Let’s Watch Fate/Zero, Episode 18

Distant Memories

Flashback to a beach…and it’s a young Kiritsugu! Who everyone calls Kerry! He’s quite the cool guy too, diving off cliffs like it ain’t a thing. And he has a GF named Shirley? Or maybe it’s his sister? She picks him up and tells him a story about their island, and how the gods are dicks – the island is named after a crab, because there was this one family who was very poor and so could not afford to spare any food as offerings to the gods, so the gods turned the family’s eldest daughter into a crab.


Your gods are so petty. And tiny.

Kiri doesn’t like this story, which amuses Shirley. We learn that Kiri is actually a transplant here, since they call him “Kerry” because the closest they could get to his name is “kerrytoogoo”.

Cut to Kiri’s house, where we find Papa Emiya. Papa Emiya grows flowers…that don’t wilt? Oh, right, daddy’s a mage. Who stops time. And tries to apply same theory to humans. And Shirley’s also kind of managed to learn a little by imitation. Kiri wants to learn, but dad says he’s not ready.


One day, Kiritsugu, everything in Za Warudo will be your kingdom.

At the local church, we learn that the Father doesn’t want Shirley to keep learning magic. He invites her inside, and we learn that he’s really also speaking on behalf of the villagers, who are suspicious of the Emiyas and don’t want her to keep working there. He gives her a magic dagger for luck and protection.  Shirley disagrees though, she thinks the magic is pretty awesome. It’s not normal, sure, but it’s interesting and can lead to some really groundbreaking stuff

Shirley visits Kiritsugu again, and while using her new magic dagger to cut a melon and nom it, confides that she thinks Papa Emiya is setting Kiri up to be his successor. She says his medicines can eliminate death, but she’s already plateauing, being limited by talent and relative newbie-ness. Cut to her flower, which has died. It’s all on you, Kiri! She then takes him to the local lagoon.


Wait, is that the local Makeout Point? Oh Shirley you’re so gonna die in this flashback.

At the lagoon, she pops the question to Kiri: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Kiri gets flustered and stammers that it’s a secret. Shirley shrugs, saying that in that case, she’ll just have to wait and see what he will become. Until then, she’ll stay by his side.


ALWAYS I WANNA BE WITH YOU MAKE BELIEVE WITH YOU LIVE IN HARMONY HARMONY OH LOVE

Next norming. Papa Emiya wakes Kiri up with a grumpy expression on his face. Apparently someone went into the workshop, and he’s asking if it was Kiri. Kiri says no, he never did that. Papa Emiya considers, then warns him not to go into village – or better yet, just stay inside the house.

Hours pass. Kiri notices that Shirley’s late. I guess the villagers have finally decided to burn the witch?

Naturally, Kiri decides to disregard Papa Emiya’s advice and goes out to find her. The local kids haven’t seen her, and they’re acting too calm for some kind of witch hunt…unless that’s what they want him to think. Anyway, she’s also not at home. Cut to a bleeding chicken.


WRYYYYYYY

Shirley’s been possessed by a daemon or something. She turns around, recognizes Kiritsugu, and cries that she just wanted to show Papa Emiya’s research to the village, but it doesn’t work. I guess she drank the time-stopping potion? Anyways, she’s sliding the dagger to him and asking for a mercy kill. Well, at least she has the good sense to ask him to do it before she loses control to the possession. Which places her above, like, 90% of all characters in fiction ever.


Isn’t it sad, Kiritsugu?

Cut to night time. Priest comes across the scene and tells Kiri to stay inside while he goes to tell the village about Shirley. Kiri waits, still visibly shaken, when suddenly zombies.


See, this is why you should just leave anyone 4 dead.

Eh? I thought it was just Shirley who got mutated by the Emiya potion. What happened to that guy? I guess she bit him before Kiri found her? A trip to wiki later, I find out that it’s actually Kiri unable to kill her, thus she got out and started biting people. And upon further rewatch, I’m now seeing that it was very poorly harmonized. You get the scene of Shirley screaming and begging Kiri to kill her before she loses control, and a closeup of Kiri’s eyes widening, but the next scene is just Kiri showing the local priest to where he found Shirley and the chickens, along with the dagger that, for something so important, is only onscreen for like half a second to show that it has no blood and thus Kiri did not perform the mercy kill. Priest tells him to stay put while he goes to inform the village.

