Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works – 06/07 Review

[C12] Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 07.mp4 - 00001Despite these words, this whole scene actually glorifies Eastern swordplay and Western swordplay merely gets represented in a “Hey, I can keep up, sort-of!”-way.

The more I see of this series, the more I’m reminded of why I liked the first Fate/Stay Night series when I still thought of it as a really good shounen-show. But with the success of that first series, this whole thing has become a franchise and it’s one of the rare few that spawned a prequel that’s better than the original. Ultimately Fate/Zero got an adaptation that thanks to ufotable clearly showed off its strengths. Now returning to Fate/Stay Night, despite ufotable’s involvement, clearly shows that the whole franchise wasn’t as strong right from the start as you would think about watching Fate/Zero. I still think it would’ve been way better to radically alter Fate/Stay Night’s storyline by like for example making Rin the main-character instead of Shirou. Instead we get an episode like these two that highlight how flawed the writing and storyline of Fate/Stay Night is.

Review:

[C12] Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 07.mp4 - 00007That sort of cinematography sucks! The ‘camera’ is SO far removed that you barely see the characters in it and nothing in that shot offers some meaningful context for why we’re looking at the characters from this bird-eye-perspective.

I think, the best thing you can say about this series is that it’s the best Fate/Stay Night adaptation right now but the worst thing you can say is that it’s still Fate/Stay Night. It’s based on a visual novel without with the aspirations to become the popular piece of fiction it has become since. And so, this visual novel is generic and flawed in ways that are really only suited for a typical Visual Novel. For all its efforts to be more like Fate/Zero, this series still tries too hard to be like Fate/Stay Night. Let’s make it clear: Fate/Stay Night’s writing isn’t that great. Just as an example take this dialogue between Archer, Caster and (sort-of) Shirou at the start of episode 07 which lasts for three minutes:

Archer (to Caster): From what you’ve said your (Assassin’s and Caster’s) masters work together?
Shirou: Work together?!
Archer (to Shirou): Yes… Assassin guards the gate and Caster lurks within. Isn’t it obvious that those two are allied? It isn’t particularly unusual. For example, you and Rin have joined forces.
Caster: Me? Work with that dog? With Assassin, who is no more than a pawn?
Archer: Your pawn?
Caster: Yes. That dog has no master, you see.
Shirou: What?
Archer: (angry) Caster, you broke the rules!
Caster: (bemused) What’s wrong with a mage like me summoning a servant?
Shirou: Caster summoned Assassin, a Servant? (while swichting back to Saber and Assassin in front of the temple-gate) You’re saying a Servant summoned another Servant?
Archer (to Shirou): That gatekeeper there, not summoned by a proper Master, is not the true Assassin. (now switching back to Archer, Shirou and Caster) She broke the rules and summoned an Assassin-class-Servant by herself. Establishing this as her territory, she harvests souls from people in the city. She herself doesn’t fight, but monitors the fights with borrowed eyes throughout the city. The three knight-classes, which include Saber, aren’t as affected by magic. It’s only natural for a magic-user class such as yourself to resort to such underhanded tactics. But was it not your own volition to do so, Caster?
Caster: What makes you say that?
Archer: Master and mages. If one summons a mage more powerful than oneself, one would be on guard, even with command-seals. Given that, it’s hard to believe a Master would let you summon a Servant to obey you. In which case, I can imagine you’ve long since made a puppet of him, similar to this fool of a Master behind me.
Caster: Winning the Grail War would be a simple matter. My considerable effort is directed to what comes afterwards.
Archer: Oh, defeating us is simple, you say? This from a witch who does nothing but slink in shadows?
Caster: (angry) In this place, you may not so much as scratch me. To those who call me a witch, I shall deal the appropriate punishment.
Archer: Not even a scratch, you claim? Then how about one blow? If that will not suffice, I will leave you to Saber.

That’s bad writing. This exchange is neither very entertaining nor very interesting. And yet, that’s the prevalent style within the series to evoke an air of meaningfulness and drama. This series may be able to handle its tone correctly but in terms of style and meaning, it just doesn’t deliver.

