Posted on 27 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

So at the start of this episode featured the big moment of Gilgamesh ripping out Illya’s heart and it was surprisingly underwhelming. It is true that in context this makes more sense and fits his character better. But it is a little disappointing. Strangely this wasn’t how it was in the visual novel and this is a rare moment where the Deen UBW movie is closer to the source than this TV remake. Basically Gilgamesh did first cut Illya’s eyes first rendering her blind but he ripped out her heart while she was still alive. There was images dedicated to showing him ripping the heart from her chest. Its a moment everyone remembers from the visual novel so to have it absent, even if it was to better the story, is a bit of a downer. Shinji once again shows up to point out that he still is a smug moron but again it comes across as rather funny. Maybe because it’s clear to everyone but Shinji that he’s in way over his head. It’s sort of endearing just how oblivious he is to his own situation. Also helping is that everyone is taking the time to knock him down a peg any chance they get.

Thus in front of Illya’s grave do we subtly bring up the core message behind this series…yes that wording was indeed sarcasm. If at this point you do not know that Shirou regards others lives more important than his then I would claim you were either blind or asleep while watching the series. But take note that there are people who want this series to have more of Shirou’s inner monologues from the source and trust me when I say that compared to the visual novel, this is subtile. I am a fate fan and I say we don’t need ten thousand monologues reminding us that Shirou is selfless and suffering from survivor’s guilt. This is a pretty key aspect of the story however as it is an interesting one. To be selfless is an ideal, but to achieve selflessness in it’s truest form is just wrong. The very nature of a hero is built on being selfless and helping those in need but Fate brings up that it’s important to enjoy and do such a thing for yourself. That’s what makes Shirou so broken. He’s selfless but does not enjoy being selfless. He does it out of an obligation and while it’s admirable you can’t help but find it alienating. Many of the servants have pasts related to being alienated or suffering due to their heroics. Saber being betrayed because no one could see her as human, Hercules driven mad against his will to murder his family and even Lancer was put into the position of unknowingly killing his son. The point is that being a hero isn’t a good way to live a life and that it’s important to value yourself as much as others.

Lancer once again proves that he is a criminally underused character and I am truly glad they choose the option of Shirou letting him join them under one condition. There was another option with Shirou letting him join with no conditions which had both Rin and Lancer lamenting how dense Shirou was to Rin’s affections. Typical harem protagonist nonsense really. So I am glad they avoided that pitfall. I would like to bring up the background art for a moment cause I must say that it’s marvelous. Yes, it is rather redundant to bring up Fate’s ridiculously high production values but its truly amazing the level of detail in these backdrops. On seeing Rin sitting on a bench I can look at the bench and see the grain of the wood with some chips on the edges. The greenery in the surroundings is landscape art piece worthy. From the cracks, clouds to the cobblestones it’s truly awe inspiring just how much work went into parts of the show that most would just glance over. But this to me is what makes Ufotables work stand out as it does and makes it special. Next week looks to be the big reveal based on Rin’s last words of the episode. Of course I highly doubt you do not know what it is at this point. If by some miracle you somehow managed to avoid the couple of hundred fans shouting spoilers at every chance they get, the foreshadowing is so in your face that you likely have a very good idea. Even in the visual novel at this point it was obvious. But lets not forget that we have a big action scene next week with Lancer vs Archer round 2 and that I am most certainly looking forward to.

Posted on 20 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The word that encompasses this episode in a nutshell would be brutal. Whether you love her or hate her, I say few would believe that Illya deserved this fate. The tragedy is ever more pungent if you know the full details of her past. Anime only viewers may not get the most out of this episode however as even with Ufotables efforts to make Illya more sympathetic, it’s hard to truly feel for a character who hasn’t been present for most of the series. Quite honestly while the flashbacks do explain how Illya became so ruthless and amoral, I would have prefered to forgo them for more action sequences. I think Ufotable missed an opportunity here. Now people do give Studio Deens 2006 Fate/stay night a lot of grief(And some even are audacious enough to claim that Ufotables version isn’t doing the source justice) but one of the most memorable scenes from that anime is a fight that was never present in the source material. I am speaking of Fate’s Archer vs Berserker fight, which is what many Fate fans refuse to admit was the one of the very few things that Deen did right. In the visual novel this took place all offscreen and only portrayed a weak conclusion but Deen took this moment and made it the highlight of the series. Ufotable could have done the same here. They could have took what was originally a one sided slaughter fest and made it into a full blown showdown. But instead the focus was on flashbacks to Illya’s past which was for the most part anime original.

