Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works episode 21: Summoning the Grail

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works new grail forming

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3 more episodes. The battle between Shinichi and himself is over, the grail has been activated and we are now reaching the final stretch of the story. I expect lot of action and a lot of turn around, Saber will finally have a chance to have a second go against Gilgamesh and uphold her ideals. We are really going straight for the finale now and I’m actually curious how they’ll manage to keep that ending going for 3 episodes, either we’ll get some kind of slower episode next week or they’ll just have to sustain a very high pace filled with action 3 episodes in a row.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works saving one last person

Into the episode itself, I was so glad at the end when Shinji was used as a sacrifice for the grail. It was the end that it deserved, the guy was obnoxious and an asshole from the start, he was just a tool and never held any power in the struggle, seeing him die horribly was oddly satisfying. I suppose that at this point Gilgamesh is not that worried about mana, if Emiya-Archer was able to last this long and fight this much without mana, surely Gilgamesh will have enough power to fight through the final battle and still have enough mana to see through the end of the human race (or at least the end of all the weak ones). Gilgamesh might sound like a typical bad guy to some, seeking the destruction of humanity for what seems to be his own enjoyment, but there is truth and value in his ideals. Yes the guy acts like a god (mainly because he is), but his ideals are different than justice and equality. Those are primary values that reign nowadays, but instead Gilgamesh seeks strength, adaptability and worthiness. A world lived by the strong and those worthy of living. I kind of like his ideals (even if I’d probably be one of those who die miserably in the flames of hell).

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works hell pouring out

At this point, the truth has been revealed completely, now everyone know how Saber was involved in the previous war and the only servant left were all part of the last Holy Grail War. It is a touching reunion, the last two finalist are once again going to face one another, but this time I doubt someone will destroy the grail like it happened previously.  Emiya is aware of the terror which results in destroying the grail, I’m not sure how he will handle it, but it ought to be interesting.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works struggling for ideals

I think the one information that blew all other this episode was Gilgamesh revealing the inner working of the Holy Grail. How mages were able to create a device capable of granting any wish and capable of immeasurable powers. It turns out that the fighting for the grail is not just a heroic quest to prove your worth, but instead a necessary step to generate the power to grant the wishes. No wonder that the device is so powerful, now the spirit of so many grandiose heroic spirit are trapped within it. I’m not sure if I understand it right, but the grail absorbs the heroic spirits and use them as fuel, this seems to imply that those heroic spirit won’t ever return in the future since they have been consumed by the grail. If it is indeed the case, Archer-Emiya will definitively have had his wish, he never again will continue the circle of death and infinite life as he did in the past. I guess that’s one way for him to end, I hope he’ll be satisfied.

ZeroGhj signing off

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4 Responses to Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works episode 21: Summoning the Grail

  1. Farray says:

    Four more episodes, not three. UBW has 25 episodes. Next episode seems to be a calm-before-the-storm episode, where the strategy to deal with Gilgamesh is planned.

    I suppose that at this point Gilgamesh is not that worried about mana, if Emiya-Archer was able to last this long and fight this much without mana, surely Gilgamesh will have enough power to fight through the final battle and still have enough mana to see through the end of the human race (or at least the end of all the weak ones).

    Gilgamesh is of the Archer class, too, so he also possesses the ability to stay in the world without a Master (Independent Action). In fact, he actually doesn’t need a Master at all, because he gained a real body when the Grail mud fell on him. That’s why you don’t see him dematerialize like Lancer, he has a body made of flesh and blood.

    Gil also never had any problems with mana, because he doesn’t need much most of the time. Since he has a real body, he only needs the mana to open Gate of Babylon and the costs are laughably low. Also, Shinji doesn’t actually have any magic circuits, which you need to use mana, which again means Shinji would not be able to provide the Servant with mana like Rin does. Shinji wasn’t even Gil’s Master, they never had a contract.

    A world lived by the strong and those worthy of living. I kind of like his ideals (even if I’d probably be one of those who die miserably in the flames of hell).

    Good observation of yours. This is the reason why Gilgamesh was given the alignment “Chaotic Good”. By his own standards, he actually wants to improve humanity, as he got fed up with it in the last ten years.

    I’m not sure if I understand it right, but the grail absorbs the heroic spirits and use them as fuel, this seems to imply that those heroic spirit won’t ever return in the future since they have been consumed by the grail. If it is indeed the case, Archer-Emiya will definitively have had his wish, he never again will continue the circle of death and infinite life as he did in the past.

    I’m afraid to say that this is sadly not the case. Six killed Servants are enough energy to grant any wish in the world. But that is not the actual intention of the Three Founding Families – Makiri, Tohsaka, Einzbern – that created the Holy Grail ritual.

