The Eye of Sauron attacks Homurahara Academy, a villain twirls his mustachio, a pair of perfect breasts is lost, I will eventually make a Wheel of Time reference (and wonder how much people still get Wheel of Time references), and Tohsaka makes more silly faces. All in one episode. So you can’t say nothing happens this time.
Also, spoilers: Kaede Makidera killed Rider!
Oh, a quick side note: I’m going to stop mentioning Fate/Hollow Ataraxia as something that should be next up as an anime. Now that I am over half way through the game I have a far greater grasp of why it has not been turned into an anime yet. It has a great story and I am having a ton of fun but there is far more character minutia and minor lore than fighting and world shattering events. If you thought the original game was an Iron Chef visual novel with some magic sword fighting thrown in for color then Fate/Hollow Ataraxia is the whole dang Food Network. There is some meat on that bone but I am not sure there is enough for a full 26 episode series unless you want a majority of the episodes to be entirely slice of life segments. I love reading about Sakura’s struggles with the archery club but I’m not sure people want to sit through multiple episodes of going to the pool and Caster learning to cook Japanese food. Fate/Hollow Ataraxia might actually work better as two movies or maybe a 13 episode series with a focus of the main plot and just a little bit of fluff for effect. (Actually someone might have suggested that in the past to me specifically. I can’t remember.) Actually an OVA would be best but it seems like those have fallen out of favor for anything that is not goofy like Carnival Phantasm.
Second Side note: They are taking questions for Nasu & Takeuchi for the Fate/Stay Night UBW box set. You probably have to write them in Japanese to get them answered but it is probably the simplest way to ask those guys a question as they don’t seem to do conventions.
Rin and Shiro meet up after the less than ideal battle at Ryuudou Temple and discuss how to move on from there. But as they are relaxing Shinji activates Blood Fort Andromeda in hopes of powering up Rider and killing his redheaded rival at the same time. Before things can go down it seems that Caster and a mysterious third party have already taken out Rider with a single blow.
Spoilers for Heaven’s Feel guys!
Actually it is more setup for Heaven’s Feel than spoilers when push comes to shove. I had mostly forgotten the scene as it really whips past you in the visual novel. After re-watching the scene in the game I found it is a good set up for the Unlimited Blade Works part of Unlimited Blade Works.
Still it is a weird dream. He might want to talk to someone who is well versed in analytical psychology about that.
Other than basking in the joy that is a sulking Saber there is an actual point to this scene. Firstly is shows that Shiro is progressing in his swordsmanship. While his fight with the skeletal familiars will actually show his training in action this scene is helping set up the audience to notice that growth. At the same time it also reflects the unavoidable bond between Shiro and Archer. As soon as Shiro starts using Archer’s style it becomes apparent it fits him like a glove. While Saber’s techniques are devastating they are not as attuned to Shiro. If the foreshadowing was too subtle in the past they really bring it to the forefront here.
But seriously, Saber is super cute in this scene. Her mixture of sage support and jealousy mix well. She wants Shiro to grow but it does sting a little when he drops her fighting style.
A quick note. If you don’t constantly hang out on the Beast’s Lair or the Type-Moon Wiki you might not recognize the people above but they are the rest of the jokers in Shiro’s class 2C. You can play a game where you see how many of them you can find in this episode.
Since most of the episode is going to be Shiro’s classmates being slowly ground into mana, people getting their heads punched off, Dragon Tooth Warriors, and Shinji (who is always upsetting) a little humor to calm things down after the end of the last episode and the action that is to come helps everything flow better. But before then you must have Shinji come in and be a pest.
I have to say that he does come off as foppishly evil this scene. For all the running around and declaring his evil plans you think someone would take him slightly seriously. You don’t have to shoot him in cold blood in the middle of English class (Taiga would not appreciate that at all) but you might want to keep an eye on him at the very least. He is basically mentioning how he is going to murder Shiro with fairly naked threats.
But since Shinji is such a cockroach Rin and Shiro decide it is better to have some romantic comedy moments during their journey to eating lunch on the roof. It is fun to see people react to Rin being out of her established outside character and Shiro being all too in-character at the same time. Also Rin’s impatient face outside of class 2C as well as her reenactment of how she turned shown Shinji brought a smile to my soul. The scenes really allowed the animators the chance to get a whole new set of funny faces out of Rin.
Just as Shiro and Rin come to realize that Shinji is a bigger threat then they initially thought he proves that they should have paid more attention as he finally activates Blood Fort Andromeda. Shiro and Rin race to check on Sakura and find while most of their classmates are still alive they won’t be for long unless they can knock out the Bounded Field.
