**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS**
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.