Alrighty, Episode 10 – RIN’s Big Adventure? Girl, stay away from this…whirlwind of blood and despair that is the Holy Grail War! You are not prepared!
Intro to Tokiomi’s crib, where he gots all the jewels! And magic circles! And…loli?
…gratuitous fanservice shot.
OMG BABY RIN AND SHE’S TRYING TO DO THE JEWEL MAGIC THING SO KAWAII
Explanation: the Tohsaka family specialty magic is storing magic spells inside gems. In Fate/Stay Night, Rin’s main magic attacks comes from throwing gems filled with offensive spells which explode upon contact. There’s other forms too, such as a magic gem dagger that Kirei later gives her. We also saw it back in episode 2, when Assassin does the possum ploy on Tohsaka mansion – the magic barriers protecting Tohsaka mansion are powered by crystals.
Another one of those alternating-scene montages follows. It starts with Rin’s most recent attempt at gem magic. There are a lot of jewel shards scattered all about – Rin’s been at this for a while to no success.
Cut to school – a little girl, Kotone, is being picked on, but fortunately for her, Rin is a bully hunter and tells off the bullies. Faced with a named important character, they tactically advance in the opposite direction.
In the name of Tohsaka, I will punish you!
Back at home – Dad gives her pointers. She lacks focus and is putting too much mana into it. It needs precise control, and when you have that…you can reconstruct the jewel shards into its original form. Segue that the family magic is tied to how the family image and motto – always the proper amount of composure and elegance.
Meanwhile, Rin’s now made friends with Kotonie and is offering to help everyone with their classwork. Wait, Rin was once nice?
You must realize – Rin Tohsaka of Fate/Stay Night was like the poster child for tsundere – that is, a “hot and cold” person who alternates/develops from initially cold and aloof (tsuntsun) to eventually warm and welcoming (deredere). Take her on a date, she’ll never drink the water and make you order fresh champagne. She changes her mind like a girl changes clothes. And when she does do something nice for you, it’s not because she likes you or anything, she just wanted to, alright? Baka!
So…this is a different, less bitchy Rin.
Then again, I guess having your daddy be horribly murdered in a previous Holy Grail War will do that to you.
Back to Tohsaka manor, grace and elegance can transform crystals into PONY.
Lesson of the day: friendship is the strongest magic of all.
Aww Tokiomi such a cool dad.
DAMMIT SHOW WHY MUST YOU MAKE ME FEEL BAD ABOUT EVERYONE’S IMPENDING DOOMS.
Meanwhile, Rin is good at school, and we have a little montage of her being successful at school.
Tokiomi sends them away to live with the “Zenjou” who according to wiki is Aoi Tohsaka’s side of the family. Rin doesn’t want to – she wants to stay and help dad win, but Tokiomi says (rightfully) that it’s too dangerous. Undeterred, Rin goes to the library at night to do some learning, opens a book, but it suddenly starts talking German as two hands materialize and grab her.
I AM SAMUS. SAMUS IS HERE. SAMUS IS ALL AROUND YOU. SAMUS WILL GNAW ON YOUR BONES.
Fortunately, Tokiomi arrives in the nick of time and saves her. To avoid further incidents in the future, he also gives her a mana compass as an early birthday gift. If she puts mana in it, it’ll point to nearby magical objects and react depending on the how strong it is. Violent reactions means it’s something she’s not ready to handle. As father and daughter leave, Tokiomi promises that when it’s all over, he’ll give her a real lesson in gem magic.
Isn’t it sad, Tohsaka?
Although by the time F/SN rolls around, Rin does all of her magic in German, so I like to think that she’s mastered the contents of that book at least.
Cut to TV at school – oh, everyone’s reacting to the Caster kidnappings.
Funeral – OH GOD IT’S THE LITTLE BOY FROM EP 2
The feels, man. All the feels.
Segue – there are many things that differentiate great works from average cookie-cutter stuff; that separate your Monets and Rembrandts from your Hirsts, your Hitchcocks and Yuen Woo Pings from your Shyamalans, your Mass Effect 1s from your Mass Effect 2 and 3s. Some, like having Bookends (where the first and last scenes of a work are mostly the same) or a Five Man Band (where, if you have a team, one guy leads, one disagrees, one is smart/tech savvy, one lifts, and one is the “heart”), are pretty easy to do. Others, like tight-knitness of narrative, is much harder as it requires you to plan stuff out. The film “Chinatown” is considered the Holy Grail of this, as I hear that every single detail mentioned is relevant at some later point in the movie. Fate Zero is no Chinatown, but it is doing nicely with reminding you that everything that’s been happening has real tangible effects on people. Caster’s tentacle-murder of that little boy isn’t just something that happened to show you how evil he is, that little boy has family who will never understand why their child never came back, and his death has an impact on others even if they never knew him.
Anyway, Rin’s gotten concerned enough to place a call to Fuyuki City to Kotone. No one’s answering the phone, so she takes a little field trip.
But who was phone?
Rin’s compass goes all wonkers as soon as she sets foot inside the city, due to all the magic residue caused by the Servant fights. Suddenly, she sees Rinnosuke! And he has a child in tow with a glowing bracelet. Foolishly, she decides to follow him, hopping into an alleyway and ducking a popo while she’s at it.
