Archive for January, 2013

Gun Control 20 Questions! (written by failsauce activist)

January 26, 2013

Found this lovely little questionnaire when I was linked to this lovely response which also features a lovely analogy using delicious CAKE. Anyways, I’ll play too!

  1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?

    No. This is, however, implying that after we mandate background checks, they will no longer be able to get their hands on guns ever, which is like saying after we said no one is allowed to have alcohol, people stopped having alcohol.

  2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?

    You can’t. Not all of them, anyway. Two subsets of gun used for crimes here, guns owned by criminals used for crime and guns owned by normally law-abiding good people that criminals get their hands on. To prevent the second group, make whoever the gun is registered to pay a fine if someone they know uses their gun for crime. There is no way to keep guns away from the first group because #1, so really, any gun control plan is incomplete unless it also deals with what to do about those who slip through the cracks – that is, what do you do when a bad guy with a gun shows up.

  3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to “keep and bear arms”?

    Not if it’s just one at the time of purchase and it’s done in a quick and snappy manner.

  4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?

    I don’t know you, so I can’t comment for you. But yes, a sizable proportion of the gun control crowd would like to ban guns.

  5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?

    Frog boiling. The default state of America was that civilians could own the same guns as the military. Eventually, you gradually enacted more and more nerfs on the armaments that law-abiding gun owners can have, nerfs that are often unreasonable and ineffectual (banning bayonet studs and barrel shrouds? really?), to the point where NY now only allows you to have magazines that hold a maximum of 7 rounds. Keep in mind that 10-30 rounds per magazine is industry standard, and that criminals by their nature do not follow these laws, so they will still have their normal sized magazines while law-abiding citizens now only have their nerf mags. And you do it sufficiently gradually, so that each generation thinks the gun law limits in their day are normal and reasonable, and then you say that you’re just taking a little bit more because compromise.

  6. What do you think are the “second amendment remedies” that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?

    Armed insurrection against a government that no longer represents the interests of its people, which is how this country was founded in the first place. That said, anyone with a brain should be finding it blindingly obvious that Angle doesn’t actually mean we should up and overthrow the US government of which she is a part right now, or even just Harry Reid for that matter. It’s generally not a good idea to issue gun threats when you are surrounded by lots of people who have guns themselves.

  7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don’t like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?

    I believe in proportionality. If we disagree on great taste vs less filling, then no. If we disagree on whether my TV that I bought from Best Buy is actually his TV that he bought from my home using a five-finger discount, then yes, second amendment remedies are just what the doctor ordered.

  8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?

    I believe in calling a spade a spade. If they are lying, then it’s ok to call them liars. If they are factually incorrect or applying faulty logic, then I should be allowed to make unflattering remarks to their intelligence while pointing out how they are wrong. It should be noted, however, that ad hominem is more often used by gun control advocates, since between them calling gun owners callous and gun owners calling them violators of the Constitution, at least the latter is true.

  9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person’s face?

    I believe the proper term for someone who speaks poorly about someone behind their back but not to their face is “whiny punk-ass bitch.”

  10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?

    The ones that nerf the capabilities of gun owners who use their weapons for self defense compared to the threats they are likely to face do.

  11.  Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.

    Current being the initial Firearms Control Act back in 1934, sure. As to whether they are being enforced, I’ll get back to you once I buy my first piece (have been shooting friends’ weapons all this time).

  12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?

    I believe most are careful and would not shoot anybody that did not threaten them first, and should not be subject to further limits due to the actions of a tiny subset who are not.

  13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?

    No. Killing yourself is incredibly easy. It doesn’t matter if guns are twice as easy as stabbing yourself in the chest or cutting your wrists down the highway or tossing a radio in your bathtub is still really easy. Furthermore, if you believe suicide is a personal choice, you should not be restricting someone’s access to methods by which he/she may accomplish that choice. If you believe suicide is a mental illness, your focus should be on that, not guns.

  14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should “count” in the total numbers?

    They count already in any number crunching I do.

  15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?

    Without anyone touching the trigger? I do not believe this is possible. Even if it is, that is a tiny tiny minute miniscule freak occurrence that is highly irrelevant.

  16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?

    Not compared to, at the minimum, over 60K successful gun defenses per year, and like a million at max. Also, keep in mind lower death rate in other countries that have total gun bans is also because the criminals there no longer need a gun to establish force superiority over you. A knife will do. So really, this gets into how much you believe in “millions for defense, not a cent for tribute.” Also also, there are actually 10-15K gun *casualties* (injuries and deaths combined) per year.

  17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?

    Again, two subsets. Against surprise guncrimes using weapons owned by good guys, make the currently registered owner partially liable for them in the form of fines, thus incentivizing them to secure their weapons properly. Against guncrimes committed by criminals, let people who already carry concealed (that is, we trust them already to not shoot people) do so everywhere. It takes, at minimum, 2-3 minutes for police to respond (source: I was an orientation advisor for the University of Texas. This is a 40-acre area with its own dedicated police department. The response time will only be longer elsewhere). In a “gun-free zone”, your chances of survival unarmed in that 2-3 time period is 0. Your chances armed is, at the least, greater than 0. You can easily google countless cases that all support one conclusion: the best way to prevent a violent person from commit violence, or at the least minimizing the damage he can do, is to have someone present with similar or greater force capability. Do keep in mind that the Aurora shooter skipped over two movie theaters that were closer to him in favor of one that had a “NO GUNS” sign.

