Fate/ Stay Night – Heaven’s Feel – February 11

Happy MURICA Day everyone! Eat potato salad and blow some shit up. It’s what George Washington would have wanted. That and the abolition of the two-party system.

Shirou wakes up late.

I’m late for school. Well, that’s not really true since I’m not going to school, but it makes no difference to the fact that I slept in.

He’s a dopey-ass thing to the last, isn’t he?

His arm is numb, but motile again. He thinks that he should get started on breakfast, and despite the fact that he just said he overslept is surprised to hear Ilya say everyone has eaten already. He’s also surprised to be standing in the yard for some reason, which admittedly makes less sense. He chalks it up to morning drowsiness and heads in to eat. Ilya says she’ll cook for him. Aww.

On his way to the kitchen he bumps into Sakura, who’s chipper as hell from the previous night’s murdering and Shirou-banging. They get all ~awkward~, Shirou says he’s sorry if he was a little overzealous, refers to their sex as “animalistic,” which, you poor sweet sheltered child, Sakura says she likes it rough, and then he runs off to eat breakfast.

Ilya hands me a plate as soon as I enter the living room. On the plate are blackened toast, a runny sunny-side up egg, and cut tomatoes.

She is so God-damn cute.

Once again, Rin is watching Good Morning Japan’s “Today in Murder” segment.

An incidence of unexplained comas occurred in Shinto last night. The residents lost consciousness overnight. It’s being treated just like the other mysterious comas, but it’s different from before. The area of the incident is 50 meters in diameter. It used to only happen in one building at a time, but the damage is spread much further now.

And that’s not the only problem. At the end of the report… Beside the triple-digit number of victims is a new list called “missing people”.

Rin confirms that the missing will not be coming back.

“…That’s all. I understand how you feel, but feeling guilty can come later. Look, they’re starting to do as they please because they think we can’t do anything about it. They can do ridiculous things because they’re taking us lightly. So I don’t even need to say what we need to do, right?”

Without saying anything else, she gets up and walks to the dojo. Shirou follows, because she is a badass.

Rin faces Shirou in the dojo, with Ilya watching in silence. She asks if he truly understands what Archer’s arm is. Shirou thinks that it’s Rin who can’t understand.

…I swear Tohsaka doesn’t know what this arm is. She doesn’t know about the fear I felt last night. It’ll be over for me if I take this cloth off. She doesn’t know my body will be destroyed if I let this arm free, let alone use it.I recall the sensation. Unavoidable death. It felt like being buried alive. Utter obliteration, where the world is covered beneath something mysterious and ends in silence.

Rin clarifies, saying she meant she wanted to know if he understood what Archer’s actual ability was, which in Shirou’s defense is not what she asked. He’s like of course, and realizes that yes, she does understand what using it means.

Ilya gets snippy at Rin, and they bicker a bit. It becomes clear the two of them have come up with a plan, but Ilya isn’t crazy about it. It turns out Rin has something she wants him to project for her.

I’m going to have you project a special Conceptual Weapon that has been passed down through the Tohsaka family. The goal is to make something that can match Saber’s Noble Phantasm. […] we can manage a fight if we can make a sword that exceeds Saber’s Noble Phantasm, even if it’s an imitation that breaks easily.”

Rin reasons that Shirou doesn’t need Archer’s power to project successfully– just his knowledge, which he already has, at least in part. Now that he can see how to do it correctly, he can put proper theory into practice. To bolster him, Rin and Ilya are going to examine the blueprint for the weapon and prepare materials similar to the actual weapon that he can use as a framework.

The training on his part will be learning with Rin a) how to retrieve Archer’s know-how and b) practicing actual projections based on it.

Then Shirou says this:

…Ugh. I get the chills, recalling the weird sensation from yesterday. Tohsaka got me naked, came close to me, and stuck her fingers in me.

This is one of the most ridiculous bad translations I’ve ever seen.

“…I’ll be honest here. Using Archer’s magic means releasing the seal on his arm. In short, I’m telling you to take off that Shroud while we’re training projection.”

 
So, as I should have learned long ago, self-preservation instinct is for losers. If you choose the obvious option here, as I did, you get a bad end like a day and a half from now. It was annoying and I don’t want to talk about it.
Rin tells him not to be an idiot, and that they’ll just loosen it to practice, though she appreciates his determination. She goes on to say that Ilya will make sure he’s not mentally devoured by it.
With that, Rin leaves kind of weirdly. I’m not sure what the implication here is. Can she not stand to see how Shirou’s going to suffer? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come up again.
Regardless, Ilya gets set and tells Shirou she’s about to loosen it. As he starts to drift off…
“I’m going to give you a needless warning. Rin only knows the pain of having a heroic spirit’s arm transplanted onto you. She doesn’t know what this is going to cause. She has no idea what this is going to do to you. But it can’t be helped. I’m the only one in the world who knows about the relationship between you and Archer.”
!!! How, though.
Rin meets Sakura in the yard.
“You don’t need to explain [why you’re not resting]. I’m telling you to go back to your room. I’m not going to let you in the dojo, no matter what you tell me.” Rin cuts off the girl’s utmost resistance.
“Why can’t I go in?”
“Do I really need to spell it out? You’re our enemy when we’re acting as Masters. Look, Sakura. Even if you and Rider are just staying in the house without fighting, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re under Zouken’s control. There’s no way we can train in front of such a person.”
Sakura mopes, and then starts to fret, because what else. She demands to know why Rin is still training him, as if it’s not obvious. Rin explains they’re having him selectively tap into Archer’s arm.
Sakura panics and says he’ll die, but Rin says he would have eventually taken the shroud off himself anyway. This way, she figures that since only loosening it is part of the plan it will stop him from doing anything reckless like taking it all the way off.
Sakura asks if the current plan doesn’t work, if she’ll tell Shirou to straight-up use the arm. Rin says of course– given the choice between Shirou or literally all of the townsfolk, she has to choose the townsfolk and destroy the shadow and Zouken.
“…That’s selfish of you. Senpai never wanted the Holy Grail. He became a Master by chance. So it’s wrong to force him to keep fighting.”
No, Sakura, you lunatic, that’s selfish of you.
Rin doesn’t say that, but she does say that she’s in no way forcing Shirou to fight. Something that his ~true wub~ should probably know about him at this point (I said that part, not Rin).
This is such a psychotic misinterpretation of what Rin said that the only reasonable explanation I can muster is that Sakura has lost her personal motivation to be yandere and is just stretching for more reasons because she enjoys it so much. This doesn’t read like a person who’s going crazy, it reads like a person who’s a self-obsessed idiot. Or a horrible spousal abuser.
Back with Shirou, he suddenly notices Rin has come back, and she and Ilya are talking, but he can’t hear them. He can’t find his voice, and is only getting bits of their conversation, then finally is able to shout, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.” They both look at him oddly, and then Ilya says something about liking his cooking, and that Sakura will make lunch. Shirou starts to say it’s only like 9 am, but then sees the clock is at noon and stops.
Rin asks him if he and Ilya are going to get going now. Apparently he said he’d go to the shopping district with her to stock up on food. He vaguely remembers this, and says yeah. Rin is incredibly worried by how dazed he seems and asks if he’s okay. He says he’s a little confused, but he’ll be fine.
He and Ilya head out to town. They have a good time, and Ilya is happy as a clam as they run home. She starts singing:

Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein.
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Im Abendsonnenschein

 
Here’s an English translation of the song, called “Lorelei.”

I know not if there is a reasonWhy I am so sad at heart.A legend of bygone agesHaunts me and will not depart.

The air is cool under nightfall.The calm Rhine courses its way.The peak of the mountain is sparklingWith evening’s final ray.

The fairest of maidens is sittingSo marvelous up there,Her golden jewels are shining,She’s combing her golden hair.

She combs with a comb also golden,And sings a song as wellWhose melody binds a wondrousAnd overpowering spell.

In his little boat, the boatmanIs seized with a savage woe,He’d rather look up at the mountainThan down at the rocks below.

I think that the waves will devourThe boatman and boat as one;And this by her song’s sheer powerFair Lorelei has done.

Some interesting info:

The song about this particular Rheine Maiden was actually written as a poem by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) and published in 1827; it was set to music by Friedrich Silcher (1789-1860). Heine was a Jew, and during the Nazi era an attempt was actually made to suppress the song, but the German people wouldn’t stand for this, so the name of the author was quietly forgotten in that time, although Heine is today one of the most famous German poets.

And from Wiki:

In 1801, German author Clemens Brentano composed his ballad Zu Bacharach am Rheine as part of a fragmentary continuation of his novel Godwi oder Das steinerne Bild der Mutter. It first told the story of an enchanting female associated with the rock. In the poem, the beautiful Lore Lay, betrayed by her sweetheart, is accused of bewitching men and causing their death. Rather than sentence her to death, the bishop consigns her to a nunnery. On the way thereto, accompanied by three knights, she comes to the Lorelei rock. She asks permission to climb it and view the Rhine once again. She does so and falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards.

In 1824, Heinrich Heine seized on and adapted Brentano’s theme in one of his most famous poems, ”Die Lorelei”. It describes the eponymous female as a sort of siren who, sitting on the cliff above the Rhine and combing her golden hair, unwittingly distracted shipmen with her beauty and song, causing them to crash on the rocks.

It’s funny. When I played through this day, I did so with the sound off, and I sure as hell don’t speak German, but somehow this is still what I got the sense Ilya was singing about — something sad and accidental; an unavoidable fate caused by the fault of others. Because what else could Ilya have to express, really? I find her to be a very touching and powerful character.

It looks like normal siblings going home after shopping. It looks so natural that it makes me imagine. …What if Kiritsugu were between the boy holding the bags and the singing girl? How happy would that be?

 
The poem itself… IDK. To be honest, I’m not here to analyze random poetry, and it’s a popular German folk song, the kind a kid would know and sing like “Ring Around the Rosy,” unaware of its meaning. It’s sad and wistful and full of horrible accidents, and for the sake of the story it’s in, I think that’s what matters.
Shirou says he knows Ilya has been bottling something up since Archer died, and that keeping it inside is how they’re able to act so carefree together like this.
And then he does something he knows he shouldn’t: he asks her to stay with him after the war. But she says it’s not possible.

“You know that already, right? …Yes, one of us might be able to live a bit longer if the other is sacrificed. But I think having both of us is impossible. If I’m alive after the war, that means you’re dead. See, it’s impossible. There’s no place for me in your house if you’re not there.” […] “…Heehee. But it’s a bit vexing. I wish you’d said it a bit sooner. If you had… fate might’ve taken a different turn.”

 
Shit.
I don’t get what Ilya’s saying. I don’t get why one of us has to die, or why she has given up and can say such things with a smile.
He tells her not to be ridiculous. They have a plan. Things will be fine.
“Don’t tell this to Rin, okay? The projection of the gem sword. You can’t reproduce the Tohsaka heirloom using Rin’s method. Because your projection isn’t projection magic.
Normal projection magic would let us layer a projection onto something that’s close to the original and strengthen it. But your projection is different. […] You have to use Archer’s arm to make what Rin needs. But you already know what that means. …It won’t just be partial loss of memory like earlier. If you use it even once, you won’t be yourself anymore.”
 
Fuck.
“You’re just a bit confused because of everything that’s happened […] So I’ll forget about your offer. You know it too, right? You can’t choose all, and you can only save one.”
 
With that, she walks away silently.

I just think you all should know rereading this scene for the post depressed me so much I had to stop and take like a 24-hour break.Later, everyone sits around the dinner table. Sakura is trying to cook, but she can’t– she’s so weak she keep dropping plates. Everyone is sitting there silently, even Rin. They had tried to persuade her to rest, but she said this is the least she can do while everyone is training — she wants to be useful somehow.

