Let’s Watch Fate/Zero, Episode 19

Where Justice Dwells

Hey, vuja de…

We open to a dark surgery room. it’s adult Kiri and the smoking lady. She’s transplanted the Emiya crest to him, which causes pain for some reason; wiki says it’s literally a magic circle carved on to the body that makes the owner more adept at whatever spells were inscribed, thus allowing magical families to continue to pass down their magical research. She says he has “severing and binding” as his Origin. They still don’t explain what that is, though based on context and wiki it’s kind of like the “base type” of their magic. This is different from destroying and regenerating, b/c thread analogy – if you cut a thread and tie it back together, you end up with a knot.

Anyway, she segues into explaining that she has finished making his Mystic Code. They still don’t explain what it is, though based on context and wiki it’s a personal armament specific to each mage, sort of like their own version of the Noble Phantasm. Kayneth’s was the Volumen Hydrangeum, Tokiomi’s was his wand, Kiri’s here is the Thompson Contender and the 66 anti-magic rounds, made using his ground up ribs so that shooting a mage with it inserts his “severing and binding” Origin into their own, cutting up their magic circuits and preventing them from being formed again.

Cut to dude fleeing. Looks like Kiri and smoking lady hounding him. Kiri chases him to an ambush by her…and she cuts him off but then lets him go.

Dammit why didn’t you shoot him…oh, it’s so Kiri can.

Emiya Kiritsugu is about to shoot you in the face.

Mm. Still not the best move. What she should have been doing was just…shoot the mark while he’s surprised by her presence. Kiritsugu’s not using the Contender, so we know the guy isn’t a mage strong enough to be worth using it on. Not a promising scene for a show that was so good about smart people fighting smart.

Cut to zombie outbreak flashback. Oh, it’s an anachronic order episode.

Smoking lady’s name is Natalia Kaminski. She hunts mages apparently, as a merc who makes her living by the conflict between the Church and the Mage Association. Child!Kiritsugu wants to tag along on her missions, and we get a long string of scenes of her not letting him, along with him getting more proficient at guns.

How do I fixed gun?

“Since then, I learned that what happened with my father was not the first time mages have gotten people killed.”



Cut to montage of adult!Kiritsugu killing a bunch of people, presumably bad, and him being on a modern battlefield. He and Natalia are pinned down behind cover, and a couple meters away there’s a pair of civilians doing the same. The civilians decide to run for it, and Kiri wants to sprint out of cover to stop them, but Natalia pulls him down. Reality ensues.

Isn’t it sad, Kiritsugu?

Kiri takes this badly. “I killed my father so no one will be victimized again!” He says.



Natalia, meanwhile, scoffs at his ideals. Killing one bad guy won’t work. Even killing a hundred bad guys won’t. To prevent anyone and everyone from being “victimized”, you’d have to kill every single bad guy, and maybe that will work.

…That was a joke.

Flashback to when Natalia first took Kiritsugu off the island. He’s still recovering in bed, while Natalia tells him to survive at all costs. If he sacrifices himself, he can’t save anyone. Kiri responds that he just wants to save as many as he can.

Heh. In Fate/Stay Night, his adopted son Emiya Shirou would eventually have an even grander goal of “save everyone, and it’s okay if I die, but not if anyone else dies!”

Natalia gets a call, and something comes in to the fax. They have to take out Odd Vorak, who uses bee familiars to turn people into zombies. Dude wiped the last town he was in, making Kiri think about his island. Then he bums his first smoke off Natalia.

LOL people used to use those.

Anyway, they’ve found Vorak’s flight, and Natalia reveals he got away from her once.

…Natalia you’re gonna die.

Since Vorak won’t have access to his bees on the plane, he must have an accomplice waiting at the airport who will pick up the box of bees from the baggage claim. So the plan is for Kiri to take out his accomplice, while she takes Vorak alone.

Yeah Natalia you’re totally gonna die.

