Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works Ep. 9: One wild goose chase

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Nothing but funny faces.

— Archer finally shows up after everything is all said and done, so this naturally raises Rin’s ire. He then tries to keep it real by taking a dump on Rider’s memory. According to him, she was a coward: “One who calls herself a hero should at least try to take her opponent out with her.” Dude doesn’t really want to make any friends, huh? I mean, I don’t think anyone particularly cares about Rider, but there’s just no real point in insulting a person who has already died. What does this even accomplish?

— Caster’s Master comes to the school everyday, you say? Gee, I wonder who that could be. There just aren’t very many candidates to choose from. We can already rule Shinji out. Issei? He’s hardly had any presence in the story. The same can be said about Ayako, and she’s also been knocked out for the count. I suspect Taiga is good for nothing but some weak humor. All that’s left is, well, Kazuki.

— Archer doesn’t think that Caster’s Master still has his or her free will. Just by saying this so early on in the episode, however, I bet you he’s wrong. I don’t know if the story wants to be this obvious, or it’s just really that bad at misdirection. It’s hard to tell.

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— And you know, with it also being this obvious by now that Archer is somehow Shirou — or some version of him — it’s interesting what the story has done. Rin can act super tsuntsun towards her Servant, thereby sparing Shirou of having to suffer through the same ordeal. I mean, she’ll act tsuntsun around Shirou anyway, but in a more subdued way. Of course, you could just avoid writing tsundere characters period, but that’s not going to happen.

— Saber wants to sleep in Shirou’s room, because it’s her job to protect him. No big deal, right? Of course not. This is anime! As a result, our wholesome anime hero has a problem with them even sharing the same room. Ah, what a classic anime trope!

Interesting choice of pose.

— Shinji is humiliated by the fact that he’s the first to be kicked out of the Holy Grail War. But he had no mana, and we barely even saw him and Rider work together. This is one of the few times that the anime has relied on “show, not tell,” or rather, the lack thereof. The partnership between Shinji and Rider was deliberately left out to show us that they never had much synergy. She gave up her life for him, but even now, he simply calls her a dog. In other words, it looks like Shinji wasn’t even meant to be in this war to begin with, but knowing his prideful personality and his family name, he probably thought he deserved to be a Master anyway.

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— But despite Shinji’s unstable nature, Kirei gives the kid one more chance to re-enter the game. Looks like we’ve got another villain on our hands.

— The next day, Shirou confirms the fact that none of his classmates died. Like I said last week, I think it’s silly that the story suddenly wants to pull its punches. Caster has been killing people willy-nilly, but when it’s someone that the hero might actually know, whoa there! They all just had anemia at worst!

— Before school even starts, Rin immediately voices her concerns about Issei. Apparently, both he and Caster call Ryuudou Temple their home. But this is just a red herring on the show’s part to delay the inevitable. And that’s why Archer offers up the theory that Caster has somehow brainwashed her master. At the last minute, the story wants to give us the plausible argument that it might be Issei, but it’s just not. We already know who it is. That one clue from Saber episodes and episodes ago was enough to point us in the right direction. We’re just not ready to move the story along. Again, I don’t know if the adaptation is being obvious on purpose or if it’s just this bad at crafting a mystery.

— Shirou’s plan? Just strip his buddy down. After all, you just gotta locate those Command Seals, right? I notice, however, that Issei only has his shirt off. How do you know that those Command Seals aren’t on one of his inner thigh? Hell, what if they’re on his buttocks?

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— Seriously?

Some blond guy is standing outside the Matou household. We saw him in an earlier episode having a conversation with Kirei. At first, I thought he might be a Servant, but then why wouldn’t any of the other characters notice this? Since I don’t know anything else about him, there’s no point in me speculating any further.

— All of a sudden, Rin “hypothetically” asks Shirou how a girl would feel if she was given away for adoption. I guess we can pencil Rin and Sakura down as related… I mean, the adaptation can’t spell it out any harder than that. Nevertheless, Shirou takes her question at face value, and answers it in a rather boring way. Durr, if the family is good, then she wouldn’t have any complaints! Someone said that this guy would become more interesting as the story developed, but eh…

— Later that night, Taiga tells Saber all about what Shirou was like when he was young. Saber then asks the protagonist why he looks up to the heroes of justice. I think that’s a strange thing to ask. I mean, why wouldn’t you look up to the heroes of justice? But anyway, the way Shirou’s described, you can just see Archer being a subversion of those same character traits.

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— All in all, a pretty whatever episode that is just setting the stage for the eventual showdown between the heroes and Caster’s Master…

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23 thoughts on “Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works Ep. 9: One wild goose chase”

  1. Why does Issie have the body of a FREE! character? I don’t recall him being at all athletic or anything. Then again, the school has an archery club, so maybe that’s how a student council character managed to get arms like that.
    That or it’s just cheesecake like the Shinji ass-shot.

    “I suspect Taiga is good for nothing but some weak humor.”
    Look you should already know by all the hints they threw you that she’s the final enemy. I mean it’s plain as day to see that she’s just playing stupid to kill everybody and get the grail. Why do you think she’s such an exaggerated character? It’s to cover up the fact that she’s not human, but rather Caster pretending to be human.

    Seriously, look at her face, and then match it with what little we’ve seen of Caster’s face. See the resemblance?
    …No, it’s not just because almost everybody has the same shark face. It’s totally a ruse.

  2. I’m curious, how much prior knowledge of F/sn do you have?

    Oh yeah one thing though, it was explicitly stated that Caster is careful NOT to kill her victims. She siphons mana off of the people in the city via laylines, but doesn’t kill them. That way they can regenerate their mana and she can take some more. Why throw away your rechargeable batteries? etc etc

    1. I’m curious, how much prior knowledge of F/sn do you have?

      I’ve said this in previous posts.

