There have been a few new scenes that were not in the visual novel before this point. They were pretty impressive and I talked them up when they appeared. Rin vs Illya made it into my Top 7 Type-Moon Moments for 2014. There was the much improved fight in episode ten. But overall this were minor tweaks and visual improvements. They were more signs of a good adaptation as opposed to clear indicators that this would be something more than the original. But I held out hope that this season would give us something more than that and did it ever. If nothing else it did hear a bit of grumbling about what they were going to do with this season. It seemed like they were over half way done with the story but still had a little less than half the series to go. What could they do other than the worst case scenario of dragging things out to fill in the time?
This episode is almost entirely new material. It is not radically different scenes. It is not totally going off in a new direction. Stray Servant was not introduced and Zouken Matou summoned True Assassin in the middle of Unlimited Blade Works. But everything here is either important scenes that happened off-screen or answered questions the fanbase always wondered about but were never fully answered in the visual novel. It is enough that I will have to change my Themes of Fate/Stay Night panel now that we have seen Caster’s original master.
If nothing else convinced visual novel purists that this was worth watching it would be this episode. It also makes anyone watching wonder what is coming next.
Shiro and Rin realize that without a Servant there is no way they can defeat Caster and if she can break Saber’s will then there is no hope whatsoever. Their only chance is to either team up with Lancer or Berserker’s master. The problem is Gilgamesh is about to make it that Illya is not a viable option. At the same time Caster reflects on how she has come to this point in the Holy Grail War and gained Souichirou as a Master.
The most important secondary cast member in any Type-Moon production pops up again: food. At the same time Rin and Shiro discuss their strategy in the background. Nasu has his priorities in order.
With the pretense of Rin’s cold blood mask off it seems they work better together. Rin very clearly has a deep understanding of how Shiro works. In fact she seems to have a better understanding of him then he has of himself. She quickly run through all the revelations of his soul-searching that took him so long to reach. While Rin is still a mystery to Shiro the opposite is increasingly less accurate a statement. It also helps that for the first time they truly seem comfortable around each other.
The problem is their synchronicity is not enough to defeat Caster, Souichirou, and now Archer. Their only hope is that they can convince one of the remaining Masters that unless they work together they are all doomed. Lancer’s Master is right out as they have no idea who he is. (Also if they knew it was Kotomine it might actually tip the scale away from them approaching him with an alliance even more.) There only real choice at that point is Illya. Rin remembers that there was Einzbern castle outside of town so it is actually a safe bet as to where she is staying. She seems more accessible and accommodating then their other choice. Illya may have tried to kill them but the same could be said for Lancer’s Master.
They might as well go with the little devil girl they know.
I have to say I always wondered about this guy. For the longest time he was just listed as Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film in my Fate/Stay Night panel. I usually speculated about what sort of person he was as the relationship between Masters and the Servants they summon is a big deal in the series. In fact one of the biggest clues to the fact that it was actually Sakura who summoned Rider is the clash of personality between her and Shinji. The more you learned about Rider the clearer it was that she was not the type of Servant that should have been drawn to Shinji. So in that same respect while Caster and Souichirou complement each other amazingly well Caster and Assassin make more sense as a pair. Atram Galiast on the other hand seems exactly like the person to bring forth a Servant like Caster.
I will say how everything goes down here is a little different from how Nasu originally said it went. The thing is the only real official account of this guy before now was from Q&As. There Nasu stated that Caster pretended to be cooperative and then tricked her master into using his Command Spells until he used them up and she was able to kill him. He is described as being rather plain individual. Clearly this flashy mage with a harem of assistants and high-tech lab is very different. But overall this makes much more sense. The original description mostly just sounds like a catalyst to get the story moving. This guy is a far better insight into Caster and works as properly into the thematic conventions of the series. I’m guessing that when Nasu actually sat down to write this part he realized someone like this would work better.
I consider Atram Galiast the canonical Master. He fits more in the scheme of things and is far more interesting than a bland salary man of a magi that gets killed in the least interesting way possible. More importantly this Master says more about Caster which is far more important especially considering how little time she gets in the other paths.
