Posted by psgels on 6 May 2012 with categories: Fate/Zero

An, so this is this season’s kid episode. I like it much better than the first season’s, because instead of giving character to one of the characters of Fate/Stay Night, it’s entended to shed some light into Kiritsugu’s background, and explain why he became a mage hunter. We see him as a kid, growing up on an island somewhere in the south of Japan that gets infested by what I’d call zombies, caused by the research of his father.

This explains that with all of the talk about lineage, we haven’t really seen anything about Kiritsugu’s parents so far. This episode doesn’t explain what happened to his mother, but I suspect that that’s got something to do with anime’s “weak and dead mother”-syndrome. What I liked about this episode is how well it fleshed out Kiritsugu and his childhood friend Shirley, together with Kiritsugu’s father… only for everything to fall apart.

One thing that I do wonder is what triggered Kiritsugu’s sudden character change at the end of the episode. I mean, I get that seeing your entire world being turned upside down is a huge shock, but would that turn Kiritsugu really from an innocent young boy who grew up normally, into a cold blooded killer with no fear of death whatsoever, in a matter of hours? The start of this episode whowed that he’s reckless, when he dived off that cliff higher than everyone else, but I don’t think that any other part of this episode hinted at that darker side of him.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

26 Responses

  1. Qwerty1 says:

    Whenever Kiritsugu did something you could call vicious I’d wonder what could have turned him into such a stone cold killer…

    Zombie-vampire island apocalypse wasn’t at the top of my short list.

  2. JaK says:

    actually psgels the last seasons “kid” episode was non canon filler XD this one is based on the heart of freak story from the light novel and is pretty detrimental to the actual story from kitsuragi’s pov

  3. IronZeta says:

    Basically, what turned him into a killer was realizing that him not killing Shirley before she became a Dead Apostle was what allowed the whole Dead outbreak to happen. Because of this he broke a little bit and from then on aggressively pursued the “kill few to save many” path.

    Natalia also commented in the novel that he was a bit broken in the head in that he was able to disconnect the logic of his actions from his own emotions in a way that normal people would need some years of mental drilling to learn.

    • meow says:

      I got the feeling that Shirley was his first love or at least his first crush. He was worried about her enough to disobey his father’s orders. There’s no way he would have been able to kill her. And yeah, I bet he blamed himself for what happened to the village for not being able to do it.

      And I bet he blamed his Dad for what happened to Shirley and the village too. Especially after that clinical, detached way he dismissed everything that had happened as a simple failed experiment. Reminds me of Tokiomi talking about sending Sakura to the Matous. I have a hard time believing he didn’t know what would be in store for Sakura when he sent her there. Another mage obsessed with the Root and blind to everything else. Might be worth noting that Kiri’s dad had dead eyes too. Well, no matter how angry or how justified he may have felt about taking out his Dad, it would have had an impact. It looked like Kiri almost cried on the boat but switched off.

      Who the blonde mage with the Mage Association? Very distinctive character design. Someone from somewhere else in the Nasuverse?

      I’m also very curious what happened to Shirley. We don’t actually see her get finished off. And you could say she was the “parent”. I’m surprised Natalia called them all “Dead Apostles”. I thought the zombies would have been classified as ghouls to Shirley the actual Dead Apostle, who actually retained some of her original personality. I wonder if she escaped.

      A very chilling episode. Even though I already had a rough idea what was going to happen, it still had quite a bit of impact.

      • Random_Passerby_Number_612 says:

        Let’s see… A blond magus with a distinctively familiar face and haircut, a powerful flame user who can cause a spontaneous eruption of blue flames… Doesn’t that sound familiar? Why, hello, Cornelius Alba-kun.

      • IronZeta says:

        “I thought the zombies would have been classified as ghouls”

        Well, this is where the waters are muddied a little bit.

        Because when you are bitten by a Dead Apostle, most of the time you will just become a Dead, that is just a mindless corpse under the control of the Dead Apostle that just eats people and sends energy to the Dead Apostle parent.

        And in rare cases if you have the potential you may become a Ghoul, which is feral but is actually capable of becoming stronger and becoming a Living Dead, which can then regain its original intelligence by sucking blood and possibly someday becoming a full Dead Apostle.

        The issue then comes in in that neither Dead, nor Ghouls, nor Living Dead are capable of making more of the Dead, only the Dead Apostle can do that.

        Which sort of contradicts what was shown in the episode. Since none of them were actual Dead Apostles (being mindless and shambling), and yet didn’t exhibit the usual Dead or Ghoul behavior of eating people while at the same time being able to spread the infection, an ability belonging to the Dead Apostles.

        So either ufotable just weren’t well-versed in the Dead Apostles, or Noritaka’s test reagent was somehow responsible for the special infectiousness of this particular outbreak.

