Burn baby, burn.
Remember how I said last week that Katherine had finals and so wouldn’t be part of the post? And remember how I was wrong about that? Well, just pretend I said it all over again for this week, except this time I’m right… and wish her some luck on those!
Anyway, lets just roll with the post, starting off, as usual, with Lily’s contribution:
What do you mean Cornelius gets to make an appearance but not Touko Aozaki?!
A touch of the melodramatic on this week’s episode with Kiritsugu’s back story. Although a tragedy was expected, given the extremist and hateful impression of his ideals (as pointed out by Saber herself), the end of Kiritsugu’s innocence and the progression to his first murder felt… A bit too much. I dare say a bit forced. It is possible that I’ve grown numb to genocide as character development, but there were bad decisions and consequences out of the hands of the boy’s father. Was it the indifference with which elder Emiya treated the village’s demise that severed the ties between father and son? It can be paralleled to the indifference Tokiomi Tohsaka treated his own daughter Sakura, sending her away and out of his family for what he believed was a greater good. In my privileged point of view from the audience seat, there was only so much I could blame on Emiya. But losing his best friend/crush, seeing people eating each other or getting burned by magi, all at such a young age… Well then. Why not become an assassin for hire?
Shakespearean drama aside, I quite enjoyed the fact that Kiritsugu’s mentor was a woman. A very strong, intelligent woman who couldn’t bring herself to abandon a mentally unstable child. The one event that would lead Kiritsugu to adopt a child himself? Very interesting. I really hope that, if the flashback episode continues, that we get to see more of her or how she got in her business. Surely makes up for some of the silly things Fate/Stay Night pulled with its females.
Additionally, I was very amused to see Cornelius from Kara no Kyoukai make a brief appearance, even if I didn’t recognize him at first glance. Really made me wish we could have seen Touko Aozaki do anything, even just stand in the background looking cool. And to further expand the Nasuverse references, the mention of the Dead Apostles from Tsukihime. How was Emiya conducting his Dead Apostles experiment? Did he manage to get a sample of their blood? Oh my, my. Don’t tell Arcueid.
I have to say, Lily is much more positive about the episode than I can be, as I frankly found the episode to be dead dull, with the sole exception of Natalia, Kiritsugu’s savior and eventual mentor. The entire thing was just so utterly predictable – almost the moment Shirley appeared on-screen I thought to myself, “Oh, I bet she dies.” It doesn’t help that the scenario brought to mind Vash the Stampede’s similar history vis-a-vis Rem Saverem in Trigun, either; Trigun isn’t that terrific of a show, but even it played this one out more effectively than Fate/Zero does here (although its interesting to note how Vash and Kiritsugu ended up with such vastly differeny philosophies despite like circumstances).
I agree with Lily that Kiritsugu’s murder of his father felt abrupt and forced at best – sure, the elder Emiya displays some callousness about the fate of the village and the fact that his experiments were involved with it, but he didn’t make Shirley try his methods nor did he even attempt to make her. Shirley broke in and stole it. Even if Emiya’s experiments aren’t hyper ethical, Kiritsugu’s reaction seems extreme – hell, even Natalia basically says as much. But the show acknowledging the fact in-universe doesn’t alter the fact that it feels extremely contrived. Maybe if we’d spent more time building up to it, by showing Kiritsugu with Shirley more, showing the other villagers more? Although I can’t say this would please me, either, since what we did see was so boring. Really, the entire thing is so poorly-executed that it just feels like excuses for Kiritsugu’s brutal behavior in more recent episodes.
I shudder to consider that the next episode may be more flashback material. Sorry, Fate/Zero, but I just don’t care about Kiritsugu. He isn’t terribly interesting, nor do I find him cool enough to float along through the dull material on akogare or kyaaa-ness. I would much rather watch Saber and Irisviel been couple-y, Gilgamesh and Kirei
being couple-y having having lots of homoerotic tension having their tense interactions and presumably plotting teh evulz, Kariya being crazed… honestly, even watching Rider play video games would be a hell of a lot more fascinating than this. No, really, twenty-two minutes of him playing video games. I get that he’s funny, but, admit it, even this would probably tax his humor factor a bit… but it’d still be preferable to thise current snooze-fest.
Oh well. At least Natalia was badass. Oh, and the animation in this episode was absolutely stunning at frequent points, so much so that I’m pretty sure its the best animation in the show so far. Awesome.