Fate/Stay Winter: One Truth Prevails

Of course, I’m going all out with my knowledge on mysteries here. Shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu, amirite?

Synopsis

Detective Waver eps. 1 – 4: When your name is Waver Velvet – aka the new El-Melloi II – life ain’t glamorous. Not only do you pine for your ol’ Grail War buddy, you have to deal with crushing debt, Reines’s shenanigans and the occasional magical murder. Leylines, symbolism, astrology…you have to read into it all to get to the bottom of the case.

Impressions

Obviously, if “Lord El-Melloi II” is in the title, you don’t need to count the number of  times he’s in the anime…

  • Well, this’ll be interesting. I’ve been hyping this show up for a while for myself, so let’s see how it goes.
  • Geez, this intro is like a dang movie! I’d love to see a proper Troyca movie! (<-Says the fan of Troyca.)
  • Wait, if it’s Kayneth Archibald, then is Archibald relatd to Archisorte? Or am I just making thing up here…? Also note Reines refers to Kayneth as “Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald”, possibly meaning Archibald is the middle name, since El-Melloi is a shared surname (or is that a title…?). That probably means Archibald =/= Archisorte and both are similar-sounding middle names. The fact Reines is Kayneth’s niece also explains things quite a bit. Update: Further reading reveals Archibald and Archisorte are related (but not the same, like I suspected – but on the other hand, it might actually be their surnames) and El-Melloi is the house the Lord belongs to in the Clock Tower.
  • Why is Waver upside down…? Won’t the blood rush to his head soon? (Sure, it allows me to ogle his hair more, but…logic rules more than my stupid whims, y’know?)
  • Interesting. You can see that although Waver grew out his hair, there’s two layers to it – the longer one in the front and the shorter one in the back. (I’m just curious because I like the hime cut – which is pretty similar and long hair on dudes in general, in part because both are fairly rare.)
  • Okay, that explained my gripe with upside-down Waver. Thanks, Reines. (<-genuine)
  • Aw, Waver buddy, even at this stage, you’re plenty cute. Don’t ever change! (<- As you can see, I am an easily pleased person in most cases.) Update: Specifically referring to Waver’s hairstyle in this flashback.
  • Melvin who now???
  • Troyca’s comic animation rules! It’s too bad Idolish7 Second Beat is using chibis instead of this…
  • Professor Kayneth. I forgot he had a formal title. I wonder, does Waver – I mean, El-Melloi II – have that title as well? Update: I make a comment about this later on.
  • I guess I should’ve known Saber had the capability to look scary, but…I never knew Saber could look so scary…
  • *cut to eyecatch* – *points at eyecatch* Okay, someone tried to save budget here, didn’t they???
  • Aw, friendship between fiction boys is cute…until it involves the puking up on blood on one end.
  • Waver is the OG underdog here…don’tcha think?
  • “…with several demands.” – Uh-oh…this is gonna be bad, isn’t it?
  • You need a Tuner for Magic Crests? (…Like a tuning fork, but a person?) *brow raised in suspicion*
  • …is it appropriate for me to say “Oh, good lord!” now? (Okay, I did that rather deliberately, but normally in these notes I’d self-censor it to be “oh, goodness” or something like that.)
  •  Seriously, the black-haired dude in the Ionian Hetairoi is my favourite, even if only because he looks like Waver (and he’s really easy to spot, to boot).
  • Why is this in first person??? I’ve dropped entire shows based on their usage of 1st person cam! Room Mate and Makura no Danshi basically scarred me for life on that front…and both of those are TV shorts!
  • Hey, wait a second. This “use a quote on the titlecard” thing is clearly an Ei Aoki sort of thing to do. I mean, it’s in ID: Invaded as well…
  • *new blonde girl appears* – So this is the rumoured Animusphere girl (Mary), huh?
  • Bounded field, huh? I’m glad I chose to watch F/Z before this, then. Now I actually understand the (rough) mechanics of how that works.
  • There’s assassins and then there’s Assassins…*thinks about the Holy Grail War*
  • As it turns out, astromancy is basically astrology.
  • The one thing that bugs me about “Modern Magecraft” (there’s a similar concept of New Magic in Mairimashita! Iruma-kun) is…how is the magic “modern”…? Especially in a work like this, where the magic is based in arcane rituals and bloodlines…you really need to establish how the “modern” bit works.
  •  Gray is facing away from the Animusphere girl (Mary), I noticed.
  • “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes – Basically, the fact I’ve memorised this quote is one of the lingering impacts of my time in the Detective Conan fandom, as it can be used on things like quizzes, not just mysteries. UpdateL The process of elimination is handy like that.
  • Can we please use proper English, Waver??? (Says me to a character whose name I still find nonsensical enough to not be proper English.) As I said previously, “whydunit” is modus operandi or motive…the new bit is “howdunit”, which would be the method.
  • I do believe the geocentric model was overthrown by people like Kepler.
  • Gray kind of looks like Saber with that hairstyle, come to think of it.
  • With the way Gray hides herself under that hood, it’s no mystery as to why guys love her…at least, I know ThatRandomEditor does. Of course, I’m heavily neutral on the whole affair because I don’t swing that way, but…you know…
  • LEMPC seems to stand for “Lord El-Melloi Production Committee”, if I’m guessing right.
  • I seem to remember there was a quote somewhere that said the only constant in this world was change…hmm.
