「死闘の報酬(こたえ)」 (Shitou no Houshuu (Kotae))
“The Reward For The Death Match”

Oh boy was this week’s episode fantastic. Leaping straight back into the action, there was barely any time to breath with so much fighting going on.


Even though I’d love to talk about how amazing all the fight sequences looked, I’ll take this opportunity to touch on something I thought was really important to the series as a whole. No matter where you look, the show is definitely trying to make a point about the stark differences people have when you talk about “saving” someone. Does it mean stripping your empathy away in order to save the most amount of people? Or does it call for you to treat every life equally and therefore try to save whoever’s within reach? Because either way you look at it, you’re saving people, right?

While the answer is obviously no, thinking about the merits of both sides leads me to an awkward internal battle. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older now and have lost a bit of faith in what chivalry entails, but it’s tough for me to watch Shirou spout his ideals about what it means to save others in-front of battle hardened warriors. I know it’s part of the story and specifically designed to have you question your own beliefs but what’s probably the most powerful part of ufotable’s adaptation is the way it quickly makes you fall for the side that opposes Shirou. Even though I believe you shouldn’t value anyone’s life more or less than another, Archer makes quite the compelling argument in-favor of creating the most beneficial situation for himself and humanity as a whole.

Anyways, I was just curious about what everyone else thinks about this big conundrum. We’ve seen what happens to people who try to save others only to see another fall and logistically it’s a nightmare but does that mean we shouldn’t even try? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Show Spoiler ▼

Assassin Is Best Assassin

While he may not be True Assassin, I will always hold a place for him in my heart. Every bit deserving of the title Samurai, how can you not love a badass that flaunts his abilities in all the right ways? Also, props to him for not attacking Saber from behind as well as stopping Archer’s second surprise attack against Shirou. Now, if only he could leave that darn temple!

Looking Forward

Man, can you imagine how awkward it’s going to be the next time Shirou see’s Rin? “Hey, your servant nearly killed me. How ya doin?” Anyways, even though so much fighting went on throughout the episode we really didn’t get anywhere. Caster seems to be just fine, we still haven’t seen Illya or Berserker, and Shinji seems to be doing whatever (I’m okay with not seeing Shinji though). Judging from the preview though, it looks like the story is about to make another sharp turn so I guess we won’t have to wait too long! See yall next week!




  1. Spock’s famous quote is certainly not Shirou’s mantra, yes. It’s surprising how deep off the other end he seems — but it’s clear this isn’t just realism (Archer) vs idealism (Shirou). It’s more utilitarianism vs Kantianism in terms of justice and the weighting of human worth. While Archer is content to treat people as a means to an end in a game of numbers, Shirou believes in the innate and unassailable self-worth of every human being.

    In another way, Archer is optimizing the casualty equation as his objective function. Shirou, on the other hand, is imposing a zero-loss assertion. Archer is optimally lossy, Shirou strives to be lossless. Shirou as the yang to archer’s yin, complementary opposites, yet their ideologies comprise a greater whole once reconciled that is greater than the sum of their parts in Gestaltian fashion, and such marks the trajectory for their character development.

  2. nexuszero
  3. random viewer
  4. So if the Sasaki Kojirou guy is stronger than Saber when comparing sword skills only, does that mean had they fought while being humans, Sasaki Kojirou would have destroyed Arturia Pendragon easily?

    Calorie Mate
    1. As far as I know, he’s only better at swordsmanship than Saber due to their stats as Servants, not as they were as people. Basically like comparing characters in an RPG where, if swordsmanship is a statistic, then this Assassin’s swordsmanship stats are higher than Saber’s (whereas the Assassin of Fate/Zero was far more geared for spying and whatnot much more so than up close combat).

      Obviously that alone does not guarantee his win as one has to look at ALL the stats as they come together and are applied in battle and Saber’s stats are usually pretty high all around. Basically a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none, hence why the Saber class is seen as the strongest servant with very few exceptions. Saber may encounter opponents who are better than her in one or two areas (due to being more specialized), but those opponents are also usually weaker in other areas that she can exploit.