  18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?

    Statistically, for every one of your articles about guncrime there are at least six stories of guns being used to save lives. Furthermore, deciding policy based on knee-jerk reactions to singular events is a classic case of missing the forest for a tree. Mass shootings account for a very tiny proportion of guncrime, and the common thread is that those take place in gun-free zones. Far more likely is that you will be home-invaded and need something to defend your life, if not your property, from criminals before the cops arrive.

  19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).

    I think if gun control thinks need is so important, then they should justify why ATF needs my personal information if I am a law-abiding human and our country supposedly runs on presumption of innocence. Or at the least, if they are also so big on prevention, cite cases where having the shooter’s information would have helped prevent the shooter or mitigated the damage.

  20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?

    I am interested in reasonable discourse. What about you? Will your people be discussing practicalities, or will it be the same “think of the children”/”we have to do *something*” well-meaning but at best useless, at worst harmful rhetoric? Because, really, of all the literature I’ve read, it’s the gun owners who think about things like what it would take to actually prevent bad guys from getting guns and police response times and difference between active shooter situations where there was someone present with a gun vs no one present with a gun and such, while it’s mostly control advocates who advocate either bans or completely useless measures that are a waste of time and taxes. Really, if anyone is causing the debate to be an exercise in futility, it’s not the NRA.

    Well, that was fun.

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Let’s Watch Fate Zero, 15

January 25, 2013

Golden Radiance

As we open, our heroes still have difficulty with Caster’s monster, while Berzerker and Gil continue their dogfight. Rider and Saber retreat, and Rider offers to trap the monster in his Ionioi Heitairoi while the others strategize. Oh man, all the armies of Macedon vs a giant squid kaiju? This is gonna be so awesome – wait, what do you mean I don’t get to see it happen?


No ticket, no show, bub

Meanwhile, the young underdog Matou Kariya fights the master mage Tohsaka Tokiomi. Yeah, Kariya…you’re like a skinny-ass kid who ran away from home and only knows ad-hoc magecraft. You have all the physique of the kid that bully victims pick on to make themselves feel better. Your magecraft is so fail that your own grandfather pretty much said you had to summon a Berzerker in hopes that his Mad Enhancement skill would compensate for your weaksauce. Tokiomi, meanwhile, has spent his entire life training magic and is the head of his very prominent magical family. This…is not going to end well for you.


“Not impressive. Hey Gil, am I doing it right?”

Rider goes off to engage Caster’s monster again. He can’t see outside while he’s inside his Reality Marble, so he’ll send a scout when he’s about to be unable to hold out, and hopefully Iri, Waver, Saber, and Lancer will have come up with something then. Meanwhile, Berzerker and Archer duel while Kariya continues to fail at magic-fighting. While Kariya sends waves and waves of bugs that crash ineffectively against Tokiomi’s shields, the effort of which is literally making the kid bleed out of his skin, Tokiomi just kind of stands there, bored out of his mind, before casting a single fireball that incinerates Kariya’s bugs and sets him aflame. Kariya staggers about blindly in pain before falling over a railing.


Swift as a coursing river, with the force of the great typhoon, I strike at thee!


You forgot strength of the raging fire.


Strength of the whaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh…

Iri gets a call from Kiri (man, it sounds like I’m naming Dwarves from The Hobbit), although she fails at tech and Waver has to actually take the call for her. Kiritsugu confirms that Rider has limited choice over where he materializes after coming out of the Ionioi Hetairoi and says he will shoot up a flare that will signal where to dump Caster. And then he asks to speak to Lancer.


I’m sorry, I am not acquainted with this “Seymour Butz” gentleman.

Kiritsugu drops the rhetoric bomb – Saber has a Noble Phantasm that’ll gank Caster like a blackthorn shillelagh on a red-headed stepchild, but she can’t use it while her left hand is shot. Lancer blinks, then understands what he must do. Saber protests, saying that a wound she suffered in an honorable chivalrous duel is a point of pride, and that surely they can find some other way to defeat Caster, but Lancer reminds her that their number one vow is to defend the weak. What is important, he asks Saber – their pride as warriors? Or stopping evil?


Breaking the curse..literally.

Wow.

Lancer, you are a true hero, every bit deserving of the title. Gil may claim to be the King of Heroes, but you have acted as one in a manner above and beyond the rest of the cast.

I know that later on, because tvtropes has spoiled me somewhat, Kiritsugu will have an outburst monologue, at which point I will say “SHUT THE FUCK UP KIRITSUGU YOU ARE FUCKING WRONG YOU FUCKING FUCKTARD BECAUSE DIARMUID UA FUCKING DUIBHNE.”