  • They seem to keep calling Japan “the Far East” (or at least, Japan is part of the Far East). That’s a pretty antiquated term for a supposedly “modern” magic anime. I get vaguely peeved by the term “the Far East” because it causes people to take an oriental viewpoint on things and thus it’s kind of like people from the Anglosphere looking down on Asians. (I also get vaguely peeved by the term “Westerners” for much the same reason and “Caucasians” because it implies all people of the Anglosphere come from the Caucasus, which is false…then again, these niggles are specific to international studies, so I have a vested interest in explaining them.)
  • …Wow, that star-eyepatch girl is…really something, to be thirsty specifically for Waver’s Iron Claw. (Then again, with my weird tastes in things, who am I to critique her?)
  • Flitz von Erich. I was surprised to learn this guy actually exists…on Wikipedia, at the very least.
  •  “Any lady should know about wrestling.” – I disagree, Luvia.
  • Blue furry electrical creature…I dunno how the zoology in this show works, but the fantasy series I’m reading as of the time I was typing this comment has a blue creature called a Raiju (literally “thunder beast” in Japanese, so it would suit the “Thunder” in the episode title). If it’s anything like that, I’d laugh myself silly.
  • This girl on the poster seems to be called Flan Noir (or something similar).
  • “…yellow, round, fluffy-smelling…” – What? Svin, you have no right to call a girl those words!
  • When is this series set if people don’t have phones as a standard? *Googles* Okay, if F/SN: UBW is set in 2004, then F/Z is 1994. That would make sense, actually. The internet as we know it was first used in 1995 and didn’t become widespread for home use until a few years later, as I remember having computers in 2004 (albeit the blocky ones with the dial-up).
  • I was looking at images for the source material and I think I know why I like Waver (aside from the fact he has long hair). Normally I like the boys whose appearances are hard to get right, such as En…Waver in the novels and manga for this series sometimes looks grumpy, sometimes he looks constipated and worst of all, sometimes he looks like Snape with a hook nose.
  • Okay, so I googled Caules to figure out who his sister was…and I got Apocrypha spoilers. See, his sister is Fiore, who is apparently in that series.
  • The videos got encoded funny again…
  • There seems to be a mystery around why Svin and Gray can’t be together…well, one deeper than just “Svin is gaga for Gray [for reasons we don’t know at this point in time]”.
  • Ha, the El-Melloi Class is basically just the Misfit Class from Mairimashita! Iruma-kun.
  • “Only the flesh was bitten off.”
  • This Jupiter gibberish, I assume, is drawing upon the mythology of Jupiter – that is, Zeus – as the god of thunder and king of the gods (thus presiding over living beings).
  •  The English is good on the bill, bar a space between “Mystics of magecraft”.
  • Norwich is apparently a “faculty” which the Modern Magecraft Theories guys – i.e. Waver – rule over. Update: If 7Mononoke is to be believed (see link 2 dot points down), it’s actually a dorm…oh well, close enough.
  • Can you imagine Waver swearing? Since I had the volume off, I basically made him say “…if Sir Gueldoa had resorted to brute force, we would’ve been f***ed” in my head…and that was hilarious.
  • Aw, thanks 7Mononoke. “A cowardly thief sneaks away in the night. If you stride away, bursting with song, you are a conquering king.” That’s a quote from Rider himself.
  • So the Association has set positions for Masters in the War? Geesh…that must be hard on Waver to find out they’re closed, considering how much Waver pines for Rider.
  • I finally got the chance to listen to the ED last ep and now it’s the OP I can hear properly. This OP isn’t particularly impressive, considering it’s an instrumental (instrumentals always seem to have less impact for me unless I’m looking for something to chill to), but it does capture the London-esque spirit of the setting very well.
  • What’s up with this metal (?) maid off to the side, anyway?
  • “Good thinking to leave the door open…” – For some reason, even though it’s a completely different and much more benign context, this made me think of KyoAni and my heart sunk.
  • Atrum Galliasta…I hate that man. He may look hot, but he was nothing but a b*stard to Medea.
  • Bolo ties…nrgh…Basically, ever since Arima wore a bolo tie, I’ve become fairly bugged by them. That’s why Bram’s bugs me.
  • Aw, Waver, buddy, plase don’t sacrifice yourself again. I read on the wiki you become a Servant’s vessel (specifically for Zhu Ge Liang), so keep your hopes up.
  • I’m seriously feeling ID: Invaded vibes from this episode, what with the lightning.
  • I suspect a locked room murder is going to happen soon, knowing the genre. Either that or some other crime.
  • Considering Fate/ was an eroge-based thing initially, these sex jokes…there’s probably plenty of them out there. Update: See the “mana dragon” and “Jam It In!” Fate/ memes for examples.
  • Well, it seems this series only makes sense in that non-Detective Conan way, i.e. you want to know how it all comes together and can’t necessarily figure it out for yourself until you know how the magic works. I’m randomly going to guess this is more Jupiter-based stuff and call it a day on that front. Update: It just so happens I’m the type who will go to the back of the book early on to enjoy how the pieces of the puzzle fit together, rather than a solve-it-with-the-detective type, so this may have been more “made for me” than I chalk it up to be.
  • Seriously, I never got what was up with nightgowns (or just pyjamas in general) having hats. You don’t need protection for your head at night…that’s what pillows are for, yeah? (The only reason I see a hat-like thing working with nightwear is a onesie and that’s meant to be part of the inherent appeal of the thing.)