        • Random_Passerby_Number_612 says:

          What you have described is the life cycle of a Dead Apostle whose origin of vampirism is the blood of a True Ancestor, which is not necessarily the case here. Vampirism achieved via magic research may have different traits. Think Nero Chaos as an example – he is classified as a Dead Apostle whereas in fact he might be closer to a true demon, being practically a walking Reality Marble.

          • IronZeta says:

            Well, I did leave that possibility open, which is why I suggested that “Noritaka’s test reagent was somehow responsible for the special infectiousness of this particular outbreak.”
            Either way, it’s not really important in the long run.

      • Civlov says:

        “Another mage obsessed with the Root and blind to everything else.”

        Actually, Noritaka cares at the least about Kiritsugu as much as Tokiomi cares about Sakura, which means: a lot. Noritaka pretty much raised Kiritsugu alone, since his wife was killed by the Enforcers after Kiritsugu was born. He was actually done packing all that stuff and would have immediately fled if Kiritsugu hadn’t been gone. More details like embracing Kiritsugu or the narrator’s notes make clear there was a strong father-son bond between them.

        Kiritsugu already turned into a machine partially when he killed his father. He hesitated in his heart, but his body pulled the trigger anyway, so he was already a bit out of his mind. But yeah, he killed his father to prevent another incident like in this episode here and because his father was the cause, although it was an accident. Must have hurt his heart a lot, losing everything and everyone he cared for.

        And I can assure you Tokiomi did not know what exactly Sakura would have to endure. The Matou family exists for 500 years already and the records about their magecraft is extremely limited. Zouken lives for 200 years now, but neither the Association nor the Tohsaka clan as the Second Owners of Fuyuki knew much about him – one of the reasons being the Matou family’s attribute absorption and Zouken never really leaving his house except for maintaining his body. It’s because of Tokiomi’s limited thinking that he saw no other choice but to give her away. There must certainly have been better options, but he didn’t find them.

        Btw, Noritaka and Shirley were geniuses. Shirley got a Master’s degree at the age of 13(she should be around 14 when the incident happened), although the education at the island sucks and Noritaka was already hiding for 20 years from the Association’s Enforcers after getting his Sealing Designation, which is quite impressive for a fourth generation magus. All he needed to complete his research was… ha, time. And conveniently, the Dead Apostle immortality and his theory to reach the Root work with time manipulation. Two birds with one stone for him I guess.

        • meow says:

          He was actually done packing all that stuff and would have immediately fled if Kiritsugu hadn’t been gone.

          Hm. It looks like this was changed in the anime. He was just burning his notes and his bags were still half-open when Kiri arrived.

          More details like embracing Kiritsugu or the narrator’s notes make clear there was a strong father-son bond between them.

          Difficult to believe from this episode. Would have made what Kiri did much more chilling and more difficult to comprehend/emphasize with. Was Noritaya’s detached behavior spot on with the novel? I got the impression that Kiri wanted to confront his Dad and decide from there what to do. It was his Dad’s cold/neutral response that sealed the deal. The flashbacks of Chihaya during the shooting also gave me the impression that a lot of the reason Kiri killed his Dad was because he felt his Dad was responsible for what happened to Shirley.

          He hesitated in his heart, but his body pulled the trigger anyway, so he was already a bit out of his mind.

          Didn’t get depicted well in the anime. I got the feeling that he fully intended to kill his Dad, with almost no hesitation. If anything, shooting him at that point would have been a mercy, rather than a slow lingering death from a gut wound. He just had trouble letting go of the gun afterwards, as if it was stuck to his hand.

          And I can assure you Tokiomi did not know what exactly Sakura would have to endure.

          I don’t buy it. While ordinarily the Matous may be isolated from the Mage Association in general, they would have been closely linked to the Tohsakas for generations, collaborating on the Grail War ritual’s development. It’s difficult to believe that during all that time, the Tohsakas hadn’t picked up on the nature of Matou magic, especially since Zouken has been there from the beginning. Tokiomi also didn’t seem surprised at Kariya’s powers or how he suffered using them. Kariya and Tokiomi had known each other for a long time and were rivals for Aoi, no? I would be surprised if Tokiomi didn’t have some awareness for why Kariya left the Matous in the first place. Even Aoi didn’t seem to have any consideration for Kariya’s reasons for leaving the path of the Mage. I don’t see Sakura’s suffering as a factor when Tokiomi decided where to place Sakura. I would buy him thinking the Matous would owe him something for getting their heir from the Tohsakas and dismissing whatever suffering she had to go through as necessary for reaching the Root, just like Noritaka dismissing the loss of Shirley and the village.

