「戦意の在処（ありか）」 (Seni no Arika (Arika))
“The Will to Fight”
Unlike the episode that featured Kotomine and his somewhat long and dry explanation about the Holy Grail War, I thought that this episode was a much better example of how you’re supposed to tell a story without making it feel like your bombarding us with dialogue.
Among the handful of things that put Saber on equal footing as Rin for Best Girl, one of my favorites has to be her relationship with Shirou and how she handles herself around her. No matter what route you’re watching (sans Heaven’s Feel since I don’t remember too much), it’s clear that the two’s covenant is far from the norm. Instead of a general barking out orders to his subordinate, you get the feeling that they’re two individuals who have a mutual understanding for each other. Instead of fighting over their shortcomings, they use them to create unique ways of tackling their problems by working together. And finally and probably most importantly, Shirou actually empowers Saber to make her own decisions meaning she can be more autonomous in her actions. All of which when you add together I think makes for a pretty impressive duo.
Also, that look of bewilderment Saber had after Shirou clearly explained why he went out of his way to protect her was too cute.
Side Characters and Scary Teachers
Another thing that I really appreciate from ufotable is the way they’ve managed to give all the supporting characters their own unique and memorable personalities. From the three girls who accidentally accused Shirou of being Shinji to Mitsuzuri bringing out some different emotions from Shirou, they’ve all managed to bring something to the table. On the other hand, you have Kuzuki-sensei who just seems a little creepy. Toss in that rather dark sounding music that started playing when he was staring straight at Saber and you have to wonder why someone of his caliber isn’t doing something more useful with his skills.
Decisions, Decisions & Looking Ahead
With trouble brewing, it seems inevitable that another battle is waiting for us over the horizon. While it remains to be seen if Illya will have anything to do with this one, you have to wonder if Rin’s decisions to find and defeat Caster is the correct one. Because just like Archer said, not only are they already at a tactical disadvantage for revealing their trump card but in terms of being efficient, why wouldn’t you go and take out the easiest target?
Anyways, see you next week! Also, keep spoilers in spoiler tags please!