Anime Review – Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Seasons 1 & 2

fate-stay-night-UBW-S1fate-stay-night-UBW-S2Between the clash of swords, the versatility of magic and the resting bitch face of Rin Tohsoka, Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works knows how to grab your attention. And hold it at that.

As a 2015 remake to the original Fate Stay Night, Unlimited Blade Works was sure to improve upon the 2006 anime. From fierce and flashy animation to intriguing dialogue. And of course we can’t forget the gripping characters. But while it was certainly entertaining, just like my soccer skills, it isn’t perfectly polished.

The plot has a solid premise that seems simple enough. Magical master and snazzy servant work together to kill their competition, claiming the wish-granting holy grail for themselves. It’s a cool concept to work with. Yet it was dragged down by one very noticeable flaw. Battle strategy.

For an anime that hinged on an epic war the simple fact is that the characters were just too dumb. Ideas and plans were rather basic, incredibly idealistic, and often resulted in an unbelievable outcome. Like…if any of the characters in this anime entered a chess competition they’d almost certainly lose. In round one. Why? Because their strategy would be “lets just keep moving this pawn forward and hope we somehow win.” Yes. It all gets a little much.

As much as I love sassy Rin. She's all talk and seems...well...a little dumb. Studio:ufotable
As much as I love sassy Rin. She’s all talk and seems…well…a little dumb.   Studio: ufotable

But it’s time to put that flaw aside. For it doesn’t define this anime. But – you then ask, what does? Action packed fight scenes with animation that’ll leave you mesmerised. It’s crisp, clear and as fluid as a colourful fish swimming in water. I’d put the animation on par with the best i’ve seen. It’s that good. And it’s complimented by captivating and relevant sound that makes it near impossible to turn away without someone physically forcing you too. But hopefully no one will do that to you…cause that would be rude.

Be prepared for some thought-provoking ideological discussions. While they’re absorbing they can sometimes drag on a little long – like those conversations in Days of Our Lives. But it’s these discussions that lay the foundation much of the character development, and while they could have been shorter and gotten the same point across they’re still relevant and add to the anime as a whole.

We all love Saber. Source: ufotable
We all love Saber.   Source: ufotable

It’s important to note that if you watch Fate/Zero before you watch Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works it’ll have some overlapping characters and can provide a basis for characterisation. In particular background insights into Rin, Saber and Gilgamesh are given which flow through to this anime and help provide context. It also helps present a better explained plot which serves to make this anime more cohesive. I’d argue that watching Fate/Zero first will make this anime more enjoyable in the same way eating cake before ice-cream is double the fun when compared to eating just ice-cream. Or…a more relevant example, in the same way a prologue can make a novel better.

With a myriad of pleasing dimensions to the show and some breathtaking fight scenes Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works is an awesome anime to sink your teeth into. So whether you’re a fan of Saber, Archer, Caster or Lancer, it’s time to pick up your weapon and fight enjoy watching.

Thank you for reading my review!

Rating 7.5/10

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