This is the most overrated anime I have ever seen. If one is expecting a grand follow-up to Fate Zero, one is gravely mistaken. You are about to say ‘8.43?’, ‘How can this be?’, and ‘This is scandalous.’ (Jojo reference). Well move closer to the screen and let senpai explain.
The story consists of tossing a teenage boy into the Holy Grail war (an Armageddon between masters (contemporary individuals who supposedly command their respective servants) and servants (summoned titans) for the sake of obtaining the Holy Grail). This should be a gruesome event with fights to the death, BUT . . .
‘Fuck that,’ Shirou brazenly proclaims. ‘I am going to lead my harem life and ignore every peril.’ As one may have guessed, this anime isn’t really about the war. It’s about the harem Shirou obliviously leads. Most of the anime is focused on the relational struggles of the protagonist and some high school girl. For 8 episodes, we are forced to endure Shirou’s petty conversations with Rin inside his home or at school. Not much is done to contribute to the Holy Grail War as apparently—going on a date is more important.
Progress in this anime is almost non-existent. The characters are non-progressive as they are constantly engaged in purposeless chatter and dawdling. The story is littered with pseudo-drama, pseudo-fights, and cliff hangers, which are sometimes intriguing, that evokes utter disappointment and results in pointlessness. The fights are just random clashes with no deciding outcomes and little build-up. Oh, a few episodes later a servant dies. Due to the complete absence of characterisation, no one cared.
There are multiple flaws in the anime. One being Saber commenting on Berserker’s ability to simultaneously solo all the servants. She then proceeds to 1v1 him as though they are of equal calibre. Then she moves to ’cover’ (behind a little gravestone) and wrecks berserker. The most flagrant one is Shirou's plot armour that countlessly saves him.
Trivium; for some reason, this anime was revered as a slice of life when it was airing. Upon inspection, these ’slice of life’ moments were just fan service.
Most of the characters were scarcely developed and characterised. Literally nothing is known about them asides from their superficial identities. The characters that received most of it were abjectly cliche and mundane.
Shirou is the naivest and most idealistic cherry boy I have ever seen. His special ability is being impervious to anything macabre.
Shirou logic: I have almost been killed multiple times . . . Oh well, they must have their reasons. I forgive them.
These types of characters, the type that starts off naive and idealistic generally mature or at least develop but not Shirou. Despite all his near-death situations, he remains ignorant. What’s annoying is Shirou’s lack of concern for the war throughout the show as he seems to be preoccupied with maintaining his high school life. I just can’t help but mirror his disinterest, while viewing this show.
Shirou can be described in three words, ‘asinine and mundane’. He is so often brushed by the verge of death but lives or is kept alive because he is ’interesting’; however, that’s just his naivety and incredible plot armour rather than anything interesting. He is also indecisive and mostly follows the instructions of others. Whenever he decides for himself, the outcome is boring, being completely predictable, and/or completely irrational. Their current route with Shirou seems to be:
1. Protagonist has no experience and is completely rash.
2. Magically becomes shrewd and can pull off incredible moves in the most critical of situations.
3. Will soon surpass Rin despite being completely incompetent and useless.
Rin is one capricious vixen. Her daily routine involves whining to and about Shirou and then having the biggest mood swings.
Rin: I am going to kill Shirou; Wait, time to team up again.
Repeat this throughout the show, and it becomes annoying.
Her character clashes with her backstory and motives. Her childhood was riddled with traumatic events, such as her parent’s premature deaths and the early separation from her dear sister. She’s also lived independently for most her life endeavouring to further herself as a mage. She explains an inherent character of a mage is being able to further one’s goals despite the means. One would expect a more mature, traumatised, or troubled character, right? No, she’s infantile, simple, and sometimes unduly cordial. Putting it in anime terms, ‘I AM TSUNDERE INCARNATE!’
He is one of the better character in the show but he lacks sufficient characterisation, development, and screen-time. He also seems to be the only one taking the war seriously on team Shirou.
For anyone who has seen Fate Zero, RIP Saber’s character. There is almost a complete loss of her original character.
The anime was initially somewhat enjoyable (6/10), but it just frivolously dragged on. As mentioned above, the fights were and the plot was largely meaningless. The anime fails to build the necessary tension and suspense to lead an engaging plot. The outcomes were predictable or completely irrational, and the story was somehow unreasonably slow paced.
Unless one fanatically love shounens, avoid this show at all cost. It is a blender of cliches.
If there’s one word that any anime fan can be familiar with, it may be ‘Fate’. The franchise adapted from the highly popular Type-Moon visual novel has been around for a decade. In 2006, an anime adaptation by studio DEEN was released in an attempt to adapt the visual novel. And while it included the characters from the series, there were controversy regarding the actual adaptation. Then, there was the movie titled ‘Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works’ movie that was released four years later. But even so, that only ran less than two full hours in a futile attempt to adapt the Unlimited Blade
Works route. To say the least, it’s inefficient when attempting to craft a story in such a short time frame. Luckily, Ufotable decided to step up to the plate deliver what fans want – a faithful adaptation of the route in TV series medium.
Make no mistake. This series runs a lot longer than 2 hours with the finale extended to fit the double the time of a single episode. So in a way, this series can be viewed indirectly as having more than 12 episodes in total time length. (total of 16 episodes actually if including episode 0) What’s more though is how the series is set up. Because of the nature of MAL’s database, this review will not cover the episode 0 that introduces the story from Rin’s point of view. Rather, we are introduced to the young man known as Shirou Emiya. For people wondering about the series, it is not essential at all to watch Fate/Zero or the F/SN: Unlimited Blade Works movie. In fact, I would highly recommend skipping the latter and focus on this adaptation as that’s more of a promotional product. This TV series adapts the route known as ‘Unlimited Blade Works’ with high level of anticipation.
There’s little doubt the show has a variety of ideas whether it’d be related to magecraft, the Holy Grail, or the mechanics of the Holy Grail War. Taking these ideas and presenting them can be quite a challenge but I do have confidence to say that this adaption did justice. The first episode introduces Shirou Emiya who we see a normal teenager attending high school with his friends. There’s foreshadowing and hints thrown in the backgrounds already to show that not all is going normal around Shirou’s neighborhood. It doesn’t take long for the show to hit the supernatural realm when we see magic and otherworldly powers in Fate style. Shirou becomes the Master of a powerful Servant known as ‘Saber’ in a dangerous tournament (Holy Grails War) after nearly getting himself killed by another servant. Battle ensures and the series manages to craft a setup that will unanimously create more anticipation. The way the first few episodes are set up doesn’t just create a thrilling mood but also spawn questions especially for new viewers. This is where the show shines as the adaption adequately explains the mechanics. Although some bits can feel like typical info dumping, there are comedic points thrown in to ease the bits of unsettling boredom. But do note that it’s fairly important to listen to the explanations because it all connects to the characters and story.
The way the story is crafted involves the main cast, or specifically the Masters and the Servants. We already know who Shirou is but there’s also another prominent Master that is introduced from episode 0. Her name is Rin Tosaka, the master of Archer. For those who have seen episode 0, it’s likely that you’ve got to know her a lot more than the previous Fate franchise. Nonetheless, she comes into conflict with Shirou and the other Masters in the Holy War. The servants play prominent roles as well especially involving the infamous Saber. She is more of the poster girl as well as the warrior who wishes to win the Grail War. On the other hand, Shirou represents the most human character in the series. Honest, loyal, and courageous are a few words to describe him. And although he may seem like a generic character, there’s no doubt that he can influence others. What this first half of the series does is introduce the main players that the VN fans will be familiar with. For new fans of the series, they will be delighted to find out just how much the adaptation extends beyond the movie. Characters such as Illya, Kirie, Shinji, Issei, Taiga, and Sakura are all introduced in clever ways. Even more so, we have the servants who make their debuts as well. Lancer for one makes quite an entrance to create the intensity of the war. What we also have are also other servants that contrasts with each other in terms of their personalities. Whether it’d be Archer’s ideals, Saber’s chivalry, or Rider’s cunning nature, every servant offers something new to the table. Or sometimes, you may just have a big grunt like Berserker who wants to rip everything to pieces.
Like I mentioned before, the series offers variety. What that means is a balance of mood and pacing for the series to work. Yes, there’s mystery going on in the background with the events of the show. Yes, there is also action to keep up the momentum. Then, there’s also the slice of life-like atmosphere. Taking place in a high school setting, the series also finds time to lend comedy and even realism to what could have been an all-around action flick. While this may come as a mixed bag, the series does it cleverly to build narrative with the characters. Rather than just talking, they show what the main characters’ lives are like with others. Even more so, this series makes it quite interesting considering that Servants and Masters aren’t exactly similar with ideologies. Shirou is a prominent example unlike some others who wishes to win the Holy Grail war with their personal dark desires. What goes around comes around and this show proves a point when it crafts its story’s relationships between characters. There’s chemistry between certain characters that can easily been such as with Shirou and Saber or him and Rin. Unfortunately, not all of them get their spotlight and some are still shrouded in mystery (example: the mysterious blonde young man shown several times in the series). And mystery, that may be an overused word by some point. We don’t find out too much about some characters’ intentions such as priest Kirie Kotomine. But do we want to? For some, that’s a certainly and is why the show will keep the audience at their feet. It makes the audience want to figure out the puzzle with the pieces. The dialogues are cryptic but provides hints while dreams (such as Rin’s) create suspense. Then, there’s also the more charming moments as some tense scenarios focuses on Shirou’s own personal perspective. There’s no doubt that he is becoming closer to Saber and the show portrays this with tiny packages of hints rather than explicit fatal attraction. Still, don’t expect much romance for the first cour of this show. Treat it more as a setup with all the key characters bought into the series like players to a game. Because honestly, this Holy War is where winner takes all.
Thank you Ufotable. I’ll say this twice because the studio really deserved the gratitude for their superior effort in adapting the animation quality of this series. The animation style of this series looks lavishly done whether it’s the backgrounds, character designs, or the jaw-breaking action scenes. There is a good amount of action focused on all the fights that gives both the servant and their master a chance for spotlight. The action itself is well coordinated with rapid movement and clever camera angles. In short, Ufotable outdone themselves with the budget they have. And to be honest, there’s little criticism to say when it comes to the artistic frontier of this adaptation. Mage spells are also cleverly demonstrated while violence create the brutal reality of the Grail War. There’s minimal fan service except some suggestive camera angles. But judging exclusively, this series is almost flawless on the artwork.
Soundtrack also plays a pivotal role although not as strong as the artwork department. The two most prominent aspects are the OST during the fight scenes and the character voice mannerisms. I give praise to Kirie Kotomine, Rin, and Caster for their character portrayals. It is very real to their personalities and to the point. Shirou even gets some praise at times when he makes his effort to what he has to say. Unfortunately, there’s also some bits that can be irritating at times; namely Sakura and her repetitive dialogues or Shinji’s narcissism. The OST is also a great comeback and treat for fans who are in favor of action. Every action sells with even tiny details being incorporated with the battles. This can be easily seen such as Saber being tossed into objects, Shirou being tortured by Rider, or Rin jumping several stories to avoid Lancer’s blows. While not as fantastic as the visual realm, soundtrack is by no means a pushover.