More on this later, but as the Golden Spear is snapped, energy releases, and the full might of Arturia Pendragon, First of Her Name, Queen of the Britons, Lord of the British Isles, and Protector of the Realm is unleashed.


By the power of Camelot!

Unfortunately, this now draws the attention of Berzerker, who turns right around and begins shooting at her, much to Gil’s fury – although he’s more angry that Berzerker’s turning his back on him, mind.


Dammit Berzerker, she has NOT lost that loving feeling! Now come back and fight me before your ego writes a check your ass can’t cash!

Meanwhile, Kirei comes across the comatose Kariya, after a brief hesitation, does not kill him. Instead, he casts a healing spell, then takes the unconscious young man home with him.


Oh myyyy…</takei>

Meanwhile, one of Rider’s hoplites appear, awaiting orders. Waver asks him to wait just a bit longer, since Berzerker is now keeping Saber busy. But now Lancer steps in, and he teleports (wait, this guy can teleport!?) up to the F-15 and stabs it full of holes, forcing Berzerker down. Kariya’s Servant is not out, though. Guy rips the Vulcan gun right out of the aircraft, and his “make anything my Noble Phantasm” ability allows him to continue shooting even as he falls. Still, he’s at a disadvantage, and Archer swoops in and gives Saber a clear shot.


Too close for missiles. Switching to guns.

Kiri’s flare goes up. Rider’s hoplite disappears. Caster’s monster gets dumped into the river. Saber lines up her shot, and then, with a single cleave, unleashes her Noble Phantasm: EXCALIBUR.


[Shonen WWWOOOOOAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH goes here]

Caster is obliterated, and in his last moments, sees a vision of his beloved Jeanne.


Well, now I see how you got confused, anyway.

Rider is impressed that Saber can wield so much power despite being just a little girl, while Archer replies that the power of Exaclibur is the combined power of the hopes and dreams of everyone who believed in King Arthur and the ideals she represented. So while eventually she was betrayed and her kingdom fell, that mattered much less than what she eventually came to stand for. Rider notes that Saber has so much power, yet her life was so sad and tragic. He then turns and says that taking out Caster spent a lot of his power, and if Gil was to come at him now, he’d have a good shot of winning, but Gilgamesh turns it down – when they have their Clash of Kings, Gil says, he wants to enjoy taking Alexander down at full strength and prove once and for all that Gilgamesh’s way is superior.

Meanwhile, he will continue to watch Saber creepily.


Ah, little lioness. Your mouth says no no no but your eyes say yes yes yes…

Final Thoughts:

So here the battle winds down, and we see just what the difference between a Saber with a shot wrist and a Saber at full health who’s not holding back is. Holy crap. That Noble Phantasm sure is…a cut above the rest.


YYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

Anyway, I voluntarily spoiled myself for who Berzerker is. But now is the part where you start noticing that both times he’s showed up, he’s gone for Saber and no one else. Related to that team, I find it somewhat unfortunate that Kariya seems to have gone somewhat off the deep end, and there’s very little to no effort done to remind you that he was originally in it for Sakura. When you see him try and fail at fighting Tokiomi, all you’re seeing is a “mad dog” to borrow Gil’s favorite phrase trying to lunge at the snazzily-dressed master mage. You’re not seeing an uncle who all but destroyed his body to save his niece from a fate worse than death. You’re not seeing . I guess they’re trying to go for a “becoming the monster” thing with Kariya, but that really doesn’t work when the guy he’s fighting is actually a monster whether out of malice (as initially assumed) or stupidity (as when we found out he apparently gave Sakura up for her own good, but out of every single magic family out there, he just had to choose the one whose magic is based on body horror and rapeworms), and when his goal was both good (save the little girl) and just (beat the crap out of the jerkface). I dunno, maybe it’s some kind of cultural moral dissonance or something, where Japanese people just no longer believe that violence can ever be right, like how stupid Zero Tolerance policies punish both bully and victim by the logic “it takes two to fight!” (never mind it takes only one to take an ass-kicking)?

But all this is small potatoes compared to what is, to me, the real RIGHT IN THE FEELS moment for this episode.


No one will know your name. No one will know what you did. Yet, you made a difference. Despite that, you made a difference.

Hero.

It is a word with many definitions as there are cultures. But interestingly, all cultures attempt to write down and codify rules regarding what it means to be a hero.

In the Western tradition, this is chivalry. In the Japanese tradition, this is bushido.

In the Chinese tradition, this is xia.

Xia means many things. But the best and most concise meaning comes from the pen of the master wuxia novelist Jin Yong, specifically from the second novel of the Condor Trilogy, Return of the Condor Heroes, more specifically the phrase 为国为民,侠之大者 – or “To serve the nation and the people with all of one’s being, such is the Hero among heroes.” This phrase is said by the established kung fu master Guo Jing as he leads the martial arts community and the Song Dynasty garrison to defend the border city of Xiangyang (and by extension the rest of China, as Xiangyang is THE chokepoint separating the Mongol Empire between China proper) against Mongol invasion. It is this phrase that set the main character on the path of hero, and it is by this phrase that Guo and his entire family eventually died when Xiangyang was finally overrun, presumably surrounded by a mountain of Mongol corpses.