Wow. When you pretty much say, “I think Kayneth’s main problem was he was not enough of a smug elitist bastard” you should probably should know that you don’t have to worry too much about how your going to your retirement years after winning the Holy Grail War. (SPOILERS: The reason you won’t have to worry about being an octogenarian will not be because the Holy Grail granted you eternal youth.) At first Caster seems to be a bit turned off by her Master’s arrogance but she begrudgingly decides to work with him. As they interact more and more it is clear they are not going to work.
It is clear that Atram likes to be in control. The more that he sees Caster is far more power than he is the more he seems to resent her. Clearly he saw her as a gun that he would point at the other Masters. He would merely load her with the finest rounds and then kill the other participants in the war with a high-caliber weapon. When it is clear that he is merely her battery and that she has her own agenda and plans he clearly unhappy. In his mind there are only two paths. Caster submits to his will or she dies.
Also it is clear you not supposed to like Atram Galiast. When you have a machine that makes mana crystals from orphan smoothies it is pretty clear that you are a bad guy. All they did not mention was that he lubricates the machine with puppy and kitten blood because it has a greater resonance due to a sympathetic connection. But it also shows Caster’s alignment a little better. It is clear that she is a ruthless “the ends justify the means” type of person. She will not lose sleep over the people who die or are crippled in the pursuit of her goals. The thing is she is efficient about it. She takes no great pleasure in killing people. If it must be done than she does it without hesitation but other than that it is not a treat or nor a pleasure to cause suffering (to random people at least.)
If anything Caster seems mad that Atram is lazy and sloppy at the same time. The fact that he acts better than her when her magic is from the Age of Gods only proves how ignorant and petty he is. The fact that he is killing children in mass only proves what a wastrel he is.
This is not really meant to be a funny scene but you can’t help but laugh. The fact that Atram is going to Kotomine to deliver a message to Lancer’s Master is remarkably ironic. The best part is you can see that Kotomine just wants to break out into a smile when Atram basically tells him to deliver a message to himself. The question is other than to make the scene filled with irony why would Atram assume Lancer’s Master would so easily do him a favor.
I’m guessing that Atram is assuming that Bazett is Lancer’s Master and therefore he has the best chance of being able to work with her after he is forced to kill Caster. If that is the case it is not actually a bad stratagem. The Tohsaka, Einzbern, and Matou have all been participating in the Holy Grail War from the beginning and are infamous for not playing well with others when it comes to this battle. The other participants are random mages. Bazett is an Enforcer from the Mage’s Association therefore she is a member of the same organization who is used to working with others. If your going to extend your hand in an alliance she is probably the safest bet.
He never mentions Bazett by name so I can’t say that for sure this is the case. Tohsaka is unaware that Bazett was there so it is not like it is common knowledge that she was participating in the 5th Holy Grail War. Atram seems well-connected while I am sure Tohska is get filtered reports from Kotomine so it is not out of the question for him to be aware of Bazett’s existence but Rin be in the dark. Atram is aware that Lancer’s Master if female and a member of the Association so all signs point to him knowing her identity.
What I’m saying it is an interesting theory that I can neither prove or disprove but the evidence points to me have a very solid case.
It is worth noting how well Kotomine makes sure this poor sod is on the road to self-destruction. It is another example of where Kotomine proves he is exceptional and knowing just when to listen and just when to prod someone with a very light touch. He goes out of his way never to appear to be influencing the person he is talking to. It really helps elevate him beyond his initial reputation of a one-dimensional villain.
The other major irony of the conversation is Atram complaining that Caster has no regard for human life when he kills people left and right without a second thought. It is clear he only considers mages real people. What he is clearly saying is he is worried she can kill someone like him not that he is disgusted that she would take a human life in general.
After talking to Kotomine it is clear that Atram is in love with the idea of killing his servant and then just summoning one of the last two remaining Servants. There are two major flaws in his plan. The first high level problem is Caster is much smarter than him and just as distrusting. She already realizes that things are not going to work out so he is at a disadvantage. Also he is clearly not as smart as he thought he was if he did not realize that Caster could just use Rule Breaker on herself. While he was a mage he obviously did not play enough D&D to know how to word a proper Wish spell. Any decent DM would have seen through that Wish in a second. The second problem is a meta one. He wants Caster to kill herself. If he was genre aware he would know that only Lancers are every forced to kill themselves.
