This is normally the part where I mention that all’s well that ends well but then you must remember that this was written by Gen Urobuchi. So that means mountains of tears, Pyrrhic victories, and broken bodies and dreams at the end of the journey. Anyone who has played Fate/Stay Night knows that it could not have ended on a positive note or there would be no story to tell later on. But that does not make the ashes taste any better in your mouth. Still there is some hope at the end. A few golden glimmers that there still can be a better tomorrow.
Kiritsugu has seen there is no salvation in the so-called Holy Grail. And so he forces Saber to end this twisted competition. But in doing so releases a sea of horrible consequences on the unsuspecting Fuyuki City. But after the disaster life still moves on. Many people lost their lives and many wishes went unfulfilled. But there was one boy who was spared. Spared so he might finally end this nightmare once and for all before the Grail can truly be born into a world it hates.
The episode begins with the grand climax of the story. Saber destroys the grail with a heavy regret in her heart. She was so close to victory only to have it snatched away from her at the end. She has to wonder what caused Kiritsugu to betray their partnership at the end. But she never really understood Kiritsugu and in turn he never really attempted to get to know her. But Kiritsugu always viewed Saber as a tool. You don’t explain your plans and motivations to your chisel set (well most people don’t). You just use them to create your sculpture and then maybe explain your thinking to someone else afterwards.
But all does not go as planned. While Saber disappears using the last of her energy to use a grand Excalibur blast (in fact that seems her preferred method of vanishing at the end of stories) it merely destroys the physical vessel of the lesser Grail. That mean that the Great Grail still exists and it proceeds to pour down the corrupted contents it has created on the remains of the Fuyuki Citizens Building as Kiritsugu watches in horror. Wherever the putrid sludge from the Grail goes there is nothing but flame filled destruction. Gilgamesh is completely covered in the corruption pouring from the Great Grail but that is not the last we see of him.
So the great fire of Fuyuki City is finally fulled explained. We see Kiritsugu running around trying to save anyone he can. As someone who was so stoic and calculating it is a complete change of pace to see him flipping out. But before this point he always had a goal that was backed by an iron clad philosophy. But after seeing the true nature of the Grail and having his flawed worldview being shoved in his face all of that is gone. He can not hide in his shell that says that everything he does makes sure that while the few may be sacrificed it will lead to the well-being of the greater whole. In a way he is reduced to the young Kerry who was just trying to save anyone during the fire on Alimango Island. The feeling of responsibility coupled with the similarity to the greatest trauma of his life is clearly eating at his sanity. You can see the weight of every person piled up upon him that he finds as he digs through the wreckage and only finds corpses.
While this is going on we see that Ilya is awoken in Germany by the events in Japan. In a dream like state she converses with her mother about her horrible nightmares and the Grail. I’m going to have to assume Ilya can converse with her mother like his as they are all connected to the Grail. Justeaze she was the first member of the family to sacrifice herself to great the Grail in the first place. All the homunculi of the Einzbern family have some connection to Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern after her sacrifice. Ilya channels her in Heaven’s Feel. So it stands to reason there is still some of her mother to channel left in the Grail. We once again see that Ilya can sense the dark future she is headed towards but despite what is said her father will never rescue her.
It turns out that while he is close to death Kariya still clings to his last shreads of life. He is still delusional but with he last breaths is desperately trying rescue Sakura. He even has a little dream where he is able to reunite Sakura with Rin and Aoi. As they cheer their new father we see that the last of Kariya’s strength gives out and his body falls into the Crest Worms pit to be devoured. Sakura only looks on with apathy as she has clearly been broken by Zouken.There is no hope left in her. She is resigned to her hell.
As with everything involving Kariya you can be very generous or suspicious with his motivations. Even when dying he did everything he could to save Sakura as his default programing. At the same time his last dream is covered with jealousy for Tokiomi as it was clear he coveted everything his rival had with all his soul. In the end your judgement almost certainly comes down to what you think was his primary motivation. Or at least what you think of people who do selfless acts for selfish motives.
While you can’t keep a good man down apparently a bad man can often get up more often than you would like. It seems that the Grail has resurrected Kirei and Gilgamesh. Kirei now has a black unbeating heart from the Grail to replace the one that Kiritsugu shot and Gilgamesh is now has a body of flesh like Rider wished. Although I don’t think Rider would have wanted a corrupted body like Gilgamesh currently has. Also apparently since Gilgamesh has been reborn he does not have enough mana to materialize clothing. I somehow feel that Narutaki was behind that decision but I have no proof.
But Kirei now surveys the destruction that the Grail has causes and he finally has his answer. He wished for destruction. He wanted suffering. If he has awakened to his true dark nature during the war then his twisted philosophy has now leveled up in the aftermath. In a way though Kirei is like the Magratheans from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He has the answer to the question but it only makes him realize he did not fully understand the question in the first place.
Kirei wants to know why he was born as he was. If the Grail was born from noble intent and has been corrupted into a foul and evil thing then it must mirror is own birth. As we see in Fate/Stay Night Kirei then wishes to make sure the Grail can fully manifest. When Angra Mainyu is fully formed then Kirei will not only have all the answers about his existence but all the questions as well. He will also have all the destruction he desires as well. If a broken Grail that was not fully formed did this much then a true Grail could surely affect the world.
Kirei then spots Kiritsugu and is ready to throw down. But then he sees that Kiritsugu is a broken man. With a mixture of contempt and joy he moves on seeing no pleasure in dispatching a hollow shell.
