Episode 20 would have been hard to top, and I suppose 21 doesn’t necessarily try. Sure, there’s still some measure of ridiculous sword-slinging, and a longer snippet of the Emiya remix (a more pensive piece this time, it seems) but for the most part the pendulum has swung back to exposition and introspection. With Shirou having found his determination last week, this week’s ‘answer’ is for Archer‘s benefit (and by extension, Saber, who has comparable circumstances and has been standing around doing nothing but reflect for three episodes). Hence, internal monologue. And because Archer is Shirou’s archetype and Shirou is Archer’s prototype, Shirou finds determination from Archer and Archer finds resolution from Shirou. Archer had forgotten his roots. Yes, trying to save everyone is unrealistic, but the ideal is beautiful. For too long has Archer obsessed about results, which is why his inner world is filled with gears, while Shirou’s is a purer vision, one that may eventually redeem Archer’s.

So often is the case that redemption equals death, and Archer, having just found satisfaction, must immediately step aside. Because enter Gilgamesh (who really deserves to get shot in the face at least once, but alas) to be the Archer-replacement to antagonise Shirou. Since Shirou wants to essentially be a superhero, he needs a supervillain to fight. In true supervillain style, Gilgamesh explains his evil plan, along with what he had been doing since Fate/Zero (while… providing fanservice, I guess). Apparently, the world is too idyllic, the Grail is corrupt, and Gil wants to kill everyone. Standard megalomania, and there is none to stop him but our hero, Shirou! But sure, while Shirou and Gilgamesh are natural foils—one was the king of ancient Mesopotamia and owns an endless vault of treasures, and the other is a nobody who must project all his weapons from nothing—why did Archer entrust Shirou with Gil’s defeat? Even Saber failed to defeat him in the previous Grail War. Who can stand up to the King of Heroes?

Looking ahead

For now, what does stand up to the King of Heroes is soot. Gil leaves our protagonists be for now rather than let his clothes get dirty. Even from beyond the grave, Lancer (or at least the fire he started, which has spread out plenty since episode twenty) manages to score another point by soiling Gil’s outfit and saving the day. What a man.

Shinji, however, is not so fortunate. Even though he’s hardly a magus at all, even though he’s completely clueless, even though he’s a pathetic spot of slime, he’s been chosen for the dubious honour of being the faulty vessel of the grail. No matter how much one disliked Shinji, one must admit that his fate is most horrific. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

We needn’t worry about it too much for now, though, because next week there will presumably be dolphins. Look forward(?) to it.

Full-length images: 34.




  1. Erm, the sound Shinji was making, to me it’s like the sound that cats’ arguing/hissing while their mouth are full of food (or whatever)…

    BTW, according to Gilgamesh, the Grail needs the soul of 7 Servants (and maybe their Masters too) to produce the purest of mana; but in the previous war, Archer (Gil) and Saber are still alive, so how could it be activated/granted Gil’s wish (to obtain physical body)?

    Also, after the soul of a Heroic Spirit taken into the Grail, could he/she being summoned in any (theoretically) future war?

    Lone Wanderer
    1. Generally, the summoned Servants in the Grail War are copies of the heroes, with the original held outside of space and time, so there wouldn’t be a problem summoning the same one in a future war. Saber is a unique case, due to her circumstances, but for everyone else, each time a hero is summoned as a Servant, a new copy is made. Normally, a Servant wouldn’t have memories of a prior war, since it’s not the same copy, unless it’s physically been around like Gil has.

    2. The Holy Grail was never activated. Kiritsugu forced Saber (by Command Spell) to destroy the Lesser Grail (the Chalice), which resulted in all the evil mud pouring through the city and causing the great fire that killed thousands.

      You know what the real tragedy is? If Kiritsugu had ordered Saber to destroy the Greater Grail (the portal where all the evil mud poured through) rather than the Chalice, it would have destroyed the Holy Grail for good and ended the war forever.

  2. I’m kinda disappointed that, as compared to how kiritsugu was constantly mentioned, Ilya wasn’t mentioned; you can imagine that had Archer brought up more “future information” that Shirou didn’t know about, especially if it was about someone Shirou had the responsibility in saving, then Archer would have won. Archer must have unconsciously held back, where he did wanted his past self to be a hero of justice, by withholding information.
    At the least, Archer should put flowers on Ilya’s grave. Or, in order for it to be significant, move Ilya’s body next to the tombstone of her father, kinda depressing when their bodies are buried separately.

