Nov 8, 2019
-Frost- (All reviews)
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works is a prime example of a show hyped up to oblivion to the point of making you think it’s more than what it actually is; A simple, generic “battle shounen” that masquerades itself as something grander.

So, let’s start off with the positives first! ... Ok, let’s go to the negati-I’m obviously just kidding. Barring a few instances of bad implementation of cgi; UBW’s visuals and especially animation are great! The animation is slick, fluid and very well made while paying very close attention to detail; simple things such as a character’s hair moving or important things like the way a punch lands, are done in a way which really makes them feel authentic and realistic. All this only serves to complement the stunning look of the show that is also chock- full of detail and care. As much as I dislike the characters themselves(will get to this later), I absolutely love the character designs in fate. Each character really feels distinctive and different from one an another while having this visual flair to them that makes them unforgettable(from a visual standpoint of course lol).

The sound doesn’t disappoint and only serves to complement the art and showcase why this show is a technical marvel on both fronts; art and animation. The sound track, composed by the famous Yuki kajiuara, is fantastic and perfectly fits the show and enhances every single scene! The voice acting is also great! Each voice actor perfectly captures their respective character while showcasing their personality through their voices alone. Sugiyama Noriki especially helped capture shiro’s stupidity as he mindlessly followed his retarded ideals for the duration of the show. Suwabe Junnichi also performed exceptionally as Archer, and helped encapsulate his complex and dark personality while perfectly presenting his occasional kind and caring side. The sound design was a bit... inconsistent. Sometimes the sound didn’t really match the epic sword fighting! When 2 swords clashed, the sound would either come 1 and even sometimes 2 seconds later which really took away from the immersion and just felt really unnatural. Fortunately, when there was no delay, the sound was perfect and carefully constructed to fit the great animation, and just like the animation, it also payed very close attention to detail and made things as minuscule as characters footsteps feel as real as humanly possible.

Ok, so from what we’ve covered so far; we can probably establish that the show is great from a technical standpoint... So, what about the rest? Spoilers: The rest is bad... VERY BAD. First, some backstory! If you haven’t seen the show yet; Fate UBW is part of the humongous fate franchise. Fate is centered around the holy grail war, where masters and their servants are tasked with fighting each other in a life or death survival game for you guessed it... THE HOLY GRAIL! The grail shall grant both the winning master and servant one wish. This is where our lovable, intelligent protagonist Shiro comes in! Shiro is an insanely boring person. He has the personality of wet toilet paper, the depth of an empty garbage can, and the intelligence of a monkey; eh, the last part might be going a bit too far... That would be too insulting towards monkeys tbh LOL. Shiro is a very idealistic person or more accurately he wants to fulfill his previous caretaker’s goal of wanting to save everyone that he ultimately stopped believing in. Well, what’s exactly wrong with that...? EVERYTHING! You cannot save everyone! That is physically impossible! You are practically dooming yourself to something you know you can’t do, but still proceed to do because you are a complete buffoon. This ties in to some of the main themes of UBW; is it worth following your ideals even when you know that they are impracticable? Is it worth being betrayed by your ideals time and time again? NO, IT IS NOT! Archer, the servant of Rin, another contestant in this deadly holy grail war is polar opposite of shiro. He disagrees with this ridiculous idea, and attempts to beat it out of shiro, but of course shiro doesn’t falter and sticks to his ideals to the end and yada yada, fuck this show.

I can’t buy a romantic relationship in any medium if I’m not provided a reason as to why the two sides like each other; I just can’t and that’s another issue that PLAGUES UBW. I like Rin... I dig her “I don’t care about you, b-Baka!” Tsundere approach! Couple that with her stunning, unique character design and sorta intriguing backstory and you get a pretty interesting character. Unfortunately, the writers were hell bent on fucking her up somehow, so they decided to make her fall for Shiro! And better yet, she likes him for NO REASON WHATSOEVER! She’s arguably the hottest girl in the whole damn city, let alone school; why does she exactly like that clown? The chemistry between is what you’d expect from a “clueless dork meets hot tsundere who secretly likes him”, they just boil down to them sometimes taking jabs at each other(mostly rin easing shiro) and just messing around; THAT TAKES US TO OUR NEXT PROBLEM!