The first thing that’s noticeable in those first three minutes of the scene is just how much they have to talk about. Those characters talk for THREE minutes! Now read that dialogue again and you will realize that the only thing they really do in those three minutes is establishing that Caster has summoned an Assassin-class Servant of her own, that she has enslaved her own Master and after that Caster basically challenges Archer to a fight. A dialogue in the spirit of pragmatism with those goals would be like this:

Archer: Have you allied yourself with the Master of Assassin, Caster?
Caster: Me? Heavens, no! I’ve summoned that Assassin-Servant myself!
Archer: What Master would allow his Servant…?!
Caster: ‘Master’?! My Master is that in title only! I’m the true Master! And I will win the Grail-War!
Archer: Easier said than done, I would say.
Caster: Oh, do you think of stopping me, Archer? You’re at the center of my web! Little flies like you will find nothing but death here!
Archer: Let’s find out!

There, done! That’s all it would take to convey those points! And yet, that isn’t the version this episode has chosen. It’s obvious that the scene lacked brevity but why? The first reason why the writing of this series is so lackluster is its story. I’ve said in my reviews before how necessary all that tiresome lengthy exposition is and it’s because of scenes like this one. In this scene an idea is established and the idea is that a rule is getting broken by one of the participants of the Grail-War. Well, naturally you could say something witty like “Exceptions prove the rule.” but this is more about honoring an agreement. Caster isn’t so much just showing that the rule isn’t absolute but what she’s doing is being a criminal.

In that regard one has to remember that this Grail-War is one with a mythology and with traditions. It’s an age-old tradition between various mage-clans to battle over the Grail. And it’s supposed to be a somewhat fair battle between mages and their Servants to have a lethal contest of power and wizardry. Also, these Servants are Heroic Spirits which means they are meant to be idealistic people who strive for a greater good (or bad, depending on their personal preferences). It is a contest of ambitions, guile and willpower. In an honest contest between somewhat good magicians the Grail-War probably would’ve been nothing more than a chivalrous tournament. And so Fate/Stay Night tries to establish this with exposition… JUST exposition. That’s the first mistake right there. A rather obvious one as it’s just the good ol’ ‘show, don’t tell’-thingy.

[C12] Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 06.mp4 - 00002I really hope that surprisingly Rin and Shirou won’t fall in love with each other in this version of the Unlimited Blade Works storyline… because right now a romance between the two wouldn’t be very convinciing. Rin is just a typical tsundere and Shirou is… well, Shirou. That isn’t a very strong setup for a romance!

Here’s the second mistake: As far as the Grail-War is concerned, Fate/Stay Night is all about chaos. Nothing works as intended. People who shouldn’t become Masters become Masters, the Grail-War doesn’t remain in the shadows and the list of the rules that are being broken goes on and on. That isn’t the Grail-War it’s supposed to be – at all. But how does the audience learn of this? Exposition and apparently, it’s necessary to spend A LOT of time on each individual point of exposition instead of indulging in the produced action.

That brings me to the third mistake: The idiotic dialogue. I’m not insulting the dialogue as a whole but it’s such lazy writing to have characters act like idiots for the sake of explaining things. Just take this simplified version of the beginning of the dialogue:

Archer: You two work together?
Shirou: Work together?!
Caster: He’s my pawn, nothing more!
Archer: Your pawn?
Caster: Yes, he’s my pawn.
Shirou: What?!
Archer: You broke the rules, Caster!
Caster: What’s wrong with that?
Shirou: Assassin’s Caster’s pawn?
Archer: He’s not the true Assassin. But you acted on your own, right, Caster?
Caster: Why do you say that?
Archer: No Master would allow this.
Caster: But I can win the Grail War.
Archer: I don’t believe you.
Caster: I’m stronger than you.
Archer: I don’t think so.

There are a lot of notions of what constitutes a REALLY dramatic dialogue here that are also supposed to be kinda cool. Rhetorical questions, incredulity, stoic seriousness and exuberant arrogance. It’s all there for this dramatic interaction but it’s used in a way that’s more obnoxious than enjoyable. First of all, everything Shirou’s saying in this scene isn’t only superfluous, it’s also REALLY annoying. The one thing that’s worse than someone not being able to follow a dialogue is someone repeating various points of the dialogue as a question with an incredulous tone in his voice. Every time, Shirou opens his mouth, he’s basically acting as the avatar of the script shouting at the audience “GET IT?!”. The annoying thing about this is how Shirou doesn’t really deduces new facts from what is being said or even has something insightful to say, he’s literally just occasionally repeating the highlights of the dialogue between Archer and Caster. That’s fucking stupid! Shirou is a character who should have more to contribute to a scene than just THAT!

