Tragedy unfolds in Fate/Zero’s latest affair, and while one would like to recognize it as unfortunate, it simply was all too foreseen – not in that the plot is predictable, rather, the victim merely brought it upon themselves.
Kariya doesn’t wither to death within this episode, yet he’s twisted and skewed even more so than he was originally – he’s essentially driven to a state of complete madness, and now he matches his servant in personality quite well. It would be an exaggeration, and plainly incorrect, to state Kotomine Kirei is responsible for much in regards to Kariya’s downfall – yet Kirei does take a purely sickening pleasure from it. This episode marks Kirei’s night in the town with Gilgamesh in which the two take an easy start into their iniquitous rounds of amusement.
Dusk has turned to night as Saber blasts away on her motorcycle after who she presumed to be Rider – the scene is a spectacle highly reminiscent to a certain auto vehicle theft videogame as Saber dodges through oncoming traffic at vision blurring speeds. Intensity correlates with her continually increasing acceleration – and the artificial colored lights of a modern cityscape begin to spark and flash by the millisecond as Saber dives ever deeper through a river of metropolitan transit, gorgeously rendered in 3-D, till she spots Rider in the sky.
As one can then confirm, the Rider whom Saber sees here is the real King of Conquerors – the other was a mere impostor, yet with Saber knowing no better, and Rider entirely clueless as to his situation, the incident escalates as Saber continues chase after the innocent, uninvolved Rider. While Rider hasn’t an idea that he’s been framed at all, seeing Saber chasing after him, his typical personality then gleams as brilliantly as his ego as he decides to descent his chariot and engage in contention of land agility simply to show Saber his believed superiority.
However, Rider and Waver are left stunned as Saber, realizing she hasn’t a chance at catching up to the assumed assailant of the theft of her master’s wife, decides to, and somehow successfully, manages to invigorate her motorbike with some sort of spiritual energy which sends it rocketing around the vertexes of the mountainous path at a rate of unwavering motion which would even leave Takumi’s Eight-six in an unfavorable position.
Rider attempts a last ditch effort of keeping Saber back by spilling rubble onto the roadway – yet Saber closes in on Rider enough to assault his flank, and the two shortly thereafter find themselves facing off across a slab of concrete.
Staring down the supposed King of Knights, Rider and Waver’s situation isn’t a very promising point to be in – yet neither Rider, nor Waver, seem to be too troubled. They both have visibly become confident in the other, and assured of their capabilities as a pair – which in turn leaves neither worried despite what they face as they’re quite certain they’re not going to meet a light at the end of a tunnel so easily.
And they don’t – Rider conjures a scheme to fend back against Saber, and it blatantly fails, but even being in the direct line of fire of Saber’s lasers, Rider managed to parry it with relative ease, keeping Waver safe as well, and only giving up his chariot as he now hangs from a tree.
Saber retreats realizing she’s merely wasted time – and the ultimate conclusion of this event is that now, Rider and Waver are stuck having to traverse an intimidating distance on foot.
Elsewhere, the playwright is enjoying the performance of his damsel in distress themed anecdote – Kirei has fooled Kariya into serving him, utilizing Berserker’s Noble Phantasm to have achieved the Rider impersonation, and it’s worth noting that Kirei literally appears to be having the time of his life. His enthusiasm as he deceitfully speaks to Kariya is akin to that of a shady salesperson attempting to pitch a questionable product – and much like such an individual, a naive twit falls for it.
Accepting Kirei’s “promise”, and thinking he will actually receive what he sought, Kariya heads to the Fuyuki Church under the impression he can meet Tokiyomi upon his arrival. Indeed, he does encounter the fellow – however Tokiyomi is already a lifeless corpse, a cadaver absent of any value at this point, yet the horror strikes in the coming of an unanticipated guest.
Tokiyomi’s wife, the one whom Kariya once relished spending time with as he played with her daughters, Rin and Sakura, steps into the church – unquestionably having been invited by Kirei. Seeing the carrion of her husband beside Kariya, she jumps to the belief that she practically witnessed murder. She’s unaware that Kariya is equally shocked, bewildered, and honestly devastated – and becoming hysteric in the moment, she’s expectedly not even listening to Kariya. However, Kariya himself is also losing whatever was left of his sanity – and this leads to disaster.
While he wasn’t responsible for any killing, Kariya is feverishly uncertain in how he should react – and as the female Tohsaka, oblivious to the truth, starts spewing emotional gibberish at him as if he were in fact the one who committed this crime, Kariya then attempts to defend it, a grave mistake of many already made.
Tohsaka’s sobbing wife starts wailing, and strikes Kariya with a statement mentioning that he’s “never loved before” – the irony of this is horrendous, revoltingly brutal, as this implies she hadn’t recognized Kariya’s feelings whatsoever. As he goes on to yell in a fit of rage himself, Kariya’s entire reason for ruining his life as he did was for her. The insects, torment, and suffering he experienced in vain for Sakura was brought about by a love he had for her.
With that all being tossed away, Kariya’s final drop of rationality is depleted and he chokes the Tohsaka woman to death – killing his own object of affection, and effectively losing a substantial portion of his purpose in life, and the war alike.
One would like to sympathize with Kariya, yet in essence, this was something he brought upon himself – indeed he wasn’t the one who expulsed Tokiyomi of the living realm, yet that’s exactly what he intended to do. That was his goal, and he had been yelling such as his desire himself since the continuation of this series – episode 14. His reasons are entirely understandable, and as to whether they’re justified or not, that is debatable – yet it is clear to anyone that Kariya has progressively been losing his original goal and functional mentality.
When Kariya encountered what he previously wished for, and something which he perhaps might have still sought to accomplish himself, a defunct Tokiyomi carcass, he didn’t even know how to respond – and that shows that he wasn’t even truly aware of what he was following or hoping to attain. His actions were too hasty, absent of consideration, and he was helping no one – Kirei took advantage of this, and then Kariya subsequently wrecked himself altogether.
It was always despairingly clear that Kariya would eventually incite his own collapse – and Kotomine Kirei simply cheered him down that path, opening the door for him, and allowing him to face the worst of scenarios.
He may not be dead, however Kariya’s out of the war already.
Kirei is starting his blitzkrieg, and even Kiritsugu is fearful of what awaits – Kerry-kun is practically on his own now as his wife and assistant are away or dead respectively, and there’s nothing left to see but whether he will manage to succeed or break down.