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Old 2010-08-20, 22:49   Link #2621
RadiantBeam
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It was also amazing just to see how strong Rider truly was with a proper Master, not Shinji. She gets nerfed in both Fate and UBW so quickly that you never get to see her really strut her stuff, so getting to see her using Assassin as her personal bouncy ball was a blast.

I also thought it was kind of sweet how she wanted to walk Shirou home. It showed she has some warmth to her.
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Old 2010-08-20, 22:51   Link #2622
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I also thought it was kind of sweet how she wanted to walk Shirou home. It showed she has some warmth to her.
Remember who her master is, though....

Although, I've never been too clear what is going on there, because that scene comes after the interlude where Shinji forces Sakura to make another book, which means that, by all right, Rider should be under his control by then, not Sakura's.
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Old 2010-08-20, 22:53   Link #2623
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Originally Posted by Cherry_Lover View Post
Remember who her master is, though....

Although, I've never been too clear what is going on there, because that scene comes after the interlude where Shinji forces Sakura to make another book, which means that, by all right, Rider should be under his control by then, not Sakura's.
I got the feeling that Rider was acting on her own will when she asked Shirou if she could walk him home. She openly said to him that she was under no order by her Master to do so, and there were no hints after that that Sakura was her Master, so I thought it was simply that Rider acted of her own free will and wanted to walk Shirou home to ensure he was safe.
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Old 2010-08-20, 23:04   Link #2624
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Well, yeah, but even if her explicit orders were only to protect him at the temple, it's clear what the intent was, and Rider was never really one who was bothered with following her orders to the letter (hell, she'll quite happily openly ignore an order if she thinks it's in Sakura's best interests to do so).
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Old 2010-08-21, 00:16   Link #2625
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On my first play-through of Heaven's Feel (wasn't spoiled on anything except servant identities) I shared similar opinions of Sakura, especially after getting a vibe that Sakura was happy about Saber dying when it was clear Saber liked Sakura.
The 9th day has some of the best scenes in the VN for Shirou, Ilya and Sakura, so I didn't dwell on hating her for too long.
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Old 2010-08-21, 00:36   Link #2626
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Originally Posted by Cherry_Lover View Post
Well, yeah, but even if her explicit orders were only to protect him at the temple, it's clear what the intent was, and Rider was never really one who was bothered with following her orders to the letter (hell, she'll quite happily openly ignore an order if she thinks it's in Sakura's best interests to do so).
But Sakura doesn't matter in any path other than her own, she's quickly told to shove off by Rin and written out of the story...
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Old 2010-08-21, 09:04   Link #2627
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Originally Posted by Cherry_Lover View Post
Well, yeah, but even if her explicit orders were only to protect him at the temple, it's clear what the intent was, and Rider was never really one who was bothered with following her orders to the letter (hell, she'll quite happily openly ignore an order if she thinks it's in Sakura's best interests to do so).
I'm afraid I don't exactly understand what you mean by talking about Rider's intent. I simply assumed that she followed orders by saving Shirou from Zouken and Assassin, then acted of her own free will by offering to walk him home. The only intention I felt from her was the intent of making sure Shirou was safe, unless you mean that she did it because she knew that if Shirou was safe Sakura would be happy.
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Old 2010-08-21, 12:57   Link #2628
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On my first play-through of Heaven's Feel (wasn't spoiled on anything except servant identities) I shared similar opinions of Sakura, especially after getting a vibe that Sakura was happy about Saber dying when it was clear Saber liked Sakura.
Well, it's not that Sakura doesn't like Saber, it's just that Sakura knows that as long as Saber is around, Shirou is in danger of getting killed. Not only that, but one of Saber's enemies is Sakura's very own servant, and in the end at least one of them has to die. So, it's kind of understandable that she'd be glad that Saber was gone. If nothing else, it means that Shirou and Shinji no longer have to fight one another.

Of course, without having spoilered the end of HF, you wouldn't know that, so I suppose that in that case it could come off as being rather bad (since she's glad to see that Saber has disappeared (although, she'd have no way to know she was dead) just because being associated with her seems to result in Shirou getting hurt). In reality, though, it's just yet another piece of clever foreshadowing by Nasu....

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But Sakura doesn't matter in any path other than her own, she's quickly told to shove off by Rin and written out of the story...
OK, will you please stop making random digs at Sakura that have absolutely no relevance to the topic in question?

