Fate/stay night — Final Thoughts

フェイト/ステイナイト
Fate/stay night – Final Thoughts Review

I was first introduced to Fate/stay night through my regular search for interesting anime images, which leads me all over the place. I saw some cool picture of Sabe, the blonde babe in the blue outfit and armor, with her sword on the attack and it really caught my eye. So I started looking for some more images and information and saw Saber naked with…well, you get the idea. ^_^;;;  However, I will admit that my interest was piqued and after doing a little research, I decided that maybe I would take a deeper look.

I learned that while the visual novel had an H-element to it, the story was really good.  After FUNimation licensed-rescued the Fate/stay night anime series, people told me that I should watch it. So I picked up the Fate/stay night DVD set from FUNimation, then episode blogged the series. I’m glad that I did as the series turned out to be pretty enjoyable with just a few flaws on the side.

Adapted from the Fate/stay night eroge visual novel, this anime mostly follows what I believe is the main path through that visual novel with the protagonist Shirou accidentally summoning the heroic spirit (Servant) Saber as part of the Holy Grail War currently underway in modern day Japan. Since these Servants who fight in the war are normally powered by magic and Shirou only has a limited amount, Shirou and Saber have to come up with a strategy to not only stay alive, but with this round of the war in order to have their wish granted by the Holy Grail.

One of the problems in adapting a visual novel of any kind is that it is impossible to incorporate every path and all of the great information provided. Some, like Clannad or Kanon, are easier, but a game as massive as Fate/stay night is not so easy (with all of its sequels of sorts). While the anime production team does a good job at making this adaptation, there are lots of things that get left out which would make things clearer. Also, at times characters are just completely forgotten at times. One character dies and no one says another word about him. Another character has something bad happen to her and that’s completely forgotten. Another character gets injured twice and seems to be in dire straits both times but instead the character shows back up later without a scratch or an explanation. Because of this, I feel that adding another episode or two might have helped, though the production teamed seemed to be going for a faster pace.

Speaking of that, every episode of this anime seemed to just smoke by. I would find myself so engrossed in the episode that when it ended, I often thought, “NOOO!” Often, this resulted in my immediately playing the next episode (even if I should be going to bed or doing something else). It is at times like this that I’m glad that I didn’t have to wait a whole week for the next episode. It also showed that while there were flaws trying to adapt multiple routes into a single story (each route is its own story with the same basic premise), the story at the heart of Fate/stay night is a very good one.

The removal of the hentai elements really causes no negative impact on the story. That said, there is a scene in episode 15 that I immediately recognized as being one of the images I saw early on, only Saber was sans clothing in that game image. ^_^;;; So while it is never stated, it is strongly implied that Shirou and Saber have sex here and then again toward the end of the series for the purposes of recharging Saber’s mana. Good thing for Shirou that Saber wasn’t a man, eh? ^_^;;;

03a Shirou defends

Character-wise, I’d like to speak about the hero Shirou. On one hand, he’s the harem hero who knows what he wants and goes after that girl. That’s an unusual trait for a harem hero (though admittedly, this is not your typical harem anime title) and one I liked. On the other hand, he has Saber, a powerful Servant, there to fight battles and protect him. Shirou wants to protect her despite the fact that all he can do is get hurt. Granted, he gets better and better over time, but initially, Shirou annoyed me somewhat as a character. I understand his feelings of wanting to protect Saber but at the same time, a man has to know his limitations. ^_~

As to the other characters, there’s a nice mix of the traditional kinds of harem characters as well as other characters (mostly female) that we’ve seen before. Obviously, I gravitate to Saber in the harem, but I like Rin and Sakura as well. ^_^  (As a very late, 2013 aside, I now like Ilya as well.)

While I’ve no problems with the art and character designs, I found the animation to be somewhat lacking at times. Considering the popularity of the Fate/stay night franchise, I would have thought that there would be a bigger animation budget. I guess not. That’s unfortunate, considering the number of action sequences in this anime. That’s not to say that this is some horribly animated anime, but it isn’t the best for sure and it deserves better than what it got in my opinion. (Another late, 2013 aside – with ufotable doing an apparent remake of the series, hopefully they can do it properly as they did with Fate/Zero.)

Finally, I’d like to thank Garik for all of his incredible information he posted in the comments section of the individual episode reviews. That makes me really glad I opted to review the series episode by episode rather than the whole series at once approach I had intended. ^_^ I’m sure those are as helpful to others who’ve not played the visual novel as well. Thanks to the others who posted comments as well. They were all appreciated very much. ^_^

In the end, we have a fast-paced, action filled anime that is garnished with just enough comedy and romance to make it sweet. Nice characters and a very interesting story concept make the anime very enjoyable. The only weaknesses are in animation and in the fact that there is is too much source material that had to be cut, leaving some things not clear. However, this is a title that I could easily watch again and as such I’m glad I bought it.