True to its hype, Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is a must-see of the year whether you’re a fan of the visual novel or coming into series as a newbie. There’s much to adapt but the first half captures that very well with the setup. To say the least, this show has that sort of momentum every episode. It is set up and then delivery with the series capitalizing on every opportunity. Along the way, we also get breaks with useful info dumps, humorous gags, and relationship building. The action will no doubt leave you in awe thanks to Ufotable’s technical qualities. Still, there are some characters you may like and some you’ll despise; more people will probably have that decision by the second cour of the show. Characterization is not a masterpiece though and neither does the story offer perfection. There are parts in this series that sometimes will waver off with its mood and peculiar balance. Still, there’s a saying that third time’s a charm and Ufotable hit the bull’s eye on this show. Now, the second half of the series awaits….
In life, one thing is true for everyone: we all have desires. Wanting to be wealthy beyond imagining, finding the love of one's life, obtaining that dream job; there is always a goal, a wish that seems impossible to reach no matter how hard one tries. Aspirations bring about both the best and the worst in people, due to the very nature of what they bring. And if these wishes do happen to come to fruition, they affect not just the winner, but those closest, too. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Season One is the beginning of such
a literal wish-fulfillment journey.
The story begins with Emiya, a high school boy who witnesses a strange fight in a nearby courtyard. After being cornered, he somehow summons Saber, a noble woman who calls him Master. Knowingly or not, Emiya officially joins the Holy Grail War.
UBW (the acronym of choice from here on out) sits in a precarious position. It's not technically a sequel and, simultaneously, it is the first half of a two part adventure. As such, it takes the burden of introducing the characters and spearheading the world-building for what is to come. On this end, the anime holds its own. In order for the audience to completely understand what is really going on, it intersperses the battles it is known for with heavy dialogue and exposition. These moments craft the rules involved, the players of the game, the limitations, the terminology, the magic system, etc. A lot of it is mostly shoved towards the viewers because there isn't much time and the anime wants to focus on other aspects (i.e. the fighting).
The anime has a strange habit of allowing many of its characters to live through seemingly impossible situations. This type of behavior is fine if it's done within reason (no huge deus ex machina or logical reasoning exists). However, on numerous occasions, many cast members, and more specifically Shirou, are permitted to fight another day. Often times, the answer is frivolous: "this was fun, let's do it again," "you were entertaining, so leave," "I can't kill on merit, so walk." The idea is obviously not to eliminate the characters so early, since they play roles later on down the line. But without proper explanations backing their escape, the effect is lost, and it becomes an eye-roll as time and again the battles involved amount to nothing more than pomp and flash.
Beyond the world-building, past the fighting, UBW's core ideals are, in a phrase, less than ideal. Again, it's difficult: the anime is juggling multiple different facets at once, all within what is the first half. Essentially, the show looks at the idea of whether it is possible to fight for pure justice, and what that ultimately entails. What is justice to one person may be defined separately by another. How much of it is considered enough in a given situation? Who delivers the final judgement? These kinds of questions are, sadly, not looked at in-depth within UBW. It begins to present the idea, having two upholders of such morals against one another, but isn't explored enough to warrant it a conversational topic. Because, per usual, the fighting takes the spotlight, preventing any form of thematic merit.
The art and animation within UBW is some of the best in the business.
Starting with the art, the scenic backdrops and amount of detail found within them are usually breathtaking. Bustling cities, panoramic bridge shots, populated parks, and eerie cemeteries are just a sampling of the beautiful art pieces that the anime dishes out.
The character designs are distinct in their lack of facial detail. This seems strange, considering what the art itself has to offer. But this is done for a reason; it provides an accentuating difference between the characters' faces and the outfits they wear. Saber's blue regalia, Rin's red and black mage attire, Archer's trench coat, Emiya's scarf, and Illya's purple winter clothes appear simple in nature, but provide each character with an iconic look that makes them memorable outside of the show.
The actual animation does not falter. UBW contains, without a doubt, some of the best, most well-choreographed fight scenes in all of anime. And it should, considering how much attention it is given. The battles are incredibly detailed, with flying swords, dazzling effects, and a superb amount of variation between the duels. One can feel the immense power that the Servants have, and it is always a spectacle to watch on-screen. Outside of the battles, the show maintains an above average amount of quality. Characters move naturally and small details like the reflection of water, nuanced hair movements, and the 3D enemies bring about more of the animation that has made ufotable famous.
As a shounen and "battle royale," the cast involved is large, with the more important among them garnering the most screen time. Reiterating myself, it is important to remember that this just the beginning of what UBW supposedly has to offer.
The most famous of Servants, Saber is a regal woman of nobility and honor. Fair in beauty, strong of will, and unrivaled in combat, she is considered by many to be the best subordinate any Master could hold. Like the other Servants, her past and namesake are shrouded in mystery, but it's unquestionable that her convictions take the form of exacting justice on the evil and bringing hope to the weak. Emiya is her Master, and their personalities fall in line hand-in-hand. She trusts him and he trusts her, bringing about a duo that, no matter the circumstances, have a bond that cannot be severed.
Speaking of Emiya, he is a high school teenager who was saved by a man named Kiritsugu ten years prior to the events. Level-headed and kind, he seemingly cannot deny helping those in need, regardless of their moral status. His status as Master is considered odd. Having only the ability to strengthen objects, one of the lowest forms of magic, he can do little besides lean on Saber and her insane abilities. It's an interesting dynamic, because the one who wants to be the savior, the justice bringer, must first be helped and supported himself. And not just by Saber, too. No, a lot of aid is provided to him by a certain "tsundere."
Arguably the fan favorite of UBW, Rin is a high school girl who descends from a family of magic wielders. Having lost her father and mother, she has trained rigorously for the day the Holy Grail War would come about once more. Extremely playful yet easily embarrassed, she takes pride in not only her magic but also in her ability to manipulate Emiya so easily. Where Emiya wants nothing to do with the War but save others from it, Rin's reasons are more apt: she's in it to win it. She may put up a front, but it's only because she can't bear to lose anything precious to her any longer.
Archer is Rin's Servant. Among the whole cast, he is the most interesting of them all. Seemingly devoid of emotion, he utilizes swords instead of arrows to inflict damage to his foes. His personality is mirrored with Rin's: calm, unapproachable, and chiding. While he follows his Master's orders, he freely speaks his mind. More often than not, he clashes with Emiya, who holds contrasting beliefs. Like a typical bowman, he usually sits on the sidelines, always watching and listening, until he is ready to "fire."
These characterizations have somewhat shown a small connection: the Master's involved summon their initial Servant that best pertains to who they are as a person. Emiya has the kind and determined Saber, whereas Rin has the standoffish and direct Archer. But what of the others? Berserker's Master is menacing and cruel, Caster's goes about its business as she does, and Rider's is every bit as deranged as she is. It's as if each person's characteristics have manifested themselves in spirit form, with the ultimate victor proving just what type of human is deserving to win it all.
The OP is good. It contains a good mix of guitar and violin, with a nice set of vocals. The falling piano playing, catchy beat, and lyrics make it great to listen to both in and out of the anime.
As for the ED, it starts off with an eerie vocal piece. What follows is very float-y instrument playing and singing that seems to invoke hope within the listener. After the halfway mark, the drums and beat do the singer little justice.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag. It is filled with mysterious arrangements for the more "hidden" scenes and acoustic guitar playing for the more relaxed ones. Guitar pieces fill the more "cool" moments, with the battles containing intense choir-like singing. As a final note, the sound effects provided are unique and add further to the overall experience.
Voice-acting wise, everyone involved gave average to above average performances. A special shout-out to Saber, voiced by Ayako Kawasumi, who continues to reprise her role as the top Servant, with the gracefulness and emotion needed during all the right moments.
The reason you, I, or anyone else watches this anime is for the battles. The awesome, killer, amazingly detailed fights that exist at a regular interval from start to finish. I wanted there to be that next fight when the characters were sitting around talking. I wanted to see Saber's Noble Phantasm, watch Berserker crush all matter before him, and view Caster's incredible witchcraft. The fights are the highlight, and they were delivered tenfold.
During the downtime, the skirmishes gave way to talking and world-building. While it was fun to see Rin and Emiya converse, or see Saber acting as her refined yet curious self, my inner conscious was saying, "Let's get back to those fights, now shall we?" Both aspects are done well on their own, but when you are comparing the two within their own show, you really want them to ignore everything else, even if it is technically important.
For now, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Season One contains an okay story, a starting set of characters, and insanely high production value. It's actually very reminiscent of Fate/Zero's first half. The popularity of the anime and the universe it depicts is immense, but this one is still far from a masterpiece. Hopefully the second half, like the prequel before it, can pick up the remaining pieces.
Story: Fine, nice world-building, too many conveniences, unrefined ideals
Animation: Great, stellar across the board
Characters: Good, Emiya and Rin begin their journey, with the Servants being more than just spirits
Sound: Good, good OP, okay ED, okay soundtrack, good VA work
Okay, So before I review the 1st half of this season,
I like to state that I'm not really familiar about this franchise that much to my knowledge, so this is literally my first time watching this series from this point on along with episode 0 so keep that in mind.
I've heard most people talk about this show during its airing so I decided to give it a shot.
The show starts off well enough given us introduction to the main characters including the plot about the holy grail having the power to grant any 1 wish to the master along with their servant in defeating
the other 7 masters and their own servant.
In this 1st half of the show we follow our 4 main characters Rin, Archer, Shirou and Saber.
However I found this to be a problem, The main 4 characters
(well Mainly Rin and Shirou) I not saying these 2 characters are bad but their own depiction of their own personality were kinda boring and very tedious for the most part.
They pretty much have this generic chemistry between them that seems just like any other ordinary teenage couple set up like in any other anime show along the lines of a typical teen romance that has been done SO many times! which leaves me for the most part disinterested with their progression unfortunately,
Especially Shirou who seems to be quite a decent person at heart, willing to learn about magic involved in this series known as mana which is something a master must use in order to control and support their fellow servant in order to win the battle or survive. With Shirou that is just it, there is NO real unique trait upon viewing his character with this (''I'm a good guy'', I'm a hero nonsense) To me it just came off as being uninteresting and 1 dimensional for the rest of the time I was watching him on screen along with Rin also, since they both seem damaged from what happened in their past or something oh buuhoo. The process to this just seems too familiar.
The supporting cast as much as I like their character designs, they also don't really get thoroughly flushed out either which for me is a downer and its by far the weakest aspect of the 1st season I believe so far, It could of shown some knowledge and background about them rather than just
leaning towards Rin X Shirou.
But then you have both the other 2 main characters Archer and Saber that seem to hold a more depth to them and unlike the other 2, they at least show SOME interest to their personality and their character. but the sad thing is, it kinda feels overshadowed by Rin and Shirou at this point of the series which honestly didn't leave me with a good impression on the characters as a whole.
I commend the anime for having a fantastic high budget animation with great fight scenes that were pulled off amazingly in this And I tell you It looks stunning!!. The fights with the master and servants in this are just jaw-dropping and very detailed.
The music is pretty decent also for the most part, but can be quite forgettable to me at times. I also enjoyed the scenery a lot in this show displaying different locations that looked really beautiful from up close and far away.
But as much as I love the story, plot, animation and some of its soundtracks I found few of the main leads Rin and Shirou to be just tedious despite what was going on in the episodes I was watching even if there were signs of possible foreshadowing to the 2nd half of this anime it still could of used better characterisation.
The ending cliffhanger to the second half looks interesting, almost like the series will get a lot better since it generally feels like a set up and I cannot wait so hopefully it will give me some better enjoyment with the cast all round.
