Unlimited Blade Works episode 5 achieved something that, prior to this point, I would have thought was impossible. It actually made me start to like Tohsaka Rin, the show’s main female protagonist.
For anyone who has been living in a cave and is not familiar with the Fate/Stay Night series, it revolves around seven humans, who each summon a great warrior from history, and who must compete with one another in a series of life-or-death duels until there is only one pair left alive (who will then receive the prize of being able to make a wish for anything their hearts desire).
In just about every version of Fate/Stay Night I’ve seen, (Be it the original Fate/Stay Night Anime from 2006, or the prequel series Fate Xero, or Unlimited Blade works up to this point) I’ve ended up disliking Rin. Don’t get me wrong. I acknowledge that she’s a talented magic user, highly intelligent, and she’s proven that she can hold her own in battle on several occasions. But out of all the female characters whom Fate/Stay Night’s male protagonist, Shiro Emiya, might potentially fall in love with, Rin always struck me as having the worst personality. She always came across as sort of a smarmy, selfish, spoiled, know-it-all, tsundere…brat.
It didn’t necessary improve my opinion of her when Rin discovers in episode 5 that Shiro, (who has fought beside Rin in the past, and who considers her a friend and ally), has decided to attend school without the protection of his summoned hero, Saber, and Rin’s immediate reaction is to break her alliance with Shiro and start chasing him all over the school, shooting bolts of deadly magic energy at him and trying to blowing his head off.
What DID improve my opinion of Rin was what happened when she discovered that both she and Shiro were being hunted by a third party who planned to murder them both before they ever left the school grounds. As Rin set aside her differences with Shiro and worked together with him to escape the enemy’s trap, the two of them began to form a bond that (for the first time in my opinion) seemed to go beyond an alliance that was purely based on strategic advantage, and started to show shades of true friendship, loyalty, mutual respect and… (dare I say it?) possibly the beginnings of love.
I’m still not necessarily convinced that Rin is the best girl for Shiro. But I have to give credit where credit is due. If Unlimited Blade Works wanted to improve my opinion of her, this episode was definitely a step in the right direction. And if the show continues to highlight the caring, honorable side of Rin’s personality that hasn’t been shown much in the past…who knows? They might just make a Rin fan out of me yet.
Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.