Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works episode 18: Complex Suicide

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works alone in his world

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 So, we finally had the big reveal, I must have been naïve too, I did not know heroic spirit could come from the present or the future, I thought they needed to have died in the current timeline for them to be eligible as an heroic spirit. Archer is Emiya Shirou. When you think about it, it is not that surprising, Emiya seems to look up to Archer has some kind of father figure or as a mentor. Both uses the same style of combat and Emiya is even capable of dispelling Archer’s Noble Phantasm since he “understands it”. If it was not clear enough while they were within Archer’s inner world that Emiya and Archer were the same person, the following segment featuring Emiya’s entire life was convincing enough. If you somehow have yet to understand what is going on, maybe it is time you pay a little more attention to the story.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works older emiya

I must say, I never quite liked Emiya, but I liked Archer. Since the two are the same person, it just goes and confirm my suspicion that it was not even the moral alignment of the characters that bothered me in Fate/Stay Night, but really how young and immature they are. I still can’t agree with Archer, but at least I don’t find him to be absolutely obnoxious.

Archer wants Emiya dead to prevent the life of suffering he is about to live. Archer wants himself dead as a way to free himself from his misery and also as the only way he see he can say a huge fuck you to the world whom constantly betrayed him. So, if you look at it carefully, you can see that Archer is trying to kill himself because he realize his ideals were stupid and will only bring him sadness. Unfortunately, Archer also happens to be a bitter idealist and it is why he wants to be so heroic and dramatic about killing himself. At the end of the day, I don’t think Emiya ever learned a thing, he remains just as idealistic and stupid as he was as a kid, now he simply changed his ideology a bit and added a few layer of bitterness on top, but he remains as foolish as the younger version of himself. It is quite sad actually, despite having lived through so many things and living who knows how long, Shirou never manages to do any kind of meaningful introspection or to significantly change his outlook on life in any meaningful way that would have helped him become a better human being.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works empty world

All this reveals does bring me to think of an interesting point though. Seeing as Archer came back to be summoned in time to kill himself, it means this never happened in his past. Otherwise, he either wouldn’t be alive or would already know the outcome of all this. Things are not guaranteed to turn out the same way for him as it did in the past, as a matter of fact, Archer essentially comes from an alternate dimension. With the grail, it is possible to change the course of even space and time, I wouldn’t say it to be impossible for Archer to wish to the grail to give him a world where he won’t be betrayed anymore. It seems there are still many more options available to Emiya, he is just too idiotic to realize they are there.

Considering the very title of this route, I would not be surprised if the two Emiya formed a team together to obtain the grail and prevent this grim future. It is not too late for them to change things, instead of just having a meaningless clash to end one another’s life, or maybe we can call that a suicidal confrontation?

ZeroGhj signing off.

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3 Responses to Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works episode 18: Complex Suicide

  1. Farray says:

    See, I found it quite funny when you speculated last week, whether Archer hates Shirou because they are similar. And in hindisght it’s actually good to know that Shirou’s characterization also serves as Archer’s characterization.

    So, we finally had the big reveal, I must have been naïve too, I did not heroic spirit could come from the present or the future, I thought they needed to have died in the current timeline for them to be eligible as an heroic spirit

    I am pretty disappointed with how the anime neglected to at least drop hints about this, which wasn’t the case in the Visual Novel. All Heroic Spirits come from the Throne of Heroes and the Throne of Heroes is part of the Root/the Origin/Akasha, where past, present and future exist. (Akasha does play a role in FSN, but a far more significant one in ufotable/TYPE-MOON’s Kara no Kyoukai series.) People who ascend to the throne are no longer part of the reincarnation process and removed from the time axis.

    I am equally surprised though how quickly many people, who only started with this series, noticed something that was considered a plothole, but what Rin addressed two episodes ago. Archer gave Rin her pendant back in episode 0, with which she saved Shirou’s life, but in episode 1 Shirou actually picks it up. Well, of course there were other hints in every episode, like the trivia fact, that Shirou was part of the archery club and he never missed one shot (http://i.imgur.com/L5dzSOL.jpg).

