「魔術師殺し」 (Majutsushi Goroshi)
The episode title said it all about how this would Kiritsugu’s time to shine and he does just that with the use of his single-shot Thompson Contender, loaded with an “Origin Bullet” created from his rib bones (and effectively, part of his soul). The first shot was a normal bullet that punctured through Kayneth’s automated Volumen Hydragram defense from sheer firepower alone, and was all part of Kiritsugu’s plan to make Kayneth increase the magical power in his defenses to maximize the effectiveness of the Origin Bullet.
As explained in a flashback of his mentor, Natalia Kaminski (Watanabe Akeno, as credited in the cast list), Kiritsugu actually has two Origins, i.e. Akasha’s very definition of his existence, which are known as Setsudan to Ketsugou 「切断」と「結合」, a.k.a. “Severing and Binding”. Since it’s a Conceptual Weapon, it has an increased effect on magi, in that it “severs” a mage’s Magical Circuit and “re-binds” it in a completely messed up manner to render them unusable forever. Magic Circuits are essentially another nervous system in a mage’s body, and are what allows them to use harness prana (a.k.a. mana) and use it for magecraft, so the effect Kiritsugu’s bullet has could be seen as destroying all the nerves in the human body without any anesthetics. The end result isn’t pretty, especially when he gets his opponent to exercise a powerful spell to maximize the overload effect on, as seen by the buckets of blood Kayneth coughed up and the excruciating pain on his face. Quite frankly, I find it amazing that Kayneth even survived after reading about Kiritsugu’s Origin Bullets last episode, because I figured he would’ve died from the pain alone. However, the implication is that he will be a vegetable from now on, and that Sola-Ui will be asking him to transfer Lancer’s Command Seals to her to continue in the war, as heard in the preview.
Interestingly enough, Saber and Lancer’s battle with Caster was also about rendering magic ineffective, as seen in their combined Strike Air and Gae Dearg attack, the latter of which viewers may recall severs magic from prana. I presume the effects of the spear didn’t render Caster’s Prelati completely useless — seeing as Saber’s magical armor still works — but the actual damage to the demon spellbook is another matter. This is a thought that only crossed my mind in hindsight, as I was pretty convinced that Caster would be finished off here. I would’ve actually preferred to see a swift death, going back to what I said before about how there’s an added level of realism and believability when fights conclud after only one or two encounters, much like we saw with Kayneth. It doesn’t seem like Caster and Ryuunosuke really needed any more character build-up, so they were primed for an early exit to the war in my eyes. Seeing as Caster survived, I’m kind of curious about what kind of bigger role he and Ryuunosuke will have. They’ve already proven to be a bit of a wild card with the way their serial killings brought about an order from the Church, so I can see them continuing to throw everyone’s plans off.
Last but definitely not least was Iri whipping out some homunculus-like alchemy out of nowhere. I actually found that really surprising, because I was led to believe that all she could do is heal when Saber fought Lancer. I don’t know if Iri simply didn’t want to reveal that she had alchemy techniques back then, or if they’re only effective against humans and not Servants, but I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter for consistency sake. After all, Kirei quickly proved that a mage can break from from her technique somewhat easily, so I would imagine it’s completely useless against a Servant. I did find it odd how Iri and Maiya just stared in awe as Kirei took his time to free himself from the tree, but I was willing to chalk that up to Maiya suffering from massive internal bleeding and not having a good means to harm Kirei to begin with. Whatever the case, the biggest thing to take away from that was Kirei’s refusal to believe that Kiritsugu has two women who would disobey his orders and die for him. Judging from his reaction, he wants to believe that Kiritsugu is just like him — a cold and indifferent killing machine that just does what he’s told — so I’d wager this is where he starts go into denial. Incidentally, this does seem to suggest why Kiritsugu fears Kirei so much. From Kiritsugu’s perspective, Kirei is just like him but without all the weaknesses that emotions can potentially bring.
Of course, the other thing to take away is that Kiritsugu asked Iri to keep Excalibur’s scabbard Avalon with her — concealed as a Conceptual Weapon within her body — since it provides immortal-like regenerative properties to the bearer when it’s within range of Saber to utilize her prana. What’s interesting is that he doesn’t want Saber to know they have it. Why that is I’m not entirely sure, seeing as it would more or less make Saber immortal (maybe even cure her thumb…?), but it could be that the Einzberns want to keep the genuine artifact for themselves. (I get the feeling I’m overlooking something, like how Arturia died at the Battle of Camlann because she didn’t have Avalon with her.) In any case, this did remind my why Emiya Shirou ended up summoning Saber again in Fate/stay night: Avalon eventually gets passed down to him.
* I get the feeling I’ll say this every week, but Kajiura Yuki’s music continues to bring out all the scenes in this adaptation, particularly the battle sequences.
* I wonder if the flashback of Kiritsugu had a zoomed-out shot censored out, showing how he had some ribs removed to be ground up for the Origin Bullets, since it looks like he’s in some discomfort.