「おはよう、金星の女神」 (Ohayou, Kinboshi no Megami)
“Good Morning, Goddess of Venus”
Remember that episode of Unlimited Blade Works where, after a bunch of intense action pieces, and after the villain basically stomped on the protagonist party but lets them go for no good reason, the anime brings the tension down by basically just having Rin make faces for 20 minutes?
Other than the brief but mandated action sequence (though they really should have lead with the magpie-bait if it was going to be Super Effective) this episode was entirely exposition. But it was exposition featuring the face of Tohsaka Rin so I suppose it was far more palatable. It’s hard to be a Fate/ fan without also being a Rin fan (if only because she is arguably the franchise’s most pervasive fixture) so an episode of Rin-service is an automatic slam-dunk. And it serves to reassure us that whatever weird tenancy ratio that is happening inside Rin’s body due to strange mythological permutations, there are still constants.
I suppose the reason Nasu so often throws in a Rin (or any of her prototypes) into his works is that she’s just a really useful type of character to have around. Rin was designed to be a heroine. I don’t means this in terms of waifu-metrics (though I’m sure she’ll score high with any rating board). I mean that she’s assertive. She knows what she wants, she knows how to get it, and proactively works towards it. From a storytelling perspective she can be counted on to do things and have presence. That is, she can steer the plot in specific directions. Sure, an author can just drop a plot device from the sky to spur the protagonist, but such blatant author intervention feels unnatural. Better to have the story feel character driven.
You can see Ishtar being employed in this fashion this episode. It would usually be a tad difficult to come done from all the emotion of last week, whether it be hype about the action or grief at the loss of our heroes. Enter IshtaRin who, with her huge character presence, can just pull the entire narrative towards herself and it doesn’t feel exceptionally forced because she’s designed to have that kind of gravity well. If you need someone to demolish a pensive mood and move on? She’s your girl.
And there’s more in her character to tap, yet. It’s a bit obvious what’s going on but I’ll avoid spoilers all the same. I will say, though, I recall that in an earlier interview about the original Deen Fate/stay night anime, Ueda Kana talked about not being entirely sure how to play Rin and being doubtful about the casting. It amuses me that she’s now voicing like three versions of her in the same episode with complete comfort.