The Official MSBS Anime Review: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014-2015 T.V. series)

ModernSpongeBobSucks I am the bone of my sword
Steel is my body and fire is my blood
I have created over a thousand blades
Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life
Have withstood pain to create many weapons
Yet, those hands will never hold anything
So as I pray, unlimited blade works.

Rejoice, happy people of TheTopTens. The second anime review of Aniplex's August Lucky 7 shall come underway. I am ModernSpongeBobSucks, and today, I will be reviewing the anime series Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, which like its prequel Fate/Zero, is also divided into two seasons. Now before I get started, I would like to point out a few things. First, this is ufotable's anime adaptation of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works being reviewed, as there was a previous movie adaptation of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works produced in 2010 by Studio Deen. Second, if you're wondering why there is "Unlimited Blade Works" in the title of this anime series, that's because it's supposed to refer to one of three routes from the original Fate/stay night visual novel that it's adapting. The three routes are Fate (Saber), Unlimited Blade Works (Rin Tohsaka), and Heaven's Feel (Sakura Matou), with each route having their own respective main heroine as I listed in parentheses. Third and lastly, since this is an anime adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route, the 2014-2015 TV series Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works differs vastly from the 2006 TV series Fate/stay night produced by Studio Deen, as that anime adaptation primarily focuses on the Fate route while incorporating elements of the Unlimited Blade Works route and the Heaven's Feel route. Now that I've cleared up any possible sources of confusion, shall we begin? Trace on!

Initiate conform. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works takes place in the year 2004 in Fuyuki City. In Fuyuki City, an event known as the Holy Grail War takes place every 60 years, where 7 Masters along with their respective 7 Servants from each of the 7 classes: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin and Berserker, fight against one another in an all-out battle royal until the last Master and Servant are standing and obtain the omnipotent Holy Grail, which is said to grant its holder any wishes. While there have been four Holy Grail Wars that followed the pattern of happening only every 60 years, the Fifth Holy Grail War has now begun prematurely just 10 years after the Fourth Holy Grail War. And now, one of these 7 Masters, Rin Tohsaka, who commands the Servant Archer, is participating in the Fifth Holy Grail War on behalf of upholding her duty as heir to the Tohsaka family. One of Rin Tohsaka's classmates, Shirou Emiya, accidentally becomes a participant in the Fifth Holy Grail War when he sees two Servants fighting each other at his school after having cleaned all day one night, is hunted down by one of the Servants and sustains a life-threatening injury, and miraculously survives and summons the Servant Saber when chased down by the same Servant who attacked him again. Facing many mutual enemies, Shirou and Rin decide to form a temporary truce in order to stand a chance against their opponents.

Basic structure... understood. Now I will discuss the animation, art, and music for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. As I mentioned earlier, ufotable is the animation studio behind this adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route. Being that they have done an exceptional job on animating Fate/Zero, it was a pleasure to see them come back to animate this wonderful installment from the Fate series! As expected, ufotable lived up to its reputation once again by doing an impressive job on animating the action sequences, fighting scenes, and computer and traditional animation. Heck, for Archer's Noble Phantasm named Unlimited Blade Works, the entire scenery and background of the Reality Marble itself looks so realistic that it looks like Pixar decided to get into the anime industry by working for this adaptation! As for the art, it's pretty good as always as ufotable has always done for everything related to the Fate series that it animated. Lastly, for the music, I enjoyed the opening songs Ideal White by Mashiro Ayano and Brave Shine by Aimer. I also liked the ending songs Believe by Kalafina, This Illusion by LiSA for episode 12 (which is supposed to be a cover of the original Disillusion song from the original Fate/stay night visual novel, so that's pretty much a bonus for Type-Moon fans), and Ring Your Bell by Kalafina. In addition, I liked Last Stardust by Aimer, which was used as an insert song for episode 20. And to wrap up the music analysis, I would like to mention two notable music composers that I noticed in my research for who worked on the OST for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works: Hideyuki Fukasawa and Yuki Kajiura. Hideyuki Fukasawa acts as the main composer, whose most revered work for music composition is the video game Chaos Legion, which had garnered him a cult-like status among video game fans. With a reputation like this, soundtracks composed by him for this anime are worthy of being in a hall of fame! I'd cite Rin's Melody, Archer, and Emiya UBW Extended as a few examples of his composer genius! As for Yuki Kajiura, being the composer for the prequel Fate/Zero, she returns for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works as a guest composer, showing off her wonderful composition talent again with arranging and composing many of the theme songs and their lyrics and soundtracks. Overall, the animation, art, and music for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works has certainly lived up to my expectations!