God dammit Kiri. Understandable given he’s just a kid at this point, but God dammit Kiri. Seriously, any of my friends reading this: if we are in a zombie apoc or whatever, and I get bitten, please just give me bullet to the brainpan squish kthxbai.


Just like that time back in ‘Nom…

Soon enough, everyone is undead, including the village church priest. But fortunately, containment units arrive, bearing cargo…deadly cargo. We see mages killing it with fire and pilgrim looking dudes killing things with knives just like the ones Kirei uses.


Mustang who?


Hell yeah, stake what your Father Anderson gave ya.

Anyways, Kiri runs away, but zombies close in on him when suddenly a shotgun toting chick save him. I think she’s supposed to be a younger version of the lady who gave him his anti-magic bone bullets. She dresses similarly and has a similar voice, anyway. She explains that Patient Zero (Shirley) was what is called a Dead Apostle, and that everyone who is bitten by her comes back as a zombie, and that there’s actually two groups trying to control the zombie outbreak, Church Executors (who will kill everyone who they think have their blood drunk) and Mage Association (whose priority is to erase evidence of magic from muggle eyes). Anyways, she’s a contractor for the Mages, hired to find the a mage who caused the outbreak and put them down.


Mission: Search and destroy.

“Do you know anything about this mage?” she asks. Ooh boy. And after a bit of deliberation, he says yes, but also that there’s a magical barrier that stops enemies from entering, so he’ll handle things.

Ah, like you handled Shirley from before, right?

Anyway, cut to Emiya residence. Kiritsugu finds Papa Emiya who’s busy burning research notes. “Why were you researching Dead Apostles?” Kiri asks. Papa Emiya replies that it was just a theory he had, and notes wryly that Shirley managed to disprove his hypothesis earlier and bloodier than he was hoping for. We find out that House Emiya is also looking for The Root. “So were you going to turn me into one of those things, daddy?” Papa Emiya is taken aback before being all like “of course not! you’re my son!” Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. This was just an accident, and they must escape. He’s hid a motorboat for that purpose, so just come on and-


Oh, so now that you have the balls to use it…you use it on someone who didn’t deserve it

…he just killed daddy.

OK, seriously? This is why kids are fucking stupid and should not be trusted with anything. Why the hell did you not just escape with him? Was it not obvious Papa Emiya’s research was, even if that wasn’t his actual goal, hugely beneficial to humanity at large? Or that it actually was an accident and not Papa Emiya’s fault? Or that he wasn’t even thinking about human test until his research assistant jumped the gun and zombified herself? Seriously, the blame chain here goes Shirley for being genre-blind and using an untested magic potion on herself when she knows that her own abilities are highly limited, then to you for not giving her the Emperor’s Peace when she specifically asked you to do so, then to you again for going to the priest who’s just a normal human instead to daddy the mage, then maybe to Papa Emiya for negligence, but even that is arguable because honestly who expects their research assistant to fail middle school lab safety 101 “DO NOT EAT THE LAB MATERIALS”? You can’t even do the Unit 731 argument, because while Unit 731 did all kinds of body horror experiments on POWs to discover new ways of germ and chemical warfare, Papa Emiya was researching fucking immortality. Even if he falls short of his goal, do you realize how fucking extended longevity would be? Shit, Kiri, If hell exists in the Nasuverse, I hope that your punishment is to be strapped to youtube and forced to watch videos family funerals for eternity. Every grandparent who went to the light, every dog who left before their time, that’s what you fucked up, Kiri.

Anyway, strange lady shows up with a gun, and Kiritsugu insists on finishing the job. We end on the two of them leaving on her boat. Lady says that the barrier wasn’t as strong as Kiri made it out to be, and Kiri replies that that she’s a good person, but he couldn’t take the chance of Papa Emiya escaping, so he had to go by himself to at least incapacitate him.

