Sorry for the delay with this, Junko was too busy to do ep 4 so I decided to combine it with the ep 5 review. This actually worked out well because it’s a two-episode story this time!
Waver receives a request from Wills Codrington – a member of the Spiritual Evocation Department – to assist in investigating exactly what is going on at his late father’s manor – the Marburry Workshop – that uses an entire wasteland as a base. It has been plagued by fatal accidents due to mysterious lightning – the most recent victim being Will’s father, Trevor Codrington. Waver ends up agreeing to help due to feeling some debt towards the Spiritual Evocation Department (the head’s daughter was Sola Ui, who died alongside her fiancee Kayneth in Fate/Zero, which Waver still feels responsible for) – and also, of course, because getting into their good books will help his chances in being selected as a Grail War participant. Meanwhile, Reines meets with Bram – Sola Ui’s brother, to further discuss Waver’s wishes to join the 5th war.
Waver, Gray, Reines and Wills (plus Reines’s mercury maid Trim) all head to the manor for the investigation, although when they arrive Waver discovers a few things he wasn’t filled in on beforehand. Firstly, the head of the magical Law department – Hishiri Adashino – is there, along with Waletta, another Codrington, and they immediately seize Wills on suspicion of his father’s murder. The only evidence for this is the fact that the Codringtons are necromancers, and Waletta cannot detect any trace of Trevor due to all spiritual traces of him being erased – something apparently only another necromancer should be able to do. Waver manages to convince them to allow him to investigate, although everyone ends up stuck in the manor anyway when the lightning storm starts.
Secondly, Wills reveals to Waver that he possesses ‘Fairy Eyes’ and can see a mysterious fairy who appears in the manor and warns him when somebody is going to die – and with the help of a magical powder, Waver is able to see her as well. Meanwhile, Reines gets bored and does some investigating on her own – discovering a secret underground passage that she decides to explore with Gray – although its full of corpses and evil spirits, and she accidentally sets off a booby trap that causes a cave-in. Luckily, a mysterious hero appears to save the day – Kairi Shishigou! The sunglasses cool dude from Fate/Apocrypha! Apparently he was a friend of Trevor’s, being a necromancer himself.
With the mystery of the manor still not fully solved, the gang retire for the night, although get woken up with the news that Waletta has been killed.
Hahaha in the previous review I said ‘I look forward to seeing more of his reaction to [not getting a position in the 5th Holy Grail war] in the next episode, it’s likely sure to be angsty’, but I didn’t expect this episode to actually open with Waver talking to the scrap of Iskandar’s cloak with the saddest facial expression, just break my arms next time troyca. He almost apologizes to him for missing his chance to be in the 5th war and summon him again, but then seems to decide that he’s not giving up. That’s a punch in the gut right off the bat, but then later in the episode you get the screencap above with his reflection as he swears he’ll do whatever it takes to participate in another Grail War (in his younger voice, too) and it gut punches you again. It likely means that his internal voice is still his 19 year old self, or even that time stopped for him ten years ago.
Aside from this, the most noteable thing about this episode is the Kairi Shishigou cameo. This was something entirely unexpected, because this is still original content for the anime, and he does not appear in the novels at all. On that note, despite being a canon character, Shishigou’s exact actions in the ‘main’ Fate timeline have been basically unknown until this point, although we still don’t really know what else he’s doing. He was a main character and master in /Apocrypha, although since that’s set in an alternate timeline, this is a different Shishigou – certainly not one that met and formed a close bond with Mordred at least. Anyway, Shishigou and Mordred were easily the absolute best thing about the relatively lukewarm /Apocrypha so it was pretty exciting to get to see him in this, shooting ghosts with a gun and being cool.
As for the main plot, it’s stronger than the other ones we’ve had so far, yet I’m really not feeling that fairy’s design. I feel like they really could have done a little better at making her actually look interesting or magical when the Fate series is chock full of so many interesting character designs, but she kind of just looks like some rando cosplayer with giant plastic flowers on her.
About Adashino…this part reminded me that it’s going to be pretty hard, if not impossible, to adapt the first novel into the anime – because her presence at all here kind of spoils one important thing – the fact that she’s still alive. (Her faking her own death was a major twist in the first book). Previously, I did see some people wondering why on earth the anime would start at book 4 when the viewers don’t know who Adashino is – but troyca’s answer to that was introducing her via this original episode. She’s an interesting character, although we don’t exactly see much of that here, other than hearing that Waver does not like her at all (among other things, it’s because of the trouble she caused with her little act in book 1). His remark about it is yet another thing that makes me wonder what this anime is like for people who haven’t read the novels.
Anyway – the last thing to mention is that I am absolutely 100% jazzed that troyca have been given Waver new moe points every week, and this time it’s the dinky night cap he sleeps with. (Twitter went wild with fanart of this within an hour of the episode airing, by the way). Does he own it? Did Reines put it on him while he was asleep? Did Gray buy it for him as a gift, figuring it would help keep his hair from getting too messed up when he slept? The mysteries of Marburry Workshop grow and grow.
