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Fate/Zero - "Mage-Killer" Episode 8 Recap

As Saber and Lancer work to defeat Caster, Kayneth continues his attack
on Kiritsugu. Though Kayneth proves to be a talented mage, he foolishly
picked someone who specializes in mage killing. While Maiya and Irisviel
are making their way from the castle, Irisviel feels another person
enter the barrier. This person is none other than Kirei and the two
women decide that they must stop him from reaching Kiritsugu, no matter
what it takes.

Knowing Kiritsugu’s history we all knew that he
had a plan when he showed himself to Kayneth with just his single shot,
Thompson Contender. He fires and the bullet passes straight through
Kayneth’s Volumen Hydragram and clean through the left side of his
chest. Kiritsugu scurries off, leaving a bewildered Kayneth wondering
what went wrong. He decides it was a fluke and increases his defenses, not knowing that he is falling right into Kiritsugu’s trap.
Aside from Kirei, Kiritsugu is the master to be feared in this war. He
can put together an elaborate plan and kill without remorse. The others
may be well versed in magic, but what good is that against someone so
talented in killing mages? I have to say that it was a real treat to see
exactly why Kiritsugu got his nickname as the mage killer.

We also get a small bit of insight into Kiritsugu’s past.
As his plan to eliminate Kayneth goes forward, we get a
flashback of Kiritsugu with a mentor of sorts. She explains that
Kiritsugu has a nuance for destruction and regeneration and creates 66 “origin bullets” out of his rib bones that can
destroy magic circuits in mages. The more powerful the mage, the more
circuits will be destroyed and the more the target will never recover as a mage or
human. When Kayneth strengthened his defenses he opened more magic
circuits, rendering himself vulnerable to Kiritsugu’s attack. The whole ‘cat and mouse’ game Kiritsugu
played was nothing more than a distraction, all to draw Kayneth in.
However Lancer saves Kayneth at the last moment, claiming that neither he nor
Saber want things to end like this. The battle between the two proved to
be chilling and impressive, establishing just how high the stakes are
in entering the Holy Grail War.

In light of the other two
fights going on, the Saber/Lancer fight versus Caster goes by quickly. Saber
and Lancer decide that their only shot is to damage/destroy Caster’s
Noble Phantasm. They come up with a simple and effective plan to have
Lancer “ride the wind” that Saber produces, enabling him to damage Caster’s noble phantasm. Despite this success, Caster manages to get
away. Though the fight was short it also did its job and blended well into
the episode, never disrupting the flow. I can only imagine what awful
abomination will come of Caster’s next plan, because when Lancer cut his Phantasm Caster
had a look of pure rage and hatred. In the future I’d like to see how
Archer and Rider feel about Caster’s atrocities, given that they are
also noble figures.

The third battle here involves Irisviel and Maiya setting out to stop Kirei against Kiritsugu’s orders to flee. Their relationship is a
bit of an oddity, as they both seem to be in love with Kiritsugu. If
last episode was any indication it seems to be that Kiritsugu favors Irisviel, so
I have to wonder how Maiya feels about being assigned as her protector. Maiya,
like Kiritsugu, is well versed in using guns, knives and explosives. She
makes a valiant attempt to take down Kirei, but he overwhelms her
quickly and knocks her to the ground. She yells for Irisviel to run away
but Irisviel stands her ground, stating that Kiritsugu taught her how
to survive. With that she pulls out an enchanted wire that takes the
form of a bird and attacks Kirei. Fate/Zero is scarce on strong female
characters at the moment, so to see both women utilize their abilities
to the fullest was great. The music during the attack was remarkable as usual, really adding to the beauty of the moment and the strength
Irisviel shows.

However, like Maiya Irisviel makes a noble attempt but
is defeated by Kirei. His brute strength is just so overwhelming, though it’s combined with rather silly battle tactics. He uses large throwing knives that come from
nowhere and then can rip down a tree? I suppose such power is a good reason
for Irisviel to fear Kirei so much, but it does seem a bit ridiculous. Then
again, in a war that summons ancient heroes maybe I shouldn’t be taken
aback by his antics. Kirei is cruel towards the women, claiming they
were foolish for attacking him for their own desires. He mocks Irisviel
for being a homunculus and making such a stupid decision and then
proceeds to stab her in the stomach. He flees and Maiya and Irisviel are
left on the ground looking grave. Luckily for Irisviel she carries
Avalon, a noble phantasm that heals its bearer’s wounds. The curious
part about this is that Kiritsugu has ordered Irisviel to not tell
anyone about it, not even Saber.

It’s a rather daunting task
to fit three separate battles into a single episode, but fortunately Fate/Zero does so marvelously and in a natural way. The episode didn’t
feel choppy or slow, it moved along at a respectable pace and each
battle got fleshed out the appropriate amount. It’s pretty impressive
that Fate/Zero is able to produce such stellar fights between the
masters and the servants. The show easily could have focused most of its
energy on the servants, but instead it allows the masters to show off their
abilities as well.

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