Finally, Sakura manages to get food on the table. It looks wonderful and everyone is excited, but…

…I freeze. All three of us make a sour face for an instant. …No, we can only continue eating. None of the food on the table is good. It’s not that they’re terrible. But everything seems to lack something, and the taste is out of balance.

 
Seriously, is she pregnant.
They eat quietly, not looking at each other, and Shirou thinks that it’s only a matter of time before Sakura notices herself that she food doesn’t taste right. But Sakura isn’t eating, because she can’t even pick up her chopsticks.

…She awkwardly picks up the food, quickly brings it to her mouth, puts it in with some difficulty, and then tries to remember how to use the chopsticks again. She’s trying so hard that there’s no way I can ask if she’s all right.

 
They eat dinner in complete silence, and Shirou manages to convince Sakura to let him clean up so he can go rest. She tries to insist she’s not sick, but Shirou says you know what, fine, let me tell you have messed up you are right now, and details everything that happened with dinner. He tells her she’s on bedrest until her fever breaks, and that’s that. He says it’s not her fault she’s ill, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if she refuses to admit it.
Shirou and Rin get ready to patrol, and Shirou is feeling defeated. He says there’s no point, but Rin says that have to at least make some effort to prevent more deaths, and they just can’t face Zouken yet. She says he was able to project once today — something he has no recollection of — but they have a long way to go.
They head outside, but at the first major intersection, it’s obvious something is wrong.

Tohsaka is looking down the road that leads to the Ryudou Temple. The opposite direction from Shinto, right into the suburbs. There’s no light there, and it looks like a black wall.“…Let’s go.” I step into the dark town. Tohsaka is silent. …This is something we don’t even need to think about. We both know what happened. It’s contradictory. We know we’ll have to admit the truth if we go, but we start walking, hoping that we’ll be proven wrong.

 
They pass through and —
…Giygas?
Also, is Sakura pregnant with a demon mushroom Grail baby? Is that what’s going on?

There’s no sign of broken doors. There’s no sign of broken windows. And of course, there are no cranes to remove the roof and take everything out of these houses. And at the same time… The presence of the hundreds of people who should live in this area is gone.

 
Everyone in all the houses in the area is just gone. Fuck.

I have no positive proof. I have no reason. I have no motive. I have no evidence.‘…Who is this similar to?’

That can’t be. It’s impossible. I can’t admit it. But the more I think…

‘…If I become a bad person…’

I have no proof, so I’m made to believe that my intuition is right. Yes. Because the sensation is…

‘…Stop. Don’t think about stupid things.’

He knows. We all know. But when Rin asks if he’s okay, he doesn’t tell her.

“……So. What happened there?”

“Well… It’s eating, just like all the other incidents. It’s just that the scale is much greater.
Guessing from the traces, it didn’t go to each house individually. It probably engulfed the area like a tidal wave and melted into the ground. It must’ve been hungry. It wanted to finish the food in one mouthful.”

“But it seems it doesn’t like inorganic stuff. It went past anything that wasn’t alive, only digesting what was. …If there’s any comfort, it’s that they disappeared right away. There was no time to feel any fear or pain.”

A boundary field of dissolution. Tohsaka explains that it’s like the boundary field Rider set up at school, but much stronger and instantaneous.

 
I wonder if Rin knows. She must have made the connection.
The question is, what is Shirou going to do about it?
We interlude to Zouken, who is getting great joy out of watching Rin and Shirou’s despair at the deaths.
Zouken doesn’t give a shit if Rin and Shirou live or die, but Skullface is started to get annoyed, and wants to kill them. But Zouken says no. More than not caring about them personally, he wants to watch Shirou turn on Sakura.

 

 


“…Then you would like the boy to give the final push?”

“Exactly. He should be the one to draw the curtains. It was an unexpected growth, but he made it last so long. Then I should give him the pleasure of killing it.”

 
Rin and Shirou get home, and Ilya asks how it went. Sakura is, as far as anyone knows, still asleep in her room.
Everyone heads off to sleep, Shirou thinking that everyone is pushing themselves beyond any reasonable point.
Just as he’s drifting off, Sakura comes in for sexytime.

“Sakura. Were you sleeping like I told you?” I just ask what’s bothering me. My tired head can’t think at all.“Yes, I was sound asleep. I saw another scary dream, but I was able to bear it since you were there until I fell asleep.”

A scary dream. I have to ask her what kind of dream it was, but… I can’t say anything, reaching out for her long hair instead.

 
They have sex and it’s exactly the same as every other time blah blah blah.
But afterward, Shirou feels even worse about the situation.
Time for more evil interludes! I’m glad they’re color-coded for us.

This is a nightmare. A nightmare I’m seeing over and over.

 
 
It’s your demonshroomgrailbaby, Sakura!
I feel an affinity with it. I’m very happy tonight too. Because this is the first time. Senpai asked for my body for the first time. …Yes. There’s nothing to be afraid of now. I keep seeing this nightmare, but it’s all right. The world looks so beautiful and kind now that Senpai’s looking at me. So I feel like continuing this bad dream, and going to look for another meal. 
 
Nasu creepy is the best creepy, won’t lie.
But… “…You are certainly working hard. Double the amount tonight?” I meet someone that’s scarier than the nightmare.
 
It’s Gil!! Oooooh, is this why he was harassing her way back at the beginning of each route?
“You should die now, girl. You will not be able to die if you become familiar with it.” …[He has w]arned me before to kill myself.
 
I like sane!Gil. Really I like anyone who’s going to off Sakura at this point, though.
Gil showers the shroom with sword.
FINALLY someone finishes her off.
She tries to crawl away, but Gil isn’t having it.
“That is unsightly. Do not trouble me.”
 
<3333
He swings his sword and Sakura blacks out. He turns to go… and is swallowed by the shroom. God dammit.
Le sigh. I guess she’s indestructible.
She doesn’t have a enough energy to heal completely, so she goes looking for more.
The pregnancy metaphor or whatever here is really weird.

