Yeah, it’s time to talk about my favorite team in the anime.
I see a lot of people hating wimpy characters in anime, and to be honest, I can kind of see why. After all, anime is basically saying that wimpy characters are supposed to be us, and we really don’t want that to be true. And even when it is true, anime has a bit of a problem with holding back on the stupidity of those kinds of characters, making them too stupid to be relatable. For example, who makes the mistakes that Saito in Zero No Tsukaima is famous for? Or the mistakes that Junichi Asakura in Da Capo make? Or…anything done by any of the characters in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. But they’re funny, so they get a pass.
It is very important for these characters to have a foil. For example, how do you think Nodame would have fared if she didn’t have Chiaki to bounce off of? Just an annoying college-aged genki girl who just screams “Mukya!” and “Gyappo!”, that’s what you’d get. Okay, she’s not a spineless wimp, but she’d still be pretty annoying without Chiaki. Foils can make an annoying character very likable, especially when the foil is a catalyst to help the spineless wimp grow. Doubly so if the annoying character helps the foil grow as well. The alternative is if they’re equally wretched in a different and hilarious way (ah, my love for Sunny in Philadelphia). The latest episode of Binbougami was funny in that regard.
This is why I can’t stand the typical magical girlfriend formula. Chemistry varies (although it’s never fantastic), but the reason I don’t like them usually is because they never help each other to really grow in a meaningful way. Often, it’s the female just giving the male what he wants and the male grows as a result of that. If there’s one thing I can’t stand in anime, it’s unearned, not genuine, insipid character development. I don’t care if a character grows up later. If the source sucks, then the development is worthless.
Which brings me to Rider and Waver. Many people have already stated why their relationship is so good, so I won’t get into too much detail about it. Basically, it’s the magical girlfriend situation if the girlfriend was a gruff man child who causes the loser to feel like even more of a loser. To be more specific to the Fate/Zero universe, Rider is the actual master while Waver (the supposed master) mostly just follows him. Now, if things played out more typically, then Waver would have gotten somebody like Saber. If that happened, Saber would just follow his orders without question and it’s just be Fate/Stay Night all over again. But instead of getting the partner he wanted, Waver got the partner he needed. It’s true that Rider always did encourage Waver like the usual magical girlfriend, but he never truly respected him until Waver started taking things into his own hands.
As for Rider, I don’t remember Waver affecting him too much, as what makes him awesome doesn’t really involve his master. Well, okay, there were the scenes where Waver brought books and games for Rider in order for him to learn more about the human world, but that’s pretty weak involvement at best. Oh how I wish the show was just about them, but that’s neither here nor there. But what made him more awesome than the other servants was that he was equal parts funny, serious, and interesting. The fact that he fought to conquer, even though he never really wanted too because he’d lose his goal if that happened, was my favorite motivation of the Servants. And who can forget how he just charges into things with a grin and the power to back it up?
And let’s be honest, the show favors this pair as well. Who got the happy ending from this series? Which team had the only actual chemistry between Master and Servant? Who was the only one the anime actually bothered to animate in the first episode rather than use that stupid “tell don’t show” that Accel World can’t seem to do? It wasn’t Team Saber, that’s for sure.
- By the way, what is up with Waver’s future self?
- Keep in mind I’m basing my Fate/Stay Night experiences off the anime.