「凛の冒険」 (Rin no Bouken)
Being a full episode about Rin, this could’ve easily been saved as a side story instead of one of the regular episodes, but only a fool would actually think that when childhood Rin is absolutely adorable. There were plenty of full-length pans, a shot of the million-dollar smile, and the arrival of the “true” Hero of Justice, making this a worthwhile endeavor in my books. It’s not like it was completely unrelated either, with Rin serving as our window into both the workings of magic and Ryuunosuke/Caster’s serial killings. In the short span of a single episode, it’s quite impressive how much story they packed into it too, starting with the depiction of how Tokiomi patiently instructs his daughter and how Kotone (Seto Asami) is Rin’s close friend. Things even dialed back to the start of the Holy Grail War in the very first episode, back when Tokiomi asked Aoi and Rin to go into hiding, so in reality, it wasn’t so much of a side story as it was a supplementary story to enhance our understanding of the characters.
Seeing more of Kariya was the most welcomed addition to Rin’s adventure, as he’s been sorely lacking screen time. While his appearance here did tie into the main plot with Kirei monitoring Berserker’s Master, I was most appreciative of another development — learning that he’s still the same caring “uncle” to Rin and Sakura in spite of everything that’s happened to his body. If nothing else, that reiterated the selflessness in his character, which warranted more feelings of sympathy toward the sacrifice he made. It also made Aoi aware of it for the very first time, making it harder for both her and myself to root for any one Master. Anyone with a heart can’t help but hope Kariya’s sacrifice won’t be in vain, but Tokiomi isn’t exactly a “bad” person (or father) either, despite his deceptive approach on the war. Then there’s Kiritsugu who’s paired up with the Saber and technically the lead in the series, plus the ever-so-awesome tandem of Waver and Rider to take into consideration. Kayneth/Sola aren’t as clear-cut either, because they have an amiable Servant in Lancer. Kirei of course is Kiritsugu’s nemesis and plays a significant role in Fate/stay night so his inclusion is a given, leaving Ryuunosuke as the sole Master I wouldn’t mind seeing written off in a hurry. Even then, Ryuunosuke and Caster have proven to be sick and twisted but not mindless, providing a wild card to the war as a whole. Without them, I dare say the story would’ve been relatively uneventful thus far. After all, they’ve single-handedly drawn the attention of all the other Masters and caused a rift in their plans.
As for this episode in particular, the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way a bit was Rin ignoring Tokiomi’s warnings and continuing to tail Ryuunosuke with the mana compass he gave her. I was however willing to overlook the recklessness in her actions because the episode did a decent job of depicting her relationship with Kotone and her concern for her when she caught wind of the missing children in Fuyuki. In short, it wasn’t all that unbelievable even if it wasn’t entirely agreeable, so I rather enjoyed the moment where Rin got to shine. The music in that scene and the determination in her face as the compass sensed more power in her than Ryuunosuke’s brainwashing bracelet were the highlight of this episode. Next time, it looks like Kiritsugu, Tokiomi, and Waver will be crossing paths, judging from the three Command Seals seen in the preview and the dialogue itself.