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Ok, I admit that I've failed somewhere before. But anyway welcome. Just a brief intro on what you should expect here:
1. Football. Not gonna post much of that any soon since season is over. :S
2. Anime, Games, etc. Just abt anything conceivable under the Japanese radar barring anything and everything Rule 34. Now that's illegal. Period. -.-;
3. Music. Everything to do with it is listed under the tab.
5. Unacceptable humour: Anything and everything is fair game here. As long as I don't get rounded up by the ISA. -.-'

6.
The Known World=Fantasy world building in process. I: Used to be glossary, now devoted to random rambling; II: Character Concepts; III: Lore.
7. der Wolf=my Fictionpress account under the moniker Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu. A Ranger's Tale is hosted under this page. :)
8. New section now upped. Maybe I should also gun for upping A Ranger's Tale here since I do have this funny feeling that traffic coming to here is way more than whatever I'll get in FP.

Statement of intent: Everything said here is a figment of personal opinion, be it me or anybody commenting. I try to be responsible, but my parents=/=parents of the world.

@Druid of Luhn: Crap. Should have remembered far earlier to give you the credit for your CSS text box code. :(

A/N: But sadly, it seems that your CSS text box code has now been halved efficiency wise. :(

That most important note I should have added: Any images posted in this blog are NOT my own stuff. I got them from Google image search, I don't earn any shit by being a thief and liar. Those responsible for the pictures, rest assured that you all are great artists in your own regards. Sadly, we all know what limited space means in terms of posting.

Latest Note: Changed alignment for my page widgets due to my worry that I can't centre align the thing.

Note on A Ranger's Tale: In case any complaining fella wants to have a legal case with me, let this be known that A Ranger's Tale is rated M by default. I've upped the swearing and somewhat a bit on the dark/gritty factor. You all have been warned, let no little boy and girl enter the forbidden realm.

Latest on ART: A Ranger's Tale now starting to kick back in gear. But I really hate the insanely fluctuating climate here in S'pore.

P.S: Oh, and one more thing. Vid below is yet another ideal OP for A Ranger's Tale.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Nailing two birds with one stone, huat ah!!!!!!!

If any reader happens to be British, be assured that bird=/=young woman. This is me modding a Chinese saying "killing two birds with one stone" where the meaning lies in achieving two objectives with a single measure...
Anyway, it's been some time since I've written something on all things Nasuverse and I don't really feel like restarting my Marvel Heroes engine so soon despite whatever desire otherwise (must be that damned humidity). Hopefully I can either:
1. Finish my 2nd chap rewrite of ART
OR
2. Write up a less than decent article on the World Cup matches thus far.

On an unrelated side note, it seems that either Twitter might have ate up a couple of my tweets or I'm really thinking too much. Also I ended up doing something that will earn ridicule and scorn from whatever pragmatic standard prescribed by my stereotypical beloved island nation. Period.

Bird no.1:
Been wanting to do this for a veerry long time, finally boleh liao. While I do not profess any knowledge on how Fate/hollow ataraxia ties into Fate/stay night, shit still doesn't prevent me from doing my very own rom-analysis here.

A lot of us must have felt so sorry for poor Lancer. While he only boasted of a bit part role in F/SN where ランサーが死んだ! (この人でなし!), F/HA is def the part where he ran half the show. Figuratively speaking ofc...[1]

And therein I find the need to say something on Bazett x Lancer. You see, Bazett was forced to live a lonely life despite developing into be an Irish stunner. This was down to a combination of two factors:
1. Despite hailing from an ancient magi lineage, her clan/family chose to isolate themselves from the world.
2. Despite whatever importance stressed on lineage quality, Bazett was dismissed as irrelevant to the Mage's Association. [2]

While I do not know when she became so besotted with Lancer, one thing is for certain: She wanted to save Lancer from his tragic fate. [3] No one enjoys being alone, let alone an attractive woman like Bazett. So why did she choose to immerse herself in that fateful legend otherwise known as Aided con Culainn? [4]
I firmly believe that this has got to do w/two factors:
1. Both Bazett and Lancer are Irish. [5]
2. 'Tis commonly said that a hero is born to be lonely. [6]

