Fate/Zero 18

Some years before the events of the series, Kiritsugu grew up on a small island town in the Pacific, nicknamed Kerry by those around him including a girl known as Shirley.

Wow, did Ufotable finally end up showing Alba/Willy Wonka using flame magecraft?

Shirley also happened to be his father, Noritaka’s assistant regardless of the warnings that the resident priest, Father Simon gave her and the stigma that surrounded the area around their house. What Noritaka was trying to do at the time was find a way in which he could take the Emiya style of Magecraft and freeze a person’s concept of time, thus providing unlimited time to find the root. To do this he and Shirley experimented with flowers, however Kiritsugu was intentionally kept out of it regardless of his will to help them. Sometime after this as Kiritsugu and Shirley sat watching the sunset, Shirley showed him a holy dagger that Father Simon had given her but uses it to cut melon instead.

After which she confides in him that his father has the potential to change the world and make it a better place but chooses not to, so instead she places her faith in him to do so, promising to stay by his side. Following this however there appears to have been a break in at Noritaka’s workshop, leading to him warning Kiritsugu to stay away from the village, however when Shirley doesn’t show he fails to heed this warning and heads to her house. Making the shocking discovery of finding her in her backyard tearing apart chickens, apologising for what she’s done and begging him to kill her before she loses all sense of self-control. However in shock Kiritsugu flees and instead goes to Father Simon, who upon seeing the site sends word to the Church to deal with the matter of a dead apostle outbreak, but in this time the village has become consumed and is placed between the grip’s of the Church’s Executor’s and the Magus Association’s own branch.

Ultimately leading to the indiscriminate destruction of the entire village with Kiritsugu caught right in the middle of it, but just when things are looking bleak for him a woman armed with a shotgun bursts in and saves him, Natalia. Going on to explain the situation, that the Executor’s are here to piously deal with the vampires while the Magus Association’s goal is to cover up as much evidence of the use of Magecraft as possible as well as carry out the Sealing Designation placed on Noritaka. Between these Natalia is a sort of hired help, and as she continues to detail what has happened, Kiritsugu reveals that he knows where the one responsible for all of this is, but can only get to him in time his self. So alone he meets his father who happens to be in the middle of packing up his research to run away and confronts him on this. His response however is rather apathetic, that this was just another failed experiment, and as he reveals his plans to escape Kiritsugu cuts him off by stabbing him and killing his own father.

Natalia soon coming in to find him, telling him that she too could have easily broke it and wonders why he deliberately chose to kill his own father, Kiritsugu responding that if he didn’t his father would have continued his research elsewhere, resulting in much worse atrocities. And so with nowhere else to go, Kiritsugu would remain with Natalia.

Next Episode:

Thoughts:

While this episode could be seen as an offshoot of what’s at hand I found this episode to be anything but disappointing, given the extra focus on Kiritsugu that the later episodes will have it’s fundamental that we know just what is truly driving him and how he reached the point where he is now.

In a sense I’d even say that the events of this episode seemed just as important for Kiritsugu as the fire was to Shirou, the latter probably being a little extreme in comparison because of what it resulted in him (Shirou could be said to have been born in that fire). But even so, Kiritsugu started off as a fairly cheerful boy affectionately called Kerry by those around him and the girl he liked, Shirley (voiced surprisingly by the talented Ayahi Takagaki while Kiritsugu’s childhood counterpart was voiced by Miyu Irino), and if it were to continue it’s quite easy to see him ending up living a normal happy life with her by his side. But then in a single night it all shatters in a way that was actually quite shocking to see, especially what happened to Shirley, his cute older sister figure quite literally turned into a monster.

Secondly to that because he refused to kill her the entire village became engulfed in it, planting the seeds for Kiritsugu’s current mentality of efficiency regardless of the methods needed as well as a possible sense of guilt for this failure. Because of it his world is quite literally put to the torch, with his only path out of it being through the woman who would become his mentor and mother figure, the previously shown Natalia Kaminiski. I must admit however, that her entrance was impressive though, how she burst in with a shotgun was pretty awesome. What followed it was also pretty interesting as well, we not only saw the darker side of magecraft and the horrors that can come from it (Note: the Magus Association doesn’t care what a Magus does so long as they don’t draw too much attention to themselves, let alone they were likely already looking for Noritaka), but for Kiritsugu to kill his own father is an important stepping stone. It didn’t necessarily need to be him but even so at that point it was clear that he had affirmed the ideals that he would cling to and began on the path that would lead him to the tired frail mess that he is in Zero.

Finally I must also note that Urobuchi’s style of entropy towards emotions is an interesting one as well, to the point that Caster’s earlier explanation could even be seen as an example of breaking the fourth wall. It almost seems like he gives the characters, and with them his audience a flicker of hope, and then completely and utterly extinguishes it by throwing them into despair, as with Lancer and possibly even Tokiomi’s deaths for example. Say what you will about it but it’s still an effective style, without doubt just what happened to Kiritsugu became all the more shocking because of the carefree scenes preceded it, particularly with Shirley, before the story took the turn that it did.

In all this was another great episode, as out of place as it was it had an almost cinematic feeling to it, lacking both the usual opening and ending theme in favour of the standard white on black credits accompanied by another Kalafina song. Let alone just what it covered should be key for what will follow this arc, further detailing Kiritsugu’s character and just what led him to where he is now, and perspective wise it could either be from Kiritsugu simply looking back on it all or perhaps Saber seeing it all instead.

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