    As for Gilgamesh, I am wondering if Enkidu (fate/strange fake) would find his friend to be sane if he actually seen him be like this.

    1. remember that the grial is corrupted and avenger and angra mainyuu have the power to corrupt everything it touch,

      Show Spoiler ▼

      this can be debatable, because Gil’s “ego” is so great that he took over all the world’s sin’s without loosing his mind, but it should had an effect, the meaning that he could withstand it, its that he wasn’t consumed but…after hearing and feeling everyone’s sin, then the desire of kill everyone seems reasonable.

      this can lead to a christian religious reference, we got jesus christ who took all the sins for himself to save humanity,

      then we got gil who was forced to take them

      while jesus christ(the king of kings) was able to forgive
      gil (the king of heroes) was not.

      conclusion: Is christ’s return to judge life and death, how ? only the survivor will be worthy
      all the others are just mongrels

  3. So ends the clash if ideals. Shirou without a doubt won it, as no matter what Archer could, he could never break Shirou’s spirit. In a sense its a resolution for both of them. Archer finally remembers the beauty of his ideals, and realizes that whatever life he had, he would always have the satisfaction that he saved lots of people. For Shirou he gets to see his dark mirror, and understand what his ideals can end up as if he loses his way and can follow his hero path with even more solidarity.

    Once again I do like how UFOTable focuses on using visual symbolism as opposed to VN where Shirou’s just gets his ass kicked and keeps getting back up. In this case, how Shirou “breaks” Archers gloomy desolate Unlimited Blade Works with a sunrise to express his victory of ideals.

    I also like how they added a lot of Saber’s own perspective in this fight. Even when this is not her route, its crucial that she understands her parallels with Archer, which helps make her resolution at the Final act more sense when it happens.

    I’m not fond of how they rewrote Gil here though. A lot of the dialogue here is anime original. I do get what UFOTable was going for, as Gil is the “Final Boss” so they had to give him some sort of stakes that our heroes must overcome to beat him. It certainly makes more sense than in the VN where he essentially does it for kicks. The problem is, the whole “Humanity is evil and must all die” is just a stock ubiquitous villain trope.

    1. Yeah. Agreed about Gilgamesh. His goal is boring. Stock villain, indeed. I expected a lot more, especially since he was a very interesting character in Fate/Zero.

    2. Just note though, they didn’t actually rewrite Gil. This is the real Gil as F/N is the actual source material for the series. The Gil that you are familiar with came after and was rewritten for F/Z.

      Just a minor correction

      1. Actually, I’d say the version of Gilgamesh from Zero is actually who Gilgamesh truly is. The Gilgamesh we’re seeing has been corrupted for 10 years by the Grail. Even someone as awesome like Gilgamesh will be corrupted eventually. The sad part is who Gilgamesh was isn’t that far away from being corrupted, since there barely is a difference. It also is what likely would’ve happened to him if it wasn’t for his friend, Enkidu.

      2. @Dorian : I get what your are saying but that’s not what I was pointing out. What I was saying was that the Gilgamesh you are seeing now is the original Gilgamesh as was originally written since Fate Stay Night ( and it’s 3 routes ) is the original work. Fate Zero was actually written by another author later on due to the popularity of the Fate Stay Night Visual Novel.

        So it’s basically like Star Wars where Episode 4-6 came before Episode 1-3

    3. Wait, this stuff isn’t in the VN? It felt out of place to me, but I thought it had just been moved around; I could’ve sworn that Gilgs goes over all this stuff during his boss fight later on.

      Axe Armor
      1. Magic

        Or you know, considering it isn’t a limited environment, they can pull mass from the air or ground and convert as necessary. We also don’t know the density of the shinji balloon.

        No laws broken, as we don’t know the laws of that universe

  4. I’m not sure what to think about Gil. Here they make it sound like he’s the standard “AND NOW I’M GONNA KILL EVERYONE” kind of nutjob final boss – but even the earlier episodes contradict that mentality!

    If you recall, he talked how how he couldn’t kill any of the 10 slaves, because they all served some purpose.

    Gin’s beef with the modern world is that (according to him) people live without purposes or reason. They just float around, because this world is too convenient and people aren’t pushed to realize their potential. This is why he’s intending to break the world, not caring if billions of “worthless” mongrels are lost in the process. Again, this coming from a guy who reminisced how he couldn’t bring himself to kill one of ten slaves.

    I’m not sure why UFOTable decided to simplify him to such degree, during the course of the show no less.

    Also, just a thought in regards to Gin’s warped mentality. Keep in mind that without the grail-mud-fire of ten years ago, Kiritsugu would be still a burnt-out shell and Shirou as a hero would have never been born…

    1. He also said that the low numbers of humans alive in that era made a big impact on his decision to spare all 10. Human life was precious because it was relatively rare. That speech actually foreshadows his intentions here, it doesn’t contradict it. He specifically said he does not want EVERYONE to die. He just wants to depopulate the earth back to the level it was at when he was alive, and then the ones who survive will bring worth back to humanity. It’s a horrific plan but it does make logical sense for the character as he’s written in this show. The VN, maybe not so much, but here it’s not hard to see how he spelled out his thinking.

      Cluttered Mind
      1. I don’t think Gilgamesh ever placed very high values on human life, and I don’t really think he couldn’t have replaced a slave or two without much fuss.

        He thinks of people like tools. Would you throw out a tool that still serves you? Most likely not. Would you, on the other hand, keep a tool that has no purpose?

        I (used to) think this is the logic Gil follows with the modern era.

    2. You just answered your own question. Gil considers that those slaves had a purpose, just like everyone else during his time. Just like say, a soldier, a slave knew exactly what he had to do – to work for his master. Recalling what he said to Waver in F/Z after he defeated Rider, we can assume that he does seem to appreciate people who’re content with their place in the world.

      He probably has way more appreciation towards a slave(as long as that slave’s one of his subjects I assume) than our two Emiyas.

      Long story short, I just assume Gil likes people to know their place. Though of course, he’s speaking from the top of the mountain here, from the most convenient place. Whether he’d still think the same and embrace his purpose if he were destined to another, much lesser role like say, a simple soldier is something we don’t know.

      1. Whoa, you put my point better than I did. 🙂 Yeah, Gil likes people who know their place and accordingly.

        As for being on the top of the hill, I think would still pass judgement on himself (which is kind of an absurd proposition as he is/was the closest one can get to being God in the FS multiverse, IIRC). Remember his treatment regarding kings in FS/Z. He accepted Iskander as a worthy king and rival, because Iskander accepted his role as a king and acted accordingly; but he never treated Saber as a king, because she was, at that point, rejecting her own role and lacked purpose.

        I mean, he liked Saber as a woman, but that’s a whole different angle. 🙂

  5. So Shirou is still going to follow his ideals. So in the end he is going to be betryed by the people he tried to save and being hanged. There isn’t much he can change about that. He probably won’t become Archer, but still.

    Anyway, is it me or has Gil become more evil and assholish since the end of Fate/Zero? While Zero Gil wasn’t exactly the nicest person, I can’t imagine him being a megalomaniac. And I also can’t imagine that UBW Gil would spare Waver like he did in Fate/Zero. The scene with the maids was quite the contrast.

    1. Of course this Gilgamesh is more twisted than he was in Fate/Zero. He’s been tainted by the evil of the Grail. Unfortunately those who haven’t read the VN are going to have to wait for the Heaven’s Feel movie(s?) to fully understand what is going on with the Grail and why coming into contact with it changes people and things not for the better.

      Cluttered Mind
      1. He was not tainted by the Grail. He was spat out by the Grail because he couldn’t be tainted. His current actions are due to seeing the nature of the corrupted Grail as well as spending ten years in society.

  6. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2021%20-%20Large%2027.jpg
    Dumb question, had Ruler been summoned, instead of Avenger during the 3rd Grail War, then the Grail wouldn’t have been corrupted right? Or let’s say, another case where during the fourth grail war where Kiritsugu could had instead summoned Show Spoiler ▼

    . Would that offset the corruption place in the Grail previously? Or nothing would change even if something like Ruler and Avenger had both been summoned.

    1. That name is a big spoiler to those who haven’t read Apocrypha yet.
      But yes, Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Thanks, so if Ruler had been summoned then that mess wouldn’t have been made if the contents wasn’t “impure.”

