Some contextless quotes from the first episode of Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note; or, in which I abuse an anime premiere for the crime of making me laugh

[I’m preparing for an international move so real-life concerns have me down to something low effort this week, but the premiere episode of Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note made me laugh hard enough that I thought I would puke up blood, like that one character from Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note that pukes up blood because uh, a character in Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note pukes up blood (the theme today is *dan-da-da-dannn* senseless repetition!). And yes, I know that I am being unfair, but I had fun just like… hmmm… trying and failing to comprehend the apparent vastness of the Fate franchise despite knowing nothing about it. I wouldn’t have written this post if I didn’t enjoy the episode]

Have you ever jumped into a long, ongoing fictional franchise with which you have had no previous engagement, like starting with the Marvel movies by watching Endgame (does the title spoil a key plot point, that the movie will indeed end? How dare they.) or catching the last half hour of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and asking about that jumpy little green fella that talks funny? Where’d he come from? Dunno …I don’t.

Maybe I have a point here about franchises that become so bloated that they fail to make themselves accessible to newcomers or about the contexless, fanservice-y namedrops that those franchises use to refer to previous installments despite adding no value to the present installment. Or, I dunno, maybe I’m just repeating a generic complaint about the avalanche of meaningless jargon that spills out of so many fantasy and science fiction anime. Or meh, maybe I don’t have a point at all except to offer some loving mockery of stupid, stilted dialogue in translation (…or just stupid, stilted dialogue in any language…).

Buuut nahhh, no lazy, passive-aggressive media criticism tonight, the title says “contextless quotes,” including the most contextless of them all: the title: Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note: an excuse to use another colon. Ohhh so many words, so little understanding. So, I slapped that crap in a search engine and found some more nonsense words like Fate / stay night / TYPE-MOON / hollow ataraxia / Zero Unlimited Blade Works / Apocrypha / kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA / The Absolute Demon Battlefront Babylonia / a bunch more forward slashes, yawned who cares (it’s well past midnight), and brought up the first episode. Holy hats, it made me laugh.

So, some contextless quotes:

Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note

Is it cheating to give the title again? By the way, do those rail zeppelins fly or roll? I’m rooting for roll.


*some guys fight over the opening credits, I dunno, who cares, but when is now?*


*some guy hangs upside down from a chain. A bethroned vampire-lookin’ loli girl sits in front of him, I assume off camera licking her lips in anticipation of a feast of fine, aged blood*

Fire glint in the eyes giving me Goblin Slayer vibes. I’m in Danger.

A: Wh-Who are you people? Why did you suddenly abduct me?

B: I’m a secret fan of yours, Waver Velvet.

A: And who the hell are you?

B: I am Reines El-Melloi Archisorte. I’m the sister-by-succession of Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald, your former teacher and participant in the Fourth Holy Grail War. Now you understand who I am, right?

I couldn’t resist the full contextlessness of a frozen rotating image. By the way, what is a Holy Grail War?

You participated in the Holy Grail War, the Magecraft ritual that took place in Fuyuki, the battle to win the omnipotent wish granter, did you not?

Oh, that Holy Grail War, not those other ones. By the way, what is an omnipotent wish granter? God? Or a genie?

Six months later, you went back to London, [sic] borrowed tons of money to purchase the El-Melloi Class my brother left behind.

In the Japanese here, she says “kyoushitsu = classroom,” [sic] only confuses me more. How do you purchase a classroom? How does a family like the El-Melloi even own one in the first place to be “left behind?”

A: Did you know that a human being can’t last long when hung upside down? The exact figure is disputed, but most agree that after three hours, the heart can’t endure the strain of blood flow reversal and simply stops.

B: Okay!

Dying of blood flow reversal, okay!


A: This is… Babylon.

No, nah wayh, I thought it was Nineveh! By the way, what is the Holy Grail War? And when was it? And when is now?

This is the city that was built by one of the first kings, Gilgamesh, and also the city where Iskander, the conqueror of the world, passed away.

Odd to use his Arabic name, though I suppose we are in Babylon, Babylon. But then are we talking just any chump Iksander or the Al-Iksander the Great? And Gilgamesh ruled the Sumerian city of Uruk, you know, just like a thousand years before Babylon’s rise…

This piece of junk won’t start up! Damnit! I was told the make was Japanese.

Superior Nippon steel, I was told, damnit!

A: Might as well ask the doctor to get that spark plug fixed

B: Thanks, foreign bro!

The motorcycle doctor, got it! arigathanks goverymuch, gaijin-san-sama!

These are suspension-type Mystic Eyes!

Okay? Like suspension on a motorcycle or..?

A mage’s body is the ideal resource. I plan to make full use of it, so don’t damage the merchandise.

Magecraft, the oldest profession.

I bet you bombed at the Clock Tower, so now, you’re just putting on airs here in the sticks!

… By the way, what is the Clock Tower?

Calm down, Waver! The Mystic Eyes effect has long worn off! And I’m sure this is just a basic barrier!

Are we playing some kind of JRPG here? Franchise origin spoiler: maybe yes?

A: Oh boy, I’m so glad I could see you! 

A: *pukes blood*

B: Don’t puke all of a sudden!

If this laugh-becoming-asthmatic-cough keeps up — hahahuhhuh — oh boy, me too!

A: You really are scum, you know?

B: Whoa, that’s no way to talk to a friend, Waver.

A: I don’t remember us ever becoming friends!

B: Oh.


A: In order to get to hear an interesting story, I’m ready to pay anyone with money from my mom’s purse!