My reaction to this material is mixed. As I said before, it does provide a reason for Illya’s psychotic nature but if does bring up some questions. People only starting from this anime will have no idea what’s going on and even I as a Fate fan am not certain as to what it was. Is it simply Illya’s imagination leading her to dark conclusions or a connection to a certain dark entity? The second option is feasible…I guess. But I am not certain if I am happy with it. It is understandable that they wished to give Illya some more attention before the big scene and this in turn does bring one of the faults of bringing Fate/stay night into anime. For you see the three routes of the Fate/stay night visual novel are not meant to stand independently. Each one is there to strengthen the others and are meant to be viewed in order. The fate route helps build a bond to Illya’s character so that her scene here would affect the reader more so than the characters themselves. But without it this does come across with weaker impact. The scene with the homunculi in the water chamber was also pretty bad. Just clunky exposition that wasn’t needed and doesn’t make much sense in context. The start of the wolves scene was also awkward with Illya standing up and more or less explaining to the audience what’s going on by talking to herself.

However seeing the wolves knock Illya down and proceed to attack her was a difficult scene to watch. That wasn’t the only scene that was hard to watch. Anyone who read this route knew it was coming as it is one of the most defining moments of the route itself. And make no mistake, Illya’s death was just as sad as it was there though missing a certain heart wrenching finale. Made all the more tragic by Rin desperately holding down Shirou to prevent him from running out to try and save her which I thought was a good change as in the visual novel he just waited and ran down the stairs when it was already too late. It makes more sense for his character to jump into action immediately rather than watch over silently.  There is some disgust with the fanbase over Berserker breaking the chains of Enkidu as that should by all means be impossible. In the visual novel it’s just said that he escapes it somehow but doesn’t break it. Honestly though, this is the Nasuverse, where every unbeatable thing has an exception or several. I will admit that I am disappointed as to how this was handled. The flashbacks broke up the action and messed with the pacing. The new material was not the best. And cutting out the last part of the scene, while understandable as to why they did it, still left me wanting. Well now things are not looking too good for Rin and Shirou with the man turning his blades at them and them no servant to hide behind. But from the look of the preview a neglected fellow is about to get some spotlight.

Posted on 12 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

As a reader of the Fate/stay night visual novel I can confirm that the majority of this episode was anime original content. However instead of being about castors history like I thought, it’s of his backstory with her first master. In all honestly making the episode be about her history with Jason would have been a better way to make her more sympathetic but still I am not against this either. This is the first time Castors former master has made an appearance as in the visual novel he was only briefly mentioned. I am not exactly keen on making him so one sidedly jerkish for the purpose of making Castor look better in comparison. Though the thing I find odd is his acceptance of technology which in the visual novel is something that Magi abhor most of all. (Hence why Rin is so terrible with machines.) But he did mention that his family was new to magic. The pacing was a little fast for this backstory but from what I hear it’s been confirmed that seven minutes of content was cut from this airing episode. Hoping for that Lancer vs Castor fight or Media’s history.

Now my main concern is that while this material is nice to have, it isn’t necessary. I said before that I worry as to how UFOtable plan to fill out the rest of this season as they already have gotten though a large amount of the visual novels route. If their plan is to expand the route with scenes like this then I am in favor though I hope they have more impact besides adding in action scenes or filling up space. For example, giving Lancer more scenes to show off his character because if there is one character who is greatly underused it’s without a doubt him.