Don’t worry. They get more mana for Gilgamesh. Kirei is nice enough to gather up all the orphans from the fire and have the church take them in. So Kerei can hack off their limbs and use them as mana batteries to power his Servant.
So if you ever thought that Kirei could not get worse, don’t worry. He always finds a way.
All this time we have been seeing a countdown clock at the end of every episode. You might assume that the clock is showing you how much time is left in the Holy Grail War. But in fact it is counting down to the time when Kiritsugu finds Shiro. With all of his searching Kiritsugu was only able to find one survivor in the rubble. That boy was so near death that only the miracle of Avalon could save him. But some sense of sanity comes back to Kiritsugu. By saving Shiro he does not remove all the guilt he has accumulated but it at least does not destroy him. Kiritsugu can now try to redeem himself in the time he has left.
All the Waver fans will be happy to see that their boy survived. He decides to stay with the Mackenzie family for a little while. I think it is clear that he is partially doing it to pay them back for their generosity. He then goes upstairs and briefly reminiscences about his friend. Despite all of what happens Waver still pretends to be a bit cold but his devotion to his mentor in life is clear.
Don’t worry despite becoming a gamer due to Rider’s influence Waver goes on to do something amazing things. In fact he is the longest lived of all the Masters from the 4th War. He even helps Rin make sure that the Great Grail is completely dismantled after Fate/Hollow Ataraxia as well as having many successful students and exciting adventures. If anyone could be considered a winner in this conflict it is Waver. He is the only one who got what he wished for. And at a far smaller cost than anyone else as well.
Kirei has to take some time out of being evil to hold a funeral for his mentor. The malicious priest has already settled into his role as Rin’s guardian. We discover that Aoi is still alive but she is clearly a broken women. She is confined to a wheelchair and disconnected from reality due to a mixture of brain damage and delusion. In many ways it might have been better for her to die. This leaves Rin is the hands of the worst possible person.
To throw a bit of insult on injury Kirei decides to give Rin the gift of the blade he used to kill her father. You can see him try to hold back a smile as Rin breaks down. She was her normal bulletproof self despite all the tragedy around her but the Azoth Dagger is the straw that breaks the camels’ back.
But don’t worry. That little jab will be his undoing in an amusing bit of karmic backlash.
Saber has returned to the Throne of Heroes. But it is not the pleasant Avalon from the epilogue of Fate/Stay Night. It is the bloody battlefield of the battle of Camlann. As she sits in her own personal hell she reminisces on her last conversation with Lancelot. While it is not the full fight, back story, and resolution to the battle between Saber and Berserker it is at least something. We finally get that Lancelot wished judgement from his King like I mentioned in the last post. I would like a little more from this scene with the box set but at least they gave us something in the broadcast version.
Despite Lancelot trying to reassure Saber in the end she just takes on even more guilt. Seeing him again only makes her feel that her time on the throne was more of a mistake. She only beats herself up knowing that Lancelot always looked up to her as an ideal.
One wonders if anyone else could have done a better job. A score of a 10 out of 100 is still the best if everyone else gets a 0. But the truth of her life and decisions have to be resolved in Fate/Stay Night. Such is destiny.
If it is not entirely clear Kiritsugu is not the magus he was before the war. The curse of Angra Mainyu has robbed him of most of his magical ability and is slowly killing him. So while he can try and get back his daughter from Jubstacheit he is no longer the master assassin he was before. The Einzbern family is far too powerful and protected in their castle. All he can do is beg them to return his daughter. They clearly refuse as they are prepping Ilya for the next war. At the same time they fill her with resentment for Kiritsugu telling her that her father abandoned her to live with his adopted son. This is mostly to blame for Ilya and Shiro’s strange relationship in Fate/Stay Night. In a way Shiro is the boy who stole her wicked father from her and made her suffer as a lab rat. At the same time he is the only connection left to the father she adored at one time.
But while Kiritsugu cannot save his daughter he can try to do the most he can for the boy he saved. He starts to rebuild his back up hideout as a real home. If you notice in the background you will notice a peppy young lady with a shinai running around in the background during the construction. It could only be Taiga Fujimura. Sadly she does not get a speaking role but I was still glad to see her.
The last scene can only be one scene. It is just a few days before Kiritsugu is finally eaten away by the curse of the Grail. Shiro and Kiritsugu discuss being a hero and how Kiritsugu failed in the end. Shiro then promises to be a hero in his dad’s place. Depending on with path you choose in Fate/Stay night determines how much his promise comes to hurt Shiro. But the promise has been made. Shiro is on the path to being a hero of justice. You can tell that Kiritsugu is finally ready to rest knowing that someone else will carry on his legacy and perhaps be able to succeed more than he ever did.
With the promise made no matter how childish it becomes a light to Saber trapped in her blood soaked prison. There is another chance for her with the next generation.
It was a long road but well worth it. Draining. But worth it. I will probably save my overall impression for a separate post. I want this all to settle in my head before I make my final thoughts. As a whole I have been happy with the adaptation. There were parts that could have been done differently but I think they succeeded at least 9 times of 10. And I think they even were able to add to some scenes. And that is all you can really ask out of any adaption.
Don’t worry. I won’t episode blog Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya. That would be silly. And I think would put me on a watch list.
So I will probably see you when they finally release Girls’ Work. Whenever that is.