「その縁は始まりに」 (Sono en wa hajimari ni)
“A Destiny Forged in the Beginning”

For those who still haven’t figured Shirou‘s relationship with Archer, I’ll give it one more episode. All the clues are as clearly laid out as they’re ever going to be, and I’m sure that they’ll blurt it out directly in the near future.

The story of Archer is that he is a Counter Guardian, which are like humanity’s immune system. It’s a position he assumed after death, having made a sort of Faustian bargain in life for the power to save more people. Being a Counter Guardian is an unpleasant job, for they don’t prevent disasters so much as clean them up, usually by killing enough people for things to calm down.

So Archer has his regrets and Saber’s has hers and that’s pretty much a sub-theme right there. Saber’s regrets were dealt with in the Fate route already though, so we aren’t going to see more of that. This is why I usually recommend people experience Fate/stay night in route order, or else they’d miss out on the little juxtapositions like we have here. It’s no big loss though, because the philosophising is, of course, secondary to the Saber finally getting to fight again (while keeping the ponytail. Good job, Caster). With Saber so frequently getting beaten on in both Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, one may wonder why she and her class has the reputation of being the strongest Servant. Well, this is why. Saber, perhaps more so than other Servants, is essentially battery powered, and her new contract with Rin is like hooking up to a nuclear reactor compared to the useless flat that was Shirou. Of course, no matter how badass she gets to be now, Archer is contractually obliged to upstage everybody in this route, so he’s got something better.

(For a fuller Saber vs Archer fight, Prisma Illya has one of those as well. Hurrah for spin-offs.)

I’ve always considered Reality Marbles one of the cleverer devices that original author Kinoku Nasu made up. As a magical reflection of the soul, they are made entirely of symbolism. You can’t get much more over than that. Archer’s desolate hill of swords, the Unlimited Blade Works (there, title drop), handily summarises his lifelong struggle, where he fights and fights and ends up with nothing. Wasn’t that simple? Archer’s story is essentially a deconstruction of the triumphant hero, something that Shirou is going to have to come to terms with if he insists on continuing with his whole, ‘I will be a hero of justice’ schtick. But that’s something for next week, of course.

Looking ahead

It feels we have come full circle now, with Shirou pairing up with Saber once more (and Lancer tagging along, because he’s cool). Poor Rin, once the undisputed leader of our protagonists, and now suddenly whisked away to be a damsel in distress. Actually when did the nabbing actually happen? What was Saber doing while Shirou was unconscious? Was she just standing there the whole time? Confound it Saber, I’ve just finished trumping up how awesome you’re supposed to be now. You have to stop being disappointing.

I guess Rin is just attached to Archer, no matter how badly she treats her. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, here’s Shinji!


Well the stakes are even higher now. Shirou, Saber and Lancer need to rescue Rin fast, or else Shinji is going to get morally irredeemable on her. Gilgamesh’s plotting can wait. Step it up, peoples.

Full-length images: 10.




    1. I almost stopped breathing during that scene. I thought Archer was the only one for Rin because of their red coats. But Rin and Saber looked like a pretty fabulous pair. Saber was what Rin initially wanted anyway.

      Petit Orenji
    2. Compared to sabers original outfit against the wedding dress, makes me wanna **nnnggg** 😀


      Oh saber :3

      This Scene


      and this


      splendid work ufotable, that tense moment were you just have to dive in.

      seriously the fate route needs to be remade, and also what i think your reference with regards to the fate route is that it indeed sets the themes as well as some of the backstory for some of the characters but that’s where fate zero comes in cause when i watched the original 2006 version of fate there were some things that weren’t conveyed properly. this is just my personal opinion but man oh man the feels for this episode just gets to my system.

      1. The ideal case is that folks read the visual novel at some point, but I understand that’s impractical for many. I don’t think Fate/Zero is a substitute, though, since it’s a prequel and kinda ret-con-ish. That said, I have complicated feelings about UroGen, so am not the best to comment.

      2. I wouldn’t mind seeing a remake, but I think the movies did a good job of reiterating the Fate route. I’m just glad I can finally ignore the OLD tv series!

    1. Yeah. Did he really “trace on” every Holy Sword? Doesn’t that take, like, a lot of power and magic – much more than what Shirou could have supplied?

      Petit Orenji
      1. Not really. It probably stretched Shirou to his limits but his protection ability is ridiculously fuel efficient. It costs practically nothing magically speaking for him to project weapons. It’s like running a supercar for 1,000 miles on a Pepsi can’s worth of petrol.

      2. He can use the Reality Marble just like Archer so there’s no problem with mana, but it does put a huge strain on his body it can’t handle yet, hence down Shirou standing Archer after the chaos we don’t see.

  1. Seeing Saber back in Servant Mode makes me anxious on which VN ending the studio decides to go for; the “Good” or “True” Ending.

    And Shirou is practically the embodiment of “If you try to save everyone, you’ll end up saving no one” saying.

    1. Seeing Saber back in Servant Mode makes me anxious on which VN ending the studio decides to go for AFAIK her contract with Rin has nothing to do with what ending they pick.
      You might find out next episode, although I have a hunch they’ll go for True.