      It would be completely unknown, however, just how their real life selves would fair against each other or any other Servant unless, by some sheer coincidence, their real life selves did actually fight each other when they were alive, but that’s never been the case so far as far as I know. Servants so far have usually been people from different time periods and different parts of the world. Ones from later time periods may have heard the legends of older ones, but that’s about as far as it’d get.

    2. Light SpoilersShow Spoiler ▼

      1. To my knowledge, if we’re to look solely on stats and their NP, then assassin wins in a 1vs1 swordsmanship battle. Reason is that his Tsubanegaishi is literally impossible to dodge.

        I think I still remember a particular scene from Episode 01..

        Lancer: So, Saber…you dodged my undodgeable blow.

      2. @Techim

        Another point that isn’t translated well from the VN about Saber being able to dodge Lancer’s strike: Her Luck status. Considering that Lacner’s special attack is a move that strikes the intended target before the move is even performed, to avoid it means you have to have an enormous amount of luck, which in the FSN universe, equates to whatever power that be altering the course of destiny in your favor = if only slightly. Saber ‘dodging’ Lancer’s blow is more on the part of Lancer actually being slightly off.

    1. how good an anime is, isn’t only determined by the action itself, even if you ask me which is better in term of action between zero or ubw i prefer zero, story telling wise. but i think there is sound effect improvement in ubw

  5. I’m not sure how they pulled it off but they have made Shirou so much more endearing in this series than in the original anime. Something about his dorky kindness and strong resolve have really charmed me. He is definitely a character I can get behind as the one to lead us through this epic adventure. Plus he’s just so darn cute. Damn, what does that say about me when there are so many beautiful strong women in this show and all I can do is fawn over the frizzy headed geek Emiya?

    1. Probably because, as mentioned here and I did a couple episodes ago, Shiro comes off as more “human” and relateable by not being SO stubborn in clinging to his heavily idealistic views like he did in Fate (even when the results of that stubbornness almost killed him) and acting…well…pretty cowardly by trying to avoid fighting whenever possible unless there’s absolutely no other choice.

      Here, he’s actually willing to take the initiative on things, to look at things from other points of view, and willing to (allow Saber to) fight without thinking her some damsel who “shouldn’t be fighting” and needs to be rescued. Of course, he also doesn’t just throw away his ideals on a whim, but at least he understands them a lot more.

    2. I’m not sure how they pulled it off but they have made Shirou every character so much more endearing in this series than in the original anime.

      Fixed that for you.
      Well, Shinji is more annoying here, but he also gets more characterization..

  6. I have a very vague memory of the last scene with Archer vs Assassin, did that happen in the VN? can’t quite remember. I still can’t deny the vast quality of the fighting though. Although I knew what was going to happen that part when Saber saw herself dying from Assassin’s strike made my heart sink. And I am still rooting for the alternate ending route.

      1. Well, how i see his Attack (or betrayal) of Archer.

        He told Shinjin the hard way, that Caster is nearly immortal in her Grounds. Did you see how easy she healed herself? Sure Archer’s Phantasm took a great toll on her, but did not killed her. So this time killing only the Servant would not work. So Shinji need to find her Master and do it this way. Thats the only Solution, is like cut of the infinity Heads of a Hydra. You go for the Body, that supports the Heads

        Yeah, at first i was surprised. But then when even Shinji understood Archer’s attack on him, i began to ask myself, too.

        Archer told Shinji the hard and bloody way, to save the victims of Caster, he need to go after her Master

        Like i posted down in the comments. Just think here the “Kill la Kill” references of the Sisters. And now guess ho is the older Sister here 🙂 Archer of course. He has Power, well more then Shinji

    1. It wasn’t on the VN. The post-credit scene wasn’t on the VN either. The scene ends with Archer stabbing Shirou and his famous “Drown with your ideals and die!” line. Then it cuts to the next day where Rin and Saber exposit what happened when Shirou lost consciousness.

      So this is probably the first time I can say where the anime deviates from VN canon but I’m glad it actually makes sense. And believe it serves an important plot point: Show Spoiler ▼

      1. @fragb85: So this is probably the first time I can say where the anime deviates from VN canon…”

        I thought the Rin vs. Illya fight in Ep. 03 was anime-only. Is that not correct? No big deal – just curious. Like others, having difficulty remembering all the details since it’s been quite a while since I played the VN.

