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Light Novel / Lord El-Melloi II Case Files

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The ‘whydunnit’—why they committed the crime in the first place—that remains a possibility. A person’s Elemental affinity will reflect their nature. Magecraft is no different. For magi, who have been steeped in the story of magecraft since before they were even born, whether they accept that fate or rebel against it, it will doubtlessly brand them down to their very core. In that way, no one is as incapable of lying as a magus.
Lord El-Melloi II

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files (ロード・エルメロイⅡ世の事件簿) is a light novel series written by Makoto Sanda and illustrated by Mineji Sakamoto and takes place in the Nasuverse, as a spinoff of the Fate series. The series ran for 10 novels from December 2014 to May 2019; currently, they're only available in Japan.

A manga adaptation began October 4th, 2017. An anime adaptation produced by Studio TROYCA premiered with episode 0 on December 31, 2018 as part of the "Fate Project New Year’s Eve TV Special". The full anime series, Lord El-Melloi II Case Files: {Rail Zeppelin} Grace Note, began July 6th, 2019. A musical stage adaptation of the first novel had a short tour in Japan from December 2019 to January 2020. A material book was released at Winter Comiket 2019 before wider release in January 2020.


Set years after Fate/Zero, Waver Velvet has taken the title of his former master as Lord El-Melloi II and taken charge of the Clock Tower's Modern Magecraft department. However, his rise to glory has been compounded by resentment from other magi. Deals made have resulted in debts to be paid and often he is called in to solve problems.

These are the Lord El-Melloi II Case Files.

A sequel light novel series, Lord El-Melloi II Adventures (ロード・エルメロイⅡ世の冒険), was announced in December 2019, with the first novel coming in winter 2020.


Provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Becomes particularly noticeable at some points, such as the car chase in episode 0, the wyverns pulling Faker's chariot, and the summoned Child of Einnashe in episode 12 which traps the Rail Zeppelin.
  • Abusive Parents: Waver states in episode 2 that usually children of mages are seen more as possessions of their parents than people, and we see examples of this throughout the show. Mary was willing to let her father die to gain freedom and Wills' father forced mystical eyes on his son to use as a tool for his workshop.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Although the first half of the anime is mostly anime-original and presumed to take place between books 3 and 4, some events get shuffled around or occur under different circumstances due to originally involving non-adapted material.
    • In the books, Waver is told by Atrum Galliast at the end of the Iselma case that he has been passed over as one of the two Clock Tower masters for the Fifth Holy Grail War. Since Atrum and Iselma are not in the anime aside from a brief cameo, he is instead told by Reines.
    • The party for Svin's ascension to Pride rank originally took place at the start of the Rail Zeppelin case rather than after.
    • In the novels the Adra and Iselma cases are tied together to Rail Zeppelin by the Big Bad's involvement as an enabler, whereas in Grace Note, although the former technically happened offscreen, the events of episodes 0 and 3-5 are used as leadup for their overarching plans.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The first volume opens with Gray recalling how Waver got into a fight with a stray cat, only to later find it injured in the road and so he nursed it until it passed away peacefully. The anime took what was only about half a page of dialogue and turned it into the plot of episode 0.
    • Episode 1 is a Whole Episode Flashback going into how Waver took on his former mentor's title and class, while also showing his life immediately after Zero.
    • The first half of the anime after episode 1 is original material set between volumes 3 and 4, which establishes relevant points from the skipped-over volumes 1-3 and sets the stage for the Rail Zeppelin arc in the second half.
    • The Rail Zeppelin adaptation itself introduces a subplot with Kairi and Luvia investigating who stole Iskandar's mantle at Reines' behest. Luvia didn't appear during this arc in the novels, and Kairi didn't appear in the novels at all. Kairi later recruits Flat and Svin for an assignment; like Luvia, they didn't feature during this arc in the novels.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Because of the anime's first half consisting of original content, characters like Yvette, Caules and Melvin are all introduced to the audience before the Rail Zeppelin arc, where they had all debuted in the novels. Trisha also has a silent Early-Bird Cameo, but not a proper introduction like the others.
  • Advertised Extra: Flat and Svin in the anime. There are story arcs in the novels where they have larger roles, but in the anime adaptation of the Rail Zeppelin arc they're only involved in a subplot towards the end (and sit the whole thing out completely in the novels), so being so prominent in the advertising and opening is this.
  • Aerith and Bob: Names in the series vary from mundane like Melvin and Yvette to the more typical Nasuverse fare like Geryuon and Dr. Heartless.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The Mage's Association is split up into various small cities and university towns near London, with the action primarily taking place in these cities and the countryside. The only exception is the final arc when all the Lords of the Mage's Association have assembled in London to make a vote and, later on, Waver and Gray have to enter the deep labyrinths beneath the city.
  • All There in the Manual: In Type-Moon tradition, Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Material came out some time after the series ended to elaborate on concepts and characters. This particular Material book is notable because part of it was written by Kinoko Nasu himself and goes over important details for the Nasuverse setting as a whole, like the history of the Mage's Association.
