All The World’s Evil
First of all, I have to apologize on the lateness of this post. Life can be harsh sometimes – work and work and more work. Deem it a worth excuse or not, I’m now here to write about the latest episode of Fate/Zero, which is actually something I would have loved not to delay this much since it was great. If you’ve been reading my latest episode posts, you must know how I’ve had my qualms and slight disappointments with some of them. In fact, I’ve felt that with every single episode (save episode 19) since Lancer’s death. But not this one. This one was perfect in every sense of the word. Was it exactly like the novel? No, but it was probably even better.
The episode’s focus is shifted between too situations: Waver and Rider’s return home and Kirei’s questioning of Irisviel. In the first, we see Waver returning with his shoulders down, which was a nice touch, since it’s an easy but effective way to show his tiredness from the huge walk. On top of that, awaiting him was the revelation that his hypnotic magic hadn’t worked as he wanted. Glenn understood Waver wasn’t his grandson, but rather than that being an unsettling event, it actually put to surface how Waver hadn’t simply used them. Even bellow the hypnosis and deceiving, there had been built a real and sweet relationship. He didn’t mean to, in fact, he did something which would normally be morally condemning, yet he brought happiness to that old couple. The conversation between him and Glenn not only was heartwarming, but also served as an important life lesson for Waver. Sometimes, youngness makes us give too much credit to the present. All the “one in a lifetime” things we go through are given an importance similar to our entire life, and that happens even with smaller events. For Waver, the recognition he’d receive for winning the Holy Grail was something worth risking is life for. Glenn tells him otherwise. Those important moments will serve as great experiences for Waver later in his life, whether he succeeds or fails. What he needs is to keep himself alive so he can use such experience and look back on everything he’s done with pride and joy.
That conversation was the key for what happened next. Upon the sight of Kirei’s victory declaration, Waver’s struggle between pride and low self-esteem finally came to an end with the splendid moment in which he uses up all of his Command Spells for giving Rider such vague orders that will only have a prana boost effect, simply because he came to terms with himself, thinking that if he’s a hindrance, he should just throw away his pride and back-off, while giving the Servant he respects a better chance at winning. It was such an amazing moment… And they made it so epic without forcing on the sound part ❤ It was a truly beautiful moment for me.
However, Rider doesn’t seem to share Waver’s opinion that his Master is nothing but a hindrance, rather seeing him as a true worthy friend and comrade in arms. This pair makes for one of the best (if not the best) character interactions in the anime, so watching them develop like this is always rewarding.
The other noteworthy event in this 22nd episode is the conversation between Irisviel and Kirei. I find Irisviel to be such a great character due to her great dedication to Kiritsugu and her incredible sharpness in regard to understanding people, despite being a homunculus. Both of these qualities are emphasized in her last moments, as she manages to see right through Kirei and make him angrier than we’ve ever seen so far. (Not even Zoken managed it to this degree xD) She kept her determined and defiant attitude right till the end, even in that hopeless situation. Kirei, on the other hand, has now confirmed Kiritsugu to be a disappointment, since he’s not a hollow individual as himself, but a man who pursues “childish ideals”. He’s far from being the answer to Kirei’s doubts. Seeing as he got what he wanted from Irisviel, and even more than that, the death count once again rises by one. This was both a painful and satisfying scene to watch. It was painful because a character that I truly love dies, and satisfying due to this being, in my opinion, her best moment in the series.
Leaving the dead homunculus behind, Kirei has now a new-found resolve: his goal changes from learning from Kiritsugu to crushing his hopeless ideals. Well, I can say the later fits Kirei’s sadistic nature much better, so it’s not that bad of a change, since it’ll make things more interesting and exciting^^
Back to Irisviel, Fate/Zero shows how an anime adaptation can be sometimes better than the original work. That scene had way more impact as I watched it, and it also served as very good foreshadowing for the awesomeness that’s yet to come. Irisviel, while inside the Grail, asks herself who she is. As and homunculus, self-identity should already be an issue, but now, as she merged with the Grail, fulfilling her purpose as the vessel, she starts losing whatever sense she had of it. However, despite all the similar designs before her, despite being equal to the very first Einzbern homunculus, her wish didn’t fade. The wish for the happiness or her daughter, and her motherly love didn’t disappear. And while that was a positive and hopeful development, it seems like the wish will not be without its taint, as decay surrounds the embraced mother and daughter. I won’t get on to it too much, though I hate not being able to speculate due to previous knowledge of the outcome…
On a brief note, it seems like Kiritsugu and Saber still can’t have a simple conversation. *sigh* They’re both hopeless idealists who chase after something impossible with all their might. Despite their different methods I think they could have been “good friends” had they given a chance to each other (Kiritsugu is the guiltier party here, though. Saber at least tried.) It’s so frustrating watching those too with those desperate, tired faces, yet still turning the back on each other…
In sum, this was, for me, one of the best episodes so far, if not the best. As the scene between Irisviel and Kirei was one of my favorites from the novel, I do have the childish hope that all the dialogue will be included in the Blu-Rays. If that’s too much to ask for, I’d simply love to hear Irisviel say (referring to Kiritsugu, obviously): “Hmph, don’t make me laugh. You aren’t even up to his heel in worth.”. And that’s not to mention Kirei’s mad laugh after deciding his new goal.
Next week the death count will rise yet again, and the timing of the adaptation is now adjusted to perfection for finishing with a nice long epilogue. I’d still love a 1 hour special as the final episode but that’s another wish I’m rather skeptical about seeing granted.