B: Then lend me money for a trip to Japan!

A: Japan?

B: I’ll turn the whole Clock Tower on its head!

Mama’s money in one of the most awkward translated lines I’ve ever read… … By the way, what is the Clock Tower?

A: How was Japan? Resting your head on a geisha’s lap must’ve been something, huh?

B: I’m sorry, I don’t have that kind of story to tell. I was useless in that Holy Grail War!

A: So, the story you were going to tell me was about the Holy Grail War?

B: Yes.

B: *doesn’t tell story*

A story for another franchise piece, I suppose. By the way, what is *that* Holy Grail War?

A: Who killed Kayneth?

B: I heard it was a Saber-Class Heroic Spirit.

As they do. By the way, what is a Saber-Class Heroic Spirit?

A: Is it true that they summoned former heroes as familiars?

B: That’s what the Holy Grail War is, Legendary Heroic Spirits killing each other.

Ohhh so, that’s a Holy Grail War, a war fought by Legendary Heroic Spirits! By the way, what is a Legendary Heroic Spirit?

*** CRITICAL UPDATE WITH CONTEXT (see comments): This is the franchise with the line “People die if they are killed.” War never changes. ***

A: Have you somewhat changed? Maybe you lost your virginity.

B: I haven’t lost–

*cut back to upside down interrogation with the vampirish girl*

C: I’m interested in that, too. So have you lost it?

Uh oh, I’m in Danger. Did I repeat this joke?

Hold it there! What you’re doing violates the Clock Tower’s rule, to conceal the Mystics of Magecraft. I can’t ignore it!

Yeah… not that… rule..! Yeah, Hold it… right there? … … … By the way, what is the Clock Tower?

A: Your Magical Circuits are third-rate, but good enough to be pilot lights of the workshop. Don’t worry, I won’t waste any.

B: Too bad I’m third-rate! But so are you, right buddy!

“no u”

These Mystic Eyes are invincible. With the power of Mystic Eyes and the Relic of Iskandar I’m about to obtain, I’ll surpass even the Clock Tower.

Becoming invincible villain — jargon jargon jargon jargon. … … … …By the way, what is the Clock Tower?

A: Is it a “The Clock Tower which didn’t recognize my genius” kind of thing?

B: What?

What? … … … … … By the way, what is the Clock Tower?

A: What did you do?

B: All I did was destroy the balance of Leyline and activate evil spirits.

Oh yeah, that’s all, no biggie.

A: Idiot! It’s not like it’s necessary for one Mage to defeat another!

B: What?


Lend me money! I want to buy the El-Melloi Class that lost its teacher!

Again… how do you buy a classroom? Why are all the relative clauses so awkward?

Isn’t that wildly out of context?

Screep-cap this, quick! The show is on to me!

~senseless repetition~

A: No! Don’t puke in my clothes!

B: *pukes*

A: *finishes telling flashback story*

A: And there you have it.

C: I see.

I saw it, and I don’t, but at least the show demonstrates some ironic, self-mocking awareness of its own bizarre premise.

Right now, the El-Melloi faction is suffering from crushing debt. The amount is equivalent to the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster.

That amount that is equivalent to that much.

Maybe a bug got implanted in your brain during that Holy Grail War!

Again, *that* Holy Grail War, not those other ones. By the way, what is a Holy Grail War?

A: I’m counting on you… the new Lord of El-Melloi… Or… shall I call you… my dear… Elder Brother?

… … … … … onii-chan~   (≧◡≦) ♡ (・_・;)

… … … I’m in Danger

A: I have one condition.

B: What is it?

A: I want to add “II” to “Lord El-Melloi.” Otherwise, the name is a heavy burden for me to bear.

So let’s burden the title instead!


Ah, when the clock strikes 21:49 (or something, I dunno, I’m not going to load up the video again to check) now is now and we know now what the Clock Tower is! It’s a… well now, I don’t know. But there it is!

The fallout from the Izelma business is finally over.

… … … … … …By the way, what is the Izelma business? A franchise installment for another time…

*Some more boring, teasing dialogue. The episode ends*

Alright, sure, whatever, let’s try again next week, I guess.


2 thoughts on “Some contextless quotes from the first episode of Lord El-Melloi II World Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note; or, in which I abuse an anime premiere for the crime of making me laugh

  1. Heh. The Fate franchise is complicated, but not complex. One can just jump in where one likes and take the babble in stride; the stories aren’t hard to follow. I’m sure if you wanted to find out what the Grail War is you could easily enough. I don’t know what the clock tower is myself, since I never paid much attention when watching any Fate. I dropped many, didn’t pick up some, and quite enjoyed Apocrypha. The particular Grail War they’re talking about is depicted in Fate/Zero, which was okay.

    I laughed at this quote:

    Ohhh so, that’s a Holy Grail War, a war fought by Legendary Heroic Spirit!

    Because I do have context. (“People die if they are killed.” – Most famous out of context quote from Fate/Stay;Night.)

    I was prepared to ditch the show after one episode, but it’s actually fun.


    1. Ohhh my god it’s that series? *That* little context makes the whole thing so much funnier. Hang on, I’ve gotta update the post… (plus, you just exposed a typo!)

      And yeah, I’ve enjoyed El-Melloi so far if only because it doesn’t even seem to take its own nonsense seriously. I’ve been terribly unfair to the first episode in this post, but many of those contextless quotes, in context, are moments when the series subverts itself with some well-timed humor to defuse the jargon overload. I can appreciate the self awareness, at least.


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