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Fate/Zero - "The Grail's Invitation" - Episode 12 Recap

After discovering Rider’s noble phantasm, Tohsaka decides it is time for
Archer to make his move against the other servants. Kiritsugu also
analyzes the different masters and servants and how he should approach
eliminating them. Since the castle is now compromised, he has Maiya move Irisviel and Saber to a new base. Meanwhile, Kirei and Archer
find themselves in another conversation revolving around what Kirei
truly wants from the war.

Honestly there isn’t a whole lot to
talk about because the episode bounces between two long conversations
between Irisviel/Saber and Kirei/Archer. Maybe it’s because I have seen Fate/Stay Night but frankly, I didn’t find the Kirei/Archer conversation
all that interesting. I enjoy Archer a fair amount, but both talks have
revolved around Kirei and what he wants to do with the war. It doesn’t
help that I find Kirei to be rather bland compared to the rest of the
masters. Archer more or less explains to Kirei that he is not merely a
puppet for Tohsaka and that there is a reason he is involved in this war. They talk about Kirei’s interest in Kariya and what would happen if it
were possible for Kariya to make it to the end. Kirei has become
especially fond of Kariya due to his “special circumstances.” This leads
to a disagreement on Archer and Kirei’s ideas on joy. Kirei also
explains what happens to the command seals during the war. When a
servant is defeated the master’s seals return to the grail, but when
just a master is defeated the grail has the ability to pick a new master
for the servant. Any remaining seals are given to the judge at the end
of the war.

Having lost Assassin, Kirei’s seals have
disappeared. He believes that he has fulfilled his job as Tohsaka’s
intelligent support, but Archer disagrees. The Grail decides that it is
not done with Kirei and awards him new command seals, despite no servant
being available. Archer nearly spells out
that he will fight with Kirei, though in the end he doesn’t stay it outright and decides to leave it up to Kirei. It’s a brilliant set-up by Archer,
but unfortunately the appeal is lost on me because I don’t understand
his fascination with Kirei. Perhaps he finds the challenge of changing
Kirei fun, or maybe he has never met someone with such firm beliefs.
Either way, Fate/Stay Night viewers know how this relationship ends up.

When Saber and Irisviel are transferring to their new base, Saber
immediately notices something is wrong when Irisviel decides not to drive. They get to the Japanese house (the same house Shirou lives at in Fate/Stay Night) and Saber notices that Irisviel hasn’t been touching anything.
Later she asks if she is okay and Irisviel reveals that she has not been
feeling well. Since she is not a normal human she is able to cut off
her senses to concentrate on her magic, and she’s done this with her sense of touch for the sake of pleasing Kiritsugu and ultimately getting the Grail. which she’s done to please Kiritsugu and ultimately
get the Grail. Irisviel is so weak that she can barely grip Saber’s
hand. Saber is visibly disturbed by this and pledges to help Irisviel in
any way she can. Saber’s relationship with Irisviel has been a joy to
watch in the show, so to see her loyalty and friendship extend here was
touching.

 

The smaller parts of the episode consisted of
Tohsaka and Kiritsugu going over their options. Tohsaka learns that
Rider’s noble phantasm is on par with Archer’s and declares that they
were smart in not engaging Rider until they knew what he was capable of.
With Assassin out of the picture and all of the intelligence gathered,  Tohsaka decides that it is time to stop hiding and have Archer work on
eliminating the other servants. Meanwhile Kiritsugu can’t decide whether
or not he should do something about Berserker or allow him to fight
Archer to better their chances. He explains that he is concerned about
Rider and doesn’t understand how Kirei knew he was Saber’s master. A
huge difference between this war and the war in Fate/Stay Night has been
the abilities of the masters. There has been a lot more planning and
caution from the masters and in general, this has upped the stakes during
each battle. Every move is important and could lead to someone being
eliminated.

All in all, this was a pretty slow episode. The
large amount of exposition continues in an attempt to establish the
smaller plotlines and how things will ultimately pan out. It
works to a certain degree, but there are times where I wish there was
more action. Considering this episode was basically two conversations,
this proved to be one of those times. The dialogue and setups are
fascinating, but too much more will bog the show down. Episode thirteen
marks the end of Fate/Zero’s first half, so hopefully it will go out
with a bang and leave viewers craving its return.

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