Two episodes in, and Shirou is already coming across as twice the man he was in the original Fate/stay night anime. I’m not sure if this is a correction by design or if the chauvinism he displayed through FSN will rear it’s ugly head as he begins to develop his relationship with Saber. Still, there’s promise here.
And maybe because Shirou is less “simple” in this series, his idealism, too, is more inspiring this time around than annoying. Saved by Kiritsugu in the Holy Grail War tragedy that claimed many lives, Shirou has grown up wanting to help and save others – to be a “hero of justice.” And not just for some – for all:
I’m not interested in salvation that’s inherently limited to a set number of people. I can’t bear the thought of strangers dying around me like they did that day.
Shirou’s altruism is admirable. And by the end of episode one, he now has his servant – the amazing Saber (right up there as one of my very favorite characters – goosebumps when she arrives on screen!) – to help him achieve his goals. But will he? Can he?
Unfortunately, Shirou (and we, too) live in a world where even if you have the might to do so, you would never be able to save everyone. Beyond logistics, a deeper reason would be this – not everyone wants to be saved. The uglier masters of the Holy Grail War will show this to be true – they don’t want to accept salvation from a pure and loving motive. They want their own wishes granted; they want to become not just the masters of their servants, but to be free to be masters over themselves, not subject to anything or anyone.
In the world of religion, those that evangelize often become discouraged by these types, by people that want nothing to do with their god. In Christianity, we may see them as those that want to live lives of their own choosing, if they’re not simply outright antagonistic toward the gospel.
But what of those that don’t know they need to be saved? Many series, anime and otherwise, involve the theme of redemption – will Shirou help redeem those that realize the error of their ways? I don’t remember FSN well enough and have never read the visual novels, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing if this theme materializes.
And meanwhile, in the Christian life, those spreading the gospel, too, must remember that a world rejecting Christ isn’t made of just those that actively do so. Knowing why redemption is necessary is a first part of the gospel – and if one hasn’t understood that, salvation can’t begin it’s work in that individual’s life, much less in the lives of the “everyone” for whom Shirou would give everything.