Fate/Stay Night [Unlimited Blade Works]

Part of the Fate FranchiseSequel to Fate/Zero

Genre(s): Action, Magic, Modern Fantasy, Supernatural

Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Violence, Blood, Profanity)

Platforms: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu

Episodes: 26 (+1 OVA with alternate ending?)

TheAwersome Rating: 7.8 / 10 (Quite different from Fate/Zero)

Premise: 10 years after the events of Fate/Zero, the Fifth Holy Grail War is about to begin. Rin Tohsaka is among the magi entering the competition with her servant, Archer, in hopes to attain the Holy Grail which will grant the victor any wish. One of her classmates, Shirou Emiya accidentally enters the competition and ends up summoning Saber as his servant. Rin and Shioru decide to form a temporary alliance in order to survive this war.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: UBW is a lot more of a first-person experience than Fate/Zero was. Where we got to see a wide array of mages and their stories with an emphasis on Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero, UBW has a much narrower focus on Shirou and Rin. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that we get that much deeper of character exploration/development than we did in Fate/Zero despite the heavier focus. Consequently, several of the other Mages (and especially their Servants) don’t get explored much.

Action is still great, and the drama is gripping, with very interesting twists and turns. I got a few emotions here and there, but not quite as much as in Zero. UBW does suffer a bit from Shonen hero syndrome, in which the protagonist is frequently confronted with the “Why are you good?” question and basically spends 8+ episodes saying, “Because it’s good to be good so I’ll be good even if I’m sad!” ad nauseum.  If you’re going to get into or watch any of the other installments in the Fate series, you do need to watch this.

TLDR: Different vibe from Fate/Zero, but still good and critical to the entire Fate Franchise.

As stated in the previous Fate blurb, UBW is based on the Visual Novel’s 2nd route and so we have different writers for the source material here. Fate/Zero is based off the Light Novel of the same name, written by Gen Urobuchi, the writer for Madoka Magica. The music is also done by someone else in UBW, so not our girl Yuki Kajiura who did it in Fate/Zero (she also did the music for Madoka, I’ll likely do a spotlight on her later). Be sure to watch the Prologue episode.

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