[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.
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
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.
Opening sequence if you’re interested: