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ACTOR WRITER REVIEWER COSPLAYER: Lover of anime, devourer of manga, cosplay enthusiast, and K-culture explorer. @TheSilverYokai

First off, this wasn't a bad anime. I enjoyed it, but there are places where this one fell short of its potential. I understand that the Fate series are adapted from route stories, and I know that different characters and plots are explored in different routes, but despite being good, it felt incomplete.

I really, really wanted to love this anime, but if you're going to give a show a prequel, it's your duty to make sure that what comes after stands up to it, whether it was written before or after the story in question.

First, let’s acknowledge the good stuff:

  • The art and animation, as in , were stunning.
  • The action was fantastic and character's power epic. (Though the fights might've been a little drawn out in some sequences).
  • It had an interesting twist.
  • The characters we got to know in Fate/Zero still killed it.
  • The bad guys were creative and did their job well.

So, what was lacking?

Ignored Characters

Sakura, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
Sakura, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works

Again, I acknowledge that this was just one route, but I get an irksome itch whenever there are unresolved plot issues, especially when they’re made out to be a big deal in a “prequel.” That is why I had a difficult time with not being addressed. She wasn't anything but a girl who seems to have a crush on the MC here.

If you’ve watched Fate/Zero, you know there’s way more going on there. Not seeing that come to fruition (even though it wasn’t a story about her) was frustrating. Though it seems she's the heroine in , the fact she was never fully addressed here left the viewer wanting. Nevertheless, we won’t be getting that supposed trilogy until next year (2017).

If she hadn’t been such a huge catalyst for one of the characters in Fate/Zero, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. However, that wasn't the case. Where I kept waiting for something epic to happen with the bug girl, I was left waiting. Then it ended. She was the one character I would have been OK with having a small part just so long as it was awesome. I can pick out at least three to four spots this could have been done.

In Fate/Zero she threw the man trying to save her into the worm pit and killed him!

Character Fillers

Assassin, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
Assassin, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works

That leads me to the next disappointing shortcoming. Wherein Fate/Zero we got to know our servants (save maybe assassin), we received very little of the ones here. The only hero we got more backstory on was . It was less about her tragic ending and more about the decision she was trying to change, which was cool, but we got no connection with any of the other servants the way we did in Fate/Zero. I even had more feelings for its than some of the servants here.

I felt for though, but that was only because of the Lancer from the prequel. That particular class just can’t seem to catch a break with its master. At first, I didn’t like the guy, but he won me over in the end. Though not as charming as the Lancer of Fate/Zero, he displayed a type of epicness that was lacking throughout the rest of the series. Where most of the servants of Fate/Zero exuded this awesome prowess through their story, it felt long overdue when it finally occurred at the end of Stay Night.

I do acknowledge that we got to see more of Caster. Though, knowing the story of , I wish they would have gone more in depth there. Hers was a terribly sad story. Exploring it would have given a solid reason for her purpose of wanting the grail and fighting so hard for it. However, since we just got a gloss over on all these guys, there was no connection to them and I really missed that.

As for and , it felt like they’d just been plugged in for the sake of having all the servants there; it was disappointing. Rider was thrown away, though I suppose I can excuse that because of what happened afterwards. However, Assassin had a lot of potential that wasn't addressed. Here's this cool samurai of a guy and we only see him twice. Assassin might’ve not had a background that made you like him in Fate/Zero, but the fact he was a guild where there were several of him made him awesome without you needing to know who they were. But when I see a handsome samurai as an assassin, I want to fall in love with him! And his was a good character.

Character Waste

Berserker and Illyasviel von Einzbern Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
Berserker and Illyasviel von Einzbern Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works

Now here’s one thing that really irked me. Like, gnashed my teeth I was really kind of ticked off irked. The main character’s daughter of Fate/Zero was totally thrown to the dogs! She has one dramatic entrance with (who I wanted to have a meet up with Caster. They both belong to the same mythology so that would have been epic!). She calls “oni-chan”, and if you’ve seen Fate/Zero you know why. And you’re waiting and excited for things to go down between these two.

And then...

she dies… I was so angry! Not that she died, okay. I get it. #Gilgamesh needed her heart for his evil do-dads. But her death would have had so much more meaning if Emiya had learned who she was!