I know a common question about this part is if Sakura was faking being knocked out or did she actually get caught by Blood Fort Andromeda. She is powerful enough to theoretically not be under duress. The real question is does she have enough training at this point to use that power effectively. Shiro maybe weak but he can at least move what little mana he has around his body enough to cast spells. Sakura is a powerhouse but she never got any formal magical training. Brute strength is little use when finesse is required.
Then again Sakura has been known to play the part of the ignorant innocent fairly well. She might have been faking so Sempai does not find out her involvement in all of this.
They do a good job of showing that Shiro is not all right in the head in this scene. For all her cold-blooded talk we see that Rin is horrified when she finds her fellow friends and acquaintances being slowly eaten alive as they lay in pools of their own fluids. When it is time for action she steps up but she does not have that instantly clinical attitude that Shiro does. But this is not a case of the weak-willed girl not being as useful as the macho man in a crisis. It is clear that Shiro near sociopathic detachment in the situation should not be admired and is a clear sign of the trauma at his core being a flaw and not a virtue.
But before the duo can confront Shinji they are blocked by a small army of Skeleton Warriors. While they are weak enough that Shiro and Rin can take them out their real danger in their numbers more than their skill. This means that have to summon Saber to make any progress. Also they need someone to fight Shinji’s servant who is not a weak little meat bag.
As quickly as Saber is reunited with the group they have to split up again. While the Bounded Field’s main support structure is on the first floor it seems that the enemy Servant is on the 3rd. This means that the Masters will go and fight their counterparts so the higher level Servants can engage in a battle on their own tier.
I had forgotten how quickly they go through command spells in this path. It is not even the half way mark and Shiro and Rin are already down to their last spells. Everyone had a bit better economy (other than Caster’s original Master) in the other story arcs.
If you ever read the Wheel of Time the parallels between the Asmodean mystery and this are fairly strong. You have the quick one shot death of a major character by an unknown assailant while the main characters are distracted. While the lists of suspects is technically huge the number of people have the means to commit the murder are actually very small. It has to be someone Shinji would recognize, a person who can move during Blood Fort Andromeda, someone who would not normally be considered a magical threat, and a fighter who can kill a Servant in one shot. For some reason most people are not placing Dezaki and Fujimoto on the top of their list of suspects.
I am curious how many people going into the story cold can figure out who took out Rider before they are spoiled on the actual killer by people on the Internet.
As the masters work their ways downstairs it seems that Saber fell for Caster’s little trap. When she goes to fight Rider she merely winds up sparring with an illusion. Overall the goal was not to kill Saber but to keep her away from the fight downstairs long enough for the mysterious assassin to take out Rider and then get away before the Shiro gang can make it to where Shinji is. If they had gone as a group there is no way they would have taken as long as they did to get downstairs. The Dragon Tooth Warriors are really only a roadblock for Shiro and Rin. Saber can waltz through them like a breeze through a screen door.
If nothing else you have to admire the One-Punch Man style in which Rider it taken out trying to save her cowardly Master. Although I don’t think Saitama will kill anyone in such a gruesome manner. I had always pictured this scene as a little gory but they went the extra mile here.
It is a shame that Rider went out so quickly in this path. In fact she is the first Servant to die in both of the starting stories. At least she went out like a champ in Fate. Here she dies mostly to show off another character’s skills. I guess we have to wait for Heaven’s Feel to see her really go all out.
Just kill Shinji already. I know they can’t because Rin and Shiro are Lawful Good but he just tried to melt everyone they know into goo. That includes his sister, their friends, and everyone’s general acquaintances. If premeditated mass murder of innocent people is not enough to get you off someone’s Christmas list I am not sure what is. But as Shinji refuses to tell them who killed Rider so the party is left to wonder who the hidden master at the school is. You know that Shinji is only going to be a thorn in your side in the future. Do the smart thing and finish him now.
While one of their opponents is gone it seems that the real threat is still at large. When Blood Fort Andromeda is a minor threat you know that you have an uphill battle.
Since Rin has been absent for the last two episodes it was nice to for her to be in the spotlight considering this is her story.
I don’t remember the visual novels making such a big deal of how weird Shiro was during this whole incident. Playing that up was not a bad thing though. It really helps show that Shiro’s heroic paradigm is often good but is clearly covering up some less healthy mental wounds in a way that is not promoting growth. You need that later on for his character arc to have its full power. But for now a broken Shiro must march forward.
Previous Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works posts:
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #007 – Curse Your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #006 – Shiro the Puppet
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #005 – The Silly Faces of Rin Tohsaka
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #004 – A Good Neighborhood Tiger
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #003 – Spoilers: Archer Uses a Bow
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #002 – Emiya Visits the Rip-Off Church
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #001 – People Almost Forgot Shiro is the Hero
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #000 – Archer the Combat Butler