After exploring the various Masters’ motivations to participate in the Holy Grail war, episode 2 switches our attention to several intriguing Master-Servant liaisons.
When I was fresh out of OCS (Officer-cadet-school), I was assigned to platoon where my 2nd-in-command was a Staff sergeant of 20 years of military experience. Contrast this with a greenhorn lieutenant in his 13th month of conscripted service who didn’t know his left bootlace from the right. It had been a humbling and maturing experience juggling such inexperience with command responsibility; a coming-of-age ritual which I hope to see as Waver grow in his handling/dependence of Iskandar.
Shirou was an idiot for a reason in F/SN. Fate/Zero confirms the cause to be Kiritsugu. The telling conversation between Iri and Saber shows how a bundle of contradictions Kiritsugu is. As fate (pun intended) would have it, Kiritsugu’s involvement in the war has consigned Iri to certain death and misfortune to Illya (from what I remember from F/SN). Yet he laments Saber’s tragic fate of her own choosing. From the OP, it looks like Kiritsugu would relegate Saber-in-tux to a SP role for the sole purpose of protecting Iri rather than use her actively in the Grail war – Similar to what Shirou initially did in F/SN. Of course the major difference between Kiritsugu and Shirou is sheer ability. While Kiritsugu is an renowned mage-hunter, Shirou loves to tank a full-armour clad Saber with a t-shirt (+5 cotton-T of invulnerability anyone?). In this sense, Kiritsugu is very much less hateful. Still with the caliber of Masters/Servants in this war, it’d be deadly to assume he can last a minute more with mere tactics, stealth and firearms.
Folks don’t to have to look far to see why there are so many angry gods and end-of-world scenarios in religions. Because monster like Ryuuosuke and Bluebeard exist. (In fact, just today, I read about another horrific news of child abuse in a neighbouring country. And here I thought Zoken was the purest personification of evil.) This pair obviously are perfect for each other in their twisted abominable mind/ways. I really don’t want to think of the sick ‘education’ Bluebeard would be providing Ryuunosuke. If I had a Grail wish, I may just hope for kid-Ryuunosuke to meet psycho-Bluebeard and vice versa in some alternate universes.
In an odd sense, Kirei and Assassin are so very similar. Assassin’s ‘loyalty’ to Kirei is mirrored by Kirei’s unquestioning devotion to the church. I have no doubt Kirei’s betrayal of Assassin is but a preview to the Church/Tokiomi’s betrayal of Kirie. I have 3 postulates about Assassin’s suicide mission.
1. The suicidal sortie was ordered by Church/Tokiomi (hence the title to the ep – False Start which carries the dual meaning of betrayal and unofficial start of the war)
2. This was both a test of Kirei’s commitment to the Church/Mage association pact and Gilgamesh’s ability.
3. Tokiomi wanted to rid possible backstabbing by Kirei early in the game so that he could fully trust Kirei and concentrate on the other Masters.
While I’m almost 100% sure that Assassin’s death was ordered by Tokiomi, I question the benefits to the alliance given that Assassin would be VERY useful in eliminating the other 5 Masters.
And so another excellent episode of Fate/Zero though the Ryuunosuke bits have left quite a lingering bad taste in my mouth. Now to watch Carnival Phantasm to wash it out.
Oh and ep 3 had better more Irisviel goodness. XD