I had neglected to express my love of this shot of Saber from the opening

Ilya’s maids chastise her for leaving Shirou and Rin alive, but Ilya responds that it is not fun to kill so quickly and she would rather change her prey. She asserts Berserker’s invincibility and states that she will “make Shirou suffer in Kiritsugu’s place”.

Elsewhere, Shirou awakes to find his injuries healed and Rin at his bedside. She asserts yet again that she is now his enemy and departs. Saber and Shirou discuss the previous night’s battle, and she continues to express surprise at having a Master who treats her as a human being (my poor baby…). She also explains to him the nature of Noble Phantasms, the Servants’ most powerful and unique attacks, which require mana to activate and can potentially reveal their true identity. She keeps her name and her sword’s name secret, so that it cannot be extracted from Shirou’s mind by an enemy mage.

Rin and Archer investigate the site of the gas leak accident, and realize that it was actually the work of a mage. Meanwhile, Saber enjoys her breakfast and begins what will be a long and happy relationship with food. Shirou brings Fujimura-sensei her lunch, with Saber traveling alongside to protect the food…I mean him. Shirou’s school friends are of course curious about Saber, and Shirou tries to pass her off as a prospective international student.

Rin is such a cutie

Saber senses something strange and wanders off. She runs into another teacher, Kuzuki-sensei, who seems unhappy to see her. Saber cannot sense any magic from him, but still feels that he is more than he seems. Mitsuzuri, the archery club captain, attempts to convince Shirou to return to the club because he has seemed to ‘lack a goal’ since he left the club.

Despite initial reluctance, Taiga and Sakura are accepting of Saber, and they all enjoy a meal together. Taiga and Sakura declare that they will also be staying with Shirou for the time being, ostensibly to make sure nothing funny happens between him and Saber but more likely to continue eating his delicious cooking.

Elsewhere, Rin continues her investigation of the mana traces and encounters a group of skeletal familiars. She dispatches them easily with her magic, and she and Archer deduce that the enemy Servant is a sorcerer who has been draining life force from the town, and therefore probably Caster. They track the stolen lifeforce to nearby Ryudou Temple, and decide to follow Caster’s trail with the intent to fight. Archer berates Rin for ignoring Shirou and Saber in favor of Caster, but she insists that they are not a threat to her.

This chessboard is one of the most famous images from the Fate series, and I’m glad it got to show up here

This was definitely the slowest episode so far, which was to be expected after last week’s battle-heavy episode. It was also the first episode where I felt that the plot was not advanced very much, at least until the end when Rin and Archer began tracking Caster. The episode’s focus was mostly around Shirou and Saber adjusting to life together as Master and Servant, and Saber’s introduction to Taiga, Sakura and the other student and teacher characters.

While there was still some nice foreshadowing (the meeting with Kuzuki-sensei and Sakura’s reaction to Saber stand out to me), I did feel that this episode was maybe a little bit too slow in parts. While I have promised myself not to compare UBW to Fate/zero too much, I do feel like UBW can feel too slow compared to Zero. Zero had so many focal characters that it was nearly impossible to have an episode in which the plot did not advance in a major way (with the possible exception of the flashback episodes). UBW, because it is revealing the Masters and Servants more slowly rather than in the first two episodes, there are a lot fewer plot-heavy scenes. While some of the domestic scenes, such as Saber, Taiga and Sakura watching TV together, can be very cute, the school scenes are not a particular favorite of mine because they seem so weak compared to more Grail War-focused scenes and feature a lot of flat (Rin’s friends) and outright unlikeable (Shinji) characters more prominently.

The true OTP of the series: Saber x food

I did like that we got another small bit of exposition in this episode – Saber’s explanation of Noble Phantasms as well as her reasons behind wanting to keep her identity secret. It seems that UBW is trying to consciously avoid having another ‘infodump’ episode after Kirei in episode 3, which is a very smart decision.

The highlight of this episode was definitely Rin and Archer’s scenes. I love their dynamic so much, and with Shirou and Saber still adjusting to their Master/Servant relationship, it is team Archer who is providing most of the plot advancement at this point in the story. I look forward to next episode and the continuation of their efforts to track down the mysterious Caster.

Out of 5 Dios for this episode:

dio dio dio 1/2

I don’t take many caps of Sakura, so here she is.

This scene was so cute. Fujimura-sensei is such a great character.

Rin 1, Caster 0

 

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