From child like obsession to a full blown romance, I guess this is the result of Bazett's pursuit. Now I know plenty of local S'porean ladies will laugh and ask "why so stupid and naive?"
To understand Bazett's psyche is to try understanding why women are from Venus instead of Mars. You see, there's a little idealist living in every one of us. As time goes by, every little girl/boy will grow up to be a fine young woman/man. Yet, that also means people changing and becoming more pragmatic/calculating/materialistic/dastardly/*insert whatever derogatory term in the name of idealism*. Bazett nvr had any friends and this gave birth to her naive persona. It's not that she nvr wanted to grow up, but rather she's UNABLE to. There must AND has to be some outlet of escape from reality. Do I need to fill in the rest?

Come F/HA, we got a problem. Bazett was supposed to die due to Kotomine Kirei's dastardly brand of pragmatism. [7] However, she seized at the first chance of staying alive. Yet, this ended up being a contract sent from hell instead of heaven. While it's vital for us to understand Angra Mainyu to merely corrupted rather than wholly evil, we must also know that the Grail will stop at nothing to fulfill its only mission. And that is to grant the wisher his/her wish. The nearest it had gotten was via the Fourth Grail War where Emiya Kiritsugu was to be the Chosen One. [8] So imagine the joy when Bazett became sucker tiga. [9]

So where does Lancer come into the equation? Lancer has nvr been a sucker, evidence stated below:
The irony is that Lancer was attempting the SAME thing Bazett has always been wanting to do. To his ex, it's the only answer to her tragic childhood. For Bazett's ex, I doubt it's not just mere duty. To Lancer, I believe Bazett reminds him constantly of that only woman he loved. Like how Bazett has failed to save him all the while, Lancer was unable to save himself. Not only was the Hound of Culann unable to save the only woman he loved, he wasn't able to do the same for those around him. Make no mistakes, Lancer's tragedy was BOTH the making of personal mistakes and damning fate. While it's way beyond a long shot for me to present any hard evidence on whatever romance relevant, at least one can say the theme of saving another person is something mutual between Bazett and Lancer in ways more than merely one.

Lancer's only problem? He couldn't save Bazett on literal terms, that's way beyond his best efforts. By killing that other woman able to capture his heart, Lancer could only opt for the best-out-of-worst choice. I remembered a certain little known Taiwanese idol drama where a certain dialogue went something like this.

陶復邦: What kind of rotten MCQ is this? I don't want this kind of MCQ!
許毅源: Life has always been full of rotten MCQs.

Likewise, Lancer has to face that MCQ 10 times more rotten than Rotten Tomatoes itself. Only by killing Bazett could the poor girl herself be freed. Freed from Angra Mainyu's slavery since there's literally NO way for Bazett to come back alive. [10] This IS why Lancer chose to duel Bazett till death by invoking the four runes of Ath nGabla. In a twisted sense, this is 100% equivalent to what Scathach had always wanted: tortured by being alive, attaining deliverance via death.

Ultimately, whatever transpiring between Lancer and Bazett is truly a tale of redemption rather than merely your run-of-the-mill self-sacrificial romance. Not only are the two trying to redeem each other, they are also trying to redeem themselves. Everybody goes through that one phase called regrets, neither the best of heroes nor finest of women are free from this equation.
And lastly, remember the earrings Bazett inherited from Lancer? I call them jewels representing a story shared from yore.

And speaking of regrets... the "prequel" is full of them...



