Genre(s): Action, Magic, Supernatural, Drama
Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Violence, disturbing themes, gore/body horror, partial nudity)
Episodes: One 2 hr. movie
TheAwersome Rating: 8.0 / 10 (Gorgeous, but hard to follow)
Premise: The Fifth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City has reached a turning point. The lives of all participants are threatened as the hidden enemy finally reveals itself. As Shirou Emiya, Rin Tohsaka, and Illyasviel von Einzbern discover the true, corruptive nature of the shadow that has been rampaging throughout the city, they realize just how dire the situation is. To protect their loved ones, the group must hold their own against the seemingly insurmountable enemy force—even if some of those foes were once their allies, or perhaps, something more intimate. As the final act of this chaotic war commences, the ideals Shirou believes will soon be challenged by an excruciating dilemma: is it really possible to save a world where everything seems to have gone wrong?
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Studio ufotable flexes on the entire anime industry again with some of the most gorgeous art and animation, coupled with Yuki Kajiura’s perfect soundtrack. Action sequences are tight, intense, and dynamic, giving you full-body goosebumps multiple times. Yet, this is still a story written by Nasu Kinoko (FSN, Garden of Sinners) so there’s a lot of “rules of magic” gymnastics and overly complicated, often uninteresting philosophy littered in among poetic symbolism and meaningful, thought-provoking dialogue. Unfortunately, it was distracting enough that I didn’t feel nearly the immersion I had in the previous two movies. The ending not only left some questions unanswered but left me with more questions than just before it.
TLDR: A gorgeous, albeit somewhat confusing, finale.
Fate is notorious for having a complex and complicated story and plot. I had hoped, however, that having seen Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Stay Night [Unlimited Blade Works], Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Extra – Last Encore, playing a handful of Fate/Grand Order, and even watching all of Garden of Sinners, that I would understand a LOT more than I did. I’d hoped to feel at least as immersed and connected as I did in the previous movie, if not more, and instead felt as lost as I’d been since Fate/Extra.
I feel that a lot of Fate, and this movie, suffers from the issue of “Illustration vs. Adaptation.” I find this issue happens particularly with shows or movies that have extensively large source material. A lot of the Harry Potter movies (the fifth one, in particular) felt like they were meant to accompany the book, rather than be a movie. The same issue happened with the Magia Record anime and considering that the Fate/Stay Night Visual Novel takes 80+ hours to get through, it seems inevitable that there will be challenges.
I’m of the opinion that shows and movie adaptations should stand on their own and be enjoyable without requiring the viewer to be familiar with the source material. You can add in easter eggs, references, and nods that only those familiar will get; add in things that will enhance the viewing experience for those who have done their homework, but not to the detriment of those who haven’t.
You’ll likely enjoy this if you enjoyed:
- Previous Heaven’s Feel Movies
- The dark atmosphere and stellar animation of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train