After a mysterious inferno kills his family, Shirou is saved and adopted by Kiritsugu Emiya, who teaches him the ways of magic and justice.
One night, years after Kiritsugu's death, Shirou is cleaning at school, when he finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly encounter between two superhumans known as Servants. During his attempt to escape, the boy is caught by one of the Servants and receives a life-threatening injury. Miraculously, he survives, but the same Servant returns to finish what he started. In desperation, Shirou summons a Servant of his own, a knight named Saber. The two must now participate in the Fifth Holy Grail War, a battle royale of seven Servants and the mages who summoned them, with the grand prize being none other than the omnipotent Holy Grail itself.
Fate/stay night follows Shirou as he struggles to find the fine line between a hero and a killer, his ideals clashing with the harsh reality around him. Will the boy become a hero like his foster father, or die trying?
Just finished this show a couple of moments ago, the hype I got before watching this was IMENSE, but after sitting trough it all I can definitely see where it comes from... for the better and the worse.
I will refrain myself from commenting on the show before I give my view on specific issues. I will try my best to refrain myself from spoilers, but rest assured, some will exist SO if you didn`t watch it yet you are better jumping straight to my conclusion.
In simple words it’s GORGEOUS. If you take into account it’s from 2006 it gets even better, surely nothing that year
can get remotely close to it, and even for today standard’s it is top notch, specially on the color pallet department.
The backgrounds, the CGI, the still animations, the fight sequences... everything clicks beautifully, but what really shines are the character designs and the color employed on the scenes.
This show is definitely worth HD (I got the THORA release) and I wouldn`t settle for anything lower then 720p, it really deserves it.
I`ve tried my best to find issues with the sound, but to put it simple it’s not bad at all!
The songs are catchy in their own merits and somewhat memorable. They do come off occasionally on the wrong scenes but for the most of the time they are spot on.
Aside the soundtrack, the sound effects are also ok and fit the scenes they take part into.
The voice acting is also pretty well done, and I would like to add a special note that the English and German segments are amongst the best I have ever seen in an anime (as cheesy as they might be).
This show reeks ambition so much it ended up being smacked down by the usual budget / time frame reality, and this is the part where we feel it the worse.
More than once I felt like I needed a manual to watch the show and it wasn`t included. Terms they use all the time never get explained and this gets in the way of understanding stuff every now and then, it’s quite annoying and you have to put up some effort to understand stuff based solo on the sentence context.
The arc`s are well staged, but again the lack of proper treating and over ambitious director leave us with some problems. It is aggravating that some important stuff that happens later on have to rely on quick flashbacks to pack any meaning and even then the results are quite bad.
This gets the most aggravating when we deal with relationships between characters, but I will write about that on the latter topic.
Overall the story is nice and has a tremendous amount of care to it, sadly the director didn`t have time to fulfill all he had in mind and it suffers a lot from it. If I had to pinpoint what areas suffered more I would have to say the romance. The action can carry itself pretty well due to the beautiful visuals and the drama focus on the “sacrifice” aspect most shounens drag from so no biggie, but the romantic relationships between Shirou and Saber are awkward to say the least, and his relation with Rin and Sakura are simply “deleted” from the plot halfway through for no apparent reason!
All the characters are well made. They all have distinct traits, they all have particular looks, they all have background, objective and dept, but the problem is most of the time this is all crammed up so much it end up not living to the expectations.
I could go on in this subject for hours, but instead of pointing out how obviously Saber lack proper introduction about her past, or how Shirou desperately needed some more development and diversity or even how some characters like Sakura disappear from the plot after a few episodes (and we actually miss the continuation) I will just use my favorite character as an example, Rin.
Rin is an astonishing character that actually carry the show trough its worse moments all by herself, but the lack of episodes this show is plagued with (it deserved at least another season) makes some of her most interesting aspects lack and most of her relationships with other characters underdeveloped.
Why does she care so much about Sakura? Is the preach a fatherly figure to her? Does she love Shirou? I really wish all these aspects where developed, but instead they throw a few flashbacks and rush everything out to the point they don`t make the slightest sense and hurt the otherwise REALLY cool character she is.
Even her relationship with archer is crammed up to the point he barely shows his face and 5 episodes latter they kill him and we are supposed to care?! And that is another major issue, the servants have NO development AT ALL so all the cool traits they own are wasted since we don`t know who they are, why they fight for or even their origin... we don`t even get introductions to them it’s just sad.
