An episode that is nothing but people trying to put massive holes in each other from start to finish. Hopefully this will calm the audience’s blood lust for a while. We also see a whole new side to certain characters who might not have seemed to be warriors doing some pretty awesome combat maneuvers. I will warn everyone that there was no Rider and Waver in this one. I want to let certain people down easy so they know what they are in store for. Don’t worry. I am sure when it comes down the real showdown with Caster we shall see the King of Conquerors in his full glory. But the King of Knights content is sufficient for me to be happy. And that is all that should really matter to anyone.
Battles everywhere. Kayneth and Kiritsugu are locked in a battle of guns vs. quicksilver. Irisviel and Kirei duel with alchemy and martial arts. Oh and Maiya is there too. Lancer and Saber fight against Caster and his demonic calamari horde. If you ever wondered why Einzbern castle always looks so dilapidated in Fate/Stay Night here is the reason why.
Irisviel like a Higlander style immortal can sense the quickening of another intruder through the use of the wards on the castle. But this time she knows it is the most fearsome Master in the war: Kirei Kotomine. And so both women fleeing the castle decide to stop and fight the church assassin. Both women clearly have a great affection for Kiritsugu and a good deal of knowledge of how dangerous Kirei is. Irisviel’s conversation makes it very clear she is far more aware of Maiya’s relationship with Kiritsugu than it would have first appeared. It is a nice bit of added complexity on her first very naive seeming demeanor. She is still clearly a child of a sheltered life but a bit more insightful than she would first appear to be. Sort of a Lacus Clyne style character in that respect. I do love me some Lacus so I do not mind this.
Kayneth is obviously not a baseball fan because he seems to have no understanding of how a changeup works. If someone is working really hard for you to understand a pattern it is clear that they WANT you to get that pattern so when the real killer pitch comes you are expecting the pattern and not the deathblow. Right off the bat we learn that the Kiritsugu’s antique gun, Thompson Contender, is clearly his magical magnum as it punches a hole right through Kayneth’s magical shield. This sends Kayneth on a rampage as he was actually hurt by Kiritsugu’s petty tactics. And so Kayneth falls into the trap hook, line, and sinker.
For anyone who only watched the anime and never played the Fate/Stay Night visual novel, or saw what Ciel could do in Tsukihime, might find kung-fu death ninja Kirei a bit odd. But in the Heaven’s Feel path after Kirei loses both of his servants he proves that he learned his lessons well as a demon hunting assassin for the church. He goes and fights Zouken and True Assassin by himself and makes a surprise appearance as the last boss in a martial arts battle to the death at the end of the path. Maiya has some good tricks and knows her way around a fighting knife but she is no match for a magical black belt who also just happens to be a bit bullet proof. Maiya might go down quickly but Irisviel then proves that she is more than just a white mage. She not only has monofiliment wire but can shape it into familiar than can attack and restrain someone. I think she just went up a level of coolness on the Daryl Surat scale. But Kirei quickly proves his kung-fu is stronger than Irisviel alchemy.
Surrounded by an endless horde of demons Lancer and Saber quickly determine the only way out it to destroy Caster’s Nobel Phantasm. The only path to victory is obviously a Suikoden style combo attack. Saber uses Invisible Air to make a wind tunnel that Lancer dashes through to strike Prelati’s Spellbook with Gae Dearg. The anti-magic properties of the spear are enough to slice through Caster’s wards and disrupt his demon army but not enough to prevent the book from regenerating. Man that would be a great maneuver in any RPG. It almost makes you sad Saber and Lancer can’t fight back to back all the time. Caster then escapes using the time honored ability of villain teleport. Lancer then realizes that his master is near death. Saber knows that the person who is about to kill Kayneth in none other than her own Master. While she could occupy Lancer for enough time for Kiritsugu to kill Kayneth thereby getting rid of both Master and Servant at the same time she honorably stays her blade in payment for Lancer’s deeds in her defense. And so the two warriors part vowing to properly finish their fight later on.
But while Lancer is doing well outside the castle his Master is not doing as well. With his body hurt and his pride even more damaged he rampages through the castle looking not only to kill his opponent but slowly and sadistically snuff the life out of the Magus Killer. But that is exactly the plan. When Kiritsugu whips out his standard one-two punch of automatic weapons and then the Thompson Contender he has a little extra punch in it. We see that Kiritsugu mentor, Natalia Kaminski, made special bullets for him. When they hit a magi they cut and the reform their magical circuits in a way that not only do major bodily damage but also permanently fry the circuits. This means that even if they heal they cannot access mana. It would be like being a RPG mage with a MP of zero. But before Kiritsugu can deliver the finishing blow Lancer comes to the rescue. While it would not be that hard for Lancer to kill Kiritsugu he merely saves his Master out of respect for Saber and her honorable actions from before. Unlike Game of Thrones playing by the rules of fair play do benefit you from time to time in the Nasuverse. (Just don’t count on that all the time. Especially if you are a Lancer.)
As a quick note on Origins for anyone who did not extensively research Kara no Kyoukai. Natalia bring up the term but hardly explains it. In the Nasuverse everyone has an Origin. An Origin is a concept that defines a person’s being. Sort of like a True Name that expresses who they are and where they excel at. In Fate/Stay Night Shirou’s origin is Swords so he excels at the creation and usage of swords to the point where he can create the reality marble Unlimited Blade Works which should normally be beyond his means. Kiritsugu on the other hand has an innate ability to cut and bind things including magical circuits. That is a bit more useful than Kokuto Azaka’s origin of Taboo.
And so if Rider and Waver did not create enough yaoi doujinshi potential we have the hate-sex angle with Kirei’s obsession with Kiritsugu. He obviously assumes that Kiritsugu has the same hollow life that causes him to search for meaning alone in the darkness. Therefore Irisviel must have some other reason to put her life on the line for Kiritsugu. If Kiritsugu is empty like him no one should love him. This difference clearly explains he complete and utter hatred for Kiritsugu in Fate/Stay Night even after he is dead and his obsession with destroying Shiro. Hatred and obsession is milk and honey to a certain breed of fujoshi. But before he can continue his interrogation Assassin informs him that Saber is on her way so he gives the silver-haired homunculus a parting gift of some black keys in the abdomen.
Speaking of Shiro we learn that Irisviel has one hidden trump card much like Kiritsugu’s future adopted son. She has Avalon implanted in her so as long as Saber in near he she has amazing regenerative abilities. But Kiritsugu has sworn her not to tell anyone that she has this ace up her sleeve. And so everyone has survived Kotomine’s assault but it is clear he is not be taken lightly.
A good blood pumping episode. Still no killing blows have been delivered but Kayneth is clearly not doing to well. Fortunately for Lancer he has a back up Master. But until your dead and buried you are still in the game so don’t count out Kayneth. But obviously problem number one is Caster. Although he was beaten back, he is still out there, and there is still a price on his head, so everyone will be gunning for him. We have also not seen Tokiomi and Kariya for a while so hopefully they will step up their game. I look forward to the fall out of this episode and I am still scratching my head as to the contents of episode 10. I am just SO curious what that is going to be about.