Even ignoring the fact that "Sakura doesn't matter outside of HF" is complete bollocks, we're talking about HF here, so she quite clearly does matter.

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I'm afraid I don't exactly understand what you mean by talking about Rider's intent.
I meant the master's intent.

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The only intention I felt from her was the intent of making sure Shirou was safe, unless you mean that she did it because she knew that if Shirou was safe Sakura would be happy.
Yeah, that's what I meant. She was ordered to protect them from Zouken and Assassin, and the only reason why that would be the case is if she wanted him to be safe, so "escorting him home" is a logical extension of her orders.
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Old 2010-08-21, 14:03   Link #2629
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I meant the master's intent.
But that's where I get confused, who is Rider's Master supposed to be at this point? The default answer is Shinji because he brought her back and had a second book, and I didn't see any hints that Sakura currently has Rider under her full control. However, Rider was way too powerful to still have Shinji as her Master, and I can't imagine Shinji having the intent for Shirou to safely return home.
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Old 2010-08-21, 14:45   Link #2630
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Originally Posted by RadiantBeam View Post
But that's where I get confused, who is Rider's Master supposed to be at this point? The default answer is Shinji because he brought her back and had a second book, and I didn't see any hints that Sakura currently has Rider under her full control. However, Rider was way too powerful to still have Shinji as her Master, and I can't imagine Shinji having the intent for Shirou to safely return home.
My guess is that she didn't make the book for him OR if Shinji does not have the book in hand, Rider returns to Sakura.

The book is a really nice plot device to keep her being a master a secret until HF, if I don't say so myself.
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Old 2010-08-21, 14:55   Link #2631
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But that's where I get confused, who is Rider's Master supposed to be at this point?
Well, yeah, that's what I find somewhat confusing too. Rider's actions (both the power behind them and the fact that she's protecting Shirou) clearly imply that Sakura is still the master, but yet the scene where Sakura produces another book for Shinji clearly implies that Shinji has control of her at that point.

I suppose what DragoZERO said is plausible, though. Perhaps Shinji is asleep and, thus, Rider has reverted to Sakura's control. Alternately, perhaps Sakura can also give orders to Rider, and Shinji didn't see fit to over-ride them (assuming that he can). But, then, that doesn't fit well with what happens in the school fight scene, unless Shinji tricked Sakura into going with him and, then, with a knife to her neck could prevent her from destroying the book.
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Old 2010-08-22, 13:37   Link #2632
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I suppose it's just a plot hole to accept. It certainly doesn't take away from the fact that Rider is still awesome as heck for kicking Assassin's butt all around the temple. It's just a little confusing when you really start thinking about it and realize that it's never clear who her Master truly is at this point.
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Old 2010-08-23, 02:40   Link #2633
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Edit: Gah, I wanted to respond to some other people's posts but I'm already pages and pages behind, and this post is already big....well, whatever.

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But in HF he pretty much goes against his ideal.
No, he doesn't. He just modifies his ideal a little to fit in with his wish to save Sakura.
Let's face it: Shirou admits himself that he dumped his ideal. IIRC, he couldn't even call Kotomine evil at the end, because he'd lost his notion of justice. --it's true we can fit his ideals and actions together, but Shirou couldn't reconcile them and dropped his ideals as a result.

Now, from a third person perspective we could say his actions actually fits a form of his UBW ideal. That, rather than taking a sure path to save the most by sacrificing the few, his "save as many as possible" ideal could operate by trying to save everyone including Sakura. Shirou's a guy who jumps in front of Saber to try and protect her from Berserker, and confronts Gil to save Ilya--making an effort against all odds to try and save everyone is just like him.

The Mind of Steel choice always puzzled me anyways. Shirou didn't need to dump his ideals there, unless he knew that Sakura was the cause of the Shadow and that the Shadow was devouring people. ...Though I do remember a comment about Shirou sensing Sakura in the Shadow when he had seen it but he had been in denial about the link. If he had thought Sakura caused the Shadow all along--which would be very unusually astute--then maybe he knew of the Shadow's killings and felt forced to choose. Doesn't seem plausible at all though.