58 Comments

  1. Socordya says:

    …Ugh. I get the chills, recalling the weird sensation from yesterday. Tohsaka got me naked, came close to me, and stuck her fingers in me.

    No wonder Sakura is jealous.

    Rin tells him not to be an idiot, and that they’ll just loosen it to practice

    Then why didn’t she fucking said so to begin with.

    This way, she figures that since only loosening it is part of the plan it will stop him from doing anything reckless

    How hilariously naive.

    1. Clerish says:

      “Then why didn’t she fucking said so to begin with.”
      She just wanted to understand his level of determination.

      1. Socordya says:

        Poor consolation when you end up in a bad end because of that.

    2. actonthat says:

      [Then why didn’t she fucking said so to begin with.]

      This whole choice made no sense. No matter what you say, Rin essentially replies, “That was a test and you passed.”

      1. Socordya says:

        I don’t remember, was the bad end interesting, at least? If so, maybe that’s the reason. They wanted to show it off, so they make the “good” choice look stupid in order to make you discard it?

  2. EdH says:

    And more spies! Washington made the first network of spies in America. He would be proud of how extensive CIA networks are.

    Funny. I interpreted the song as a metaphor for Shirou, who is being led to his doom by a beautiful siren. Ah, that’s why HF is my personal favorite, and yet the romance (which is pivotal) is quite annoying (and yet I still approve, cause horror romance is best romance-excluding Fate cause that’s a different league of horror). I can’t wait for the how to change post.

    Anyone wonder how the characters would be in a horror game or movie, ala Amnesia? I mean, low sanity, memory problems, etc.

  3. Roarke says:

    He’s a dopey-ass thing to the last, isn’t he?

    Presumably he drops it somewhere on the Road to Archer, but… yeah. Shirou’s always been a nice mix of perceptive/dopey. Except in Fate, but I guess that goes without saying.

    So, as I should have learned long ago, self-preservation instinct is for losers. If you choose the obvious option here, as I did, you get a bad end like a day and a half from now. It was annoying and I don’t want to talk about it.

    I am sorry about this, because I totally forgot that this choice is one of the triggers for that dead end. It has like two-three possible triggers, one of which is Sakura Affection Points. Since you’d been taking all of the Sakura-route, awaaaaay choices, I assumed you’d be fine.

    It’s Gil!! Oooooh, is this why he was harassing her way back at the beginning of each route?

    One more bit of the prologue explained. Speaking of questions left from the prologue, Nasu explained in an interview somewhere that the clocks in Rin’s house turned an hour forward when she unlocked her father’s will. It was a prank played by her father, who probably did not foresee her opening the thing a day before the Holy Grail War (the 10-year cycle was not something he accounted for). So we have Mr. Tohsaka to thank for Archer, albeit indirectly.

    Sakura asks if the current plan doesn’t work, if she’ll tell Shirou to straight-up use the arm. Rin says of course– given the choice between Shirou or literally all of the townsfolk, she has to choose the townsfolk and destroy the shadow and Zouken.

    I had to read it again to be sure, but this scene is pretty much framed to show Sakura as being much more reasonable/sympathetic than your interpretation allows. I believe the intent of the scene is to show Sakura standing up to stone-cold magus Rin a little and rightly pointing out how messed up it is that Rin is (to Sakura’s knowledge) prepared to use Shirou as a tool at the cost of his life without informing him about it. There’s also the side of “Rin is Sakura’s ideal so it’s hard to argue with her, but Sakura does it anyway because true love”. Then Rin straight-up calls Shirou her “familiar” until the war ends, which is what sets off Sakura’s Yandere Senpai Defense System.

    … It’s one of the ways HF trips over its own feet with the whole Sakura characterization thing. Like, sure, on paper, this scene might work, and Nasu certainly amps Rin’s bitch level up about threefold to try and make it work, but the audience knows Rin too well for the scene to have its intended effect.

    I just think you all should know rereading this scene for the post depressed me so much I had to stop and take like a 24-hour break.

    The scene with Ilya is heart-wrenching, aye. Fatalistic little girls are the saddest things.

    He swings his sword and Sakura blacks out. He turns to go… and is swallowed by the shroom. God dammit.

    A for effort, Gil.

    Incidentally, I believe this is one of the only interludes in which we actually get first-person narration from Sakura. It’s kind of nice. I wish Nasu had done more of that, and more first-person Rin interludes as well. Also first-person Archer.

    1. EdH says:

      I would jokingly argue that Archer never lost the dopeyness. After all, he is the one going on the elaborate suicide plan (almost like he’s compensating hah).

      But yeah what you say is my beef with HF. It should work (and it really needs to work considering it’s the bulk), but the Sakura characterization is a bit off. We do have one of the best priests in fiction though.

      1. Roarke says:

        I have even more beef than that with HF, but we’ll get there. Though yes, Kotomine, Ilya, and the action scenes are the saving graces.

        Interestingly enough, with the whole Sakura characterization thing, I’m sort of beginning to see a trend. People are more likely to like Sakura, ShirouxSakura, and HF as a whole if they are actually spoiled to Sakura’s backstory prior to reading F/SN. It makes a kind of weird sense, because then they don’t get blindsided by her and can actually let the sympathy grow naturally.

        Archer’s self-assisted murder/suicide (there’s not really a term for it) is on the dark side of dopey, I guess. He knows it won’t work, but still has Shirou’s dopey tendency of… irrationally committing to things he knows won’t work.

    2. Falconix says:

      It was a prank played by her father, who probably did not foresee her opening the thing a day before the Holy Grail War (the 10-year cycle was not something he accounted for).

      Too bad most people’s impressions about Tokiomi are colored by Gil declaring him a total bore in Fate/Zero (well, and the whole “giving his second daughter away to Rapeworm Camp” thing). I would have liked to see more about this stealth prankster.

