(I actually have notes for all episodes. When will they go up on the blog? At some point™.)
So, crazy Caster, Saber about to fight Assassin, and apparently we have two Servants working together here. Also, this is the shrine, home to Shirou’s friend, so how is he doing, and is he involved? Well, we have Garcher with the witty one liners to rescue Shirou!
Thoughts and Notes:
1) The Amazing Dialogue:
1) “I don’t know who he is, but to hold Saber at bay he must be a master swordsman indeed.” – This reads like entry-level fanfiction. Such awkward phrasing, especially if you know what era Archer is from.
“I should hardly call him a hero if he failed to stop the likes of you.” – Make this stop, please.
2) “That man lacks the skill to make a master swordsman reveal their name.” – No, he just chose he doesn’t care to hear it.
3) That episode title, “The Reward for the Fight to the Death” – Erm, life, one would hazard? Well, let’s see their philosophy.
4) “I have the advantage, so how can I not break his defense?” – “Impressive, I should have taken your head seven times, but it remains attached.” – Such amazing lines. Much wow.
5) At least Assassin knows he’s outmatched, so focuses on how he can win.
6) “You’re saying a Servant summoned another Servant?!” – Servantception is upon us, abandon all hope.
7) “Winning the Holy Grail War is easy, I’m thinking of what comes after.” – Talk about premature planning, and hubris.
2) Fan-ficcing it up:
1) “You impress me, Caster,” he said with a roguish smirk upon his face.
“If you but give me another chance, I’ll try harder to meet your expectations,” the master of witty repartee retorted.
2) “Your excessive idiocy is hurting my head, you idiot!” – Our manly hero once more showed his way with words, using them against their will.
3) Shirou did not remain silent at this, and called our hero an idiot for calling others idiots! – Of course, only those who know the true back-story of this story can fully appreciate the irony of this situation, which goes much further than what is readily apparent!
4) “Put me down, I can handle this myself.” – You’ve been saved, and you’re being saved now. This is also asking off of a car driving at 150 MPH. Unwise, Shirou.
3) A Return to Logic:
1) Also, “True Magic”, a call to Nasuverse, and some talk of how the Knight classes can resist magic – so you don’t use magic on them, but their environment, like flinging rocks at them, and stuff.
4) “My Master is in peril, so I no longer have the luxury of concealing my true skill.” – Yet you have the luxury of making such long-winded statements?
5) And after the long-drawn exchange, Assassin just ends Saber.
4) Efficiency and Pacifism:
1) “My policy is to avoid unnecessary fighting.” – Not finishing her off would require you to fight with her in the future, perhaps, creating unnecessary fighting, as this could’ve been resolved here and now, not so?
2) “You call yourself a pacifist?” – “Surely you don’t expect me to save everything in sight.” – First, trying to kill people sort of makes you a non-pacifist, Archer, second, this is the difference between Shirou and Archer. Shirou does try to save everyone in sight, but as Kiritsugu said – no, not everyone, just everyone on their side – which is what Archer is saying. So, does Shirou try to save his enemies as well? He just might.
And now Archer even points it out.
3) “Join me, I have a way to end this war.” – But that’d require knowing what she’s wishing for, and they don’t agree with her measures. Shirou then indeed turns her down for ideological reasons, and Archer for utilitarian ones.
4) “I came here of my own accord, my Master did not send me, so no reason to kill you.” Similar to one of Lancer’s lines in an early episode.
5) And now Shirou asks Archer why he let her go, not because he doesn’t believe the motives given, but because he can’t believe in them – outraged, if you will. Archer provides a different reason than the one he gave Caster, but at the heart of it it’s the same – it’s not efficient from a utilitarian point of view.
And furthermore, he wants to use her to defeat an obstacle he cannot. Efficiency, right? Not so much for pacifism though :P
6) “You dodged my concealed blade.” – Essentially, the third take of “You withstood my unwithstoodable™ attack,” in the season.
7) “I wish Caster weren’t so soft-hearted. If everyone in the city dies, fighting would be easier.” – Efficiency, ho! Pacifism, no! And now more utilitarianism, sacrificing one city to save the world.