体は剣で出来ている。
 血潮は鉄で心は硝子。
 幾たびの戦場を越えて不敗。
 ただの一度も敗走はなく、
 ただの一度も理解されない。
 彼の者は常に独り
 剣の丘で勝利に酔う。
 故に、生涯に意味はなく
 その体は、きっと剣で出来ていた。

I am the bone of my sword

体は剣で出来ている。
 血潮は鉄で心は硝子。
 幾たびの戦場を越えて不敗
 ただの一度の敗走もなく
 ただの一度の勝利もなし。
 担い手はここに孤り
 剣の丘で鉄を鍛つ。
 ならば、わが生涯に意味は不要ず。
 この体は、無限の剣で出来ていた。

Steve was right after all. My ex-AS1 actually commented that so long I'm addicted to anime/manga, I will never earn a decent gf based on merit. Then again, it seems that I'm born to be pig headed so as to speak. This is the story of a character cursed with this similar trait, a character with a name. He's called Emiya Shirou, yet he's got nothing to do with House Emiya.

You see, we all know Emiya Kiritsugu screwed up mightily. As a child, he deserved a decent childhood where he should grow up like each and every one of us. The right to pursue personal happiness, the freedom to be selfish just because no human being can ever be 100% altruistic... all these things were brutally taken away from him. Like a certain counter-guardian N eons later on in another parallel world, Kiritsugu was betrayed NOT by himself but rather by circumstances beyond anybody's control. [11]

Betrayed the second time, (this time by his own making), only a child survived his horrendous decision. Said child is *insert unknown true surname* Shirou. Unable to forgive himself over uncontrollable circumstances created by his closest kin, 'tis a no-brainer understanding the warped similarities between father and son. The only problem? Shirou's future (?) self.
What's exactly wrong with Archer? If you end up having your fave anime character voiced by a certain Suwabe Junichi, be mentally prepared for the worst b/c this guy is damned famous for VA'ing jerkass characters, no matter how handsome they are. [12] There's a reason why Archer is Shirou's antithesis. As an appetizer, here is the official introduction.

Interestingly enough, 2nd vid actually has Shirou stating "his body is alive, but his heart is already dead." Why is this the case lies in Shirou's desires going against his heart. There's a reason why Fate/stay night HAS to end at Heaven's Feel. The 1st route, i.e. Fate is all about Shirou's beginning while Unlimited Blade Works is 100% Shirou-esque. HF, on the other hand, is to resolve the anomaly surrounding Shirou's life b/c there has to be some humane logic dictating a perfectly humane plot. [13] Yet, make no mistakes about it. UBW is NOT your shonen anime/manga story b/c I do NOT foresee any happy ending come its True End. At best, we'll only see a bitter-sweet ending (which is most likely the reason why Nasu chose to end everything at Rin bringing Shirou to the Mage's Association @England).

Why I liked UBW at first was due to the titular Reality Marble itself. In a bid to carry on my own pig headed nature, I decided to delve further so as not make myself into your stereotypical Bleach/Naruto/*insert any mainstream title* fanboy. Then I realized there's a reason why Unlimited Blade Works is a skill not only synonymous with Emiya Shirou, but above all Emiya Shirou himself. On the first glance, F/SN is all about some parallel story of our childhood, i.e. from little kids (Fate) to teenagers (UBW), from teenagers (UBW) to adulthood (HF). If we're to equate F/SN with Shirou's ideals alone though, then Unlimited Blade Works IS Fate/stay night.

This is a route telling the coming of age and the responsibility behind whatever freedom we all enjoy. Like all of us, Shirou has to grow up someday. Like all of us, no one can and should be held liable for Shirou's decisions apart from himself. This is not about apathy where person A ended blaming factors A, B and C in the event where some gunman goes on a rampage. Someone like Shirou will never find excuses for his actions, yet this is exactly where things went horribly wrong for that other EMIYA.

You see, a person can be responsible for things within his freedom. But what will happen once he decides to, let's say, assume responsibility for things within his freedom YET beyond his control? There is only this much of an altruistic measure one can go because we are only human beings cursed with a human being's limitation. Archer's problem lies in trying too hard to save others beyond his normal capacity. Sooner or later, things would reach a breaking point and this was when Emiya truly becomes... well, EMIYA. On the other hand, this was also where the destructive nature behind human beings reared its head. Turning their swords against the one who chose to save them at the expense of his entire life, Archer realized one horrible fact.

