I think that the creators of Fate/kaleid know that I am under a time crunch due to Otakon being just around the corner and decided to make this an easy breezy episode to write about. They really want our Kunihiko Ikuhara panel to go well. Kate and I thank them for that.
In fact the hardest part was thinking of what to talk about before the episode review itself. Thankfully the very meta topic of this writers block about the episode being more insubstantial than most was the answer. Even the fan service was turned down a degree. There is A LOT of bloomer service in this episode with accompanying camera angles to remind you of that fact. When compared to the last three episodes this episodes was a chaste a young couple in the same room with their parents.
Speaking of Otakon, if you are attending this year I will mention that I am doing a panel on the themes of Fate/Stay Night. It should be fun and the slides will be much nicer than the last time I ran it thanks to the artistic skills of my roommate. When the schedule comes out all the details will be posted on the blog so look for it. I hope to see most of you there!
It is time for the Hot-Blooded High School Dodgeball Club anime.The gang of four wants revenge for being violated and they are going to extract it with a volleyball. But the battle quickly just becomes Illya vs. Kuro with everything on the line. But in the shadows she watches. She judges. She knows. The school nurse on her throne of white knows all but says little.
Clearly Kuro got her hands on Minene Uryu’s escape diary because no matter what they do to keep her in the mansion she seems to break out a short time later. Luvia decides that the only thing left to do is … negotiate with the terrorists. Since they can’t restrain Kuro for any long stretch of time but at the same time Kuro can’t currently physically attack Illya except at great cost to herself they are at a bit of a stalemate. At this point they really just need more time to find out what Kuro’s deal is while prevent as many civilians getting caught in the crossfire as they can. So it basically is a waiting game for both sides. Can team Illya come up with a plan with Kuro before Kuro can undo her curse?
We also get another hint to Miyu’s mysterious past in this episode. When Luvia has her butler whip up some phony documentation for “Chloe von Einzbern” she lets it slip that she had to do the same for Miyu. Another sign that like Illya it seems that Miyu is not just some random ordinary girl who just happened to be chosen by Magical Sapphire.
Kuro’s first official days start with a bang. The Gang of Four and the Tiger of Fuyuki demand recompensation for the vile acts committed upon them by the newly reintroduced cousin. The payment they demand is blood and blood shed on the honorable field of battle. Although when you think about it are these three really the best to try to get their revenge via sports. You have a fujoshi, the normal girl, and Tatsuko. Tatsuko who is good for nothing. I’m not sure how they should have targeted Kuro but no matter what the answer was it was not athletics. The only one on the revenge team that is even slightly athletic is Taiga and she only jumps in after the game already started. Also you know that she is going to be taken out lickty split because … Taiga. Tatsuko is the daughter of a family of martial artists but she is a Tomo Takino styled character who is all bark and no bite. Suzuka is far too much the fujoshi stereotype to be a murder machine on the dodge ball court. Nanaki in later omake will show to have some ability when she vows to defeat Rin and Luvia but she is more the one-eyed king in the land of the blind than a superstar.
What I am saying is this is not going to go well for them.
(I am a little surprised that no one made the Binbougami ga! joke about transfer students at this point in time.)
Unsurprisingly Kuro makes short work of the silly billies. Technically Illya and Miyu are both placed on Kuro’s team but they are more place holders and conscientious objectors than anything else. Illya is practically Sakura in full on HOE mode and Miyu is a bit too Rei Ayanami to participate. Even without those two not really doing anything Kuro has the crazy magic boosted athletics to decimate the other team.
But Magical Ruby starts convincing Illya that perhaps Kuro is doing this all to steal her life which plays on her fears enough to get Illya to switch teams and fight Kuro in a one on one battle for rule of the school. Oh Kohaku. Your always making trouble even when your just a magical wand. This leads to the fated confrontation between light and dark. Illya does cheat a bit by using Ruby to boost her physical abilities but in her defense Kuro was already cheating against normal humans by using her full supernatural enhancements. So in a way the battle only becomes fair. If anything it sort of quickly becomes that first fight between Archer and Lancer in Fate/Stay Night where everything is moving so fast that normal people can’t really tell what is going on in the battle.
As with any sports show the actual battle becomes more about dealing with the emotional issues between characters and themselves. They seem to be fighting on an equal level hurling insults at each other but Kuro’s berserk button really goes off when Illya blames Kuro for her current situation and just wishes she could return to her ordinary life without a nuisance and potential life threatening problem like Kuro. Kuro goes from competitively angry to downright murderous. This lets her tag Illya right in the face but due to their shared bond it is a double KO.
The double concussions lead everyone watching to take the two girls to the nurses office especially after neither of them seem to be waking up. It becomes quickly apparent that Caren went to the Sayla Mass from Gundam-san school of bedside manner. In fact she probably never went to any sort of medical school at all. (In her defense though does anyone really want to treat Tatsuko?) But after shooing out the gawkers Caren gives Kuro a chance to leave without having to talk to her fellow classmates and answers questions about what went down.
Before Kuro can run off Caren and her engage in a bit of verbal sparing. As the conversation goes on it quickly becomes apparent that Caren is far more than a lazy if observant nurse. She clearly knows something magical is going. She not even knows what secrets Kuro is playing close to her chest but knows somethings piece of information that the magical clone wants to know. But Caren refuses to say anything. She mostly just enters into a pact of mutual disinterest despite the fact it is clear both sides are still going to be watching each other. It is more that they both agree to avoid calling each other out or openly putting surveillance on each other.
Bu the silence is soon broken by the prime assassin of silence as Taiga rushes into the room with Shiro in hand to see if her brother can wake the sleeping beauty. This gets Shiro wrapped in bandages. If anyone is familiar with Caren they will remember that her main magical weapon is the Shroud of Magdalene which can only bind men. That adds an extra layer of humor when Shiro complains that Caren seems to target him for no reason. Perhaps her medical bandages only work on men as well.
This scene also gives a lot of fleshing out to Miyu despite the fact that she says practically nothing. While there is a bit of a confrontation between Miyu and Kuro it seems that Kuro does not have the same murderous hate for the raven haired girl that she has for Illya. If nothing else Kuro even seems to have a slight affection for her. Miyu on the other hand seems more cautiously curious about this dangerous child. At the same time while Miyu does not even speak to Shiro it is clear that she is dying to say something to him but does not feel it is her place to speak up. Her face speaks volumes about her sadness and longing but reluctance to express herself.
In the end when all is done and done it is made clear that even Caren is not fully sure of all the pieces in play. She knows most of what is going on with Illya, Kuro, and Miyu. She seems to know not only about the Magical Girl happenstances but where Kuro and Miyu came from. The past and the present seem known variables to her. What is still unclear, even to the mysterious nurse, is what all of this is moving towards. It clearly is setting up something big. The question is what is that event.
This at first glance can seem like an episode where nothing happens. A cease-fire in temporally agreed to, there is some dodge ball shenanigans, and then some resting time to the school infirmary. But a lot of little clues and innuendos of what is going on in this episode. Often the lines that went unsaid told more than anything that was discussed. If anything the silliness at the beginning highlights the drama at the end.
The next episode seems to mostly be a bath related episode so the high gear fan service will be kicking in again.