The other annoying habit of this scene is answering questions with questions. For fuck’s sake, that stuff is the worst! Even worse is that it’s not always even questions that relate to each other. In the simplified version above you can clearly see how stupid the barebones of this dialogue are. At least every second line is a question which means this is a dialogue where Archer interrogates Caster and she constantly asks him why he asks her those specific questions while Shirou is constantly spurting out rhetorical questions about how he doesn’t get what is going on. Archer and Caster don’t even talk to each other, if you think about it! In a more intelligent show this would be a great setup but here this means we’re watching three minutes of establishing a few tidbits of exposition while setting up a fight-sequence. This is a scene that severely tests the audience’s patience with its bullshit-writing!

This series seems to believe that its story is its strongest point. All this exposition is a setup for plottwists – or at least that’s what the series thinks it’s doing when it pulls shit like ‘Caster summoning a Servant’ out of its ass. But the story isn’t that powerful because it’s tied to Shirou who simply doesn’t know what the hell is even going on. And the plot isn’t that powerful because it ties itself to the dramatic arc of Shirou who only gradually gets pulled into this Grail-War and it’s always him at the center of the action. This isn’t an all-out war where multiple Masters fight against each other in a chaotic battle royale, no, it’s always about Shirou and how he gets pulled into the action or jumps right into it for some stupid reason. What this series should be about, are characters. In a story that is all about chaos and a plot that almost randomly creates incidents as much as it actually follows up on consequences characters are the glue that hold all of it together. Here, we come back to another problem I’ve already talked about: Shirou can be a great character but he isn’t one. At the end of the day this series may do its best in adapting Fate/Stay Night but it doesn’t do enough to improve it.

Episodes-Rating: 6.5/10

Random Thoughts:

  • The cinematography of this series is generally hit-or-miss. The fight-scenes are usually VERY good and those scenes are certainly the high points of each episode. But the quiet scenes aren’t always as atmospheric as they could be. In the dialogue I primarily talked about in the review, you can see this by how the ‘camera’ got either way too close, by either showing only small parts of one character or just show one character (who wasn’t necessarily the one who was talking right now) or by offering such wide shots that the characters don’t feel like the focus of the shot anymore and NOTHING is replacing that focus. You just stare at a lot of empty, static backgrounds while tiny characters move about and spout dialogue that makes you feel disconnected from the situation (because the audio of the voices naturally doesn’t accommodate for such a wide shot).
  • Talking of audio… The soundtrack of this series feels like a rehashed version of the Fate/Zero-one. And it’s used in a very minimalistic way in this series. The sound-design of the fight-scenes is stellar, though. The attacks feel like they have weight and when a Servant uses a special move it actually feels threatening. The animation does its part, too, of course… Like I said, the fight-scenes are the highlights of this series.
  • Also, to reinforce the idea of how foolish it is to focus on the story considering Fate/Stay-Night’s storyline… What the hell is even going on right now?! It’s just this mess of an incident-laden plot that slovenly moves towards its third act where it can start getting serious and do shit in terms of character-developments and drama in general. Just looking at how the sixth episode showed Shirou was kidnapped by Caster and then rescued by Archer surprisingly, you’d figure something would happen. But then you look at the seventh episode and it’s just this talky sleepwalk towards a stalemate that doesn’t resolve anything.
  • Well, nearly anything… Shirou wants to get serious about his training with Saber which… he wasn’t before…? The way this series portrayed it, Shirou seemed pretty dedicated to me which is fitting considering his background. But they pulled the same shit like when Shirou entered an alliance with Rin AGAIN while the series acted like it had delivered some sort of surprising development.