Humans are born to be mutually destructive, his naive ideology merely made this cold hard truth all the more brutally transparent. This was why he ended up forgetting everything apart from the fact that his true Heroic Spirit's identity is named after his misguided altruism. EMIYA is not just an identity, but also a curse. It is not just the purest of ideals, but also the harshest betrayal.

This is exactly why we're seeing Archer's pain via Rin's POV, something which is quite surreal since she didn't have anything to do with Archer himself. [14]
In a bid to undo his mistake, EMIYA has no choice but to kill his former self. In fact, EMIYA himself was THAT mistake. It's a double whammy for the real deal because this was the only way to resolve both an existent tragedy and its imminent offspring. So was such selfless ideology truly selfless after all?

There is no such thing as a selfless ideology, this was quintessentially the crux behind EMIYA vs Shirou. Both understood this fact, but only Shirou was willing to embrace this illusion. Not only is such manner of altruism 100% unattainable, but at the same time it's also no diff from being selfish  due to the humane self-awareness. Ultimately there's only one reason why Shirou won his toughest battle: Understanding the paradox surrounding that one source of likely betrayal. Ironically, credit has to go to EMIYA 100%. Period. At the same time EMIYA's defeat was something 100% of his own making b/c no matter what, no individual can ever betray his/her own life. Funnily enough, the only thing pushing Shirou forever onward was the perception of his body being alive, yet his heart is already dead.
"It isn't a mistake!"
This was the one word winning the fight for Shirou. Not only should we see this as an affirmation where Shirou is concerned, but above all that one answer EMIYA dreaded most. Because EMIYA can never call himself a mistake, no matter what. Sounds confusing? Not really. You see, we as human beings are more than capable in betraying others but not ourselves. Doing the opposite will virtually destroy everything and everyone we love, no matter what or who. This is a catch 22 situation because it's like me saying there is no commonsense logic behind a human being calling him/herself an ape on literal terms. [15] Unless EMIYA could find another way to justify his existence, every single stunt he tries pulling will be nothing more than living out a lie. That is why Shirou was right in saying "it isn't a mistake!" Damned all the cynics because this is Shirou's life, not theirs. [16]
Unlimited Blade Works is not merely a manifestation of both Emiyas' inner world. Above all, it represents the basis of their common belief. Like how one can never find any semblance of life in the swords, we can never deny the fact that Kiritsugu's fatal decision culminating in countless lives lost to be something anywhere different. If the swords are to represent the lives lost in that great Fuyuki fire, then Shirou is both the creator and one of them. This is why "everything is here and nothing is here." Shirou's life was effectively ended together with those perished during that fateful event, the only thing bestowing him a sense of humane identity was Kiritsugu's unfulfilled ideal. This might also be why the swords came to Shirou like weapons endowed with life. To me, this is more than ample proof that Shirou has already truly understood himself.

On the other hand, Gilgamesh was doomed to lose this battle. When Shirou activated Unlimited Blade Works, Gilgamesh might have realized he has ripped off that something far more than he could handle. Plenty has been said on complacency and I admit this is that one crucial factor. However, we also see Gilgamesh's greatest mistake: himself. It's ironic on every given level b/c while Gil could easily curbstomp every Servant, that one Servant he's unable to topple is himself. Shirou recognized his fragility and chose to accept it. Gil recognized his own weakness, yet choosing to deny it. It's like getting a guy getting cancer. Denial won't change a shit apart from whether you want to visit that hot radiologist in the MRI dept.

Whatever original weapons he pulled off from the Gate of Babylon are capable of taking lives, but each sword created by Unlimited Blade Works is a representation of an individual life. There is no life in Gilgamesh's treasures, this was why they're being shattered like for like, sword for sword. There is life driving the otherwise lifeless swords, that's why replicating speed was an advantage the GoB could never hope to overcome. Let alone overwhelm. So now comes the greatest question: Who is the faker, who is the original?
The answer lies in the same entity: Emiya. Whether we're talking about Shirou or Archer, Emiya is a faker because he can only find purpose via that only ideal replicated from a single source. Emiya is also the original because not only is he an owner like Gil, but more importantly he is also a creator. Like the two fakers whom he despised, Gilgamesh is merely an owner and not a wielder. Unlike the two fakers whom he poured unbridled scorn on, however, Gilgamesh was only an owner, not a creator. His arrogance is not just a proof of his only weakness, but also the greatest evidence highlighting Emiya's courage in not looking back.

