Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fate/Zero – 25 (End)

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“And they lived happily ever after…”

So, in the end, all of the villains in Fate/Zero walked away pretty much in the pink – except Kiritsugu.  Though to be honest, I wasn’t entirely thrilled he got off as easy as he did, given the amount of death and misery he was responsible for.  If there was a low point of the finale for me, it was when Shirou (Noda Junko) made his “In saving me, he was saving himself” scene.  I mean, honestly – your actions have just directly resulted in the annihilation of every citizen of Fuyuki Town – and because one boy survives, you get to be redeemed?  For once, Urorbuchi’s God is a very forgiving one.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not as though Kerry walked away without his fair share of misery, but the scales still end up (for this portion of the tale, anyway) tipped in his favor if you ask me.  Considering that the second season of F/Z wound up boiling down to a systematic discrediting of both Kiritsugu and Saber’s philosophies it’s only right that they should see their fair share of miseries.  Kiritsugu at least was forced to see the direct results of his misguided life choices, and Arthur was forced to come to terms with how little she understand the practical implications of her own philosophy.

In the final analysis, it’s ironic how alike Kiritsugu and Arthur turned out to be – where they’d seemed to be an oddball choice as Master and Servant, they were actually quite well-matched.  Each exemplified the extremes of misguided visions for the world – a range from pure idealism to pure consequentialism – and each, in the end, was forced to see the results in action.  Each wanted the Grail for entirely the wrong reasons, and their quest brought each of them nothing but pain in the end.  I can’t count how many second chances Kiritsugu got in his life without deserving them, and he squandered every last one.  Right up until the last one, that is, where at the very least he took the opportunity to save Shirou’s life and raised him safely to adolescence.  It doesn’t atone for all the rest of it, but even one act of decency is better than compounding his mistakes still further.

The baddies, by contrast, come out smelling like a rose.  Kirei appears to have been granted immortality by the lava-like mud that flowed from the grail – at the very least he should be dead and isn’t, and Gilgamesh denies all responsibility.  Gilgamesh implies that it was Kirei’s vision that actually came to pass when Saber obliterated the physical Grail, so if that’s true in a sense the conflagration that consumed Fuyuki was perhaps the child of both Kiritsugu and Kirei (more irony).  In any case Kirei is alive and kicking with a Grail-granted second life despite being shot in the heart by Kerry, and he has a good laugh about all that’s gone down – about the only downer is seeing that Kiritsugu is broken enough so as not to even be worth his hatred any longer.  In the end, Kiritsugu still confounds Kirei, and this still infuriates him.  The pièce de résistance for Kirei’s evil triumph is giving Rin the Azoth dagger that he used to kill her father at Tokiomi’s funeral, which he’s clearly doing just to stick his thumb in the eye of the universe and revel in his wickedness gleefully.  She seems to sense the truth on some level, though whether it’s knowledge or a suspicion is hard to say.

As for Gil, it appears that being baptized by the same fire that granted Kirei new life has granted him a physical body, which is an interesting twist.  Naturally he takes this as a sign from the universe that it’s time for him to take charge of the world again.  As for Kariya, who I’m not sure whether to call a villain or not, he meets the end you’d more or less expected all along.  But it’s interesting to note that he appears not to have killed Aoi, but taken her wits (and who said Urobuchi wasn’t sentimental?). 

Finally we have a last look at Waver – which was something I didn’t expect – and not surprisingly, it provides the most upbeat moments of the finale.  He’s still living with his “Grandparents”, whom he’s told that Alexei has gone back to London.  Waver has experienced the closest thing to a healthy and normal character arc in F/Z as a result of the closest thing to a healthy and normal relationship.  His time with Iskander has made him both wiser and more adventurous, and he declares that he’d like to stay with the Mackenzie’s for a while, earning some money, and then experience the world for himself.  It’s bittersweet, because what he really wanted was to go with Rider on his next journey – but one gets the sense that Waver is going to be OK.  If there’s anything in this finale that speaks of an honestly redemptive quality for me, that’s it.

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46 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. It's not really a Fate/stay night spoiler that's why I posted it as it's only in reference materials and artbooks, but ok then.

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    2. Sorry - I don't know the VN so I didn't know whether that info was directly from the source. Feel free to repost the info as long as that's the case.

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    3. Ok.

      It was only information about Waver future detailed in Character Material and Zero Material.

      Basically just after his world travel, he returns to Mage's Association and rebuilds Archibald family (ruined after Kayneth death) and earns the title of Lord El-Melloi II. Then he becomes a famous lecturer being the best person at detecting the hidden talent of others and training it. And a gamer too, obviously.