Value/Enjoyment & Conclusion
From the moment the show start to the end its quite clear the director set the standard on the stratosphere but sadly got smacked down by reality mid way through it. Either lack of budget, lack of time or both the fact is, most of the show builds such a tremendous hype around itself and sadly don’t live up to it leaving many shortcomings by the end.
I do however congratulate the director for taking the hard route and abiding itself for making a complete show instead of a “first part” that would never seen an end. Still, it hurts to see so much potential being left untouched.
I would say this show is really worth for people that like the genre, this IS a shounen after all, and even though it have many qualities that deviate from the standard and make it different, the typical affair is all here… like people never EVER getting killed, the main weak protagonist with untapped potential and the usual good = good | bad = bad ordeal where every good guy is a saint and every bad guy have snake eyes, do rough voices and have a satanic smile… so it does tick all the boxes for the standard show.
Now for other people that are not all that into shounen, I would still highly recommend this but with a warning, you WILL get disappointed. This anime was destined to be a masterpiece but it faced shortcomings that hindered expectations in every possible way. This would’ve been bad on a regular show, but the amount of greatness this anime reeks is unparalleled and this just make it all the bitter.
Fate/Stay Night is a bit of a sore spot for me. It's the first time I ever sat down, giddy to watch a certain series and came away scratching my head thinking "this is what all the commotion was about?" But in all fairness, Fate/Stay Night is not a terrible anime, just a very overrated one.
The story takes place in modern-day Japan, revolving around a boy named Shirou Emiya and has reluctant participation in a city-wide battle royale known as the Holy Grail War. While this sounds like a shounen set-up, Fate is rather talkative. Scratch that, Fate is way too talkative for its own
good. Boring and pointless conversations about ideals and the ethics of battle get put up front in the first half and the action the premise attempts to indicate is shoved to the background. Fortunately for those of you who turned in for the super-powered free-for-alls, you won't be disappointed too much. There are a handful of extravagant fights, but only a handful.
The second half does its best to reward patient viewers with impressive revelations, some good twists, and an amped-up focus on the war rather than on whether its okay to fight in the war. Unfortunately in its quest to make up for all it wasted early on, Fate ultimately burns out and fizzles through the last few episodes, which unfortunately are constructed to make us think this is some kind of grand climax.
The cast runs the gamut from expendable to enjoyable. Those who watch will surely take not of complacent victim-turned-mage Shirou who does nothing but whine and whine and whine some more for 12 episodes. This is not a biased complaint. He really does complain about his situation that much. He does grow past this, but not enough to prove he's entirely past that part of himself. His servant, Saber, is hardly any better. The silent type for the majority of the series, she does not provide much for conflict or relationships. She's there and she occasionally fights.
The real stars though have to be Rin and Archer. Rin originally serves as an antagonist to Shirou and her blatantly in-your-face personality and no-nonsense attitude gives this series a much needed and appreciated shot of energy. More so, she's one of the more interesting characters, especially when her past is later called into question. Her servant, Archer, is mostly famous for one particular episode, but the episode demonstrates enough of his ability and a revelation about his identity which enables the series to be seen from a second parallel perspective. If it weren't for them, I'd probably have dropped this a few eps in.
Art is often heavy-handed, especially with uses of light and shadow. Both are incredibly exaggerated at all times, often for dramatic purposes, but it only serves to annoy and makes the series look cheaper than it should. The series often cuts corners with long scenery pans, especially in the first part of the series. Fight scenes that aren't interrupted often show where the animation budget went for the series. They're extravagant and jaw-dropping, but only a minute or two each and then the energy drops off once more.
Character designs stay true to the game, inventive and hinting at future revelations. You can tell a lot of time and effort went into them and it shows in spades.
Sound had a few bright points, but it was often unmemorable. Voice work was standard, and the theme music was just below great.
As I mentioned in the beginning, Fate/Stay Night left me wondering what all the commotion was about. It's a very uneven series that shows rays of hope often, but never capitalizes on any of their finer moments. Even more irritating, it never expands on revelations and expects you to go play the game if you want the full story. It's a 24 episode series with an animation budget for 12 episodes and a story that could have been 39 episodes long. You do the math.