Though the placement of comedy may be questionable, I really laughed when Illya only lightly shocked Shirou with her field but blew away Rin when she entered. It was priceless. The extra scenes really showed off Sella and Leysritt who were actually barely present in the visual novel at all. It’s nice that the two of them had some time to shine bullying Shinji before the blond servant came in. And Shinji…they sure are playing him for laughs. So much so that it’s sort of becoming his thing. Being ridiculously overconfident and then undermined at the slightest threat. It a good way to go with his character, seeing as his role as a minor villain is one dimensional. By making him someone who has no idea just what he has got himself into actually by some miraculous oddity, makes him slightly likeable. Though if they are to continue this route there is a rather distasteful moment involving him in the future that would need to be treaded carefully. If it can be that is. There was a surprising amount of gore in their deaths, though with ridiculous amounts of blood but hey, anime. It looks as though the next episode will focus on Berserker and Archer fight which I am fully geared for. I am all set for an animated explosive brawl that wasn’t even present in the visual novel.

 

Posted on 5 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

It’s back and still as beautiful as ever. Sadly not a fourty minutes long and still leaves me hungry by episodes end. It does seem to cut off suddenly rather than end. So after telling Shirou to stay away and stating how only masters should stay in the war, Rin is thrust into the exact same position. Archers betrayal isn’t an unexpected development but to do so coldly and quickly was quite cruel of him. They may have only known each other a few days but these are two people who trusted each other with their lives. I like that instead of just Archer declaring his betrayal in the visual novel, they have him actively display it by pushing away Rin and defending Kuzuki. It not only looks better visually but makes sense in context. It’s an exhibition to show Castor that hes has tossed his master aside. The reasons for the betrayal are somewhat sketchy admittedly. It makes more sense later but even then there are some questionable aspects. But looking at Rins plan objectively, it was rather foolhardy. Castor may not be able to use Assassin at the church but she still has Kuzuki and Saber. Rin was obviously not thinking clearly, even declaring that she would handle Caster. In the Fate route of the visual novel Rin said it was outright suicide for a master to go up against a servant. Naturally being a rule Nasu wrote there are numerous exceptions but anyone could tell that Rin was outmatched. But the most telling thing that showed she was not thinking this through was the very statement that likely made Archer defect. That when she rescues Saber then Saber could reinstate the contract with Shirou. Now take note that right from the beginning Rin wanted Saber to be her Servant. Even more after meeting her so when a perfect opportunity to take Saber for herself has come it’s odd that the thought never entered her mind.  It would be tough for her to support two servants but I say she would be more than capable of it. This isn’t about taking down Caster, this is about getting Shirou to be her comrade in arms again. A moment of her true feelings slipping through the facade.

I at least thank UFOTABLE for not being excessive with the Saber and Caster scene. It was one of the more unsavory moments of the visual novel. But the basement of the Church does seem rather spacious to the depiction in the visual novel. There was a change in scenery for the last scene as in the visual novel it took place in the graveyard. But truthfully while it is visually more interesting to have it in the graveyard it doesn’t make much sense for them to relax in such a grim place that just so happens to be so close to the church. I also wish Rin had taken off her jacket for the scene but again it does make more sense this way. This is without a doubt the most vulnerable Rin and Shirou have ever been. Now serventness, with the only refuge being taken over by the enemy. Not that the two would have taken that refuge as both are determined to see this through to the end. Rin crying was a powerful scene, I actually thought it was a mess up when UFOtable showed Rin taking Archers betrayal not as hard as I would have thought but to have it all hit her at once when Shirou mentions it is really just perfect with her character. Also bravo Shirou, you confessed wholeheartedly to the girl you like. You have done what an overwhelming majority of male protagonists have failed at for years. Even pushing Rin into Tsundere overdrive, well played. We are now over two thirds through the Visual novel story which leaves me to wonder just how UFOtable plans to cover the remainder of the episodes. The title of the next episode makes me wonder if they shall splice in Castors backstory from Hollow Ataraxia which I think is an excellent idea. It would give her better character development and lend thematic weight to events to come. So another long week till the next fate episode…