      1. actonthat says:

        Does F/Z address at all just what Tokiomi knew? It’s not really clear here if he realized he was doing anything but essentially giving his daughter away for a political alliance that would be tough for her, but important in the long run. Was anyone expecting the Spanish Inquisition rapeworms?

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          It does address how much Tokiomi knew. Would you like to know, or would you prefer to watch the series first?

          1. actonthat says:

            Eh, I’ll be surprised.

        2. illhousen says:

          And it’s a good place to bring up happy worms meme (spoiler-free for F/Z)

          Long story short, there is a scene in F/Z where Tokiomi explains his actions to another character. I won’t give the context here.

          And then there is a crack fic which uses a rather different interpretation of Tokiomi character (again, won’t reveal how different), portraying him as, well, a naive idiot.

          So, it goes like that:
          “You sold your daughter to Zouken!”
          “Oh, yeah, great decision! She will become the new Matou heir and treated splendidly there! I’ve heard young Shinji doesn’t have any magic circuits, so she would even have her own servant aware of the moonlit world.”
          “But worms!”
          “Oh, Zouken told me about happy worms.”
          “What.”
          “Happy worms. Worms that bring happiness. It’s quite unusual in magecraft to find happiness, you know, so it’s a massive accomplishment that is now in Sakura’s hands.”
          “What.”
          “Well, I mean, Zouken is always so cheery and smiling. In fact, he giggled all the way through our conversation about Sakura…”

          And so on. I probably shouldn’t laugh at it, but, as you said, the sheer scale of what’s happening to Sakura kinda pushes it outside of the realm of sympathy and into baby eating humor territory.

          1. SpoonyViking says:

            I found that fic entirely by accident, and it really is quite funny!

    3. PostguestivePostistPhase says:

      “Nasu explained in an interview somewhere that the clocks in Rin’s house turned an hour forward when she unlocked her father’s will. It was a prank played by her father, who probably did not foresee her opening the thing a day before the Holy Grail War”
      Gonna call bullshit on that. I like Nasu and his weirdass ideas, but this is dumb and blatantly retroactive.

      1. Roarke says:

        Yeah. Here’s the quote, from Fate/Complete Material III:

        Q: In the Prologue, the clocks were an hour early when Rin woke up, but she only remembered them being 30 minutes fast… why is that? She did suspect some trick of her late father’s, though (laugh). Could it be that Rin, being the idiot she is, forgot about the first time and set her clock 30 minutes fast twice?

        A: The clocks being one hour fast was a scheme of her late father Tokiomi. A bit of playfulness on his part, seeming to say “if she can’t even notice a slip-up as trivial and close to home as this, it’s too soon for her to fight in the Holy Grail War.” I have to admit, it’s a little different from the perfect gentleman Tokiomi was portrayed as in Fate/Zero (laugh)

        1. actonthat says:

          Dammit Urobutchi. Fun-loving prankster Tohsaka-sama would have been awesome.

          1. Roarke says:

            It would certainly give him more in common with Rin. As it stands, Rin’s true character doesn’t remotely resemble either of her parents’.

            1. illhousen says:

              …Her mother had a character?

              Reply
              1. Roarke says:

                In theory. It’s not like we saw a lot of her. The vital flow of character development was restricted. Choked off, somehow.

      2. actonthat says:

        My guess would actually be that this is a Tolkien-style too-much-worldbuilding thing, where the explanation was in his head the whole time but there was never an in-universe chance to bring it up, in which case the whole thing should really have been axed, but then he couldn’t let go of it so here we are.

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          Just like the mention of how Shinji’s mother was a Carrier: potentially very interesting, but actually pointless since it leads nowhere and isn’t even a red herring.

    4. Socordya says:

      Like, sure, on paper, this scene might work, and Nasu certainly amps Rin’s bitch level up about threefold to try and make it work, but the audience knows Rin too well for the scene to have its intended effect.

      Well, it worked for me, but it seems I am the only person on this blog to feel that way.
      Nasu “amping Rin’s bitch level about threefold” raises another problem for me, though. I can’t help but think this is how Rin always acts around Sakura when they are alone, and they pretending to like each other for Shirou’s sake. Rin does it so Shirou won’t get on her case, and Sakura does it so ~Sempai~ won’t think she is a meanie. Which just makes me feels for Sakura more, since it’s one more way she is trapped, and makes me dislike Rin.

      1. Roarke says:

        I mean if you already dislike Rin, HF!Rin or otherwise, then you’ll probably like Sakura just for a change of pace.

        As for Rin’s treatment of Sakura when they’re alone, do you mean in general across all routes, or solely in HF once she’s been discovered to be wormfood? Your wording is vague there.

        1. Socordya says:

          I meant in HF.
          And I didn’t dislike Rin before HF, that’s why the gratuitous animosity toward Sakura seems jarring to me.

          1. Roarke says:

            I think there are more or less reasonable canonical explanations for why Rin’s suddenly having a really hard time being anything but cold towards Sakura, but like, to be honest, my personal opinion is that it’s just another way Nasu wrote himself into a corner. Nasu attempts to isolate Sakura’s character by making only two characters treat her with any real decency: Shirou and Rider, with Shirou so far outstripping Rider that she practically doesn’t even count. I think this is Nasu’s way of reinforcing the idea that in terms of saving Sakura, it’s really Shirou Emiya vs. The World. I think this is supposed to garner sympathy for her, because 1. it’s really sad for any person to be in that situation, rape or not, and 2. C’mon, it’s for our boy Shirou. We want his happiness, we want him to drop the ideal, etc. Sakura seems like the way out for him. Rin looks like the strawman for “sacrifice the few to save the many” that Nasu was just stuck with.

            Like, the game prior to the revelation of Sakura being wormfood really firmly establishes that Rin cares about Sakura and wants her to be safe/happy. Like, by the prologue’s end. So it’s out of left field from my perspective as well that she acts like she does. It would take an actual fan of HF to explain it, I guess.

