A Fan's Review- Unlimited Blade Works:
You see since the DVDs are out I had the chance to finally see the rumored UBW movie. Yeah, you can guess in what way I got it so let's not get to the details. As some of you may know I am almost a rabid fan of the Nasuverse and TypeMOON
products in general...almost. Well, before I get to the movie let's talk a bit about Fate/Stay Night.
UBW poster: Main character is in the background.
Fate/Stay Night was originally a visual novel
, in short a game about nothing but pictures and story. It became popular and so they adapted it into an anime series
with the same title. The story is about Emiya Shirou
, a seemingly normal high-schooler who suddenly finds himself in the middle of the brutal Grail War. It's like a battle of elimination seven mages and their Servants
. Shirou joins the War and as you can guess...in the end wins. That's enough of the story for now. I am going to explain it in more detail anyways. The Visual Novel had 3 separate routes. The anime adapted the first route, Fate and mixed in some story elements from the other two. The movie, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works obviously tells the story of the second route, with the exact same title.
The pairing in Unlimited Blade Works.
I forgot to mention: each route has a different heroine(and love interest
). This time it's Rin
, not Saber
. If you watched the anime and wanted to see Saber and Shirou together again...well, you might be disappointed a little. Back to the story:
Shirou lives a normal life when in one night he accidentally oversees the battle of two Servants. One of them spots Shirou and our hero must take it for the run. It's useless though and the spear-wielding Servant stabs Shirou, apparently killing him. Of course the story can't end like this, and Rin saves Shirou by sacrificing her pendant
's power. Unaware of that Shirou somehow gets home just to be attacked by Lancer
once again. In the last minute he accidentally summons Saber who quickly retreats the enemy Servant. Later Shirou asks the priest
about the Holy Grail War. On the way back Rin and Shirou were attacked by another master and forced to team up. Thank's to Archer
the other master retreats. Shirou does not like the red-coated Servant and that later plays a very important role in the story. From then on Shirou and Rin cooperates with each other, and face the difficulties of the War together.
I don't want to spoil you so I won't tell the full story. Be it enough that despite the plot's simple nature, the movie does have a few nice twists.;)
- Breathtaking animation: At least compared to the anime. The action scenes are simply incredible. Sometimes I think they have even surpassed the original. The effects give a great boosts to the enjoyment. As a fan-addition we can see the animated stills of about all the game CGs. It was a surprising and a bit heartwarming feeling when I see the screen almost exactly matching the pictures from the original game.
- Dynamic and action-packed story: Really, you get more battles than you can count. It's more like the whole movie is a huge battle with a few peaceful scenes. The attacks of the Servants are overwhelming. The clash of their weapons release huge shockweaves while they zig-zag through the screen. In short you know you aren't dealing with average Joes. People who played with Fate/Unlimited Codes may recognize a few familiar moves and attacks, I am sure did. That's a little bonus.
- Gar: Check the link if you don't know the meaning. This is a war so it's obvious we get many deaths, especially on the Servants' side. But true to their name(Heroic Spirits) with a few exceptions you don't see a single foe falling without putting up a real fight. Still, the most manliest and awesome character is going to be our protagonist, Shirou. It may strike the anime watchers as a surprise but see the movie and you sure going to find out why.^^
- The Music: The new more mainstream style music actually did wonders in a few scenes. I was initially a bit iffy about the whole thing but in the end the game is the game and the movie is the movie. What fitted the game's scenes great, doesn't automatically make good for the movie. It was somehow the same with the anime and the movie departed even more from the original soundtrack. I didn't follow it all the time but the only soundtrack I noticed was a remix of the famous EMIYA(Shirou's theme). I say it went well with the movie and despite my cynical stance I enjoyed it. Perhaps like the rest of the review, this is a personal bias.
- Confusing plot: You can't guess but it's easier to follow the plot from my synopsis than by watching the movie. Especially the beginning. It jumps all over the place until we get to the first mayor battle. Sometimes the events happen just randomly and you simply don't know what's going on. I can't blame the producers much though. They had to compress the whole route into less than two hours. Considering the anime had 26 episodes, this is quite an accomplishment.
- Lost scenes: It's expected but still as someone who played through all 3 routes of the original, I really missed some scenes. Just little scenes or elements that would have added to the movie's overall awesomeness if they animate them. Also sometimes they made such additions that raised some eyebrows for anyone who knows the Nasuverse. But I guess that's the minority, so it's a little bother.
- Deen quality: While generally the animation is great, the characters' faces tend to distort to weird levels. It's acceptable for an anime series but not for a movie. I still wish they could have hired Ufotable instead of Deen. But maybe I am just nitpicking.
Worth it or not?
Watch the movie! Archer says so.
If you are new to Fate/Stay Night, I think my answer is no. Unless all you care is the action, you are going to be frustrated with the plot. You have to see the anime series at least to know what's really the scene is about. They explain just as much you don't get completely lost. Nice but not nearly enough.
On the other hand if you watched the anime or god-forbid even finished the Visual Novel, you are going to enjoy this movie. The little explanation is vaguely enough to understand the plot once you know the setting. You have a nice movie ahead. New scenes, new revelations and new plot. It's like when you buy an expansion pack for your favorite game. I think you are going to like it.:)