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Fate/Zero - "False Start" - Episode 2 Recap

Like the first episode, the second episode of Fate/Zero “False Start” is
light on actual fighting. Instead, it focuses on a few of the
master/servant pairings and the dynamics of their relationships. As we
get deeper in the war these moments will likely be sparse, so for now I
will happily take the characterization. This is especially nice when
compared to Fate/stay night, where the focus was almost always on Emiya
and Tohsaka. Fate/Zero certainly offers a wide range of characters, from
kind to cold-hearted to sick and sadistic.

Surprisingly
Kiritsugu falls on the lighter end of that character spectrum for now.
He came off very cold and disconnected from the world in the first
episode, and yet in this episode is seen playing with his daughter
Illyasviel in the snow. I suspect that this is the calm before the
storm, with his ruthless ‘mage killer’ side coming out when he
encounters another master. Meanwhile it is established that he was genuinely taken aback to find out that the servant he summoned, King
Arthur, is a female. There are notions of uncertainty between the two
but one thing is clear — they both wish to use the grail to make the
world a better place. How they go about obtaining the grail is a
different story though, as I believe there will be a lot of tension
between the two due to Saber’s pride.

Some may think Waver is a
brat and annoying, but I find his character rather endearing. He has
been disrespected and wants to show the people who disrespected him that
they were wrong. I think it is a situation most people have been in at
some point, giving him a relatable quality. His pairing with Alexander
the Great (Rider class) makes his character all the better though.
Alexander is large, loud and very commanding, while Waver is small and
meek. This doesn’t sit well with Waver, but Alexander will make him a
better person and I can see the two forming some type of friendship down
the line. Alexander may be a bit silly with his love for maps, but shows that he is very powerful by revealing an ox chariot King
Gordias once offered to Zeus.

“False Start” introduced the
seventh and final master and servant pairing — Uryu Ryunosuke and
Bluebeard (Caster class). I knew this series was going for a “darker”
tone but this pairing showed just how different Fate/Zero is from Fate/stay night. Ryunosuke is a serial killer with an affinity for
children. He knows nothing about the Holy Grail war; he just wanted to
know if demons really existed. When Bluebeard is accidentally summoned
by him, Ryunosuke provides a young boy as an offering. Bluebeard, however, has no interest in eating the boy and lets him free. Moments
later, as the boy smiles because he has been saved, he is ripped apart
by a beast (or spell) that Caster summoned. It was actually a bit much
for me, hearing the boy scream as he is ripped to pieces. The pairing of the two murderers teaming up to try and win
an object that can grant any wish is just disturbing.

On the plot end of things,
Kotomine Kirei has seemingly broken his alliance with Tohsaka Tokiomi.
He sends Assassin in to slay Tokiomi, only for Assassin to be stopped
rather easily by Archer. Kirei’s motives are unclear but I doubt this is
really the end for Assassin, especially when his identity has not been
revealed just yet. Perhaps it was to test Assassin’s abilities, or maybe
Kirei really did turn his back on Tokiomi. Other than that small bit at
the end, this episode again featured a lot of set-up. “False Start” did
well in establishing just how different each of the masters and
servants are from one another. Ultimately, all of the summoned heroes
are strong, but it is their teamwork with their master that will set them
apart from the rest. Though there was little action, the episode was
intense. This is in large part due to Caster and Ryunosuke, who easily
stole the spotlight in that one shocking moment. Despite how awful the
pairing is, I look forward to seeing how the two develop in the war and
get what is inevitably coming to them. With two episodes of set-up, it
seems like it is time for a fight or two to get the viewers adrenaline
pumping. Hopefully the next episode will deliver on that note.

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