Fate/Zero 21

With Rider having abducted Irisviel, Saber races through the streets of Fuyuki in pursuit, and just when she loses track of him the Rider and Waver spot her chasing them and decide to take her up on her challenge as they had planned. Kiritsugu however notices something suspicious as he grieves for Maiya.

By now Saber’s Vmax is starting to run out of gas as she struggles to keep up with the Goridas Wheel, however by implementing a few enhancements along with her Noble Phantasm, Invisible Air she manages to close the gap. Weaving the series of obstacles Rider leaves behind him before finally getting within striking distance to which Rider counters, and upon having her attack deflected she notices that Irisviel is nowhere to be seen. Kiritsugu however had deduced what really happened, since Tokiomi is dead and Waver wouldn’t even know where to begin on finding them, Berserker is the prime candidate and thus sets about interrogating Matou Byakuya for Kariya’s whereabouts.

As a result unnervingly learning that Kariya and Kirei of all people have forged an unlikely alliance. While on Kirei’s side of things, because he can and restore any spent Command Seals, Kariya had Berserker use the same Noble Phantasm that already distorts his appearance, For Someone’s Glory, to disguise himself as Rider and abduct Irisviel. So having succeeded at this they part ways, Kirei telling him to head to the church at midnight as part of their agreement, following which though Kirei is confronted by Matou Zouken, who reveals how conflicted he is between obtaining the grail and watching his son suffer, Kirei however is disgusted by him and sends a Black Key through his head when he notes that their natures are similar, Zouken leaving while imploring him to develop his true nature by the time they meet next. On Rider and Saber’s side of things at this point, Rider decides to give battle in a last attempt to save Saber, Waver being convinced  when he understands that Rider seeks to conquer the hearts of those he faces, however as he charges forward Saber meets him with a face on blast from Excalibur.

Both Rider and Waver do manage to survive this but in the process the Goridas Wheel was lost, forcing Rider to concede defeat as he’s lost all he was prepared to risk against her. Elsewhere Kariya makes his way to the church to confront Tokiomi as he and Kirei agreed upon, however what he finds instead is Tokiomi’s lifeless body with Aoi arriving shortly afterward. And so given what she sees she’s left with the belief that Kariya killed Tokiomi, going on to accuse him of never loving anyone and of doing this just so his family could with the grail, bringing out the selfishness in his ideal Kariya lashes out and throttles her. Of course now being sickened by what he’s just done Kariya attempts to run out as Kirei and Archer are shown to have watched the entire spectacle from the balcony above.

Thoughts:

While I didn’t find the reveal all that surprising this was another great episode, there were some shocking developments in Kariya’s story and Waver and Rider’s situation appears to have gotten worse as well. Other than that while I must admit that I’m not entirely fond of Saber’s character her high-speed battle with Rider was awesome to say the least.

Let alone seeing her on a motorcycle like that was almost enough to make me regret not preordering that expensive yet absolutely impressive figure by GSC when I had the chance, just the speed of it alone was incredible as Saber threw in some upgrades and maneuvered through the falling debris with absolute ease. So for something that I wasn’t entirely hyped about I was impressed, like her fights with Lancer the actually animation fit something as extraordinary as the Servants are described to be, it was the exact sort of style that I was expecting for the Archer-Berserker dogfight. Let alone it isn’t too often that you see Saber with a take-no-shit sort of attitude and mercilessly blast someone at point blank range like that, though you have to question Rider’s attempt to counter her, it may have been possible to close the gap between them but taking that risk has cost him his most efficient Noble Phantasm. So with only one option left now he’s at a clear disadvantage.

Following that the development in Kariya’s plot was shocking to say the least, though you have to hand it to Kirei for coming up with such an amusing situation by keeping Tokiomi’s body around long enough to set up what would lead to it, for Kariya to outright snap and throttle the one he’s always loved was simply just that. When faced with the selfishness of his selfless goal he broke, it honestly makes me ask just what he was expecting even if he had won and saved Sakura, as distorted as his mind is by Zouken’s training would he really have expected Aoi, and by extension Rin, to drop everything and run off with him even with Tokiomi out of the picture? It really served to show off the uglier to his goal it all. Other than that I’m wondering if the anime has given Aoi a nicer end to that she received in the novel, where she survived but was pretty much a vegetable who still believed that Tokiomi was alive and that they didn’t give Sakura away, there’s a reason why Rin didn’t talk about her.

Finally Kirei and Kariya’s alliance was also kind of surprising, though I’ve already noted that Kariya isn’t exactly the most virtuous Master in the Holy Grail War, they couldn’t be any more different to the point that such an alliance seems rather implausible. The only thing that could hold it together would be Kariya’s naivety regarding Kirei, who especially put on a brilliant supporting act by giving him practically infinite Command Seals and promising him the grail, but I can’t see how that could hold it together for long. Kirei’s purposes behind it being little more than to better direct his entertainment, but I guess considering there isn’t much time left now and it’s only a matter of time before the final pieces come together, so it won’t have to last long anyway. All it serves to do is place Kirei at an unprecedented advantage and pair off the Servants against one another before the story draws to a close.

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