            1. SpoonyViking says:

              I’d say she’s basically trying to psyche herself up to kill Sakura if she has to. She still wants Sakura to be happy, but now Sakura is a walking bomb ready to go off in the middle of the crowd, if you’ll pardon the pun.

              Reply
              1. Mathias29991 says:

                It’s really Rin having to choose between being an magus or an human, since what she said to Sakura was pretty true and it was honestly the best way to go but it wasn’t something an normal human would do and the struggle in Heaven Feels with Rin is exactly that. Being the magus who has to protect the whole town or the sister of Sakura Matou. Her decision would safe the majority of the people in the town and what she does with Sakura fits perfectly with being the best decision and the most inhuman of the decision at the same time. Her conflict in UBW is close to this with Shirou but less are at stake and while she seems to be an asshole to Sakura, she just think of the majority of the people before her sister.

              2. SpoonyViking says:

                Indeed.

              3. actonthat says:

                It’s odd how in Sakura’s route, Rin’s and Shirou’s ongoing character conflicts are really what come to a head. It kind of makes sense because Rin really has been the true deuteragonist from the get-go, but it feels weird because the expectation is for Sakura to be getting character resolution, which she doesn’t, really.

              4. Roarke says:

                You know who is getting character resolution, though? Ilya.

                In a lot of ways, Ilya’s character arc is what Sakura’s character arc is trying to be: her horrible fate has been predetermined by others and is out of her power to change, but she’s found a source of happiness and is struggling to resign herself to her fate as a result of that new happiness.

                In fact, I ask you to please compare their arcs when all is said and done. I know from the prologue/Fate that you’re good at picking apart parallel narrative structures (I don’t think I even knew the term until I read that, which is a sad thing to say since I was an English major, but, yay education!).

            2. actonthat says:

              [I think this is Nasu’s way of reinforcing the idea that in terms of saving Sakura, it’s really Shirou Emiya vs. The World.]

              I think so, too, in part, and I agree that turning characters we like against the female protagonist of the route, while inevitable, was a massive mistake. The only way I could see it working would be to go full-on siren with her, and have Shirou get more and more overtly irrational about saving her while she’s all ~sempai I love you~ under the influence of the Grail. That requires her to be a lot more horrible than she’s supposed to be, but also makes her more complex– how much is Sakura, and how much is the Grail? If she’s not supposed to be super-sympathetic, she suddenly becomes more sympathetic.

              Reply
              1. Roarke says:

                I think we’re already supposed to be asking ourselves “how much is Sakura, and how much is the Grail?” but it’s too fucking late. As soon as The Reveal happened, one could only assume Sakura’s entire character, if genuine thus far, hinges on being a victim of extreme sexual abuse. Mild and meek? Abuse victim. Slavishly devoted to the only person who openly showed her kindness? Abuse victim. Yandere? Abuse victim. She stops being a well-rounded character and starts becoming extremely one-dimensional, at least in my eyes. Then I feel horrible for disliking her, because abuse victim.

      2. actonthat says:

        It worked for me too, but apparently because I read it in a way no one else did: I think Rin was protecting Shirou. I think her posessiveness and dismissiveness was her way of telling Sakura she didn’t approve of their relationship, and saying she was going to save Shirou before saving Sakura.

        I think Rin is willing to be Nee-san to Sakura, but only up to the point that it conflicts with another’s wellbeing, in this case Shirou’s.

    5. actonthat says:

      The lack of first-person interludes is IMO a huge part of the Sakura characterization failure. They should have come early and often, and we should have seen the slow slide into batshit firsthand.

      Regarding That Scene, to quote myself from below: “I think Rin was protecting Shirou. I think her posessiveness and dismissiveness was her way of telling Sakura she didn’t approve of their relationship, and saying she was going to save Shirou before saving Sakura.”

      I found Rin to be sympathetic in this scene because of that, and saw her as trying to balance two inherently incompatible things. And then, as you said, the YSDS activated.

      1. Roarke says:

        Well, the main reason Sakura never had an interlude of her own prior to The Reveal was because Nasu couldn’t risk letting it go early. He already had to be really vague in the non-first person interludes, like referring to her as “the person” that Shinji throws into the worm pit, etc.

        I think that Nasu needed to take a page from his own book, i.e. Tsukihime, and reveal Sakura’s abuse to the reader before the characters, like, just blindside us with it on Day 3 of HF, then let dramatic irony drive the story. But that’s a pointless complaint to make. What we see is what we have.

        I think Rin was protecting Shirou. I think her posessiveness and dismissiveness was her way of telling Sakura she didn’t approve of their relationship, and saying she was going to save Shirou before saving Sakura.

        You know, Rin is in a really sad place at this point in HF, way more than Shirou is. Shirou doesn’t think he has to sacrifice anything to save Sakura, because he’s an idiot, but Rin is pretty certain that he’ll die in the attempt even if he succeeds, and he’s kind of her best friend already at this point. From her point of view, having them both is impossible, and it’s more likely she’ll lose both. When you put the not-even-red shirts on the scale, it does believably tip Rin’s feelings towards Plan Sakuramurder (which, are you on board with that now? I think you expressed interest). She’s certain to lose her sister, but has a much better chance of saving Shirou, who is not a red shirt, and the hundreds of not-even-red shirts. After all, holding Shirou’s leash while he sprints headlong to his own death has been a staple of Rin’s character so far (edit: even when he was Archer, dohohoho).

  4. illhousen says:

    “This is one of the most ridiculous bad translations I’ve ever seen.”

    And yet somehow it feels right.

    “…Giygas? ”

    One good thing about Earthbound.

    “Everyone in all the houses in the area is just gone. Fuck.”

    I like this type of horror. It’s not that there are monsters or scary shit around, but rather something essential to the world as we know it was taken away, and the characters are left to explore suddenly alien reality.

    “Senpai asked for my body for the first time.”

    Senpai noticed me!

    And that’s terrible.

    “I like sane!Gil. Really I like anyone who’s going to off Sakura at this point, though.”

    He is not so much sane as annoyed by someone else breaking his toys, I suspect.

