Shirou goes to school like any other day, but Rin’s tolerance of his obliviousness is at its end.
I figure by this point, watchers have either accepted that Shirou is 100% committed to his goal of being a “hero of justice” to the point of completely ignoring his own well-being, or they think he’s 100% a moron for acting in such a way. His plain earnestness and adherence to what he thinks is right makes him a good foil for Rin, who is very much about putting on airs and acting “proper”, whether that be acting like a proper lady, a proper magus, or a proper Master. The entire premise for their battle is that, as a Master, Rin should be taking this golden opportunity to eliminate Shirou (and that idiot, I warned him and gave him a fair shot, why isn’t he acting like he should be); her motivation is equal parts obligation and annoyance. Once an innocent is in danger, giving a chance for Rin’s morality to override cold logic, she’s fine with completely dropping the fight.
Speaking of the fight, the action sequences were pretty to the point of ridiculousness, as per usual. We’re given a decent look into how Rin and Shirou have differing styles of magic, similar to battle with Illya a few weeks ago. Rin has the entire weight of the Tohsaka line behind her magic, shooting curses like bullets and cornering her prey with barriers, while all Shirou can really do is make things tougher. Rider (a slender, purple-haired woman in contrast to Fate/Zero‘s montain of muscles) also makes her requisite appearance this week, reminding everyone that yes, the Holy Grail War is still totally going on and there’s a third Master lurking somewhere around the school.
Once Shirou and Rin agree to team up, we’re given further contrast between the two as they speak about the nature of magi. In Fate/Zero, we saw heavy preoccupation with family lines and magical inheritance via Tokiomi, who was completely at ease with dooming his daughter to a life inside Zouken’s worm dungeon because it meant she would still at least become a magus. Rin, as the Tohsaka firstborn, is obligated to carry on the family’s magic and claim the Holy Grail regardless of her personal wishes, and she grew up knowing this. She’s a slave to several generations of magi while Shirou is a free man, and she can’t help but be angry towards Shirou for this, while still seeing the irony in being angry. Her wry comment about how Kiritsugu chose to be father ahead of a mage is a fitting close to the episode.
Shirou’s willful stupidity in going alone is starting to get on my nerves. There’s wanting to protect people, and then there’s making yourself vulnerable for completely unnecessary reasons. Who’s gonna be that Hero of Justice if you’re dead, dude? It is nice to see he’s not totally helpless this episode. While he’s obviously outclassed by Rin’s superior magic, he still is much more fit than she is, shown by his ability to bob and weave even when Rin is raining down on him. When we first saw him fight, it was against a Servant, it’s obvious he wasn’t going to win that fight. Here, we still see him up against the ropes, but still in the fight. Obviously, if Rin was just using Archer he would be dead. It’s that kind of discrepancy which makes Rin’s actions completely silly in any context outside of “But I wuv him!” I really wish she would give up the pretense of actually trying to kill him, as their cooperation once innocent lives hung in the balance showed her true colors more than anything.
That said, considering Shirou once fought a servant and lost handily, having him be able to dodge Rider like he was, even with his arm torn up, really doesn’t do a lot to make us fear her. Regardless of how much UFOtable is assuming you know about this series, it seems pretty obvious that Rider wouldn’t stand a chance fighting anyone else. I suppose that might be the point they’re trying to make considering her underhanded tactics. We do get the feeling that whoever is the Master inside the school, he is using a lot of desperate moves to try and gain mana for his Servant. Still, it doesn’t make her very exciting. Adding to that, even with the old joke of Irishmen in Blue Spandex, I still think Rider’s outfit is the goofiest and least intimidating in all the history of the Grail War. It’s just so obviously there to show off T&A that you can’t take her seriously. Hopefully not a whole lot of time is wasted on her as we go forward.