Wills tries to contact Waletta’s spirit, but is unable to locate any trace of her. Waver determines that this means that rather than someone erasing traces, some kind of spell has been causing interference the entire time. To prove his theory, he needs to help of Shishigou, who he sends to collect reference on fairies with Gray. On the way back from this, the two are attacked by a fearsome ‘Black Dog’ which crashes through the window, although Gray is able to defeat it easily with her scythe. Waver then realizes that the Black Dog – an incarnation of thunder – is the true identity of the mystery lightning that has been killing everyone. After Shishigou asks about it, Waver also explains the truth about Gray’s Mystic Code – ie, the scythe. It’s actually a disguise for the sealed form of the spear of King Arthur, Rhongomyniad, and Gray herself – the only one who can wield it – is the result of an attempt to resurrect Arthur as a modern human.
After declaring that he has now solved the mystery of the workshop, Waver organises a ritual with the two necromancer’s help – but also using Reines as catalyst. Reines’s and Wills’s mystic eyes working in tandem is able to make the fairy from before materialize and be able to properly communicate, and confirm everything that Waver had already deduced – the Marburry workshop is basically a huge death factory that kills people via Black Dogs in order to turn them into ‘artificial fairies’ – even more Black Dogs – with the end goal of Trevor Codrington having an army of man-made fairies to work for him. It was the fairy herself who killed him in order to stop him (and because he betrayed her, something one should never do with fairies). But this wasn’t enough to halt the workshop, and so she had sought Wills’s help by appearing to him. Soon enough the ritual causes the leylines to go berserk and the workshop activates, opening a portal to the fairy world and sending all the Black Dogs their way.
While Gray, Shishigou, Wills and Waver (mostly the first three but he did his best ok) manage to defeat a lot of the dogs on their own, the appearance of a gigantic one leaves them with no choice but for Gray to unleash Rhongomyniad. This does clear up the dogs, but doesn’t end the workshop or close the portal. Wills has his own idea to achieve this – after all, he had been in love with the fairy the whole time – and goes through the portal with her – despite Waver desperately trying to stop him. With Wills gone and possibly dead, the workshop’s reign of terror ends.
As they leave, Adashino confides in Waver that the entire reason she and the law division had gotten involved was in order to find information on the origin of Wills’s Fairy Eyes, much to Waver’s anger. She had discovered important documents related to the apparently legendary train on which Mystic Eyes can be bought and sold – the Rail Zeppelin.
This episode was a really great blend of exposition and action. There hasn’t actually been all that many action scenes in the Case Files anime yet, but the extended one in this episode realily went all out. I really appreciated the detail in all the main players different fighting styles – Wills using some kind of magic knives, Shishigou’s guns (and bizarre body-part bombs, such as a heart grenade), Waver only managing to do Gandr shots (magic bullets) from his hands while getting flung back from the recoil because he clearly wasn’t used to it – and then of course Gray, with both the scythe and then the spear. Her using both of those were just fantastic scenes in general. Black Dogs are a recurring motif in any English fantasy, but the design of these more lightning-based ones was rather unique, fearsome and definitely impressive in motion.
The action scene may be the most memorable part of the episode, but earlier parts of it serve as a convenient method to reveal some of the truth about Gray (something that is already done in previous books of the novels.) The explanation does stop short of explaining everything, so I won’t spoil it – although it did make me laugh a bit that Shishigou, with everything else weird going on, would protest King Arthur being female. (It also made me laugh, albeit in a sadder way, that Waver could say ‘no, its true, I saw her myself.‘ Meanwhile, the fact that his hands still shake whenever he suddenly thinks about Iskandar (yep, he really does it every episode) is still a nice touch, and still makes me very sad.
Speaking of other things that are very very sad, Waver is the one who is the most distraught about Wills crossing through the portal to the world of the fairies – ie, Avalon or the neverworld. Anyone – including Waver – who knows anything about fairy folklore knows that this is most a death sentence for a human…and yet Wills went very willingly, in order to be with the fairy he was in love with (and its not even implied that she was tricking him, as she seemed to at least have some degree of fondness towards him as well) and reunite with his dead family members. There’s a defininite parallel between this and the fact that Waver did very much wish that Iskandar had taken him with him to wherever Heroic Spirits go when they die (if they actually go anywhere at all), yet his final order from Iskandar was to live. Waver is definitely upset that he couldn’t stop Wills from sacrificing himself, yet there’s probably a tinge of jealousy in there somewhere too. I’ve said that this anime original content so far is a little on the ‘eh’ side, but this kind of resolution makes this Marburry arc the definite best of the original content. It certainly helps that it got two episodes to flesh itself out instead of just one like the others.
It’s also the best because of Shishigou’s cameo, of course! This episode also answers the question of whether this timeline’s Shishigou suffered the same tragedy as the Apocrypha Shishigou – he definitely alludes to ‘a family member’, which Apocrypha viewers will recognize as him meaning his daughter…meaning he lost her in this timeline, too. Knowing this makes his line to Gray – to keep an eye on Waver, because he’s too ‘obsessed with the dead’, all the more hard-hitting. He may not have joined a grail war hoping to resurrect his daughter in this timeline, but he still became a necromancer, so he’s still just as obsessed with a dead loved one as Waver is.
Lastly, we finally get the first reference to the Rail Zeppelin. According to the info revealed at FGOFest, the actual Rail Zeppelin content doesn’t start until the episode after next, which means the next episode is likely the last of the original content. After how much it’s been hyped up now, I’m really excited for it finally starting soon.
Out of 5,