    “FINALLY someone finishes her off.”

    No comment about her neck? Just look at it.

    1. Kaze says:

      “No comment about her neck?”

      In the moment Sakura got her insides sworded out, the glory was so intense that for a brief, shining moment, even Takeuchi’s sins were overlooked.

      1. Goldreaver says:

        And here I thought Akiha’s neck was weird…

        1. actonthat says:

          Oooo, you have an account now. One offff usssss. And be forever annoyed at Disqus.

      2. actonthat says:

        Basically.

    2. actonthat says:

      [No comment about her neck? Just look at it.]

      I believe it’s a probably-unintended moment of effective horror. I actually like the image because it’s so bizarre-looking and makes her head and neck look distorted and broken, but I seriously doubt that was on purpose.

  5. Ezequiel Ayoroa says:

    “So, as I should have learned long ago, self-preservation instinct is for losers. If you choose the obvious option here, as I did, you get a bad end like a day and a half from now. It was annoying and I don’t want to talk about it.”

    Uh? Could you give us details? I don’t remember it.

    “And then he does something he knows he shouldn’t: he asks her to stay with him after the war. But she says it’s not possible.”

    A nice mirroring of Rin’s proposal to archer at the end of UBW.

    […] “…Heehee. But it’s a bit vexing. I wish you’d said it a bit sooner. If you had… fate might’ve taken a different turn.”

    ilya route when

    “You’re just a bit confused because of everything that’s happened […] So I’ll forget about your offer. You know it too, right? You can’t choose all, and you can only save one.”

    ILYA. ROUTE. WHEN.

    1. Ultraviolet says:

      “Uh? Could you give us details? I don’t remember it.”

      You can get that particular bad end in three ways: a direct choice at that point (and it involves something no-one would do given the route we’re in), or getting locked into it by failing a score check or choosing wrong here. It’s that one that has the Tiger Dojo with ghost Shirou watching Taiga and Illya investigate the “murder”.

      (I guess everyone around here is familiar with the game, but I’ll leave it vague just in case)

      1. Godlreaver says:

        Sakura eating the entire household? I get that it could be a score check (didn’t we already have one for Sakura earlier on anyway?) but how the fuck is that even tangentially related to the shroud?

        If you can’t answer, don’t worry, I guess I’ll check a LP or something

      2. actonthat says:

        I did appreciate that at least the Tiger Dojo explained to you exactly what you did wrong. Nasu must have known this was kind of a dickish one.

      1. actonthat says:

        Everything I have seen about Prisma Illya makes it look incredibly bizarre to me. What even is the Fate EU.

    2. actonthat says:

      [A nice mirroring of Rin’s proposal to archer at the end of UBW.]

      Nasu really loves to tease the happy ending and then go LOLJK.

  6. PostguestivePostistPhase says:

    “Rin confirms that the missing will not be coming back.”
    Hundreds of notevenredshirts getting hurt offscreen isn’t really an effective way of building up dread/sad/sympathy/whatever. The hotel over at Tsuki worked well as an angst source as the protagonist was in the thick of it, but here it’s all second hand info and does nothing but generate an air of hollow tragedy.

    “How, though.”
    Magic.

    “This doesn’t read like a person who’s going crazy, it reads like a
    person who’s a self-obsessed idiot. Or a horrible spousal abuser.”

    The Great Sakura Waifu Debate: innocent abused girl vs self obsessed idiot. A dilemma for the ages…
    (protip: it’s the latter)

    “I just think you all should know rereading this scene for the post
    depressed me so much I had to stop and take like a 24-hour break.”
    We should have a betting pool for how many tears will be shed before HF is through. 10 pixels on 5.
    Also initiate gnashing of teeth for Ilya route, as is customary.

    “But Sakura isn’t eating, because she can’t even pick up her chopsticks.”
    The one scene so for far that’s legitimately sad and also contains Sakura.

    “Also, is Sakura pregnant with a demon mushroom Grail baby? Is that what’s going on?”
    Speculation, ho!

    “I have no positive proof. I have no reason. I have no motive. I have no evidence.

    ‘…Who is this similar to?’

    That can’t be. It’s impossible. I can’t admit it. But the more I think…”
    A well written scene but the randomly flashing porn pictures on screen ruins the effect.

    “Yes. There’s nothing to be afraid of now. I keep seeing this
    nightmare, but it’s all right. The world looks so beautiful and kind now
    that Senpai’s looking at me.”
    That moment when self obsessed idiot transcends obsession and idiocy.

    “He turns to go… and is swallowed by the shroom. God dammit.”
    What a big twist that Kirei’s prophecy came true.
    There’s foreshadowing, then there’s this. Nasu sometimes just fails.

    “The pregnancy metaphor or whatever here is really weird.”
    This is a highlightable comment. I am highlighting it.

    1. actonthat says:

      [Hundreds of notevenredshirts getting hurt offscreen isn’t really an effective way of building up dread/sad/sympathy/whatever.]

      I actually disagree, because that’s exactly what Rin and Shirou are feeling. These people are redshirts to Shirou as well as to us, and so he’s having the same lack of empathy as we are, but our indifference isn’t causing more deaths like his is (I hope, anyway). I thought watching him and Rin go through the house and realize, fuck, there was once a family here and they were real and had lives and try to extrapolate that to all the other houses was very humanizing precisely because brains are so bad at that kind of extrapolation and so good at justifying the sacrifice of others we don’t know.

      [The Great Sakura Waifu Debate: innocent abused girl vs self obsessed idiot. A dilemma for the ages…]

      It’s so the latter, and I don’t even know how that happened because in both the other routes it was the former. I suppose it was the ridiculous escalation of the abuse that catapulted it out of anything resembling sympathetic, as we talked about.

      [The one scene so for far that’s legitimately sad and also contains Sakura.]

      Yeah, there’s been two effective Sakura scenes, and this is one of them.

