Fate/stay night – 23
A bloodied Rin recalls what happened earlier when someone had rung the doorbell. She expected to see Shirou, but it was actually Kotomine. Shirou and Saber return home sometime later and sense that things are amiss because the lights are off. Inside one of the rooms, they find Rin lying against a wall, with her blood splattered everywhere. Rin apologizes for not being able to protect Ilya, having not realized that Kotomine was the seventh Master. She gives Shirou her final pieces of advice: First, Kotomine’s objective is Ilya – his plan from the beginning was probably to make her the vessel for the Holy Grail. Second, Rin thinks that Kotomine has gone to Ryuudoji – there’s nowhere better than there to allow the Holy Grail to arrive. And finally, Shirou is no match for Kotomine. However, seeing that Shirou is determined to settle things, she smiles and gives Shirou her Azoth, which is something she got when she became a mage. Rin instructs him on how to use the dagger, and says that she knew she couldn’t win, so she had hid it until the end for Shirou to use. Rin is now getting sleepy, so she ends it at that. Shirou says that when morning comes, he’ll wake her and give her a huge breakfast. Rin says that Shirou has to win – if he’s lost by the time she wakes up tomorrow, she won’t forgive him.
Before they go to the temple, Shirou wants to give Saber back her sheath. She says that she can’t guarantee a win against Gilgamesh even with it, and is worried about Shirou losing his healing ability. Shirou says that he’s become too dependant it – people should die if they are killed. And so, Saber reaches into Shirou’s body and he gives up the sheath. The two then make their way to Ryuudoji where the magic power density is really high. Shirou thinks that the summoning of the Holy Grail has already started or is already done. He decides that Saber should face Gilgamesh while he goes after Kotomine. As long as they can defeat one of them, they can prevent the enemy from getting their hands on the Holy Grail. As they walk up the steps, Shirou thinks to himself that whatever the outcome, Saber will disappear after this fight. He wonders if it’s not too late to turn back, and he turns around to address her. Seeing her eyes, he does away with those thoughts and the two head for the final battle. Gilgamesh is waiting at the top for them. He doesn’t actually have a wish for the Holy Grail – he’s only concerned about Saber. After throwing a slew of pre-battle insults and taunts at her, Gilgamesh tells Shirou that if he’s looking for Kotomine, he should quickly go and disappear. Shirou takes that as a sign that it’s time for him to leave and so he does, with Saber charging Gilgamesh soon after.
Shirou finds Ilya strung up naked with Kotomine standing below her. The Holy Grail has arrived already, but Kotomine says that the womb is still unstable. Referring to the black sludge, he says that this is overflowing power of the Holy Grail, which will create disasters everywhere – a cursed material. He explains that the Einzbern family created this summoning system, but until now no one has seen the complete Holy Grail. Sometimes it’s a failed summon and sometimes there are people like Shirou’s father who are trying to destroy it – this would be the first complete Holy Grail. And the reason he wants to bring disaster upon the world? Amusement. Kotomine wants the light of stars and says that the fire from 10 years ago wasn’t bad. Souls being blasted open make the most dazzling light. He says that although it’s in a warped form, no one loves mankind more than him and therefore, there is no one more suitable for the Holy Grail than him. Shirou tries to charge him, but Kotomine uses the black sludge to strike at Shirou, hold him in place, and burn him. During all this, Saber and Gilgamesh have been having their battle. Gilgamesh seems to be expending much less effort than Saber, but Saber has knocked a sword out of his hand and has broken a second one in half. Gilgamesh says that she can’t win and neither can Shirou, but Saber thinks otherwise. Seeing that it’ll take a decisive defeat for Saber to understand, Gilgamesh sends his numerous swords at her, pummeling her into the ground. He then pulls out his special sword and powers up his Enuma Elish. In response, Saber gets up and uses Excalibur. Like last time, the two powers meet evenly.
While that’s going on, Kotomine is telling Shirou that he’s been anticipating him since he knows that Shirou is Emiya Kiritsugu’s son. Kotomine really detests Kiritsugu because he hindered everything Kotomine did. He explains that 10 years ago, Kiritsugu had defeated him, but hadn’t killed him. Kiritsugu’s mistake was thinking that breaking the Holy Grail would end the fighting. He thus became cursed and died years later; thinking he had ended the Holy Grail War. Kotomine confirms that it was he who killed Kiritsugu and wonders if Shirou will have the same fate as his father. He calls forth Angra Mainyu, surrounding Shirou with the black sludge. Saber, on the other hand, finally gave out against Gilgamesh’s Enuma Elish. Hearing Shirou’s scream from afar, Gilgamesh assumes that the other fight is over, but Saber says that Shirou is still alive because she can still feel the link to him. Gilgamesh tells Saber that if she bathes in the curse/sludge, can become the same as him and enjoy a second life. He’s willing to let her drink, but as a precaution, he wants to get married. Of course he and Saber have very different viewpoints, including that of being king. Saber was destroyed by her country, whereas Gilgamesh destroyed his country. Since Gilgamesh had picked Saber up by her right foot, Saber delivers a swift kick to his face with her left one. Gilgamesh decides to stop going easy on her and orders the eyesore of a woman to disappear. He fires his Enuma Elish as Saber uses Excalibur again, and a bright light surrounds both of them.
Whew, Rin really gave me a scare there at the beginning. I kept thinking that she was going to die any second, but she didn’t, and the preview makes it pretty clear that she’s still around. Even in that state, she still gave Shirou all that advice and even her dagger. That dagger didn’t show itself again this episode, so I assume it’ll come into play in the finale next week. Same thing goes for the sheath Saber got back from Shirou.
I have mixed feelings about the second half of this episode. It was a decent pair of battles, but there really weren’t any new moves involved except for Kotomine’s Angra Mainyu. I think my main problem was that Kotomine (and to an extent Gilgamesh) spent almost the entire second half in one long explanation monologue (bringing back not-so-fond memories of the first half of this series). Yes, it’s good that there’s story development about him and Kiritsugu while wrapping up the story aspects from 10 years ago…but I can’t help but feel disappointed because this was the next to last episode, and, well, I expected less talk and more things actually happening.
Next week is the finale of Fate/stay night! As some of you have pointed out, the preview looks pretty amazing in the animation department, so I’m hoping for big things.
And yes (in response to today’s poll), I do expect Saber to go back to her own time and leave Shirou.