        Show Spoiler ▼

  7. Man, I sure do love that Emiya theme. Archer’s world growing brighter behind Emiya with the theme playing in the background was wonderfully done.

    The discussion about the Grail was very interesting too.

  8. I admit the animation was epic, the fight was epic but the emiya soundtrack didn’t satisfy me. In the novel it gave me goosebumps even though Shirou’s attacks were a bunch of still shots. The ending however was very well made, spending time showcasing that Archer clearly could have killed Shirou in the last clash, yet simply chose not to strike.

    And now for the next episode… Show Spoiler ▼

    1. So I wasn’t the only disappointed with this version of Emiya? It just didn’t have the oomph I expected. Quite subtle really. Maybe there’ll be a Version 2 later on…

  9. In the visual novel, what Archer wants to say to Shirou is this:

    His eyes are filled with confidence. That Servant is no match for us, Emiya Shirou. Neither Saber nor Tohsaka will be the one to defeat him. My own self is telling me that Emiya Shirou is the natural enemy of that Servant.

    Mathias Rosier
  10. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2021%20-%20Large%2031.jpg
    It’s hard for me to hate Gil right now since I just came off finishing Fate/Extra CCC with him as my Servant. He was so much better in there. He’s an even bigger tsundere than Rin actually. Plus, it’s so satisfying to use Enuma Elish to defeat enemies. It’s really because of him being exposed in modern society plus the influence of the Grail that he’s initiating this plan.

    Is it really dolphins? I was hoping for jackhammer though. Ah well.

    1. Battle between Shirou and Archer was all about ideals so it makes sense that there’s a lot of talk about it between the two. Otherwise, it would feel like a regular battle.

      And Gil… he is kind of person who likes the sound of his own voice ^_^;

  11. Shinji had it coming.
    Gilgamesh deserves defeat – not for his abysmally stupid reasons to erase humanity, but for abandoning certain victory to not dirty his clothes. War is dirty business, Gil should have remembeedr it from his own conquests!
    Now it is up to mightily reduced main cast to stop the snickering megalomaniac. I presume Rin will be the brains of the outfit, Saber the muscle, and Shirou the Determinator. After all, he gets literally to save EVERYONE if he succeeds.

  12. I also like how, unlike FSN, Saber is still calling Gilgamesh, “Archer”. Though I do wish there was a little reaction from Shirou and Rin when she did considering their “Archer” just disappeared.

    1. “Archer” is the only thing she knows to call him. She never found out his true name in F/Z, and at this point in the UBW story she still doesn’t know it. He’s never been called by his name in her presence.

      Cluttered Mind
  13. What Cole McgGrath said to his allies on the voyage to New Marais could embody Shirou’s disposition after his victory against his alternate future self EMIYA in Unlimited Blade Works:

    “‎I don’t know if you’ve ever let someone down, got your ass kicked or straight up failed. But those are the moments that define us. They push you further than you’ve ever thought possible, and force you to make choices. No matter what the cost.”

  14. “No matter how much one disliked Shinji, one must admit that his fate is most horrific. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.”

    Since I watch DxD BorN first before UBW… (episode 9 spoilers)
    Show Spoiler ▼

    For Shinji, his (karmic) transformation is just the beginning of his fate worse than death…

    On that second statement though:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Still, it was refreshing for Shirou’s optimism to finally shine through to Archer…even though I can’t help but relate more to Archer’s slide towards cynicism because of his experiences. And just when Archer’s finally rediscovered what he’s lost… BAM! He’s gone…

  15. Well, there are comments about corrupted Grail, lesser grail and real grail and other things

    Well, Blondie explain it a bit. But names appear with it here in the comments, Names no Anime only viewer know, only the VN or Movie watcher, thank you for sharing that to us

    1. As someone who’s only seen F/Z and skipped season one of UBW, my biggest issue is this.

      Anyone have suggestions what to watch in the Fate series? Is the original Fate/Night going to really mess with the timeline because I seem to have lost the linear plot here.

      Hang on… (noob question) Show Spoiler ▼

      This :|
  16. I beg to differ. Shinji deserved everything this episode, hell it’s not enough.

    Archer could’ve easily killed Shirou at the last minute, but I guess he found his old soft spot back and just let him win.

  17. Ep 22:

    Show Spoiler ▼


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