Overall The 1st half of this will be is a well deserve 7 out of 10
As a note, I have not read/played any of the Type Moon visual novels from which this anime is based. I did however find Fate/Zero to be excellent. Coming off of Fate/Zero I was completely pumped to jump right back into the world in Fate/Stay Night. After watching the entire first season I have to say that I'm slightly disappointed.
The story itself is relatively generic as a battle-royale for the holy grail, but is made more complex by the interesting heroes that are summoned to fight and their interactions with their masters. This season however was quite boring. There
were not nearly enough fights or interesting story elements to justify the amount of downright dull scenes of Shirou at school or at home.
Ufotable sure didn't skimp out on the animation for this show. Backgrounds are beautiful and character animations are solid. Fight scenes are magnificent, but too few and far between to completely showcase the animation at its finest.
Sound effects are great and the Japanese voice-over is well done. Hideyuki Fukasawa's soundtrack is a bit lackluster in my opinion and lacks some of the impact that Yuki Kajiura's Fate/Zero soundtrack had, and while it certainly never detracts form the show, it isn't anything special.
This is where I was truly disappointed. Shirou is one of the least interesting main characters that I've seen in an anime. While his back-story is interesting enough to make you slightly sympathetic, his idiotic ideals and brash ignorance make him incredibly boring. Equally disappointing is Saber's portrayal. While she was characterized as a complex and tragic king striving to attain the grail in F/Z, In F/SN she is now a straight-up robot with hardly any personality. Archer and Rin can be fun to watch in comparison, but neither accomplish anything in this season. The show really wants you to care about Rin and Shirou's alliance so it hardly focuses on anything else happening with the other servants. I understand that development of the other servants/masters will come with the 2nd season, but that doesn't excuse the fact that they were nearly non-existent this season.
My enjoyment of this show mostly came with it being a sequel to Fate/Zero and getting to see what happens after the events of F/Z. Though the characters are boring thus far, I do have hope that they will develop more throughout the 2nd season which I am greatly looking forward to. I just wasn't as attached to the show by the end of this season as I was at this point in F/Z.
It's fine, but not spectacular. Can't wait for things to pick up in season 2.
This review is coming someone who only has watched Fate/Zero. I've seen a tad of the 2006 version of Fate/Stay Night as well.
Now I understand that fans of the visual novel must be thrilled. I've been told this adaptation has been completely faithful. Which is what I was afraid of.
By being faithful to the Fate/Stay Night canon are completely undoing everything the Zero canon set the table with. Now please grant me the time to explain why that is.
I've said it before I'll say it again. The Fate concept is one of the greatest I've seen. Previous to this series I thought it was
impossible to mess up. That was before I knew how much typical shounen tropes and weird harems could wound such an amazing idea.
The idea itself isn't bad here. It is the execution, the way this all was handled left me scratching my head. Now I know that FSN came first but I was hoping this series would go a different route. I sincerely thought they'd do something fresh to accommodate the Zero canon.
I was wrong.
You see instead of the groundbreaking storytelling that helped this genre immensely we got with Zero this time... Well. We got a slice of life show with some flashy fight scenes every episode or so.
Even with that said I can admit there was some amazing dialogue, few and far between as it was it was there. Mostly from Archer.
Surprisingly nothing memorable from Saber.... Oh we will get to that.
I generously give this story a total rating of!
I don't really need to go in-depth here. Completely amazing stuff, breathtaking visuals, fantastic animation.
When Illyasviel did the little sway as she said, "Ba-Ser-Ka~!" I died a little inside it was so good.
There was animation put to Rin Tohsaka fanservice as well which I hated. This series doesn't need it, but animation is animation and it looked pretty.
As always ufotable is top of the line.
Pretty average here, nothing really stands out. This isn't just be being negative, I would say the same thing about Zero. Average doesn't mean bad I just wasn't blown away.
For what it was it was good. The music tracks were placed at the correct times. It enjoyed it for what it was.
This where we have out biggest problem ladies and gentlemen.
I didn't hate all these characters, in fact I love some of them. The problem is the characters I enjoy the most don't get a lot of screen time. I suppose I should start with our protagonist and heroine.
Coming into this series I was most excited to see how Rin Tohsoka turned out. I mean after all that has happened to her there has to be some lingering affects. At the very least inner conflict!
As of the first season there is none of that, not even one mention that I recall. Instead of the brave, headstrong young mage I remember from Fate/Zero this Rin is completely different. Annoying and clueless, also part of a ridiculous harem.
Let's turn to her partner in crime Shirou Emiya! I wasn't as excited for him but carrying around the name Emiya I had hopes. All of those hopes were thoroughly crushed.
Shirou is what I would call the typical gary-sue targeted to young teenage boys who have powertrip fantasies. Flocked to by all the girls around him, overpowered to the point he can take on a servant.
I don't care about the twist either, that is also stupid. It just strengthens my believe that Shirou is an overpowered gary-sue.
Sakura Matou showing no ill effects to the torture she was put through was completely ridiculous. Cooking for Shirou was far more important for her character than any actual development.
Let us all turn to the most crushing blow of all, Saber. Fate/Zero was not only groundbreaking for the genre but also for women in anime and manga. Unfortunately this sequel has completely taken five steps back in that regard. Because you know women have to do dishes and make Shirou sandwiches.
Saber was strong with internal battles and demons. Her dialogues were thought provoking on so many different levels with so many underlining themes. Saber was the figurehead of the Fate series. Every time someone thinks of Fate it is very likely Saber is the first thing that pops into their mind.
This series completely undoes all of that amazing dialogue in Zero. Saber the regal king is just another piece in Shirou's harem box. I was shocked when she could pass for a highschool student, I was always under the impression she was a lot older.
In those amazing conversations with Gilgamesh and Rider, Saber was completely unmoved. Apparently it takes the idealistic talk of a Japanese student to sway Saber.
Saber goes on dates and even has fanservice throughout. Whether it be that a king forgot her manners and can't eat with getting stuff on her cheeks. There was even a fanservice scene involving glasses.
Throughout all these shenanigans Saber feels a lot less special. Every time she spoke in the previous series it meant something, here it just feels like wasted breath.
One of my favorite characters was completely butchered.
There were rays of light throughout. Like Illyasviel and Archer, there were others not even worth mentioning since they had even less screen time. The bad greatly outweighs the good here.
If you are one of the people overjoyed with this series well... I'm so happy you were able to find enjoyment where I couldn't.
I was so ridiculously excited for this series and so thoroughly let down it hurts.
Fate/Zero is one of my favorite animes of all time. The Zero canon while it is fantasy was grounded in a dark reality. FSN is just campy and completely ignorant. This sequel targets a completely different audience and it hurts itself for that.
In the end the Holy Grail War felt like a game for these kids. Hell, they were even comfortable enough to keep going to school. Even after finding out that someone was trying to put up barriers around it.
For some reason these two masters walk around like two kid detectives in a gag manga. Then when something actually escalates into a dangerous situation they are both shocked.
There were some amazing fight scenes in between all the silliest but that doesn't change anything for me. Flashy scenes without substance are nothing that special. Imagine that groundbreaking animation in Cowboy Bebop only with terrible dialogue and story in between, I don't think we'd be talking as fondly about it today.
I expect the second season will step it up at least a little. I hope it fares better than this outing.
This one has been the biggest disappointment of 2014 for me.
The Fate franchise is among the most recognizable and highly lauded titles in the anime community. It should go without saying that this lofty praise is largely due to Ufotable's impeccable presentation and production values. When it comes to the Fate franchise and other Type-Moon adaptations, the studio pull out all the stops as evident with Kara no Kyoukai and the critically acclaimed Fate/Zero.
If there was ever a black sheep attached to the Fate franchise's name, many will without a doubt point to the 2006 lackluster adaptation of Fate/Stay Night and the 2010 Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works movie by Studio DEEN. The Fate
franchise isn't new to multiple studio collaborations as Silver Link have already taken on the role of adapting Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya and has manage to keep a consistent presentation. But that still left Stay Night up in the air until now, as Ufotable tackles the adaption of the Unlimited Blade Works route, attempting to shine new light where DEEN have dragged it through the mud.
Now with all that said you may be wondering why the score is so low, did something go wrong? Well no not really, as far as production goes Ufotable's track record with Fate is still spotless but that doesn't mean what they adapt was. You see the Fate franchise always boast a "battle royal" and the closet thing we got to that came with Fate/Zero but it seems like no matter how you dress it, Stay Night when it all boils down to the inescapable facts, is simply another "run of the mill" story of empowered bishounen teens and silly cock fights that leads nowhere. Today we'll break down the overlooked truths of this anime, a show with high production value but a subpar script.
1st we'll get the positive aspects out of the way: Art/Animation: 9.5/10, Sound 8/10
There's good animation and then there's Ufotable animation. For many anime fans already familiar with the studio's work it should go without saying that it is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of heart and effort presented in every frame is clearly evident with richly saturated color palettes and smooth textured backgrounds. The attention to detail is worthy of immense praise, as it doesn't take long to be immersed into the show's setting. Every movement from our characters show consistent fluidity and just the little things like their hair moving as they walk or the ruffling of someone putting on a jacket brings a sense of realism.
They also excel in cinematography showing unique camera angles and well crafted camera panning shots. It feels like you're watching a Shinkai film at times and that kind of consistent quality from a series is almost unheard of. But for most of us the greatest enjoyment comes from the solid fight choreography. This is where the studio really shows their stuff as they brilliantly use all the tricks they have up their sleeves, from contrasting color pallets to cinematic compositions making every action carry a sense of weigh behind it. You can feel every blow and strike from the characters, this is an eyegasm worthy of multiple rewatches. Although it isn't all perfect as little nitpicks like the CGI cars still feel out of place from the immense detail surrounding it but it certainly isn't a huge issue when compared to everything else it had going for it.
to accompany the strong animation we're given a great song composition to boot. Brought to life by the highly praised Yuki Kajiura, a woman made famous for her gripping orchestic pieces and her atmospheric somber ballads. The soundtrack fits the show like a glove and really enhances every scene to new elevated highs. The only downside being that their was very little to distinguish this score from any of Kajiura's other works, as her signature style almost feel like carbon copies of each other. Despite that it is still a wonderful attachment and one welcomed any day.
The voice actors were also good, many fitting into their roles without any qualms to speak of. Standouts being Suwabe's role as Archer, as he gives him that no nonsense aura and Ueda as Rin as the chemistry she brings between the other cast feel quite natural.
Now with the praise out of the way let's address the elephant in the room: Story 5/10, Characters 5/10
Definitely one of the biggest offenders, the story is noticeably flawed, even a casual viewer who pays little attention to it can easily spot the missteps. When it comes down to it the presentation and execution of the show is the only thing separating this from your "run of the mill" bishonen fighting show. Hiding under the guise of a "battle royal" it seems like the only episodes that showed true progression were the 1st, one in the middle and the last. Everything else was obvious padding to reach the shows desired length, with lots of dead time and fights that lead nowhere. For a "battle royal" it seems like everyone is more concerned with chivalry and throwing praise at their opponents than actually eliminating them. Every fight seem to boil down to "I'm going to kill you... wow I'm impressed with your skills... nevermine I won't kill you, let's fight some other time".. Now this isn't always the case as the last confrontation in episode 12 actually yielded something other than the monotonous cycle. But that doesn't excuse the rest of the show from dicking around with needless slice of life moments, unnecessary harem-esc comedy and aimless fights.
