I was mistaken in the previous review. The action scene I thought we would be getting today has been postponed till next week. This week we have a calm before the storm episode as things seem to be setting up for the fight scene to come. I am a little disappointed with this weeks fare as the animation seems to have finally dropped. Movement has gone down and the number of still frames, face shots and environment shots have gone up. It is understandable that they decide to save the animation budget on this particular episode, as they will need to animate some high level fight scenes next episode and this episode was mainly dialogue driven. Still I did find the off shots of windows and the environment during conversation to be a little distracting. it’s a small complaint I know but when something is presenting high level animation and then suddenly drops you notice it all the more.
Lets talk about Shinji Matou for a moment. I have never liked Shinji’s character, though not for the obvious reasons such as him just being a horrible person. Shinji to me has always seemed more a plot device than an actual character. He is designed to be hated to the core, from his high handed talk, his petty anger and to his downright pathetic cowardice when faced with an actual threat. His only saving grace being just how satisfying it is to see him get taken down a peg. In Fate/stay nights fandisc/sequel of sorts, Hollow/Ataraxia, he at least gains more to his character when stripped of his low level villain status. While he still doesn’t become likeable it at least then makes sense as to how him and Shirou could have been friends once. However here he’s just going to become worse as the story goes on. In particular there is one scene involving him in this route which UFOtable is going to have to thread carefully with as it is a rather distasteful moment in a otherwise great story. But the reason I bring this up is that I find Shinji’s presence on screen to be off putting. He is an emotionally manipulative character and even though I know he is designed with the sole purpose of irritating the viewer, I still get irritated all the same. And considering that I see this is the writers intent it just comes off detrimental to the experience and rather insulting. My advice would be to keep him out of the spotlight as much as possible though that is unlikely as he is a driving plot device after all.
On a positive note, I commend the anime for using a shorter explanation for Shirou’s strengthening magic. Because Nasu’s explanations are remarkably long winded and roundabout. Nasu will never tell you outright how something works. He will proceed to explain it in the most obtuse way possible and then repeat that explanation in a number of different beating around the bush ways till you figure it out. It is a way of making the reader misinterpret the thing being told to them as complex and deep because it took effort to figure out, when really they just were given a faulty explanation. Here however we have Shirou explain his magic in the simplest way possible, saving us from listening to a long tedious monologue. I will admit to being let down with this weeks episode of Fate but that does not mean it was a bad episode. It was a rather weak one but did have it’s share of small moments.I liked the talk between Archer and Shirou. As well as Rin and Shirou’s banter as they cleared up the seals. I would say the main thing thats irking me here is that I now have to wait another week to see a fight scene I thought would be in this episode.