour of carrying Shirou back to his place and something about Saber’s wounds can regenerate and have some of that transfer to Shirou to bring him back alive too. Of course Shirou tells Rin he is not interested a single bit about the Holy Grail but rather to stop evil people from doing evil things. Rin hopes he won’t say that to Saber because it is every Servants’ dream to obtain it so by not wishing so might be considered an insult. After more ‘advice’ from Rin and she leaves, Shirou goes see Saber in another room. She doesn’t like his fighting style because she believes Servants should be doing the main fighting but Shirou asserts that one doesn’t need a reason to save others. Even if they’re both loggerheads, they have to accept that they’re both Master and Servant tied down to a contract. Well, she’s not considering another Master, is she? Don’t worry, that thought has never crossed her mind. Better start understanding each other.

Because Shirou feels bad about locking Saber away in another room while he eats with Sakura and Fujimura in episode 5, he brings her out to meet them. Oh, do they need another woman in this house? That distant relative thingy isn’t going to cut it either. Fujimura challenges Saber to a duel but her cockiness is just for show because Saber beats her flat even if she cheats. Though Saber is allowed to stay, both ladies decide to stay for the night just in case. Ahem, ahem. So next day the girls are very assured that they can leave Saber alone with him and don’t need them staying. Shirou heads to school while leaving Saber behind. She insists of being by her Master’s side in case of any attacks but he assures her that he will use his Command Spell to summon her if he needs to. She can actually sit there the whole day? In school, Shirou learns that a female member of the archery club has been missing but the school is trying not to make a big fuss about it. Shirou stays late after school and bumps into Rin. She isn’t happy that the idiot came without his Servant and attacks him. What’s a guy to do than to run? Hey, how is hiding in a classroom and reinforcing a desk going to help him get out of this mess against Rin’s German chanting spells?

Their battle is interrupted when they hear a scream in episode 6. Shirou uses this excuse to go investigate and postpone their fight. They see a girl unconscious and her mana sucked out. At this rate, she may die. Rin concentrates on healing her when a spear is thrown her way. Shirou uses his arm to block. Shirou goes to investigate and in the woods sees another Servant, Rider (does she always like doing sexy poses? Maybe must be her outfit). Shirou is attacked and badly wounded and you may think he’s going to die again because he refuses to summon Saber and bring her into this mess. Luckily Rin was there to shoot Shirou free and Rider makes her escape. Rin also mentions that there is another Master in their school and is using a barrier if activated will drain the life of the entire school to strengthen the Servant. The duo head back to Rin’s place and she proposes a truce between them. She learns about him and his dad before having Archer escort him home. Archer mocks Shirou’s fighting style because that kid doesn’t believe in killing people which makes it impossible to win the war. Even if their ideals clash, it sure made Shirou think real hard about it. But what are the chances of this numbskull changing?

Shirou gets another howling from Saber in episode 7 after learning what happened and not summoning her. Saber wants to follow Shirou to school but Shirou disagrees. Good news: At least Saber doesn’t become a transfer student to be close to Shirou and causing his classmates to go gaga over the new pretty girl. Rin mentions some reverse psychology trap that Servants won’t attack him if they don’t see Saber with him. Yeah sure, like that will help since Shirou is like the weakest among the magicians so far. In school, Rin and Shirou discuss about destroying the several spell marks around school to delay the barrier’s activation and force the Master out of hiding. Shirou uses his ability to detect them (some in unlikely of places: Boy’s toilet) while Saber destroys them and they did a pretty good job destroying many of them. As they leave, Shirou feels something strong coming from the archery club. It’s mind boggling how come they missed this big place. Shirou is shocked to see a large spell drawn on the wall. Then Rider comes in and her Master is no other than Shinji.

