The Assassin Returns
Open to Kiri who’s returned to the base to meet up with Maiya again. On the ground is Iri, still inside the magic circle. She’s glad that he came to see her again, and says it’s time to return Avalon to Kiritsugu, and it materializes out of her gut. Iri knows it’s about time for her to expire. She says that she’s happy because at least she knew love, and had a husband, and a daughter, even though she was never meant to have any of that. She tells him to win, and when he does, to save any happiness he has left for Ilya, to bring her to Fuyuki and show her all the things that Irisviel won’t be able to see.
Well…Ilya did end up making it to Fuyuki, although her experiences there were probably not what Iri expected.
Anyways, Kiritsugu agrees, takes the scabbard, and exits, predicting that Saber’s gone to find Rider for another one of those honorable fair fight things. He says he’ll go to find Tokiomi, since Archer’s probably doing the same thing, leaving Tokiomi unguarded. In the meantime, Maiya should stay and guard Iri. Maiya acknowledges the order and notes that it’s been a long time, but Kiritsugu finally looks like his old self.
YOU GOT THE TOUCH
Cut to Waver doing shopping while Saber drives around. Meanwhile, Kiritsugu scopes out Tohsaka Mansion, but finds there is no magical barrier. Now Waver is in a forest, nomming bento. Rider’s voice appears to ask him if it’s any good – so Rider is unmaterialized? Waver answers that it sucks. They in the location where Waver summoned Rider the first time, so Rider should recover more quickly from using his Ionioi Hetairoi on Caster’s monster.
Aside: Servants gain terrain bonuses in two ways. One is to be fighting where they were summoned. Another is to be on their home turf. So if the Grail War was to happen in Greece, Rider would also receive a boost to his power. Thus raising the question – why didn’t anyone try to summon a Japanese hero?
In the meantime, Waver will be sleeping all day. He instructs Rider to take as much mana from him as needed, as long as it’s not so much Waver dies. You know, Waver, you shouldn’t sleep in a clearing. At least magic up a treehouse or something. It would be pretty embarassing if it wasn’t a rival Master or Servant that did you in, but some random bear in the woods.
Kind of like this, except replace the blue sky with a mouthful of teeth.
We learn that Rider’s been drawing on his own mana instead of using Waver’s because Waver is still young, and Ionioi Hetairoi uses up so much mana in one go that drawing from Waver’s reserves might kill him. Anyway, Waver is cool with Rider taking his mana. By Waver’s thinking, he volunteered for the Grail Wars, so he should be the one to shed blood in it. He just wanted to prove his theory that skill and intelligence can overcome his lack of pedigree. Rider then points out that that is only true if the Grail exists. And in a nice bit of character development, he tells Waver to remember that Alexander the Great waged an endless war to see where the world ended at Oceanus. At the time, neither he nor any of his followers could have possibly known it existed, but they marched onwards anyway due to the hope that Alexander inspired in their hearts. It then hit him back in episode 13, when he got ahold of a modern map and realized that not only was the world round (and thus had no edge), but his own conquests amounted to such a tiny part of it. That when when he realized he pretty much sent those people to their deaths for nothing. Consistent with what he said to Saber back in episode 11, he won’t wish it never happened, but he will act to make sure he never causes anyone to die for a nonexistent goal again.
It’s a small world after all, Alex.
As Waver drifts off to sleep, Rider decides to go after Saber again. He considers it his responsibility to defeat her, because it would be so sad if he couldn’t beat some sense into her head.
Cut to…Berserker? Giving a I AM THIS EXISTENTIAL CONCEPT speech to Kariya in his mind. I am the hammer! I am the hate! I am the terror that flaps in the night! He starts choking Kariya like one of Wayne Brady’s bitches…and then Kariya wakes up and finds himself all chained up somewhere? Oh jeez, it’s Zouken Matou, coming back to note how pathetic Kariya looks. Grandpa Matou didn’t expect Kariya to last this long, so he’s going to give Kariya a trump card…nom worm. Zouken explains that it was the first thing to rape Sakura, and has drained a year’s worth of vitality from her. Thus it’s a top shelf mana source, good to the last drop.
Slimy yet satisfying (hey, just be glad I didn’t title this “2 Guys 1 Worm”)
Jeez, Matou, why do you have this magic? It’s, like, stupid. It’s not like it confers any advantages compared to any other magic in existence. Please go die in a fire already.