Component materials... understood. Now I shall discuss the story of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. Like Fate/Zero, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is divided into two seasons, with a separate prologue preceding the first season, the first season having 12 episodes, and the second season having 13 episodes including an epilogue. For Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, there is an entire 51-minute prologue special where it begins the story of the Unlimited Blade Works adaptation from the perspective of Rin first. Then, the first season begins from the usual perspective of the main hero Shirou, only that in this anime series, the way the story progresses and begins to unfold in the Unlimited Blade Works route it is adapting differs a lot from the Fate route, as Rin is the main heroine of this route instead of Saber. When the second season comes along, the Unlimited Blade Works adaptation really starts to differ from the Fate route, such as who dies and who plays a major or minor role in the anime, while Shirou becomes even more personally challenged with his dream of becoming a hero of justice and saving everyone like he promised his foster father Kiritsugu Emiya one fateful night when he was a child as the Fifth Holy Grail War nears its climactic ending. Now over the course of the entirety of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, I found the story to not only be relatively enjoyable, but also very inspirational as I found Shirou's strong will to never give up on his ideals of being a hero of justice to be very admirable, no matter how idiotic others may view that strong will to be. It was also pretty interesting to see how much this adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route heavily branched from the Fate route, especially when it came to the romance. Speaking of romance, that brings me to Shirou and Rin's romantic relationship with each other. If you recall, I said the main heroine of the Unlimited Blade Works route is Rin, so instead of seeing Shirou and Saber develop a romantic relationship with each other in the Fate route, a romantic relationship between Shirou and Rin develops instead. And I gotta say, not only was it very heartwarming and cute to watch, but it was also pretty realistic as well out of all the romantic relationships from each of the three routes, along with the fact that I really liked Rin's tsundere qualities that were displayed in this romantic relationship! Pretty much, the story is pretty solid in addition to the romance as well, with Shirou and Rin being one of my favorite anime couples right next to Kirito and Asuna from Sword Art Online.

Basic structure... modified. Now I will go over the characters of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works.
Being the main hero of all three routes, we have our male lead Shirou. Now to me, I think he's a pretty underrated character when I hear about all the hate he gets from fans. I actually thought he was a pretty inspirational protagonist. I mean, most people might think he's just a weak idiot, but I just find it awesome whenever he gets knocked down only to get back on his feet again no matter how injured he gets. That takes real strength to be able to do things like that. Then, we have our female lead Rin, who is a skilled magus who acts with elegance as heir to the Tohsaka family, being a brave, resourceful, and confident teenage girl and fitting the archetype of tsundere. Being the female lead of this anime, I saw a lot of good things about Rin, whether it be her meaning well for others even if she may not show it externally or her development with Shirou as the anime progressed. We then have Saber, who is the Servant of Shirou, who, though she may not have as much screen time or development as she does in the Fate route, still manages to be a strong female and is still useful at some points in the anime. However, if there was one Servant that stood out in this adaptation more than any other Servant, it would be Archer, the Servant of Rin. Being one of the most enigmatic characters in not just Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, but also the entire Fate series, Archer is quite a cynical yet protective and well-meaning person. And his mysterious tension with Shirou and the connection he has to him proved to be the greatest highlights of his character, at least in my opinion. There are many other great characters (well, excluding Shinji Matou, since that guy is pretty much an unlikable jackass) I could talk about such as the brave and bold Lancer, the evil and wicked Caster, the badass villainous Black Key-wielding priest Kirei Kotomine, and the King of Heroes himself known as Gilgamesh, back and better than ever from Fate/Zero as an even greater antagonist, but the cast is just too big to cover all in one go, so if you want to learn more about these characters, you might want want to check out my remix of the list of Best Fate/Stay Night Characters and the rest of the list as well. That, or just do some old-fashioned research.

Component elements... Now I know most people may prefer Fate/Zero over Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, but as for me, I think Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is just as good as Fate/Zero, even if it may not be as dark or mature as Fate/Zero is. Now there were a few things that bothered me such as some characters not getting enough screen time or development, such as Sakura Matou and Rider. However, I can overlook that flaw since this anime is an adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route, meaning it's supposed to stay true to the original route from the visual novel. So I can't blame ufotable since they were only supposed to develop the characters in this adaptation that were developed from the Unlimited Blade Works route. Also, there is a point where Saber gets turned into a damsel in distress for a small minority of the series. Luckily, I believe I can defend this like I did with Asuna Yuuki's case from my Sword Art Online review. Basically, Saber didn't merely succumb to her damsel in distress status and didn't give in to her captor, which, in my opinion, showed that she was still a strong girl, though admittedly not as much as she was in Fate/Zero. To put this in words, while there were a few elements of imperfection from the anime, they are at least able to be defended, at least from my point of view.

Reinforcement complete! When you compare ufotable's anime adaptation of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works to Studio Deen's movie adaptation of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, ufotable pretty much beats Studio Deen by a LONG mile. Even judging it on its own merit, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is a pretty cool show to watch. Formatted as a TV series, yet presented as if it were a movie, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works really lived up to the hype I saw for this anime. With groundbreaking animation that has earned the anime its title of the popular fan-made meme "Unlimited Budget Works", a phenomenal OST, one of the most realistic romantic relationships I've ever seen in anime, tons of interesting characters, and an inspiring tale of one boy who wishes to be a hero of justice, all of these unite to overshadow the flaws this anime has and manage to make the entire series a masterpiece. So as I end this anime review, here is my final score for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works:

10.0 out of 10.0 stars

Next anime review: The Official MSBS Anime Review: Blue Exorcist

Until then, peace!


Good review, I thought fate zero was the prequel though do to the name. - Skullkid755

Anyone looking forward to the Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel movie trilogy coming out in 2017? - ModernSpongeBobSucks

I am I love that anime - visitor

Yeah, I really like the Fate series. And you were saying that you were looking forward to the Heaven's Feel trilogy? - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Yes - visitor

This show is awesome I can't wait for the new version to come out. - HollowArrow

Yeah. I really can't wait for Heaven's Feel. It's ranked 5th on on Top Upcoming Anime, so I hope my parents will let me go see it in theaters. - ModernSpongeBobSucks