Again this isn't a fault with the studio but with the poor script they have to work with. It's one thing to stay faithful to your source material but it's another to let said material bog you down. This sense of stagnation lead to very tension-less encounters since all that comes out of it are wounded opponents that simply retreat to recuperate for the next empty encounter.
As much as I like the cast of the Fate franchise it isn't hard to see them for what they truly are, which are simply characters. Only a few of them feel like actual people while the rest feel like simple 1 note puppet pieces dancing across the screen.
Our main protagonist Shirou isn't as offensively idealistic as portrayed in his DEENs counterpart but he isn't any better either. He still spouts naive ideologies found in your typical bishonen MCs. Your "fight for what's right" kind of archetype, one I'm sure many of us are tired of seeing.
thankfully Rin Tohsaka is more tolerable as she isn't your Asuka level of tsundere, but she feels more well rounded. However their is very little dimensions to her character, as it seems the show relies heavily on your prior knowledge of her placement in the Fate universe.
The shows other biggest offenders come in the form of the supporting cast, with bombastically 1 dimensional characters like Shinji Matou and for the most part a majority of the Servants. Archer says it best, as he describes the servants as being nothing more than instruments for the masters to use and that's exactly what they feel like. Most of them exudes 1 note archetypal characteristics that defines them. May that be Archer's "no nonsense" archetype, Caster's "big bad witch" 1 dimensional villain representation or Saber's "lady of honor" 1 note portrayal. All the the servants show little to no layered characterization and depends to heavily on pseudo-history to hold any merit. They simply can't stand on their own as people and that keep them from being anything more than 1 note characters.
Any qualms I have with the shows characters & story is easily washed away with the great presentation. Ufotable is simply a studio that can't be faulted as they always succeed at bringing wonderful eye candy to the screen that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
Despite its lackluster cast and story Unlimited Blade Works is truly pure entertainment. As popcorn material it is only rivaled by its predecessor Fate/Zero. For anyone seeking awesome fights, fluid animation and easy consumption look no further, this title is truly an addicting watch. There is something here for anyone, may you be a fan of the franchise or not. With that said I recommend giving this title a go.
Studio DEEN’s horrible adaptation of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works is one of the most dreaded adaptations in anime. Now ufotable, in all of its HD glory, will now adapt one of the most loved routes of the visual novel. And it turns out to be great.
Let’s us go to the specifics.
The story is different from the Fate route as it now focuses on Rin Tohsaka. As it goes on, ufotable manage to showcase masterful execution. It makes interesting premise and makes the audience want to know and watch more. This Fate/Stay Night fix the problems of its
predecessors, one of these is the exposition or info dumping. If there is two words to associate the Fate series, it must be gotta be “boring exposition”. Especially to a big verse, that is the Nasuverse, that has many terminologies and stuff to explain about magic. It takes all of the visual novels or its anime to interconnected it to form a one united verse. Like I said, its info dumping is less and separated into bits which makes the show more action and drama.
Another problem this show fixed is its characters. You remember Shirou? Forerunner of one of the most used memes related to anime. Remember we all hate him. Not now anymore. HIs character is less annoying and it is much more developed than his Fate side. The character interactions are better too and all characters are really more likeable and better written.And we see goddamn TsundeRin in all ufotable glory
Now we talk about what made ufotable and the series so popular and hyped, its visual in HD glory and seemingly unlimited budget. I think this series wouldn't be the same without its blockbuster budget. Every episode is like you are watching a Pixar movie that is well animated. Thanks to the responsible planning of the staff. The music is glorious and exemplary.
Fate/Stay Night, due to these things, is now overhyped and overrated. I think Fate/Stay Night first cour does not deserve a 9 but it is still a exemplary adaptation and a interesting premise. Kudos to you ufotable.
Story - 8/10
Art - 11/10
Sound - 9/10
Character - 8/10
Enjoyment - 9/10
Overall - 8/10
If anime history has taught us anything, it’s that visual novels are an incredibly difficult medium to adapt into anime form. Whereas a VN can contain hours upon hours of dialogue in order to establish characters, the story, the setting, and the lore, anime do not have such a luxury. In addition, VN’s offer the player the ability of interaction; they allow you to choose what path to go down and ultimately what “ending” you will receive. Choosing a poor option can actually result in death, thus shattering the concept of plot armor and keeping the reader on edge. Enter
Fate/Stay Night; one of the most popular VNs of all time. Its story and characters are absolutely iconic as a result of its widespread fame. Would studio ufotable be able the capture the magic the source material is so widely praised for possessing? Unfortunately, the difficulties of transcending two very different mediums have never been more apparent than in this iteration to the Fate series. While I haven’t read the original work myself, I can wholeheartedly say that Fate/Stay Night UBW is a mediocre at best anime and good for virtually nothing outside of its flashy animation.
Synopsis: Seven “masters”, who are powerful magic users, summon seven “servants”, who are iconic figures from throughout history and fiction, in order to fight it out for possession of the holy grail; a magical item that will grant the recipient’s greatest wish. The story follows Shirou Emiya; a teenager with weak magical abilities who gets himself involved in the fray.
UBW’s story line has a plethora of issues, and a great deal of them stem from the fact that visual novels just don’t work as anime more often than not. First of all, this show’s amount of info-dumping and pacing in general is absolutely atrocious. Watching this show feels like watching Dragonball Z all over again; the characters just talk and talk and talk and repeat and repeat and repeat. Shut up and fight! Even when there is no fighting going on, all the characters know how to do is talk about the plot. There is So. Much. Explaining. I understand that the lore of Fate/Stay Night is important to the story, but have you ever heard of “show don’t tell”? Constant paragraphs of exposition may work in a visual novel, but not in an anime.
Even worse than info-dumping is the direct consequence of it: The characters are all shallow. Because ufotable is trying so hard to cram as much of the backstory and dialogue as they possibly can into every episode, something is very clearly missing: characterization. Every side character in this show might as well be a cardboard cutout. You’ve got Rin “most generic tsundere I’ve ever seen” Tohsaka, Illya “I only exist to make you sad and serve no actual purpose” Einzbern, Sakura “They completely forgot I existed” Matou, Shinji “immersion-breakingly hammy” Matou, and who could forget Saber, also known as “My route already happened, so I don’t matter anymore”. I can’t stress enough how big of a problem this is. Many of the major characters who receive a significant portion of screen time don’t even reach the 2nd dimension; a task that even completely incompetent writers can accomplish. They also fail to have even a slight amount of chemistry with each other, as every character relationship feels contrived and artificial. The only character this show seems interested in fleshing out is Shirou, and boy does that bring up a few issues…
First of all, how on Earth is anyone supposed to take Shirou Emiya seriously? Calling him an idiot would be an insult to idiots. This kid either has a death wish or the reasoning capabilities of an infant baboon. Or both. Before I even go into the number of times over he should have been killed and simply isn’t for the convenience of the plot, let’s talk about his “I have to save everybody” ideal system. Shirou: You realize that nearly 2 people die every second, right? You understand that it is not physically possible to LITERALLY save EVERYONE, right Shirou? You are a random teenager with absolutely no power, so surly you understand that you can only so much? No. No he doesn’t understand that. Shirou’s childish at best and completely insane at worst delusions are immersion breaking on the sole grounds of how mind-blowingly stupid they are. He unnecessarily endangers his own life and lives of countless others on a frequent basis even when there is absolutely nothing to gain from it (making him a hypocrite), he is unfathomably dense, and the very little personality he has is entirely unlikable. Shirou Emiya is one of the worst anime characters I’ve ever encountered.
And let’s mention plot armor for a second: We’ve established that in the VN, it is possible for Shirou to die if the player makes the wrong choice. This means there is no plot armor in the VN, which I’m sure works very much to its benefit. In the anime, however, there is no outlet or excuse for the obviously fatal situations that Shirou and the others manage to walk away from every other episode. There is NO logical reason whatsoever that people with every incentive to kill Shirou NEVER do when they have the opportunity. Yet again, it’s like watching Dragon Ball Z. We all know the hero is going to win, but can you at least put a little effort into creating logical reasons for WHY he is able to win rather than just having him miraculously surviving an encounter that should be fatal by the show’s own assertion EVERY time? It’s painful to watch.
To top off the disastrous writing and execution of this show, I feel the need to mention how downright edgy it is. That’s right; “edgy”. Since that term has become a bit of a buzzword, here’s what I mean by that: Something is edgy when it is dark, gritty, or shocking without any legitimate reason to be; it’s just thrown in there for the sake of shocking the audience or attempting to appear more mature than it actually is. Giving specific examples would delve into spoiler territory, but it reached “Craaaawling iiiiin my Skiiiiiin” levels of bad. When you consider that this is a show clearly under the impression that it is intelligent and philosophical, these moments are absolutely cringe-worthy.
I’ve said before that the fight scenes are the best part about this show, but even those become hard to take seriously when the writing behind them is unbelievably childish. Every fight, and I do mean essentially EVERY fight gets resolved with a total asspull. Be it a last second save or a deus ex machina, this is some truly disgraceful writing. Is watching the protagonist getting predictably saved at the last second over and over and over and over again, as if he was ever in any real danger, REALLY fun for you guys? Seriously, is it? Does that honestly not suck every bit of suspense out of the entire plotline and make it impossible to take seriously? Because it certainly does for me. To make this comparison for a third time, it’s like watching Dragonball Z.
Regardless of how badly the plot and characters managed to fail in my opinion, it can’t be denied that UBW has some pretty astonishing animation. The art style is nothing to write home about, but the fluidity of the actual motions as well as the choreography is nearly flawless. The action scenes will absolutely take your breath away, and the show really needed a lot more of them (and a lot less info-dumping). The settings and backdrops leave a bit to be desired, but the use of colorful gradients as magical attacks fly across the screen really gives the show a unique flair and keeps your eyes glued to screen. The music and voice acting is also good. Notice the emphasis on “good”. Not “great”. There are no tracks that really blew me away and the sound design wasn’t anything particularly impressive either, so while the overall use of sound is above average, it’s not legendary or anything.
I didn’t really delve into how pretentious the show is, I could have been more harsh about EVERY fight ending with a god machine, and there are several plotholes I can’t mention due to spoilers, but at this point, I think you get the idea. Fate/Stay Night UBW is a very, very flawed anime. The budget and cinematography is really the only thing that separates it from the rest of the crappy shounens, and I truly wish that wasn’t the case. I was a fan of Fate/Zero and I wanted to believe that DEEN’s 2006 disaster was just a fluke, but UBW has led me to believe that it was not. Fate/Stay Night is simply not going to work as an anime adaption, and this show’s abject failures in spite of its massive budget provide more than enough proof of that.
On July 27th earlier this year, there was a public presentation held by Ufotable regarding what their long-awaited remake of Fate/stay night (F/SN for short) would actually cover as that had been unknown up to that point. When the preview was finally shown and it was revealed that they would be covering the Unlimited Blade Works route (UBW for short) as a full TV-series, there was a cry of relief and happiness resounding all throughout the fanbase of the franchise (if you were following the live stream at the time you'll know what I am talking about). Type-Moon's ten year old work of art has
gotten tons of exposure over the years, but somehow it had still never gotten a proper anime adaptation, a whole decade after the original visual novel was released. The only anime it ever received was the TV-series Studio DEEN provided back in 2006, as well as an attempted movie version of UBW in 2010. However both of these were complete butcherings of the source material, and thus the search for a legitimate F/SN anime continued all the way until this day; the day when we all turned our eyes in Ufotable's direction in hope that they would finally save the day. Of course, when it comes to visual novel adaptations, in all honesty less than 1% of them live up to their source material in terms of quality, but in this case however, I had no worries. I just knew that Ufotable would pull it off; it was like an aura lying in the air.