  7. Kaze says:

    I was a bit sad when Gilgamesh got eaten before he really managed to do anything. As a villan I think he’s great (and even better in the anime!), but he had big roles in the previous two routes, so it’s not surprising he had to die early to let other people take the stage.

    This route is pretty brutal about showing the price of Shirou and Rin’s decision to save Sakura. It was different when they only knew about the threat Rider posed and nothing overt was going on, but at this point Shirou clearly makes the connection Sakura is murdering entire city blocks and I’d bet Rin figured it out too, but they don’t consider that maybe this time killing Sakura really is the best option. Their decision to try to save someone they love has gotten hundreds of people killed, which is tough to justify morally, but at the same time can we really expect them to harden their hearts enough to kill someone they love, and so quickly?

    That they’re choosing to save the one over the many casts them in a negative light, but as much as I want to, I can’t really blame them.

    1. SpoonyViking says:

      There’s another factor which should be considered, as well: Sakura is actually innocent. She was turned into a weapon of mass destruction against her will; morally, all of those deaths are Zouken’s responsibility.

      1. actonthat says:

        Working on the assumptions that A) Sakura can, in fact, be killed and B) Killing her will end the shadow, I think we’re actually reaching the tipping point where the bulk of the responsibility is shifting from Zouken to Shirou now that he’s realizes what’s happening. Sure, Zook did it in the first place, but Shirou is enabling him.

        Who’s worse, someone who does evil or someone who has the power to stop it and chooses not to? There’s no black-and-white answer.

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          Ah, the old super-hero dilemma. I agree, there’s no straight answer for this one, but if this were a real-life ethics debate, I think it would be important to keep in mind that Shirou would essentially be killing an innocent person, even if it’s to save others.

    2. actonthat says:

      I was too, TBH. I kind of wanted to hear more of how he felt about the Grail and the whole Zouken situation, but he needed to be eaten for the plot to unfold how it does, so meh.

      [That they’re choosing to save the one over the many casts them in a negative light, but as much as I want to, I can’t really blame them.]

      While the Sakura characterization is pretty bad, Nasu has done an excellent job of making Rin and Shirou both really empathetic even though what they’re doing is technically not the best thing. I kind of meandered on about this is one of the previous posts, but he’s so well tapped into the very human desire to save those close to you at any cost, and I think he’s very deftly managed to parlay that into sympathy for characters whose actions are increasingly unsympathetic to onlookers.

  8. AAA says:

    ” This is such a psychotic misinterpretation of what Rin said that the only reasonable explanation I can muster is that Sakura has lost her personal motivation to be yandere and is just stretching for more reasons because she enjoys it so much. This doesn’t read like a person who’s going crazy, it reads like a person who’s a self-obsessed idiot. Or a horrible spousal abuser.”

    It is funny about how you can understand that scene follow your way.
    Not only Sakura, any boy and girl in that situation will get mad for the same reason.

    Rin NTR and shamed Sakura not just for that scene. She did it two times ago already. She maybe doesn’t mind, but anyone in the same situation:

    ———————————

    Sakura: “That’s absurd! Senpai’s body won’t last if you do such a thing…!
    No, not only that! Senpai trusts you, Nee-san. That’s why he’s accepting your reckless plan.
    I’m sure he’ll take that cloth off in the end if you tell him…!”

    Rin: “…You’re right. But, Sakura. He would take the Shroud off himself even if I don’t tell him to. I realized it when I was talking to him earlier.
    ……Honestly. In the end, he’ll take it off like it’s nothing, no matter how strongly I warn him.”
    Yes. I know that, so I had to suggest a plan that wouldn’t make him take it off.
    If he knows we can manage without having him take the Shroud off, he won’t do it unless it’s a last resort. So my role is to make him create a weapon within set limitations.
    I’ll have him rest after that. I’ll even confine him, keeping him out of combat until the Holy Grail War is over.”

    Sakura: “Nee-san. I understand that you’re concerned for Senpai’s safety.
    But that’s it. If you find out that you cannot beat Grandfather with the current method, you will end up using him.
    You’re a magus of Tohsaka. You will use Senpai as a tool to win… to protect the law of magi.”

    They are not questions, but statements of fact.
    The Tohsaka heir closes her eyes and…

    Rin: “Yes. If our current method fails, and if Zouken and the shadow continue their rampageI’ll have Shirou use Archer’s arm. It’s only natural if his life is the only thing at stake.”
    …She makes a declaration with her head held high.

    Sakura: “…That’s selfish of you. Senpai never wanted the Holy Grail. He became a Master by chance. So it’s wrong to force him to keep fighting.”

    Rin: “Hmph. It seems you misunderstand, Sakura.”
    “Look. I’m not forcing him, and even if that’s true, Shirou has no right to object. His life was saved because I gave him my Archer’s arm. But he hasn’t tried to cut it off yet.
    That means his life is mine now.
    He’s my Archer as long as he doesn’t get rid of his arm.”
    “Do you get it? Shirou is my familiar until this war ends.
    There’s no reason for you to butt in. As long as he wants to fight, I’m going to lend him my powers, and I’m going to borrow his power.”

    ———————–

    In here, Rin doesn’t not only NTR Sakura anymore. She is toying with Shirou’s live She says that Shirou has no right to object her. Shirou belonged to her. That training will destroy him, and we see it in the end. With Sakura, Shirou is more important than even her life. How can she accept it?
    ————————

    And you keep justify Rin with ” she did it to save people”. But what she really doing:

    ” Sakura: ” You will use Senpai as a tool to win… to protect the law of magi.”

    They are not questions, but statements of fact.
    The Tohsaka heir closes her eyes and…”

    —————————
    Rin doesn’t really care about citizens, although she always says about it. It always ” if I have a chance, I will. But my Magus’s idea always at first.”. Anyone who really care about citizens will research for 10 years find find any method to destroy HGW, not to join that war again.

    Anyone who really care about citizens will never let Zouken alone right after when she knows he is vampire ( and give the Fuyuki to him after she go to Britain with Shirou in UBW route.).

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