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But the shadow isn't supposed to be a villain. Zouken is the villain. The shadow is just a tool for Zouken to use to kill his enemies. The shadow is no more a villain than a ferocious dog is, because it's not conscious. The shadow is a threat, yes (although it is assumed to be under Zouken's direct control for most of the route), but it's never seen as a villain, because it's not aware of its actions (well, Sakura sees what it's doing through her dreams, but she isn't aware it's real).
Yes, that's my point. It's a terrible villain because it's just a mindless super-powered destruction creature; an extremely powerful antagonistic force should have more depth and build up than "Shadow appears; Servants die". It's like "Rocks fall, everyone dies"--it's ham-handed.

When I think about it, I didn't find Zouken to be a great villain either. He felt rather anti-climactic. I'm sure acquiring True Assassin and summoning the Shadow was his masterstroke, since it let him dominate much of the Grail War. Too bad it wasn't shown--it would have made him much more ominous, imo.

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And HF couldn't work as the second arc, for several reasons. Firstly, it would be very difficult to enjoy UBW as a route after finding out what Sakura is going through, given that her situation is entirely ignored there and can't really be dealt with in any meaningful way without making HF seem pointless (especially given that it's supposed to end Rin x Shirou), and secondly HF explains the whole Grail War and spoilers several important UBW plot points (like Archer's identity). HF is quite clearly designed to be the last route, and it wouldn't work the other way around.
It's really no worse than, say, Saber vanishing in UBW and being killed in HF. So that's not a problem; it just shifts when a heroine gets an inferior end. Also many folks don't care at all about Sakura, just like many don't care about Saber, so it's even regardless of route order. There's also the fact that Sakura only suffers abuse in preparation for the Grail War; IIRC, though it's only in extra material, the Great Grail is dismantled after the 5th Grail War, so no worries. Besides, it's not like everything would be written exactly the same if the route orders were switched. Zouken could try and force his plan, fail, and die in an interlude.

Last edited by Grey; 2010-08-23 at 02:52.
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Old 2010-08-23, 09:49   Link #2634
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Let's face it: Shirou admits himself that he dumped his ideal.
No, Shirou thinks that he's dropped his ideal, because he has a fundamental misunderstanding of what that ideal really is.

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IIRC, he couldn't even call Kotomine evil at the end, because he'd lost his notion of justice.
By that point, his mind is totally dying, and he's driven by one thing, that being "I must protect Sakura".

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--it's true we can fit his ideals and actions together, but Shirou couldn't reconcile them and dropped his ideals as a result.
Well, Shirou dropped the explicit form of the ideals, yes. Although, really, given where following those ideals took Kiritsugu, Archer and, indeed, MoS Shirou, I don't think that's a bad thing. But, he still quite clearly cared about others (witness his reaction to the deaths caused by the shadow, and his constant attempts to find a way to deal with it even though (at the time) he had no idea that it had any connection to Sakura whatsoever) and he was quite clearly still trying to save people. It's just that he wanted to save Sakura first.

Quote:
Now, from a third person perspective we could say his actions actually fits a form of his UBW ideal. That, rather than taking a sure path to save the most by sacrificing the few, his "save as many as possible" ideal could operate by trying to save everyone including Sakura. Shirou's a guy who jumps in front of Saber to try and protect her from Berserker, and confronts Gil to save Ilya--making an effort against all odds to try and save everyone is just like him.
That's because it fits with Shirou's personality, even if it doesn't fully fit with his inherited ideal. As UBW shows, there is a big difference between Shirou's 'ideal', which is just to save people, and what he really wants, which is to make people happy and see that happiness. That's what Archer didn't realise until too late, and it's why Archer wants to kill Shirou. In UBW, Shirou is never forced into a situation where the two come into conflict, but in HF he is, to a certain extent.

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The Mind of Steel choice always puzzled me anyways. Shirou didn't need to dump his ideals there, unless he knew that Sakura was the cause of the Shadow and that the Shadow was devouring people. ...Though I do remember a comment about Shirou sensing Sakura in the Shadow when he had seen it but he had been in denial about the link. If he had thought Sakura caused the Shadow all along--which would be very unusually astute--then maybe he knew of the Shadow's killings and felt forced to choose. Doesn't seem plausible at all though.
Well, yeah, which is the point. Truthfully, even though Shirou thinks he dropped his ideals there, he really didn't. He was following them just the same as before, going out trying to save people, and he openly accepted (at that point) that he was going to kill Sakura if she actually did go insane again. In fact, I got the Mind of Steel ending first time around simply because I thought "well, a Superhero would protect Sakura as long as they possibly could, so if I go for that then she'll be just fine".