Posted on 28 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The last episode of this half of the series. I better make things clear, I do not intend to write a review of this half. The full review will be of the entire series as judging it based on only half the story would be a disservice. But ladies and gentlemen today is a momentous occasion. Not because it is the conclusion of the first half of Unlimited blade works. No, today marks the day that a girl in anime asked out the boy she likes. Hallelujah! Praise the sun! Forgive me if I am blowing this out of proportion. But I have seen dozens of episodes dedicated to a girl trying to tell a guy she likes him, have hijinks ensue at every turn and at the perfect moment where she finally says it and is drowned out by fireworks or something. Followed by a “Oh well, I tried.” Yet here we have a Rin sit down and just says “Hey, we are going out on a date” No messing around, just gets straight to the point. Just, finally. Rin knows full well that Shirou likes her and she’s playing him like a fiddle. It’s refreshing to see and unlike many harem girls, Rin genuinely seems like a person who would be fun to hang out with. The date was essentially fanservice for long time fans with plenty of Saber and Rin faces. And this may be wishful thinking but was that moment where they put glasses on Shirou a Tsukihime reference?

There were changes to the source material in this episode. The best change was the extra scene of Taiga visiting Kiritsugu’s grave. A loving nod to the prequel. However they greatly changed the scene with castor taking Taiga hostage. In the original she did this at Shirous house. I am not very happy with this change. It does not sit well for me and I see the change of scenery for this part was mainly to make it more dramatic. Out of the changes Ufotable has made this is by far the biggest and is the one that I most disapprove of. Other than that it was a very good episode and ended on a cliffhanger that will make the wait unbearable with Saber now under Castors control and Shirou helpless. Though speaking of which here’s a fun fact. There is a version of Saber called Saber Lily. This version has no real backstory and is mainly just a alternative costume for a fighting game. However in an interview with Nasu and Urobuchi Gen when asked about her, Gen proceeded to speak about a backstory he thought up about Saber lily being a Saber who was seduced over to Castors side. Even Nasu noted the genius as in japanese culture Lilies are often being associated with….well a google search will finish the rest. The extra scenes with Kirei were very welcome however brief. Even ten years later the man has still got the moves. But the greatest fanservice was the ending song. A remix of Disillusion(Or This illusion if you prefer), the very first Opening theme of the Fate/Stay Night visual novel. Some may dislike it as it is LiSa performing it but for me the nostalgia factor just makes it beauty to the ears.

While a season review is off the table I don’t think it would be out of line to give my impressions of this half. In terms of adaptation, Ufotable could not have done better. Excellent work all around. That said while I as a Type Moon fan is satisfied with this, I can understand how some could be disappointed in this. Part of the blame would be on the Type Moons fans hyping the series to kingdom come, I myself am guilty on that front. I admit the hot cold pacing of episodes even was getting to me and I certainly wouldn’t complain if we got more action. I have heard that the Blu-ray dvds will have over 90 minutes of new material. That’s about three episodes worth to add. I am hoping for them to expand on some scenes such as Shirou’s battle with Lancer and possible even show Riders fight to the death. But I would like for them to show what the other masters are doing. The biggest question in this was what was Illya doing the whole time. I have heard that she often attacked the temple and was driven back offscreen but it would be nice to see one of her attempts. The second half should have plenty of action and climaxes but I am concerned as with where the anime left off I am not certain there is enough material for another 12 to 13 episodes. The wait till april will be long and hard. May the second half of UBW be as glorious as it has been in my dreams.

Posted on 21 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Well here’s something you don’t see often in shounen series. Consequences. It’s another quiet episode and due to Shirou pulling that magic trick last episode he is now suffering from after effects. Having what looks to be a painful night and going through the day with the left side of his body numb. Though it is fixed by the episodes end, it was nice to see a character having repercussions for a risky move. I can certainly make a list of times I seen a character go through some new risky power up training with threats that it could kill him or have serious consequences. But it never does. It usually turns out fine and the rookie grows ten times more powerful than the people who actually worked hard for that level of power for years. Though after Archer fixes Shirou up we have another debate on the nature of heroics. Presentation really sold this scene as while it did look good we are just treading on old territory. This really has all be said before and it just getting repeated in a different way. Repeated well mind you, be we are not learning anything new. Other than that we had some good comedy and interesting talks between characters.