And lo and behold, they actually did.
Now before I get into this there's something I think needs clarifying: I will not make any comparisons or references to Fate/Zero in this review. It will be written as if this was in fact the first part of the Fate/ universe you watched. This is simply because despite the fact that Zero aired before this anime, its story goes under the assumption that the viewer is familiar with the events of F/SN first. In other words you are really supposed to watch UBW *before* Zero, unless you've played the original visual novel first of course in which case anything goes. Watching Zero first will sadly spoil numerous plot points of this anime's storyline. I will not go into further details on this subject however as it has been discussed to death, but will rather recommend people to check out the FAQ Sticky thread on the UBW subforum if you have any questions regarding viewing orders or anything else.
And with that finally out of the way; let's get into this shall we?
In a nutshell, Fate/stay night can be labeled as a supernatural battle royale.
Roughly once in every 60 years, the one and only legendary artefact known as the Holy Grail will have gathered up enough magical energy from the Earth in order to allow an event called the Holy Grail War to commence. In this "war", seven mages (or maguses as they're called here) are chosen by the Grail to summon seven Heroic Spirits of legend. Heroic Spirits are people that have been labelled as heroes by the residents of the Earth after their death, and have consequently been taken to a place outside the flow of time where they can be summoned from by the Holy Grail.
The seven summoned Servants are by default divided into seven character classes: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin and Berserker. Heroic Spirits can only be summoned as classes that would fit into the character setting that they had while they were still alive as humans, for example Robin Hood would surely be an Archer and Genghis Khan would most certainly be a Rider, etcetera. Once a Servant has been summoned, the responsible magus then takes command of him/her and takes on a role referred to as their "Master", and they join together as a team in order to try to bring down the other six teams of Master and Servant. The reason for all of this is that whoever wins the Holy Grail War gets possession of the Holy Grail itself, an artefact so powerful that it is said to be able to grant any wish its owner desires, and the Master and Servant get to share the reward if they're both alive at that point.
And with that, the premise of the story is created. In the grand scheme of things it is fairly straightforward as a whole, albeit not without its fair share of twists and turns along the way. What I always liked about F/SN is how it manages to intertwine great storytelling and intense action scenes, as those two aspects are generally pretty hard to mingle. It has this aura that makes every fight between Servants feel epic in execution but still maintain a constant sense of reason and purpose.
The pacing is very consistent, and more or less perfect. It gives you just enough breathing room in-between every peak of activity in order to give the characters time to develop properly, but without slowing down the action so much as to ever get boring. You'll always be eagerly looking forward to the next major event in the story, but it never rushes along the in-between segments just in order to jump straight into the action. As a result, it succeeds at providing episodes that are both fantastic on their own, but still steadily progresses the overarching story in order to get one step closer to the eventual conclusion.
It should be noted however that this anime only covers half the story, as the conclusion of UBW will air in spring 2015, and that this first half in all honesty contains more world building, character introductions and foreshadowing than actual revelations. However this is merely the calm before the storm in that sense as the best is yet to come.
The character cast of Fate/stay night is rather large and as an inevitable result it varies in quality from amazing to absolutely craptastic. I am not going to go into detail for all of them as that'd take an entire essay, but rather leave it at the four most important ones.
First and foremost, there's of course our ever so famous, lightly tsundere protagonist Emiya Shirou. He is one of the seven Masters of the war and has Saber as his Servant. Despite that fact, Shirou is actually not a fully trained magus, and is thus unable to provide Saber with enough magical energy to let her use her full strength. Shirou doesn't particularly care about any sort of reward the Holy Grail might be able to give him. He merely wants to make sure no one else gets it either just in case they'd use it for malicious purposes. To be perfectly honest, in a certain sense Shirou is a bit of an idiot. He has a certain idealism based around the idea that he has to be a superhero that he holds onto desperately which quite frankly can be extremely frustrating to watch at times because his actions tend to defy all common sense every so often. In this anime however, Shirou also has a huge amount of character development and his likability goes up constantly over the course of the story. Granted he's still definitely not the best protag you'll ever see but his role fits pretty well into the plotline of UBW so I can't really complain. Sometimes a character's true worth is not based on how much you might like him/her, but rather depending on how well written they are, and in that sense Shirou pulls it off just fine.
Secondly, there is Tohsaka Rin: the noble rich girl who is hopeless with all modern-age technical gadgets. She goes to the same school as Shirou, and is generally treated as the best honor student and perfect woman of it by all the other students. She is also a fellow Master and thus officially one of Shirou's enemies, however the pair of them tend to (for the most part) let each other off the hook in order to primarily focus on other, more dangerous foes instead. In addition, Rin is an exceedingly rare case of a generally approved-of and extremely popular tsundere, probably because she is actually very well written and just plain entertaining to follow, despite her extreme naivety. Rin is not someone who is only there for appearances however, but rather is a very competent magus in reality, fully capable of holding her own against most enemies, and also hopelessly outclassing Shirou when it comes to magical capability.
Thirdly, we have the ever so illustrious Saber, the so-called "strongest Servant" who serves as Shirou's sword and knight. Oftentimes she comes off as a robot-like "I'm so powerful and righteous I'll just beat everyone up without sweating a beat" kind of holy warrior, though she can be pretty cute every once in a while when her dere side emerges. Unfortunately for her however, since her Master, Shirou, is unable to provide her with the normal amount of magical strength due to his incompetence as a magus, Saber has to do her best at holding her ground in combat despite being in a very weakened state. As a result she's unable to ever show off her full potential as a warrior, but even so she's still far from a weakling.
And finally we have Rin's Servant, Archer. He is... well he's just badass throughout. I don't see how you could possibly dislike him. In all seriousness though, Archer is an extremely unpredictable, blunt and overall mysterious character in general, and trying to figure out what exactly he is thinking most of the time is a tall order. As far as combat goes, despite his name he normally fights with a pair of conjured short swords, dual-wield style (which I personally think is one of the coolest weapon setups you can use). Of course he has a bow as well but he only ever seems to use it when he gets really serious.
Now in case you didn't know, UBW at heart is Rin's route in the original visual novel, and hence she's the main heroine in this anime. Diehard fans of Saber might find that fact somewhat disheartening, but you'll just have to deal with it. Of course since Saber and Archer are Shirou's and Rin's Servants respectively, they obviously hang around the pair of them almost all the time as well so as far as actual screen time goes then there's plenty of it for all of them. I think it fits the tone of the story very well when Saber is actually being treated as the character she is, I.E: a heroic swordswoman; not just reduced to some mere sappy love interest. Rin on the other hand has a lot of natural chemistry with Shirou that never feels forced as they're actually both humans in similar positions, not to mention that they're both tsundere for each other. Hence I think the "main heroine" privilege is in fact a lot more suitable for Rin than Saber could ever hope to have in that sense.
The rest of the cast consists of various schoolmates and general acquaintances of Shirou and Rin, all the other Masters and their respective Servants, as well as the illustrious priest Kotomine Kirei who is arguably the most impactful character of the entire franchise depending on who you ask. As always, some are better than others, but as a whole the character cast of Fate/stay night is very intriguing due to the very specific setting they all have, and as a result they are (for the most part) very captivating to watch.
You know what, there's not really any point in beating around the bush here so I'll just say it: excluding movies, this is quite likely the best looking anime ever made.
Ufotable have always had top notch production value, but what they brought out this time is just unreal. There's this specific aura surrounding the entire anime, namely the aura... of money. Whenever you watch UBW you can straight-up feel the insane amounts of pure cash that has been poured into creating this beast. Especially the CGI effects used for all the magical spells and superhuman fighting moves during Servant battles are completely out of this world. A single episode of this anime probably cost more to create than an entire season's worth of your average series (though I don't actually have any numbers on that). It's just that high quality. You might as well rename the whole thing to Unlimited Budget Works. Should only be watched in 1080p or you're seriously missing out.
Honestly one of the best things about the fight scenes in the original F/SN visual novel was the soundtracks accompanying them. They livened up the atmosphere so much and made you pumped up and excited to find out what was going to happen next as a reader. When I look at the equivalent fight scenes in this anime though... I don't really get that kind of feeling, at least not to the same extent. Now instead since the animation in them is so out of this world gorgeous you don't really have time to think as much about the audio supporting it of course, but still as far as the audio itself goes it really doesn't have quite the same level of epicness that I remembered from the game. That being said, it's still Kajiura Yuki composing the whole thing so it's definitely very good for what it is, and by no means drags the series down if you don't give yourself any unreasonable expectations. It just could be even better.
The opening theme is called "Ideal White" by Mashiro Ayano, and the ending theme is called "Believe" by Kalafina. While they're both perfectly fine, neither are anything particularly special nor anything I would put into a music playlist.
The voice acting cast is the exact same one as it has always been for every other release from the Fate/ universe in the last decade across multiple mediums so at this point their voices are already burned into my brain and directly connected with the respective characters that they're voicing. Short version; while some are better than others of course, I can't think of anyone that doesn't live up to the respective character he/she is voicing. That in itself is enough reason for me to not complain about any of it.
Fall 2014 was undoubtedly a great season for anime, but UBW was definitely the one series I always looked forward to the most every week. The fight scenes themselves look absolutely mesmerizing and are just a treat to witness every single time, and even when the anime has its more slice-of-life-esque segments it's still just as enjoyable to me, simply because of how likable the characters are. At the same time the overarching story keeps dropping subtle hints to you as a viewer, teasing you with what is yet to come in the second cour and making you curious about how things are going to turn out in the future.
As a whole, there's always this constant strive to keep watching as there are so many things just want to see unfold before you, be it for the sake of finding out what is really going on behind the scenes or just for getting to see more and more brilliant animation in potential upcoming Servant battles and similar. For myself at least, I like to say that one of the best ways to truly show the mark of a great anime, it's that whenever you finish watching an episode of it, you immediately want to see the next one, and then the next one, and then the next one etcetera, and UBW does this to the highest degree from start to finish. It's that ability to completely captivate you as a viewer that I'm always trying to find when it comes to anime.
I don't like to label myself as a Type-Moon fanboy. That would be an exaggeration. While I certainly like them they don't tend to completely blow me away. However I like to say that out of all their creations, Unlimited Blade Works is the one and only route that well and truly impressed me from start to finish back when I was reading the visual novel about a year ago. It has this constant atmosphere that makes you feel excited to see more, but it still maintains the pacing needed in order to not get ahead of itself. Ironically, sometimes this makes you a bit impatient as a viewer if you're desperately waiting for the next Servant fight or greater plot development to occur, but at the same time that exact feeling is what is going to make you stay captivated even during the most calm and relaxing moments. That being said if you are an impatient viewer, then I might recommend waiting with watching this anime until the second cour has aired in the spring as otherwise you'll be left hanging on a quite nasty cliffhanger at the end of this season.
As it is, "perfect" visual novel adaptations essentially do not exist, and make no mistake; UBW is not an exception to that rule. Despite everything there are still numerous things I could mention that could have been adapted better and made it easier for anime-only viewers to understand certain details of the overarching plot. That being said, UBW is still one of the absolute most faithful visual novel adaptations ever made, no doubt about it. I think it showcases once and for all that the most reliable formula for creating a magnificent anime is having a great (if possible finished) source material, a trustworthy animation studio and a shitload of money.