The Basics of Mystery Fiction

Been hyping this thing up for a while. Basically, according to the rules that I was thinking of referencing, the anime has done a lot wrong, but there couldn’t be a magic/mystery hybrid without doing just that. For instance, I read on the wiki Gray acts as our Watson for this series in the source material. Gray seems to know quite a bit more than the average viewer…what with her being a gravekeeper and all.

Surprisingly, though, the series does adhere to its own set of rules, such as the way bounded fields work (which you learn about in F/SN: UBW), and probably adheres to the linked rules better than quite a few works categorised under the “mystery” umbrella do. (Then again, the Fate/ series at large is infamous for things conjured out of the creators’ collective behinds…so maybe it’s just the internal logic of some stuff, such as the magic, that works.) You could possibly count on spirits rising from the dead or being communicated with through a necromancer, for example, but on the other hand, since we never knew what happened to Kirei’s corpse until Lancer finally managed to finish the guy off, you couldn’t rule out the possibility of him having skedaddled off somewhere with a wound that was causing him to bleed everywhere. As I quoted above, “[w]hen you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Suffice to say, there’s a lot more possibilities when magic is at play, but it still works.

This is a whodunit series (as much as I get bugged by Waver’s usage of “howdunit” and “whydunit”) and so the system for it is rather formulaic – the intro sets up setting, suspects and other useful info (in this case, probably certain kinds of spells or a lecture – the latter was used for the OVA), the climax ties together these elements, possibly adding more fuel to the fire with another death or two (although noting these have only been single episode cases, we only have so much time to get through content without having a multi-part mystery) and the conclusion wraps things up, possibly with a neat metaphorical bow. Basic storytelling, but it’s crucial to stick the landing on these to have a good story.

Foreshadowing generally doesn’t go too far ahead aside from when it introduces permanent additions/concepts, although I suspect the talk about pyrite Waver was having with Flat will become relevant later in the series…


Welp, so much for planning ahead. It got wrecked as soon as I started writing about it.

I guess I should make proper notes on the series’s music next time, because I’ve been skipping a lot of it in the pursuit of getting stuff watched…(I did note the infamy of Brave Shine, though, off the top of my head.)

 

6 thoughts on “Fate/Stay Winter: One Truth Prevails

Add yours

  1. This is the one Fate series I just couldn’t finish, lol. I like mystery stories, and it was cool to see Waver get his own show, but the first couple episodes were just so freaking boring! It felt like the characters were just talking in circles, never getting anywhere, until the culprit makes a big reveal in the last couple minutes and there’s an action scene to close it off. It’s completely antithetical to how to write a good mystery because, well, there is no real mystery to it. I think it would be cool to have a magic-based whodunit but this one really wasn’t for me. 😛

    Like

    1. (So I’m curious…did you finish Prisma Ilya?)

      Now that you explain it that way, I can see why someone might see this series the way you did – I thought the case referring to Jupiter was a bit of a stretch in regards to why animals are involved (and I honestly don’t have 100% faith in my interpretation of why that was the case), but the case with the undead guy was probably solvable because the diagram of the body and its corresponding planets was provided.

      As I said at one point, I’m the type who’ll read the end of the story and then find out how the story gets there so I wasn’t fazed too much, but I guess it really depends on how much logic (as we know it in the real world) you ask for as a consumer of the series plus whether you expect to solve the case alongside the detective (which is one of the big appeals of the whodunit) or not and what your preferences are in fiction in general (because if you don’t generally like this sort of mystery series, then that would also make sense).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t watched Prisma Ilya. The Fate series I’ve seen are this, all of Stay Night, Zero, and Apocrypha. (I’m watching Grand Order right now and on the fence on whether I’ll actually finish it, haha.)

        I’m definitely the kind of person who wants to solve the mystery along with the detective in a whodunit. It’s one of the reasons I (hot take) don’t like Sherlock Holmes or any of his adaptations. They always play Sherlock up to be this incredible genius and because of this, he always comes up with these wild theories that no one else could possibly come up with, that always happen to be right. But I guess that’s just my personal preference. I only got 4 episodes into Lord El-Melloi before I realized this was not gonna be the series for me

        Liked by 1 person

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