Apologies (again) for the late review, you know how Christmas is. Anyway, unless there are unforeseen circumstances involving Junko this will also be my last Fate/Stay Night review until season 2 starts in April.
After that dramatic battle with Kuzuki-sensei and Caster in which Shirou succeeded in using magical projection to whip up replicas of Archer’s swords out of nowhere, his physical state has taken a real beating. Not used to running magic circuits to such an extent, he loses some control over part of his body. Luckily for him he spends the majority of this episode recuperating, but Rin and Saber definitely notice that he seems to lack the ability to hold objects properly.
Kuzuki-sensei is no longer coming to the school, presumably going into hiding or doing some recuperation of his own. This quiet period is the perfect time for strategy planning, but Shirou is being a Shonen Protagonist and feeling increasingly awkward and self-aware around not only Saber, but Rin too. Their bond strengthens a little more as Rin discusses the differences between her family’s magic and Kiritsugu’s. Although Rin eventually loses patience with Shirou’s to-a-fault selflessness in his own motivations, Shirou decides that for his own benefit (as well as in order to help as many people as possible), the best course of action would be for him to properly study magic to hone his own abilities.
Meanwhile, Archer still wants Shirou to know that his hero desires are fruitless, in his usually pessimistic matter. Yet, he does offer him some help.
One of the many things I really like about ufotable’s take on Fate/Stay Night is that they are able to make interesting the kind of material which, in the hands of a lesser studio, would be quite dull. There’s no action or flashy battles in this episode at all but it’s definitely a nice break from it. After all, the next episode will be the last one until April, and knowing how ufotable handled the series split with Fate/Zero, I am absolutely certain they are going to leave the three-month cliffhanger in this cruelest place possible.
It’s definitely nice to get a breather and to lay a bit more foundation to the growing bond between Shirou and Rin, which has thankfully been managing to progress at a believable rate so far. It was also nice to get the information and world-building concerning the different kinds of magic and magi, especially in regards to Rin’s father. Tohsaka Tokiomi doesn’t get mentioned too much in Fate/Stay Night but it’s interesting to see this very different perspective of him. After all, in Rin’s eyes he was nothing but a caring – if not strict and proud – father, which is a really striking contrast to how I’m used to seeing him framed in Fate/Zero. The same could be said, of course, of Kiritsugu.
There’s really not a great deal else to say about this episode, but it was a suitably pleasant one and even if not a lot happened I was able to simply enjoy the atmosphere. It’s definitely a calm before a storm.