It’d be one thing if they messed around sometimes, but they do it to the point where that’s the show! Remember the epic holy grail war pitting masters and their servants against each other? That takes a backseat to the high school rom-com bullshit that legitimately adds nothing to the characters or story; it’s just fan service, that’s all it is. They instead could have focused on progressing the plot which was practically non existent barring the “battles” that occurred every once in a while. Notice I put “ “, since calling them that would be a huge disservice to any battle oriented show. Here’s how the battles in UBW are structured like: Firstly, They stumble upon a servant and or their master, then a fight is initiated and which contain some of the most mouth watering animation to date, they talk about their philosophy and ideals for 500 hours, then the battle ends prematurely with one of the 2 sides giving a bullshit, retarded reason like “You’re so interesting, I want to leave you for later” or the classic “You’re so strong, killing you now would be a waste” since the writers are spineless cowards who need to pull these garbage excuses out of their ass because... THEY CANNOT WRITE! Another major gripe I have with these battles is how Shiro, who has literally 0 fighting experience whatsoever is able to get in the middle of them without being so as much as scathed. He’s always somehow saved by some convenient, last minute character appearance, like when Rin conveniently found and proceeded to revive him at the start of the show. I could write a fucking college thesis length paper on all the times Shiro avoided his impending doom through deux ex machina ass pull bs, but we would be here all day; so I digress.

“Show don’t tell” is something that the Japanese just don’t get. Anime is supposed to be a visual medium that’s main purpose is to tell a story through visuals, but most shows have the characters lay out their motivations and whatnot in meticulous detail in the form of inner monologues or in fate’s case through endless dialogue. Unfortunately for us, this practice is multiplied by 883838383 in fate. It removes the fun out of letting the audience interpret how each character feels and acts through visuals and just spoon feeds us the information through tedious dialogue that consists of the characters telling each other how they see the world and why they do what they do, instead of them JUST FUCKING FIGHTING! So we must endure Shiro telling us for the 9383933 time about his ideals just Incase we didn’t get it the first time because god forbid us actually getting and well crafted and well told survival battle plot instead!

Out of all the points that UBW falters at, the worst by far are how it handles its characters. Characters are practically forgotten about for large durations of the show, eventually brought back and given depressing backstories only to be swiftly killed; all at a pathetic attempt at making the audience cry. Well, on the bright side, at least they’re not completely forgotten about like some are for the sole that it isn’t their route! Yes, they appear for 3 episodes and they just stop appearing for no real reason other than story does not require their presence; that’s it LOL; what a fucking joke. The prominent figures who are supposed to be major parts of the show are either given half assed backstories that really tell us nothing about them! Like one character is evil and only cares about herself for the whole show, and when we’re given a flashback; it only serves to reaffirm that while not really giving us much information other than some remnants of her past, but who gives a fuck lol. Or they’re not given one at all and we don’t know anything about them whatsoever! Remember the legendary Saber?! Yea, she’s now part of Shiro’s ever fucking growing harem and is treated like an absolute joke for the whole show! Lack of intriguing information surrounding a character, leads to lack of interest; couple that with their mostly bland personalities and you get an overwhelming cast of characters. There’s obviously a gripping story that’s set to be told and great characters ready to be explored, but the show just doesn’t do nearly enough in both departments to get to that level while suffering from my next point.

It’s not intellectually stimulating nor does it contain enough battles to be branded as a battle shounen nor does it have enough cutesy rom-com moments to be tied to that, then what exactly is it? It’s just an awkwardly put together mix of the three that suffers from clear identity issues; it doesn’t know what it exactly wants to be. What exactly is the problem with that, you may ask? When It tries putting focus on each component, each one suffers the more it focuses on the other; which probably means that it would’ve just been better off sticking to one... Hey, maybe the visual novel is better? What can I say for sure is; this is a major flop as an anime. 4/10.