What is the purpose of kung fu? To Guo Jing, it isn’t just acquiring fame for defeating so-and-so in a duel. It isn’t just “spiritual enlightenment”. It isn’t just so you can avenge your family who was killed by ninjas. It is, simply, the fact that you have great power, and thus you have the responsibility to use it for good (and thus, against those who would abuse their power). Yes, fame is good, and sometimes it helps you rally others to your cause. Yes, spiritual enlightenment is nice, and it gives you peace of mind. But they are merely byproducts – the real goal should always be to serve the people.

And that is what Lancer did.

Diarmuid Ua Duibhne’s life was, honestly, shit. He was a Knight of the Fianna, joining the band of merry men of the epic hero Fionn Mac Cumhail as a young lad, and he would have had a fulfilling life full of quests and adventures and wenches like all the other happy young knights, but for one single misadventure wherein he banged a fae who gave him his Love Spot. From then on, his life became less “hero’s journey” and more bad fanfiction of the “so beautiful it’s a curse” variety. His king’s own wife fell in love with him. When he rejected her advances, she put a geas on him and made him elope with her. He didn’t want to betray his king, liege lord, and friend, but he was forced to (otherwise the geas wouldn’t have been necessary). And only upon his death did he realize that while a peace was made, Fionn in fact never forgave him for this. Lancelot at least had his early glories and got to participate in the quest for the Grail in his last days. Diarmuid’s legend consisted of never being able to become the hero he dreamed of being since youth, instead always fleeing the men he formerly called brother and dying knowing he was never able to make things right.

There is a stain on his honor. So what does Lancer do? He comes back to the Grail War, intending to do things correctly this time. He gets summoned. He swears to obtain the Grail for Kayneth. He promises to himself that this time, he will act as a true knight, he will serve faithfully, he will keep his vows.

Knights, Samurai, Kung Fu masters, they are all similar in many respects. They are all trained in methods of war, ways of killing, and they make their name upon their skill. And many of them never become, in the grand scheme of things, anything more than a glorified attack dog. It is incredibly easy, when making a name for oneself as a warrior, to get caught up in the duels, the wenches, the drink, and sink into the quagmire of mediocrity. It is incredibly easy, after too many brutal battles, to say screw it and pack up to live as some kind of hermit in the mountains. It is incredibly easy, when people are lining up to wipe your arse just because you are good at fighting, to start feeling entitled to such treatment over the plebs. The hardest thing for an up and coming warrior to do is to see past their name, see past their desires, see past their life, and live up to the ideal that Guo Jing described.

And that is what Lancer did.

His previous actions can be merely chalked up to pride. Oh hey, Saber. You know they say you’re the strongest Servant…so let’s test that. Oh hey, you’re a woman, well I’m so awesome and chivalrous so I’ll take your side against everyone else when I can. Oh hey, Caster’s here again? Well my Master hasn’t said anything, so sure I’ll help you take him down. Even his initial motivations can be interpreted as such – gah, I’ll prove that I can serve someone faithfully! Master, I swear to you that I will win the Grail!

Pride, power, possessions. So many aspiring heroes do not pass these tests. Here, Lancer faced the test – lift the curse on Saber, and not only strengthen an enemy, but lose one of his own Noble Phantasms in the process, placing him at a great disadvantage and possibly (well, possibly to him; we know from F/SN that he doesn’t make it to the end) causing him to lose the Grail War and fail to fulfill his promise to Kayneth. Yet he weighed his own pride and the desires of a single pair of mages for glory against the lives of everyone in Fuyuki city and unflinchingly chose the latter, even managing to get in a mini-lecture on the true meaning of chivalry to the King of Knights while he’s at it. Keep in mind that he comes from an era when you could literally build your name atop a pile of corpses and people will sing your praises for it (as Rider noted a couple episodes prior), and when armies routinely never gave two shits about civilians except in terms of taking they wanted from them, and his choice becomes all the more meaningful.

So after the bloody battle at the Mion River, who is Diarmuid Ua Duibhne?

Merely a knight who, in the end, did not forget his vows.

And that makes him morally superior to all the conquerors who left rivers of blood in his wake to fulfill some flight of fancy**, and all the despots who lived in luxury while his population broke their backs and was so despotic the gods themselves created a man specifically to put him in place, and all the warrior kings who could not bend and instead broke because they personally found the hard choice offensive, to say nothing of the child-murderers and the hired killers and the mad dogs.

Lancer’s life was a tragedy. And from what we know of Fate Stay Night, we know his second chance at life will also end in tragedy. But if nothing else, he saved thousands of innocent people (at the least; keep in mind Japan has extremely high population density) and their families, none of whom will ever know his name, at cost to himself. To my recollection, he is the FIRST out of anyone in the main cast* to do so.

For country and countrymen.

Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, you are a true hero.

Guo Jing would approve.

Until next ep.