About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on November 24, 2014, in Anime, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. There are a lot of notions of what constitutes a REALLY dramatic dialogue here that are also supposed to be kinda cool.

    http://airanime.wc.lt/anime

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  2. Caster is in love with her master so your argument is invalid

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    • I don’t think so. One, it hasn’t been established yet that that’s their relationship. Two, the point Archer is making isn’t only that Caster had broken the rules by summoning a Servant herself but also that normally no Master would allow his Servant to accumulate that much power. Therefore Archer guesses that Caster has enslaved her Master. Three, Caster doesn’t really say anything to clarify the situation in that regard either.

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  3. This review has troll written all over it.

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  4. omgz ur review bad becuz it diss fs/n

    Just kidding.

    I totally agree with you on this review. F/S N has a genuinely interesting universe, but it sucks that it was mostly constructed for the sake of teenage escapism, and it was a good thing that Urobuchi made good use of these unused elements.

    People are probably praising this production because of 1) the budget, because anime watchers prefer style over substance, and can’t tell the two apart, 2) the popularity of the source material, and 3) the anime cliches ufotable kept in. Like seriously, I get tired of dumb Reddit fanboys promoting this show as the best of the season. It’s just another boring shounen when you examine it closely.

    I feel ufotable could have done so much more had they chosen to cut down on Nasu’s circular writing and perhaps change some of the elements of the story. Caster and Kozuki are shoved in because they make for more feasible antagonists for our teenage duo, but that just ends up having the War pale in comparison to the previous one, especially when antagonists like Gilgamesh and Kotomine receive so little screentime in comparison. You get the feeling that this is trying to be a sequel to Fate/Zero, but it fails because the story focuses more on the escapism and less on its own themes and scale.

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    • “It’s just another boring shounen when you examine it closely.”

      There’s a VERY fitting quote from the 8th episode where Shirou at one point says: “So, you’re saying there are four (Masters) here at school?” Four of the seven Masters are at school?! That’s very generic shounen-series-writing. And it’s not like the school-life even really matters in this series.

      “Caster and Kozuki are shoved in because they make for more feasible antagonists for our teenage duo,”

      Yeah, when Archer talks about allowing Caster to harvest all those lifeenergy from the people in the city, I was all for it. This Grail-War should be about escalation and traditional rules being broken left and right. Making unlearned teenagers Masters would really fit into this theme as well. But instead it wants to be a story about the heroic adventures of Shirou…

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      • All the pilot candiates in NGE are in the same class ergo it’s a more generic shonen than F/SN. But by all means if you like Zero- the show in which the character who could win the war single handedly waits untill the last two episodes to do anything…

        At the end of the day Zero is an edgy prequal based on Heaven’s Feel, it has no relevance to UBW whatsoever as every character that survived the 4th war gets killed off uncerimoniously. Why you would treat *this* as the sequal instead of the movies is beyond me.
        Unless you’re trolling the newbies that is, I confess I’m getting a kick out of the people complaining about how generic everything is. I heard another blogger say something like “I’m half convinced Shirous supposed to be a parody of shonen protagonists” with a straight face.

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  5. @ii:

    “At the end of the day Zero is an edgy prequel based on Heaven’s Feel, it has no relevance to UBW whatsoever as every character that survived the 4th war gets killed off unceremoniously.”

    That’s a good point and I totally agree with you on this. With Fate/Zero out there in anime-form, there’s no excuse to not go with the Heaven’s Feel route for the series-adaptation. Since this series already wants to be a sequel to Fate/Zero it makes no sense to pull back story-wise and go with the UBW-route. Is Sakura’s role in Fate/Stay Night even explained in the UBW-route?

    “All the pilot candiates in NGE are in the same class ergo it’s a more generic shonen than F/SN.”

    That’s a rather hyperbolic interpretation of what I was saying, I would say. I have more of a problem with why this series has chosen a school-setting. And I’m talking about the story here primarily. There’s this all-important traditional Grail-War happening and a bunch of teenagers run around fighting supernatural battles within a school. Why? It’s about worldbuilding. Especially with this series acting like a sequel of Fate/Zero there should’ve been a lot more self-awareness.

    “Unless you’re trolling the newbies that is, I confess I’m getting a kick out of the people complaining about how generic everything is.”

