Fate/stay night – 24 (END)
Shirou is enclosed inside Angra Mainyu, with hands pulling on his body and visions of the words “Die Die Die.” He remembers how he had vowed to follow his father in becoming an ally of justice and how Rin had told him to win even if he died. Refusing to lose to Kotomine, Shirou breaks free of the black sludge, pulls out Azoth, and charges. However, Kotomine is able to entrap him in more black sludge. On the other side of the temple, Enuma Elish clashes with Excalibur, but Saber still does not have enough power to beat Gilgamesh’s Noble Phantasm. She gets thrown back and struggles to get up again. Both she and Shirou suddenly start to see a light. Using his powers, Shirou creates the sheath. Both of them reach for “the utopia that she dreamt…the name is Avalon!” It allows Shirou to break free again and it allows Saber to deflect the next Enuma Elish. Saber gathers all her power into one final attack, and uses Excalibur before Gilgamesh can even finish saying “Enuma Elish.” She delivers such a powerful slash that it finishes off Gilgamesh. Shirou, meanwhile, slams Azoth into Kotomine’s chest and then turns around to punch the sword, plunging it deeper and finishing the attack.
In his dying breaths, Gilgamesh describes Avalon as the utopia that arrives after the king’s death. It is the ultimate defense and Saber’s true Noble Phantasm – the power spoken of in legends. Putting his hand on her cheek, Gilgamesh calls Saber a hateful woman because she opposed him until the end. But despite that, he’ll forgive her because there are some things that are more beautiful when you can’t get your hands on them. As he disappears into sparkles, Gilgamesh bids the knight-king farewell, saying that this was really fun. Kotomine, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how Shirou got the Azoth. Shirou replies that it’s Rin’s, which evokes Kotomine’s memories of ten years ago when he originally gave Azoth to Rin. After Kotomine dies and his body falls into a pool of the sludge, Shirou walks over and catches Ilya in a blanket that he created as she falls down.
Saber joins him and is ready to destroy the Holy Grail. However, she’ll need him to order her to do it by using his final Command Spell; she wants to hear his voice. The thoughts go through Shirou’s head: “I love Saber. I want her to be happier than anyone else. I wish that we could continue on together. But…if I really loved her, this would be different. Even wounded, she continues to fight – that is the Saber I love. I cannot dishonor her only pride.” Shirou tells Saber to carry out her duty, so she destroys the Holy Grail with one final Excalibur blast. After the explosion, Shirou and Saber find themselves in a field. Saber is glad that she was able to keep her promise of being Shirou’s sword and protecting him. She then turns around with one more thing to say to him: “Shirou, I love you.” The sun dawns over the mountains, temporarily blinding Shirou. When he opens his eyes again, Saber is gone.
Shirou wakes up to Sakura’s voice calling him, as if he were dreaming. Sakura has made breakfast for him, even though she’s got an archery competition today. The two hear a scream from outside, originating from Ilya and Fuji-nee who are riding on a runaway moped. They plow right into Shirou, but it seems that he was able to stop the moped with his bare hands. Fuji-nee even comments on how he’s become strong. Ilya is still staying with them, and she’s developed a rather lively and noisy relationship with Fuji-nee. On the way to school, Shirou runs into Rin. He mentions that the Kotomine church has a new priest and she says that Ryuudoji is being reconstructed – for now, things are back to normal. Rin remarks that she expected Shirou to be feeling more down. Shirou wonders if Rin would comfort him if her were. Rin scoffs back, saying that she’d kick him so that he’d one day recover. Shirou admits that he will probably forget Saber’s voice and Saber’s behavior, but he’ll never forget that he loved Saber. He then turns around and starts running the other way, telling Rin to go ahead to school.
Saber, on the other hand, has returned to her past, to the time after the battle where she had been mortally wounded. She is with Sir Bedivere, one of her knights. Returning to consciousness, Saber tells Bedivere that she saw a dream. Because she doesn’t dream much, this was a precious experience for Saber. Bedivere suggests that if Saber rests and closes her eyes, she can continue her dream. Saber wonders if she can continue seeing the same dream; Bedivere confirms that that’s been his experience, but her wish has to be strong enough. Before she sleeps, Saber has a request for Bedivere: take her sword and throw it back into the lake. In the present, everyone is going about their normal lives: Sakura is in her archery competition, Fuji-nee is working on her bike, Ilya is cleaning the house, Rin is in class, and Shirou is enjoying the view on that red bridge. All of them feel a breeze filled with sakura petals at the same time that Saber is feeling a similar breeze.