          • Civlov says:

            That’s a general problem from anime and novel. The narrator makes clear that he cares about Kiritsugu a lot, while the anime isn’t very good in doing this. Actually, Noritaka raised Kiritsugu alone because his wife was killed by the Association shortly after giving birth.

            Kiritsugu was definitely waiting for his father’s answer about the incident. Since Noritaka wanted to pursue his research without regretting anything, he “had to” be removed to prevent another incident like this. That’s Kiritsugu’s logic. He no longer hesitates to sacrifice the people he loves, if it can save the majority.

            they would have been closely linked to the Tohsakas for generations

            Not really. They say they are in friendly terms, but besides cooperating to create the Grail, there was never much close going on between these two families.

            Matou magecraft’s attributes are absorption and binding. Furthermore, they are quite skilled with familiars, that’s all one knows about the Matou – nothing more besides this. Zouken never really stepped in any battles for all this time, he was hardly leaving his house at all. The knowledge about other families are always limited, in this case it’s even more extreme, believe it or not.

            Rin prepared herself the next ten years for the war and the information she found about Matou is rather lacking. She only truly realized what kind of monster Zouken is when she found the basement with the worms in Heaven’s Feel. No one except for the Matou family knew what was going on.

            Do you really think he wanted Sakura to get raped by worms and her step-brother for the next 11 years? He wanted the best for Sakura, the suffering would be more something like home sickness or adapting another magecraft that might not suit her as much as Tohsaka magecraft. My dream scenario was Zelretch to come and train her. That would have been just perfect.

            Kariya and Tokiomi had known each other for a long time and were rivals for Aoi, no?

            No. Aoi sees Kariya as a little brother. They were never rivals because Kariya never seriously tried to approach Aoi, thus Aoi never knew about Kariya’s feelings. I said it already numerous times, she is stupid as hell.

            I would be surprised if Tokiomi didn’t have some awareness for why Kariya left the Matous in the first place.

            That’s the thing about Tokiomi. He never understood why Kariya would leave and just dismissed Kariya as someone who would not want to take responsibility as a magus. He simply didn’t care about Kariya and never seriously questioned why he was doing whatever.

            Tokiomi also didn’t seem surprised at Kariya’s powers or how he suffered using them.

            Any magus who has the tiniest bit of experience will realize that Kariya suffers because he keeps pushing himself. He never trained his body or magecraft and now he took in ridiculous amounts of worms to compensate for this. Furthermore he only had 1 year to become a Master. This was Kariya’s problem and not just the Matou magecraft’s fault. And as I’ve said, controlling familiars(bugs) isn’t something Tokiomi wasn’t aware of.

            Tokiomi seriously thought that the trade was better for Sakura. The cons were only to forget that Sakura was ever a Tohsaka and no longer interact with Matou or interfere, as well as Sakura having a difficult time at the beginning. He thought it was worth it, as long as Sakura would get the magecraft and protection she needs to survive. The family adopting her being an old and once powerful family which tries to reach Akasha too(or not, but he doesn’t know that) was a nice bonus.

            Unlike Noritaka, Tokiomi was not a genius. Noritaka managed to fool the Association and the Enforcers for 20 years after getting his Sealing Designation. Tokiomi likely didn’t think he could hide or protect Sakura for long if the Association had ever found her.

  4. Rachnid says:

    That was probably some of the darkest stuff i’ve seen in awhile. Turning into a zombie because you believed that magic would do good? Killing your father for his research which result was completely unintended (also unintentionally causing the death of your crush)? so DARK I love it.

  5. anon says:

    “One thing that I do wonder is what triggered Kiritsugu’s sudden character change at the end of the episode.”

    You remember that scene half-way in, with Shirley and Kiritsugu by the pond? She asked what kind of person he wanted to grow up to be. His answer isn’t said in the novel like here, but the general idea is that he had the same dream as his adopted son (the male lead of Fate/Stay Night) and that was to be a hero of justice. He realized not only that letting Shirley live caused everyone else to die, but more importantly that his father wasn’t going to stop researching the zombies we saw and didn’t even care that the village had been destroyed.

    So he decided after listening to his dad that in order to stop the possibility of a repeat tragedy he had to kill his dad. Of course it’s a pretty insane thing to do, especially to your family – even the hunter woman (her name is Natalia) acknowledged as much. But this is just the beginning – Kiritsugu was more or less with Natalia for the rest of his adolescent life until she was killed herself. So in that time he became much more cold hearted and resolved in his efforts to save people by killing other people.

    His basic idea is this: I can save 100 people, but I need to kill 10 people to do that. I can save 100000, but I need to kill 100 people to do that. Originally he tried saving everyone, but realized he couldn’t. So he ended up bloodying his hands multiple times for the sake of saving people who wouldn’t even know his name.

