I am the bone of my keyboard

Have withstood pain to create many posts.

Here, have some more Fate/stay night. I still haven’t scoured the blogs for helpful thoughts on the “Fate” route, but I can at least make some notes on my progress through “Unlimited Blade Works” — can and should, before I forget everything. Windows Update and my own carelessness conspired to do away with a few of my screencaps, but I think I can wing it well enough through those points.

Also: spoilers well beyond the scope of the anime.

I’ll omit glaringly obvious details here. I know this arc’s massive twist already (I haven’t gotten that far; I looked it up after I watched the show however long ago, figuring I’d never play the game anyway), so parallels between Shirou and Archer, while interesting, would be too obvious to warrant mentioning.

We learned in “Fate” that Assassin has his roots in fiction more than other servants; “Unlimited Blade Works” suggests that this is because he’s the servant of a servant. Thus, a human master summons a fictionalized but historical (as far as the game’s setting is concerned) servant, and that servant, given enough magical energy and a disregard for the rules of the Holy Grail War, might summon a servant who is fictional outright. It brings to mind Kotomine’s comment in “Fate” about humans being the ultimate source of “entertainment,” with art offering that entertainment in a distilled way.

Compare Shirou’s ideal here to Mitsuzuri’s aesthetic (see here): “Beautiful people have to do some kind of martial arts.” Of course, Mitsuzuri has the luxury to say that, not having watched people die (as far as we know), and one can practice martial arts without harmful intent. Shirou’s also a tad unrealistic if he thinks he can get through life without hurting anyone, but I suppose that’s the point.

I think the implication here is that expending all one’s energy on others and accepting nothing in return leads to destruction. Money keeps appearing as a metaphor for this: once you’ve spent money, it’s gone, and you’ll eventually run out without a source of income. Interesting; I don’t really think of philanthropy in terms of economics, even if it does so often take the form of monetary donation these days. It’s another one of those cycles that keep showing up.

Speaking of which, I could talk about the cycle as one of the basic “movements” of narrative art…well, maybe another time.

Hero definition #5408: a hero is one who surpasses fate itself. But how does one save those who are fated to die? In F/sn, it seems to involve an almost Faustian bargain that results in the hero serving as a heroic spirit, doomed to fight and destroy in exchange for one act of heroism. No wonder Archer’s so bitter.

I’ve heard it suggested that Shirou has no concept of self, and that’s why he’s so willing to throw his body in front of swords and things. To him, there are only other people. But he’s outright unable to have fun? That’s just as troubling. I can only conclude that…

…Shirou outright lacks imagination. It was around this point that I realized his descriptions of his feelings lean heavily toward the physical. Here, he’s not flustered, or aroused, or embarrassed — or, rather, he’s probably all those things, but he understands it not in vague emotional terms, but literally: his face is hot. Not that he doesn’t experience emotion, but it’s notable that he doesn’t think of it as most people do. Though he seems to “learn” emotion throughout the game, to some extent, I think I have a good idea now of why his friends worry about him.

Speaking of burning faces, it’s about time for me to go put the moves on Rin. Until next time!

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1 Comment

  1. Man this makes me want to play the game.


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