  • Alternate Self: This series being part of the Zero / stay night timeline, characters from other Nasuverse series who show up here are this to their original versions (so Caules and Kairi aren't involved in Grail Wars like they were in Fate/Apocrypha, since the outcome of the Third Grail War was different, and similarly the Animuspheres aren't involved in the upcoming Grail War, and so won't be as influential as they are in Fate/Grand Order, since there were four previous Grail Wars).
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Magus society isn't mired in egregious classism and sociopathy so much as built on it. Waver, who was originally on the bottom rung of the ladder and was shoved into the role of Lord El-Melloi II, is one of the few exceptions to this rule.
  • Artistic License – History: Waver mentions that the tomb of Alexander the Great is located in Babylon, Iraq, when in real life he was buried in Alexandria, Egypt (and prior to that, Memphis).
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Pick any non-Japanese mage, and there's a 90% chance their name is vaguely European-sounding nonsense.
  • Back for the Finale: Many of the Guest Star Party Members that participate throughout the series return in the penultimate and final books. Even the dead ones still have a role to play.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: A piece of official art for Episode 5 of the anime depicts Waver and Kairi doing this. Waver looks nervous though.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Rail Zeppelin arc revolves around the Mystic Eyes auction held onboard the titular train. They don't really care about any fighting amongst its potential bidders as long as it doesn't disturb anything related to the auction, and just to make sure the auction can stay interesting, they regularly give away a few tickets every year to bring in new people for their consumer base.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Being as status-conscious as they are, most magi try to project an image of aristocracy at its finest and most beautiful.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When he realizes he's in a Ten Little Murder Victims situation with a bunch of magi, Waver admits he's tempted to hang himself.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Unfortunately the official Aniplex subtitles, while coherent, are often inaccurate. For example, several scenes have the characters coming off much more cold and insensitive than their actual dialogue suggests, while others will have inconsistent or outright erroneous spellings that contradict on-screen text.
  • Body Double: Iskandar's from back when he was alive is introduced during the Rail Zeppelin arc as a Servant in the "Faker" class, due to her abnormal summoning. Notably, she's a thin, beautiful woman despite Iskandar being Large and in Charge. Admittedly, her wearing his threads as a young adult helps a bit in selling the illusion.
  • Botanical Abomination: The Child of Einnashe, spawn of the murderous forest Dead Apostle, appears in the Rail Zeppelin arc as a roadblock for the train. Like its progenitor, it too is a sentient bloodsucking Hive Mind forest and seeks to murder anyone who enters it. Unlike the original Forest of Einnashe, it only spawns once after one of Einnashe's seeds absorbs enough magical energy in the ground and immediately dies after using it all up. They also take on additional elements from the seed's time underground, the one seen in this series adding snow.
  • Book-Ends: Episode 1 ends with Waver looking out at Iskandar's dream, Okeanos. Episode 13 has him there again as he speaks to Iskandar.
  • Bowdlerise: In the original novel, Trisha wears a nazar amulet which looks really phallic, at least according to Gray. In the anime, they couldn't show that so her pendant is a small statue depicting a Buddha-like figure having sex with a woman to get the same reaction from Gray.
  • Britain is Only London: Averted; though parts of the series do take place in London, several of the novels take place in other areas of England. For example, the second and third novels are set in the area of Windermere, and the sixth and seventh novels are set in Useful Notes/Wales.
  • Call-Back:
    • In episode 1 Waver quotes Kayneth's words to him at the docks about the brutal nature of battles between magi when he challenges Barzan inside the tomb, then defies them by Taking A Third Option and fleeing a battle he knows he can't win.
    • In episode 6, Reines explains to Gray what she knows about the Grail War and Waver's involvement in it, establishing the background for the theft of Waver's relic of Iskandar at the end.
    • Adashino in episode 8 teases that the culprits of episode 3 and episodes 4-5 shared a sponsor.
    • In episode 10, while investigating who stole Waver's relic, Kairi and Luvia visit Mary from episode 2. Mary and Trish discuss Olga-Marie's past amongst themselves.
    • Music-wise there's a few nods to the soundtrack of Fate/Zero, such as "You were my king", the remixed version of "You are my king" from Fate/Zero that plays when Waver meets Rider in a dream, and "I have found something", which is a remix of "The dreams fade before dawn".
  • The Cameo:
    • A noticeable aspect of the novels is that each arc features new original characters and then adds one or two canonical characters from other works in the Nasuverse:
    • The anime adds even more:
      • Episode 1 begins with Iskandar and Gilgamesh's final battle in Fate/Zero, later on features Artoria standing over Kayneth and Sola's dead bodies, and near the end has Waver thinking of his younger self riding with Iskandar in the Ionioi Hetairoi, before cutting to the end of Iskandar and Gilgamesh's final battle.
      • Episode 3 features Frankenstein and Charles Babbage on a poster in Caules's dorm roomnote , and Gordolf Musik (with his young design from Fate/Apocrypha Material) arresting the villain of the week.