Shinji doesn’t want to fight him in episode 8 but wants to offer an alliance. However Shirou refuses. Think about it. If everybody makes a pact with everybody, then there’s no fight, right? Plus, Sakura doesn’t know anything about it due to some family tradition of leaving magic to their first born son only due to the thinning heirs of their family’s magic capability. Something like that. Noting that Shinji is the Master that Rin is detecting, before he parts, Shinji tells him about another Master who lives at the top of the Ryuudoji Temple, supposedly a witch. So happens this is where Issei lives and when Shirou asks him if anything weird has happened recently, he mentions his dad the head priest brought in a woman to take care. Shirou goes back to tell this info to Rin and Saber. He also learns Servants are past heroes summoned and depending on the Master’s personality, the Servant summoned will be according to his/her evil or good nature. If this guy hasn’t got a handful of problems to deal with, here’s another one to add. Why, it’s Rin inviting herself to stay at Shirou’s place! Oh great! More women in his household. So it’s no wonder that Sakura feels ‘threatened’ when this model, smart and pretty girl comes living with him. Hey, they’re allies, right? Yeah, even Shirou knows this will turn out problematic. First problem arising: Saber wants to sleep with Shirou to protect him better. Like hell he’ll allow that. Not even when Rin says one don’t have to treat Servants like humans. Like hell he’ll listen to that. So Fujimura won’t allow another immoral act but smooth Rin manages to convince and change her mind via words rather than action this time. Because Shirou still won’t allow Saber to do anything, that night she goes off alone to the temple and comes face to face with a Servant: Assassin.

Both Servants trade blades in episode 9. Saber is surprised Assassin freely tells his true identity: Kojirou Sasaki, a famous swordsman. Meanwhile Rider enters the temple and is faced with lots of undead creatures. She easily disposed them and faces the witch. Rider knows she can’t beat her so she retreats. Assassin pulls off his Tsubame Gaeshi move but Saber is able to evade it seeing that they’re fighting on steps and this didn’t give Assassin enough room for his foot for his technique. Saber is going to use her ultimate move as her invisible sword starts glowing and causing a tornado. Shirou has realized Saber’s disobedience and is on his way to the temple. He sees someone watching the duel from the bushes (Rider) and yells out. This catches the attention of Saber and Assassin. Assassin decides to withdraw since his mission is to protect the temple gates. Saber collapses since she used too much energy. When she wakes up in Shirou’s home, another round of argument because that guy doesn’t want her to get hurt by going off herself and she isn’t happy he’s treating her as a woman rather than a warrior. Though Saber accepts Shirou’s decision to fight alongside her, she decides to train him in swordsmanship.

I guess he’s using this excuse to skip school, huh? Shirou undergoes intensive training in episode 10 but still loses out to Saber. Of course the shape he’s in. Kept count of how many times he died and nearly? During the break, Shirou learns that Saber wants the Holy Grail to redo something in her past life that she failed to complete. Shirou goes out to buy groceries when he runs into Ilya. Don’t worry, she’s not here to fight him. At the park, seems Ilya really does take an interest on Shirou and she’s acting quite close to him as though she has onii-chan complex. When Shirou gets home, he learns that Rin was being offered an alliance by Shinji but she rejected him (yeah, he was rejected by her when he previously asked her out. Got his ego dented again, eh?). My guts tell me Rin likes Shirou though she gives an excuse she made an earlier pact with him. Later Rin has Shirou strengthen his reinforcing ability of creating a weapon out of nothing. Since Shirou isn’t at an advanced level yet, she makes him start with lamps. But he’s not doing well either since he’s breaking every of them. The last thing Shirou needs is another sarcastic criticism-cum-advice from Archer. He says at his current form now, if he can’t defeat somebody, might as well imagine something in his head that he can defeat that person with. Oh sure, it’s always so much easier to fantasize your own victory.

More practice for Shirou in episode 11 whether it’s Saber’s sword or reinforcing lamps. Yup, he’s still pathetic. Later Rin shows Saber a shed filled with metal objects. Something about Shirou’s ability isn’t reinforcing but creating things out of nothing. Shirou gets a call from Shinji to meet him at school. When he arrives, he sees lifeless bodies of the students and the barrier has been activated. You can say he is the culprit behind this. Shinji’s intention is to show arrogant Rin who is number 1 and let her know her place. That means to defeat Shirou right here right now. Shirou is upset that Shinji would go this far to hurt innocent people so he fights back. Now Shinji turns into a chicken and could’ve been toast if Rider hadn’t come to his aid. Rider kicks Shirou out of the window and he could die (again) at this height so with no choice, he uses his Command Spell to summon Saber. Continuing the battle, Saber takes on Rider while the Masters duke it out. Shirou corners Shinji and wants him to give up his Command Spell and Rider once again has to come to that jerk’s rescue. She unleashes her Noble Phantasm to escape by stabbing her own neck. Wow. That power decimated the entire floor. When the duo get back, yet another argument because Saber isn’t happy Shirou is trying to fight alone. Hasn’t he learned anything all this while? Well maybe this time it could be his changing point because he would fight alongside Saber for now on though he is adamant that what he did then was right.

Obviously Shinji has turned into a crazy psychopath in episode 12 because he just wants to kill everything. With news that those students are taken in for treatment and their lives aren’t in danger, Shirou and Saber head into town to find Shinji and Rider. Shirou is still injured and falls asleep at the park. He wakes up with Saber by his side as they talk about his wish for winning this Holy Grail war is to repay for those who died in the previous war by ensuring no one else does rather than preventing more victims as Saber speculated. Then Rider attacks them and leads Saber up a building. Like Master like Servant, Shirou is stubborn to listen to Saber’s advice to stay below so he rushes up the building using the old fashion way stairs. Huff and puff, dude. Unknown to him, Ilya and Berserker are there too. At the rooftop, Rider rides a Pegasus (her real identity is Medusa) to fight Saber as she builds up her power for her ultimate move. Saber thinks it’s okay to pull off her Noble Phantasm move since Shirou isn’t around as her sword starts glowing till it is revealed to be a gold sword, Excalibur. As its powers build up, Shirou appears. Dang. Saber swings her sword and the ultimate beam hits charging Rider and kills her. Coward Shinji flees but Shirou can’t go after him since he has to attend to Saber who really collapses this time.

Back at Shirou’s home in episode 13, Rin says that Saber has used up most of her mana and will disappear if it isn’t replenished. There are 2 ways to do so. Either get it from the Master (Shirou don’t know how so he can forget about it) or kill other people and drain their mana (wanna bet he will object to this method?). Shirou sits by Saber and sees her dream. OMG! Saber was King Arthur of Britain! King Arthur was a woman! History rewritten! Shirou sees her pulling out the sword from the stone and leading her army and people to victory. But he notes the sword in the dream looks different than her Excalibur. When he wakes up, probably another of those criticisms from Archer has Shirou taking a walk to town for fresh air. He bumps into Ilya again. She tells him that she knows Saber is on the verge of disappearing and was there when Saber-Rider’s battle took place. Then she hypnotizes him unconscious. He wakes up tied up in Ilya’s room, a large mansion located in the forest some distance away from the town. Ilya gets to the point. She likes him and wants Shirou to be her Servant. This isn’t play time, girl. But I guess she’s pretty serious because if he refuses, she’ll kill Saber and Rin. Of course he couldn’t answer a yes or no but says she shouldn’t take this killing thingy as a game. She is unfazed because she already killed a Master. And that was Shinji while he was escaping then. He is shocked to hear that and since he still does not agree to be her play thing, Ilya leaves for her killing mission.

Rin, Saber and Archer go in search of Shirou in episode 14 and find themselves outside Ilya’s mansion. It seems too easy when they sneak in, free Shirou and then sneak out. When they reach the front door, Ilya is waiting for them. She has been watching them all along and orders Berserker to kill them all. Rin orders Archer to buy them time while they escape. Is he serious taking on that behemoth? Like he’s got a choice. Archer must be Shirou’s personal advice guru now because he imparts more of them before he escapes. “You are not one who fights but one who creates”. Archer summons a pair of swords to fight Berserker though it doesn’t seem to be doing much damage. Not even the explosion he created from his sword and bow made any scratch on Berserker. Then he uses his Unlimited Blade Works technique to put up a good fight but in the end Berserker kills him. We know that is true because the Command Spell on Rin’s hand vanishes. They have to continue running through the forest as not to waste Archer’s efforts. Ilya orders Berserker to heal himself quickly and catch up to the rest. What’s this about Archer killing Berserker 5 times? How many lives does he have?

Saber is still weakened as the gang take refuge in an abandoned hut nearby in episode 15. But they’re not out of the woods yet. Rin mentions the only way for Saber to replenish her mana is to establish a connection between them. That is, Shirou has to give part of his magical circuit to her. Though this will deter Shirou to be a full fledge magician, he doesn’t care about that and wants to save Saber’s life. Part of the ritual is to have close skin contact and it gets a little steamy here. Thankfully this isn’t hentai though we got a bit of yuri (Rin getting a little physical with helpless Saber) and romance (Rin kissing Shirou. On purpose or what?). Morning comes and Saber is back to her normal self. Both Master and Servant back away seeing that they’re in a position that would easily lead to misinterpretation. At least they’re not naked. Back to business, Rin comes up with a plan to surprise attack Berserker and finish him off before he has any chance to counter attack. Ilya and Berserker arrive and only see Saber and Shirou. The fight begins but as expected Saber doesn’t have a chance. Rin then jumps out from the tree she’s hiding and freezes Berserker’s arm and weapon with her magic crystal. But he grabs Rin with the other hand. Rin still has some tricks up her sleeve and uses her remaining crystals to blow his face up. Well, nothing much happened. Well actually Berserker (whose real identity is Hercules) did die but came back to life. As Ilya explains his Noble Phantasm gives him 12 lives! Oh sh*t! More than what a cat has. Now he has 7 lives left. How are they going to kill him 7 more times?

What else more to do in episode 16? Just attack lah. Can’t be singing a lullaby, right? Saber has no choice but to use Excalibur but Shirou uses his Command Spell and force her not to use that move. Remembering Archer’s words, Shirou imagines and traces a sword like Excalibur and cuts the arm Berserker is grasping Rin. Noting there’s some flaw in it, he traces the same sword but with more focus now. Recreating another Excalibur, Shirou and Saber use it and thrust it into Berserker. The awesome part was that the sword was so awesome that it killed Berserker 7 damn times in a single strike! Wow! Berserker’s death leaves Ilya shocked and she’s no more that arrogant pushy loli now, eh? Okay, maybe not because things are going to get more complicated. Back in Shirou’s home, it seems Ilya decides to stay with him! She really makes it seem she has onii-chan complex. How the heck did she snuggle close in his bed while he’s sleeping? Beats me, but the thing is since Shirou allows her to stay seeing she is no longer a threat (yeah, loli without her giant are never threatening. Ever heard of yandere potential?) and this doesn’t sit well with Rin and Saber. More women in the house? What more a loli and you can’t blame them if Shirou gives in to his lolicon side. Back to the story proper, Saber and Shirou talk about the former when she was King Arthur. Something about a scabbard that made Excalibur invincible but was stolen. Meanwhile the witch, Caster (another Servant) is talking to one of Shirou’s teacher, Souichirou Kuzuki. Noting that Berserker is gone, their only threat would be Saber and Lancer. She plans on summoning the Holy Grail but they need someone who has the lineage of magicians. Her ideal person is Rin but they know her tough character to refuse so I guess the next ideal target would be Sakura.

Episode 17 begins with Saber’s flashback as King Arthur. Some of his subjects note she is a cruel king who will sacrifice a village to ensure victory and doubts her capability to rule over her people. As Shirou and co have dinner, more news report on the gas deaths. Shirou, Rin and Saber discuss about this and Ilya wants in. She provides them valuable information that Assassin’s Master is Caster whose real identity is Medea (a mythological Greek witch). How can this be? Well, Caster’s class as magician allows her to summon another Servant. Simple. Plus, she killed off the Master who summoned her since she is powerful enough to begin with. Her current ‘Master’ at the temple is just an ordinary human. They investigate this and once it is confirmed that Kuzuki is that said person, Rin proposes to ambush him. However Caster protects him. We learn that Kuzuki isn’t interested in the Holy Grail war or anything associated with it. He’s just doing this because he loves killing! So I guess all those recent deaths must be his doing. How did this cruel guy become a teacher without anyone suspecting? Or is he moonlighting as a teacher? Saber attacks but with Caster casting a spell on Kuzuki’s fist, he’s practically invincible. Rin also attacks but fails. Though Shirou’s tracing of a weapon makes him fare on par with Kuzuki. Caster suggests that they form an alliance. No deal, baby. Caster mentions of summoning the Holy Grail using a magician’s body as a vessel and has somebody in mind. The gang thinks they’re after Ilya who is sleeping at home and rushes back. Saber reaches back first and sees Sakura collapsed on the ground. Sakura wakes up but is possessed by Caster as she stabs Saber with a dagger, supposedly to seal her Noble Phantasm. She challenges Saber to come to the temple if they want to rescue this girl.

A flashback starts off episode 18 regarding Caster. Right after she killed her Master, she’s like so lost without direction soaking in the rain. Kuzuki picks her up and treats her. He allows her to do anything and if she needs help, he’ll do so. Is that how she followed him? In reality, Shirou, Rin and Saber head to the temple but notice a different route to its actual entrance. Inside, they see a mini city created by Caster. They are faced with Assassin but he lets Shirou and Rin pass as his wish is to continue his fight with Saber. Assassin reveals his Kojirou identity is just a fictitious character and thus does not crave for the Holy Grail but to have a worthy duel. Rin heads ahead when Shirou offers to face Kuzuki. Rin see Sakura clad in tight sexy black leather outfit in the middle of the arena and the process is taking place. Caster mentions that she can let Sakura go anytime but wonders if she really wants to go. She whispers into her ear and childhood memories of her and Rin flooded her mind. Not sure about the part that Rin and Sakura were being separated when they’re young. Sakura screams in pain and the magic she emits start attacking Rin. Rin initially evades but concludes that she has to attack to free her. She does so and is successful in stopping the summoning while holding unconscious Sakura in her arms. Did Rin allowed herself to get stabbed by Sakura? Caster seems unfazed seeing that she only needs 1 magician as a sacrifice. Either one lah.

Saber and Assassin’s duel continues in episode 19. Assassin pulls off his Tsubame Gaeshi and Saber also unleashes her technique. In the end, Saber is victorious and Assassin has no regrets and dies. Shirou is getting punched left and right till he falls off and down to where Rin and Sakura are as Saber makes her entrance. Caster thinks of letting Shirou live if he lets Saber be her Servant. Suddenly a knight in golden armour appears and he isn’t happy Caster said something like that because Saber belongs to him. He starts raining the thousands of swords at Caster and Kuzuki but Caster uses her body to block and gets pierced in the process. Obviously not enough to shield Kuzuki because he too got sliced by some. Caster is happy that she fulfilled her mission of protecting him and as she dies, Kuzuki soon follows. With Caster gone, the surroundings start crumbling so everyone leaves, including the knight. Back home, Saber reveals that knight is of Archer class and she fought with him during the last Holy Grail war but didn’t win. He proposed to her then but she outright rejected him. Shirou thinks if a Servant wins the Holy Grail, he/she can remain but Saber thinks otherwise. She’ll die once that happens because she wants to return to her time and land to redo the process of choosing a suitable king for her people. Saber adds that in the previous war, Kiritsugu was her Master but he used his Command Spell on her to destroy the Holy Grail, causing that huge fire. Shirou goes to see Kotomine so the letter reveals that a Servant who drinks from the Holy Grail can remain in this world albeit in that current Servant form. Shirou mentions about the 8th Servant so Kotomine will investigate it.

In episode 20, Shirou is on his way home and reflects on things. He realizes he is in love with Saber. I saw this coming since he first summoned her. Shirou talks to Rin about the Servant wishing upon the Holy Grail and Saber’s wish to fulfil her duties as king. Shirou thinks of taking Saber out on a date tomorrow and this causes Rin to laugh out loud. She couldn’t believe it either. But he’s serious. Saber doesn’t understand what that means so Rin defines date as “A secret meeting between lovers”. Oh yeah, that really (re)defines it. Shirou and Saber blush. Annoying Ilya wants to date Shirou but Rin knocks her out so the lovebirds could be spend time uninterrupted by a third loli force. The date includes a visit to the aquarium and plush toy store. By now we should understand why Saber’s favourite animal is a lion, eh? At the end of the day at the bridge, the duo talk about reasons for fighting. Shirou feels she should do things for her sake now considering that was the past. Saber is still bent on returning to her time opposing to Shirou’s desire for her to stay here. Upset Shirou has had enough and tells her to do as she pleases and storms off. Usually girls do this kind of reaction but a guy? He goes back to sleep but is awaken by Rin when she’s concerned that Saber hasn’t returned. Not the case of getting dumped, eh? He rushes to go look for her and sees her still standing at that same bridge spot. She stood there for hours without moving? She was confused when Shirou gave her the freedom to do as she pleased and eventually couldn’t decide on what to do or where to go. Shirou takes her hand and that her obvious place to go is his home. Suddenly they see the knight and he’s not too happy that Shirou is taking his property. So he considers women as things?

They both attack the knight in episode 21 but with the snap of his fingers, Shirou gets impaled by his swords and left bleeding. Saber also gets her arm pierced. The knight reveals his true identity as Gilgamesh, the only king of all heroes and the world when it was still one. Gilgamesh produces another blast to severely injure Saber. Weakened Shirou gets up and traces Excalibur to fight him. Gilgamesh mocks him that his duplicate that can never be as good as the original and that this Excalibur sword is based on some legendary sword that he is about to use on him and destroys his Excalibur easily while injuring Shirou even further. Shirou isn’t giving up yet and traces another powerful weapon. It starts glowing so Saber feels it is Excalibur’s scabbard and wants him to put the sword into it. A mighty blast occurs and wounds Gilgamesh so he retreats. Shirou collapses and Saber realizes he is her scabbard. Shirou has another one of those Saber’s dream. This might be confusing because we see Saber fighting with herself. Or at least someone that looks resembles closely to her. Oh wait, that is King Arthur’s daughter?! King Arthur was killed by his (her in this case) own daughter?! History rewritten once more! Shirou wakes up with Saber by her side. But she walks away since he insists she staying by his side. Then he grabs her hand and holds her close. He says he loves her and kisses her. The moment that we’ve all been waiting for. Hooray, applause! Hey, he kissed the king! Was a king. So she’s feeling more of a woman now, eh? Next day Shirou goes to see Kotomine but he isn’t in. He senses something and heads underground but to his shock sees several corpses. Then he gets pierced by a familiar lance. You thought the producers had forgotten all about Lancer, eh?

In episode 22, Rin informs Saber that she has found out about Lancer’s Master. He’s dead. And a pretty long time ago. Which means, he’s got a new Master. They discuss that there is something amiss since based on the rules, one can’t be a Master by stealing Command Spells so it has to be one from the previous war. Since Shirou hasn’t returned, Saber goes to find him at the church. She sees him lying in his own pool of blood and Lancer in her way. They both duel till Kotomine shows up. Then they talk about summoning the Holy Grail and that great fire 10 years ago and if Shirou wants the Holy Grail to redo it and save everyone but he replies he doesn’t want it because it will be meaningless for those who have died. He tosses back Shirou to Saber (who partially heals him) and asks if Saber wants the Holy Grail, she has to kill Shirou. Though she wants the Holy Grail but declines to kill her Master because she wants him more than that cup (realized her feelings for him?). Kotomine isn’t too happy with the outcome and summons Gilgamesh. He was Kotomine’s Servant in the previous war and was allowed to stay in this world by feeding people’s soul to him (those corpses). He further reveals how he was defeated by Kiritsugu when then cup appeared before him. He touched it and that’s when the fire occurred because he wished for everyone to die. He states the fire would’ve happened even if he didn’t win. Yup, so he started the fire. Plus, the Holy Grail is nothing more than a weapon of mass destruction that destroys everything except the winner in this sick game. Kotomine leaves and lets Gilgamesh and Lancer to clean up the mess. However Lancer sides on Saber’s side because he too has he beliefs. This gives them time to escape but eventually Lancer gets killed by Gilgamesh. Outside, Saber further heals Shirou. She explains the scabbard is inside him and it was Kiritsugu who placed it inside Shirou and saved his life during the fire. He didn’t need the Holy Grail, the reason he wanted to destroy it. Saber realizing that she doesn’t need the cup now, she agrees with Shirou to go destroy it.

When they return home in episode 23, they see wounded Rin close to death. She was attacked by Kotomine who was here to take Ilya for his plans to summon the Holy Grail. She tells them he is at the temple to perform that process and gives Shirou her dagger that is believed to be able to defeat Kotomine (she wasn’t strong enough, the reason she didn’t use it on him then). Shirou returns the scabbard to Saber’s body before heading to the temple. They are faced with Gilgamesh, who is still bent on making Saber his and seeing her expression when he makes her drink from the cup. As both Servants fight, Shirou heads deeper to see Ilya hanging in mid-air and being used in the midst of the unholy ceremony. Kotomine blabs about his twisted belief about humans’ value in the face of death and that he loves humans more than anyone else. While summoning the black ooze to bind Shirou, he continues to mock him. He is happy when he found out a descendent of Kiritsugu is alive and will have another chance to kill ‘him’. In addition, he reveals he was the one who killed Kiritsugu because he couldn’t stand that magician for defeating him and sparing his life. He mentions Kiritsugu’s mistake was he thought he could stop this war by destroying the Holy Grail. Kotomine is going to give Shirou the same fate as his adopted father. Meanwhile Saber and Gilgamesh trade power blows with their ultimate sword, Excalibur and Ea respectively. No matter how many times Saber hits away his swords, Gilgamesh still has the upper hand (he’s got lots of swords to pick from, right?). He thought Shirou is a goner since he has defeated Saber. But she mentions of her strong connection with Shirou so she gets back up and counterattacks him while mentioning how he ruined his own country when he criticized her country destroyed her. Gilgamesh gets serious to wipe her out now.

