Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note ?
Although Waver Velvet is not the only reason for the success of this series, he is principally responsible for its appeal. So this episode, which focuses on Reines, Gray, and Luvia's activities at a lavish department store, becomes a test to see if the series can sustain itself when Waver is relegated to a minimal role. The series mostly passes the test, because it stays true to its goals even while focusing on different characters than usual.
The series continues its primary focus on mysteries grounded deeply in magic, when the feature trio get caught in a bounded field that they have difficulty escaping from on their own. The analytical way they tackle the problem remains in line with how Waver normally handles things. The result of the mystery is interesting, though it's also fully in line with the overly complex nature of magic in the Fate universe, which has triggered unexpected side effects to result in an unintended trap being sprung. This situation is similar to the way that complex computer programming can generate glitches from unanticipated interactions of code. The real cause being Luvia's tendency toward ostentatious magic fits perfectly with the personality established for her in Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya.
However, the part where Gray effectively becomes Reines' dress-up doll in exchange for filling her in about Waver's involvement the Holy Grail War worked less than perfectly. The groundwork for Gray's keen interest in the matter has been well-established, so her willingness to put up with Reines is credible enough, and the execution of the scene was lightly humorous, as Gray's embarrassment is supposed to be part of the situation's charm. Despite all of that, I find Gray to be ill-suited for this purpose. Her normal hooded cloak and skirt combo is so suitable for her that anything else doesn't look right. This is also the first case where I have found the slight differences in character design style between this and other Fate series to be a detriment.
Admittedly, this is a nitpick. What's more important is that the interactions among the three girls progress smoothly; Luvia and Reines clearly have conflicting egos, but that doesn't lead to outright hostility, and Gray feeling overwhelmed and out of place in their company is entirely appropriate. The way Reines tries to reassure Gray about her value shows no arrogance or animosity either; what Reines thought of Gray before the revelation that she carries King Arthur's lance is uncertain, but clearly she holds Gray in higher regard in the wake of that information. The twist at the end of the episode that Waver is being “invited” to Rail Zeppelin (the traveling Mystic Eyes broker) also firmly sets up the series' future plot direction. Even if dressing up Gray didn't quite work for me, this is still another solid episode.
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