「主と従者」 (Aruji to Juusha)
“Master and Servant”
The lengthy exposition in Fate/Zero continues, and while the thought did cross my mind that I’m too forgiving of it compared to To Aru Majutsu no Index, I really don’t think that’s the case when I haven’t read the light novels of either adaptation. Compared to Index, it’s a lot easier to get a grasp of what’s going on in Fate/Zero thanks to the relatively structured nature of the Holy Grail War. We know there are seven Masters and with them seven Servants, and the story develops within the confines of that foundation, depicting their contrasting motives and personalities when they’re alone with their Servants and building up anticipation toward the inevitable battles.
Thus far, there’s been nothing boring about getting more acquainted with the characters — especially charismatic ones like Rider who had me laughing with him upon seeing Waver’s displeased look — as that familiarity makes me care about what happens in them in the war. This includes fearing the worst for Waver after hearing Rider’s line in the preview last time, which luckily turned out to be nothing more than a red herring. I wouldn’t have considered that “lucky” if I didn’t care to see more of both Waver and Rider, which to me says that the exposition here is doing something right. The last thing I wanted to see was the two of them take an early exit when they fearlessly stormed into Caster’s hideout and encountered Kirei’s Assassins. That was right after some rather touching moments where Rider was genuinely impressed by Waver’s alchemy and tried his best to spare him from the gruesome scene of Ryuunosuke and Caster’s killings too. On a related note, I’m somewhat saddened by the mere thought of Rider getting killed, which is highly probably since Waver is an unlikely candidate to go far in the war. The best I can hope for is that he survives and that Rider goes out gloriously protecting him.
On the other end of the Master/Servant spectrum, we have Sola forcibly taking Kayneth’s Command Seals from him and becoming Lancer’s new Master. I was anticipating as much, judging from the preview last time, but not to such a torturous extent where she had Kayneth at her mercy and started “convincing him” by breaking his fingers. I never thought I’d feel sorry for Kayneth, but seeing Sola under the influence of Lancer’s love spot did just that. For that very reason, I loved how Lancer gave her his “Knight before a Servant” justification and turned her down as his new Master, forcing a completely love-struck Sola to lie right to his face about how obtaining the Holy Grail for Kayneth’s sake is her only motive. I think it was pretty clear that Sola would’ve agreed to anything to be with Lancer, and I haven’t even ruled out the possibility that she’s saving one of the Command Seals to get him to make love to her. The interesting part is how Lancer’s aware that she’s under the effects of his charm, upon seeing the similarities between Sola’s look and Gráinne’s (Nakagawa Rie), the intended wife of Fianna leader Fionn mac Cumhaill (Kusumi Naomi) whom he inadvertently charmed and betrayed his leader for. Judging from his past, I can already foresee a lot of emotional baggage resulting in this newly-formed contract, which is on top of the fact that Lancer still sees Kayneth as his Master. The heavily condensed version of the events leading up to his death probably won’t won’t mean much to those who aren’t familiar with the Irish myth involving Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, but for those who are, its inclusion here helped reinforce the notion that he doesn’t intent to betray his lord this time around. (For those who aren’t, I suggest giving the quick rundown a read.)
With all that going on, Kiritsugu’s side of things was kind of lost in the shuffle; however, it didn’t require much time for him to make a point of how he hates Saber’s knightly code of honor. As heartless as it may sound, I have to agree with him on how it’s not his “job” to save the children that Ryuunosuke and Caster are killing. He’s a professional assassin and his obligation is to the Einzbern family. Because of that, I can definitely understand how he’s upset with Saber letting Lancer come to Kayneth’s aid last time. Some people thought it was really stupid of Saber to just hold Lancer to his word that he wouldn’t harm her Master, so it should come as a welcomed development to see that Kiritsugu agrees. For me, I never really had a problem with Saber’s honorable conduct since it defines her character, but I have to concede it was a pretty dumb move in this case. What I do like is how it exemplifies further discord between Kiritsugu and Saber’s personalities — something that Kiritsugu anticipated from the very beginning — and keeps things interesting with Irisviel caught in the middle. Of course, with the preview alluding to more screen time for both Rin and Kariya, that should prove to be just as interesting.
* Full-length image: 07.