“Babylon, the Condemned and the Memories of the King”
Do I need to watch Fate Zero first?
Lord El-Melloi II (aka Waver Velvet-kun) was one of the important characters from Fate/Zero. While the name doesn’t make it obvious, this series is pretty much a direct sequel examining Waver’s life following Fate/Zero’s conclusion.
If you’ve never seen Fate/Zero, I think you’ll need to watch that first. A lot of love towards Waver as a character, in spite of his flaws, comes from many viewers having built up that rapport and connection with him as a result of witnessing his magical adventures with Rider over the course of 21 episodes. As far as I’m concerned, they were easily the best duo in Fate/Zero – perhaps even the franchise as a whole. This would be completely lost upon newcomers. Also, this episode might tell you that Rider was this great guy. But for a newcomer, that’s simply not enough to convey just how awesome of a guy Rider was. That this really is a guy worth following post-death, in terms of upholding his ideals and making his dreams come true. So give yourself a treat and let yourself experience Fate/Zero for the first time, in all its majesty.
Waver once embarked on the journey of a lifetime alongside Rider back in the days of Fate/Zero, battling together with his steadfast companion through the Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. They came to share a dream together. However, it all came crashing down when the part-god Archer rendered Rider asunder with his primordial sword – Ea. Waver grieved for his companion but was spared out of respect for his dead comrade – and he lived on to become a changed man. At times, he might still come across as that neurotic and bumbling adolescent from the beginning of Fate/Zero. But here, we get to see him put on responsible airs as the caretaker of a political and aristocratic position, representing and restoring the El-Melloi household by day while investigating magical mysteries at night.
Did Troyca manage to fill out the big boots that Ufotable left behind? First thing’s first, the visuals were so stunning that I wouldn’t be able to tell any difference between Troyca and Ufotable in terms of quality – whereas the inferior visuals were easily noticeable with A-1 Pictures in Apocrypha. Yuki Kajiura is also back on board to do the music, and I can only accept that she must have a noble phantasm called Unlimited Choral Works that allows her to whip out cracking compositions – because the OST was frickin’ awesome as always. Thus I have no complaints about the way Troyca have managed production in this regard, and I hope they can keep up this level of quality.
As for the synopsis, Waver is interrogated by Kayneth’s niece where he recounts being captured and imprisoned by a rogue Middle-Easterner. Because that’s just classic Waver Velvet. He meets an acquaintance from highschool and together, they bust out of their magic prison. Yet, that mostly seemed like fluff to me. None of it was stuff that I really cared for. Waver’s true emotions and convictions were put on display whenever anything to do with Rider comes up. The moment he realised that Barzan was planning to desecrate the resting place of Rider, he was so livid and unable to simply move on and just let some evil mook do that to his steadfast companion. Yeah… that’s the kind of content I came here for.
When Waver rejected Melvin’s offer to become best friends, I choose to believe that in his heart, Rider will always and forever remain his best friend. The substantive elements of this episode involved echoes and the continuing effects of the friendship between Waver and Rider, that even fifteen years after Rider’s death, it still has such a significant effect on Waver to this day. So much so that he even gives a pale imitation of Rider donning his majestic cloak and dreams of reaching the shores that Rider once stood on. I don’t know if Waver will ever reach those shores and whether this series will even get around to covering it. Nevertheless, this dramatised take certainly tickles my fancy, where Waver goes around solving mysteries like Holmes and busting down ruins like Indiana Jones with a healthy sprinkling of magic. I’m just happy we got some more high quality Fate entries and hope there’s more to come.
Sorry this has been so late! I’ve been on vacation in Holland for these past few days, and that’s given me very little free time to work on posts. But I couldn’t miss a chance to cover a series set in my home city, especially one that had the prospects of being a great show this season — since both the Mage’s Association and Clock Tower are located in London.
Going in, I wanted this show to be more than mere fanservice for Type-Moon fans, and become a fully fledged mystery series brimming with intrigue in its own respect. So, how did that go? Well, it’s complicated. It did mostly end up being fanservice for Type-Moon fans, though it didn’t end up being a bad thing by any means. My inner Kara no Kyoukai fan got excited over the mystic eyes, and I don’t need to explain why Fate/Zero fans would be all over this. The first episode did well to establish the underlying context, and I hope the mysteries won’t stop coming from the next episode onwards. So I’ll hold my judgement on the mystery component for now, until they have something to show. Hopefully it will be good! Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to talk about. Thanks for reading my post, and do let me know what your thoughts are down below in the comment section!