      • Episode 4 has Reines holding photos of Bazett Fraga McRemitz and Atrum Galliasta, the two mages that the Association is sending to the upcoming Grail War. Atrum was also a Guest-Star Party Member in an arc that the anime didn't adapt.
      • Episode 6 sees Waver reading from a book that mentions Gilgamesh, which brings up a memory of him from Fate/Zero.
      • Episode 8 briefly shows Fiore when Caules is recounting his history (see For Want of a Nail below).
      • Episode 10 has Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald himself, inside Waver's fever dream.
      • Audio only, in episode 12: When Gray unlocks Rhongomyniad's seals and Add calls out each seal in turn, Artoria herself is speaking alongside Add with their voices overlapping. During this part in the novel, the Knights of the Round Table whose seals were being released appeared around Gray instead.
      • Episode 13 offers another look at Kayneth, as Waver reflects on his predecessor's beginnings as a Child Prodigy, and sees Waver dreaming of Iskandar at the end.
      • Chardin, the substitute teacher for Waver's classroom, makes an appearance during Svin's graduation ceremony in episode 13.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Given Waver's prestige as a Lord and his reputation for having one of the finest classrooms with unique, one-of-a-kind students like Flat and Gray to back it up, his department draws in the attention of various mages throughout the series.
  • The Church: They serve as a rival organization to The Mage's Association but aren't that prominent in this series.
  • Clothing Damage: In the manga, being hit by the "song" of the beast of the Castle of Separation conveniently rips Waver's shirt open. He's unsurprisingly kinda scrawny.
  • Clueless Mystery: Most mysteries cannot be solved by an audience on the lookout for any conventional hints or clues. As Waver reiterates to his students, magic renders the usual questions of "who" (as suspects can be long dead and victims might not be dead at all) or "how" (as there are a multitude of different possible magecraft methods to achieve the same end) moot. Rather, it is the "why" (the motive) that is the key to solving Waver's missions as it influences all the other aspects previously mentioned.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Waver uses scientific forensics to determine the victim's time of death at the Castle of Adra, similar to when he deduced the location of Caster's lair in Zero. In a display of Character Development, when Orlock calls him out for his reliance on such a mundane technique, rather than being ashamed he explains nonchalantly that it's simply the system that works best for him.
    • In episode 3 Luvia mentions having been impressed by Lord El-Melloi II's skills at the Castle of Adra, which is a reference to the first case of the novel series that got skipped over for the anime adaptation.
    • During episode 4 when Wills asks Waver about Hishiri he mentions having a past with her, alluding to their meeting in the first novel where they were opposed to one another.
    • During the shopping montage in episode 6, Luvia gets embarrassed when Gray and Reines catch her hugging a teddy bear, just like the first time Gray and Waver caught her unawares in the Castle of Adra.
    • Also in episode 6, when the girls get trapped in a Bounded Field, Gray and Luvia are reminded of Luvia getting trapped in a Bounded Field in the Castle of Separation (with Waver and Gray, although they don't mention that bit).
    • In episode 8, Waver explains he's helping Olga Marie because of the lessons he learned from Iskandar in Zero.
  • Cool Train: The Rail Zeppelin, a magic train linked to the underworld through ritual and expressly made with the intent of gathering Mystic Eyes. It was created by Rita Rozay-en, though this detail is only mentioned in Mahou Tsukai no Yoru.note 
  • Dead Man Writing: Near the end of the series Atrum (Caster's original master from stay night), who had worked with Waver in an earlier case, sends him information that essentially starts with "If you're watching this I died in the Grail War."
  • Dead Person Conversation: Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald appears in Waver's coma-dream. In it, he's back at his classroom with Waver, serving to taunt the latter (immediately after his issues with Iskandar were badly shaken by "Hephaestion"). Admittedly, he is less malicious and more reasonably-stern, representing Waver's own self-challenges and daring him to strike back at them.
    • A more heartwarming one occurs in the season finale, when Waver, soundly asleep after the festivities of Svin's promotion, dreams of Okeanos and Iskandar awaiting him. Now content and confident, Waver/El-Melloi II demurs, saying he still has his fights to settle.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: A strange example where the person doing the impersonating is also dead. Faker, the Big Bad's Servant, claims to be Hephaestion, Iskandar's most trusted comrade and childhood friend. She's actually Hephaestion's sister, and was Iskandar's Body Double in life. To Waver's confusion she is not present in Iskandar's Ionioi Hetairoi even though someone as important to Iskandar as Hephaestion definitely would be, which is a clue that she's not who she says she is.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Waver's group merely Projecting a near-perfect facsimile of the Princess of Gold for a few scant seconds forcibly shuts down all Magecraft from anyone exposed to it as they try to comprehend what they're seeing. The distraction lasts for several hours because of the memory of that sight continuing to occupy their minds.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: This in the form of 'The Child of Einnashe', spawn of a DEAD APOSTLE! As you can imagine, those foolish enough to think fire was enough to kill it were instead killed via impalement.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Waver makes reference to plans to go to Fuyuki City for the next Holy Grail War. The audience knows that he'll never make it in time.