She takes a seat behind Vorak on the plane and draws a magic seal on his seat, while Kiri snipes Vorak’s buddy. “Easier than expected,” Natalia says, as she finds the box of bees in the plane’s hold and pours some kind of incendiary liquid on them. “Bag’em and tag’em.”

Ready to die yet, Natalia?

Sure enough, things go south when it turns out that Vorak’s got a second supply of bees tucked inside his body, as a final fuck-you in case anyone manages to kill him. Upon his death, they spill out and turn the whole plane into zombies.

Bee happy, bee healthy

Natalia can think of only one thing to do right now – get to the cockpit somehow – and tells Kiri that she’ll come back.

Don’t make a guy promises that you can’t keep.

Later, Kiri gets a call. Natalia is still alive, the plane is still in the air, it was hard, and she spent forever trying to fix the radio, but she can fly it just barely. But…everyone is ghouls. They’re scratching at the doors as she speaks. She can land the plane, but can’t figure out what to do about the monsters. Luckily, Kiri has a plan, which apparently involves him getting on a boat.

Natalia is like, okay. It’s going to be 50 minutes before she reaches the airport anyway, so in the meantime, she starts talking to Kiri. We get a bit of characterization from Natalia, how meeting Kiritsugu and taking him in kind of changed her a little. At first, she didn’t know what to think when Kiri said he wanted to work with her. She’s a battle-hardened soldier, but it seemed like Kiritsugu got ready to kill a little too easily. True, this makes him a good fit for the mercenary life, but something told her she didn’t want him to turn into a machine that’s only good for killing. Being defined by what you’re good at and not by what you want, that’s no way to live, which kinda sorta mirrors Rider’s admonishment to Saber about how you need to live for what you want instead of letting your life be defined by things like “duty” or “propriety”. Over the course of her life, she’s ended up becoming Kirtsugu’s mother figure, and expresses…not so much regret as more just resignation that while normally, a guy’s father is the one who is supposed to teach them stuff, she kind of took that chance away from him. Kiritsugu is fine with this though, accepting it thoroughly as he’s getting out a bazooka.

Kiritsugu’s a smart guy, what’s he gonna whip up to save every- oh.

“You are…my real family,” he says, blowing the plane to smithereens, Natalia and Zombies and all.

+25 Renegade

Cut to flashback. Kiritsugu thinks of Shirley, of how in his youth, he failed at the bigger picture by not killing her before she could infect others, and how now he has grown – now he saved thousands of people by killing one good person. He consoles himself with that fact, but it’s not enough, and he has a tearful breakdown.

And then Kiritsugu was a utilitarian.

Final Thoughts

The Good:

This one kind of sort of makes up for the last episode. We see how Kiritsugu develops into the pragmatist he is now, and how he might have arrived at the conclusion that “all violence is bad”.  We get to see Natalia as a human being instead of this paragon of all that is good – at the very least, we see that she has doubts, that despite what she says about only being in it for the money, underneath it all she has some idea of right and wrong and tries to be a good person despite being in a profession that ranks just below “zombie” and “Nazi” in terms of whether fictional characters can kill them with no remorse. And the part in the end does a good job in making you feel bad for the situation she and Kiri found them in, with a nice amount of ambiguity as to whether they both knew that Kiri didn’t have a plan to both save Natalia and prevent the zombie outbreak and Natalia was just facing death with dignity, or whether Kiri simply saw the line and was assuaging Natalia so she wouldn’t suspect anything. If the latter, then I’m going to have to award him another round of Renegade points. This was delicious complexity and character building.

Complexity and character building GOOD.