*I can only really remember Rin going out of their way to purposefully save someone hurt by the Grail Wars, but she doesn’t count because she is not a main cast, and her one episode was more filler than anything. Waver and Rider did go after Caster in his lair, but they are active combatants and it was par for the course – they would have had to go after a Servant at some point, and they weren’t exposing themselves to any more risk than already present by simply being a participant in the first place. What Lancer did actively hurt his own chances at winning – it was a true sacrifice for a noble cause, and that makes it admirable.

**I cannot stress this enough, Iskander is all kinds of awesome, but by modern standards he is NOT a hero. Guy launched how many wars of conquest? And in this show, it all just so he could take a vacation to the beach? That’s hundreds of thousands dead and countless more widows and orphans, all because a charismatic leader whipped them up into a nationalistic fervor and wait…But seriously. Godwin aside, there’s a reason why in real life his conquests never reached past the outer borders of India, even though he lived a few years after he paused his wars to consolidate his rule. And really, all the “good” stuff we remember Alexander for, such as his preservation of knowledge and construction of libraries, took place *after* he stopped conquering. In short, Alexander is awesome in the sense that, say, Azula is awesome. They do impressive things, but you sure as heck do not want to share the same world as them.

Let’s Watch Fate Zero, Ep 14

January 23, 2013

The Bloody Battle at the Mion River


I feel the need…the need for speed

A pair of military jets fly overhead, noting that the scene below them looks like something out of a kaiju movie. Jet 1 wonders if they’ll get any glory. Jet 2 replies that if they’re really in a kaiju film, they’ll be the ones to die first to make it look threatening before the Ultraman shows up.

Meanwhile, Saber cuts through a giant pulsing flesh thing…but it’s just a tentacle. Rider does the same, but it’s regenerating. Rider notes he can’t get a clear shot. Rinnosuke is happy because it’s so cool!

Oh hey, new theme song. I think I like the older one better tbh. The previous one sounded happy and upbeat but with notes of drama and tension in it. This one seems a bit bland.

Priest is headdesking, noting that everything’s been a disaster full of utter fail. They’ve fogged up the whole river, but lots of onlookers are still appearing. The Masquerade is in danger of being broken, and they’ll have to ask for help from Mage Association to keep things under control. Kirei reports that Tokiomi and Archer are coming, and he’ll follow them. As it turns out, Archer’s there already, but he’s not doing anything. He disdains the fact that even working together, King Arthur and Alexander the Great still can’t take out Caster.

No, Saber, this is not a good idea. This is not time to buzz a tentacle.

Tokiomi notes that they must destroy Caster’s monster before witnesses show up, and asks Gil to kill it, using a metaphor that the beast is destroying the King’s own splendid garden. Gil isn’t buying it, however, saying that pest control is a job for gardeners, not kings. Tokiomi tries to appeal to his pride, saying that it’s a kingly deed that proves he’s better than everyone else, but Gil says that there’s no need for him to “prove” himself, when he’s obviously better than everyone else already, duh. Anyways, Archer gets bored and decides to leave. Before going, he leaves four of his weapons to Tokiomi for use in killing Caster’s monster, saying that the kaiju’s so dirty that he doesn’t even want them back after they touch it. Tokiomi says that only the Sword of Rupture which is in Archer’s possession can kill it, but Archer gets pissed that Tokiomi would want his most prized possession to be used to put down a mere beast. Tokiomi considers using his command spell, but doesn’t want to destroy his rapport with Gil. Besides, he’s used one already, and the whole point of coming up with the plan was so he could get the remaining spell. Even if he wins, it leaves him with the same number of Command Spells as before, except Gil would be even more pissed at him.

The jets from the prolog are still doing their flyby. There’s also a green glow in the sky. One of them goes in to get a closer look. Dammit, pilot, that’s what your camera is for. And also what AWACS are for. Predictably, he gets nommed.


GOOSE! GOOOOOOOSE!

Man, guys doesn’t even get off a single shot. Fail. At least wingman has the presence of mind to go in for a shot…but hey, Berzerker?

THAT’S RIGHT, ICEMAN, I AM DANGEROUS

He lands on the plane, grabbing on to it…omg is he using a fighter jet as his NP?

OMG CHAOS JET.

Tokiomi goes to take on Kariya…and we see that Berzerker is going for Archer, who sends his Gate of Babylon. Sword missiles impace with missile missiles, and the camera zooms out to review that Gil has a spaceship, apparently.


“Aliens”? This is 100% made proudly in Mesopotamia, you Eurocentric ass!

Also, while Iskander and Saber’s skills do not impress Gil, the F-15 Strike Eagle amuse him. I approve of this greatly, as Muggles Do It Better has always been one of my favorite tropes. Berzerker isn’t doing anything that a decent human pilot couldn’t pull, yet he’s fighting on a level that can prove a decent amount of sport for Gilgamesh, King of Heroes. Consider that – we can literally manufacture thousands of Gilgameshes from our war factories and training bases.


Humanity, fuck yeah.

Kariya is fatigued…and Tokiomi shows up. He laughs at how Kariya is now back in the Grail War when he once turned his back on being a mage, the silly boy. Kariya retorts by asking accusingly why Tokiomi gave his daughter to the Matou family. Tokiomi replies that he did it because only one child is allowed to inherit the family’s magic, and the other can only be a mediocre human. But both kids had lots of magical potential, so he sent one off to the Matou so she could have magic too.

