I just spent 12 hours at the office and another hour commuting, but I’m still going to update tonight! See how much I care about you guys? And see how much I care about Fate Something… or Other? Alright, let’s get this battle of the Shirous on the road.
— Do you see the two Shirous facing each other in the screenshot at the top of this post? Yeah, that moment doesn’t occur until twenty minutes into the episode. Yes, that’s right. They don’t even get around to fighting in this week’s episode. They’re too busy talking.
— B-b-but talking a lot doesn’t mean a story is bad. Of course not. Some of my favorite stories are very “talky.” But not all talking is the same. Case in point, this week’s episode is just Rin’s visions from last week’s episode stretched out for no good reason whatsoever.
— Remember all those blurry images that Rin saw? And how she directly told us about Archer’s oh-so-tragic past? How he tried to help humanity, but humanity ended up betraying him? See, this is what cheeses me. The narrative still forces Saber to ask Archer why he wants to kill Shirou so badly, a question we’ve already guessed a while ago! Then Archer spends the entire episode telling us how he’s full of regrets, a fact that we’ve already established! And he reveals that when he became a Guardian, he ended up having to kill the very people he wanted to save… yet another fact that the series has already fed to us. Finally, all of the world’s ills were pinned on him… which, again, we already knew about thanks to Rin!
— But Rin’s visions were all tell and no show, right? And now we’re going to show, right? After all, we’re devoting an entire episode to the same tired topic.
— Whoa, not so fast, skippy. Yes, things are not so blurry this time around. But we don’t actually see anything. It’s just a montage of Archer killing people accompanied by his voiceover. That’s still just tell.
— “Hurr hurr hurr, show and not tell is a hard and fast rule that you must always obey!” Of course. That goes without saying. Now, can you actually convincingly argue that Archer’s story couldn’t have been told in any other way? Can you convincingly argue that this method of storytelling is literally the only way to do his tragic life justice? Go ahead. Give it a shot.
— Exposition is obviously an important part of any story. Exposition usually accompanies feelings, emotions, drama, action, so on and so forth. It’s all exposition here, though. This entire episode is just Archer and Saber standing in a room, talking to each other. Shirou barely even says anything either!
— And to top it all off, Rin is also sitting in a room, talking to Kirei.
— Yeah, that’s right. Kirei is back in the picture. And he’s after the Holy Grail… as if a shady-looking fucker like him wouldn’t covet the Holy Grail. And he’s been deceiving Rin this whole time! A-a-and best of all, he was the one who killed Rin’s father! One, I don’t know who Rin’s father was or even what he looked like. Two, Kirei has had about as much character development as every other villain in this series, i.e. disappearing for huge chunks of time only to reappear when it is time to move things along. Three, Rin’s character development has also pretty much revolved around Shirou. So it’s sad, really. She finally learns the truth behind her father’s death, and she’s sitting there, spitting absolute hate at the guy… and I’m just like, “Um, okay…”
— “Ah, you fool! You should have watched the entire Fate/Zero series before you watched this series. Then you would have understood everything about Rin and Kirei! You should have also played the game and gone through all three of its paths, because anime is really only made to sell copies of and promote whatever it is that it is adapting. You have to know all the details of the story first before you can really enjoy the anime version of it! You know nothing! Nothing at all!”
— Sure. That’s one way to enjoy Fate Something or Other. I agree. I’d probably enjoy the series more if I devoted hours of my life to all of those tasks. But so what? I can probably convince myself to enjoy a lot of things I wouldn’t normally enjoy. That’s what we’re blessed with, after all. We have the gift of a mind that can rationalize almost anything. So sure, I can jump through all those hoops in order to convince myself that I enjoy Fate Something or Other. Or I can just provide my perspective as someone relatively new to the series — someone that the series might want to court — and say, “Well, this doesn’t really appeal to me for x, y, and z reasons.” And you can take that with a grain of salt, as I’m sure any balanced individual would take any opinion with a grain of salt.
Now, you can just brush that aside and swear up and down that Fate Something or Other was really made for the fans first and foremost. And that’s a perfectly fine stance to take. But at the end of the day, this is a microcosm of the anime industry as a whole. To enjoy this, you must understand this. To enjoy that, you must understand that. You must be a true x before you can truly appreciate y. Gosh, it’s a wonder why anime’s growth stagnated after it’s big boom in the late 90’s and early 2000s. It’ was almost as if anime was threatening to become mainstream, and everyone instantly became gatekeepers. Things just had to get more niche and niche or else you were just one of those posers who got into anime because you saw Princess Mononoke or some mainstream shit like that. You can’t just sit down and enjoy a good story anymore.
To truly get some random show, you have to understand a myriad of anime references that has built up over the years. To truly give Fate a fair shot, you must put in so much fucking time, because by golly, Fate Something or Other isn’t really for you if you won’t even put in the effort to be a true fan!!! How utterly exhausting.
— Anyway, Kirei makes Lancer kill himself because the latter wouldn’t kill Rin. And Shirou is going to finally fight Shirou or something. But I’ve already moved onto the next anime I have to blog…
— The only part of the episode that I truly enjoyed: