Fate/Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works – 20 & 21

Yes, Shirou possesses Avalon. There was lots of data dumped on us this week so let’s get started!

Saber continues to bear witness to the monumental fight between Shirou and Archer. Meanwhile, Lancer somehow survived impaling himself and kills Kotomine in one fell swoop, and also forces Shinji to retreat (although I really wish he just killed him). What an amazing guy. He spends his last moments remarking on what an incredible woman that Rin is, and how he wishes that they could have met under different circumstances. Lancer, rest in peace, you fantastic bastard, you.

The chips are down for Shirou, but he’s never out. His resolve and unwillingness to relent to Archer surprises even him – time and time again Archer stares with amazement at the fact that Shirou just does not and will not give up. We’ve seen this sort of event take place many times in anime but rarely done this well – I was on the edge of my seat and everything inside of me was roaring in applause every time Shirou’s resolve forced him to stand up and fight again. Even now I can feel my blood pumping in sheer awe. Shirou, you’ve come a long way, my friend.

Archer recalls Kotomine and what his early life meant to him – and while I’m unsure if it was intentional or not, allows himself to be struck by Shirou, effectively ending the duel in Shirou’s favor. It isn’t long before Gilgamesh appears to destroy Archer, the “faker”. Archer gives his last remarks to Shirou, entrusting Gilgamesh’s defeat with him.

Gilgamesh comments on how the grail itself doesn’t grant wishes, but is instead a corrupt depot of curses and death. Many would say that this is because of the wishes of Diarmuid, the lancer from Fate/zero. While I’m not completely certain if that is true, it certainly makes that scene all the more powerful (Fate zero may be due for a rewatch at this point). The very summoning of the grail 10 years ago by Kiritsugu Emiya is what caused the current landscape of destruction that Shirou was ‘born’ into. This time, Gilgamesh promises a much wider scale. Thus, our heroes must regroup.

How can they defeat Gilgamesh though, someone with whom even Saber had difficulty? That was the question going through my head upon realization of the “end game” here, anyway.

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