Shirou thinks to himself that it feels so near, yet it is not possible to reach out and grab it. But even if you can’t reach, there are still things left in the heart. Being at the same time, looking up at the same thing – as long as they can remember these feelings, even if they are far apart, they are together. Continuing to run now means that if you aim at the distance, someday you’ll reach what you aim for. In the past, Sir Bedivere returns to Saber to report that the sword has been returned to the lady of the lake. Saber say that this next sleep will be a little long. She closes her eyes and Bedivere says the final line of the show, “Do you see it, King Arthur? The continuation of the dream.”
I love this song…but I have no idea what it is because the credits didn’t list it. It’s definitely sung by Tainaka Sachi, but it’s not on either of the OP singles.
Watch the Final ED! Mirror 1 Mirror 2 (48.9MB, XviD)
I’m going to write up my thoughts the same way I approached the final episodes of Mai-Otome.
The non-SSJ look – Gilgamesh looks so much better with non-Super Saiyan hair lol. I actually felt a tiny bit of sympathy for him at the end there. Just a tiny bit though.
Much better than expected – From all the spoilers that had been floating around on this blog and elsewhere, I pretty much knew how the general story would end from very early on. In spite of that, I thought that the way they told the story and the details they included was what made this episode so excellent. The animation was indeed as good as the preview from last week had suggested, and several of the monologues were written out quite well. The little King Arthur-related details had me excited too, from Sir Bedivere to returning the sword to the lady of the lake, just like in the legends. That ending had me choking up too, half because of that last line and then the special ending sequence, and half because I liked Saber as a character and it was sad to see her die. What can I say, I’m a sucker for powerful endings.
Noto kawaii yo Noto – I just about did a spit-take when I heard Sir Bedivere open his mouth: the voice actress was Mamiko Noto! I certainly wasn’t expecting her to have a role on this show, so that was a real treat. In case any of you are wondering, 「能登かわいいよ能登」 (Noto kawaii yo Noto – Noto is cute, Noto) is a very popular phrase that’s widely used whenever Mamiko Noto’s voice makes an appearance.
Continuing the dream – The normal way to see the ending is that Saber dies and everyone continues on with their life. As a few of you have suggested, an optimistic view of the ending is that regardless of whether Saber dies in the past, she is continuing her dream – in other words rejoining Shirou’s world. Since I favor happy endings, I kind of like that optimistic view. It’s almost like opening up room for a sequel. Almost :)
I remember having several conversations with moyism late last year talking about this series, which had yet to premiere then. Of course, I was excited because this was the show based on the game I had heard so much good stuff about. Now that it’s over (a quick half year), I can say that Fate/stay night has definitely had its share of ups and downs; less of an emotional roller coaster, and more like some episodes were amazingly good and some were, well, not. If any of you remember from my earlier posts, I had a lot of issues with the story’s pacing and heavy amount of dialogue. The transition from visual novel to anime didn’t work quite as well until the series hit its stride around episode 11. But it wasn’t until episode 14 that I was simply blown away. From there on, I basically had high marks for all the episodes (with the exception maybe being the next-to-last episode). And in the end, I loved the final episode, so I came out with very positive feelings for the series overall. Having never played the game, I can’t really comment about how it was different or the same, which I think worked to my advantage in terms of enjoyment. They did drop a lot of hints about various things they didn’t really cover and if you were sharp, you could connect the dots (Shirou and Archer, Sakura and Rider, Sakura and Rin, etc). More often than not though, it left you a little confused. What I can say though, is that Fate/stay night is overall one of the best shows so far in 2006. I think it’d be quite interesting if they decide to animate one of the other scenarios or Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. :)
And finally, for the record, my favorite characters for this series ended up being: Rin > Saber > Archer > Shirou > Ilya > Sakura >> Everyone Else.