With Gen Urobuchi as the writer of Fate/Zero we all should have known that Rin Tohsaka’s adventure would involve murder and mayhem despite the fact that she is just in elementary school. But since Rin Tohsaka has the magical plot armor of being alive in the original story she can’t get too injured or else there would be a major time paradox. All of her friends at school on the other hand are fair targets. The little kids like Kotone are in far greater danger. And we have seen that Fate/Zero is more than willing to have little kids explode into little chunks as a catalyst for spells. I will warn people who hate filler episodes. While a very important event happens at the end of this episode most of it is just Rin and her minor incursion into the 4th Holy Grail War. It does give you some good insight into characters in both the prequel and the sequel but overall it is mainly just a curious little side story.
Children are disappearing all over Fuyuki City. And when they are found what remains of them is not fit for an open casket. There is only one detective that can get to the heart of this arcane mystery. It is not Kojak or the CSI team. Their detective work may be flawless but their magic is nonexistent. The only person who can stop these magical crimes against children is a child herself. It is time for Rin Tohsaka, Magical P.I. to get to the bottom of this. Justice wears thigh-highs but is only waist-high.
I am amused that the episode tries to build up all this dramatic tension for this mysterious magi working in their lab undoubtedly on some sinister project. At the same time just by the name of the episode I knew the camera would eventually just reveal that it was a tiny zettai ryouiki mistress doing something less than malicious. She is working in her father’s lab trying to infuse mana into gemstones and failing miserably. Anyone who played Fate/Stay Night will know that while she is missing up due to her lack of formal training she eventually gets VERY good at this skill. Also the Tohsaka family signature magic is all about gem crafting and she is a great magi of the Tohsaka family. She has a good deal of potential now but not a great deal of experience. So she is going through gems like potato chips. But then she is caught red-handed.
After the opening we jump to see that as much as she might make fun of Shiro it seems that Rin likes to play a hero of justice herself. When her classmate Kotone is being bullied she step in and defends her like a champion. At first I wondering if this girl was Yukika Saegusa or Ayako Mitsuzuri as they are both Rin’s friends (or in Ayako’s case frenemy) in Fate/Stay Night and I never remember either of their names. But apparently Kotone is a Fate/Zero original character. I was a lot more convinced that she might bite the dust when I realized that she was long longer protected by temporal plot armor. But Rin has made a new friend. But then again authors love to kill new friends.
Say what you will about Tokiomi Tohsaka but those gems his daughter are breaking are incredibly expensive. In Fate/Stay Night Rin makes a big deal that she has to live incredibly frugally just to be able to afford 10 gems of magecraft quality when she fights in the 5th Holy Grail War. I don’t think many parents would be that calm about their children casually practicing with such expensive reagents. Instead of giving her a major tongue lashing (or a lashing in general) he guides her through the process making a mana infused gemstone while at the same time making a beautiful crystal unicorn in the process. While his haughty demand for elegance come through you also get a warm and genuine fatherly guidance as he teaches his daughter. It is a good scene for explaining why he acts like an emotionless and calculating monster towards his opponents he can be someone who Rin completely admires when she is older.
When the Holy Grail War starts lie we saw in the first episode Rin and her mother are going to be shipped off to live with the Zenjo family. I don’t think it is ever stated but the Zenjo family is Rin’s mother family. Rin wants to help her father but clearly he does not want his family in such a dangerous place. As always we also see creepy old Kirei Kotomine in the shadows. Rin tries to learn some advanced magic to be of use to her father in hopes of being able to stay with him but just winds up biting off a bit more than she can chew with a trapped grimoire. Her father saves her in time and gives her a magic seeking compass that is so very clearly a MacGuffin. But it is another good scene of him being a gentle teacher with his daughter.
When Rin’s friend goes missing back in Fuyuki City she learns that there have also been a series on grisly serial murders of children. So Rin runs away to find her friend and hopefully save her before it is too late. She goes off with her portable and reusable detect magic artifact to do some Nancy Drew legwork like she was elementary school Harry Dresden. While dodging the cops she stumbles upon Ryuunosuke Uryuu acting like the Pied Piper of Hamelin as he gathers up hypothesized children for a twisted ceremony. She tracks him down to a bar in hopes of learning what evil deeds he is up to. She apparently does not have much danger sense at this age like Shiro as well. I will say that apparently ufotable’s work on Kara no Kyoukai pays off as now they animate creepy streets very well.
Rin finds three things in the underground saloon. The first is her missing friend Kotone is alive but held captive in a trance. The second is a bunch of other children in a similar state. And the third is a lot of trouble as Uryuu has found another child to add to his bloody tea party. Rin proves that even as a child she is brave and spunky. She is not being taken by Uryuu without a fight. She she jumps around and throws things at him she then goes for the bracelet. At first this seems like a very BAD idea as she beings to fall under the sway of the bracelet. But after remembering her mistakes with gem crafting she overload the bracelet with mana. If that seems a bit convenient but it is important to remember that while she has only had a minimum of training she is a once in a life time prodigy. She has an insane amount of magical circuits and an elemental affinity of: all of them. She might not be well versed in spells and lore at this age but her output when pushed is far greater than any average adult spell caster.
And so Rin smashes the hypnotic device, injures the evil Master, leads an escape, and disappears before the fuzz can get there. But it seems that while Caster did not intervene in the bar he will take the greatest prize when she is alone. Or so he would think before a timely save by Kariya and his swarm of magical insects. Caster wisely retreats to avoid Kariya and Berserker who are far more dangerous that a tiny lady sorcerer.
Kariya delivers Rin to her mother and then declares he will win the Grail War and return Sakura to where she belongs. Clearly he is overlooking the fact that to do that means he has to kill her husband. I think he assumes that she hates her husband for giving away Sakura much more than she actually does. Another case of participants in the war moving ahead with their own desires and ignoring the desires of those they care for. Another set up for tragedy. I will say the fact that Rin and Aoi are on the red side of the park in light while Kariya is on the green side with darkness is a well framed scene that speaks volumes.
Well considering that this was a Gen Urobuchi joint the ending was surprisingly happy. Rin saver her friend who seemed as good as dead and save a whole bunch of other children in the process. In the end not much happened. Uryuu lost some mana reserves for his Servant but beyond that this was most a breather before the last two episodes. Still as a fan of Rin I don’t mind seeing what she was doing in this episode. My roommate had no problem with this as well. It gives some good insight to who she would become in Fate/Stay Night. Also it sets up the disconnect between Aoi and Kariya which is vitally important. But with two episodes left it looks like we can settle into the big confrontation with Caster. That should be fun. Lets end the season with a BANG!