Cut to Iri, asking Maiya why she joined Kiritsugu. Maiya’s explanation is interspersed with shots of Kiri doing a room clearing. Turns out, Maiya Hisau wasn’t her real name. It was just the first fake passport Kiritsugu gave her, and she never had a real name. See, she was from a country that was poor and always in war, and eventually they figured out child soldiers is cheaper than normal soldiers. She says it surprises her that Iri fights so hard to change a world that she knows nothing of, because Iri lived in a castle and was privileged and couldn’t possibly understand what it is that all the poor people actually went through. Turns out, Maiya’s right – Iri actually doesn’t understand. She’s just always told Kiritsugu he was doing the right thing. “Do you have no wish of your own?” Maiya asks. Iri says no, her only wish is for Kiritsugu and Saber to get the Grail. Not, as Maiya thinks the first time around, to obtain the Third Magic (whatever that is), but because if Kiri gets his wish, all the wars will end. And she wants the Grail Wars to end. Otherwise Ilya will be next, being the heir of Einzbern, to be turned into a homunculus solely to act as a vessel for the Holy Grail at which point her body will deteriorate just like Iri’s did. She just wants her daughter to live a normal life, in start contrast to Tokiomi’s attitude that better he gives a daughter away so she can become a mage than to raise her as a muggle. Iri asks Maiya what she will do once Kiritsugu wins. Maiya expects there’s no place for her in this post-Grail world. After all, what’s a soldier to do in a world without war? Iri suggests she should look for her family. Maiya shrugs.
Cut to Kiri, finding out conclusively that Tokiomi is dead.
Cut back to the base, where suddenly, someone has kicked through a door! OH SHIT IT’S RIDER. Maiya draws her SMG, but the bullets have no effect, and he smacks her into a wall.
Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me! Who the hell do you think I am? I’m Iskander, bitch!
Kiritsugu senses something wrong and immediately uses a Command Spell to force Saber to materialize, but she’s too late as Maiya lays there in a crumpled heap. Maiya tells Saber that Rider took Iri and is flying away. Saber orders Maiya to stay alive until Kiritsugu shows up, then mounts up on her motorcycle to pursue.
We abduct her like Paris (of Troy) and they going gorillas
Night falls. Kiri shows up, and is sad that Maiya is about to die. In a decent bit of characterization, we learn that even present-day, jaded, and cynical Kiritsugu still has tears for an old comrade.With her last breath, she tells him not to break down. This morning, he finally looked like the old killer Kiritsugu, and he’s got a job to do. And in her final moments, Kiritsugu tells her that her job is now complete.
This is also a good illustration of why sane rational characters are great – they enable less-is-more because you can make reasonable assumptions about how they roll. Thus, we didn’t really need to know anything about Maiya’s background prior to this episode, we can simply infer that Kiritsugu must have done something really important for her and that they’ve shared a lot of history together for him to receive such devotion on her end.
Goodbye, Maiya Hisau. Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.
Not bad as far as downtime episodes go. Plot manages to move forward with every piece, and we get character development to go with it. We gain understanding in why why Maiya is so emotionless (being turned into a child soldier will do that) and so devoted to Kiritsugu (being saved from that life by someone will do that). We gain understanding into Iri’s character, why she was so supportive of Kiritsugu and why she’s so taken by his ideals (when you are given all the faculties of a human being but know that all you were ever meant to be was a tool, and someone treats you as an actual human being, that’ll happen). And it’s also rather well-done, a good example of the less is more approach – we don’t need to see everything Kiri did to woo her or convince her, or even her taking care of Ilya. We just need to see her happiness at having a daughter and then her soliloquy here to know that yes, Ilya is extremely important to her, she has developed love for her daughter, and thus her mama bear instincts are kicking fully in.
We got some nice development for Team Rider too, showing how the war has changed both Waver from an impulsive youth to someone who begins to understand responsibility, and how it tempered ever so slightly Iskander’s brashness. And in the end, we do see Rider’s more pragmatic side showing – he is, after all, a military leader, and wars aren’t duels. Thus to him, despite the power differentials, there’s nothing wrong with smacking Maiya aside like a fly – she did shoot at him first – nor with kidnapping Iri to force a confrontation – all warfare is based on deception. While it might not be the perfect way to win a duel, it is perfectly consistent with the laws and customs of war.
This one also follows the previous episode very well, with Kiritsugu’s sendoff of Maiya steeling his resolve to see this war to the end mirroring his sacrificing of Natalia beginning his road down the path of utilitarian heroism.
Alexander the Great vs King/Queen Arthur/Arturia.
Rather stoked for the second installment of the Clash of Kings.
Until next ep.