It’s over. The one thing that has lighted up my Sundays for the last few months finally came to an end. And overall, I can say it was a great ride. I had my qualms with it, but perfect adaptations from text-heavy media are no more than a distant and unreachable ideal, and despite every little detail I’ve complained about, ufotable managed to capture the essence of this masterpiece, resulting in a great show. But well, the review comes next and now I’m only here to talk about the 25th and last episode of this show.
It wasn’t as conclusive as one would expect of an ending, since this is, after all, a prequel, leading up to Fate/Stay Night, in which things will reach they’re proper (and less depressing) conclusion. On that note, I found it an interesting detail to end the show with a song called “To the Beginning”^^ Despite that, all the plot points directly related to the 4th Holy Grail War got resolved (or so they should have, as the anime didn’t make it much clear what Angra Mainyu is, what exactly happened as Saber fired Excalibur and how Gilgamesh appeared magically naked and Kirei came back from the dead) and in such a nice lively way at that… for Kirei, that is.
Apart from our very interesting villainous pair, who had the luck of being given further time to live in this world and just arrogantly laughed off at how ironic the outcome of the Grail War ended up being, everyone else has got a messed up fate in front of them.
Well, Waver is an exception to that, since the Holy Grail War was more of a learning experience for him, who had the luck (and merit) of coming out unscathed, having finally built up the resolve to try new things in his life and strive to be worthy of the trust, praise and responsibility Rider left upon him.
As for everyone else, we only see wishes and ideals backfiring.
Kiritsugu’s brought him exactly the opposite of what he wished for in all the destruction and death he ended up causing. Having lost everything, he was simply a dead man in a living body, searching for either his destruction or a reason to live. Fortunately, the later came up in Shirou, a boy he found in the rubble and rescued from eminent death and also the protagonist of Fate/Stay Night, who ended up trying to realize his foster father’s ideals. So, despite losing his wife, being physically weakened by the Grail’s curse (why wasn’t that mentioned?!), and forbidden to ever see his daughter again, Kiritsugu never lost anything else in his live from then on and actually died in peace, knowing that because of that little boy, not everything had been in vain.
Saber ended up getting back to the hill of Camlann, where time is frozen for her and where she will continuing resenting her failure as a king and as a person until she can fight again for the Holy Grail. She was broken already, but after this 4th Grail war, she just doesn’t want to avert the fate of her country – she ends up believing that all of it is her fault, for she should have never become a king. I love how ufotable always gets facial expressions right, and this scene with Saber was perhaps the best example yet, as her despair and angst are perfectly represented.
On with the misfortune which stroke pretty much everyone in the series, Kariya’s case is yet another extreme one. His efforts towards what I first considered a kind and noble goal, but was later revealed as rather selfish in nature yet still “morally correct” and worth accomplishing, brought him the worst results possible (though that surely doesn’t come off as surprising in this series). It’s also true that, despite his good intentions, he did mistake after mistake throughout the entire span of the conflict. Considering that, but not forgetting everything he went through, I’m not sure if I’m relieved or indignant that he died believing he achieve what he was set out to do, inside his delusional scene of the happy family he has always desired. Speaking of which, I think I somewhat disliked that scene. First of all, it was, once again, shortened. Kariya doesn’t only have a crappy luck when it comes to his damned life, but a lot of his scenes have been taken out of the anime. I know he’s not the focus, but I still wish he hadn’t pushed this far into the backstage. And then, there’s the Sakura scene, which rubbed me off the wrong way. She was supposed to seem emotionless, of course. And they captured that rather well. But at the same time, I got a slight impression of maliciousness from the way her words were spoken…
Aoi got just as “good” a fate as Kariya (I’m not exactly being ironic – I find it ambiguous as to whether the way Kariya died and the state in which Aoi ended up are good or bad for them, since it was, after all, the happy rest to the turbulences they’d been through), as the brain damage she suffered got her into an everlasting delusional state, stuck in the past when she had her husband and both of her daughter’s beside her, her too stuck in the dream of the happy family she wished for. Of course that’s anything but good for Rin, who despite everything demonstrates a great strength, and her disgust for Kirei, despite not yet knowing the truth about her father’s death is completely noticeable. Not to mention that… This scene was just awful. I mean, Kirei’s action of giving her the Azoth dagger as a memento of her father was simply despicable, though I won’t deny I was really looking for his creepy smile while seeing Rin showing weakness in front of him for the first time. Well, guess I’ll have to be content with the subtle one that was shown.
To top it off, there were two scenes I didn’t expect at all in this episode. Illya’s scene was unexpected because… well, I had forgotten about it. But I was rather happy at how they pulled that off, since I thought it was really good time management skills right there. The other one was Berserker’s “death”. I didn’t expect them to add it in flashback style to Saber’s mourning in the hill, and thus I found it rather weird. But it worked, so I can’t complain.
So, now Kiritsugu passed over his will, having passed his last five years of life peacefully, Kirei is set to discover the solving process of his doubts, since the answer was just given to him without any reasoning and the stage is set for what we know that comes to happen ten years later. That said, and while this kind of ending was unavoidable due to the prequel nature of this show, Fate/Zero was still able to shine on its own, and the ending was conclusive enough while still leading into Fate/Stay Night.
Ahhh, why must all good things come to an end…