    I suggest rewatching the speech that he and Saber had after the Lancer-Kayneth-Sola trio died. It makes a lot more sense now when you have the context of his life before he decided to become the hunter’s assistant and be like her.

    • jkuro says:

      Wow, thanks for the Natalia spoilers, dude. Seriously, is self control that fucking difficult?

      • Anca says:

        You could infer that much from the portion after the ending, it’s not a spoiler.

      • anon says:

        Its hardly a spoiler to give her name and if he never mentions her then I think it’s pretty obvious? Along with the very last moment after they leave the island. If you read the Light Novel her death is stated there, they only cut it out because there would be no time so it’s pretty much assumed. If I was giving you a spoiler I would be telling you straight out how she died.

    • wicked says:

      It’s really Shirou who adopted Kiritsugu’s ideal to be a hero, Archer said as much that his ideal are borrowed. He knows of magicians and magicraft, but actually harbors deep resentment of it. It not only shun him from people, he also understands it to be something not held back by any value of people or sense of right or wrong. He was happy in the village and was somewhat accepted by people other than his father. He thought differently of his father because his research may save the world, but in the end, his father stated clearly that he was not going to stop.

      It’s kind of a Batman begins thing for Kiritsugu, it’s an awakening of an ideal to save people, but also somewhat of a vengeance thing to fight the system that created the tragedies .

      • meow says:

        Talking about Kiri right? Yeah, I’m not sure how much magic knowledge he had. I think he just saw his dad’s experiments as growing blossoms that were fixed in time. They didn’t grow red eyes and kill people. Kiri’s Dad’s experiments seemed to be about making humans immortal but he was experimenting with vampirism/necromancy to do it and it wound up turning people into mindless bloodthirsty monsters.

        It’s kind of a Batman begins thing for Kiritsugu

        The sticking point is him having to kill his Dad to stop him. That was pretty chilling. I mean, his Dad did something horrible but it was unintentional. Hm…maybe that wasn’t clear to Kiri. And his Dad seemed to lack remorse and was ready to try again. Still, to kill the only family he had, his only caregiver he’d known all his life. Even Bruce spared his teacher. This is grim stuff. I wonder how dark the next episode will be.

        • wicked says:

          In the Typemoon created universe, Magicians/magus are essentially essentially define by family and bloodlines, as Kenneth pointed out in class Waver was attending. He may not know the nature of his father’s work, but he knew he will eventually be a successor to his father’s work which should imply that he knew about magicraft and magi’s purpose. Even children born without magical talent knew about aspects of life of magus, like Shinji in Fate/Stay night

          Kiritsugu definitely made a much much darker decision, but also one that took a different kind of resolve. I wasnt really making a parallel between him and batman, rather I mark it as a moment of transformation. It seems abrupt that he had a change of character, but it was meant to be tranformative. It was not about whether it’s intentional or not, but the fact that his dad will definitely start again. He probably knew that before his father told him, and it’s probably why he lied to the hunter and insisted on going in himself(I think he lied about a barrier), as the father probably could escape from the hunter.

          • meow says:

            Incidentally, Natalia was working for the Mage Association. Was she there to kill Noritaka or capture him alive so the Association could have him continue his work for their benefit? It doesn’t seem clear in the anime.

            I wasnt really making a parallel between him and batman

            Um no, I kind of wasn’t either. It’s a bad example. At that point, the League of Shadows hadn’t actually done anything yet, as far as Bruce knew. They just had extreme intentions. Kiri, on the other hand had to bear witness to his first love turning into a monster, understandably failing to stop her and then having to feel responsibility for the death of a whole village that were friendly with him, including children and a priest. And the root of all that evil was his father’s work. I can’t blame him for wanting to stop his father no matter what, even if it meant killing him. It’s very, very sad. It might have helped if Noritaka had managed to find and stop Shirley himself before she started afflicting the other villagers. It looked like he had become aware of the situation much earlier, which is why he ordered his son not to go to the village. So why didn’t he stop Shirley himself? Did he leave her alone hoping she’d be able to control her bloodlust and complete his research? When the worst happened, he didn’t have any contingency to protect the villagers or perhaps was counting on an outbreak to act as interference against the Mage Association so he and Kiri could escape?

  6. Anca says:

    I’m glad I read the comments here as I really didn’t understand Kiritsugu’s mindset. To me it was like they changed his character halfway for convenience and angst purposes; I wonder how many others thought the same. I really like this sort of subtleness, where I don’t understand everything at first glance.

    The ED is pretty neat. Isn’t it Manten that was released along with the OP? I already thought the song was better that most other bonus songs artists put on a single, so I guess this is why,

  7. omo says:

    The episode sets up the mercy kill opportunity to give contrast, hoping that it will provide enough of a reason for the patricide. I guess it may not work so well unless you are familiar with fate/stay night or fate/zero already.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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