    The scenes in this episode were also supposed to clarify one thing: Archer was bullshitting the whole time with his “My memory is fuzzy and I don’t remember who I am”. Well, it’s half the truth. Even though Rin was someone he deeply felt affection to in his life, her name was worn off from his memory. It was only when she introduced herself to him that he realized and remembered that the girl who summoned him was the girl he admired a long time ago.

    What was left out in this episode was a line that explained what Archer’s plan with Rin and Saber originally was. He wanted Saber to make a contract with Rin from the beginning, but after he got rid of Shirou. I mentioned in episode 6 that he perfectly knew what Saber wished for and that is addressed again in this episode. His weird remarks also hint that he was not able to bring Saber salvation. I hope it’s not a spoiler, if I tell you that the matter with Saber was properly addressed and resolved in her route (FSN’s first route) in the Visual Novel. Archer must have failed to do so in his universe.

    So Archer knew who Rin and Saber were. And Rin suspected since the date scene in episode 12 that Shirou was Archer, when she made weird remarks like her knowing that Shirou would still grow a bit and become a great man eventually.

    Unfortunately, Archer also happens to be a bitter idealist and it is why he wants to be so heroic and dramatic about killing himself. At the end of the day, I don’t think Emiya ever learned a thing, he remains just as idealistic and stupid as he was as a kid, now he simply changed his ideology a bit and added a few layer of bitterness on top, but he remains as foolish as the younger version of himself. It is quite sad actually, despite having lived through so many things and living who knows how long, Shirou never manages to do any kind of meaningful introspection or to significantly change his outlook on life in any meaningful way that would have helped him become a better human being.

    This is a good observation and should be addressed later on. This is why they have to meet up in the Einzbern Castle. Shirou and Archer won’t only fight, they need to have a talk.

    Unlimited Blade Works is often said to be and advertised as “Rin’s route”, but that is actually not really the case. It is only called that because Rin is Shirou’s love interest. Even the author notes that, since its name is UBW, it’s actually more a story about Shirou (although all three stories of FSN are naturally about Shirou, as he is the main character). He also called Archer a shadow protagonist and that one could say that half of FSN is his story.

    With the grail, it is possible to change the course of even space and time, I wouldn’t say it to be impossible for Archer to wish to the grail to give him a world where he won’t be betrayed anymore. It seems there are still many more options available to Emiya, he is just too idiotic to realize they are there.

    I refer back to episode 6, when he and Shirou had their first serious talk. Archer has numerous times said he absolutely has no interest in the Grail. He also called the Grail an evil treasure chest. Why does he say that? Well, because he also participated in the Grail War of course (and he must have won), which means he knows its true nature. It cannot help him. The Grail is not an option.

    • Zeroghj says:

      I’m not sure how the concept of parallel universe and the like works in the Fate universe, but if he won the grail when he was younger, it means that by default young Shirou would kill Archer so he could win the grail once more as the timeline dictates.

      If he comes from a different universe and he’s able to change the past or affect it somehow, it means that our current young Shirou might be able to achieve a different outcome for himself.

      This simply leads me to believe that Archer really is a fool. There are about a thousand solutions in front of him, yet he only see things in black and white because of his idealistic views. I can’t believe over all these years he never managed to adapt his ideologies to the realities of this world.

      Rin’s words were so close to the point during this episode. Something along the line of “I can’t believe no one in his entire life was ever there to set him straight”. Archer is a child, he has the bitterness of an old man, the strength of a master and the ideals of a true hero…yet he acts entitles and as if the whole world was against him. He never accepted the world as it is, he was trying to fight it all along and blaming it for his ideals which couldn’t be true. He likes to appear as someone who blames himself constantly, Shirou was always blaming his lack of strength or his lack of action, but in the end, Shirou became strong and he still couldn’t achieve what he wanted. He turned his anger towards the world. He was never able to accept that he was the one who was wrong from the beginning, not the world. If only there was a single person who would have slap him a bit more as a kid, instead he was raised by a man who cherished him too much and didn’t want to believe in the atrocious world he left behind.