    • Waver says young people yet to discover their paths in life unnecessarily losing their lives is something he can't allow. Olga Marie Animusphere, the person he's telling this to, is notorious for her fate in the Fate/Grand Order timeline.
  • Dug Too Deep: It is revealed in volume eight that digging great depths underground can lead to the laws of physics being unstable down there because of Mystery and how humanity doesn't have much grip on what lies beneath. The specific case for that volume is about a labyrinth which was dug by a dragon attempting to reach the Reverse Side of the world but died in the process. It was converted into a well of magical resources and foundation for the Clock Tower and the big debate is whether or not to excavate deeper to find more, with the nobles trying to put their foot down in fear of destroying and depleting their resources.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Trish Fellows appears in a non-speaking role with Mary in episode 2.
    • Jean-Mario Supinerra can be seen on Waver's television in the manga after he returns from the Adra case.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Heine in the first novel, as Seigen is quick to admit.
    Seigen: I'm not really into guys, but you're pretty enough that I'll make an exception.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Big Bad, Dr. Heartless, to Waver. Both are obsessed with Iskandar and want to summon him, albeit for different reasons. Dr. Heartless also used to be the head of the Department of Modern Magecraft at the Clock Tower, which is the position that Waver now holds.
    • Dr. Heartless's partner is one to Iskandar. She's a "Faker"-class Servant who was his Body Double in life, the lightning that accompanies her is red instead of Iskandar's blue, and she rides a dark version of his Gordius Wheel chariot called Hecatic Wheel.
  • Eye Scream: Just to remind us that Rail Zeppelin isn't supposed to be the usual friendly train ride, the supernatural manager extracts the sellers' Mystic Eyes with their bare hands. Thankfully, they seem to be capable of doing it without damaging arteries/blood vessels (so no blood is shed), but it still can cause shock to the eyes' owner when done without warning.
  • The Fair Folk: The subject of episodes 4 and 5, as the Marburry workshop harnesses their power.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: Defied. One cannot use deductive reasoning to determine mage mysteries, i.e. "howdunnit", because how each one operates is based on their individual magic, often to the point of suspending natural law itself in different ways. This is why Waver focuses on "whydunnit" instead.
  • Fan Disservice: Waver gets two Shirtless Scenes, but the first one takes place after he's horribly injured with a nasty-looking burn on his back, and in the second he's tied up with his magic crest stripped from his body as collateral.
  • Fanservice Pack: Touko Aozaki's breasts are much more prominently displayed in this work than they've been in any other depiction of her.
  • Fantastic Caste System: One's status in The Magocracy is closely tied to how long one's family has been a part of it, as well as the quality and quantity of one's magical circuits. Waver would normally be relegated to the very bottom of the totem pole if it weren't for Reines's sponsorship.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Carnac from episode 6 is the Harrods department store with the name changed, a new interior among other things courtesy of Luvia, and a different history of owners as it's been in the hands of mages for several years. Though, if one looks closely enough at its exterior shot, Harrods' signature text is still there on the awnings with no edits for whatever reason.
  • Fictional Political Party: There are three political factions within the Clock Tower, all based on how they believe it should be run.
    • The Barthomeloi faction, led by the titular Barthomeloi family which is the most powerful even amongst the Three Great Families, having control over the Faculty of Law and their head being one of the twelve Lords and the current director of the entire institution. They firmly believe that the aristocracy, with their great and long lineages, should control it. Nominally the El-Mellois are allied with them because of Kayneth's beliefs but his death and the way Waver's been running his classroom have put them on thin ice.
    • The Trambelio faction, centered around the Valueleta family, another one of the Three Great Families. They desire a democratic system and for magi to put talent above bloodlines. Not unreasonably, they seek to sway Waver/El-Melloi II to their side (being the best potential poster boy/proof-of-concept of their ideas), despite his nominal affiliation above.
    • The neutral faction represented by the Meluastea which mainly just wants to focus on their research and could go either way; due to the large number of clans who have thrown their lot into this one, this vague position has led to a lot of internal strife with the Meluastea family only functioning as its face because more people flocked to them.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: From Adashino towards Waver, likely out of a desire to annoy him. She offers to dance with him at Adra before he brusquely turns her down, which she blames on his fixation with Iskander. In episode 4 of the anime Waver describes this incident as if it were a falling-out of some kind, and she later attempts to intimidate him in a hands-on manner. The Case Files Material Book describes her as the Irene Adler to Waver's Sherlock Holmes, two characters who are known to have this dynamic in adaptations, but also points out that nothing of that sort is going on between them here.
  • For Science!: Or magic, rather. The ultimate goal of magi and magus society, in general, is to reach the Root (which, for lack of a better description, can be thought of the magical equivalent of The Singularity), and most magi are happy to toss away anything resembling a conscience in pursuit of it.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Caules' presence in later novels reveals that in the main Fate/stay night timeline where Darnic and Yggdmillenia did not rise in prominence, Fiore ran away from her responsibilities as a magus to live a normal life very early on in her life and Caules became the heir by default.