      Helvetica Standard
      1. I know they’re not connected.

        I’m just saying that seeing Saber back in action again makes me wonder because…

        Show Spoiler ▼

        …considering the movie version went with the “true” ending, I’m leaning towards that, but the “good” ending wouldn’t be a bad thing to have either.

  2. I am the bone of my sword
    Steel is my body and fire is my blood
    I have created over a thousand blades
    Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life/ Unaware of loss, Nor aware of gain
    Have withstood pain to create many weapons/ Withstood pain to create weapons, waiting for one’s arrival
    Yet, those hands will never hold anything/ I have no regrets. This is the only path
    So as I pray, unlimited blade works./ My whole life was unlimited blade works


    Sorry…. Couldnt resist the GARgasm

    1. I have conflicted feelings on whether I actually want it chanted in full during the blurays. The engrish is painful and yet we NEED it, especially the second last line. I guess it’s up to ufotable now.

  3. Th actual debut of Unlimited Blade Works was a little underwhelming to be honest. I think it may have been the way the scene was edited. Compared to the VN it didn’t feel as grand a reveal as it should be. Still props to UFOTable for making a Reality Marble look good with all the details, especially on how the gears coming down from the sky. They at least go the feeling of entering someones inner world right.

    Saber finally gets a Master worthy of her. And just to be clear, this is Saber at her best because Rin is one of the best mages around in raw potential. Being stuck with Shirou as a Master basically nerfs her because Shirous magic is weak. Now she can do feats like pound Archer to the ground like never before.

    Just to clarify what has already been said, Archer basically formed a contract with the World to become a Counter Guardian after his death to save people from an undisclosed disaster. It seems like a great deal at the time, once he dies he can spend the afterlife protecting the world. But as always in fiction, Archer forgot the most important part of contracts: READ THE FINE PRINT. Being a Counter Guardian does not mean exactly saving people, it means doing whatever it takes to save the world, and that usually means killing a lot of people. Essentially, Archer ideal of saving people basically signed himself to an eternity of an afterlife where he is the world deadliest janitor. Its a crap job he never wanted and he is now forced to do. Its no wonder he is so cynical.

    1. Imagine, if Saber would be summoned bye Illya. She would never run ot of Mana. She could Spam her best Noble Phantasm without get Mana depleting problems. So Rin and Saber be the Best, perhaps in Mana and Master Fighting. But Illyia is another story 🙂

    2. Come to think of it though, as a Counter Guardian he’s a Beast of Alaya, the collective will of humanity. So for him to be summoned to slaughter people must mean that those people would have gone on to orchestrate something very dangerous indeed, something that would have wiped out humanity.

      1. Alternatively, they could just be metaphorically diseased and must be culled to to contain the infection. Generally speaking, any number of problems can be solved if you kill enough people.

        The point is, though, the ideal, the kind like Shirou’s, is to save everybody, even the most heinous. The ultimate happy ending, if you will, where even the Emperor turns back to the light side.

  4. Saber is like Sakura of Naruto. She is skilled in Battle and Speed, and when needed you push her Mana into her Muscles to land Strong Blows when needed, as we saw in this Battle. A forceful stomp on the ground to “ring Here comes a Powerful blow, Archer!”.

    But serious, both where holding back, surly they brag about their Power now, but no one was serious in killing, they just wanted to get the things right. What are their drives? Now it is revealed. And some big Secret is about to get out, too. but i bet most Anime only viewers (like myself) do it see coming. From me Episode 10, open my Eyes for that

    1. Isn’t the master normally supposed to supply their servant with mana without needing a “transfer” scene? I’m pretty sure Shirou needs to borrow some from Rin because he’s lacking/incompetent as a mage and cannot supply Saber what she needs to unleash her full strength, but a competent magus like Rin shouldn’t really have an issue with that.

      1. (spoilers for fate zero and/or fate stay night)
        IIRC Saber’s master/servant mana transfer Show Spoiler ▼

        One of the somewhat problematic points of the series is that lots of servants break the rules in various ways but there isn’t anyone around to explain that servant x is an exception because of y, you just have to roll with it and hope you pick up on it when it gets mentioned later.
        Fate/Zero was better in that regard because it followed multiple character viewpoints and hence gave the audience more access to that stuff.

    1. From what I remember, Rider was not a mage and neither was his army. However, the sheer size and devotion of his army all contributed enough mana together to form a Reality Marble. So the entire army counted as one skilled mage.

    2. When was it said that only mages can manifest one?

      Reality Marbles are not spells per se, they are unique skills that very few individuals can manifest. Usually its because they have some personal quality unique to them that lets them have that ability. And since a Reality Marble is essentially the projection of a person’s inner world, anyone who can make one is unique with different properties. Hence why its considered forbidden because not even mages understand how it works exactly.

      1. @fragb65

        Rin surmised that Archer was a magus because he had a Reality Marble. If I recall correctly, in Fate/Zero Rider having one was regarded as a bit of an exception, and was more of a testament of the loyalty of his men than his ability with magecraft. In any case, it’s not something normal people can just generally do.