I will take a moment to talk about the music of this series. I am sure there are many who lament that Yuki Kajura did not return to do the OST of this series as she had done for Fate/zero. I however was not one of them. She was never a fit for the fate series truth be told and her OST for Zero and Kara no Kyoukai only really worked because of it’s bleak tone. Kajura has talent but a limited range. If you want something with lots of string instruments, tons of choirs and bleak atmospheric sounds then she’s got you covered. If you want something different…well tough. But I think the main issue is that, strange as it sounds, Kajura does not seem to understand that BGM stands for background music. I am sure anyone who has watched one of the series she did the music for can remember a time when the music just jumped to the front and it was by far the most noticeable thing on the scene. This can be effective for some scenes but it also draws attention to the song and it can be distracting. Especially when she has used one song for the umpteen time. Hideyuki Fukasawa on the other hand does not have this problem. He seems to know that the music is not the star of the show. There are some who may claim that he is weaker as his music is less noticeable but I honestly believe he is stronger. His music doesn’t steal the stage, it accentuates it. The music, visuals and sound join into a harmony that I thought was only possible for the visual novel medium. True it never jumps out and catches you. But like a bass player in a rock band, it’s there helping the melody work in harmony. The mark of a truly great soundtrack is to sound just good on it’s own, but when combined with visuals and story become something great.

I would also like to bring up the tsundere archetype. I often felt that Rin was the tsundere which should have been popularised. However the archetype went a different way, going for girls who tend to use physical violence to cover up their embarrassment. The funny thing is that I once saw a manga which took this archetype and put it in a realistic setting. The manga wasn’t really all that good but one moment really stood out. At one point the girl was approached by a boy and he held her hand to take her back to the classroom. To cover up her embarrassment the girl quite literally beat him half to death. The boy was hospitalised for a couple of weeks. But it brought home the fact that in a world where wounds don’t automatically heal, a tsundere of that type is less endearing and more genuinely dangerous. But take note of Rin here. How many times has she beaten up Shirou to cover for her own embarrassment? How many times has she been completely unreasonable with him? Because I can’t think of any occasion. Rin has gotten angry at Shirou but she’s never quite resorted to violence when dealing with her emotions. In this episode she got angry with him because he mentioned that he does not really find magic fun despite putting so much effort towards it. She’s a lot more logical in that regard. Rin as a character likes to be in control and has at times acted flirtatious with Shirou. So it’s only when something unexpected puts her off guard that brings in her tsundere side. In that way, she’s far more charming than that of your standard tsundere as when her emotions get the better of her at least she won’t potentially murder you. If my information is correct, next week is an hour long episode and then we have a break. So it looks like we will be getting a nice helping before the long wait for the second half. Sigh, this is almost sadistic.

Posted on 13 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Very nice start to the beginning of the episode with the Unlimited Bladeworks chant. Sure, it has been parodied to kingdom come but I still love it and all it’s broken engrish glory. But now I can say it with certainty. This series is not suitable for being watched weekly. In watching this episode I felt like I was being treated to a spoonful of delicious cake and told to wait a day to get another. Leaving me with not enough to truly savor and fairly unsatisfied. This problem would be rectified once the full series has aired and people can go through it as they wish. But this does bring up the point that a visual novel story is not meant to be cut up into bite sized chunks but instead taken in huge helpings at a time. It’s rather aggravating to be fully immersed by episodes end only to see the ending song come up and let me know that I will have to wait yet another week. To those who have yet to watch this, it may be better to wait till it has finished airing and then marathon it. It is the method which it is closest to it’s original source after all and tailored for maximum enjoyment.