Remember that scene in the OP where Shirou ended up racing up a hill of swords? This is not just a symbol of struggle, but above all knowing why and what. Trials and tears are inevitable in life, but what is that one thing you'll see at the end of the road? I can say for sure that both Archer and Shirou has reached their own Avalon, this only means one thing for the deceased Kiritsugu:
Emiya Shirou has finally fulfilled his promise made when he's a mere child.

If Fate is all about using Sabre as a physical symbol of Shirou's ideal, then Unlimited Blade Works is all about the titular Reality Marble being a literal symbol of Shirou's life.

Ultimately, did Shirou end up failing? Yes. He failed to save Ilya just to prove this point. Did Shirou end up tasting success? Well, let's see here...
Target saved 1: Rin
Reason: Without Shirou, she could never understand what it means to truly live and NOT just being alive.

Target saved 2: Himself
Reason: Said everything liao...

Target saved 3: Kiritsugu
Reason: Technically speaking due to regrets at last abolished.

Target saved 4: Sabre
Reason: Going by the True End, at least Sabre departed on a joyful note after wrecking the Grail one more time. This time with 100% success.

Target saved 5: Archer
Reason:

Archer
I am the bone of my sword
[I am my own ideal]
 Steel is my body and fire is my blood
[Created by steel and fire]
 I have created over a thousand blades
[I have fought over a thousand battles]
 Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life
[Ignoring my own life and death]
 Have withstood pain to create many weapons
[I have truly gotten this far]
 Yet, those hands will never hold anything
[There is no value all the while]
 So as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works
[This is my final destination]

Emiya Shirou
I am the bone of my sword
[I am my own ideal]
 Steel is my body and fire is my blood
[Created by steel and fire]
 I have created over a thousand blades
[I have fought over a thousand battles]
 Unaware of loss, Nor aware of gain
[Ignoring my own gains and losses]
 Withstood pain to create weapons, waiting for one’s arrival
[I have truly gotten this far, but not yet there]
 I have no regrets. This is the only path
[There is no turning back, this is the only path]
 My whole life was Unlimited Blade Works
[My life shall be my final destination]


[1]: *SUPER SAIYAN GRADE SPOILER ALERT!* Lancer ended up surviving till the very end. Whatever little details gleaned as a result seem to hint at the Hound of Culann having at least some semi-protagonist role to play should Nasu pulls off the impossible, i.e. Fate Pt Tiga.
[2]: Note that she decided to join the Association due to her desire to pursue another path in life.
[3]: As Irish legends would have it, the Hound of Culann ended up living a tragic life where being a hero is tantamount to living out a curse.
[5]: Quite a bit like local girls giving preference to local guys in terms of dating.
[6]: 英雄永远是寂寞的... #supersad
[7]: Cannot spell betrayal=English fail=you go jump off building.
[8]: Ofc we all know how things turned out and what really in turn triggered F/SN for what it is.
[9]: We all know who became the next Chosen One after Kiritsugu and what really in turn triggered F/SN for what it is.
[10]: Ironically, she actually survived at the end due to Angra Mainyu granting her that exact wish w/no strings attached.
[11]: Ironically, it was his father's selfishness that caused everything.
[12]: Quite a bit like the kind of character She-Hulk might dislike.
[13]: Just like how physics cannot make any sense w/o the law of physics.
[14]: Eerily enough, things might not be that simple once we noticed a weird verse from the Imitation song mentioning a red jewel and that unnamed girl passing by.
[15]: Which ofc is literally correct no matter whether you're a creationist or evolutionist. I mean we human beings being literally human beings, not monkeys and apes.
[16]: Inversely, it also means Archer has no other means to bail himself out.