    And what is wrong with complaining about that? I grant you that nobody would find much happiness in watching animes if stuff like having teenagers at school as a central story-conceit is enough to make you actually angry but come on… If a series is just chasing lame tropes with some storytelling-decisions then that needs to be mentioned, I feel like.

    “But by all means if you like Zero- the show in which the character who could win the war single handedly waits untill the last two episodes to do anything…”

    *shrug* Fate/Zero was certainly closer to what I like this series to be.

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    • “Especially with this series acting like a sequel of Fate/Zero there should’ve been a lot more self-awareness”

      And yet everyone will tell you to watch Zero after this series and not before.

      “That’s a rather hyperbolic interpretation of what I was saying, I would say. I have more of a problem with why this series has chosen a school-setting. ”

      It’s a fair interpretation in my mind. Stay night’s central conceit is the same as Eva’s- we’re given a hyper generic premise “Teenagers in robots fight aliens” versus “Protagonist and magical girlfriend save the world” and subsequent retellings change our perspective on pervious events until it resembles nothing like we originally though. (The timeframe of the originals release as well as the character lampooning ridiculous eroge protagonists being named “Shinji” makes me think Nasu was binging the series at the time.) It’s not bad sotrytelling if it’s meant as a deliberate deception of the audience. The biggest spoiler in Zero is that Zero exists.

      As for the specific example you mentioned “four masters in the same school by coincidence” is exactly the same complaint as “evangelion has all the main characters in the same school” in the latter it’s because the people behind recruiting child soldiers stuck them all together for observation- something the first time viewer doesn’t know or care about since they’re more interested in whose going to make out with who- in the case of stay night half of those masters are only attending that school to spy on Thosaka.

      “Is Sakura’s role in Fate/Stay Night even explained in the UBW-route?”

      You mean Sakura the cute kohai? What would make you think she’s any more important than Mitzusuri?

      In the end the only problem with complaining about Stay nights lack of self-awerness is that Stay Night is hyper-self-aware. But Fate route isn’t save for in retrospect and UBW isn’t until mid-way through. Regard the current continuity as a “what if” story about how one might conceivably live in the same universe as Zero and come to believe that they’re in a shonen series.

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    • @ii:

      “And yet everyone will tell you to watch Zero after this series and not before.”

      Considering that a Heaven’s-Feel-movie will come out at some point, the question of in which order you should watch this franchise is a rather complicated one. And at some point ufotable will want to tackle Hollow Ataraxia, I imagine. I mean, look at how Shaft treats the Monogatari-series, they ride this shit to the very end… well, it isn’t actually a totally bad series but the point is, franchise/series-building may be the next big thing for the anime-industry. You don’t want to just animate some LN-series that is somewhat popular among LN-readers, you want to animate the NEXT BIG THING that can be milked for the next few years. And it’s not like ufotable hasn’t already started that relationship with Type-Moon-stuff. First Kara no Kyoukai, then Fate/Zero and now this series. And somewhere between those happened the movie-version of the UBW-arc which rightfully nobody remembers. I really hope that the movie-version of Heaven’s Feel won’t be as forgettable… although the very storyline has already more of an impact than the UBW-storyline.

      It’s the same kind of premonition as I have about how one of these days Shaft will animate one of those spin-off-Madoka-Magica-series.

      “Stay night’s central conceit is the same as Eva’s- we’re given a hyper generic premise “Teenagers in robots fight aliens” versus “Protagonist and magical girlfriend save the world” and subsequent retellings change our perspective on pervious events until it resembles nothing like we originally though. (The timeframe of the originals release as well as the character lampooning ridiculous eroge protagonists being named “Shinji” makes me think Nasu was binging the series at the time.)”

      I wouldn’t compare NGE and Fate/Stay Night to that extent personally. Although, if Nasu has said stuff in that regard, then I’m happy to change my opinion in that regard. I mean, Shirou is nothing like Shinji, for starters, the notion of a mother alone would be enough to separate the two. And I still feel like your comparison of the roles of teenagers in both cases oversells the idea of those being overly sensitive concerns. I remarked upon this happening because it IS a fairly standard-trope when it comes to shounen-animes. And actually Fate/Stay Night (this very adaptation of the UBW-storyline, I mean) does fairly well in regards to handling those tropes… but they’re still there! And since Fate/Stay Night had come out as VN, they haven’t become any more original or interesting. So… I don’t agree with your assessment of the meta-fictional value of Shirou as a protagonist but it is an intriguing notion. His background-story is a bit deeper than is usual for your typical shounen-protagonist but in terms of behavior…? Neither charismatic nor charming. His idealistic personality really only shines when the situation is very stark and dramatic. When it’s not, his attitude seems out of place or just foolish.