5) Heroics versus Utilitarianism Clash Again:
1) “If you try to avoid killing anyone, you won’t save anyone in the end.” – I’m not sure, trying to avoid killing anyone should be fine, the question is if you’d do it when it comes down to it. Of course, being the protagonist has its way of making events turn out well for you – such as your enemies taking one another out, which is what Archer’s plan hopes for.
2) “Your dislike of me makes this easier.” – I thought he was talking about letting Shirou go and get himself killed, not helping him along the way like that ;-)
3) And the memory-sharing via dreams begins. Also a reminder Rin exists.
4) “Fighting for others but not for yourself is hypocrisy.” – How so? Because you won’t admit fighting for others is your selfish goal? “You’re not fighting for victory, but for peace.” – An important distinction, and some would say exposes a contradiction, how does one literally fight for peace? But is it so bad of a goal? Perhaps, when there can be only one winner.
5) One of my aniblogger colleagues is right, Fate/Stay Night is a chuuni show – for chuuni fantasy having, and filled with chuuni characters. At least three characters, only thus far, went and said something to the effect of, “It’s a rare thing to find a worthwhile opponent, shouldn’t waste it by fighting them when they’re injured.” – Sort of missing the point. Also, the Holy Grail War is all about summoning such worthwhile opponents to one place.
6) “Master and Servant”, eh? Caster speaks badly of Assassin, who speaks badly of her. Well, we see how often Servants do not hold a high opinion of their so-called Masters, and the same is true here.
6) Saber and Shirou, A Healthy Relationship of Sensible Adults:
1) Saber hears Shirou ranting about someone and is all proud, he’s on his way to becoming a sociopath or psychopath like everyone else in this game <3
2) Shirou would be mad if he’s betrayed, he’s not mad at being attacked. This is sort of what Archer was talking about – Shirou is mad when innocents are attacked, isn’t he also an innocent? Or he’s fine if the Grail chooses someone to let them die because of that random pick? That’s the same thing.
3) “He’s not that great with a sword, he attacked me from behind but didn’t manage to kill me.” – Maybe it means he wasn’t really trying to kill you, boy genius? And Saber is living the chuuni dream of “A man with pure swordsmanship must have a pure heart!” That’s one of the stupidest tropes out there.
4) So, let’s explore this, Shirou is now willing to fight, so much for pacifism. “Running away won’t solve everything. I can’t lose to the man who said he’d sacrifice the lives of the few to save the lives of the many.” – Aside from this essentially saying you’ll fight against your adoptive father’s beliefs (which he didn’t want to believe either, so it’s fine), you’re doing the exact same thing. Shirou will defeat the few Servants and Masters to save the many people of the city. Archer would sacrifice the few people of the city to save the many people of the world. The scale is different, but it’s the exact same thing.
Post Episode Thoughts:
The lines in this episode were so terrible they were passable. Some were probably “helped” by the translators, especially early in the episode, but some were just chuuni delusions delivered straight. Then again, it’s a fantasy shounen show, that’s sort of where you expect such lines to appear. The action was beautiful as always.
We’ve had some discussion on how Shirou and Archer are similar, both are “pacifists” (HA!), well, one is a utilitarian who avoids fighting because it’s inefficient, or who will sacrifice a few to save the many, and the other is a pacifist who won’t sacrifice or kill anyone. Of course, as Kiritsugu and Archer pointed out, both want to avoid slaughter, and one’s actions aim to lessen it, and they also think the other’s actions, though perhaps noble in intent, will lead to more senseless death.
And in the end, Shirou picks up his symbolic blade, to take down his enemies so they won’t take down anyone else, because he’s unwilling to let few die for many. We’ve got character growth, fueled by a colossal lack of self-reflection.
We’ve also had the Servant-Master relationship shown once more to have both sides looking down on the other and acting out their own agendas, even when both are Servants, and more noble fighters than you can shake a stick at.
Hope you guys enjoyed the “fan-fic” bits. Honestly, barely any change was needed, the show did most of the hard work. I missed my chance, should’ve started a smirk-count at episode 1 ;-)