One thing I feared last week has come to pass. Shirou displayed his talent for projection with little foreshadowing to show he was capable of it. To anime only viewers this is a cheap development as it looks that Shirou just pulled the exact ability he needed straight out of nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started making Kirito comparisons but I hope that are not as cruel to do so. Because compared to Shirou, Kitrito pales in comparison in every area. So to most likely no ones surprise, the master of Castor turns out to be the teacher with the dead fish eyes and whom foreboding music plays every time he’s on screen. But I rather like the cut of his gib as his line of thinking mirrors my own. We didn’t get to see how he and Castor’s relationship goes as here they played the roles of antagonists. Though we know that Castor has been playing the role of his wife and kept Souichirou mainly in the dark. Souichirou on the other hand holds no interest in the war and lets Castor do as she pleases. Even if that means she is killing innocent people. Apathy looks to be the core of Souichirou’s persona.There was also the issue of neglecting to mention why Souichirou withdrew from the fight. In the original source Souichirou ordered caster to leave because Caster is no match for Saber and now that Saber had seen his fighting style she would be able to combat it instead of getting caught off guard. Bring in Shirou’s newfound ability and they were clearly at a disadvantage. But in the anime this was not made apparent. Here it looks like Souichirou retreated for no real good reason when he took out Saber so easily and had the two masters on the ropes. Honestly a minute or two of dialogue could have fixed this with ease but now to an anime only viewer it seems this happened because the plot needed it to.

This episode also brings up one of the reasons I roll my eyes when a character mentions Saber being the strongest servant. True, the human was magically enhanced by castor(Another detail that was left out here) but the fact of the matter is that Saber was very nearly defeated by a human fighter. My opinion of her skills has dropped quite drastically. We also have the appearance of the long awaited eighth servant. Shinji is delighted with him though it seems clear who holds the power in this relationship. His wish seems to have changed though as previously it was to prevent others from collecting the things he believes to be his but now seems focused on removing an excess of worthless humans from the world. I find it amusing that Shinji has no idea that he’s likely part of that category. One last thing, the snow in this episode was spellbinding. Glad to see UFOtable make use of the skills used for the Kara no Kyoukai epilogue. We are approaching the halfway point and if this is the same as Fate/zero then it seems likely that for budget reasons the second cour will air after a break. I at least hope the remaining episodes provide enough to sate our appetite till then.

Posted on 8 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The pattern continues with another building up episode. Admittedly I find this somewhat disappointing. I feel that this show would be better marathoned than watched weekly as the wait for what is a essentially a build up to the next episode can hamper the experience a bit. As I said before, this show would work better with forty minute episode runtimes. Kirei had a smaller spot than I had hoped but the man must be commended for keeping his temper in check with Shinji being well…Shinji. Not only that, he managed to manipulate Shinji masterfully. Still it was bothersome to see Shinji somehow form twisted logic as to how none of what happened was his fault. But unlike Mika from Psycho Pass’s second season, at least his thoughts make logical sense and are not him just being twisted to make the choice that is designed to make the viewer hate him more. From the looks of things it’s seems we are drawing closer to the appearance of the fabled golden Pikachu we all know and love.

Taiga also had a small moment at the end with explaining Shirou’s childhood. But Taiga is a character I find is remarkably out of place in the fate series. She’s a comic relief character but she often felt highly cartoonish with her exaggerated motions. Apparently she’s a fan favorite among the type moon staff however whenever I see her on screen she often comes across as a foreign element. Fate/stay night does have it’s comedy moments but she is a heavy slapstick character in what is by all means, a fairly serious story. Speaking of comedy, there was an odd choice to adapted one of the more ridiculous choices of the visual novel. Where in an effort to find out if Issei is a master, Shirou strips him. Literally. It may just be my hearing but I could swear I heard the squeals of a thousand fujoshis. Surely there will be a number of doujin works “inspired” by this scene. It is rather uncharacteristic of Shirou to make this choice, with even Rin giving him an weirded out look upon meaning it. But complaints aside, it was absolutely hilarious. I genuinely laughed my heart out at the scene.