      • Farray says:

        I’m not sure how the concept of parallel universe and the like works in the Fate universe, but if he won the grail when he was younger, it means that by default young Shirou would kill Archer so he could win the grail once more as the timeline dictates.

        The whole Type-Moon verse (fan-nicknamed “Nasuverse” after the author, Kinoko Nasu) is an infinite cluster of parallel universes. All three routes of FSN are equally considered “canon”, because all three possibilities exist. All 40 game overs (Bad/Dead Ends) of FSN are also considered canon and stories like Fate/Extra or Fate/Apocrypha, where things went completely differently are also canon. So Shirou doesn’t automatically win the Grail War, just because Archer succeeded. As Bad/Dead Ends indicate, he actually dies in a few universes.

        Side info: The one who is able to travel through these parallel universes is mentioned in the summoning chant of the Holy Grail War (way back in episode 0). His name is “Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg”, he was the Magician (a man who can use “True Magic”, not just magecraft like Caster or Rin) who 200 years ago introduced the Tohsaka family into the world of magic and is the reason why Rin keeps using jewel magecraft. Oh, and he’s still alive. Because he’s a vampire.

        Archer stems from a universe and timeline where Rin did not become a close companion of his (or at least didn’t stay by his side all his life), where he could not save Saber from her misery and where he deeply regretted Ilya’s death (how she exactly died is not mentioned). He had friends and a lover, but he lost all of them.

        Rin’s dreams about him show how he became a heroic spirit. He made a contract with the world (also known as the Counter Force of mankind: Arayashiki/Alaya) to obtain additional power and stop a natural disaster. But as Rin says in this episode, he actually did it for the price he was supposed to pay. He wanted to serve as a “guardian” after his death.

        People in the modern age can probably no longer become Heroic Spirits, unless they become guardians. All guardians count as Heroic Spirits, but not all Heroic Spirits are guardians. Heracles is the latter, Archer the former.

        Needless to say, since Archer is the personification of Shirou’s ideal and dream, he is basically Shirou at his peak. The anime portrayal of the Reality Marble was a bit underwhelming, though, since a Reality Marble is one of the highest forms of magecraft actually. It borders on the line of True Magic, because you replace the rules of the world with your own rules.

        Anyway, the rest about Archer is unknown. There is no single dictated timeline, every possibility exists.

        If he comes from a different universe and he’s able to change the past or affect it somehow, it means that our current young Shirou might be able to achieve a different outcome for himself.

        Well, Archer and Shirou are already two separate entities, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to exist at the same time, but this will be later addressed next episode or the one after. Archer’s presence affects Shirou’s Holy Grail War in all the three routes of FSN.

        If only there was a single person who would have slap him a bit more as a kid, instead he was raised by a man who cherished him too much and didn’t want to believe in the atrocious world he left behind.

        Actually, his adoptive father, Emiya Kiritsugu, told him that from the beginning, since he himself realized it too late, and Shirou also thinks about that right in episode 1 already: That helping others and becoming a superhero aren’t the same. That it’s not possible to save everyone, that he must choose sides. He understands it from the beginning and how obvious it is, but it is still something he absolutely hates.

        Shirou’s dream is to become a champion/hero of justice/superhero (Seigi no Mikata), but why exactly Shirou wants to do this will be fully explained very soon.

        You often saw in this series that Shirou reacts with irritation whenever Archer talked to him. What the anime doesn’t tell the viewer (but what Shirou does in the VN, since everything is told from his POV) is the fact that he reacts that angry despite actually agreeing with everything Archer says. He just cannot approve of Archer, just as Archer cannot approve of Shirou. I’d say it’s a complicated matter that needs to be resolved, and it will be, when Archer and Shirou finally clash.

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