I suppose I should have seen this coming. There is no way they could have just jumped into the Archer vs. Shiro fight. This is a show where everyone monologues at each other before, during, and after they fight. To assume anything else would happen would be silly. But this episode is really all about the little details. Overall much of this plays out like it does in the visual novel but the main difference in this episode even more than the others is all the small nods to other bits of the universe. Most of them will pass by anyone not neck-deep in the Nasuverse, and they even make sure that they don’t draw attention to themselves, but if you know what to look for there are some really nice Easter eggs for the hardcore fans here.
Archer and Shiro finally acknowledge their connection to each other before their final confrontation. Archer hopes by killing his naive younger self he can free himself from being a Counter Guardian. At the same time Lancer goes to free Rin but is stopped by his Master. As Lancer dies, as is the role of all Lancers, Archer and Shiro finally clash on their final battlefield.
Well if you were any sort of Fate/Extra fan you might have gotten goosebumps when this episode started. For the longest time the exact way that Shiro eventually became the Heroic Spirit EMIYA was mostly ambiguous. Archer never really goes into the details of what went down. Even the supplemental material never really goes into any greater detail. But then there is a playable Servant that looks exactly like Fate Stay/Night Archer, fights like Fate Stay/Night Archer, and even acts like Fate Stay/Night Archer. Albeit with a bit more of a playful and slightly less cynical attitude. Emphasis on the slightly. He even makes somewhat veiled but still fairly clear references to the Fate/Stay Night Holy Grail War. I mentioned this all in my review of Archer’s path in Fate/Extra.
But when I said it was fairly clear that Fate Stay/Night Archer and Fate/Extra Archer are clearly the same person and that the Fate/Extra version (and is also clearly changed by his time in Fate Stay/Night) I did get a little push back from some people. It did seem like some people felt that was a bit presumptuous. There was also a little bit of hesitation because Fate/Extra Archer clearly spell out how he died and became a Counter Guardian. You can watch that all here. The important thing is it added the big scene where he tries to shut down three nuclear reactors in meltdown and needs to make a contract with the world to become a Counter Guardian after his death to accomplish his mission.
When we see that exact scene playing out here is pretty much gives the biggest nod possible to the connection between Fate Stay/Night Archer and Fate/Extra Archer. It not only confirms that they are the same servant but it also makes Archer’s back story in Fate/Extra pretty much as canonical as you can get without the re-releasing the visual novel with new scenes added in it. (Don’t temp Type-Moon. Nothing is stopping them from making a new Fate/Stay Night for the PS4 with an updated Capsule Servant game.)
I would just like to take this moment to say, “I was right all along.”
They do not waste any time with the big reveal if that is anything. I did see some grumbling that people wanted them to get to the fighting sooner but at least they did not drag out the whole Archer ==Emiya thing. I don’t remember Saber being the one to interrogate Archer so much but I’m never going to complain about getting more Ayako Kawasumi. But looking back she is that talkative during that scene. I just forgot. They add a little more explanation but since Ufotable has not animated the Fate path I think that is understandable. You need a little more denouncement for the audience that does not already know what was going on.
Also Lancer is reall such a good guy. It is always a shame you never really learn that until half way through every path. Sadly Lancers don’t do well in the Fate universe. Maybe Scathach will turn that destiny around in Fate/Grand Order.
Just in case it was not clear that Shinji was a rapist they had to throw in a little creepy leg touching in this episode. While it seems to go on a bit longer than it need to but thankfully Lancer steps in before anything gets too bad. At first it seems like he is going to get his Big Damn Heroes moment but then the dark priest steps in. Kotomine has to keep up his reputation as always being one of the final bosses on every path.
I also just wanted to have a screen cap of Shinji getting hit in the face.
The other quick nod was to Mordred. Mordred was always canonical. That was never really in doubt. But they went out of their way to distinctly throw her into the Battle of Camlann. I know it is hard to recognize her without denim short shorts but that is why I am here.
It does seem like Bazett they are never going to mention her by name. That is probably for the best. As much as this series has a fairly large fan base there are still a good amount of people who have only seen the recent anime output. Mentioning Bazett or Mordred by name would require more explanation than it is worth especially for how little they have to do with the current plot. But they are in it enough that if you know who they are then you can get a little kick out of being able to spot the subtle call outs to them.
Minor note: The spear Saber is using there is Rhongomyniad. I know people NEEDED to know that.
King Arthur does have a rather huge arsenal of small named weapons and items most people don’t know about.
I did like that they showed quite a few different places when they give Archer’s full back story. He seems to go everywhere from Ancient Rome with centurions to modern Africa with soldiers armed with AK-47s. It distinctly gives you an idea that he has been all over the world having to kill people of every race, color, nationality, and creed in every era he has been summoned to. He has been all over humanity’s history and always seen the worst of it. It is another case where it was definitely mentioned in the visual novel but the anime has this visual acumen to show all of that for greater impact. When you see Archer sitting miserable in a piles of dead soldiers over the millennium it makes it ever clearer how he would get so jaded.
Kotomine is not wining himself any more fans with this scene. (Or maybe he is. I don’t know anymore.) But he clearly went full on Mustache Twirling Villain here. He admits to killing Tokiomi, controlling Lancer, fixing the Holy Grail War, teaming up with Shinji, and just generally being dastardly.
I do enjoy that Rin is pretty much, “Yeah. That makes sense. I always knew you were a dick and involved with all of this in a shady way. I was just never sure you were THIS much of a bag of dicks or SO involved in the worst possible way.” But the fact that he killed her father hit her like a ton of bricks. It is the first time she really lets the mask fall away and unleashes her full fury. As much as Shinji wants that reaction of dread, anger, or despair Rin never lets him feed his ego and need for control. She clearly realizes his rape attempt is not about sex it is about control. The less control she gives him the less he gets out of it. But Kotomine is just the master of pulling out the emotions from people. He effortlessly (and non-sexually) get all the feelings from Rin that Shinji wishes he could draw out.
Sadly Lancer makes a moral stance that gets him killed. I am sure more than a few people has some nasty flash backs to Fate/Zero after this scene. But I think this Lancer might still have a little bit of fight left in him.
I think any long time fan got a little hype when THE MUSIC started playing. It was clearly a mea culpa for the big fight not starting in this episode. “Look I know what you all wanted. We can’t give you that full course right now. But we can give you a little taste of it with your appetizer. Are we cool now?”
The main point of the episode is that Shiro has mainly been quiet because this is his moment. Archer has laid out one version of his future. In this version he survives the Holy Grail War but eventually loses his soul. He loses it so much that his future self is willing to gamble on a strange temporal paradox plan in the hopes of ending his pain. But Shiro rejects his jaded proposals. In many way this is Shiro’s fight with his own philosophy as it is with a man from the future.
But in many ways everyone here BUT Archer is missing what he is really saying. Don’t become me. I don’t care how. Just let the cycle end here. If I have to kill you (or at least attempt to kill you) to do so then so be it. One way or another this must stop. But at this juncture Saber and Shiro can’t see that.
Also Archer could maybe communicate a little better and a little less in his native language of jaded sarcastic asshole. You know. The native language of the Internet.
OK. NOW is when the budget is going to get splurged. I was just one episode off. Unless they are waiting to have THE BEST DAMN CRYSTAL DOLPHINS INSTEAD OF SEXUAL INTERCOURSE scene ever.
That would distinctly be an odd choice indeed.
Previous Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works posts:
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #018 – I Endorse this Ship
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #017 – Boot to the Head
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #016 – Another Spin
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #015 – When You Dream
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #014 – All in Good Time
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