    What is missing is an explanation that Gilgamesh gives when all seven Servants are defeated. The power that is gathered is supposed to help the mages to reach the “Root/Origin” (Akashic records). Rin is very shocked to hear this, as she had no idea. The Root is the dream every true mage wishes to reach. It contains endless knowledge of past, present and future.

    If a Servant is defeated, the spirit will usually go back to the Throne of Heroes. But the mages needed the gathered power of seven spirits and they were tricky. They needed a vessel to keep the defeated spirits in the world, so every spirit is taken in by the vessel that the Einzbern family provides. That vessel is Illya’s heart. The winner of the Holy Grail has access to unlimited mana. I could go into more detail, but that would be spoilers I guess. Guess you can look forward to the Heaven’s Feel movies.

    Oh btw, I wanted to say that last episode already, but I wish ufotable had added an explanation, why Caster’s original Master, Atomic Gatorade, referred to Lancer’s Master as a “her” and then it turns out Kirei was Lancer’s Master. Well, you can probably guess why, but I still wanted to see a flashback or something.

    • Zeroghj says:

      Four more episodes, not three. UBW has 25 episodes

      Oh, indeed, since the first “season” was 12 episodes I assumed the second one would be just as long and I didn’t verify. Thank you for correcting me.

      I’m afraid to say that this is sadly not the case. Six killed Servants are enough energy to grant any wish in the world. But that is not the actual intention of the Three Founding Families – Makiri, Tohsaka, Einzbern – that created the Holy Grail ritual.

      So despite using the “energy” of those servants they are not consumed by the grail? The anime really doesn’t give much information about the way everything works, I find it extremely difficult to understand the rules of the magic and what is possible or not. I also fear reading more online as it could potentially lead me to spoilers for the show. I wish the anime had a special episode or an OVA where the mechanic of the war is better explained. I feel a lot of the plot twist and other surprise in this anime are lost on me simply because I don’t know what I’m supposed to expect in the first place.

      • Farray says:

        Oh, indeed, since the first “season” was 12 episodes I assumed the second one would be just as long and I didn’t verify. Thank you for correcting me.

        Well, the first “season” actually had 13 episodes, if you count in episode 0. It’s thirteen episodes per half, though the first half is longer, since it has three double-length episodes.

        The anime really doesn’t give much information about the way everything works, I find it extremely difficult to understand the rules of the magic and what is possible or not. I also fear reading more online as it could potentially lead me to spoilers for the show. I wish the anime had a special episode or an OVA where the mechanic of the war is better explained. I feel a lot of the plot twist and other surprise in this anime are lost on me simply because I don’t know what I’m supposed to expect in the first place.

        I entirely understand your concerns and confusion. Seriously, since Gilgamesh was info dumping anyway (which I thought was poorly done overall), why not tell everyone what the three families were actually planning to do, like he did in the novel?

        But anyway, it’s perhaps not important for Gil to know you can punch a hole to reach Akasha if seven Servants are sacrificed (he only wants to punch a hole to kill everyone), but it’s overall important to know that the whole Holy Grail War is a farce, and that the “wish granting” is a nice byproduct (and also the bait so the Heroic Spirits answer the summoning), since you basically get unlimited mana. The anime viewer doesn’t learn about the true goal of the three families in UBW. It’s like ufotable wants to keep all the juicy stuff for Heaven’s Feel.

        But to answer your question:

        Yes, the souls of Heroic Spirits are not actually consumed. This has a lot to do with the nature of Servants, with Saber being a notable exception.

        If I remember correctly, the true goal of the Einzberns is mentioned once, and really only once in FZ, and right in episode 1, when the Einzbern head tells Kiritsugu to go kill every Master and “to bring back the Third True Magic to us”. It’s such an important line, yet I’m pretty sure many people missed that.

        In this anime, it is picked up in episode 15 of UBW, in Illya’s flashback, when she talks to all the “discarded” homunculi. It’s not a good explanation for anime-only people though in my opinion and confused many anime-only friends I know (but it’s very interesting info for VN readers since that scene is completely new).

        You get a better understanding of the importance of the Einzberns’ goal, if you know the difference between majutsu (magecraft/magic/thaumaturgy) and mahou (True Magic/sorcery). The difference is explained right at the beginning of the VN by Rin in the Prologue, but it’s left out in the anime.

        • Farray says:

          Yes, the souls of Heroic Spirits are not actually consumed. This has a lot to do with the nature of Servants, with Saber being a notable exception.

          To clarify, consumed not in the way you would usually interpret it, as in, they disappear forever. They are not lost forever, they eventually go back to where they came from. The magi wish to abuse this mechanic.

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