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18 Responses to “Fate/stay night — Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    My first time commenting on your blog. I’m glad you blogged this series because it is one of my favorites. I’m glad Garik wrote all those interesting things because I didn’t know half of that. Keep up the good work Astro.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Thanks for the kind words. ^_^

    That reminds me, I think the one thing that surprised me about blogging this series is how much traffic it generated. Normally, older titles don’t do much traffic but this one generated nearly as much traffic as a new series. Wild. ^_^

  3. Garik says:

    It is common knowledge among Type-Moon fandom that anime adaptations of the VNs are much less enjoyable than the original work (a notion that transcends nearly all adaptations from one form of media to another). In fact, it is common practice to disavow the existence of an anime adaptation for Type-Moon’s breakout doujin mega-hit, Tsukihime. Still, Fate does an admirable job of it.

    I really think, however, that the anime also represents much wasted potential. Very few of the best fight scenes made it into the anime. We get the epic clash between Saber and Gilgamesh, Saber and Rider, and Saber and Assassin (which is lifted from UBW), but we miss out on many more truly epic fights, especially where Shirou is concerned. I don’t know a Fate fan who wouldn’t love to have seen Archer vs Shirou, Shirou vs Gilgamesh, Rin vs Caster, Archer vs Lancer (round 2) from UBW. Or the spectacular and heart-wrenching conflicts from Heavens Feel: Rider vs True Assassin, Kotomine vs True Assassin, Berserker vs Saber Alter, Shirou vs Black Berserker (the infamous Nine-Bullet Revolver), Rider vs Saber Alter (and the tear-inducing aftermath), and my personal favorite, Rin vs Black Sakura.

    I think that there really was potential to incorporate all three scenarios in a more full and better manner. After all, Fate, Saber’s route, is more of an introduction, while UBW and Heavens Feel are where the true answers are found. Ah well. It was enough to get me hooked. 😉

    We can always hope for a Fate/Zero anime. Talk about Epic!!!

    I agree with your sentiments on the ecchi. Really, the scenes don’t need to be explicit to get the point across. In fact, I feel the substitution for Rin’s ero scene in UBW that was made for the PS2 version is in fact more erotic than the Jack-hammering Hymen-busting that Shirou gives to her in the PC version. However, you can simply skip over them in the PC version.

    I’m glad I could help expand on the mythos and the conventions of the Nasuverse. Any last questions? Any characters anyone wants expansions on?

    Do you plan on going through the VN? I know I’ve given lots away, but it’s still a very enjoyable read.

    I have a few recommendations for you as well. You could try reviewing Tsukihime (yes, despite the rumors, an anime does exist), especially the manga version, which is superbly adapted. However, if you review any other Type-Moon works in anime form, I highly recommend Kara no Kyoukai. The quality of these movies is fantastic.

    Thanks so much for your reviews and I’m glad I could help out!

  4. Son Gohan says:

    I watched the F/SN anime when it came out in 2006 and I liked it, though it wasn’t one of my favourites.
    Then I played the visual novel when the complete English patch came out last Winter and I was blown away. I totally fell in love with the characters and the story. I suggest you do the same.
    Concerning the anime, I understand that they had to choose a route and leave out a lot of information. I would have liked that they included the Archer=Shiro thing and the true nature of the Holy Grail War. But it isn’t the disaster that many fans claimed.

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    With the franchise as popular as it is and with the reboot of FMA doing pretty well from what I hear, I could go for a F/SN reboot as well, this time making it a much longer series to incorporate so much more of the story that had previously been dropped.

    As to the other anime suggestions, I am going to try to obtain copies. When I get to watch them is going to be another question for sure but I’ll work out something I’m sure. Are you well versed in those Type Moon series? Are they linked in some way?

    As to the VN, I do plan to go through it if I can. I do have it now and the English patch but I’ve never started it or anything.

    Regardless, feel free to stop by any time on any series you have knowledge about that I happen to be blogging. ^_^

  6. pissedbuddha says:

    Say, when are you going to do a review on Negima volume 23?

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Whenever my copy of the Del Rey release finally comes in. I mail order everything to save money and it takes time to arrive. ^_^;;;

  8. pissedbuddha says:

    Really? I prefer Barnes and Noble.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Cheaper prices and no tax or shipping fees. The trade off is that sometimes these things take time to come via the mail.

  10. So FSN was pretty good, huh? I haven’t got around to buying the box set, yet, and I only saw the first two episodes on fansub like three years ago, and it seemed fairly interesting, but I didn’t have the money to buy the series when Geneon first released it. It, Shana, and Mushishi are the only series I watched on fansub that I haven’t gotten around to buying the DVD for yet. I’ve been meaning to get it, but there’s a whole bunch of series I’ve been catching up with (hooray for cheap boxed sets!) and it’s been lower down on my list of series to get. So, you’d consider it a must-buy?