      Information and pictures:
      - http://tatari.byethost33.com/fuyuki/misccharacters.htm#LordElMelloiII
      - http://media.animevice.com/uploads/0/5934/157492-charactermaterial_40.jpg
      - http://static.zerochan.net/Lord.El-melloi.II.full.861612.jpg

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    4. Thank yo(k)u!

      Good to know things turned OK for Waver - he deserves it. Last link is broken, BTW.

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  2. Enzo is quick on the nerf button time and time again. Censorship at work.

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  3. omg i couldnt concentrate when gil was nekkid LOL

    but mehh it was an OK ending, i thought Saber and Gil fought within the rubble (pretty sure F/SN had flashbacks of them fighting in the rubble?) a fight in the final episode would have been nice...

    oh oh & sakura "that's what you get for opposing grandfather" she's never been that cold before, felt kinda OOC and something that urobuchi would say LOL

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    1. That was DEEN just making up things.

      In the VN there is no such a flashback.

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    2. Read Heavenès feel and you will understand Sakura better.

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  4. Well calling Kiritsugu one of the villains is going too far. Unintentionally killing a whole city of people should not make him a villain unless you are trying to redefine what a villain is. I guess Saber is a villain, too, since she's the one who actually killed them all. So is US government who kills civilians indirectly with drone attacks. Or have you forgotten about dropping nuke into 2 Japanese towns? It's a kind of talk real terrorists are justifying their actions. C'mon, deep down, you know it, too. Why couldn't you resist on a parting cheap shot? I guess the gloves came off since it's the last chance to comment on Kiritsugu. This episode blog could've been fine without that first line, you know.

    And I thought there is another episode after this? 25 is a such odd numbers of episodes. But the story has ended, so if there is one, probably bonus episode with a filler.

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    1. Sorry, there's no 26. 25 is a fairly common total for a two-cour series.

      I was counting down till someone tilted over that line in the post! Congrats on being the first - just under two hours.

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    2. So... you baited me?? How could you, Enzo?!! I trusted you~~!! And I fell for it like some chump. Should've realized that it was a bait. It was on very first-line, too, just wiggling at me. Whispering at me like "c'mon, you wanna respond, c'mon (or in Brooklyn style, "you gonna take that sh$t?")" Oh, darn it! ha ha ha.

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    3. No nobo, no bait - I meant every word of it. It's just how I feel about the character.

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    4. Thanks for taking the bait, nobo, otherwise it would have been me that would have fallen for Enzo's trolling. lol

      But still, calling Kiritsugu a villain for a disaster he had no idea he had indirectly caused is just too harsh. How was he to know that destroying the vessel of the Grail would not make the contents disappear instantly as well? What would you have done in his place after actually having the balls to reject the evil Grail for what it was? Just leave it there for someone else to wish upon it and get their wish twisted again?

      If you really want to blame anyone, blame it on Urobuchi, the greatest troll of them all, and Nasu, who started this premise all these years ago.

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    5. Kinny, it's cumulative - it's not just that. The Fuyuki disaster was just the karmic payoff for a lifetime of misguided actions based on a flawed moral philosophy.

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    6. Fair enough Enzo. Kiritsugu probably realized it himself at what he's done.

      But then you have to add this line: "I wasn’t entirely thrilled he got off as easy as he did" Which just sounded ridiculously cruel.

      What else would you have him do? His soul is already tormented by the sight of the carnage, and he is cursed to die in due time anyway. Is that not punishment enough for him?

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    7. I take your point. What I meant with that was that I didn't like the implication that by saving Shirou, all was forgiven - "clean slate, Mate." Which, as Arabeque notes, is interesting as that was not an Urobuchi line of dialogue. Maybe that's not how that scene was intended, but that's one obvious interpretation.

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    8. Well, Kiritsugu saved himself saving Shirou because if he didn't he would probably have failed at everything he did and suicided.

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  5. Hmmm... I'll have to disagree with everything you said Enzo but hey, everyone's entitled to their own opinions.
    I'm glad we got some clarification of Saber's and Lancelot's past so that pretty much wrapped up everything on their parts nicely.
    Waver's epilogue seems like the most conventional one but I guess since he’s your most typical anime trope in a story written by Urobuchi sensei, it fits him very well. Kiritsugu is without a doubt my favorite character in F/Z so it's great that there were plenty of screen time to show us how he coped with his losses. Iri’s and Illya’s conversation was especially enlightening as well.
    Great job Ufotable, you guys totally deserve the fat pay checks ;)

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  6. well, well, well. Is this a new trend of anime world? Now villains walk home with their heads hanging high, laughing merrily all the way. First, we have a known child molester, an attempted murderer in Sankarea escapes free after some minor scolding/lecturing (not even slap on the wrist).