She spies Rinnosuke again, with two kids this time. Willing herself to be not paralyzed by fear, she leaps into action and follows him to his new lair. The compass goes boom to show her what a bad idea this is, but she’s not deterred.
Dammit Rin have you never watched a horror movie in your life? NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING DON’T GO TO THE DARK CORRIDOR
After some investigation, she discovers Kotone, who is under some kind of sleep spell.
And now…a wild Rinnosuke appears.
Gah, I felt like a child molester just typing that.
And now Rin looks to see all the bodies of all the kidnapped children lying all over the place. She figures that the bracelet is the magic holding them to Rinnosuke’s spell, so she climbs away, throws stuff at him and grabs the bracelet, trying to de-magic it. Initially the bracelet is overwhelming her, but she gets a hero second wind. A flashback to her initial attempts with gem magic happens, and she successfully casts Mana Clash.
Rinnosuke gets hit with feedback, shattering his artifact, and the kids are starting to wake up. Rin quickly takes the opportunity to get everyone to run. Rinnosuke is rather exasperated with this turn of events. And I really must say, being punked by a little girl truly is not his finest hour. “Man, Caster’s gonna be pissed,” he says.
Good thing you have those Command Spells, bro.
Outside, Kotone tries to locate her savior, but Rin is nowhere to be found. Cut to Rin, who’s run off because she doesn’t want the cops to find her. Suddenly, her compass goes crazy again.
…oh god it’s a tentacle monster.
DAMMIT JAPAN STOP BEING STEREOTYPICAL
But suddenly…Flying Swarm? And a guy in a hoodie…
Cut to Aoi Tohsaka, driving around town and all worried sick about her daughter running around town all by herself with a child-murdering maniac on the loose. She finds Rin sleeping on a park bench. Kariya saved her and has been standing vigil all this time. Such a bro, that guy. But Aoi is horrified at what happened to him.
Kariya explains that this is the Matou family magic. You let the worms inside, they tear up your body, but it gives you good mana.
You know, I really don’t understand why anyone would want the Matou family magic. So far it hasn’t been shown to be all that much better if it even is better than anyone else’s magic, which does the exact same things except it doesn’t involve getting raped and eaten by a bunch of parasitic worms. I’d rather take the branch of magic with as little body horror involved as possible, kthxbai.
They chitchat for a little, and Kariya promises to save Sakura. That with the Matou family magic which according to him makes him strong and his Servant which is also super-strong, he’ll save Sakura from his evil father’s clutches and then Sakura and Rin can be sisters again. Believe it.
Kariya…you used to like Aoi, didn’t you.
DAMMIT SHOW WHY MUST YOU GIVE ME ALL THE FEELS
Meanwhile, Assassin is always watching.
Cut to Kirei, who orders him to leave them for now and follow Berzerker’s master.
So…filler much? Rin’s adventure didn’t really tell us much other than remind us that Kariya is in it to save Sakura and tell us “oops, didn’t mean to make him seem crazy back in Episode 5”. It hints a little that maybe he was carrying a torch for her all this time, but it’s nothing that we didn’t know. Honestly this one seems more like an episode dedicated to fanservice for people who watched Fate/Stay Night at the detriment of moving the plot forward. I understand the scene at the end with Kirei ordering Assassin to follow Kariya being necessary to maybe set up a future development, but that could have easily fit into anything since it was like all of ten seconds long.
Also, Uryuu Rinnosuke, punked out by an eight-year-old girl. Have I expressed how much I hate this pair yet? Not only are they jerks, but they’re not even compelling or threatening jerks. The human Master is a bumbling fool who only stumbled into the Grail War by chance (huh, not unlike a certain protagonist of Fate/Stay Night), and his power level is clearly subpar compared to all the other Masters. The Servant is an insane stalker (my problems with insane characters have been covered previously) with zero relatability compared to the other Servants – even Gil’s haughtiness and arrogance or Berzerker’s RAEG has relatability, as those are at least human emotions. Please go die in a fire, Team Caster.
In addition, remember back in episode 5, when Berzerker fought Gilgamesh, and how I cited it as an example of how you do a Worf Barrage (that is, character B is demonstrated to be tough by defending against character A’s attack) without nerfing people? That’s not what happened here. We knew Gil’s Gate of Babylon Noble Phantasm to be a horribly broken spell from F/SN. Even if you didn’t watch F/SN, you still knew it was powerful based on how everyone in-verse found it reasonable to have killed Assassin in one hit. So Berzerker being able to defend against it with flair demonstrates that him >>> Assassin > any mage, but the fact that Gil wasn’t going all-out allows him to keep his dignity intact. Here, it’s the opposite. Rin may grow up to be a skilled mage by the time F/SN rolls around, but currently she’s still just a little girl, and getting owned by her only reduces Rinnosuke’s threat level further.
There have been parts of episodes that I have disliked, but I think this is the only full episode so far that I straight up disliked.
Oh well. Next episode’s intro screencap has Rider in his muscle shirt. Looks promising.
Until next ep.