    • Zepia Eltnam Oberon explains in volume 6 that some kind of event occurring roughly around 300 AD is responsible for him and other individuals like Gransurg Blackmore not being Dead Apostle Ancestors in Fate timelines. The material book reveals that the battle between Zelretch and the Crimson Moon took place during 300 AD, though it doesn't give a hint on what might have gone differently to have caused the divergence.
    • Marisbury Animusphere decided not to participate in the Grail War because he realized the Grail was corrupted and couldn't actually grant wishes, which means he never got the funds to start Chaldea.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Despite his efforts, Waver will miss out on the fifth Holy Grail War, on top of the fact that it's officially the last Grail War, turning his desire to enter it into a "Shaggy Dog" Story. However, considering the merciless and ultimately corrupted circumstances of the war, this means Waver and his students live to see another day as a result. Ultimately, this is a moot point, as Waver decides he doesn't want to join anyway.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The anime shows Rhongomyniad inside Add when he begins transforming into Gray's scythe. It's front and center on the screen, but small and for such a brief moment that it's likely to go by unseen.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: Episode 6, which focuses on Gray, Reines and Luvia going shopping without Waver or the guys, Waver only appearing near the beginning and at the end.
  • Gratuitous English: The "whydunnit" of cases is a recurring theme, complete with Engrishy pronunciation.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In regards to Gray's story. The person who started the plan to resurrect King Arthur, and thus the person responsible for Gray's situation, is heavily implied to be Morgan le Fay. The Material book plainly stating that Morgan created Add only adds to this implication.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
  • Hard on Soft Magecraft: Waver teaches what is the magic equivalent of the sociology of scientific knowledge, and it is received by many of Waver's colleagues about as well as its mundane counterpart is by physicists.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Considering the nature of magic in Nasuverse, this happens frequently, especially to the culprits.
  • How We Got Here: Episode 6 begins with Gray, Reines and Luvia trapped in a Bounded Field, and flashes back to explain how they ended up there.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Waver stands a full head and shoulders over Gray. She finds this very useful when she needs something to hide behind in awkward social situations.
  • Inconsistent Sub: The official subtitles translate the name of Olga Marie's father as "Maris Billy" in episode 13. This is a valid romanization, but the official translations of both Fate/Grand Order and Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia romanized his name as Marisbury. This is odd since all three were translated in-house by Aniplex, so it's not like Case Files had a different company translating it to explain the discrepancy.
  • Interquel:
    • The series as a whole is one for Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, taking place long after the events of Zero and starting just a few scant months before the next Holy Grail War begins. Nasu has gone on record that Case Files is directly canon to stay night with no Alternate Timeline hijinks whatsoever, while Zero remains in the territory of Broad Strokes in relation to stay night. Case Files as a work gels with both stories but leans more towards stay night.
    Nasu (Fate/strange fake vol. 1 afterword): If I dared to classify the differences between each of the works, Zero has "the same conditions" as Stay Night but the worlds are slightly different. Apocrypha is a world that was the same up to a point, but which is now completely different. The El-Melloi II Case Files is in exactly the same world however the thick Sanda Makoto atmosphere makes for a dense story of magecraft.
    • Episodes 2-6 of the anime take place between volumes 3 and 4 of the light novels, with episode 6 leading into the beginning of volume 4.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The anime listing Adashino as a major character gives away a major plot twist in the Castle of Adra, namely that she faked her death early on in the story by using a body double.
    • Gray being a Saberface was The Reveal of the climax to the Adra novel, but the anime revealed it in episode 2 without too much fanfare.
  • Living Weapon: Add, Gray's chatty Mystic Code, which can transform into a Sinister Scythe, among other forms.
  • Mad Eye: Sir Kay has one.
  • Magi Babble: Waver frequently exposits what exactly a ritual is meant to convey right down to the smallest detail, primarily as a means to figure out the culprit's motive and method.
  • Magical Eye: There are at least several different kinds of what are called Mystic Eyes, which is rather fitting since most appeared in an auction that focuses on said eyes. The most special of them are ranked as "Gold", "Jewel", and "Rainbow" for their one of a kind abilities and are especially sought after at the auction.
  • The Magocracy:
    • Most Magi in the Nasuverse are sociopaths, and here is no exception. Most of the series is devoted to examining the multiple facets of modern magus society and their politics.
    • Case Files Material mentions that a fair number of magi have wormed themselves into formal governments around the world in order to help keep magecraft a secret.
  • Masquerade: Because anything supernatural is literally weakened the more people know about its inner workings or even just its existence in certain cases, the Clock Tower has a vested interest in making sure they can clamp down on any potential exposure to the regular world.
  • Moral Dissonance: Granted, the alternative was dying themselves, but Waver and Melvin are surprisingly blasé about the people they indirectly killed blowing up the dig site in episode 1, especially since it's implied many of the other diggers are there by force. Contrast with the present-day, where Waver begrudgingly accepts but also abhors how the magus lifestyle often puts innocents in harm's way.