        As for Archer vs. Assassin Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Its mostly semantics, but I just treat the Rin vs. Illya as an expansion of events. The entire battle between Saber + Archer vs. Berserker, once it goes to the graveyard, was done in either Shirou’s perspective or through third person. Rin and Illya don’t appear until the conclusion of Archer’s nuke. It would make sense that they were doing something outside the servant battle.

        Archer vs. Assassin though didn’t happen at all in the VN so I consider it a deviation. But one that I’m fine with since it flows naturally with the events and makes sense.

        As for Shirou Show Spoiler ▼

      3. Assassin defending Saber (and Shirou) from Archer’s assault so they can duel again, was actually in the visual novel. The same thing is true for the post credits scene where Saber treats Shirou’s wounds and he “insults” Archer for using Caster to win and not for attacking him.

    1. I openly admit that I would gladly throw my “mandhood” (not that I really cared about such things that much to begin with) out the window and love to be princess carried by a strong woman like Saber.

      <3 ^_^ <3

  7. @TAKAII : About Shiro’s beliefs in the spoiler

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anyways, I was just curious about what everyone else thinks about this big conundrum. We’ve seen what happens to people who try to save others only to see another fall and logistically it’s a nightmare but does that mean we shouldn’t even try? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

    This is actually a rather hard question to answer as they tend to mix into each other. Archer’s version actually has him treating everyone as equals also. They are essentially all 1, so sacrificing 100,000 to save 1,000,000 makes sense to him. He doesn’t discriminate. Shiro on the other hand is the more idealistic version of it treating all as equals he wants to save all of them.

    The difference between them is Archer is driven more by logic and Shiro by emotion but as Caster said, they are essentially the same.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Yeah it’s a more complicated than that.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Show Spoiler ▼

      2. @grandier

        Show Spoiler ▼

  8. Probably my favorite episode so far. That is significant because Rin is barely in it. As expected the battles are greatly expanded with more flashy special effects, especially Archer’s Caladbolg arrow. I love the use of a panning camera before Archer fires it. Of course there is quite a bit of anime orginal scenes and canon deviation but thankfully it fits together nicely with the overall presentation.

    This battle is where Archer truly shines. As I mentioned before, Archer’s stats suck and in a pure nuking battle, Caster would easily beat him. But Archer excels in cunning and planning, so when Caster freezes him, he already positioned his flying swords to strike at Caster and leave an opening to hit her with his arrow. If he wanted to, Archer would have easily killed Caster with his surprise attack.

    The other part is the battle between Saber and Assassin. An interesting point is how Assassin is like Archer. He is summoned by another Servant, and does isn’t a “True” servant meaning his stats also are bad. Instead he relies on sword skills. This is why Saber was surprised because she was holding back and didn’t expect Assassin to best her on pure skill alone.

    Amusingly enough this is also another running theme with Shirou: His tendency to get injured. It’s one the few thing he does excel at. As a mage he sucks. As a Master its can be debatable whether he is a good one or nor. But in taking a beating nobody excels more the Shirou does!

    1. “But Archer excels in cunning and planning, so when Caster freezes him, he already positioned his flying swords to strike at Caster and leave an opening to hit her with his arrow. If he wanted to, Archer would have easily killed Caster with his surprise attack.”

      “Haha, I threw that shit before I walked in the room!


      I couldn’t help but think of that scene in Black Dynamite when I saw the part when Archer was frozen 🙂

  9. I really do enjoy this series. I happened to come across it by accident and watched FSN, finally came around to watching FZ, didn’t even realize there was an UBW already (never watched it), and now this. Tohsaka Rin truly is my favorite. That aside, I love the inner struggle here. Kill many to save one, or kill one to save many?? Lots of FZ thoughts bouncing around every week. Damn it, Kiritsugu. Your dream couldn’t have been inherited by a more stubborn mc.

    and while i don’t want to detract from this article, I have a serious question for Takaii, or any RC writer….Is anyone watching Wixoss? If so, would there be a possibility of a, “How The Suffering is Going So Far” discussion?

    1. I’m watching it! I totally understand the wish for an update on how the story is going so far (I mean, look at the most recent episode), but I think that decision is up to the other writers.

      1. Thanks for responding! It would be an early Christmas gift for me if someone did want to write about it. It’s grown on me and it’s one of the shows i wait for every week. It’s much better than season 1 in my opinion.

      1. Part of the fun watching fsn is speculating and figuring out who the servants are.judging by your comment he’s not fergus. Interesting, i thought each heroes own notable weapon that is identifiable to them hence saber concealing her sword. I have no idea who had used caladbolg besides fergus, its blacksmith maybe?

        Out of topic, anyone figured out caster’ identity? My guess is helen of troy judging from the dream sequence

      2. That’s the worst advice you can give, tbh. Never tell anyone to spoil things for themselves.

        Though, I’m curious about why you thought Helen of Troy? Nothing much connecting her in that dream sequence.

    1. Well,
      Show Spoiler ▼

      As for the using of the Noble phantasm to figure out their true identity, it can be nice but it isn’t a fool proof method of figuring out the identity. This assasin for example Show Spoiler ▼

      (just spoiler tagged in case it can be considered a spoiler ) while True assasin is one of the Show Spoiler ▼

      , instead of this one.

    2. Its a little more complicated than that. Cant really explain the reason without giving away severe spoilers but I’ll say this much. Take a look at his other weapons, kanshou and bakuya, his bow and cadalbolg, all of them are from different eras so he cant really be considered an irish hero.

      1. Errr….The new watchers won’t know that, His bow has no name and his dual swords’ name hasn’t been revealed yet here. On that topic, the hints they are dropping makes me think that Show Spoiler ▼

        when they reveal archer’s identity. Seriously, the number of hints they are dropping is astounding. They’re even giving Heaven’s feel hints back from ep. 1.

  10. @Takaii “Oh boy was this week’s episode fantastic.”

    Yeah, that pretty much sums up my opinion as well. Perhaps some minor quibbles along the way, but so far, Ufotable is really doing a very good job with this series IMO. As I mentioned before, I already know what’s going to happen, but I still look forward to the next episode as much (probably more) as anything else I’m watching this season. The quality is consistent across the varying types of scenes as well – SOL, battles, whatever.

    RE: The differences between Shirou’s and Archer’s ideology, I think in large part it’s simply due to maturity and experience creating a more realistic viewpoint. Even Kiritsugu told Shirou that “Saving one person means being unable to save another”, but at this point, it’s something Shriou just can’t accept. Hmm… I guess I should use a spoiler here.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  11. Slapthehole
  12. If anybody wants to compare scenes with the original VN, well, here you go.
    The anime script is close to the original…
    but overall its undeniable that the anime brings the awesomeness to life.
    In my experience of actively watching ongoing anime since 2013, Ufotable is the champion of faithful adaptations..I wonder how the alternate Prisma Ilya series would have went if Ufotable was in charge, especially when it comes to Bazett and Kuro.

    By the way, this is an original scene, is it?

  13. Just gonna leave Shiro and Archer have their boys fight of whos being baka…….while im still utterly speechless with what Assasin did to Saber. My god, when i saw her “double”/”soul” suddenly fell out of her body, i was like whuuttt?! This is crazy shit man! I dont remember such epicness happen in FSN tv! Was Assasin this awesome?! All i can remember Assasin was Carnival Phantasm making him a shrine hikkimori lol…Sasaki Kojiro is killing! I dunno what exactly happen to Saber, the soul stuff and all the fighting, can anyone explain that to me? Was that an after-image of Saber’s defeat or…urghh…?

    Anyway, love the last scene between Saber and Shirou. I can feel how happy Saber is having a master like Shirou. I need more sweet Saber please XDD Next week Rin’s rampage and Shinji’s annoying laugh!

    onion warrior
    1. The after-image was of Saber’s defeat. If she had committed herself, she would’ve been killed for sure. That’s exactly what the double/soul was for. For us to see her realization that she would be killed. It just took her until the last possible second to realize how she was going to be killed.