      Oh yeah one thing though, it was explicitly stated that Caster is careful NOT to kill her victims.

      I was under the impression she hadn’t perfected it initially, so she did kill people at the start. But it doesn’t matter either way. I still stand by the belief that there should be some casualties in this story.

  3. I think that they are not trying to hide the identity of Archer. I have the impression that they are trying to hide the identity of the master of Caster, but this anime failed in that.

    1. No they don’t. It has been made obvious ever since episode 1, making use of Rin’s red pendant.
      I don’t see any blogger mention it though, they are not enough at observation.
      :-)

  4. Something was up with the faces this episode. Maybe it’s just me being too nitpicky about the art, but all the ufotable faces have this weird two-dimensional quality that looks uncanny whenever you try to see it as a representation of a 3D face.

    I also utterly dislike how the writers try to cram in unneeded dialogue to fill up screen time. I get it, filler is bad and all, but it bugs me how the characters waste so much time talking their heads off about obvious details and petty issues. 6 minutes wasted on talking about Archer’s adversity this episode, or a third of the running time, for instance. At least F/Z didn’t have this issue to begin with because it stripped nearly everything down to what the audience needed to know, no more, and made sure something significant was always happening. With F/S N, the viewer’s just watching a high school guy and girl dick around for 21 minutes, and maybe if he’s lucky 3 of those minutes are good action scenes.

  5. > I don’t know if the story wants to be this obvious, or it’s just really that bad at misdirection. It’s hard to tell.
    > At the last minute, the story wants to give us the plausible argument that it might be Issei, but it’s just not. We already know who it is. That one clue from Saber episodes and episodes ago was enough to point us in the right direction. We’re just not ready to move the story along. Again, I don’t know if the adaptation is being obvious on purpose or if it’s just this bad at crafting a mystery.

    All of this stuff should have been excised during the translation from VN to TV. This is something that any director who even has the slightest concern about brevity would have done. But the director of this show obviously doesn’t care about that. He only cares about translating everything as literally as possible and then cashing in from the DVD/Blu Ray/merchandise sales.

    > Someone said that this guy would become more interesting as the story developed, but eh…

    B-B-B-B-B-BUT IT’LL GET BETTER! T-T-TRUST ME, THIS IS FATE/STAY NIGHT, THE HOLY GRAIL OF ANIME! P-P-PLEASE S-S-STOP CRITICIZING THIS SHOW! Y-Y-YOU’RE JUST STUPID! *INSERT SHITPOSTING RANT HERE*

    Anyway…

    You know, that part where Taiga begins telling Saber of Shirou’s childhood would have been the perfect moment for the director of this show to make up for the fact that he’s dumping exposition by having that scene be a flashback showing moments from Shirou’s childhood, in sepia tones or whatever. That way, we wouldn’t have to deal with just images of talking heads.

    It’s little things like that that the director could have done to make this show less boring and more dynamic. You don’t have to go to film school to understand this. But doing that would obviously take effort. And, once again, the director of this show seems content with just safe, literal translations from VN to TV. He’s just dialing the entire show in.

  6. Honestly I’m finding the story pretty obvious but only because I know what happens, I don’t think I’d have guessed Shirou is the red man but I probably wouldn’t be suprised to find out when they did tell us, still I’m enjoying the emphasis on how Archer became Kiritsugu, the person Shirou was looking up to be, and then went even further as he realized he was a fool as a kid. This is a pretty common thing in anime, having someone who’s there just to push you and your ideals down, so I’d probably look at it as that, if I didn’t know better.
    Same for Kazuki, I don’t even remember him at this point honestly but when they show it is him I’ll be like “oh yeah, I remember that guy being suspicious”.

  7. Blonde guy is the character who was Archer in Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh. He was Rin’s father’s Servant but he talked the priest into killing Rin’s father so they could team up. Somehow he ended up corporeal at the end though… and completely naked, so it was probably the Grail knew that the priest was wishing for a boyfriend the whole time.

        1. Well, you should, although I’ve people who have seen it still confused about Gilgamesh’s identity.

        2. Was being kinda sarcastic, don’t worry, just found it funny because that’s the most obvious thing in this show, yet E Minor doesn’t know who he is but managed to figure out every other twist there is.
          Unless he didn’t watch F/Z, I just assumed he did, very much like you did.
          And this is an actual sequel to F/Z so yeah.

        3. You guys get on my case over and over for missing this detail and that detail, yet you guys don’t seem to notice when I wrote in clear words that I hadn’t seen Fate/Zero, and that I don’t want spoilers being posted.

          And this is an actual sequel to F/Z so yeah.

          Even a sequel should stand its own legs, buddy.

        4. How do so many people not know what a sequel is? A sequel is a work that expands on some other previous work. If the events of the sequel happen before the events of the original work then it’s called a prequel, which is, wait for it, a type of sequel.

          So could we please stop calling this a sequel to Zero.

  8. You should probably watch Fate Zero after you finish this show and make a comparison it’s funny how better that show is

    1. Which isn’t really saying much.

      It’s still filled with tons of boring and unimaginative exposition dumps, from the very first episode dryly spending an hour explaining all the concepts and telling us about the characters to the various droning conversations of blondie and Kirei in that wine cellar. The exploration of ideas and philosophy about kings, justice and all that is just as ham-fisted and middlebrow as F/SN.

      The difference between the two shows is in degrees, not kind.

      The only thing that can really be said to be really better is the soundtrack. Nothing in the soundtrack to F/SN has really stood out to me.

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