And that's about all I have to say about this. Now granted this is only the first half of the story as the second part is airing in a few months' time but I have no doubt that it will be even better than the first one was. The conclusion of UBW in the visual novel was fantastic, and I have a ton of faith in Ufotable at this point after they've come this far. I can't imagine them messing it up at this point. However that is a story for another time.
Please note: At the time of this review the second season for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) has not aired yet.
As a rather avid fan of Type-Moon, Nasuverse specifically, I was highly enthusiastic to watch the first season of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV). I must say here and now that it did indeed meet, and partially exceed, my expectations. I knew it was going to be great. I knew it was going to be a true adaptation, which has never happened for the Unlimited Blade Works route (disregard that crappy DEEN movie). I mean, it's Ufotable. The same studio that brought
forth the anime adaptation of Fate/Zero and Kara no Kyoukai, which are both highly excellent anime. I'd be shocked if it was anything less that a great anime. Now, to start.
Story - The basic premise for pretty much anything in the Fate franchise (minus Carnival Phantasm, although that's all of Nasuverse) is pretty well known: Set in the modern era, seven Magi summon seven Heroic Spirits, heroes of the past who have achieved great deeds in life, to fight in a battle royale of sorts to the death. The winning Master (the Magus) and Servant (the Heroic Spirit) will receive the Holy Grail - and omnipotent wish granting device. Pretty simple, right?Now, you may be thinking that it's just a cliché shounen battle anime based off that premise, but that's far from the truth. Fate/stay night has always been a clash of ideals, it's never been just about fighting. It's about why a character takes up their blade to fight until the bitter end for what they believe to be right. Now, I won't go and say that the first season of Unlimited Blade Works is incredibly complex: it's not. For much of the first season, it's just building off the premise, setting the story up for season two. However, the actual story is still quite good if it was just that. It builds up plots for next season, and underlying hidden mysteries are hinted at. But Ufotable did more than just that, they went the extra mile. They added in new scenes that enhance the show as a whole. They likely did much of this to fill in some gaps from the Fate route, because that's the actual introduction arc of the visual novel for Fate/stay night. I'm also glad they referenced Fate/Zero more obviously than the visual novel did (as it wasn't written yet). You can see characters reactions to meeting other characters, just the subtle things that really stand out. That's why Ufotable is great, and that's why I give the story for this season of Unlimited Blade Works a 9/10.
Art - I don't even need to say it, do I? It's damn near movie quality, if not already there. This is the best animated series I have ever seen. They even one-upped Fate/Zero, their previous work (which was already amazing). Ufotable has their CG flow so well with the 2D that it's just astounding. The vibrant colors and flashy animations are pretty damn good, too. And check this: they had to tone it down for TV. The blu-rays will be glorious. And the fight scenes, the gloriously amazing fight scenes are truly unique and amazing to behold. Seriously, if there's one animation studio that can do epic cinematic fights real well, I give it to Ufotable. I give the Art for Unlimited Blade Works a well deserved 10/10.
Sound - When I first watched Unlimited Blade Works, I didn't really care for the music. I think it's probably because I was used to Yuki Kajiura's Fate/Zero soundtrack. With that, I didn't notice that the music in this adaptation for Fate/stay night was actually quite fitting. It's actually quite similar to the background music in the visual novel. The music can really set the scene in this anime, and I truly did enjoy it. I give props to Hideyuki Fukasawa in regards to the music. Now, the voice acting was great, I don't think I really have to mention that. The opening song, Ideal White, was also quite fitting for this first season of Unlimited Blade Works. Although I wasn't too huge a fan of the ending song, I still thought it was acceptable. Now, one thing that made me love this soundtrack so much more? We got This Illusion. Fucking yes. Although it was the last episode of this season, episode 12, we got it. You see, This Illusion is rather iconic for the Fate franchise. It was in the original visual novel as the opening background song, also it was in there instrumentally as the soundtrack, and even in the DEEN anime for Fate/stay night it was the opening. With that, I give Sound for Unlimited Blade Works a solid 9/10.
Character - The characters for Fate/stay night have always been superb. I find a reason to like every one of them, minus maybe Shinji (though I love to hate him, so there's that). And Ufotable just brought those characters to live to their fullest. As stated previously, Fate/stay night has always been a clash of ideals, and in Unlimited Blade Works it's mostly between the protagonist, Shirou, and Rin's servant, Archer (not the Fate/Zero Archer). I'd rather not go too deep into it, as it's huge spoiler territory. However, I will say that if you were never interested in the Fate franchise because you heard that Shirou was a bad and cliché protagonist, then I say that you were wrong. Likely one would hear that from someone who has only seen the DEEN anime, which Shirou is really cliché in. However, that's because of the route that was being adapted in that anime was the Fate arc, which Shirou doesn't develop much, if at all in (it's an introduction route in the visual novel). However, Shirou grows a lot in this anime. Although it's incomplete, you can still see him growing. And I assure you he will grow further in season two. As for Rin, she's enjoyable, and if you like tsundere characters, you will like her. As for Saber, she remains best girl (sorry Tohsaka, but it's still Saber for me). Although there's plenty other intriguing characters, I'll let the viewer see that for themselves. Characters for Unlimited Blade Works gets a 9/10.
Enjoyment - Alright, if you've read through my review I'm sure you know that I freaking loved it. As a Nasuverse addict, I'd probably still love it even if it were lesser than the glory that it is. I also believed it was a great set up for the much more fast paced second season, which I am waiting for with pleasure. I would go to bed on Friday feeling like a kid waiting to watch the newest episode of UBW. Yes, I am biased. Get over it. It's pretty obvious I'd give it a recommendation and an Enjoyment of 9/10.
Overall - As I stated earlier, Ufotable did great, and even partially exceeded my extremely high expectations. A total rating of 9.4, round that down and you get the final score of 9/10. I recommend this to any and all, and I'm impatiently awaiting for the glorious second season coming in April. Ufotable will not disappoint, I have my complete and total faith in them.
Viewing Order - Alright, this part of the review is mostly my opinion on how you should view Fate if you watch anime only (so, not including the visual novel, but if you can I'd recommend reading that in it's whole before watching any of the anime). So, I'll start off by saying that I believe that Fate/stay night should be viewed before Fate/Zero. The reasoning? Fate/Zero assumes you've read the visual novel. Not only that, but it spoils much of Fate/stay night. Fate/Zero is meant to tie up the loose ends in the visual novel story, but it should work just fine tying up the story of the anime as well. Speaking of Fate/stay night anime, should you watch the 2006 DEEN one or this one first? Well, just watch this honestly. Don't bother with the DEEN one unless you're really into it, and even then watch this first. You have to wait until the second season (unless it's already out when you're reading this), but even then it's worth it. Now, nothing against people who watched Fate/Zero first, I did of course. But, for new viewers I recommend the following: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) -> second season -> Fate/Zero anime -> anything else Fate that piques your interest. Of course, if you can I recommend reading the visual novel, then do the above in that order.
Thanks for reading, and Saber is still best girl :)
This part of the Fate series is one of the weaker ones, it doesnt compare at all to Fate/Zero because pretty much what we get is a high school setting with our usual cliche hero saves the world storyline.
That being said, this particular season (as well as its prequel) has amazing animation, the motion of the fights are fluid and the effects are pretty darn good. What i was disappointed with was the story and the characters for the most part.
The biggest flaw is how we dont really get much character development out of the characters,
as well as how slowly the story of the whole thing moved.
Shirou is what you would expect from someone that wants to save the world but doesnt even know why he wants to do it in the first place, he is the very definition of a trope that has been present in anime since the last 30 years and the kind of character that needs development the most in order to be useful and not cliche. Even then, his character and his motivations are pretty boring, definitely a shadow of the main character on the prequel.
Tohsaka is what you would expect from your heroine and tsundere, then again if you are watching this anime, chances are you dont really care much about her because again, is just what you would expect because you have seen it before countless times. Her character if i had to define it with one word would be bland. Much better than Shirou however, since she does go through some development, and we learn what her motivations are and why she has the motivations she has.
There is a little bit of redemption however, the heroes are actually the gem of this show, while we dont get much out of their story, we know that their motivations are nonexistent and as such, they have to fight or die since they were brought back to life without their consent. Because of this, we get some pretty interesting back stories and some go out of their way to change the path set out by them.
Overall, the first season of UBW is pretty much pretty bland compared to its predecessor, the story barely moves at all and we get cookie cutter characters which you dont expect or care much for because you realize they are just there for simplicity sake and as fillers and nothing else. To me, what made this show better were the heroes and how they carried the plot, well and the pretty animation.
Dont expect much story and character development out of this, although it is the first season after all. I expect the second season to pick up the pace however, and tie the knots of the whole thing. Definitely a step backwards when compared to its prequel in every aspect, but passable still due to the things it gets carried on.
I’ve been holding off on giving a definitive score for this show; mostly because I wanted to make sure the rating was accurate. Having now seen the series, I can confirm what many already know: Fate/Stay Night is a great anime. Both in terms of an adaptation of the original Visual Novel and as its own show, I think we can all be at ease in the knowledge that ufotable has done it again. Rejoice all who hath cometh, the adaptation you've been waiting for is here!
For anyone new to the Fate series, the series in essence revolves around seven masters who summon historical figures
in a fight to the death. The winner among these seven will be able to use the Holy Grail, which grants any wish. That’s the barest description one can provide of the setting, so you’ll have to watch in order to get all the details. Needless to say, anyone looking for a fictional world to get engrossed in will love the Fate series and the Type-Moon universe as a whole. There’s a rich history here that one could easily get lost in. As a rule of thumb, the visual novel “Fate/Stay Night” is the ideal starting point for anyone looking to experience this universe (though the choice ultimately falls on the person).
As for the anime itself, the first thing one is struck with is the animation. This is by far the easiest aspect of the show to review because it’s simply brilliant. Anyone familiar with ufotable knows they have a reputation in this category, and they do not disappoint in the slightest. Backgrounds are detailed, characters are well drawn, animation is fluid, and CG is blended seamlessly throughout. There is the occasional misstep with how a character is drawn, and there might be one or two moments where the CG doesn’t hold up quite so well, but overall this anime looks as sublime as one will encounter in a TV series. Some things to pay particular attention to when watching are the facial expressions and body language. Each is appropriately expressive and adds a wealth of character to everyone onscreen even before any dialogue has been communicated. I’ll leave the reader to decide for themselves how well the fight scenes are executed - but from this viewer’s point of view, I can’t remember the last time I was so captivated by combat in an anime.
Sound is likewise impressive. Every effect from the ground exploding to Lancer’s spear has a distinct quality that keeps you engaged. The voice acting is likewise well done, with each character giving emotional and believable performances. While I find the music a little unobtrusive at times, this improves over the series, and you’ll likely find a few pieces that catch your ear when you hear them. Not too much more to say here, but nothing to complain about – it’s all top quality.
Characters is one department that the visual novel excels in, and this is transferred nicely into the anime. You encounter an assorted cast of very colorful individuals; each with their own goals and agenda. Emiya Shirou is at the forefront of this cast, and over the course of this season you grow more attached to his goals and the actions he takes to achieve them. Rin Tohsaka acts as the secondary protagonist, and is an intriguing character in her own right (I found myself wishing that she was the main focus at times throughout this season). Needless to say, each is likable in their own way and add a degree of charm to the war they are participating in. Other characters such as Saber, Archer, and the numerous servant and masters encountered throughout the show also have unique personalities are interesting in their different ways. The one complaint I have in this area is that I wish more attention was given to the main characters than what we got. While the material available for Shirou and Rin was interesting, I felt just a little bit more was needed to make them better rounded. Side characters like Saber and Ilya also don’t receive as much attention as you might think, but is the unfortunate consequence of having only one out of the three routes being adapted in the visual novel. A bit of a nitpick, but one I couldn't shake off.
