Reviews: Just An Unorthodox Thief

If you liked Fate/Zero, steer clear.

Extremely skewed towards the Lupin side of things, as seen by the immense dedication and attention to detail the author has for Lupin works. Same cannot be said for the Fate parts. Characters get shafted wholesale, original themes are copied and applied to other characters and explicitly mentioned motivations are changed.

This troper's main gripe lies with the overt Saber/Lupin conflict, where the one side is a wholly ridiculous strawman of the actual ideal and the other is a watered down version of Gilgamesh proper.

On numerous occasions, Saber acts "against her chivalry" as the story wants to put it, but in truth none of her actions truly do so. The author's understanding of chivalry is shallow and rather insulting, not only unsupported by the TM canon but also wholly removed from any of the real world written records from the period. Saber punches and headbutts instead of using her sword? HOW UNCHIVALROUS! IGNORE 2000 YEARS OF MILITARY DOCTRINE AND HUNDREDS OF SURVIVING MANUALS REGARDING KNIGHTLY COMBAT TECHNIQUES! IGNORE CANON EVENTS WHERE KNIGHTS HAPPILY SMACK SOMEONE! SUCH UNCHIVALROUS BASE BEHAVIOR etc. etc.

There is some merit in the Caster case, but the side of chivalric behavior allowing, nay encouraging, such is wholly ignored. What of Lancelot and his habit of gallivanting in disguise? Was he not the greatest knight, pre-Guinevere? What of Gareth and Trystram, who also use disguises? But no, make way for Lupin's POV steamrolling all.

Lupin's moral view and the theme of the story is at its base, a degradation of Gil and FZ. Lupin argues for ubermensch-flavored hedonism, but he lacks all of the truly alien and awe-inspiring characteristics that Gil possessed. Where Gil saw through Kotomine at a glance and showed him step by step what lay in the depths of his soul, Lupin must revert to "but what of Caren" at every critical junction to reel him back in. The story seeks to break down and then re-affirm Saber, but it does it so ham-handedly in comparison to FZ that it grates. Where previously we had Iskander show in all its glory the truth of his words in FZ, here Saber is brought about by a hallucination brought about by a drug. The switching of a character to a plot device is overt and bare, as the absence of Uro's masterful dialogue and rhetoric is jarring. This continues on to the eventual confrontation between Saber and Iskander, where Saber merely ignores Rider rather than confront him with her own beliefs, which somehow strikes Rider as respectable rather than childish despite his love of debate and rhetoric(read, he loves to bullshit). It strikes me peculiar that someone taught by Aristotle(a man whose teachings on argumentation are STILL used TODAY) would find disregard an admirable trait.

And finally, as vigorously as the story tries to tear down Saber as an Idealist, FZ still did it better and more thoroughly. Well written otherwise, but I can only recommend it if you like Lupin and don't care much about Fate/Zero.
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