Rin being concerned about Sakura was also a nice touch with hints to the events of the past as well as foreshadowing things to come. I do have to say that so far UFOtable has done a great job of presenting Shirou. He is a much more lovable character and his mentality is more on display. Seeing what makes him tick helps to overlook his shortcomings and admire his tenacity. I do have one problem with this episode as it didn’t show a prototype or mention of Shirou’s “useless” magic. The events of the next episode look to be bringing another of his abilities to the forefront but without sufficient hints it can be very easily labeled a convenient out of nowhere plot development. Remember that the fate route was required to view the UBW route in the visual novel so this would have been mentioned and shown. But to anime only viewers it could be a very cheap development. But then again this is a series where characters gaining convenient powers is a given. Still it could be rectified in the beginnings of the next episode.

Posted on 29 November 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Another episode has come and gone. This episode marking the first casualty of the holy grail war. Looks like Rider is out of the running. It is a bit sad to see her go so unceremoniously and even defeated off screen. Well, we shall see you again in the upcoming heavens feel movie, where you are sure to have a more substantial role. Shinji also fulfils his most important role as a character, that being giving the audience immense joy to see him get his ego some much needed bruising. It’s hard not to smile when seeing Rin kick him down a peg or kick him down literally. Speaking of Rin, I am not normally a fan of tsundere antics and there is the possibility of me being biased due to my love for this series but I did find her scene of bashfully dragging Shirou to eat lunch with her to be most amusing, and somewhat adorable. The two do have a chemistry onscreen that I feel is better than the Saber and Shirou dynamic. The current relationship between Shirou and Saber is far more fitting than that of the shy, overly awkward lovey dovey atmosphere of the Fate route that quite honestly irritates me to the core. While there may be moments of Shirou being overly aware of Sabers femininity, it really is a relationship of mutual respect. It’s far more respectful to her character than putting her as a love interest. Put simply, Saber makes a better friend than a wife candidate.

Shirou was also quite different this episode. The start showing him having a dream of getting torn apart by swords in his body. I get the symbolism but I feel the execution could have been better. It couldn’t really help looking very silly to me. I think this scene could have benefited from a little gore, or at least making the scene more horrific. Still it’s nice to see something signify the changes in Shirou. Cause he certainly has changed. One by annoying Saber in training because he started adopting Archers fighting style and managed to Saber to start taking him seriously. And two by being very proficient in battle against Casters familiars. He has definitely leveled up in battle prowess. Inception foghorns in the BGM notwithstanding, battle scenes remain a treat with a number of CG dragon bone warriors being the cannon fodder.

Now it is true that anime CG has always been not really a pleasant sight as it never blends with the animation. Still, I would consider UFOtables CG to be excellent as while the bone creatures do not blend in, at least they are not horribly alienating. I find the main problem with CG in anime has to be with movement. More often the movement of CG characters is stiff and unnatural. It becomes most apparent in human CG characters. Hence the reason why it’s be used on robots or mechanical vehicles. However the often stiff movement of anime CG works in favor here as the creatures are undead skeletons, so naturally their movement would be jittery. Adding something computer generated into another medium will always look unconvincing but at least here it does not hamper the experience. I only wish modern horror movies would take this fact into account. This episode ends with Rin questioning Shirou’s unnatural calm with dealing with horrific situations and Shirou dropping a line that shows he’s more that meets the eye. Next episode looks to see everyone’s favorite fake priest show up so till then I bid you adieu.

Posted on 23 November 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

As expected, this week we have another action filled episode. Queue the pretty explosions and fast paced fighting. It felt too short despite the episode length being just the same as the others. I often find that with a good episode of anime it makes you lose the concept of time as you watch. Making things seem longer or shorter than it actually is. Though watching a bad anime can also make you feel like it’s taking an eternity. I thought it would be best to just get a minor gripe out of the way first. I felt they used the same camera shots a bit too often during dialogue. The one showing Shirou and Archer talking with a crater in the foreground was shown at least three times in the same conversation. And at times the shounen talk of explaining attacks and motivations was a little intrusive. But as I am sure many would agree, who cares. We got laser beams and collateral destruction all around to admire.

