Fate/stay night – 09
In front of the temple, Saber meets her opponent: Assassin. To her surprise, he introduces himself with his True Name – Sasaki Kojirou. Saber is ready to return the favor and tell him her name also, but he stops her because it’s sufficient that they know their enemies through their swords. The start of their fight is marked by the sound of metal against metal. At home, Shirou wakes up with another pain in his chest. With Saber not in her room, it’s becomes apparent where she went. While Saber and Assassin are locked in battle, Rider bypasses them and enters the temple grounds. However, she’s confronted by a horde of skeletal warriors.
Assassin is pleased with Sabers abilities, and manages to figure out the dimensions of her invisible sword by her attacks. He also thinks that Saber is holding back. He decides to use his Tsubame Gaeshi attack, which knocks Saber back with three consecutive hits. Inside the temple grounds, Rider tries to attack Caster, but her opponent makes effective use of her magic to block. During this time, Assassin is explaining the Swallow Reversal technique, and Saber figures out that it was because of a multiple dimension refraction phenomenon. The reason that she’s relatively unhurt is because the stairs gave him bad footing for the attack. When Assassin raises his sword to do it again, Saber decides to unleash her powers. Rider uses the resulting winds as a distraction to escape from Caster.
Shirou, who has arrived at the base of the stairs, notices that his tattoo is reacting to what must be Saber’s magical powers. He then sees a fleeting shadow from the forest. That same figure catches the Servant’s attention, interrupting Saber’s attack and dissipating the winds. After Assassin ends the match for now and vanishes, Saber falls over from exhaustion, right into Shirou’s arms. He carries her body home and puts her down inside the house to catch his breath. Rin finds him trying to pick her up again and teases him for trying to do something to her. But Rin also figures out what really happened. By the time Shirou has made the tea that Rin requests, Saber is back up on her feet. Shirou wants to know why she fought, so Saber responds by saying that it’s natural for Servants to fight. Of course, Shirou feels that girls shouldn’t be fighting and getting hurt. The two start arguing because Saber thinks that Shirou is looking down on her. Rin tries to calm Saber by telling her that Shirou is only trying to prevent her purity from being damaged. After some thinking, Saber decides to let Shirou fight, but she’s going to give him sword training first.
If there’s on thing I can commend this episode on, it’s production quality. The fight scenes were done absolutely wonderfully in both animation and background music. This is the action episode that I’ve been waiting for all this time. Well…kind of. As Mentar noted, they really killed the momentum of the fights with the chatter between Saber and Assassin. As interesting as it is, I could do without the explanation of the Tsubame Gaeshi attack. In contrast, the Rider scenes were a lot better about keeping the action going, so I enjoyed those a lot more.
It’s good news to me that Shirou is actually going to get some training from Saber. It’ll be a lot more fun to watch Shirou fight his battles rather than be a punching bag. Maybe he’ll finally be able to back up some of those ideals of his. The preview doesn’t show any sword training, but it does make it look like we’re getting a semi-comedic episode next week (as evidenced by Shirou running away from a nude Saber). Ilya probably also hasn’t turned into a good girl overnight, so she’s probably planning to do something to Shirou