(I actually have notes for all episodes. When will they go up on the blog? At some point™. Check the “Episodic Notes Page“, where they’ll all appear eventually.)
So, Shinji and the golden-haired “Servant” seem ominous, Caster and her “master” beat Saber, Shirou, and Rin, and Shirou summoned Archer’s swords and fought like a badass. I think it’s been too long since we’ve last seen Illyasviel and Berserker, eh?
(For those who don’t know, my notes for F/SN: UBW are less serious and more poking fun at funny lines. But I dig out the serious mode when it’s necessary.)
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Emiya Shirou, The Sharpest Knife in the Drawer:
1) “Let’s skip training, you were badly hurt.” – Emiya Shirou, so chivalrous. Though you’re the one who looks as if he’s about to keel over.
2) Saber, looking so kind. Like someone straight out of a romantic drama anime.
3) Well, Shirou certainly looks like he’s in pain right now, are his magic circuits going wild, or is he using strengthening magic on his own body?
4) “Should I be worried?” – You were involved in a fight and now can’t use your arm, I’d say so. So dense.
“My arm’s numb, but somehow it feels heavier.” – Yes, limbs you can’t actually move have the tendency to drag you down…
5) LOL, I can actually understand Rin – Shirou opens the door, sees her, then closes the door again? What the hell?
6) I wonder what’s more tired, Rin of Shirou, or Rin’s one-note parody depiction by the show.
2) The Gender-War (RomCom) Continues:
1) “Emiya Shirou, do stop sulking.” /Kotomine Kirei voice.
3) “I need to get dinner started.” Shirou’s “deep characterization”, in how he does everything around the house, or just trying to be rid of Rin?
4) The women, they are ganging up on the poor man. Robert Jordan got you into this mess. You’re screwed, boy. More seriously, so Shirou thinks of Rin as a girl, but not any of the other girls, oooh, boy’s growing up!
There’s generic VN music playing in this scene. Not helping.
5) Oh my, so lewd (out of context). You need the sound, though.
6) So, Rin just turned everything Fujimura did back on her, “You’re thoughtless, you’re improper.” – No, Fuji is, and while Fuji knows how to attack, her defense is sorely lacking.
7) “And anyway, I don’t really care if Tohsaka hates me.” – So stammered. I don’t think anyone believed you, including those who couldn’t find subtext on a map.
3) Start Being More Selfish, Emiya Shirou!:
1) They’re basically speaking of magic reflecting human hearts. The guarded and then jealous one, and the one who loves freely, but also lets go easily.
2) “And at heart, I’m a hedonist.” – Holy shit, this line makes all the Fate/Zero alarm bells start ringing like crazy, and the notes from last week.
3) “It’s my duty, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it.” – Says something about her view of “duty”. And she says she was the chosen as the heir because her personality fit, meaning there were other candidates. Then again, Kotomine Kirei was also her father’s disciple.
5) “Look, that’s just being happy, not having fun!” – SO many ways to unpack this. You could write books about this distinction. I generally find it likelier to have fun without being happy than vice versa.
6) Rin looks angry though, it’s the same story when she last got angry, which involved discussing Kiritsugu versus her father – she’s been telling herself she’s a magician for her own sake, so seeing someone be a magician “for the wrong reasons” is like a challenge she’s been living her life wrong. Yes, she’s lecturing him on his choices, because his choices call her own into question.
Also, note Shirou’s reasons – “I do it because being useful to others makes me happy, and because it might come in useful some day.” Nah, I think he’s the equivalent of having fun here.
7) “I feel like I don’t deserve any more wishes.” – After seeing a recollection of the burning hell from which he was saved, and given a home.
8) “So basically, you’re always worrying about others but never focusing on yourself!” – Emiya Shirou, what a villain! Though sure, some would say this sort of behaviour is self-righteous and actually imposes on others, and well, selfish.
9) “I’m angry because you don’t get why I’m angry!” – Oh please, someone stop this tsundere act, it’s embarrassing. I’m serious. She could also mean it’s because he doesn’t get selfishness, but mostly tsundere. And who does he remind her of? Hm.
10) “You’re going to go back to chasing me around?” – Probably not the best thing to say.
4) Emiya Shirou versus Garcher, Idealism Versus Cynicism, Take 20:
1) “I thought we had a non-aggression pact.” – Famous last words, in any game of Diplomacy ever played.
2) So, weak mage Shirou, by forcing the issue, and surviving, is having an awakening, and will become a true mage, with actual mana he could supply Saber.
3) Archer is basically continuing the discussion Shirou had with Rin – “You want to not hurt anyone? That’s fine, follow that ideal, but only if it is truly yours.” – Archer can accept wanting to help others as someone’s selfish desire, but Shirou consistently said he’s only doing it because it was Kiritsugu’s desire, which he couldn’t fulfill.
4) Now we’re getting somewhere, a lot of this is the sort of talk that’s common in young adult fiction, but I like that fiction, and it appearing there doesn’t make it wrong, or right – just a set of ideas for people to adopt, or reject, or consider. “If your desire is your own, it means you also shoulder the blame and responsibility for anything that comes out of it,” and implicitly, if you’re fighting for others, or in others’ name, then you’ll blame them when you don’t get what you want – “Nice Guy Syndrome”, perhaps?
Fighting for ideals is the same as fighting for someone else, it’s fighting for someone external. The reason has to come from within, but this is a very simplistic viewpoint that says “Making others happy makes me happy” isn’t legitimate. Archer accepts the above is fine, but then fighting for ideals because you can’t see yourself not fighting for them, or that this is the only way you can be content, should also be fine.
Of course, all the talk of ideals muddies it a bit – fighting with ideals is fine, so is fighting for them, but only if saving the ideals is your goal, because if you fight for an ideal, you save it, not people. If you want to save people, you can’t fight for an ideal. And then some more obtuse lines, which paint Archer as a libertarian, or a soloist – “Salvation by the hands of another is not real salvation, it’s like money.” – Archer would’ve liked John Galt, a self-made man, fighting for himself, by himself. That’s the true teen fantasy. It’s an excuse to not fight for anyone else, because you’re not helping them anyway, so why bother?
You do need to connect it to how it begun – “If your ideal is to not hurt anyone.” – Then he will only be able to save that ideal, because that ideal pushes you to non-action, to non-involvement. Because as Kiritsugu said, saving one person means damning another, because there are sides. “Allies of justice” fight the villains, who are defined by not being on their side. So if you wish to save people, you can’t save an ideal, or at least not this one.
5) “If you fight for an ideal, you can only save ideals” also reverberates with Saber, because there was a movie where her heroic spirit said “I have a dream, and that dream is [Redacted, begins with “C”]!” – Fighting for an ideal, certainly.
6) Now this is interesting, “It’s like money, it’s passed onto others when used. You can save others, but there’s no hope of saving yourself in doing so.” – Kiritsugu cried with joy when he found Shirou, joy at having saved at least one person, but this means that when he saved Shirou, he gave up on saving himself. And that Shirou saving others will stop him from saving himself – but what does Shirou need to be saved from? Hm? But yes, the question of the martyr.
7) “A lie of a life“, a life less than worth living, but one spreading a lie, and one that was saved, and thus made someone else’s worthless as well, repeating the cycle of false hope?
Post Episode Thoughts:
More comedy and parody and facepalming or chuckling moments with Taiga and Rin. Shirou is growing up to be a mage in terms of power, but not personality, and more talk of selfishness versus others, and a reminder it’s all about decadence and hedonism.
We’ve had a bit more of the “philosophy”, but thus far it’s mostly sound-bytes, and doesn’t truly add up. It’s still par the course for teen-aimed material. Not everything here makes sense, on the simple level of “Why?” or “What are the differences?” which would require a lot more time to actually make the fine distinctions required, but that’s probably not what they’re going for as much as broader strokes of morality, archetypes clashing on “ideals versus reality” and “helping others versus helping oneself”, and that’s ok.