This has to be one of the best animes I have seen a while. This review may come out a bit biased as I just finished the series and remain blown away by it. Fate/Stay Night (F/SN) is a seinen about a magical war between 7 magi and their powerful servants who were great heroes and demigods from across time. The Heroes are all mythological figures which give background to their motivation although only the main character\'s servant is ever fully explored. The story lacks in that regard but can be easily supplemented through wikipedia. The message of the story was clear by the end
and even though the ending is a bit tragic, it leaves you feeling content. (Although at the time of this review I\'m feeling a bit of depression at its ending. I was so enthralled by F/SN that I watched it in a relatively short period of time.) The animation fits the premise. The premise resembles that of a shounen. Magicians summoning warriors of different classes reminds oneself of pokemon, digimon, shaman king but unlike those child friendly examples death occurs in the series, servants albeit not a true corporeal form shed blood and are injured similiar to the master\'s themselves. Nudity is shown although not explicitly so (subject to opinion.) The servant themselves are not the typical mindless machinations or friendly buddies. Servants only serve their master because they have a common goal, to win the Holy Grail. It looks like a typical shounen epic except I never noticed any of the mistakes that comes with cutting corners. With the short ratio of boys to girls, one can mistake some scenes for a harem comedy but this may be a result of F/SN\'s roots as an ero-type game. Except for a very few instances, nudity or scantily clad attire is practically non-existent and do not adversely affect the plot. I enjoyed the music, j-pop/rock, and none the seiyu were out of place in the sub. I couldn\'t give this a perfect on character design because there were times when the actions of a character felt unjustified in the way it was portrayed but it may have been because they were fitting a much larger story into a small 24 episode series. So the character design in the anime leaves you with questions but they\'re easily answered thanks to the background of the series. As mentioned before I was enthralled by this series and enjoyed it so much I blew through it. I\'ll end up buying it when I have the time to watch it again and I recommend this title to those who like action, romance and a little meaning. Also take it down a notch if you dislike blood and pig-headed heroes.
In an earlier review, Bluesnow talked about how despite being a good anime, F/SN has a tradition of being overrated. I pretty much agree with this sentiment. This is a good anime, but it definitely has plenty of areas that could be improved.
The plot of this series, is to be honest, pretty horrible. It's extremely linear, it's pretty boring, and there isn't really very much in terms of plot twists or suspense. And what little they had, which was more towards the end of the series, was executed rather badly with bad pacing and ass pulls galore. In mitigation, this was likely caused by
the developers buckling under the twin strains of running out of budget and having to merge the three different scenarios from the visual novel together. However, it's still bad.
The saving grace of the series lies, frankly, outside. The backstory, the concepts dealt with, the underlying metaplot, the thoughts provoked - fantastic is an understatement. Sadly, in order to be able to enjoy this, reading the Visual Novel is a must. The anime simply did not have enough time to cram in all of the information, resulting in a jumbled mess.
Another strong point of this series lay in the characters. Every single character positively exudes personality - from just hearing one line, you can basically pinpoint which character it is from. However, this is coming after I've read the Visual Novel, and also all the associated mythologies of the characters. If just watching the anime itself with no prior knowledge, the Servants can be a bit... one-sided. The thing you have to remember is that you're *supposed* to know the characters beforehand, and that the development present is an expansion on preexisting perceptions of these characters.
However, there's one exception to the strong characterization - the main character. Given that this was an adaptation from an eroge (hardly a medium known for strong main characters), you wouldn't really expect much of Shirou. However, Shirou does not possess the usual blank self-insert personality typical of eroge protagonists. Quite the opposite, in fact. He has an extremely strong personality, and it's grating to the extreme. There are plenty of times where you wish you could just slap the damn child out of him, and unfortunately, the scenario where that *does* happen was not animated.
Animation quality was extremely well done, with a clean art style that's extremely refreshing, and well animated fight sequences. Sadly, this tended to suffer near the end of the series as the animators ran out of budget.
Sound is a non-sequitter. Nothing really stands out, nothing's really bad.
In conclusion, Fate/Stay Night has a marvelous backstory, beautiful characters, and a mediocre plot. In trying to shake things up from the Visual Novel, the director appears to have set too high a bar for himself to attain, running beyond the limits of himself and the budget. While the animated medium makes for a much better flow of story than the Visual Novel, which had shaking pacing at best, in the end it fell prey to the pitfall of no money.