[Anime Mini Review]: Fate/Stay Night (+Unlimited Blade Works Movie)

Fate Stay Night Anime VN Visual Novel Fate/Stay

[Quick Note: While this is a Mini Review written from the perspective of someone who has already played the Visual Novel, I have made sure to take into account the views of those who haven’t. In short, this review is still helpful even if you haven’t read the original Fate/Stay Night Visual Novel]

Director: Yuji Yamaguchi

Developer of Visual Novel: Type-Moon

Animation Studios: Studio Deen

Version Watched: Subbed

So this is the first time I’ll be writing about an anime series derived from a Visual Novel after having already read the novel in question. Because I’ve already gone over the characters and plot in my previous review, and because I don’t think I will be able to avoid comparing the anime with the original, this is only going to be a mini-review [note: If you want to know more about the plot then check out that link, it applies to the Anime just as well as it does to the VN]. In this particular adaptation concepts are pulled from all three routes of the VN, but the vast majority of what happens comes from the first route, with effort having been put into keeping the latter two routes mostly exclusive to the aforementioned novel. There is a movie titled “Unlimited Blade Works” which focuses on the second route and will be briefly discussed at the end of the review.

 Fate/Stay Night consists of a healthy 24 episodes, but when you consider than it took me approximately 68 hours to finish the Visual Novel you will soon realise that there had to be some pretty major condensing of the story, and it really shows. The early episodes are incredibly rushed, with the anime jumping between scenes madly and glossing over important details in an effort to leave room for the “good stuff” later on. It’s possible that a new viewer wouldn’t think the same way (note the use of the word “possible”, rather than “likely”), but I often found myself pausing the show to explain important details to my girlfriend, who I was watching it with. The pacing is way off, which I’m sure can be said for most novel-to-film adaptations, though Fate/Stay Night is worse than most in that respect.

Fate Stay Night Anime Visual Novel VN Fate/Stay Servants

 It’s not all bad though. The animators have done an admirable job of bringing Type-Moon’s characters to life; it’s always satisfying to see previously static characters moving around normally. And while some scenes and details have been glossed over, others have been added to or even modified entirely to ensure that the Visual Novel retains some exclusive surprises. I still enjoyed watching it, despite already knowing pretty much everything that was going to happen.

 Summary – As with any adaptation, die-hard fans of Fate/Stay Night will be disappointed with this one. However, despite its horrid pacing and skipping important scenes, the Fate/Stay Night anime is still worth watching. There’s a chance I would have given it a better score if I were unaware of the Visual Novel’s existence.  If you’re up for it you should definitely play the VN first, as it is indescribably better, but if that’s not your sort of thing then you will probably still enjoy this series.

 Score: 7.5/10 – Enjoyable

Fate Stay Night Fate/Stay Anime Wallpaper Ultimate Blade Works VN Visual Novel

Unlimited Blade Works Movie

Focuses on the second route of the Visual Novel and skips over most of the story so that more of the battles can be shown off. You will probably only appreciate this if you’ve read the Visual Novel first, though if you’ve seen the anime and are dying for more you could do worse than the flashy and, admittedly, awesome action scenes this movie is full of.

Fate Stay Night Fate/Stay Movie Unlimited Blade Works Anime VN Visual Novel

Opening sequence if you’re interested:

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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13 Responses to [Anime Mini Review]: Fate/Stay Night (+Unlimited Blade Works Movie)

  1. Annalyn says:

    Maybe I should re-watch a few episode of Fate/Stay Night. It seems like all the things I liked about it have faded from my memory, leaving only the things I didn’t. I know I enjoyed it, despite its faults. Were things a bit more logical in the visual novel? I was annoyed by Saber’s wish to go back and change things from her past self. Doesn’t she realize that if she changes her past, it could change a lot of important things about history?

    • Silvachief says:

      It depends on what you mean by logical. There was a better explanation of the holy grail wars itself and the servant/master relationship, as well as a whole lot more content in general. The anime only captures some of the major events of the first route (of three).