The Bad:


Mystic Codes are indeed personal weapons. This is a thing that would have been helpful to know, but doesn’t particularly hurt us if we don’t. Origins are like the “base type” of magic. This is a thing that we can pretty much guess from context. The “Mage crest” that Kiri now has implanted in him? You would not be able to tell or guess from anywhere that it is basically an archive of all the research and spells a magical family has accrued over the generations. If your grandfather spent 15 years developing and mastering a spell, it allows you to master that spell at an accelerated rate. Also, it can only be physically transferred to one person at a time. There are two implications of this:

One is that Tokiomi and by extension the mage community are no longer idiots for that “only one inheritor” rule. Since it’s not a cultural or societal rule, but a physical limitation. It is literally not possible for two people to inherit the family magic in any meaningful capacity, so the act of giving Sakura away in and of itself is no longer bad. Now, giving her up to the family whose special magic is rapeworms, on the other hand, that’s still dumb. But we can no longer hold putting Sakura up for adoption against Tokiomi. If she had been given to any other magical family lacking an heir, everything would have been hunky dory.

Two is that Kayneth, in a way, is also right in the first episode. A magic family spanning twelve generations will naturally accumulate a much higher amount of spells and research and basic fundamentals than a magic family with only three. Thus, on average, someone from an ancient line will in fact have a higher upper bound on magical ability than someone from a less old lineage. Of course, the law of large numbers isn’t very useful when the populations in question are tiny, so Waver is also right in that just because you have a higher upper bound doesn’t mean you will achieve to that level, just that it is there if you make the effort. But this is skirting around the real conclusion that should be drawn: the scariest thing isn’t someone who is talented and privileged, nor someone who lacks talent but works hard. Rather, it is the person who has talent and privilege and still works hard anyway.

So really, Mage Crests should have been explained because that would have made two fairly important characters seem less idiotic.

The Ugly:


Seriously, why do you insist on handing the mages the villain ball here? We see Kiritsugu and Natalia gun down so many mages, and we hear Kiri say “they were all just my dad, sacrificing people for their own gains” – except Papa Emiya DIDN’T SACRIFICE ANYONE. You know this because when the thing with Shirley started, he came into Kiri’s room asking if Kiri entered his workshop. That is, he DIDN’T KNOW. Maybe those other mages were intentionally malicious as opposed to simply marginally negligent. But the fact that you use Papa Emiya as the ur-example naturally sheds doubt to the validity of your stated claims.

I guess I’m a tad jumpy about this because after a long spell of gradually taking their side in the argument due to it making a lot more sense, I will soon become a gun owner. And every time something bad happens, be it Columbine, V-Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, what have you, it seems like people always want to enact restrictions on the law-abiding gun owners who didn’t do anything wrong. They’re not the ones going out on shooting rampages. They’re not the ones sniping random people. They’re not the ones taking other people’s things by threat of force. They just happen to possess the means to kill things which can be used for evil (like shooting good guys) or for good (like shooting bad guys). Yet every time something bad involving guns happens, the common media and cultural treatment is that this is a problem with guns (which are inanimate objects until directed by a sentient hand) and with gun owners who think having their toys is more important than THE CHILDREN (never mind that nothing proposed would have prevented any of the school shootings) rather than the specific bad people who use the guns to do bad things.

Similarly, here we are just being told that mages for the most part are uncaring folks who abuse the fact that they have magic to treat muggles like their playthings, even though pretty much none of the standard mages we’ve seen have done anything of the death-warranting caliber. Seriously, out of Tokiomi, Irisviel, Kayneth, Sola-Ui, Waver, Zouken, and Papa Emiya, only the last has done anything close to evil. Emiya had a lab accident. Kayneth simply has a justified superiority complex. Sola-Ui can be argued to be addled with magic love. Tokiomi just wants both his girls to be magic heirs and failed to realize that House Matou’s family magic involves rapeworms. Iri and Waver are downright heroic. Notice that Kariya and Rinnosuke aren’t included because they are not standard mages, but even if you do – Kariya just wants to save Sakura. That’s a good goal. Rinnosuke, on the other hand, was a lunatic and a mass murderer, but he would have been a lunatic even without magic.

In any case, magic doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

So dammit show, why do you insist on making all the mages out to be bad people for whatever reason with only Waver as the singular nice mage?

Until next ep.


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One Response to “Let’s Watch Fate/Zero, Episode 19”

  1. Christin Says:

    Thanks very nice blog!

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