  • Morality Pet: Several of Waver's students are what keep him grounded.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Waver is able to hold his own in the cutthroat world of magi despite his own lacking magecraft ability because of his willingness to make use of non-magical methods and technologies like cars.
  • Myopic Architecture: In episode one of the anime, Waver and Melvin are locked up in a jail cell with a magic-proofed door. Waver proceeds to blow the hinges out of the walls and push the door open.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • This version of Zepia, who goes by Atlasia instead of Oberon in this continuity, retains his trademark "KATTO" catchphrase.
    • Caules uses electricity magecraft, a nod to his Servant in Fate/Apocrypha, Frankenstein, having electrical powers. One of his spells is even named Crafted Tree, an obvious out-of-universe reference to Frankenstein's Noble Phantasm, Blasted Tree (though it's a coincidence and not a reference in-universe, since Caules and Fran never met in this timeline).
    • In episode 3, Waver gets exasperated and grabs Flat's face and lifts up his body off the ground with one hand in a Neck Lift variant. (Luvia calls this the "Iron Claw") This is a Call-Back to their first appearance in Fate/strange fake.
    • Kairi striking up a good enough relationship with Gray (even shielding her from a Black Dog's attack) will be no surprise for everyone who knows he plays well enough with somebody affiliated to the legend of King Arthur.
    • The Reinforcement spell Kairi casts on the book he's holding to to protect him from the first Black Dog attack creates a neon pattern identical to the one Shirou's produces.
    • Kairi's mention of someone in his family who liked fairy stories is an allusion to his backstory in Fate/Apocrypha.
    • Underneath all the jewels that Luvia decked it out in, the pharaoh statue in episode 6 is wearing Ozymandias's outfit (albeit closer in design to his Third Ascension).
    • The Forest of Einnashe from the short story Talk, a sequel to Tsukihime, appears during the Rail Zeppelin arc. Though to be specific it's a child forest of the one from Talk and not the exact same one.
    • When Waver and Trisha discuss the memory-based mechanics of the Holy Grail and why Waver's dream is an impossibility, she mentions the theoretical case of a unique Singularity or setting up a new Grail that does have the ability for Servants to retain their memories between summons. In short, she's describing the Chaldea system.
    • In episode 8, Waver muses on adapting Touko Travel to help escape the Rail Zeppelin. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun in episode 12, explaining how Reines and the real Caules make it to the Rail Zeppelin.
    • During her discussion on Mystic Eyes in Episode 11, Adashino mentions the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception as one of the rarest and highest-level kinds.
    • When Gray chooses to unleash a larger portion of Rhongomyniad's power in Episode 12, it is revealed it also has thirteen seals limiting its power (apart from Add's presence/system) — much like Excalibur Proto. The invocation is even near similar to how King Arthur's playable unit in Fate/Grand Order does itquote .
    • In episode 13, Olga Marie muses that if the Greater Grail had met her father's expectations, surely his dream would have been realized... but that is a world and time unknown to her.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Although she respects his teaching abilities, Gray is not terribly impressed by her master on a day-to-day basis and finds him to be a bit ridiculous.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Kairi Sisigou implies this is the sickness of most people dealing with the supernatural/otherworldly (such as the Codlingtons' link with fairies, and even Waver's lingering obsession with the Holy Grail War). It's understandable for him to say this, being a Necromancer and all. According to him:
    A guy captivated by the dead is troublesome. The dead stay by the side of the living and always drag them towards the past. Even Servants in the Holy Grail War are surely part of the dead.
    • Ironically, of course, despite supposedly not knowing Waver's experience/obsession, we already saw Kairi be confronted by this very same obsession and tragic dream—in another timeline.
  • Occult Detective: Inverted Trope. A normal Occult Detective uses mysticism to solve cases for muggles. Waver uses deduction to solve cases for The Magocracy. He's just as much of a pariah for this, though.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Waver apparently prefers sleeping on sofas to beds. He also falls asleep instantly while sitting up at one point, and Gray gets annoyed that sleep management is the only magus skill he's actually good at using.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels in magecraft are based on a concept and are essentially 'vessels of power', anything that's ambiguous in nature and used for magic. Waver explains that it's the concept of how angelic power works that attracts mages and not their message.
  • Pet the Dog: Gray tells a story at the beginning of the first volume about why she's loyal to Waver even though by mage standards he's considered pretty much worthless: there was a stray cat which had got on his nerves, but then it was hit by a car, so he brought it home, fed it painkilling herbs, took care of it until it died, and dug its grave and buried it.
    • The adaptation of this particular story, episode 0, develops this a bit further by turning the cat into an innocent casualty of what turned out to be a botched assassination attempt against Waver. That Waver would go to great lengths to not only capture the culprit, but also to (in the words of his students) "avenge" the cat says a lot about him—in sheer contrast to how many mages treat animals (and as will be later shown, even humans) as disposable resources at best.