Say what you will about Caster but she was dedicated murdering this guy. She seems very aware that she will probably die after killing Atram but she would rather go down fighting as opposed to hoping things would work out.
If anything shows how different Caster and Souichirou are it is this scene. Whereas Caster is constantly looking for Souichirou’s angle he just straight up assumes she is telling the truth after a small amount of consideration. As a trained killer he is distinctly aware that she is dangerous but that makes little difference to him. He genuinely just wishes to help her. In a way his path to redemption or at least purpose is through helping a fellow killer. Caster who has learned only to think of herself eventually winds up on the same path from the other direction. So while they start as opposites they end up as ideally matched partners.
Also if you never read the visual novel and missed the implication this is where the “mana exchange” ceremony (aka sex) takes place in the game. Since Caster is some unpopular blue haired elf lady no one cares.
Sometimes you need a little comedic break between heavy moments. Rin and Shiro provide that levity. Considering the weight of Caster’s back story and the bloody murders that are about to take place their little misadventure with the traps in the woods around the castle is a welcome diversion. Otherwise this would be nothing more than a long slog of pain, betrayal, anger, and sadness.
I have always had an affection for Sella and Leysritt. Sadly most of their originally planned scenes where cut when Illya’s path was cut but they still got a decent amount of screen time in Fate/Hollow Ataraxia as well as lots of spin-off material. They are a good little odd couple and they play off Illya well and help give her a bit of humanity. So at first it was nice to see them in the spotlight. The you remember what is about to happen.
This fight mostly happens of screen in the visual novel. By the time Rin and Shiro arrive the fight between Berserker and Gilgamesh is mostly over and Sella and Leysritt are long dead. In a way there are mostly just here as jobbers to show off how powerful Gilgamesh is. It is worth showing off what Gilgamesh can do considering he winds up as the final boss. It is just a shame that it was at the cost of the poor maids.
I know that we have seen fight with her crazy Rhenium Halbred in Fate/Unlimited Codes but as far as I know as much as they tout Sella’s magic abilities I have never seen her cast spell #1. At least Leysritt fights a bit with Gilgamesh before she gets Gate of Babyloned but Sella is just gets turned into a pin cushion off-screen. She did not need a long drawn out sorcery vs. swords battle but let her get off a magic missile or two before she dies.
Also I am sure most people are a little sad that Leysritt did not skewer Shinji like a pig a luau but sadly the little turd has a role to play.
Illya certainly makes an entrance with Berserker in the next scene. She is clearly heartbroken and infuriated to see the King of Heroes and she is quite ready to avenge the death of her care takers. If nothing else it means we are going to get some good fighting in the next episode. Despite his size Berserker is quite agile so this fight should be as impressive as the battle in the graveyard.
I am really curious if we are going to see the man who was originally supposed to summon Assassin. He is the last of the unseen Masters. Kotomine mentioned he was around but as far as we know he has not been dealt with yet in the time of the flashback. Since the anime seems dedicated to exploring Caster this would give us a chance to see her in action again. In fact it also might be a great way to learn a bit more about Souichirou as well. We could see them have to fight Assassin’s master as their first real fight as a team. In fact I could imagine him being either from Souichirou’s organization or maybe from a rival assassination group. Either way it would let the series explore who Souichirou is and maybe show how committed he is to thrown in his lot with Caster.
As a side note I have to wonder if this episode will in any way increase Caster’s fan base.
Then again the Type-Moon wiki will usually get updated instantly whenever new material is uncovered. Caster’s page was still the same when I wrote this line. Heck Atram Galiast did not get a page until late Sunday night.
I think that might be a sign she is not getting a 1/6th size figure any time soon.
I’m really glad they inserted this episode as I always through this part of the path was the weakest. This new fights, added depth of characters, and increased world building really strength this section. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Previous Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works posts:
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #013 – Break Your Heart
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #012 – The Empire Strikes Back
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #011 – The Silly Faces of Taiga Fujimura
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #010 – The Bushwhackers
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #009 – The Issei Strip Mahjong Game
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #008 – There’s a Shortage of Perfect Breasts in this World
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