|Kiritsugu confidently takes his spot back as "Lead Screenshot"…|
Fate/Zero, Ep. 7 - "Evil Forest"
[Nico Nico Douga] [Crunchyroll]
Tokiomi and the Church make their move in this installment of Fate/Zero, a thrilling affair filled with action and intrigue, particularly in the second half. They enact their plan of dispatching Caster and Ryuunosuke by dangling the carrot of an extra Command Spell in front of the Masters, which attracts the attention of all, including Kiritsugu--who has in his possession Caster's main attraction in Saber.
Largely, this episode was Kiritsugu's to shine, and we get some welcome character development in it as well, albeit verging on out-of-character. Knowing that the Church is harboring the Master of the still-active Assassin, he is certainly not placing a whole lot of trust in the truce or its presenters, and instead, plans to use Caster's eventual arrival as an opportunity to pick off the ensuing cavalry after they defeat him. This does not sit well with the King of Knights at all, whose vocal displeasure at his un-noble tactics served as an effective underscoring of the "pair's" polarized relationship, where Saber's frontline, chivalrous warrior mentality clashes with Kiritsugu's attack-from-the-shadows, opportunistic mindset.
However, more is on her Master's mind than trying to placate to her desires, as we witness Kiritsugu on the verge of breaking down while he confides to Irisviel atop their residence. While having a more personal and intimate sight of such a stolid, mysterious character is good, seeing him act as nervous and emotional as he did was a little hard to swallow. I could never buy that he would actually whisk himself and his family away from the Grail War because of its danger, much less out of all-consuming fear of Kirei. This is a guy that has been built from the beginning as being tough, hardened, and strong, but now all of the sudden he's whining and bemoaning the situation he's in? Where did this all of this come from? And on top of that, he's actually cares deeply about Irisviel?! Judging by previous episodes and Maiya laying one on him in Episode 3, one might have pegged their relationship as cold or out-of-convenience, but here, he seems more likely to move heaven and earth to protect her. This all would have been more palatable if it fell more in line with his portrayal thus far or even if we saw more a little more trepidation earlier, but going all wishy-washy wasn't so much a deeper revelation of the character as it was a bizarre and incongruent scene that was more jarring than it should have been.
Thankfully, things snap back into order when Caster arrives--not with Ryuunosuke, but with a group of the children they kidnapped, who are forced into a morbid game of hide-and-seek. This lures Saber out to confront him, but what initially looks like a massacre is actually a very nasty trap, as she is surrounded by grotesque, otherworldly creatures borne from the dead bodies around her. As they attack her and Kiritsugu and the others plot their next course of action, another pair enters the fray: Lancer to take down Caster (and aid Saber), and Kayneth to take down Kiritsugu with his Mercury-Ball-of-Doom. Come to find out, he's still not very happy with Kiritsugu trying to kill him and all that stuff, so now he's literally tearing his castle apart trying to find him. It's a very neat and creative scene as Kayneth uses his ball of liquid as both WMD and homing device, as well as protective device, as seen at the very beginning of the episode when it shielded him and his party from the bombing.
It did well in showing the gap in magical proficiency between him and Kiritsugu, who apparently knows a few tricks himself (I originally thought a mind trick he used in the previous episode was a one-off spell possibly given to him from Irisviel), and it was good to see Kayneth actually take the initiative and do more attacking and less threatening. Kiritsugu's rain of bullets are rendered useless against Kayneth's sphere and his time-altering tricks only take him but so far, but as the episode closes with the mage shielding himself from another barrage with ease, Kiritsugu whips out a large handgun and confidently takes aim…
P.S.: Additional cool screenshots…
|Run! Run, right now!!|
P.P.S.: You may have noticed a distinct difference in quality between some of the screenshots in this review, as well as the last one. The reason for this is twofold: between both streaming sources, Niconico has the inferior video quality, but superior subtitle script, whereas Crunchyroll has the superior video quality, but the lesser of the two subtitle scripts. I refrain from calling it "inferior" because it isn't bad or inaccurate, per se, but doesn't have the sort of flow or natural fit like the sub script Niconico is using, either--even their episode titles have more of a kick to them! (Don't ask why Crunchyroll--or perhaps Aniplex USA--is commissioning their own translation. Maybe it's a rights thing…) As such, I will be using screenshots from Crunchyroll for straight-up still captures and ones from Niconico for a funny line from now on. I mean, really, it's like night-and-day between the two services video quality-wise, as you can tell when you toggle between the first two screenshots in the previous review (check above link) (though Niconico's can look like just a rung below CR's 720p stream in some episodes). If only one or both of the sites had the best of the other…