The story is an area that shows the greatest potential, but is also the weakest here. The problem is that the first cour acts as a setup to the second cour, and in the end we will have to wait for the second season in April to see the plot truly kick in. That’s not to say the story is bad here – far from it – but the real punch of Unlimited Blade Works comes in the second half; which means there is a lot of build up with the promise that better things are to come. If it’s any consolation, I can assure you that the second half will indeed be incredible if properly executed. For what there is, you will certainly find enough that’s hinted at to keep you intrigued and guessing as to where the story will go next.
To sum up, these 12 episodes are a lot like half of a great meal: You find yourself satisfied with what you have, but only want more. Minor flaws aside, this show carries a tone and sure-handedness in its story telling that keeps you in constant awe of how events unfold. Anyone expecting a rich and deep universe with good characters and an intriguing concept will not be disappointed. While your best bet for experiencing this story as a whole is through the visual novel, I feel comfortable recommending this anime as someone’s entry into the Fate series. If you happen to be one of these newcomers and are searching for a new series to invest your attention in: have a seat, kick back, and prepare to experience one of the finer universes anime has to offer.
Fate is without a doubt among one of the best Visual Novels out there but unfortunately at first it didn’t have much luck in it’s transition into an anime, that is until Ufotable partnered up with Type-Moon and with Garden of Sinners they proved they know how to handle Type-Moon works and with Fate/zero’s success they jumped right into Fate/stay Night. In Fate’s story there are three routes you can take and Ufotable chose the second route for their TV series while leaving the 3rd route for a movie.
For the second route(Unlimited Blade Works) there is already a movie done by Studio Deen. They also
handled the adaptation of Fate/Stay Night’s first TV series and they already proved it is too much for them to handle. while that movie has good animation and great soundtracks there is no other reason to watch it if you haven’t other than to spoil yourself the important parts without any right explanation so keep that in mind if you haven’t watched that already. (on it’s own their adaptations weren’t really all that bad but when compared to the source material it really lacks the depth and lacks proper explanation so if you already read the visual Novel before watching them it can enrage you even more).
Just like Fate/zero the anime is divided into two seasons, with the first one doing all the introductions and building up and with the second one showing the results. Sadly while fate/stay night’s first half is amusing it can also get a little slow and tiring at some points but we get to that later. One of the most important parts of Fate/stay Night is Shirou’s ideals and you are treated with it’s evolution in each route. The second route brings balance to his ideals, that in real life you can’t be a shounen hero and you can’t expect to help/save everyone. Also in this route Shirou gets closer to Tohsaka and form a deeper bond with her. I was very glad to see from the very beginning Ufotable focused on Shirou’s ideals, showing fans that they know what they are doing and bring some depth to the story along with it. It is details like these that Ufotable cares about and they know we care about them as well which make their works ultimately a great experience to watch.
There are of course some problems with the story as well,(nitpicking) granted it is all subjective and this mostly has nothing to do with Ufotable as they were trying to follow the source material(they added their own things as well which i liked not saying they 100% succeeded in their adaptation but i liked it) but of course they could improve some parts if they wanted to(like pacing) so time for nitpicking. for example Archer’s convenient different “look” that helped him mask his identity always bugged me,(there is a reason for it like side effects of his Magecraft but I am not satisfied with stuff like this sadly, I rather if he had a burned face or had a mask) or one dimensional characters like Kuzuki(Caster’s master) or even Shinji (for example Shinji is also a tragic character, sadly he still lacks depth and is just In the story to ironically get manipulated by others and to piss you off). Now back to what I wrote earlier about the show being slow in the first season, it seems Ufotable’s faithful approach turned into a double edge blade for them. In this season the real deal starts only at the last episode, leaving the rest of important stuff for the second season and beside Shirou’s ideals getting discussed we only get to see a handful of events(that of course foreshadow stuff) and for those that only follow the anime it is hard to care for the stuff that happened. (granted Shirou already started growing in this season and there are some hints of what’s going on around already) Plus Ufotable tried to implement some of the comical scenes inside the atmosphere they created and in my opinion in that aspect they didn’t exactly succeed but the lighthearted scenes in the last episodes served it's purpose very well since it gave you the “calm before the storm” feeling and you actually see the start of that storm in that episode. Also while I understand that the three routes of novel are suppose to be seen as one story all together it is a shame that characters like Rider are not explored till the 3rd route. Last nitpick is the amount of all “I beat you but I won’t kill you” moments that got out of control in Fate/Stay Night. One could rename this as “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited -Can kill you but won’t- Works” Of course there are explanations for each(like characters having their own plan for later or because of their personality) but it doesn’t mean getting lots of these moments is a good thing since it can take away from the tension. But enough about the story and the characters, these are all things of the past and Ufotable is just trying to be faithful by following them and i liked some of the things Ufotable did that added to the whole experience. I just mentioned all these so the review feels complete.
The art is as fantastic as ever, while it feels there are no real improvements in the animation it feels this time around without the previous budget limitations the true potential was realized and overall we got treated with lots of impressive scenes and thankfully there was no sudden drop in quality unlike the temporarily one in Fate/zero. The character designs are faithful to the visual novel as well as expected although some of them like Rin felt a little strange at first. This time there is no fully 3D berserker like in Fate/zero so the 3D focus shifted toward Caster’s familiars and other small things (even Rin’s hair at one point at least). The old voice actors are also back again for another Fate ride and it is enjoyable to hear their voices again. Sadly I didn’t enjoy the Opening song of this season while I enjoyed the Ending song as I expected cause…Kalafina. About the music, While the music is good and the new composer Hideyuki Fukasawa tried so hard to be unique while staying true to previous material it didn’t feel as epic as it could be but there are lots of chances in the second season to make that right with all the emotional moments.(he already got one chance in the last episode and pulled it off at least to some extent)
Now time for building up more hype for the next season. Of course without a doubt the second season is gonna be one hell of a show and I am sure everyone is eager to see it. April 2012 is gonna be repeated all over again which is awesome.(again this time Caster class is responsible for the closing act) As for this season the production value and the attention to details really held it up and turned it into an epic ride for both old and new fans. A big thanks to Ufotable and Type-moon for entertaining us with this level of quality.
In 7th grade, I stumbled across the original Fate/stay night TV series produced by Studio DEEN and it was one of my favourite programmes at the time. It had magic, legendary heroes, action, and all that guff. Of course, I got older and I watched other shows that had way more to offer on that front so the original Fate/stay night didn't really hold up for me that well over time. In fact, I can't bring myself to sit through the original Fate/stay night series nowadays since there's so much wrong with it. Then enters ufotable, Type-Moon's best friend when it comes down to adaptations
promising us a fresh remake of Fate/stay night that actually adheres to the visual novel's story closer and with incredible visuals. Did they deliver? Well, I can't say that they lied because they gave us exactly what they promised. However, my expectations were shattered for the most part as I found out that the ufotable remake of Fate/stay night is basically identical to the Studio DEEN version (barring a few differences here and there).
ufotable's amazing production values can't mask the fact that Fate/stay night at large is mediocre and is still a lacklustre sequel to Fate/Zero (which I seriously need to get around to finishing). What's more is that the pacing across this season is absolutely appalling. Action-heavy episodes get followed up by mundane slice-of-life stuff, which never failed to kill my buzz as I was watching the show and what's more is that if you count the prologue (aka Episode 0), this show has TWO back-to-back episodes that are 45 minutes in length. I don't care what you have to say about this, it's NEVER a good idea to have two back-to-back episodes that are damn near an hour long. As someone who marathons the stuff he watches, this just made Fate/stay night much more tedious than it needed to be.
I'm sure that fans of the Fate series are gonna get at my throat for saying that I'm an idiot for expecting Fate/stay night to be anything like Fate/Zero. Well guess what? Fate/Zero is the prequel to Fate/stay night, and logic dictates that the sequel should at least hold up to its predecessor. Fate/stay night as a sequel to Fate/Zero is incredibly disappointing. Why? Well guess what? Fate/Zero was actually entertaining! There were high stakes, likeable characters, enthralling battles, and all that shit. Any time Fate/stay night comes anywhere close to being as entertaining as Fate/Zero was, there just HAS to be some mundane slice-of-life stuff to follow up the intense action and that just pisses me off to no possible end. Speaking of stuff that pisses me off, let's talk about Shirou and Tohsaka because they're the ones that I take umbrage with the most.
I understand that Shirou wants to be a hero and is on the idealistic side of the spectrum, but there's a way to do the whole "idealistic hero" concept properly WITHOUT turning your character into an insufferable idiot. Seriously, I don't think ANYONE who had a problem with this in the first series should disagree with me on this one. He's still an idiot who hasn't learned thus far that his ideals are NOT pragmatic whatsoever. He STILL insists on fighting Heroic Spirits whilst completely mortal and vulnerable, still insists of saving the lives of the few rather than looking at the big picture, etc. Come on, Shirou! Don't disgrace Kiritsugu's memory by not listening to one of his teachings. I understand that Fate/stay night is about Shirou, but I CANNOT stand the fact that he's thrust into situations where he should've logically died but then gets saved by Sabre/Tohsaka/Archer ex Machina or the guy/girl they're fighting decides to spare him because fuck it, why the hell not? I don't always mind plot armour, but Shirou just takes that shit to a whole new level. Hey writers, if you're going to do that kind of shit, DON'T FUCKING PUT HIM INTO SITUATIONS THAT ARE ALL BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO ESCAPE FROM!!!!! My suspension of disbelief can't take much more of this...
On the subject of Tohsaka, let's talk about her for a little bit. She's a tsundere in all the worst possible ways. She tried to kill Shirou three times, and yet she still blushes around him and wants to eat lunch with him. That alone should be more than enough to explain WHY she's such an infuriating character. I'm not the biggest fan of tsundere characters, and Tohsaka embodies all of the WORST possible tsundere traits that I've come to viscerally despise. If Tohsaka was a real person, she'd be committed to a mental institution because she's completely incapable of suppressing her homicidal tendencies toward the person that she apparently has a crush on. Tohsaka worst girl, Sabre best girl. That's the best way I can put it anyway. Can ANYONE explain to me why they like Tohsaka in the first place? I mean, she's far more competent than Shirou is but that's not really saying much.
I really wanted to like Fate/stay night, I really did. In fact, I started out really liking the show but as it kept going and the tedium just kept making itself more and more obvious, it just killed off any joy that I would've gotten from the show otherwise. Will I watch the second season? It's hard to say because on the one hand, the show could get better but on the other hand, it could just be more of the same, inconsistent bullshit. With that said, I don't hate Fate/stay night. There are plenty of other things out there that are worth my ire but Fate/stay night isn't one of them. I still do like the Fate series as a whole, and Fate/stay night is just fine as far as casual entertainment goes. However, the amount of praise this series gets never ceases to make me laugh raucously. Seriously, who the fuck in their right minds would think a porn game adaptation is a masterpiece? That's all for now, though. Feedback's always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace :)
Why is the FSN remake the savior of anime? Gee whiz, I hope the fan base ready their magic circuits and frap on their doushjins!
