The fifth holy grail war draws to a close this week with a winner.
Shirou was nearly wiped out from just the shock of Gilgamesh’s Ea. He just lays there while Gilgamesh basically tells him how much of an idiot he is. Shirou acknowledges all of this though, he realizes the faults of his ideal. He understands that it’s impossible, but he still chooses to continue to chase after the ideal. While he may stray from the path along the way, his end goal will always remain the same. Even if he’ll never reach his dream of a world where no one is hurt, as long as he stays true to himself, and keeps the goal in sight, he will not have any regrets.
Gilgamesh still refuses to use Ea against a mere peasant, even though he could have ended everything quickly. Shirou regains his fighting spirit since he is a fool and doesn’t know when to quit. He comes back more determined than ever, and continues to become stronger with each time he clashes.
Shirou is now able to use the reality marble and brings Gilgamesh into the unlimited blade works. While the goal was to match all of Gilgamesh’s weapons, he can surpass that with an unlimited arsenal of swords. Shirou is so stubborn that he’ll refuse to give up and continue matching Gilgamesh until he runs out of weapons.
Outside of the unlimited blade works, Rin as at the end of her rope. Shirou’s battle is taking away a lot of her mana, and the curses from the grail appear to be affecting her. She decides that this is the end of the line, and commands Saber to destroy the grail along with her and Shinji. She would rather sacrifice herself so that the rest of the world would be safe. Luckily, an old friend makes an appearance, buying Rin enough time to escape and allowing Saber to destroy the grail.
The use of excalibur exhaust Saber of her remaining mana. It’s unfortunate that she isn’t able to keep her promise with Shirou and begins to fade away. She has fulfilled her duties as a servant. I thought that it was a nice contrast to the end of Fate/Zero. Both times she was ordered to destroy the grail, but one time she was more anguished, and now she seems at peace. She seems to no longer hold her regrets and is able to leave the world peacefully.
It was amusing to watch Gilgamesh continue his fight with Shirou. He continues to stand still while Shirou rapidly develops. I guess Gilgamesh also isn’t in the same form that he was in the previous war. Servants are bound to their masters, but Gilgamesh was given a physical body after bathing in the previous grail summoning. He quickly loses his footing against Shirou.
As a ruler, he never really had to lift a finger. He could have all of his servants do the fighting for him, all he had to do was lead them. As a result, his fighting abilities are far weaker than other servants, making the gap between him and Shirou much smaller. Shirou is manage to overwhelm him with his swordsmanship, but runs out of mana before dealing the final blow.
With Shirou’s all out plan just falling slightly short, things are looking grim. Luckily, the destroyed grail creates a hole and to take Gilgamesh along with it. It was weird seeing the glorious king in such a weakened state, begging for his life. Archer returns to deal a fatal blow, allowing Shirou to keep his hands clear of blood.
Archer managed to survive Gilgamesh’s attack previously, and laid low until the final battle. He had lost his way somewhere along his journey. The kind Shirou became indifferent to all of the people he had killed and became rather cold. In his final moments, Archer seemed to have regained a bit of his old self. He finally smiles once again before leaving the world.
Overall, I was amazed with the animation and the music this episode. I remember getting pretty hyped up during the Gilgamesh vs Shirou battle in the DEEN version of the movie, but this was ten times better. Watching Shirou’s power continue to creep higher and higher with each attack along with the Emiya theme playing in the background was probably my favorite scene all season.
I also appreciated how Gilgamesh’s death was handled. I have not read the VN, but I remember from the UBW movie, the black hole suddenly appeared out of no where and swallowed Gilgamesh with no resistance. Even if he lacks physical combat abilities, he’s still one of the greatest rulers, and it would have been lame for him to randomly die like in the movie.
There’s still one more episode remaining. It’s sad that the climax has already been reached, but I’m interested in seeing the aftermath of the war. We still need some closure on Shinji, and what Shirou and Rin decide to do now that the war has ended.
You can watch Fate Stay Night UBW Episode 24 on Crunchyroll