Fate / stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 19

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For that rare cohort of viewers of whom I am a member, the realization that Archer was Bitter Future Shirou cam gradually, but even after watching the OP for the first time since learning it for certain, there were plenty of clues for a novice to follow, and naturally, it all holds up quite well. I also liked how relatively casually it’s finally revealed to our Shirou, because like us, spoilers or no, he kinda had an inkling at this point.

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Oh hey, here’s Matou Shinji, being about as awful as one can be, though I guess it isn’t really his fault, it’s just who he is: a wholly despicable, irredeemable punk with designs on making Rin his sex slave, or something. My skin was crawling like a house centipede, so I was relieved when my favorite bro Lancer marked his arrival with a vicious punch that, if I’m honest, I kinda wish had fractured Shinji’s skull.

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Lancer left Shirou to rescue Rin because his Master’s orders were to see to her safety, not fight beside Shirou. As for Saber, she’s only there to bear witness, promising not to interfere. But by being there, Archer is able to use her past as She-King Arthur (my guess for her true identity) to make his point about regrets, and the desire to right past wrongs, which was to become a heroic spirit in the first place, after becoming a Guardian after death.

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While Archer is largely standing around talking to Shirou and Saber, the sheer atmosphere of the scenes are enough to drag us in as we listen, rapt. His is a truly tragic tale, in which his seemingly good intentions and desire to be a “hero of justice” were twisted by the realities of the deal he made. Guardians are removed from the cycle of life, death, and rebirth—by time itself—to appartate into a human conflict and end it swiftly, without discriminating between good or evil.

Enough of that—and Shirou certainly seems to have done enough of that—will corrode even the best-intending souls. Being the “hero” he wanted to be meant there had to be people who needed heroes; which means there had to be suffering. He killed a few to save many, but those few added up over the years/decades/centuries.

Now that he’s told Shirou what his ideals have led to, Archer tosses him a sword and asks him to end it. Saber submits that because of Archer’s Guardian status, he won’t disappear even if he kills Shirou, but he’s going to kill him mind, body, and soul, and pray for the best.

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As Shirou stares death in the face, Rin suddenly finds her savior Lancer cowed by his two-faced traitor of a Master, who is finally revealed as Kirei Kotomine…which, well, I wasn’t expecting that, but then again it’s not like there are a lot of characters left that we know, and if it was someone I didn’t know, there wouldn’t have been as much impact.

That being said, Kirei is a bit overly campy-villainous and cruel in telling Rin just how much he’s betrayed her and for how long, having raised her up to be a  pawn (hence those chess pieces in the previews) after killing her Dad in the previous war. Rin is pissed and flies off the handle with a very Tousaka Rin-esque screed about how neither heaven, hell, or purgatory will have his slimy ass.

Things get more serious when Kirei orders Lancer to kill Rin, and he disobeys. Rather than use a command seal (one of what looks like far more than three) to force him, he uses one to order him to kill himself, which he d oes in short order, causing my heart to drop to the floor with a clang. Now Rin is really in deep shit, and her thoughts of “leaving the game” before Shirou really hit hard. Surely this isn’t the end for her…or for them? (Don’t answer that.)

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As for Shirou, he’s not going to accept this future Him who regrets everything he ever did and wants to negate it all by disappearing his past self. Shirou is determined never to have any regrets, come what may. And there seems to be a lot coming, with blades tickling everyone’s throats.

Will Shirou’s positive outlook prevail over his older, more experienced, but more beaten-down-by-life-and-the-world counterpart? Will he get to be the hero of justice he wanted to be, but not the one he became, delivering the justice Kirei and Shinji deserve? Boy, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Trace on.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

13 thoughts on “Fate / stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 19”

  1. HOLY SHIT YOU GUESSED WHO SABER WAS CORRECTLY?!

    After some people didn’t know who Archer was even after last episode I thought I had lost my faith in humanity, but it has just been restored. ;-;

    [video src="http://a.pomf.se/tfhgok.webm" /]

    Take this instantly replayable video of Lancer punching Shinji in the face as your reward.

    Out of curiosity, how did you figure it out? :D

    Fun fact, the only reason Shinji’s head wasn’t blown off was because it was an unconscious reflex of rage rather than deliberate.

    “He didn’t kill the boy since it was unconscious.
    But it would not have been unconscious if Tohsaka Rin looked paler and her clothes were more disordered. He would have consciously tried to blow the boy’s head off if that were the case.”

    Quoth the VN.

    His identity isn’t nearly as important to the plot as say Saber or Archer, but Lancer’s a pretty cool guy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%BA_Chulainn

    He’s basically the Irish equivalent of Hercules. He learned rune magic in the land of shadows and that was his trick with the rock. Incidentally, his Luck rank is E. Which is why the luck of the Irish is often joked about in regards to Lancer and his fate.

    Next week, as might be expected, is basically the climax of Unlimited Blade Works and if all goes well should be an amazing fight.

    Glad you’re enjoying this so much :D :D :D

  2. Beside the twists and the conversation, the best part of the episode for me was the end. Because “Emiya” from the VN OST, naturally Shirou’s theme (and in later works Archer’s, too) was played.

    1. Those familiar with art history might catch that scene as being inspired by a famous depiction of the Battle of Camlann. For Fate / Zero’s first ending, each servant is shown in a recreation of a famous image.

  3. If you know the lore, the visual cues in this episode are enough to deduce Saber’s true identity.

    Pulling the sword from the rock being the one everyone should know.

    1. Excalibur was the clue for me, along with Her mention of her homeland. Of course, having seen Soul Eater, I was a Little disappointed the sword didnt turn into an annoying animal with 10,000 rules!

      1. The sword Arturia pulled was Caliburn, the sword of the stone she lost. Excalibur was given to her by the Lady of the Lake later.

  4. You may not believe me, but IMO Kirei is one of the best anime villains ever. Dude’s is a pretty deep character by himself

    1. For twisted amorality no-one beats Kotomine Kirei, He is one of the great anime villains. Braverade after UBW you should go back to watch Zero…and maybe retrospectively review it? :)

  5. There is also one Noble Phantasm that has not been revealed yet. I’m wondering what it will be in this series?

  6. AH SOMETHING I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO DO.

    [video src="http://a.pomf.se/dfgtor.webm" /]
    [video src="http://a.pomf.se/rhcjow.webm" /]
    [video src="http://a.pomf.se/ndzffi.webm" /]

    There were three additional scenes added on the Season 1 Blu-Ray that were cut for time, here they are for your viewing pleasure. One of them would have actually been
    foreshadowing for this lol.

    (I should have done this weeks ago)

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