OK, that hereditary rule is hella stupid. Mages are an increasingly small group already, and it’s not helped by bloodline advocates like El-Melloi. Making it where only one child can inherit the family magic is a guaranteed way of making the bloodline fade into obscurity. “If we hadn’t interbred with muggles, we’d have all died out” – you know who said that? Ron Weasley said that. How retarded do you have to be if Ron fucking Weasley can come to that conclusion and you can’t?

Anyway, Tokiomi continues that now both his daughters have a chance to reach the Root, whatever that is. Mages have innate power, but they can have more power, and to Tokiomi, this means it’s the responsibility of all mages to strive for the apex of what all that is. So I guess the Root is some kind of ultimate underlying principle that rules all magic, like the Truth from FMA or like what modern physicists are working towards? Anyway, Kariya is pissed, since the natural outcome of this is that both sisters will end up fighting each other in the next Grail War (which is kind of what ends up happening in some of the paths of Fate/Stay Night). But Tokiomi doesn’t mind, as either way, one of his descendants will win everlasting glory.


And she’ll~ bring~ honor to us all!

Berzerker shoots more missiles at Gil, who responds with more point defense. And…now they’re charging at each other.

http://straywolfnest.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/1333811884118.jpg
THOU ART UPON A CAUSEWAY TO YE ZONE FRAUGHT WITH PERIL

Kariya is now filled with rage at the mages and their inhumanity. Meanwhile, Tokiomi muses that maybe he should thank Kariya. After all, since Kariya severed his ties with the Matou when he quit being a mage, that made Sakura the heir to Matou. But, he can’t forgive Kariya for shaming Magic. Responsibility is the essence of being human, Tokiomi says, brandishing his crystal wand which now bristles with fire, as a collection of Matou larvae swarm around Kariya and metamorphose into mini-mutalisks.


Hey Tokiomi, why don’t you just…bugger off? YYYYYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH


Idiot, Fire is super effective against Bug!

Meanwhile, in the shadows, Kirei readies his knives.


SNIKT

Cut to Rider’s cow is being strangled, but Saber saves by cutting off the tentacles. The fight continues to stalemate, and Rinnosuke is amused, rambling on about how he can see the blood and stuff and it’s awesome. Funny how no one notices his rambling. Suddenly there’s a crunch?


Wipe yourself. You’re bleeding.

Oh, I guess Kirei stabbed him? Nope, gun sight view reveals it to be Kiritsugu. Rinnosuke looks at his wounds, to which bystanders are now reacting horrifiedly, and notes that it’s…so…beautiful…


BOOM headshot.

Hell yeah Emiya Kiritsugu, killing motherfuckers like it’s cool.

Scoped and dropped.

Caster is now sad because his Master is dead, but he pulls out his book and announces that he will keep his promise to deliver a gift of the “coolest thing ever”. Turns out Caster has enough remaining mana to keep the monster around, and Kiritsugu notes that they need to obliterate it in one hit somehow. This necessitates an anti-fortress NP, not just an anti-unit or anti-army. Saber has one, but Lancer’s curse makes her not able to use it. So…let’s see what they call Chivalry. I guess he’s banking on Lancer lifting the curse voluntarily?

New end theme. Which I also consider inferior to the previous end theme, as this one is lacking in the mournful and soulful vocals that the previous one had. Eh, I’m sure it’ll grow on me eventually.

In the meantime, some final thoughts:

So, here we see one the culmination of one of the themes of Fate/Zero – muggles do it better. We see it in Berzerker’s dogfight against Gil, where even though Gil is toying with the guy, fact remains that the muggle-made F-15 is a thing that crosses the threshold for someone like Gil to feel combat rush. Keep in mind, this is a guy for whom Alexander the Great, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, and King Arthur presented unimpressive first impressions. The best MMA fighter in the world could challenge Gil to a fistfight and he would be considered beneath the King of Heroes’ notice. Yet one mindless berserker in an F-15 is at least bumped up to “amusing enemy” tier. Similarly, all these heroes and their Masters go through so much trouble to take out Caster, and ultimately what did him in wasn’t some skillful magecraft or the powerful abilities of a Servant, but just a bullet to the brainpan, squish.

Although I have to admit, even though I had previously predicted Kiritsugu ending a fight via sniper round to the head, I totally didn’t expect it to be this guy. I’m rather curious, though, as to what happens to the extra Command Spell. Does it just disappear now? Does Kiritsugu just get four of them? Meh, I’m sure I’ll find out eventually.

I am, however, calling minor inconsistency. Caster got stabbed in the book by Gae Dearg, which interrupted all his casting, but now he has it back. Saber, however, gets stabbed in the wrist, and her arm is still shot. It is somewhat of a failing thus far that we aren’t really shown just what the difference between a wounded Saber and Saber at full strength is, athough I’ll give it until this current fight ends before deciding.

Until next ep.

