Archer protects Shirou from Caster while Assassin guards the temple entrance from Saber. The next day, Shinji makes his move at school, only for Rider to be mysteriously defeated by Caster.
I am increasingly baffled by the crowd that watches this show seemingly solely to complain about Shirou’s character. If it wasn’t plainly obvious weeks ago that Unlimited Blade Works is chiefly concerned with exploring his hero complex (and it was), nearly an entire episode is devoted to him arguing with Archer over their differing ideologies. The show draws clear parallels between Archer and Kiritsugu, for reasons obvious to anyone paying attention to Shirou’s myriad flashbacks to his father’s last moments or to anyone who payed attention while watching 2012’s Fate/Zero. Like Kiritsugu did, Archer has an ends-justifies-the-means sort of mentality, while Shirou believes that being a hero of justice means saving everyone. As seemingly 75% of the people watching this show like to loudly spout while thinking they’re being clever, this is a pretty unrealistic mindset, and therein lies the conflict. Is it better to chase an impossible ideal, or compromise for an actually reachable goal?
At least UFOtable manages to keep up the action when the story calls for it, with the customary cash bonfire roaring as Archer and Caster trade projectiles across the temple grounds. Saber’s clash with Assassin is equally impressive, and I was particularly pleased with how his Swallow Reversal technique was depicted. It was certainly handled better than Gae Bolg shooting laser beams back in episode 1. There’s a bit more action when Saber trashes Caster’s goons, but F/SN‘s propensity for long stretches of talking without explosions to appease the children rears its head for a mere episode and a half, chiefly to make room for scenes where Shirou and Rin progress their relationship. What a nightmare.
Shinji is defeated a paltry two episodes after he was introduced as a threat, marking an in-universe record: Kotomine says that Shinji is the first to come to the church for sanctuary during a Holy Grail War (conveniently not mentioning that he did so himself in Fate/Zero, albeit because he and the church were using it as pretenses to cheat), delivering another blow to the kid’s already bruised ego. However, as everybody knows, people with low self-esteem are easily manipulable, so Kotomine decides to let Shinji use a spare Servant that’s just laying around. If you’ve seen Fate/Zero, you already know exactly who this is. If you haven’t, spoiler alert: it’s that weird blonde guy who was talking with Kotomine about how eeeeeeeeeeevil they both are several weeks ago.
At any rate, this is one F/SN-ass F/SN adaptation, and considering the pacing so far it’s quite clear that the season break is going to coincide with battling Caster. I look forward to seeing how much more money UFOtable can burn and what new scenes they’re allegedly going to be fitting in.