So, I’m not going to bother with an introduction to Fate/Stay Night because, one, if you don’t already know what it is then you aren’t an anime fan, and two, because the Fate series is way too long to introduce, I’m talking tens of series’ and multiple games.
I am constantly trying to condense and shorten my reviews so here is my first attempt at one. Each review I do, I will try to make it as brief as possible without leaving out anything important.
As always I would like to put a small disclaimer here. These are all my opinions and views on Fate/Stay Night, I am in no way opposing any views anyone else may have about this series. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
In simple words it’s GORGEOUS. If you take into account it’s from 2006 it gets even better, surely nothing that year can get remotely close to it, and even for today standard’s it is top notch, specially on the color pallet department.
The backgrounds, the CGI, the still animations, the fight sequences… everything clicks beautifully, but what really shines are the character designs and the color employed on the scenes.
This show is definitely worth HD (I got the THORA release) and I wouldn`t settle for anything lower then 720p, it really deserves it.
I`ve tried my best to find issues with the sound, but to put it simple it’s not bad at all!
The songs are catchy in their own merits and somewhat memorable. They do come off occasionally on the wrong scenes but for the most of the time they are spot on.
Aside the soundtrack, the sound effects are also ok and fit the scenes they take part into.
The voice acting is also pretty well done, and I would like to add a special note that the English and German segments are amongst the best I have ever seen in an anime (as cheesy as they might be).
This show reeks ambition so much it ended up being smacked down by the usual budget / time frame reality, and this is the part where we feel it the worse.
More than once I felt like I needed a manual to watch the show and it wasn’t included. Terms they use all the time never get explained and this gets in the way of understanding stuff every now and then, it’s quite annoying and you have to put up some effort to understand stuff based solo on the sentence context.
The arcs are well staged, but again the lack of treating and an director leave us with some problems. It is aggravating that some important stuff that happens later on has to rely on quick flashbacks to pack any meaning and even then the results are quite bad.
This gets the most aggravating when we deal with relationships between characters, but I will write about that on the latter topic.
Overall the story is nice and has a tremendous amount of care to it, sadly the director didn`t have time to fulfill all he had in mind and it suffers a lot from it. If I had to pinpoint what areas suffered more I would have to say the romance. The action can carry itself pretty well due to the beautiful visuals and the drama focus on the “sacrifice” aspect most shounens drag from so no biggie, but the romantic relationships between Shirou and Saber are awkward to say the least, and his relation with Rin and Sakura are simply “deleted” from the plot halfway through for no apparent reason!
All the characters are well made. They all have distinct traits, they all have particular looks, they all have background, objective and dept, but the problem is most of the time this is all crammed up so much it end up not living to the expectations.
I could go on in this subject for hours, but instead of pointing out how obviously Saber lack proper introduction about her past, or how Shirou desperately needed some more development and diversity or even how some characters like Sakura disappear from the plot after a few episodes (and we actually miss the continuation) I will just use my favorite character as an example, Rin.
Rin is an astonishing character that actually carry the show trough its worse moments all by herself, but the lack of episodes this show is plagued with (it deserved at least another season) makes some of her most interesting aspects lack and most of her relationships with other characters underdeveloped.
Why does she care so much about Sakura? Is the preach a fatherly figure to her? Does she love Shirou? I really wish all these aspects where developed, but instead they throw a few flashbacks and rush everything out to the point they don`t make the slightest sense and hurt the otherwise REALLY cool character she is.
Even her relationship with archer is crammed up to the point he barely shows his face and 5 episodes they kill him and we are supposed to care?! And that is another major issue, the servants have no development AT ALL so all the cool traits they own are wasted since we know who they are, why they fight, or their origins. We don’t even get introductions to them it’s just sad.
Value/Enjoyment & Conclusion 8/10
From the moment the show start to the end its quite clear the director set the standard on the stratosphere but sadly got smacked down by reality mid way through it. Either lack of budget, lack of time or both the fact is, most of the show builds such a tremendous hype around itself and sadly don’t live up to it leaving many shortcomings by the end.
I do however congratulate the director for taking the hard route and abiding itself for making a complete show instead of a “first part” that would never seen an end. Still, it hurts to see so much potential being left untouched.
I would say this show is really worth for people that like the genre, this IS a shounen after all, and even though it have many qualities that deviate from the standard and make it different, the typical affair is all here… like people never EVER getting killed, the main weak protagonist with untapped potential and the usual good = good | bad = bad ordeal where every good guy is a saint and every bad guy have snake eyes, do rough voices and have a satanic smile… so it does tick all the boxes for the standard show.
Now for other people that are not all that into shounen, I would still highly recommend this but with a warning, you get disappointed. This anime was destined to be a masterpiece but it faced shortcomings that hindered expectations in every possible way. This would’ve been bad on a regular show, but the amount of greatness this anime reeks is unparalleled and this just makes its shortcomings all the more bitter.
Final Score: 78% (39/50)
Side Note: If you enjoyed this anime then do take the time to also watch the Heaven’s Feel alternate and Unlimited Blade Work’s alternate (My favourite, mostly because of the immense Rin, Shirou and Archer development, as well as the INSANE animation and dialogue).
Plays Games, Watches Anime, Drinks Tea, Listens to Panic!, Writes Code, Writes Novels and Reads A Lot.