In episode 24, Shirou traces the scabbard, Avalon to break free from Kotomine’s grasp. He dashes forward and stabs him with Rin’s dagger. Remembering he gave it to Rin 10 years ago, he realized how weak he has become before breathing his last breath. Saber is also successful in cutting down Gilgamesh so he too has no regrets that she’s defiant till the end. After rescuing Ilya, Shirou, thinking back how much he loves Saber and will not taint her pride, orders her to destroy the Holy Grail as his last Command Spell vanishes. Saber is glad she is able to fulfil her oath to him and tells him 1 last thing before she disappears: She loves him. Well, it took 24 episodes, eh? Life returns to normal for the living. Sakura still makes Shirou breakfast, a new rivalry breaking out between Ilya and Fujimura and Shirou meets Rin on his way to school and have a short chat. Shirou reminisces the times with Saber and the things that’ll stay in his heart even if he can’t catch them. But he believes they can be together even if they’re far apart and may reach what he aims for if he sets his goal far enough. Saber wakes up by her subject, Bedivere’s side, right after a war. Mentioning a dream she had that provided her invaluable experience, she wants her to take her sword and throw it into the lake. Bedivere does so and returns so Saber says her slumber may be longer this time and closes her eyes… Maybe she wants to continue her dream?

I suppose that kind of ending is kinda okay. Shirou wasn’t able to live with Saber like he had hoped for but he can’t be selfish since he has to live up to his dad’s ideals of being a man of justice. With the Holy Grail gone, I’m guessing there won’t be any more wars in the future. That means no more summoning of Servants so the possibility of Shirou every becoming a Master to summon Saber would be totally impossible. Like he would wish for another of such bloody war. There are a few questions that still bug me. About how Kotomine did manipulate and got himself into this war. Isn’t there supposed to be a moderator? Or he was just manipulating it all along? How the heck did the Holy Grail came to be in the first place? If it was a mass weapon of destruction, shouldn’t all civilization have ended and left the ‘winners’ intact each time? Seeing that this is the 5th war already.

However it isn’t so much about the Holy Grail or whether or not it could grant one’s wishes. It’s mainly about Shirou and Saber and their growing feelings for each other. You could have told that this kid started to have feelings for her when he disallowed her to enter any fight. I mean, you wouldn’t want to send your loved ones to a battle and end up getting hurt, right? Shirou always sees Saber as a woman first before a warrior but it’s the other way around for her. In that sense, it was really problematic for them but ironically they were the last Master and Servant left standing. At least they did confess their love to each other in the end. I’m not sure about Rin because she’s tsundere and with Saber finally gone, maybe she has a brighter chance? Just my wishful thinking. And there’s Ilya and Sakura to deal with. Ilya seems pretty docile after she lost Berserker. Not sure if she’s still interested in Shirou because she seems more preoccupied quarrelling with Fujimura than jumping into Shirou’s arms. Then again, she’s still freeloading, I mean staying at his place. Sakura? She seems happy just doing her daily chores for him. Isn’t she sad that her brother’s gone? Well, I never did sense any closeness from those siblings.

Too bad there’s lots of deaths and blood in this series. It was sad that all the Servants had to die but then again, they were past heroes or evil beings whether real or made up so it doesn’t matter if they’re gone because they don’t need a second life. But for Saber, at least she wasn’t so obsessed about redoing the wrongs in her life anymore before she bites the dust. Seeing that she was summoned again for the 5th Holy Grail war, would it mean that she first had this ‘dream’ when she got summoned during the 4th one? And trying to return to that dream is like wishing for a 6th one, eh? Then there are some original Masters like Caster and Lancer’s. We don’t really get to see them because they’ve been disposed off. The point? I wonder how they could be participants in this war if they were so weak and got killed a long time ago. And that no emotion Kuzuki guy who really enjoys killing, even when he met his fate he’s like got no problem with it. Play with fire, get burnt, eh? He knew it was going to come like this.