I am so aggravated by this missed opportunity of awesome that I can’t stand it! She'd gone from this character you felt so many feels for because of who her parents were to a tool! A tool for the bad guy to use and the MC to overcome. She stopped being a character and became a plot device! If she had only had a moment to connect with Emiya, she would have continued being a character. She would have still had that draw in. And because of what would have been his feelings towards his adopted father's real daughter, her loss would have been actually traumatic. But because that didn’t happen, she turned into a . One that no one cared about even after all that backstory with Berserker. This key point of plot having been ruined drives me insane. Insane with a fiery passion you will never know!

A Lack Of What Made This Character Epic

Gilgamesh, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
Gilgamesh, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works

The lack of Gilgamesh. If you’ve read my article addressing 4 Reasons Why ‘Fate/Zero’ Is Amazing, you know I’m obsessed with him. Though he became the main antagonist at the end of this particular route, he had a total lack of presence. And though he was mostly true to the Gilgamesh of Fate/Zero, he was missing the epic power that had stolen my heart.

I get why the MC could take him on. It was very clearly explained in the anime. And yet, I found myself disappointed that we didn’t get to see Gil really go out here. The excuse was that he didn’t have a weapon specific to defeat the MC since he didn’t have a phantasm connected to him. But then I can’t help but recall Rider from Fate/Zero, and what did Gil use on him? Well, it was something not even the MC could have beaten.

I understand Gil’s pride made him slow to take out our favorite weapon of doom. But it really just felt like an excuse. Ah, well. At least I wasn’t disappointed by the fact that he still would have trashed the MC. If it hadn’t been for that last little bit at the end anyway. Not going to lie. I wanted him to win. I won’t say I exactly wanted him to kill the MC. But I certainly wanted him to have shown off why I loved him so much in the first place.

I’m calling a !

For those who don’t know, a deus ex machina is an unexpected power or event. One that turns a hopeless situation around so that the story can have a happy ending. That deus ex machina was Gil’s and Emiya’s quick power up. Yes, it was explained, but I didn’t like it. It felt like cheating and that’s exactly what a deus ex machina is. (I’ve also got an opinion on whether I feel Gil was a true villain or not too. But we’ll analyze all that in a future article).

Wasted Opportunity To Conjure The Feels

Rin and Archer, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
Rin and Archer, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works

And my final disappointment. Why was there no kiss? Anywhere! Look, that twist there with the MC was pretty cool and was the obvious drive for this plot. But with Rin’s relationship with , I feel that all the romantic jabs between her and Emiya would have been way more solid had she just given Archer a smooch somewhere. That end when she finds him on the cliff after the battle is over would have been the perfect opportunity too. I’m not asking for anything smoldering. Just a sweet little peck that would have driven their relationship home and make me giddy about it.

Honestly, I got more excited over Gil trying to force Sabre to be his wife by stabbing her than I did with these two. A small kiss between and Archer would have created the foundation I needed to be excited about her and Emiya. But as things were left, I just didn't particularly care. And that made me wonder. What was the whole hype with everyone shipping her and Archer the way I’ve seen all over Pinterest…

Conclusion

Sabre, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
Sabre, Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works

And that’s it. I liked the anime, but I didn’t go ga-ga over it the way I did its prequel. It was a good anime with a lot of thrown away potential. And as I said, it’s a . But even a route story shouldn’t waste characters or leave plot holes. I’m not going to complain about the deus ex machina. Only because that’s an ancient cheat that the came up with. And since they wrote some of the best , , and , I’ll let this one go. Other than that, I’m hoping that the other Fate/ works don’t leave me so disappointed as this one.

My next Fate/ anime endeavor will be .

It seems to be about (the daughter of Fate/Zero’s MCs’). And at a glance, it looks like it’s gone

I don’t know how I feel about that, but Gil looks like he makes an appearance, so you know I’m going to watch it anyway! And, of course, I’ll be checking out the older version of Fate/Stay Night.

Let’s just hope I don’t have so much (more) to nit pick at this time as we wait for Fate/Stay Night – Heavens Feel to come out.

Why did you love/hate Fate/Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works?

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