The second episode of Fate/zero introduced two servant/master pairs, one of which was glimpsed at in the previous episode. Our glimpsed partnership was that between Waver “I Have The Stupidest Fucking Name Ever” Velvet and Alexander the Great, whose name keeps being screamed by Bruce Dickinson in my head thanks to prolonged exposure to Iron Maiden. The two have a dash of vitriol between them, clashing on most every issue. Waver has a goal to accomplish (Proving that hard work is worth more than inheriting ancient magical blood), while Alexander just wants to conquer the world while eating and drinking with a healthy dose of merriment.
Despite the disagreements in how they should handle the Holy Grail War, which I think Alexander instantly wins whenever he summons his lightning chariot, the two have a chemistry about them that keeps them grounded in reality. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the Uryuu Ryuunosuke/Caster partnership, one founded on killing people as flashily and gruesomely as possible, and this pair is arguably the most fun to watch thus far.
In order to summon Caster, no small feat, Uryuu kills a family with magical proficiency and uses their blood to form a summoning circle. After summoning him, Caster lets the sole survivor go, just to kill him moments later as he laments his fate. It’s difficult to work out which is the most sadistic, but one thing is clear: It’s pretty damn entertaining. The question is, why would this be? How can watching a psychopath and a demon be so enjoyable when they have virtually no development?
I’ve always wondered this, really. When it comes to murderers in fiction, I’ve been curious why they’ve always been intriguing in spite of the mostly present lack of development. Looking at Batman villains, for instance, almost none are developed in an attempt to be made sympathetic. Yet you’ll find people who look forward to certain comics or movies dependent on which villain is being featured, even if it’s just a day in the life for the hero and the villain in which nobody really gets developed past a few superficial details.
And I know it’s not just me, because half of my Twitter feed after this episode was full of people commenting on Caster and his deceptively evil nature. I don’t know why that gave me pause for thought, aside from knowing that Caster and Uryuu likely won’t be fleshed out much and will most likely be left as villains who have no motivation in what they do aside from killing. And yet, I think that’s enough for people to enjoy them and their various misdeeds.
In this case, after giving it some thought, I decided that it’s an example of actions speaking louder than words. Caster and Uryuu are both sadists with a passion for killing, and this is something that we’ve seen. Uryuu killing a family while leaving only their young son alive to serve as a sacrifice to Caster isn’t something that’s told to the audience, it’s shown. And Caster killing the child after giving him that brief hope spot only drove the point home that we have two kindred spirits working together, and for better or worse it’s going to be one hell of a fun partnership to watch.
To wrap things up quickly, Fate/Zero is proceeding along at a good pace, and the dynamic between Uryuu and Caster is one of many interesting devices presented to the audience. As long as it isn’t pushed aside and left to fester until it’s needed for the plot, I have a feeling their relationship will be one of the highpoints in anime for the year, regardless of how much they’re actually developed.