Over hyped as it pierced into the heavens, because Ufotable are going to re-animate so the action scenes look even more amazingly artificial and I thought it was just going to be cool action fiction thing with sprinkled anime archetypes but it ended up being stupid and pretentious.
Firstly, nothing is deeply complex of this show, there is a lack in themes or anything to think about because the show uses common story telling techniques to explain the known adventure. Nothing
seems “total” bullocks *cough* Zankyou no Terror *cough* with Shiro's obsession of kindness beyond natural human altruism was a bit odd but there was at least a decent explanation on why he became that way, though we found it a bit silly, it was way, way better than just either making it vague, or unreasonable.
However, this in turn makes the drama undramatic because no one really seems to develop as if Thosaka's nature was the Tsundere cliché, it never helps that this wasn't meant to be a cool action show, but we need more emphasis on giving this show higher value like making annoying Drama! As if the countless moments of Shiro just trying to further nail the fact: that his insane altruism forces him to help too many people and the viewers are supposed to sob and fear about this thought provoking theme because they presented it in an intense manner! There were character interactions and their trauma and their development and writers were trying too hard to make us sob and where sobbing so uber much! Oh every moment was on par with the trauma drama of Clannad and I am crying in heavenly tears!
Has anyone killed each other for the sake of progressing the plot? No not the making random gore-fest moments that was redeemed laughable, but for the plot to move onwards, why the hell is no one trying to kill each other already?! Oh, Caster managed to lure our heroes to her trap and does she take this perfect chance to kill them? If Caster has uber hack powers from the gathering of so many corpses, wouldn’t that mean she can negate the magic to any of the Grail War participants? Its not like there were any flaws in that power (like over I don't know - over draining her mana) which practically as she was the only standing servant with her master meant that she wins the holy grail war within one episode, and actually “End!” The series!
To be honest, Ufotable's signature animation does'nt really appeal to me. It felt like they were simply throwing money like garbage just to blend and put so much CGI on to the hand drawn sections, that it makes everything feel more man-made and that there is nothing natural about it. Too much lighting made the wood look like plastic, and the action scenes looked holy sick.
Do you know what happens when you cross breed a maid and a knight and Shiro? You get Saber! Being the most overrated character in existence, her personality all comes down to being as loyal as a retard and respecting anyone. She is basically knight stereotype with boobs! Why are we still worshiping her?!
I'm not a very good writer, sorry if I'm not able to properly articulate my exact feelings on the show.
The art/animation is outstanding. Nothing really to say here. The one failing moment was their attempt at CG water during some of the scenes with Caster.
The sound track was a near copy of Fate/Zero. It would have been more appropriate to invent new songs. Instead we see recycling of old ones. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it would have been nice to have something entirely new for a new show.
The characters are were this starts to fall apart. Excluding the fact that each conversation
feels like a quick-time event, the 2 main characters Rin & Emiya lack proper depth. And by "proper" I mean something that is believable. It's one thing for a character to have flaws, it's a whole other for them to do something entirely out of character. They also have a tendency to "flicker" characters. We see them once at some random point, then never again. Or maybe a quick cameo. What happened to lancer? Who cares! What's berserker up to? Lol, like that even matters. It's fine if you don't evenly distribute attention to each character, but that's not what's happening here. This is simply ignoring something potentially interesting so we can watch Emiya spout his hero of justice thing again. His inner conflict is largely uninteresting as it has no real moral conundrum to it.
There were around 10 battles/fights in this season. More then half of them end with a nonsensical retreat from the winning side. The first time this happens (with Rin) I disregard it. The second time, okay a little odd. But by the time we get near the end of the season and it's still happening I can't help but laugh at it's ludicrousness. There's such powerful plot armor around Emiya nothing feels even remotely threatening.
The story was what really kill this for me. I fear that if I were to properly explain it I'd get angry and it wouldn't be worth it. What pisses me off the most is the inconsistencies. Sure, if you're a 12 year old you won't notice them, but anyone who has experience with plot interpretation would be banging their head near the end of the season.
Objectively this is probably a 6/10. It's an above amazing animation with below average characters and plot resulting in a slightly above average anime as a whole.
If you like super flashy fight scenes and awkward facial expressions this anime is for you.
If you're looking for complex character interactions and ideals that make you think you might want to skip this one.
"I am the bone of my sword -- steel is my body and fire is my blood"
If you have so much as set a single foot into the anime community since 2006, you have most likely heard of the Fate series by now. And even though its first anime adaptation (Modeled after the TypeMoon visual novel) propelled it down a critically ignored hill of decency, the series has come a very long way.
Following the success of Fate/Zero, the prequel and first story in the Fate universe, studio ufotable announced that it was going to reinvent the original TV series. However, this time it would follow
the route of Rin Tohsaka as opposed to the Saber version of the story. Needless to say, ufotable once again paints a beautiful image of exactly how the story of Fate should be depicted, while at the same time, adding new bits and pieces to renew the interest that readers of the visual novel once held in regards to the series.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works follows both the aforementioned Rin Tohsaka (Smoking hot super-mage) as well as Shirou Emiya (Redheaded not-so-super mage guy). The two are tossed into a battle that occurs once every few centuries, in which seven mages each summon a "Servant" of a particular class in order to help them attain the legendary Holy Grail. However, the grail can not be obtained until only one mage is left alive.
Unlimited Blade Works does an outstanding job blending action with the dark undertones of mortality, as well as friendship, betrayal, and the struggle of growing up and making the right decisions. Bloodshed paves the way to a new beginning (Or end) for each person fighting for the grail. Your attention will be fixed to the screen for literally every second of your time spent with this installment of Fate. Each episode's ending is overflowing with suspense, essentially beckoning you to spend more time with the show. In order to better describe what's in store for you, allow me to break this show up into a few key components.
As always, ufotable brings you an onslaught of up and coming J-Pop/Rock artists, while bringing back the ones viewers loved from Fate/Zero (LiSA/Kalafina). And shall you make it to the final episode, a special surprise is in store for those who watched the first anime or played the VN. Never in my life have I had as many chills as I did hearing Disillusion come on as this first part of this story came to a close. It was like being hit by a literally tangible wave of nostalgia. And on top of the music, the original voice cast from the 2006 production returns once again. But this time, they are stronger and more emotional than ever. No complaints from me this time.
I've always had a soft spot for the characters in the Fate universe. In fact, Rin is constantly fighting for the number one spot as my favorite character in all of anime every time she speaks. Each mage has a motive and ideals that keep them going as they put their life on the line for the entire duration of the show. Each servant is based on a historical icon (Fiction and non-fiction) that even history lovers would enjoy. They each bring to the table a so-called "Noble Phantasm," accentuating a certain aspect of their past -- something that made them into icons. Even the characters you will wind up disliking are complex in their own ways. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the cast of the Fate series is the best cast in all of anime. And for that reason, they attain the highest possible score from me in this category.
ufotable is quickly becoming known for their beautiful artwork. People all over message-boards and forums in the anime community have even been talking and gossiping about their budgeting for a while now, considering they consistently deliver some of the best art to date. Fight scenes are easy to follow, but at the same time a spectacle composed of vivid color and speed rivaling that of a Boeing 747. Character design in spot-on and landscapes are a huge improvement from the prior production of Fate/Stay Night, as well as looking nearly identical to its prequel, Fate/Zero. Each image is not only captivating, but refreshing in knowing that there is a studio out there who is able to deliver beauty on such a consistent level. Once again, no complaints from me.
TypeMoon has no qualms with telling dark stories. In fact, they love it. They build up each character almost perfectly and give them all their own time to stand in the spotlight. Character development is omnipresent and viewers go into each episode with open jaws and clenched fists, hoping their favorite master will come out on top. The Unlimited Blade Works route, which in my opinion is the weakest of the three different arcs, even comes out as mesmerizing. The story simply can't go wrong -- it just needed a studio who would be able to make everything else just as remarkable. It doesn't suffer from the same sporadic pacing issues that the 2006 Fate suffered from. ufotable picked a route and they stuck to it, adding many new flavors and new reasons to watch the series along the way.
There's always a shining star every anime season to emerge on top of its rivals. For Fall 2014, that show is Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. It closes the season with a bang and is already climbing the charts on various sites for "Highest rated show". It most likely won't wind up at the very top, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it was executed perfectly and deserves the score I am about to give it.
Unlimited Blade Works picks back up for its second cours in April 2015. I'm looking forward to it more than you can imagine. You should be too.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) is the most misleading anime since Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, but instead of pretending to be a moe slice of life, it pretends to be a generic shounen. If you've only seen Fate/zero so far then you're most likely to be mislead and be disappointed, if you've read the visual novel then you're probably one of the many people who praise it like it's the second coming of Christ.
Cutting to the chase, this adaption of Fate/stay night is finally a faithful one, which is to 've expected from studio Ufotable. The dialogue has many hints about the protagonist's
true worldviews as well as other characters such as Archer. The story has a good pace that allows the viewer to question many things about, such as: why didn't Archer immediately attack Lancer when Rin was "in danger", how Archer know Saber from his past?, why does Saber not act as mature as she did in Fate/zero? why are there two of Rin's jewel that she used to save Shirou? why does Archer's ideals resemble those of Kiritsugu? why does Shirou blindly follow ideals that he might not believe in? what is the lesser grail and the greater grail? how exactly was Rider killed? how does Caster's master fight so well when he isn't a mage?
The character development is mostly lacking, there are mainly subtle hints about certain characters and their true worldviews, but other than that, most of the development lies on the second half. Just like many people, I also hated Shirou at first, but by the end of Unlimited Blade Works he will be very tolerable and slightly likable, however, you must see the sequel Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel in order to complete the story, discover the truth about Angra Mainyu, and even see Shirou become a mature and formidable badass.
The art and sound is easily the best I've heard on any nime tv series, there's a good reason people call this show "Unlimited Budget Works", but even without the animation quality, this series is gold and should not be missed by those who want a deep and compelling story that requires major attention and a bit of thinking to truly enjoy.
Take note that I don't play the visual novels and don't completly know the universe of this anime.
To be honest, I had high hopes for this anime after watching Fate/Zero but in the end I was underwhelmed because this anime is a big stepdown from the entertainment that Fate/Zero gave me.
The same as the story of Fate/Zero where mages would fight to the death with summoned familiars or "Heroic Spirits". The problem here is that the story is inconsistent in its pacing where 1 episode would be action packed and progressive and the next one would be boring talk about terms and history of this
This is where this anime really excells at. Art is simply amazing with every movement fluid and natural that it looks like you are watching an anime movie. My only complain is they use cgi models on some of the monsters summoned in fights which looks really weird and off for me.
Pretty much a step down for me since I really don't find anyone interesting except for archer. The whole anime pretty much focuses on the development of Rin and Shirou and it almost completly forgets the other characters after introducing them in 1 episode. Nothing really bad about that except those two are fairly generic where one is a tsundere and the other the goody two shoes guy with naive morals and bad decision making.
Another thing that is bad is the portrayal of saber. In Fate/Zero she was presented a tragic king with troubled morals/beliefs but in this anime she is nothing more than Shirou's bodyguard with a really shallow personality.
Sound is great with everything in sync with the the movements/actions in the anime and it also has some catchy music.
The anime is slow and boring at times during its run because of the overly long talks which makes me question sometimes if I am watching shonen or slice of life, but it is really good when the plot finally progresses to the fight scenes
All in all this anime is still entertaining to watch if you are a fan of shonen anime.