Another little thing that bugged me was some of the classes of Servants that don’t seem to actually live up to their class name. For instance Archer’s class should have indicate that his specialty would be long ranged attacks but here in this anime, we see him having a penchant to fight close combat. There are times he does use his bow but that is just limited as compared to the swords he drew. As for Saber, as far as I know her class is an all-rounder but so far I’ve seen her only pulling off tactics using her sword. I mean, even her class name suggests that but even so I thought at least the class would use other types of arsenal as well. Then for Assassin, his class here felt like he was a traditional swordsman more than anything else. Doesn’t really conjure an image of that stealthy hitman. And Rider, she’s like riding her winged animal just before her defeat otherwise she was like a fighting ‘M’ class. Gilgamesh’s class as an Archer is another eyebrow raiser. But if you think about the floating swords he pulled out from his dimensions, then it may seem like as though he’s firing long ranged weapons, right? Maybe they should rename classes or add new ones like Thief, Paladin, Hunter, Knight, Mage or Cleric. Sounds like an RPG game, eh? Though not mentioned in the anime, I read somewhere that Archer’s real identity is supposed to be Shirou’s alter ego in another parallel world. Wait a minute. As mentioned Servants summoned are supposed to be past heroes, real or fake. But a parallel world? He was a hero there? No wonder they seemed alike but yet so different.

The action and the fight scenes aren’t too bad either. But I’m not saying that they’re exceptional but if you’re the kind of person who likes some sword swinging action, then I guess this one isn’t too shabby either. The power fights may be a little exaggerative but hey, there are magic elements so you can’t discount that there will be sorcery in play to give the Servants a little edge during battles. I may not remember some of the special moves and techniques the Servants pull off since I don’t want to hurt myself thinking and interrupt my enjoyment of the action. There are a variety of background music ranging from fast and dramatic (Unmei No Yoru – which I think is the elegant main theme used especially in battles. Yes, there are several variations of this tune too) usually employing orchestra voices and instruments, to slow and calming pieces to dark and gloomy ones to even casual and light.

I remembered another reason why I wanted to watch this show. There was this (in)famous line that Shirou said and has been used as a butt of jokes across the internet. “People die when they are killed”. Erm… Seems nothing wrong grammatically, right? But if you think about it, it’s like stating the very obvious, which makes it very funny and hilarious. Said when he was returning Saber’s Avalon, I guess many viewers find it too curious to pass it up. Yeah, you mean there may be other things that will happen to people if you kill them? And if you don’t die when you are killed, that shows that you haven’t been killed, right? What am I saying here? Another thing is Rin’s casting spells which are all said in German. I’m not proficient in the Deutsch language but it felt like you know, just like how Japanese talk in their ‘Engrish’…

I have never played the game before but browsing nonchalantly through Wikipedia and other sites was enough to give me an impression that his is one heck of a game considering the various scenarios it has. Not to mention a few video games spawned after that too. Then there are lots of other adaptations as well such as the manga and a light novel called Fate/Zero which chronicles the events of the 4th Holy Grail war before the current one. Before the release of the movie Unlimited Blade Works in January 2010, there was a reproduction of the TV series into 2 episodes. From what I understand it is a condensed recap of the series with a few additional footage and the likes. How can they put an entire 24 episode series into a 60 minute episode each? Well, just cut out most of the unnecessary parts, duh. I don’t know. I’ve never seen it so I can’t comment further which parts were unnecessary.

If I were to summon Saber (by accident or on purpose), probably I would do the same as Shirou in the sense I wouldn’t want to send her to the battlefront lines. I’d rather keep her safe and have her serve me as an anime cafe waitress. Hey, it’s still that Master-Servant thing, right? What a waste to put such a beautiful face to combat and stain it with the blood of others. Hope she won’t slay me down like some of the fate of the other Masters. Hmm… Saber in a maid outfit… She’ll definitely look good and moe in that too. Maybe if I win the Holy Grail, I can have that wish come true. Can I continue this dream then?

 

Fate/Stay Night