Let’s Watch Fate Zero, Ep 13

January 20, 2013

The Forbidden Feast

We open with a flashback – it’s Iskander leading his army, having just reached the edge of the sea…and then Waver wakes up.


Brings a new meaning to the term “wet dream”.

He realizes that he’s having that thing where he experiences his Servant’s memories, and rouses Rider, who’s still snoring at this point. Cut to them walking the streets – Rider is perplexed as to why Waver wants to go outside all of a sudden, but Waver just responds it’s because he wanted to.

…so Waver is tsundere?


I-it’s not like I sumoned you because I like you or anything! I just wanted to, alright? Stupid baka!

Rider shrugs, noting that exploring a marketplace is just as exciting as invading a country. Waver, in a display of modern values, expresses his opinion that invading a country is pathetic.

…ok, Waver, please stop this passive-aggressiveness. You’ve been likeable so far. Don’t stop that trend now.

Cut to Rinnosuke and Caster arriving at their lair. Rinnosuke is sad someone just rode in and destroyed their masterpiece. Caster reassures him that their work is beautiful, and only the philistines can’t appreciate it.


Haters gonna hate

Rinnosuke wonders if this was God punishing them for their acts, but Caster vehemently disagrees – God doesn’t punish, he just dicks with people! He cites as proof the fact that he was totally ridiculously evil during his lifetime, but he never faced divine retribution at all. When he finally stopped, he realized that he’d been doing the childmurder business for 8 years. At no point did God stop him – rather, Man did. The church and the Inquisition tried him for witchcraft and hanged him, but even then that wasn’t for the public good, but so they could then divvy up his estate. A God who punishes the wicked and rewards the good doesn’t exist!

Aside: the historical Gilles de Rais was indeed tried and executed for witchcraft and a child-killing spree that did last eight years. The conviction went through rather easily, as there were literally lines of peasant families who reported that their children would go to Gilles’ castle to beg for food and then end up missing, and his accomplices offered up testimony of bloody and gory occult rituals that were reportedly so lurid the court had to order the worst stricken from the record for being extra-heretical. Curiously, however, the title to all of Gilles’ lands and assets went to the Duke of Brittany, who led the prosecution.

Anyway, Rinnosuke disagrees, however. The world looks boring and stuff, but if you look underneath, you’ll discover wonderful things everywhere. It can’t be mere chance that’s created everything, so why not call it God? By his world view, God loves everything – he loves our emotions, he loves bravery, he loves courage, he also loves blood and carnage. He loves watching humanity and its trials and tribulations.


I love watching the world, and everything you do. I love humanity, and all its accomplishments and things. Boom de ya da, boom de ya da.

This raises Caster’s spirits considerably – Rinnosuke’s belief is “super cool,” especially in this world of secularism where we no longer worship like we once did. But then he wonders that if God just sits back and watches stuff, then that means he’s just a joke – a clown who spent so much effort blaspheming against a guy who doesn’t even care.

Rinnosuke disagrees – God approves! You’re amusing Him, that’s enough!

…heresy.

Cut to Waver browsing a bookstore. Suddenly, his eyes fall on a book about Alexander the Great, and he picks it up. From reading, he learns how Alexander didn’t bother ruling – instead, he left people behind to administer his conquests and continue his campaign. All he wanted to do was to see the ocean with his own eyes.

…on a side note, I like how the section labeled as “religion” in the kanji is “non-fiction” in the English.


YO WAVER, U RDY 2 B PWNT BY MY L337 SKILLZ? BOY YOU MAY BE MY MASTER BUT BY THE END ONLY 1 OF US IS OWNING THE OTHER AND IT SURE AIN’T YOU

Meanwhile, Rider’s pretty happy that he bought the newest edition of the “Admirable Grand Strategy” game, the t-shirt for which now forms his casual wear. Waver points out that he needs the console to play, but Rider’s bought that too, as well as a set of controllers. Come on Waver, all Rider wants is a good old LAN party, just indulge! Rider then notices the book Waver is reading and is a little perplexed that he would look for a book written by other people about Alexander the Great when he has the genuine article in front of him. Waver proceeds to get awkward, stammering for a bit before pointing out that history says Alexander the Great was short, but how come Rider is so huge?

Rider takes the book and notes that huh, it does say he’s short. Whaddaya know. Waver is perplexed that Rider doesn’t seem to care, since Great Men generally tend to be super anal about that stuff. Rider says that it’s true that being remembered after one’s death is one form of immortality, but he would prefer simply continuing to live for a fraction of however long he was remembered for.

Waver is reminded that the historical Alexander only lived to his early thirties and has a sad.


WHOAOHOHOHOHOHOHOH CAUGHT IN A RAD BROMANCE

Cut to a bridge – looks like Rinnosuke and Caster went on a date, presumably with zoos and ice cream and ice skating and doing shots off a hooker’s belly. Rinnosuke stares longingly at his bromance, shouting at him to do something cool. Caster starts up the old Grimoire – wait, how did it start working again? I guess all that needed to happen to reset any magical effects of a Servant is to render the Master unable of doing magic?