    Now in F/Z, the evil brothers rules the F/Z world while the main protagonists gets screwed over (yeah okay, they have FSN, just like Death note season 1 vs. season 2, I get that, but still...). I can probably come up with a couple more examples like this in recent shows. I have to admit, this new trend is refreshing to me, no matter how maddening it may be to regular viewers, oh ho ho ho. No I'm not a sadist. And that wasn't a villain laugh, either!

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    1. Well, in case of FZ I wouldn't really call it a trend: those villains needed to end like this due to the fact that it was their background story in FSN... where they didn't get to just walk away in neither of the three paths.

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  7. wait, so did Sakura just kill almost-dead Kariya or did he just die on his own before being devoured by millions of bugs? Based on the snark comment by Sakura, maybe she killed him. Then... she's a murderer! Gasp!! Then again, who isn't in this F/Z world? Almost everyone is.

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    1. No, he just died delusional and Sakura believed that this was a new lesson from Zouken to tell her to not disobey. The anime kinda simplified it too much.

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    2. Indeed, the way that scene was played out made Sakura look as though she was totally ungrateful for all that Kariya's gone through for her.

      Then again, getting tentacle-raeped by a bunch of phallic-looking bugs for one whole year kind of warps her mind into that of a cynical, uncaring personality.

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    3. She didn't kill him, she watched him die. The ironic thing is Kariya's actions did the opposite of saving her. Now she will be more afraid than ever to run away because she saw what happened to Kariya.

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  8. No. Kariya died naturally due the Crest Worms killing him inside his body after Berserker's fight with Saber. Then again, Sakura was the reason Kariya fought and died for, so some viewers can claim Sakura indirectly doomed Kariya from the start.

    "Let us tell the story of a certain man. The tale of a man, who more than anyone else, believed in his ideals, and by them was driven into despair."

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  9. "Gilgamesh implies that it was Kirei’s vision that actually came to pass when Saber obliterated the physical Grail, so if that’s true in a sense the conflagration that consumed Fuyuki was perhaps the child of both Kiritsugu and Kirei (more irony)."
    Actually, from what I've heard no wish was granted this time around (all the destruction was caused just from the grail overflowing, Gil was wrong since he was kinda occupied and didn't see what happened) and all that excess energy from not granting a wish is why the fifth war started only 10 years later. Don't think that's a spoiler for anything, especially since that's only what I think I remember reading.

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  10. Well, since you won't allow Fate/Stay Night spoilers even though this game came out 8 years ago, I'll just say spoiler free that a lot of this shit makes a lot more sense after you play it, especially regarding Kirei and Gilgamesh, and this episode in particular contained a number of juicy ironies relating to what happens in the game..

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  11. Also: 19:15, is that Fuji-nee in the background with the Shinai?

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  12. If there was a low point of the finale for me, it was when Shirou (Noda Junko) made his “In saving me, he was saving himself” scene. I mean, honestly – your actions have just directly resulted in the annihilation of every citizen of Fuyuki Town – and because one boy survives, you get to be redeemed? For once, Urorbuchi’s God is a very forgiving one.



    I feel that's just misinterpretation. It's more of "He (Kiritsugu) feels that he's saved (or is savable [ie: redeemable]), just because he saved me." As in, Kiritsugu personally feels that he has fallen just so so far, but by being able to save Shirou, he's like "Oh thank goodness!, I haven't killed everyone.", and that he is still able to seek penance in some way.

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    1. Arabesque points out to me that this line is one that Urobuchi had zero influence over - it's taken word for work directly from the F/SN VN, and he had to include it. That's an interesting added element.

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    2. Arabesque is? Anyways, its amazing to me how much better F/Z is compared to F/SN. Its tantamount to receiving caviar spread delicacy after getting a McDonald's happy meal.

      Great job on the series review btw.

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    3. Thanks. Arabesque is a frequent commenter on the site.

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    4. >Its amazing to me how much better F/Z is compared to F/SN.
      Not really, all of what is presented in Fate/Zero is actually stuff pulled off Fate/stay night as setups and themes for the whole series.

      Fate/Zero by itself just an incomplete work with complete meaning coming from the link with the original story. Even Urobuchi said that the whole meaning of it was just that, he loves Fate and he wants to people who read Fate/Zero to go to read Fate/stay night to see a conclusion to all this tragedy.

      Is just that the FSN adaptation was... very mediocre and subpar. But Fate/Zero was never made with DEEN anime in mind, so it's not really a problem.

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  13. I also have to disagree with some of your statements, Enzo. I don't think Kiritsugu can be labeled as a villain. He's more of an anti-hero, really. Indeed, the ends doesn't justify the means but I don't think that's what he anticipated to happen to Fuyuki City. He is also a victim of a bloody vicious cycle known as the Holy Grail War.

