If there is a word that every anime fan knows, it might be “Fate,” adapted from the hugely beloved visual novel Type-Moon. The franchise has been around for ten years. In 2006, an anime adaptation was released by Studio DEEN to adapt the visual novel. It featured characters from the series, but there was controversy over the actual adaptation.
The Unlimited Blade Works movie was released four years later. Still, it ran for less than two hours in a futile attempt to tune the Unlimited Blade Works route. Thankfully, Ufotable has decided to step on the record and deliver what fans want – a faithful adaptation of the TV series medium’s line. The series runs well over two hours, with the finale extending to twice the length of one episode.
So, in a way, the series can indirectly be considered to have over a dozen episodes in total (A total of 17 episodes, including episode 0). Episode 0 presents the story from Rin’s point of view. Rather in the series, which does not include episode 0, we are introduced to a young man named Shirou Emiya. This TV series has taken the route known as “Unlimited Blade Works” with great anticipation.
Fate/Stay Night-Unlimited Blade Works Characters
Shirou Emiya is the main protagonist of the Fate/Stay Night Series. He is a teenage magus who is also the master of Saber (One of the Servants). He is also the younger self of EMIYA (Archer, one of the seven Servants). He wishes to become the ‘Hero of Justice’ who shall protect everyone regardless of his own.
Rin Tohsaka is one of the three main girls in the series in Fate/Stay Night Series. She is the Master of Archer CLass (EMIYA). She is from one of the top families except for the Makiri and Einzbern families, who helped start the Holy Grail Wars. Rin is very competitive and, at times, serious because of this, we see her turning into a yandere or a tsundere from time to time.
Artoria Pendragon (Class name: Saber) has been dubbed the King of Knights, also referred to as Arthur Pendragon/King Arthur. She is the Servant of Kiritsugi Emiya during the Fourth Holy Grail War and Shirou Emiya during the Fifth Holy Grail War. She is a strong-willed woman for whom even the hunger of the Holy Grail can not make her break her code of honor.
EMIYA, the class name Archer, is a Servant of Rin Tohsaka’s Archer during the 5th Holy Grail War in Fate/Stay Night. He is the future self of Shirou Emiya from an alternate timeline where he made a deal with the world (Alaya) in order to become one of the heroic spirits (Servants).
Fate/Stay Night-Unlimited Blade Works Plot
The story takes place in Fuyuki City – Surrounded by sea and mountains. The city serves as the stage for an ancient ceremony. Seven Heroic Spirits selected by the Holy Grail are given to the seven Masters in order to bring forth the legendary Holy Grail that grants any one wish of its owner.
The story goes about tossing a boy (Shirou Emiya) into the Holy Grail War (Armageddon between Masters, modern individuals commanding each servant) and Servants (summoned beings from the past) to attain the Grail.
This was supposed to be a life-and-death tragedy but eventually turns into a harem-based storyline at many points in the series. For many episodes, we can see Shirou and Rin fighting and having petty conversations. Very less is contributed about the Holy Grail War as saving the relationship is more important, if compared to the other Fate series.
In the Fifth Holy Grail War, Rin Tohsaka is one of the mages who participate in the tournament to attain the Holy Grail. Together with her servant Archer, she hopes to obtain the ultimate prize: the Holy Grail, a magical artifact that grants the bearer’s every wish.
One of Rin’s classmates, Shirou Emiya, accidentally enters the tournament and ends up commanding a subordinate named Saber. Faced with mutual enemies, Rin and Shirou decide to form a temporary alliance while challenging their enemies in the Holy Grail War. The series starts as the viewers are introduced to our two protagonists Shirou Emiya and Rin Tohsaka.
As they fight, we also get to know about their motivation to attain the Holy Grail. At the beginning of the series, the viewers will be bombarded with a lot of information and will have to process more eventually as more events unfold with watching the series.
In our hour-and-a-half introduction, we learn that the two have something in common, having lost their fathers during or shortly after the events of Fate/Zero and carrying on their respective legacies. As the battle over the Holy Grail comes to fruition, Shirou is killed by Lancer, apparently one of the other heroic spirits, and is quickly resurrected by Rin.
After this, he wakes up to have a contract sealed with Saber. This is the same gender King Arthur that his father Kiritsugu worked with in the events of Fate/Zero. Then on, a legitimate threat is introduced in the form of a girl named Illyasviel and her Servant Berserker – a seemingly immortal towering madman.
A legitimate existential threat, Berserker easily surpassed Archer’s and Saber’s efforts and was quickly crowned best fighter in the War by both Rin and Archer. However, this climax is premature as the rest of the plot becomes mundane.
While it’s interesting to see Shirou hilariously interacting with his friends while Rin investigates the other Masters and Shirou roams around as Saber chases him around town, the plot does not seem particularly interesting anywhere.
Then we’re introduced to Caster, and she summoned Spirit Assassin, who rivals Saber. While we see Berserker in action and always wanting more, the series continues to focus on Caster’s plans as an attempt to tap into the life force of various citizens.
But the introduction falls short of what she actually plans for the world through the Holy Grail. It soon becomes clear that the series needs to focus on EMIYA (Archer), as he immediately tries to kill Shirou and even betrays Rin as a master just to kill Shirou Emiya.
The next part of the series literally goes off to introducing Shinji and his killing in the school in order to get more mana for himself to maintain the avatar of his Servant (Rider). As soon as it starts, the arc ends with Rider being the first casualty of the War. During this, we can see Rin and Shirou starting to get a bit romantic.
Though unrelated to the visual novel and a bit disconnected from the story, it is well-earned. After that, we go on to see many more well-animated fight scenes with awesome sound effects and visuals. We also see the story proceed another Gilgamesh and his fight in the end with Shirou at the end of the series.
As mentioned earlier, the series has many variations. What that means is a balance of mood and pacing that makes the series work. Yes, there are secrets behind the events of the show. Yes, there are also measures to maintain momentum. Then there are works with slice-of-life moments.
Taking place in a high school setting, the series finds time to bring comedy and even realism to what could be an all-around action movie. It doesn’t just tell the story. It shows how the main characters live with other people. The series is made all the more interesting, given that the Servants and the Masters aren’t exactly alike in terms of ideology.
This show proves the point of creating relationships between the characters in the story. There is a slight chemistry between certain characters, like Shirou and Saber, Shirou and Rin. There is also the mystery of a mysterious blonde young man who appears several times in the series. And mystery might end up being an overused word.
Then there are the more engaging moments as well, as some tense scenarios focus on Shirou’s own personal perspective. There’s no question that he’s getting closer to Saber, and the show shows that with little packets of clues rather than overt fatal attraction. Rather, treat it like a player in the game, as a setup for all the major characters built into the series. Because honestly, the winner takes it all in this holy War.
Overall the anime adaptation of the visual novel may not be perfect, but it may get as close to it as it can. The animation was beautiful and did not fall short at any point in time. The sound design and the story writing were also spot on.
The only parts that were annoying were the mysteries that were being created a lot and not explained and the mid-arc, which was very slow-paced. If Ufotable decided to cut some characters and add some more details, the sad parts of the series might get a bit covered, which would make it less irritating.
Our Rating: ⭐ (4.2/5).