Shirou in MoS was simply being cautious. Kotomine had assured him that Sakura would go insane and kill people, so he felt that his 'ideal' required him to kill her, just like Kiritsugu had felt that his ideal required him to kill the woman he thought of as a mother when she was on a plane with some Dead Apostles. HF Shirou decided to go "fuck that" and wanted to save everyone, which is the pure form of the ideal, but which is also quite clearly not possible in reality.

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Yes, that's my point. It's a terrible villain because it's just a mindless super-powered destruction creature; an extremely powerful antagonistic force should have more depth and build up than "Shadow appears; Servants die". It's like "Rocks fall, everyone dies"--it's ham-handed.
Because it's not a villain. It's a tool, and its main purpose is to get rid of the servants so they don't get in the way, as well as to show off Sakura's potential power and to make her a danger (which sets up the dilemma for Shirou and Rin and, thus, drives the plot).

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When I think about it, I didn't find Zouken to be a great villain either. He felt rather anti-climactic.
Well, he's the typical Manipulative Bastard type. He doesn't fight himself, he pulls the strings to get everyone else to do it for him.

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I'm sure acquiring True Assassin and summoning the Shadow was his masterstroke, since it let him dominate much of the Grail War. Too bad it wasn't shown--it would have made him much more ominous, imo.
Well, IIRC when the shadow shows up to the main protagonists the first time, Zouken is shocked and rather frightened, so he quite obviously wasn't expecting it to act of it's own accord. Having said that, he quite clearly used the shadow to take down Lancer and True Assassin prior to that point, so he clearly did know what he was doing.

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It's really no worse than, say, Saber vanishing in UBW and being killed in HF. So that's not a problem; it just shifts when a heroine gets an inferior end. Also many folks don't care at all about Sakura, just like many don't care about Saber, so it's even regardless of route order.
Well, no, there's a difference. There's nothing that could be done about Saber in HF (nevertheless, Saber fans seem to complain about it a hell of a lot). On the other hand, I'd find it very difficult to read through UBW having played HF and not go into fits of rage at Rin's obliviousness towards her little sister's suffering. Especially given how utterly horrifically the UBW ending screws Sakura over in hindsight. Saber is a servant, she's kind of supposed to die (and, even so, the Saber fans are not happy about it one bit), and her ending in HF is such that it couldn't be helped. Rin in UBW would just enrage any Sakura fan by ignoring her sister entirely and taking the guy she loves.

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There's also the fact that Sakura only suffers abuse in preparation for the Grail War; IIRC, though it's only in extra material, the Great Grail is dismantled after the 5th Grail War, so no worries.
And you think Zouken is just going to give up? At best, Sakura is stuck under his control for the rest of her life, alone and with no-one to help her.

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Besides, it's not like everything would be written exactly the same if the route orders were switched. Zouken could try and force his plan, fail, and die in an interlude.
The problem with that is two-fold. Firstly, if they did that, it'd give a sense of "well, what the hell was the point of HF?", since Shirou went through all of that only for the guy to die off and leave Sakura totally free in the next route. Secondly, killing Zouken is not easy, so doing that after the difficulties of killing him in HF would just seem odd.

There are other issues too. If Zouken were dead, I'd imagine Sakura would quite plausibly take Rider back, especially if she found out what Shinji was doing with her. The whole "Archer's arm" thing wouldn't work without us finding out the truth about him (and his identity is a major spoiler for UBW). Sakura, once freed of Zouken, would likely be a lot more pro-active in pursuing Shirou and, more generally, in getting involved with the war.

There are too many things that would need to be changed to play HF and UBW in different orders, and IMO it would just be outright depressing to see Sakura left out in the cold after what we know she went through in HF.
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Old 2010-08-23, 10:37   Link #2635
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Yes, that's my point. It's a terrible villain because it's just a mindless super-powered destruction creature; an extremely powerful antagonistic force should have more depth and build up than "Shadow appears; Servants die". It's like "Rocks fall, everyone dies"--it's ham-handed.
There's a reason that Doomsday sucks over in the DC Universe. Mindless forces of destruction are boring, and once you kill Superman, there's really nowhere to go but down.