  • Post-Modern Magik:
    • This is literally Waver's field of study—or rather Modern Magecraft Theory, much of which is focused upon the reconciliation of magecraft with modern scientific theory. The foundations of Modern Magecraft Theory, in which power is derived from arbitrary and selective use of symbols imbued with sociocultural meaning over the holistic belief systems they belong to, are quite similar to the real-life practice of Chaos Magic(k). And like real academic fields influenced by postmodern thought, it's not especially well-regarded by many of Waver's colleagues.
  • Prestige Peril: Making a working-class, underpowered magus like Waver a provisional Lord in The Magocracy makes him a massive target for Klingon Promotions and political exploitation.
  • Real-Place Background: The anime recognizably depicts Druid Street, where Waver is mentioned to live in the light novels. His favorite teashop is even a real, recognizable local place, which even seems to do a similar sandwich (the Rustique Brie Baguette) to the one Waver was about to enjoy before Reines ruined one of his life's few pleasures. Naturally, it's been visited by at least one cosplayer. Waver's block of flats also seems to be roughly based on one in the neighborhood, with some details changed.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Kayneth and Sola's sudden deaths in the 4th Holy Grail War caused a power vacuum in his family because there was nobody who was in a good position to take over his role. The only person who could, his niece, was not old enough nor skilled enough to be able to take lead, and so she forces Waver Velvet to be adopted into the family until she is old enough to take over. It also meant that he was forced to take care of the family's financial issues from the fallout. The other major Mage houses also don't like that a commoner Mage is now heading one of the most influential families, and thus he becomes the target of various groups to either dispose of, or outright kill.
    • Although Waver has gotten stronger since the 4th Grail War, he isn't all that good of a Magus because he lacks the innate benefits a long-running Mage family would have. In stark contrast to his views before the Grail War, he admits that while training can make one better, it is very difficult and nearly impossible to outright beat a system where "older is better" is the core fundamental rule. At the same time, Waver's more modern look at the world means he can see things that the older, more traditional factions cannot because they are stuck in their old ways.
    • While Waver had the happiest ending of all the Masters in the Grail War, he still saw a lot of horrific things and nearly died several times during it, and is haunted by the loss of his Servant Rider. As a result, he's developed a few Trauma Buttons: he is unable to look at Gray's face because her Identical Grandson appearance to Artoria reminds him of his failure in the war, whenever he is asked about his time in it, he often ignores the conversation because he is fairly sensitive about what happened, and whenever something reminds him of it, like reading about Gilgamesh, he zones out for similar reasons.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hephaestion/Faker delivers a scathing one against Waver, claiming that for such a Ridiculously Average Guy like him (by mage standards at least), he disgraces Iskandar by being his previous Master, and that he has no right to even claim being his subject (i.e. being counted amongst the Ionioi Hetairoi). While Waver's clearly shaken by this (plus all his issues), it doesn't prevent him from remembering that Hephaestion herself was never even amongst the Hetairoi when it was deployed during Fate/Zero.
  • Revision: Remember those magic furnaces and evil spirits that Kayneth had as part of his initial setup in the hotel from Fate/Zero? Turns out those weren't actually his, as the furnaces were on loan from other aristocrats and the spirits were actually embezzled from his department, making them yet another thing that Waver has to clean up as El-Melloi II.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Gray takes note that, despite being born and raised English, Waver insists on using the term apartment instead of flat for some mysterious reason that absolutely has nothing to do with his most troublesome student.
  • Shadow Archetype: The final antagonist of the series, Dr. Heartless, has a similar obsession with Iskandar akin to Waver's, only he wreaks far more havoc in his goal to summon him, unlike Waver who was planning to use the next Holy Grail War to meet him.
  • Ship Tease: Though the Case Files Material Book describes Gray's feelings towards Waver as strictly master-pupil, Grace Note applies a bit of Adaptation Relationship Overhaul to add heavier romantic undertones.
    • After the resolution of the Codrington storyline in the anime, Shishigou warns Gray to protect Waver from giving into his worst impulses, telling her that Waver "needs" her, which causes her to blush in surprise.
    • In the novel, Trisha demonstrates her precognitive ability by warning Waver to catch Caules' teapot mid-fall. The anime's version of this scene amps it up by having him catch a carsick Gray.
    • When Gray catches Waver falling asleep, the novel version treats her reaction as one of curiosity and Add's teasing her to kiss him as just that. Episode 13 has her give Waver an ambiguous longing look instead, so the same comment comes off as less of a baseless joke and more of a tongue-in-cheek observation.
    • A running subplot throughout the anime is Gray's desire to show Waver her appreciation with a gift, only to be interrupted repeatedly. One of those occasions has her attempt to offer it in response to Waver's despair at not being remembered by loved ones, and at the end she's rewarded for her troubles with a rare heartfelt smile from him and his asking her to remain by his side, causing her to cry in happiness.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: Jean-Mario Supinerra runs a cooking show that has an eccentric gimmick in the form of fending off zombies while cooking.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Even in a mystical society, there are some things that are just regarded as flights of fancy for most mages. One such example are the Rainbow-ranked Mystic Eyes, which are the best of the best in terms of abilities, with the only known rumor of their existence being that someone in the Far East miraculously has the ones corresponding to Death Perception.