      As for why she realized it, there are few reasons. The first is her battle experience is higher than normal for a Servant, which is always a bonus. The second is that her luck is extraordinarily high which means that if there’s a lucky break, she’s pretty much going to get it. You could probably also toss in her Noble Phantasm as a third.

      Gotta say I loved the double/soul thing as it caught me off guard and I went “WHAT” before I realized what was going on. Also Archer attacking Shirou because normally I’d expect that to end the episode going “oh, guess that ends the episode. Wait, we’re not done yet? Nice!”.

    2. That scene was meant to represent Saber’s battle instincts. Her instincts for battle are honed to the point where it’s almost like a form of precognition, so when she saw Assassin’s move she was able to predict the likely outcome (Her being sliced and killed) then counter it accordingly. In the VN it was summarized as something like Saber’s instincts allowed her to see her own defeat etc, so UFOtable adapted it to what we saw this episode.

  14. Just a question for those who read the VN.
    Was it actually stated in UBW that Assasin is a fake? Or was it something ufotable added. Because I thought the whole Asassin thing should be a surprise until much later.

  15. Regarding Archer’s attack on Shiro, archer could have easily cut him into two pieces. I don’t think it was meant to be fatal. I think it was archer’s way of teaching a foolish (from his view) ally a much needed lesson. Shiro has been dangerously naive. And having a vulnerable ally endangers Archer and Rin. And maybe now Shiro will be less naive and trusting and more alert, which will help him survive.

    If archer wanted Shiro dead, he could have let Caster kill him. Caster would have gotten Shiro’s command seals and Saber and would have taken on Berserker.

    Btw, I’m enjoying how Archer’s “it’s ok to let some die to save the many” is basically the same philosophy as Shiro’s father in Fate Zero. So Shiro has his ideals in conflict with his father’s.

  16. I don’t think Shiro following Archer ideals is a good thing.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Archer can’t save people in a way they could understand be proud of. There are things has to be done, but you could still aim for the best conclusion. Archer will sacrifice the less for more, never aiming for the best end where no one gets hurt because it’s safer for everyone and he has accepted sacrifice.

  17. I’m not so sure it’s the easiest thing to side with Archer rather than Shirou. Obviously reality is a pretty dark thing at times and there are limits to what people can do. And yet if you only look at the numbers and cut yourself off then you can reach horrible things.

    Right now I don’t agree with Archer here. The situation has not reached such a terrible point where they need to sacrifice a city. He’s going for the absolute victory rather than taking his chances. You can try to save the city and the rest of the world. They aren’t in a corner where they have to pick one or the other.

    At this point I think Shirou has a bit more. Caster is a legitimate threat and is the cause of a lot of suffering. She needs to be stopped before more people are hurt. Now I think it’s goofy to go off after her since he can’t do anything by himself. I agree with the overall stance of stopping Caster, but it has to be approached intelligently.

    You can’t save everyone in the world, that’s just a sad reality. But trying to save all you can save and not willingly sacrifice people seems ok. Sometimes the few you have to sacrifice to save the many isn’t worth it.

  18. The very reason Shirou was such a hated character in the original F/SN was because of how ridiculously obnoxious is idealism was. This UFOTABLE adaptation made him slightly more likeable, but still annoying nonetheless until he gets further developed later.

    As a no-nonsense realist who hates idealism myself, I’m more inclined to agree with Archer (and Kiritsugu’s methods), to a certain degree. Basically, if I was in their shoes and it was literally up to me to decide, I would prioritize friends/loved ones first, but if it was the case of all strangers, then I’d pick the method with the least casualty if saving everyone is literally impossible.

  19. Like I’ve said in the previous episodes, the fighting action in this series never cease to amaze me.
    Assassin’s swordsmanship makes me want to re-watch this all over again.
    Caster’s skills is amazing as well, and I don’t need to mention Archer, right?
    Overall, it was a great episode. Shirou’s and Archer’s perspective is something we’ll never stop debating about. lol
    I also think that Saber’s pretty happy with her master in this war as well. 🙂


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