The Shadow went around without any sort of mind, character, or dialogue making the biggest badasses in the game look like jokes, and... it didn't really work. Came off as more annoying than dramatic, most of the time.

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When I think about it, I didn't find Zouken to be a great villain either. He felt rather anti-climactic. I'm sure acquiring True Assassin and summoning the Shadow was his masterstroke, since it let him dominate much of the Grail War. Too bad it wasn't shown--it would have made him much more ominous, imo.
I found Zouken an okay villain... every once in awhile, I do appreciate having one you can just unambiguously hate. Kotomine, Gilgamesh and Caster were sorta likable in ways, Illya wasn't really evil so much as a kid handed way too much power and with nobody telling her right from wrong, and Shinji was certainly a piece of scum but was just too pathetic to really find threatening. Zouken adequately filled a role of a serious villain you could also totally despise without regret.

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It's really no worse than, say, Saber vanishing in UBW and being killed in HF. So that's not a problem; it just shifts when a heroine gets an inferior end. Also many folks don't care at all about Sakura, just like many don't care about Saber, so it's even regardless of route order.
This. A great deal of conflict could be avoided if everyone would just remember that everybody has their favorite character who they want to get a happy ending and not see bad stuff happen to, so we should all just live and let live.

Don't worry, be happy.

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There's also the fact that Sakura only suffers abuse in preparation for the Grail War; IIRC, though it's only in extra material, the Great Grail is dismantled after the 5th Grail War, so no worries.
Actually, this could make sense if they explain it. She's useless as a Grail, and after all the now-pointless modification done to her body, she probably wouldn't even be a good host for him. Add that to the fact that we know Japan really isn't suited to his magical style anyway, and that Rin now has reason to keep a much closer eye on the Matou household (Particularly Shinji in UBW) it would make a lot of sense for him to just ditch his family and go off to take his shot at immortality elsewhere.

Last edited by Moczo; 2010-08-23 at 12:12.
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Old 2010-08-23, 13:53   Link #2636
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We debated it at Beast's Lair and even in this thread many times: Sakura's fate in any other route than HF is very-very ambiguous. Few facts:
-Both in UBW and Fate Rin and Shirou are off to London. They know nothing about Sakura and probably only visit her rarely.
-Zouken wasn't dealt with in Fate and UBW and still alive.
-Zouken has complete control over Sakura and can kill her any time
-Zouken seeks immortality and the Heaven's Feel. The dismantlement of the Grail is likely to infuriate him.
-Zouken loves the suffering of people, the pain of his decaying body turned him into a total sadist.
-Whenever Shinji got really nice or not in UBW is unknown. Shirou isn't an accurate judge of people.
-Sakura has all rights to believe both Shirou and Rin completely abandoned her once they set off to London.

So you get the picture. Unless some miracle happens, Sakura ends up really bad. And we know miracles normally don't happen in the Nasuverse. The scale of miracle is proportional to the protagonist's heroic willpower.
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Old 2010-08-23, 14:08   Link #2637
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We debated it at Beast's Lair and even in this thread many times: Sakura's fate in any other route than HF is very-very ambiguous.
Yeah, definitely. Which is what annoys me so much. There's simply no information about what happens to her outside of HF.

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-Both in UBW and Fate Rin and Shirou are off to London. They know nothing about Sakura and probably only visit her rarely.
Err, no, there's nothing to say that Fate Shirou goes to London, and indeed it's pretty unlikely because Rin only offered to take him as an apprentice in UBW because she wanted to be with him. Otherwise she would not consider it worthwhile, and Shirou could never get into the Association on his own merits.

As for UBW, whilst they are indeed in London, I'd imagine that Shirou would, at some point, chew Rin out over her attitude to her sister and attempt to reconcile them, so she's not lost all hope there either.

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-Zouken wasn't dealt with in Fate and UBW and still alive.
Yep, almost certainly.

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-Zouken has complete control over Sakura and can kill her any time
Yeah, the worm in her heart allows it, seemingly. Having said that, killing her is most definitely a last resirt, because of how useful she is to him (as breeding stock for an heir if nothing else...).

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-Zouken seeks immortality and the Heaven's Feel. The dismantlement of the Grail is likely to infuriate him.
On the other hand, it's also likely to make him desperate, which makes him more likely to be noticed.

