Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note ?
With this episode, the series begins a story arc that will cover the rest of the season, all about the titular Rail Zeppelin, a train created by vampires for the explicit purpose of marketing Mystic Eyes to supernatural folk. However, the story is not discarding its nature now that it has an ongoing plotline. Based on the end of the episode, it looks like another murder mystery will be a big part of the story.
All of the previous cases collectively look to have been mere set-ups for this one. Episode one introduced the fragment of Iskander's mantle, which serves as the stolen Relic motivating Waver to accept the invitation. Episode two introduced the Spiritual Evocationist Fernando Li, who pops up again as one of the other invitees, and episode three was the first appearance of Caules Forvedge and Yvette Lehrman, who was the eyepatch-sporting student who wants to become Lord El-Melloi II's mistress; the former is accompanying Waver and the latter is another invited guest, presumably because of her family's connection to Mystic Eyes. Episodes four and five brought Hishiri Adashino into the picture from Law and Policies (another invitee) and this series' introduction of Kairi, who meets Reines and Luvia, the latter of whom also appeared in earlier episodes. It looks like they will be doing some investigating behind how the theft of the Relic happened while Waver is conducting his business on the train.
And the series is hardly finished with new guest appearances. Olga-Marie Animusphere, another invitee who calls on Waver to help her in bidding for Mystic Eyes, is the director of Chaldea in Fate/Grand Order and first appeared anime-wise in the special Fate/Grand Order -First Order-. I'm not clear on whether or not FGO falls in this same timeline, but nothing revealed in this episode precludes that. It would explain why she's so interested in Waver's involvement in the Fourth Holy Grail War. The other major new cast addition, the Church agent Karabo Frampton, seems to be a wholly new character. He seems like a decent guy and has Mystic Eyes, which can see the past of people he touches. I imagine will prove quite important going forward.
All of Yvette's attempted antics and Waver's reactions do not distract much from the episode's overall tone. (Her inability to get a rise out of Gray over wanting to be Lord El-Melloi's mistress is rather amusing.) It establishes a serious mood specifically primed for a longer mystery to develop: the location is introduced, as are various important players, and then a murder happens, making the whole episode just setup for the grander story at hand. As such, there are several significant details that might prove relevant later, and some require the use of the pause button to catch. The first is Gray noticing that Trisha, Olga-Marie's servant, is wearing a pendant with a figure of a mother holding a child. Presumably that's important, but we will apparently have to wait to find out why. Karabo seeing a brief flash of Arturia holding Excalibur when touching Gray also seems significant, suggesting that there may be more to Gray that Waver has revealed (or perhaps even realizes?). Trisha's conversation with Waver is probably not part of the case, but it is significant for being a reminder of the big problem with Waver's plan to join the fifth Holy Grail War: servants summoned a second time generally don't remember their previous incarnation.
Though no action takes place in this episode, it nonetheless has its visually impressive moments, such as when Waver talks to Trisha with an image of his younger self being reflected in Trisha's glass. A later shot in that same scene showing Waver reflected in multiple ice cubes is also neat and thoughtful, and the décor of the train is another visual standout. Overall, this is a carefully-measured and well-thought-out episode, even if it doesn't do anything exciting.
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