      Saber is immensely loyal to her kingdom, despite living life more or less alone. You have to remember that her last memory of her actual life is of her failure on the field of battle plunging Britain into civil war, which she would would do anything to prevent. She wants to live life again while working -with- her people rather than -for- them. You might also consider that she hasn’t had the same exposure to time-travel stories as we have, so she may not realize the potential consequences of her actions (though even if she did, i’m sure she wouldn’t mind if Britain became an even more prominent power).

      I personally subscribe to the theory of time where any changes simply result in another time-stream branching off, so any changes Saber makes wouldn’t affect Shirou’s future.

      Have you seen Fate/Zero? It’s probably my favorite anime.

      • Annalyn says:

        I suppose we could debate the worth of time travel all day long (for example, if there are branches in the time-stream, then even if she fixed that one failure, the failure would still exist in another branch).

        I have not seen Fate/Zero, but you’re not the first person to praise it. I’ll have to take the time to watch it sometime in the near future. I probably won’t follow as many currently-airing anime this next season, so I’ll have more time for the complete series. (:

  2. 123 says:

    I dropped the FSN TV series after about 5 eps cause I was getting sick of too much Shirou morals and all the Rin/Shirou side-switching going on. But does it get awesome later on? I loved FZ (more the 2nd series though), is Stay Night like that?

    • Silvachief says:

      It certainly does get better later on (though Shirou’s moral dilemmas will continue), but it never reaches the same quality as Fate/Zero. I would recommend waiting for the new one instead of forcing yourself to watch the old one (unless you want to give it another shot), as the new one is being produced by the same studio that made Fate/Zero ^_^

  3. Kai says:

    “People die if they are killed” ~by the wise man Shirou.
    That quote of his still gives me some serious lols.. xD

    Fate/Stay Night’s anime was certainly an odd one, adapted from Fate’s route, it even incorporates a bit of elements from the other two routes, though the main bulk of the story is still from Fate. There is also the fact that Fate is one of the least interesting routes so I can’t help but feel that the anime is slightly disappointing in that regard. I also feel that the Fate/Stay Night universe is one that is pretty hard to pull off in anime adaptions – there is just too much content.

    • Silvachief says:

      I actually have a screencap of that in one of my other articles XD

      I think you’re very right about there being too much content for a short anime adaptation to work out. For me though one of the biggest drawbacks was the rushed intro to what the Holy Grail war was and how the servants worked, since that was one of the major things that got me interested in Fate/Stay Night in the first place.
      Still, since they incorporated bits from all of the routes it was interesting finding out what they decided to change and what they decided to keep the same.

  4. Overlord-G says:

    Love the fight scenes, Rin Tohsaka, Saber, Rider (to an extent), Sakura and Caster (to an extent). I loathe Shirou Emiya with a passion. The plot, while supposedly inferior to the novels, worked out pretty well for me.
    UBW shocked me with how brutal it was. I still disliked Shirou after the movie. The “loli fatality” remains a memorable moment for me.

    • Silvachief says:

      I wouldn’t say I dislike Shirou but I can see how you might find him annoying. Most characters with his kind of complex grate on my nerves but not to the degree that I hate them.
      My flatmate also really enjoyed the anime’s plot, and then disliked the visual novel while I was the other way around. It’s most likely one of those “whatever you play/watch” first things.
      UBW’s action was great though I wouldn’t say it shocked me. I already knew everything that was coming so there weren’t any surprises. Ilya’s scene was rather brutal in both the VN and anime, though.

      • Overlord-G says:

        Yes. You being an expert on VNs I expected you having played the VN before I even clicked the review. I haven’t played it so it shocked me. I mainly play Yuri VNs but I think you would have guessed that by now.

        • Silvachief says:

          I figured it was a fair assumption to make 😉 You may be please to know that I do plan to at least give the Sono Hanabira series a shot. I’ve been told that the romance is worth reading. I can’t decide whether to read it in English or use it as Japanese practice though, since the vocab can’t be all that difficult and they’re quite short.

          • Overlord-G says:

            You can either stop by my castle or check out Listless Ink’s reviews since she’s the go-to blog for English Sono Hanabira stuff.
            It’s up to you whether you want to “pread” (Play-read) the Sonohana games RAW or check out the currently translated ones.
            I love the games so much I want to understand the dialogue word by word.

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