    The “In saving me, he was saving himself” scene, I don't think it's meant as forgiveness. To me, it sounded how broken Kiritsugu was. Everything he was fighting for was just lost. He was literally digging through the rubble (symbolism of his life) to be able to save at least one person (symbolism of hope and redemption). In Shirou, he found a new life. I think it's his way of atoning, by trying to make Shirou strong enough to be able to protect what's most precious to him.

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    1. As I said, Azure, better to finally make one right decision at the end than to heap one more bad one on top of all the others. I just don't think it balances the scales by a long stretch.

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    3. Sorry if replying to this a year after this was posted makes me look like an ass.

      Kiritsugu knew that the scales weren't balance too. He tried to make another right decision, namely rescuing Illya, but the curse rendered him unable to. If he was in better shape, if he wasn't cursed, maybe he could have done more to atone. But he couldn't, and he died knowing it but comforted by his belief that Shirou would grow up, safe, happy, and different from him.

      That and, saving the world has to count for balancing the scales somewhat, even if hundreds were killed as a result.

      Although, he did make one decision near the end that may be bad. Namely, preparing explosives set to explode in 40 years to disrupt the grail ritual, which may have killed several civilians, all to save the world from Angra Mainyu again.

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  14. Gah what a baiting post! I was about to go on a huge ass long rant about the whole Kiritsugu isn't evil and etc thing but lucky I read through the comments first. Srsly that's a low blow though, a few posts ago you were like "Hmm I know we all have our own views so lets not argue anymore" then now you're like "LOL KIRITSUGU GOT WHAT WAS COMING! THAT EVIL BASTARD HAHAHA, too bad he doesn't get even more punishment for a life time of evil deeds!" Such a troll you are T.T

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    1. Just to clarify your point, then - an opinion this disagrees with yours is baiting and trolling?

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    2. Hmm maybe I misunderstood and reacted too vehemently. To me it felt like you were making a hostile opinion/statement just to goad people into reacting. For example, I could go to a conservative church and scream "DIVORCE AND ABORTION SHOULD BE GOVERNMENT FUNDED!" Yes it's a valid opinion but the way it was presented would obviously inflame others. If I said something like "I LOVE CASTER AND THINK HE SHOULD KILL MORE CHILDREN!" who wouldn't see that as a troll statement? Eh maybe I'm just being oversensitive. Oh well.

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  15. I was actually surprised at how much I liked the finale and it might have upped the score a bit for me.

    I wasn't so pleased with the glorification of Kirei & Gilgamesh it seemed, but I guess that had to happen because he is the main villain in the next series & I am guessing he will get his just desserts then.

    And even though I disliked Kariya's story completely, the last line of Sakura's was chilling.

    Seeing one last glimpse of the positive growth of Waver was great too.

    But Kiritsugu's ending might have been the best part for me and I was surprised how much I liked it. I don't think I would call Kiritsugu a villain, but he was extremely misguided. I don't think saving & raising a child makes up for all the wrong he did but that simple gesture is more good than he has ever done & it is because of that good that his son I am assuming will find the answers Kiritsugu never could. I suppose I always like those stories where even though the person couldn't failed they are able to pass on their dreams to someone else.

    That being said I was less pleased with the Saber/Lancer back story but oh well. It's not that it was bad, I just found it underwhelming.

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  16. well i just finished watching this last episode since ive been on a trip without any internet, and really, that was a very satisfying ending, it had the missing saber/berserker elements that i had hoped to see since i am not familiar with it nor the lore of lancelot. i was confused with the kariya scene since i assumed he died during saber vs berserker which is the reason berserker stopped moving (mana supply depleted since the battery died). And oh the irony of kirei handing rin that dagger.

    As for the "In saving me, he was saving himself." I interpreted it as Shirou's thoughts on Kiritsugu. It was voiced by Shirou afterall and I feel like it means more like from Shirou's perspective, he sees that Kiritsugu was so happy to save him that it was as if Kiritsugu was saving himself from a near-death experience. Since Shirou doesn't know that Kiritsugu caused the fire, to him, Kiritsugu is probably just a random guy who is trying to save people from the fire and it felt very heroic to him and also made him dream of becoming a hero and saving others to experience that same joy Kiritsugu had on his face when he saved Shirou, hence the scene with Shirou saying I'll become a hero of justice in your place.

    Just my thoughts

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  17. Am I the only who noticed that Gil really pulled out the NSFW card there? First, seducing Saber by talking about "pleasure [...] you feel" and then appearing nekkid in front of a (fake, but whatever) priest ?

    Naughty Gil.

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