What They Say:
Ten years prior to the events of FATE/STAY NIGHT, the War of the Holy Grail is a contest in which seven magi summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete to obtain the power of the “Holy Grail,” which grants a miracle. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While Caster has had his moments so far, there is something to be said for getting into his mindset a bit as we understand about how he has done so much evil but never faced true punishment. When you commit crimes and defilements unlike anyone in human history has done before, at least in your view, and yet you face no punishment for it and end up in a situation like this where you’re a Servant, it has to be disturbing and lead to strange rationalizations. It turns what you feel and know as evil deeds into things that must be done, that you almost feel that you’re commanded to do because you’re not punished. And when your Master is a look cracked himself and has a different approach to life, you can soften and mold Caster into the kind of Servant you need to cause even more trouble. Twisting a worldview to suit ones purposes becomes very, very easy.
Contrasting this darker sequence is the fun of Rider and Waver out shopping and enjoying the world. Waver’s young enough to not know a lot so he actively does some research on who Rider is in order to understand him a bit more. It helps to humanize him to be sure, but at the same time it can be a bit hard to reconcile how Rider is now with that past since he’s so in love with the world and all it has to offer. It’s not a surprise, per se, but it’s fun to watch as he does his best to blend in but still live large. Fascinated by what he sees, interested in video games and simply just very amicable and fun to be with, though Rider has a hard to with it sometimes. Having the two of them spend more time together like this helps to reinforce the bond they share, which definitely feels different than most of the other Master/Servant relationships, and makes it easy to be drawn not only to Rider and his big personality, but also to Waver which I admit is a real surprise for me.
With the heavy focus on the Rider and Waver pairing this time around, there’s a lot to like here in how they interact with each other. But as much as it dominates, it’s the set up for what’s to come when the series returns in a few months as it starts to finally draw things together amongst the current Servants in regards to Caster. There’s something thrilling about when they finally do start coming together to discuss how to deal with him and to turn their focus there since the Holy Grail War has taken this curious turn to deal with someone who has gone significantly astray. And putting a lot of that into the personality that is Rider makes it a lot of fun since he plays it big but also sees the importance of it. It’s not light, per se, but there’s a certain thrill to it all that really is exhilarating to watch as he gets into things and pairs up with the others.
Sure to be frustrating for many, the final episode of the season before it returns in April 2012 is one that is largely very, very quiet. It’s more personality based and deals with how the teams are working with each other that have been doled out for the Holy Grail War. The time spent with Caster and Ryuunosuke is actually a lot of fun because the two are well suited for each other in their own way and I love the idea of someone like Caster not fitting into the expected role. Similarly, I’m probably enjoying the pairing of Rider and Waver more than any pairing in general and what they bring to the table as the two of them are largely making the entire series for me at this point. They’re just a wonderful mix of seriousness and fun that works on several levels and keeps me vastly entertained. So the time spent with them is just one of the best parts and getting another episode like this is spot on. It’s going to be a long wait for more, but there’s a lot to love with the season so far and it’s already one worth rewatching in full right away.
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Streamed By: Nico Nico
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.