Well if Iskander did not win over enough fanboys via his actions in the previous episodes than he pretty much conquered his position as King of Bros in the hearts of many this episode. But I would not be surprised if Berserker did not win his fair share of fans this episode as well. While this episode has the prerequisite Type-Moon levels of dialog the amount of fighting was on par with the last episode with possible even more flashy moves than before. So anyone who was worried we were going straight back into yackity smackity can rest easy for at least one more episode. The action in this episode will calm the need of even the most adrenalin craving soul.
We have the classic battle were the two samurai who plan to risk everything on their final clash of blades. But before that can happen the King of Conquerors comes in, reads off the hidden parts of his charter sheet, and offers to team up with the two brave nights before him. He then shouts for the many people hiding in the shadows to step out and make themselves known. Then all hell breaks loose as we learn 6 of the 7 Servants are here and read to go. Rider will get the battle royal he was asking for.
As opposed to going through things chronologically I think it would be better for me to break things down by teams. The first person you have to talk about is team goofball. Rider busts in and honestly wants Saber and Lancer to team up under him and just get this Holy Grail nonsense out-of-the-way so they can get on with the real mission of taking over the world. (By the way Rider: I know that is the Japanese sign for money but as a European you should also know that is a symbol for asshole. Your gesture takes on a whole other meaning with that in mind.) But when they naturally turn down his offer he unveils his other reason for showing up which is to unmask all the vultures waiting to attack the second the fight between Saber and Lancer had ended. He mostly stays on the side lines past that point other than stepping in when things unfairly turn against Saber. Which of course earns him major points in my eyes. And so the King of Conquerors and the King of Knights part as honorable duelists with a respect for one another. He also tries to give Waver some Otaku man up lessons at the same time. In the end Rider proves he is not an adult. He is a MAN!
Poor Lancer. The boys of Ireland can’t seem to catch a break. It is the role of the Lancer in any Fate game to get a completely wretched human being as a master. It was a bit heartbreaking to see him attack Saber against his will as he is practically apologizing with every swing. And speaking of completely wretched human beings we get pretty conclusive proof that Kayneth is every bit of the nasty piece of work we assumed him to be. At first he tries to intimidate Waver but Iskander is not having any of his trash talk. He then forces Lancer to team up with Berserker despite his truce with Saber. Overall just some real nasty plays. Iskander proves that you always get the servant you deserve in the Holy Grail war and there is no way that Rider was the appropriate partner for him. So in Fate/Stay Night we learn that certain servants are actually summoned by characters other than the people we see controlling them. The biggest clue this is happening is when the Master/Servant personalities are totally incompatible. In the 5th Holy Grail war Cú Chulainn actually was summoned by Bazett Fraga McRemitz and Medusa was originally summoned by Sakura. This episode clearly points to this Lancer’s true master being someone else entirely.
We finally get to see the allusive Berserker after he only appeared for a second in the first episode. The Black Knight sure knows how to make an entrance. He is also very clearly the only all CG character which gives him an interesting feel but also looks sort of cheesy at times. Thankfully his ability to turn anything he can touch into his own personal Nobel Phantasm lets him pull off some impressive feats in this episode. He totally makes a mockery of the Gate of Babylon in a way that usually only a faker can do. But once Gilgamesh has been called back his attention goes right to Saber even using a pulled up telephone pole as a weapon. Although he gets a solid hit on him from Via Expugnatio but it is only enough damage to make him retreat. He clearly has a grudge with Saber and is single minded in his attacks on her. At the same time we see that Kariya Matou clearly has it out for Tokiomi and for more than just selling Sakura. It is another personal grudge match in a Holy Grail war filled with personal grudge matches.
As Waver noted he could not discern Berskerer’s stats. In the original books to be super table top RPGs nerds like in Fate/Stay Night everyone has character sheets. As you can see above there is a wavy effect over all of Bersker’s important stats that might point to his true identity. Clearly he is someone who would be far too obvious if you knew too much about him.
Saber is pretty much the focus of everyone’s attention this episode (and I can understand this sentiment). She valiantly asks that Irisviel escape while she tries to hold off the her attackers but Irisviel demonstrates a complete trust in Saber and Kiritsugu. Once again the conversation between Saber and Irisviel at the end of the episode is only helping those yuri doujinshi writers have a field day with these two. At the same time Kiritsugu was about to spring into action knowing that the second he shot Kayneth it would lead to Assassin springing into action. In the best case scenario Assassin would most probably tear apart Maiya at the very least. Fortunately Rider saves the day in this regard once again. And so everyone lives to snipe another day.
Oh Gilgamesh. He so does hate not to be the center of attention. And so when he is called out he makes his normal overblown entrance complete with insults all around and proclamations of grand statements as facts. But apparently the only thing he hates more than people claiming to be kings equal to him are mad dogs on the battlefield. Tokiomi being a plotter that he is calls the King of Heroes off the battlefield to fight at a more advantageous time. This clearly is not doing much to help cement a relationship of mutual respect between two very arrogant men. At the same time Kotomine mostly plays his hand close to his chest letting everyone else expose their hands. Fate/Stay Night clearly showed that Kotomine is a master of only attacking when the time is right. In fact this whole affair has tipped him to the fact that not everyone is convinced he has dropped out of the war.
Caster and Uryuu mostly stayed out of this episode as the only group without a direct representative at the docks. He like his counterpart in Fate/Stay Night Caster seems to be part of the same club of Saber stalkers that love to spy on her with crystal balls while having an overly sexual gaze. Is that some prerequisite to be a Caster? This time it is because Caster is making the same mistake that most people did the first time they played Fate/Stay Night.
Boy people sure like using their command seals in this episode. You would think they had more than three of them at the rate in which they are tearing through them. I think Caster’s Master in Fate/Stay Night learned the hard way that is not a healthy practice. Ah. Some refreshing action with some pretty cool moves all around. Since the next episode is called Night of Stratagems so I am warning everyone that the next episode is going to be dialog and exposition heavy again. So everyone who is not a fan of talking should be braced for impact. I know if nothing else my roommate wants a Iskander figure with Gordius Wheel so bad he can taste it. I know he is not alone in that sentiment. I think we all know what I want.