EVERYTHING I DOOOOO I DO IT FOR YOUUUUUU

Cut back to Rider, who’s now walking back with Waver, who’s been uncharacteristically taciturn. He asks what’s wrong, and Waver just replies that he’s lamenting how boring Rider is. Dammit boy, stop being tsundere. It’s annoying when the female characters do it and it’s doubly annoying when male characters do it. Fortunately the show doesn’t spend to long on it, and Waver spills – he feels like claiming the Grail just because Rider is so strong feels like cheating. He doesn’t mind fighting his own battles, but Rider having such an overpowered Phantasm just makes it seem unfair.

Rider displays more patience than I have, reassuring Waver that no one ever said the Grail War had to be the most important thing in his life. So what if it’s a little unfair? One day he’ll find something that he really truly wants, and then he’ll understand what it is to fight for it with all his heart. Waver then reveals the real reason for his insecurities – he feels he’s too weak of a mage for Rider. Given how tough Rider is, with a different Master he’d probably breeze through the Grail War.

Rider continues to be the Bro-Rider. He reaches into Waver’s backpack and pulls out a world map. This is our enemy, he says. Compared to them, we’re just tiny dots! There’s no point in comparing heights, who’s strong or weak. Compared to the world, Iskander is but one person, yet he doesn’t let that stop him from desiring to conquer. Besides, he doesn’t mind having Waver as a Master. For Waver may be tiny and weak, but he knows that and still fights, and that makes him cool. “Glory is beyond the horizon!” is what Rider believes – or, in modern business parlance, ‘stay hungry”. It’s why he wanted to see the ocean. Unfortunately, he never did, but he still wants to do so. Maybe it’s somewhat of an idiotic dream, yeah, but hey, pact with fellow idiot works.

Suddenly, they sense something at the river.

Cut to Team Saber who’s sensed the same thing as they drive out. Caster’s got an army of tentacle monsters! He’s now being abosrbed into them…he’s made a kaiju?


It’s Gojira!

Rider pulls up on his chariot. Saber is wary, but Rider reassures her that he’s not here to fight her, pointing out that they won’t have the chance to if they don’t defeat Caster’s giant tentacle monster. He’s also delivered the same message to the other Servants, and Lancer’s on the way.

Iri sees that right now, Caster is providing the kaiju with the mana to keep it holding its shape in the physical realm, but once it finds food – that is, reaches the shore and beings siphoning mana from people – it’s going to hit self-sustaining critical mass. So they have to keep the beast on the sea.


Did you miss me, ladies?

Lancer shows up, saying that if they can expose Caster, then he’s fast enough to stab the guy with Gae Dearg. Rider agrees, then tries to get a bearing of everyone’s capabilities. He can access the beast, for his chariot can go anywhere. But what about Saber?

Saber says not to worry – she has the Lady of Lake’s protection – no water can impede her progress. Rider quips that the ability to be an ultra-marine makes him want her for my army even more. Saber is not amused.


Screw you guys, I’m outta here.

The plan decided, they charge forth…and that ends the season!

Final Thoughts

Not fond of a cliffhanger…but it does work very well to keep me watching.

So, tsundere!Waver was a bit annoying here, but as opposed to the other characters I’ve grown annoyed with (Kiritsugu, Kirei, TEAM CASTER), Waver is still somewhat tolerable simply because his situation is one that is actually somewhat quasi-understandable. He’s already fighting an uphill battle trying to prove that bloodline isn’t everything in a magical world that’s already convinced that blood is what matters and being the only student in a game being played by full-fledged mages. Really, only Rinnosuke is probably around the same skill level, being what appears to be a hedge wizard. Now he’s surrounded by all these legendary figures, the literal paragons of humanity’s best and brightest – it’s hard not to feel inadequate about this stuff. Waver’s insecurities are something real that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives, as opposed to Kiritsugu or Kirei who we’ve just not seen enough to understand what kind of person they are. But still they fall too close to Wangst, and I’m rather hoping this period is temporary.

Rinnosuke has gotten slightly better, but only slightly. Again, they’re just too weird to be relatable. It’s not like weird people can’t be relatable – Big Bang Theory certainly shoots a hole in that idea, but there’s a line of weirdness that you can’t cross. The better Warhammer 40K books do this well. The daemons of Chaos turn you insane, but you see that, say, ordinarily good and steady Space Marines who come from a superreligious world turn to them because the Emperor forbade religion and chose to punish their religious devotion to him by nuking the capital city of their proudest conquest. Thus when they found that actual gods do exist, it’s incredibly easy to understand the sense of betrayal that leads this Legion to turn against the Imperium and eventually start the civil war that will culminate in the galaxy burning. Rinnosuke…all we see is more weirdness, but at least it’s something that you’d expect from a normal human who has some mental issues and just so happens to have magical ability, and that’s why he murders kids. Caster…”I think you, King Arthur, are Jeanne d’Arc, so please return my affections and forsake God because God let you burn at the stake, and if you don’t I’ll murder some more children until you see my point!”

Anyone, season 1 ends. Until next ep.