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-Zouken loves the suffering of people, the pain of his decaying body turned him into a total sadist.
Sorry, but this isn't really true. There are signs of occasional sadism in Zouken, but in general his actions are purely selfish rather than actively sadistic. Whilst he does indeed like torturing people who cross him (such as Kariya in Zero), he is also actually pretty reasonable when it comes to his allies (like True Assassin in HF, who he tries to keep alive well past the point where he's useful). With Sakura, his joy at her suffering in HF seems to be more about the fact that his plan worked than the fact that he's hurting her. Whilst he does laugh at the suffering he's caused her, it seems to be in more of a "I don't give a shit about you" way than in a "haha I'm torturing a young girl and I like doing it" sort of way.

In terms of sadism, Zouken is much like the average person. He enjoys seeing people he hates suffer and prefers to make people he likes do reasonably well. It's just that he's purely selfish and will hurt anyone it takes to achieve his goal. Because he saw making Sakura suffer as the best way to get the Grail (partially because it's the only way she could learn his magic, and partially because of the connection he gave her to Angra Mainyu), then that's what he did, but if treating her like a princess had been the best way for him to get the Grail, then she would have lived the life of a princess, because he tortured her solely because it was necessary for him to force her to obey him, teach her his magic and train her body to cope with Angra Mainyu. If Zouken were truly sadistic, then Shinji would have died long ago.

At very least, his goal >> everything else. So, therefore, he will gladly abandon Sakura in a second if that is the best way to achieve it. Having said that, his current set-up is pretty cosy, and he's not going to abandon his pet project and remove his soul worm from its safe hiding place just because Rin might be watching him a bit more closely. And, if he was going to, he'd likely take her body anyway. Leaving her alive and free is just too risky, because she is likely to tell someone about him, and it's always an extra body, which saves him hunting one down.

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-Whenever Shinji got really nice or not in UBW is unknown. Shirou isn't an accurate judge of people.
It's largely irrelevant, because he's not going to do anything either way, and even if he is abusing her her life isn't really any worse.

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-Sakura has all rights to believe both Shirou and Rin completely abandoned her once they set off to London.
This is probably true.

Quote:
So you get the picture. Unless some miracle happens, Sakura ends up really bad. And we know miracles normally don't happen in the Nasuverse. The scale of miracle is proportional to the protagonist's heroic willpower.
Well, whilst she's likely screwed, Shirou's heroic willpower is pretty damn good, and he isn't going to want to let his friend/girlfriend's sister suffer and die, so....
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Old 2010-08-23, 14:16   Link #2638
GDB
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Originally Posted by Cherry_Lover View Post
Yeah, definitely. Which is what annoys me so much. There's simply no information about what happens to her outside of HF.
Possibly because HF is the only route that does any worthwhile flash-forward? Fate does what, a few days or couple of weeks at most? UBW (T) does a month and a half, while UBW (G) does a few hours. HF (T) gives us two years, and HF (N) gives us about 50-70 years. So really, we don't get any really detailed information on what happens in the future for anyone outside of HF.
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Old 2010-08-23, 14:30   Link #2639
Cherry_Lover
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Possibly because HF is the only route that does any worthwhile flash-forward? Fate does what, a few days or couple of weeks at most? UBW (T) does a month and a half, while UBW (G) does a few hours. HF (T) gives us two years, and HF (N) gives us about 50-70 years. So really, we don't get any really detailed information on what happens in the future for anyone outside of HF.
Yeah, but the problem is that Sakura's situation is unresolved, there's no obvious resolution and there's no resolution hinted at. Other than Shirou's situation post-HF True, everything in those routes is dealt with during the war, and there are no unresolved situations. On the other hand, Sakura's situation outside HF is never resolved (even in side-materials, where the dismantling of the Grail is pointed out), which in a way is even more infuriating than just killing her off would be.

Whilst we indeed do not know what happens to anyone post UBW or Fate (or, indeed, to Shirou and Sakura more than two years after HF True), we can take a decent guess. With Sakura, we have no idea, because her situation is simply entirely ignored.
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Old 2010-08-23, 14:35   Link #2640
DragoZERO
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Do we know when they left for London exactly? I'd like to believe that they saved Sakura before they left, otherwise I'd be very angry and depressed.
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