    Re: Negima vol. 23. Where do you get your manga from, and how much less do you have to pay? I always buy my manga from Borders, with a volume of Negima costing $11 (+7% GA sales tax). I bought my copy last week.

    Oh, and speaking of continuations and reboots, they’re finally going to continue the Inuyasha anime. There’s an article up at ANN. I don’t know if you ever got into that show, but it was alright. Not spectacular, but entertaining nonetheless. I watched it during its run on Adult Swim, and still watch the occasional rerun.

    @Garik: I have Tsukihime on DVD, which was okay, the ending (a big downer IMO; should’ve gone with Arc’s good ending rather than the “true” ending) notwithstanding. Granted, my knowledge of the original game is rather limited, but FWIW I found the anime fairly enjoyable.

  11. Garik says:

    “Granted, my knowledge of the original game is rather limited, but FWIW I found the anime fairly enjoyable.”

    That’s how I felt at first too. And then I read through the game and saw how much got cut, distorted, or just messed up. It’s hard to watch the anime after going through the “true” story. Of course, Tsukihime doesn’t make complete sense until you’ve gone through all 5 routes, making an adaptation extremely difficult. You should try the manga; it’s really well done and even manages to expand the story from the game with tidbits released in later canon.

  12. Garik says:

    I also want to reiterate: give Kara no Kyoukai a shot. The movies are not in chronological order, so it’s rather confusing, but the animation quality, the soundtrack, and the overall atmosphere make it amazing to watch. And when you do start understanding more, it gets even better.

  13. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Shadow — “Must buy?” There are very few things I would give that qualifier to. A Bible? Yes. *lol* Do I think F/SN is worthy of a purchase? Yeah, I think so. ^_^

    Which reminds me, I didn’t say a peep about FUNimation’s DVD’s nor promote them in any way. I must be slipping or something. ^_~ That’s OK. I can make a future post about that. *nods*

    On the O/T Negima element (*lol*) — I generally hit DeepDiscount or Amazon if they happen to be cheaper and I have enough other stuff to get the $25 marker for free shipping. I think I paid $8.61 for volume 23 with no tax and no shipping charge.

  14. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Working on acquiring said titles now. ^_^

  15. @Garik: I’ll check those movies out. From what I saw in the Wikipedia article on it, two of the characters seem obviously prototypical of Shiki from Tsukihime. The main girl has his name and ability, and there’s a guy that looks just like him. I almost thought it was part of the Tsukihime series for a second.

    @ANB: Less than $9 for a Del Rey title? That’s actually not bad. The $2 difference would add up real quick. However, I don’t like waiting unless I need to, plus I have a habit of supporting brick and mortar businesses (plus I’ve always loved bookstores). Now, since anime is more expensive than manga, I will buy it off the internet if I can get a really good price as compared to what I find when I go into Best Buy or MovieStop (RightStuf usually has good discounts, not to mention free shipping for orders over $50), as I’m willing to wait if the savings are substantial. Also, I buy from online if I simply can’t find it in stores, which is the case with Gunbuster 2, which I just got the first volume of, and several out-of-print series that I never got to finish (getting vols. 5-8 of Stellvia and 2 & 3 of Starship Operators from Rightstuf soon).

    Oh, and it seems that FUNimation is releasing a cheapter boxset of FSN in September, so I’ll most likely buy it then.

  16. Jesse says:

    This may be a little late, but I found a Let’s Play of the Fate/Stay Night visual novel on the Something Awful forums. The goon running it has finished the Fate route and is currently beginning Unlimited Blade Works. If you can’t get the game yourself, this could be the next best thing.

    I’m not a goon, but even if you don’t have an account there, it should be worth checking out. It’s got links to BGM from the game, along with a couple of videos from the game and such, including the Taiga Dojo hint videos that play after a BAD END. If you don’t mind a lot of reading, it should be right up your alley. The commentary, while sparse, is good, and the speculation and such from the other goons following the LP thread is amusing to read.

    The link is here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3088127

  17. mrinmoy says:

    i love the fate stay night vn very much it was awesome . well i thought that it was going to be a happy ending. bt the ending nearly bought me close to tears . saber should have stay with him . and there last part when she dies at the ends it filled my heart with imense sorrow. can u all belief i couldnt study for two days inspite my exams were on my head . n i watched all the episodes again for two times . i really like it very much . n are there any sequal to fate stay night ??????

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      There’s a prequel anime out now, with the second season of it airing soon.

      Of course, the visual novels are what everyone tells me to read, since it has the proper story.

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