Final Thoughts:

Upon hindsight though, this episode was pretty decent from a technical standpoint. Adds some much needed insight to Kiritsugu’s character, from how he started out as a happy-go-lucky kid who got traumatized, resulting in the sulky cynical warrior of today. Now, again, if only they’d gone and sprinkled bits and pieces of that earlier so we’re not getting this just now… I swear this show has been terribad at developing its main protag and antag, but then again, that’s a failing of the show, not this episode. Anyway, there was also some nice bits of callbacks to snippets they showed you in the beginning, like the lady who made Kiri’s anti-magic bullets, to some foreshadowing imagery, like going from this


Strangely vivid…

to this


NEEDS TABASCO SAUCE

Or the story about the girl being turned into a crab by the gods kind of somewhat sort of mirroring Shirley being turned into a zombie by magecraft, even if the two situations are NOT AT ALL EQUIVALENT except in the most general of terms.

Anyway, thematically…EMIYA KIRITSUGU YOU FUCKING FUCKTARD. What was wrong with your dad’s research, exactly? It just involves zombies, and since this show takes place in the 90s, before everyone had internet, the idea of “messing around with anything involving undead = BAD!” hasn’t sunk in to the collective consciousness yet, which makes this no different from any other form of medicinal research. Shit, the zombie outbreak wasn’t even Papa Emiya’s fault. And what the hell, show? Why are you playing this for just desserts instead of idiocy?

Remember in The Empire Strikes Back, how everyone pretty much agrees that it was a bad idea for Luke to go run off before his Jedi training with Yoda was complete? And how, after it was all said and done, it turns out he could have stayed with Yoda, literally nothing would have changed on the Han-Leia-Chewie side of things because he got there too late for anything but a duel with Vader? And then when he finally returns to Dagobah, Yoda ended up dying of age anyway, and it was pretty much just a fluke that Luke managed to turn Vader enough to toss Palpatine down a vent shaft? And even then, there was literally decades of the New Republic fighting with Imperial Remnants and hidden Dark Side practitioners before everything finally got settled in…until the Yuuzhan Vong came along, anyway? And Luke came out of it humbled and wiser, with an understanding of the consequences for his actions?

Luke Skywalker is how you let a protagonist make mistakes correctly. Suboptimal choices should have consequences and be portrayed as a result of failing. Because Luke went to confront Vader before he was ready,he was unable to complete his Jedi training and lost his hand, and that’s only because he was hotheaded and impatient. Afterwards, he learns to be patient and develops the proper mindset to become a master. Here? Kiritsugu was unable to mercy kill Shirley because he’s a kid and that’s a hard thing for a kid to do. Fine. Afterwards he rejects that this was his fault, or Shirley’s fault, and instead decides it was daddy’s fault and kills him before leaving with some mysterious lady whose only saving grace was that she was shooting zombies instead of stabbing them like the Church or burning them with fire AoE spells like the Mage Association. Again, if this was portrayed as a flaw on Kiri’s part, fine. But the show does not do this at all.

If this was supposed to be “some knowledge man was not meant to know”, fuck that noise too. There is no such thing as evil knowledge. I do kung fu. Kung fu teaches me the knowledge of killing a man with my bare hands. If I use that knowledge to kill babies, that’s me being evil. If I use that knowledge to kill someone who kills babies, that’s me being good. The knowledge itself is kinda neutral here.

Between them playing Kariya’s justified vengeance quest as craziness, adult!Kiri’s “violence is inherently evil,” Kirei’s utter fail at having a character, I seriously have to ask, what the hell is wrong with the writers? How do they give us cool guys like Lancer (who retains his status of “most heroic character in this show”) and Waver (who is, really, the Master with the most sympathetic goal now and the least dissonance with that goal) or understandably flawed guys like Rider (demonstrates the good and the bad side of rule by strongman) and Saber (demonstrates the good and the bad side of striving to be the paragon) and Archer (making us question whether you can really call it arrogance if the guy can actually back it up), while simultaneously delivering Team Caster (bumbling assclowns who belong in Fate Stay Night) and Kirei (still has all the personality of a block of dried ramen and what development is dumped by leaps instead of organically grown) and Kariya (HE HAS A GOOD GOAL why are you making him evil and crazy?) now both adult and kid Kiritsugu (OMG SUCH A FUCKTARD)? I swear, if this turns into some bullshit where “that was the day Kiritsugu Emiya started saving the world from the messes made by uncaring and callous mages”, I might just ragequit this show too, at least once Rider inevitably goes out in his blaze of glory.

tldr version: this show’s morality is bullshit.

Until next ep.

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