  5. Well, the OP spoil us a bit in what Scene we will engage him. If you look closely you see a wired pulsating thing in the background, when he turn around. Looks like this is someones heart, that he ripped of, and perhaps some of the “failures” of the Flashback of the Girl. So, he is something trying like Frankenstein

    Well, i dunno. You can not overseen this. And Spoiling? i do not think so. just 1+1 = result. I am just curious in what he is trying to do. But looks like we still need some patience

  6. UBW Rin Saber is strongest Saber*, now with cute ponytail ribbon.

    It’s even official:

    http://i.imgur.com/Vef8TJt.png (Be warned image link contain Fate Zero spoilers)

    *Show Spoiler ▼

      1. mm thats true..and Avalon is EX ranked.. stronger even than Excalibur.. and allows Saber to negate Gil’s triumph card EA.

        so yeah while with Rin she gets better stats i think that with Shiro shes actually stronger (yeah the hability to have insta regen and nullify any attack is that strong).

  7. Okay, I read the snippet of the source material for this episode from the VN and compared it… It was adapted by the letter. Almost. Except for the scene with Shirou, Saber and Lancer at ‘dawn’. I felt UBW’s intro was a bit underwhelming. Though the scenery is gorgeous, maybe the BGM… I dunno… maybe saving it for the finale.

    Could be a spoiler so…

    Show Spoiler ▼

  8. That field of blades… Is it bad that I was expecting to see Anduril, Ice, Longclaw or other fictional swords from other fantasy series (or thinly-veiled expies of said swords) in that scene?

    Also, I wonder if all those swords will be enough to build an “Iron Throne”? Hehehehe…

      1. Except that, Assassin cannot do that since he’s bound by his fake summoning to the general vicinity of the gate of Ryudou Temple. There’s also his pride as a swordsman to consider. It’s actually Caster who’s been draining the mana from the Ryoudo Temple inhabitants.

  9. I’ve only watched Fate/zero so couldn’t figure out why Archer hated Shirou so much but this episode basically spelled it out for me. Was hoping Rin was going to say it out loud but she didn’t.

    Very cool twist I didn’t see that coming

    Rick Anime
    1. Eh, if you go by several of the theories (vague word of god churned in with some fan speculation) on how counter-guardians work in conjunction with the Throne of Heroes across the Nasu multiverse, Archer will never be able to change his past and on some level he knows it. No matter how you look at it, Archer is essentially being a giant asshole to Shirou, Rin and company because he can be a giant asshole.

      1. he actually knows that,
        but he is desperate, so much that he will try anything, even if hopeless he will try it anyway
        in anypoint, he can save “that” shirou from his destiny.

        if that’s not possible, he might even want to ask that wish to the grial.

      2. I think the thing was that he was hoping that because if he was the one who killed Shirou, the paradox would be great enough to overrule even the Throne of Heroes. But of course, it’s still unfounded.

  10. You know, it’s been more than a decade since the Fate/Stay Night VN came out, got translated into English, and released on the internet. And yet, I still find people not knowing what the relationship between Shirou and Archer is. It would have been so funny, if it were not for the fact they could have just played the VN *sigh*

    1. Why is it so surprising? I don’t think I know a single person that *plays* VNs. If they do play them- they never mentioned it. The only reason I got into the show is because of Urobutcher’s work on Fate/Zero to be honest. I’m personally into anime aimed at the older audiences but got into this one because I really enjoyed Fate/Zero (so I overlooked the high school setting).

      So yeah- don’t be shocked. There’s a lot of fans like myself that will usually run at the first sight of a high school unless the show really brings it (like Paracyte does)

      Rick Anime
      1. It’s probably the demographic you’re surrounded with – that’s why you don’t see or hear people playing VNs. Where I live and study I can count at least five people I see everyday are playing VNs (both safe and not-safe-for-work).

    2. I played the VNs a long time ago and while it may seem surprising to some fans who have known about this series for a while it’s not entirely surprising that there are people who are just walking into the franchise.

      If you wanna talk about that though, I guess you could say that it’s somewhat surprising that people who have been drawn into this series haven’t looked up or watched the UBW movie that came out a few years ago

  11. I had Archer’s identity spoiled for me a while ago, so it wasn’t much of a surprise. Still, glad it was finally revealed. Maybe some people haven’t figured it out yet, but it was practically spelled out in this episode.

    Also, Saber and Rin teaming up? Yes, please.

  12. For me UBW has always been the most balanced route of F/N. It has a good mix of comedy, action and drama (philiosophy). But more than anything else, it has the best balance in terms of coming to terms with Shiro’s ideals. Fate and HF take this to opposite extremes and I personally feel that UBW is the most rational and realistic of the conclutions

    1. SOOOO Agree! Although, much of that’s b/c she actually finds sympathy, and finally goes dere. That simply doesn’t happen often enough, much less as well as presented here (hopefully)

  13. ep 19:

    It gets an 6/10 from me

    Show Spoiler ▼


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