  • Sick Episode: Waver's badly injured in episode 8, which puts him out of action for episode 9 and leaves the other characters to pick up the plot.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The final battle of this series happens on the same night that Shirou summons Saber in Fate/stay night. The act of Saber being summoned gives Gray a power boost while also turning part of her hair blonde.
  • Sinister Scythe: Gray's signature weapon which is actually an alternate form of Rhongomyniad, Artoria's Holy Spear.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: Waver tests some mysterious powder that Reines found at the scene of a murder this way. She asks if he's insane or was a dog in a past life or something, even though he claims to have figured out what it is by tasting it.
  • Something About a Rose: Heine shows off his magical abilities by conjuring roses into his fellow guests' hands, so the manga has some panels of them posing attractively with them. The shot of Waver looking especially pretty with a rose held up to his face shows up again a couple chapters later... probably because it's so pretty.
  • Spotting the Thread: Waver doesn't recognize Hephaestion; she was not in Ionioi Hetairoi despite the fact that someone that important to Iskandar definitely should be. She wasn't there because she's not Hephaestion.
    • With all the madness happening around him in the Rail Zeppelin case, it takes him a significant amount of time to realise that the "Caules" who has been working with him was actually an imposter.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Waver has absolutely no aptitude for combat, physical or magical. Thus it's Gray, who's a bit self-conscious about not taking to magical theory as quickly as she should, who has to fight his battles for him.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: This is Waver's specialty; he can analyze and predict magic—who casts it, how it works, what it will do. This horrifies other magi because it is believed that this removes its Mystery and will weaken it more.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Although Waver is the series's main character, the story usually follows the point of view of his personal apprentice, Gray. The anime-original material, however, takes a third-person perspective, and includes scenes where Gray's not present.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The written English shown throughout the anime is grammatically correct and coherent in what it's conveying, with the only real error being the spacing between apostrophes is unusually large.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • When Gray recognizes a plushie for a character on an incredibly saccharine children's show, she is very quick to assure the reader she's only heard about the show second-hand, she totally does not set her schedule around it, and she most certainly doesn't want the plushie for herself.
    • Lord El-Melloi II refuses to call his home a "flat", instead using "apartment" despite this not being common in British English. This has nothing to do with having emotions regarding the name "Flat."
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: This is essentially the plot of Volume 1.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Subverted in Episode 2; the victim killed himself as part of a plan to become immortal, but the ritual was flawed, leaving him short of his goal, seeking to extend his existence.
  • Tragic Dream: Waver was never able to get back into the Holy Grail War and see his King Iskandar again.
  • Troll: Reines readily admits that she loves nothing more than fucking with people, especially Waver, and watching them squirm. Appointing him as the provisional El-Melloi II was less an act of benevolence than it was just a way to make his life entertainingly difficult and ruffle The Magocracy's feathers.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 8/volume 4: A Servant is somehow summoned outside the Grail War, she's dressed in clothes heavily reminiscent of Iskandar's, and she even has a copy of Iskandar's Gordius Wheel.
  • Wham Line: The end of the Rail Zeppelin arc features a familiar incantation for fans of Fate/Grand Order and Fate/Prototype:
  • Wham Shot: Gray's hood falling off when she fights in episode 2, revealing that her hairstyle is identical to Artoria's. The novel goes a step further by having this reveal happen alongside her using Rhongomyniad for the first time.
  • The Wild Hunt: The anime has an artificial one which is the focus of episodes 4-5.
  • Witch Species: The capacity for magecraft is tied to a pseudo-nervous system of "magic circuits," the quality and quantity of which are genetically determined. Although these can be cultivated into elaborate networks called "magic crests" and passed on to someone else, such crests are subject to transplant rejection and thus can only be safely transferred to blood relatives. Thus, most magi typically cultivate magecraft less through self-improvement and more through eugenics and grooming heirs to their family's magic crest.
  • Wizarding School: The Clock Tower is one. Ironically, very little actual teaching occurs there outside of Waver's department, as magi are very protective of their ideas (and also don't believe education does much to improve magical ability). Instead, lecturers usually use classes as a smokescreen to scout prospective research assistants or subjects.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: The second and third novels revolve around the Gold and Silver Princesses, said to be the most beautiful people in the world. They're not a natural phenomenon; magic is often used to create them.
  • Yonkoma: There are several bonus comics in a magazine, with humorous anecdotes like Luvia playing with hand puppets.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Olga Marie realizes Waver just addressed her using her first names, rather than using "Animusphere" or "the Lord's daughter" as he'd been doing. Waver tells her it's because he needs her in order to win against his enemy.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: What eventually appears to be the central theme/tragedy of the Marburry Workshop in Episode 4-5—and thus, by extension, its heir Wills Pelham Codrington. Having been made a key component of the Workshop through his Mystic Eyes (and having fallen in love with one of the Fairies it summoned), the only way to heal the breach between the fairy world and the human world would be to cross over. Waver seeks to prevent him, to no avail.

Alternative Title(s): Lord Melloi II Case Files


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