Let’s Watch Fate/Zero, Ep 17

The Eighth Contract


My name is Kirei Kotomine. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Kirei finds daddy bleeding out in the church. Tokiomi is pissed about this. This is unpermissable! He assures Kirei that vengeance will be had. As Kirei leaves, Gil comes to continue whispering in Kirei’s ear. Why didn’t you tell Tokiomi earlier? You’re dad just died, why are you not at least pretending to be upset? Is it because you didn’t kill him with your own hands?

…ok where the hell did that come from? We’ve been given nothing to indicate that Kirei has even a rocky relationship with his father, much less hates him. Dammit Type-Moon how is it you are so good at doing these Servant battles that are so focused on detail and character motivations but suck so hard at developing your human characters? This guy’s only your main antagonist, you don’t think it’s important to set up changes to his character before you go and change his character? Seriously, Kirei has never been shown to be anything but obedient and stoic. It takes more than a little pseudo psych scan by Gil to sell the idea that he’s even slightly miffed about what’s happened in the Grail War so far. Much less has the daddy issues to want to kill daddy with his bare hands. Sheesh, WTF is up with the pacing in this show?


Wait, I was supposed to have character developments? Like, multiple? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Anyway, cut to Irisviel, who is lying in the middle of a casting circle, getting healed. Saber senses something, but it’s just Maiya, coming in to report that Tokiomi wants to ally and is calling a meeting at the Fuyuki Church. Maiya says Tokiomi is meticulous from the start, and Kirei’s probably his pawn also. Since Kirei poses the greatest threat to Kiritsugu, they should accept the meeting.

…eh? I don’t see what any of these reasons you cited have to do with the question “should we accept the meeting or not.” Now, Tokiomi being a meticulous planner should be a reason not to accept, since that means he probably has some kind of trap waiting for you and as far as we’ve seen, Kiritsugu is still gone so you can’t rely on his brutal combat smarts to save you. Kirei being his pawn should also be a reason not to, because if the two of you (Iri and Maiya) couldn’t beat Kirei before, you sure as heck won’t be able to beat Kirei + Tokiomi. Saber is irrelevant here, as Archer is still in the game.

Now, if someone who’s actually fought on a modern battlefield (like Maiya) points this out, and someone with cultural insight into mage society (like Irisviel) replies that Tokiomi’s pride as a magus won’t let him do that, and then they go, fine. But smart-at-fighting-idiot-at-philosophy Kiritsugu isn’t here, so they do a right-for-the-wrong-reasons.


Wait! Hold on, I have the slightest feeling…nah, it’s probably fine.

Cut to Tokiomi is visiting Aoi and Rin. He leaves her with the words of advice, that she must always try to keep the church in her debt, and that all members of the Tohsaka family must always try to get the Grail. Before he goes, he gifts her with a spellbook.

Tokiomi you’re gonna die aren’t you.

At the church, Tokiomi and Kirei meet with Iri, Saber, and Maiya. Tokiomi explains his reasoning – right now, there’s only 3 original families left, by which he refers to the three magical houses of Einzbern, Tohsaka, and Matou who came up with the original Holy Grail summoning ritual, plus one outsider, Waver Velvet. Tokiomi says they can’t let an outsider claim it. Iri says allying is ridiculous. But, if they want to mutually agree on what order to fight each other, then she could find that acceptable to fight Tohsaka last, upon two conditions: 1. Tokiomi gives them all information they have on Rider and Waver, and 2. Kirei is fully removed from the team. There is a great deal of animosity between Einzbern and Kirei, Iri says. As long as Kirei is part of Tokiomi’s team, she can’t trust them.

Yeah, you could say Kirei’s kind of been a pain in my side…

As Iri and co leave, we find that Kiri has given Saber a motorcycle. She rather likes it, as it’s closer to a horse than a car, and offers to scout ahead. Meanwhile, in the car, Iri is weakening and slumps on Maiya’s shoulder. She tells her to drive on, otherwise Tokiomi will catch on that there’s something wrong. Iri tells us she’s a homunculus created solely to serve as a vessel for the Holy Grail, because her grandfather wanted it to have a survival instinct? Wait, this helps how/why? I guess this means when the Grail finally materializes, it’ll pop out of her so Team Einzbern/Emiya gets first crack at making a wish? Dammit show, a sense of mystery is good (as many creepypastas have proven), but sometimes you have to be explicit about things! Anyway, Kiri left Avalon in her to slow the breakdown of her body. Iri confides that she tells Maiya this because she knows Maiya won’t pity her. Maiya promises to protect her to the best of her ability.


Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…

Meanwhile, back at Tohsaka Manor, Tokiomi notes with annoyance that he wishes Kirei would have told him of his dealings with Einzbern, and apologetically asks that Kirei withdraws officially from the Grail War. As Kirei gathers his things, he sees his dossier of Kiri and hesitates. Right when he’s questioning whether he still needs to go, Gil appears to tempt him again.

Kirei laments that he’s spent his whole life looking for one thing. He’s wasted so much time for nothing, but now he’s so close. Gil asks him why he hesitates if he’s still close. Kirei answers that he has a feeling this will destroy him. Then he gets a phone call. Gil materializes next to him and starts all creeping on him, listening in that they have found where the Einzberns are hiding. Gil laughs, seeing that Kirei had planned to continue all along. Kirei nods, then pulls back his sleeve.


…OMG KIREI HAS AN ARMFUL OF SPELLS.

Flashback. As he lay dying, Risei wrote the words “John 4:24” in his blood, and gave all his Command Spells to Kirei. At least…I hope it was some kind of ritual, and not something out of Storm Riders where he had to cut off his own arm and switch it with daddy’s. Anyway, next comes a round of beating around the bush. Gil’s all like, so…if you’re gonna re-enter the Grail War, Tohsaka Tokiomi is going to be your enemy. Which means now you’re standing in a room with his Servant. Isn’t that dangerous?

Kirei smiles and responds that he knows something Gil doesn’t. He then sits down to explain to us – er, to Gil – everything about the Grail. Namely, that it was supposed to open a path to the Root (which I think is supposed to be the source of all magic) through the death of 7 Heroic Spirits. All 7. That’s why Tokiomi has been conservative with his Command Spells, so at the end he can force Gil to suicide.

Gil isn’t so much shocked as interested that noting that by pretending to be loyal to him only to backstab him later, Tokiomi has bumped himself up from boring-tier to amusing-tier. Although still not impressed-tier. Gil’s still trying to draw out the request from Kirei, though, pointing out that even if Tokiomi was planning to betray him, he’s still Gil’s mana source, and if he turns his back on Tokiomi, he won’t have much time in the world…unless there was a free Master with no servant. Possibly standing right in front of him…and Kirei cuts the crap.


FINE. Okay? Fine. I’ll say it. I want you. Now let’s get it on like Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhal.

Cut to Tokiomi and Kirei having tea. Tokiomi does not suspect a thing. He’s actually planning on taking a flight out, and as he leaves, he states that he has nothing but pride for Kirei, who’s performed admirably as his student. He hopes Kirei will continue to have strong ties with House Tohsaka, that as his senior student, he will watch over Rin and help her learn the family magic. He also hands over his will, naming Rin as successor to Tohsaka, and Kirei as her guardian. Kirei accepts all this. In the meantime, Tokiomi also gives Kirei an Azoth dagger, to prove he graduated from Tohsaka.


You gon’ get shanked.

Just like daddy,you never understood me, Kirei says, as he stabs Tokiomi. Dammit Kirei, it’s not just daddy, none of your audience really understood you either. Gil materializes again, noting that for such an accomplished mage, Tokiomi went out like such a puss. Kirei shrugs. He was in his own home, with his own Servant dematerialized right there. Who can blame him for feeling safe?


Et tu, Brute?

We end on the eponymous eighth contract, between Kirei Kotomine and Gilgamesh, King of Heroes.

Final thoughts:

Hot damn, again, how is this show so good at character study of the Servants but so suck at doing the same for their main characters? Seriously, Type-Moon, would it have killed you to show us a little more about Kirei or Kiritsugu, to sprinkle some tidbits about these two guys throughout your series so we actually form a connection with them? Shit, they’re only, you know, the main character and his antagonist. We had 15 episodes before we finally got confirmation that Kiritsugu is planning to ask the Grail for World Peace (or something like it), and now you give us 16 episodes of Kirei displaying the emotional range of Kristen Stewart before now springing a bunch of daddy issues on us?

Again, look at Avatar (kung fu magic, not CGI smurf-cats). Crossroads of Destiny. That’s how you do a proper seduction to evil. This? Kirei went from “yes dad, I’ll investigate” to “yes Tokiomi, let us cooperate like daddy said” to “huh, Kariya is interesting” to “I HATE YOU DAD AND TOKIOMI DIE SO I CAN FIND MYSELF.”

I watched the Rirouni Kenshin movie on the plane to China a couple weeks ago. I found Kenshin to be a giant pussy with inconsistent morals, and wondered why the show isn’t about Hajime Saito instead.

Here I am finding Kirei and his metamorphosis into the main antag bland, and Kiritsugu and his idiotic ideals barely tolerable only because there is a literal deus ex machina, and wondering why the show isn’t about Waver and Iskander instead.

Until next ep.

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