Still it does make this a hard episode to review because what else is there to say besides get some popcorn and enjoy? Though the standout moment here is not the fight scenes but rather the contrast of Archer and Shirou. As Caster said, they are both similar in ways and yet different in approaches. With Shirou having an unrealistic, rather childish approach to an ideal whereas Archers is more cynical, realistic interpretation. The intriguing thing is that Archers approach is remarkably similar to Kiritsugu Emiya’s of Fate/Zero. The ends justify the means, the many over the few, this is quite interesting to see Shirou be faced with the very mentality of his father and outright reject it. Some Shirou haters might be rather delighted with this episode as Archer has pretty much said everything and done everything they wanted to do to Shirou from the beginning. I too find it is rather good to see Shirou’s flawed hero complex logic get a good beating. Actually the dialogue between the two even during the fights was excellent. Some of which denoted down to childish bickering which was amusing to behold.

That said, I found the Assassin vs Saber fight to be more engaging than the caster fight. The presentation of Assassin’s noble phantasm was well shown. Assassin himself proves to be quite the character, having created a noble phantasm simply because he was bored and had nothing else to do. It is rare to have such a great noble phantasm for an Assassin but much like Castor I don’t really see much worth in Assassin. After all taking a Assassin to the holy grail war is like taking a Go-kart to a NASCAR race. It’s just not a very good idea if you intend to win. True there may be exceptions such as Fate/extra’s Assassin or Fate/Apocrypha’s Assassin’s. But in this world of Fate/stay night where every “true” Assassin is the same, you might as well throw in the towel from the get go if you summon one. The after credits scene now looks to see Shirou making a true effort towards getting stronger. Which is expected as Archer has given him a good kick in the right direction both mentally and literally. Next week looks to feature the ever loveable Shinji once again, lets hope he does not bring down what should be a another great episode.

 

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 04:10 AM)
    Now that things have slow down a bit and stil some time left till Witcher 3, I came up with the grand idea of getting around to finishing F/SN UBW route before the series ends so I can jump on the wagon as it rolls thru the last few episodes. I think that’d be kinda cool.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:39 AM)
    Madhouse is still a very descent animation studio, and some of those older talents still remain with the company, but the market demands that they pander to the supposed “core” anime demographic. Although Masao Murayama did take a lot from Madhouse when he left to form studio MAPPA tho.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:35 AM)
    Nagai was definitely imaginative and creative enough to come up with ideas and works that broke convention all in the name of entertainment, an tags why he was such a trend-setter in the manga/anime scene.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:28 AM)
    It says something interesting though about me when I was younger though, as much as the rape put me off when I was a kid I was always switch back to get something out of the gore…how interesting that we seem so much more comfortable with violent content =P
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:25 AM)
    @Bam: Violence Jack however I felt about it and however I feel about it now that I’m older, it was like a baptism for crazy for me.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:20 AM)
    But theres stuff I so sorely miss, I mean come on anime you had a nazi doctor surfing on missiles in the sky, I can’t see that any more.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:19 AM)
    It really doesn’t say much for some comedy anime though when stuff like Kenya boy and Garzeys wing end up being funnier.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Bam: Its so sad to see Madhouse, who made Shigurui-death frenzy make mahouka.
    Ha I recently skimmed apocalypse zero (which coincidentially shares shigurui’s author), Mars of destruction level awesomeness there.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:12 AM)
    @Bam: I respect the man for going out of his way to genuinely fuck with peoples heads with the content of his material.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:10 AM)
    @Bam: Nagai’s lighter stuff is hella’ fun too though, shin mazinger is my favourite mech show =P And Dororon-enma showed that even crude humour in his hands could work. I don’t think I was ready for violence jack when I was younger but I know I was still half-drawn to it because I kept switching back to the channel it was on.

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