      Really, my main-problem with Fate/Stay Night is that it belongs to the VN-format if you keep this format as you described it here:

      “In the end the only problem with complaining about Stay nights lack of self-awerness is that Stay Night is hyper-self-aware. But Fate route isn’t save for in retrospect and UBW isn’t until mid-way through. Regard the current continuity as a “what if” story about how one might conceivably live in the same universe as Zero and come to believe that they’re in a shonen series.”

      In the VN it was actually a bit of a challenge to unlock all the endings and I mean, it was a REAL challenge. And it wasn’t just a lazy one like for example in Little Busters where you just had to play the entire game before you could unlock the true ending. Or it was one of those with a bunch of alternative endings that you could go for earlier in the game and then there was one “true ending” (G Senjou no Mao had one of those, I believe, for example). There are a couple of other VN-versions of gameplay but who cares, anybody who plays VNs regularly will know what I’m talking about. The point is… Fate/Stay Night had quite a lot of gameplay in that regard for a VN. And so when you finally got to the Heaven’s Feel endings you had achieved something. But the format of that storytelling relied on you having played the previous two routes in order to deal with all the revelations of the Heaven’s-Feel’s-route. You would have to do some serious rewriting to make any specific route, except the first Saber-focused one, work. At least, that is, if you want to tell the whole story without expecting the audience to know a lot of stuff already about the world, the characters and so on.

      The only option is here to actually rewrite the script and not go with a faithful adaptation. You can’t reproduce the VN. The notion of actually animating one of the three specific routes is the wrong way to go in this case. This VN become popular because it DID do more than your typical VN and that naturally means it isn’t just an anime without animation. as far as storytelling is concerned.

      “You mean Sakura the cute kohai? What would make you think she’s any more important than Mitzusuri?”

      You know, the romantic lead of the Heaven’s Feel arc, the sort-of sister of Shinji… Did I get the name wrong?

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      • ” You don’t want to just animate some LN-series that is somewhat popular among LN-readers, you want to animate the NEXT BIG THING”

        anything to end the moe boom(nothing will ever end the moe boom)

        “You know, the romantic lead of the Heaven’s Feel arc, the sort-of sister of Shinji… Did I get the name wrong?”

        No I was just playing dumb for the sake of sarcasm. Sakura is pretty much the crux of my point actually- she’s a background character whose a walking generic childhood friend trope in the UBW side of the story without so much as a single hint towards there being anything unusal going on there beneath the surface. The uninformed player would expect her route to be about protecting her from Shinji or the like which was a large cause of the inital backlash against Heaven’s Feel. The route was unpopular when the game came out because of its unexpected bleakness.

        But it highlights my point, the first half of the story is generic shonen, it then becomes seinen when the stroy is retold from a different perspective with new information and rereading the first two routes reveals that the secrets were there from the beginning without the audience being able to notice what was really happening. The parallele I drew with Eva is that the first half looks like a super robot series, the latter half reveals conspiracies and mental issues. In the case of Stay Night this is just done over reiteration rather than linearly. We wouldn’t get nearly enough out Shirou in Heaven’s Feel alone (a boy decides to save his girlfriend- big whoop) if we weren’t informed that this is not a boy- this is the embodied trope of the ally of justice- Arnold Swarzenegger hearing classical music for the first time in “last action hero”.

        Shirou is flat but his flat in a 3D plane and aware of it, it’s the reason theres so much argument about him, how do you not argue over something being done wrong on purpose? His meant to be out of place and foolish- but at the same time how would you know the author got it right? How do you judge if the degree of out of place foolishness was proportional to what was desired? I don’t know- I honestly doubt most people in the fandom do, but dismissing the entire argument for Shirou seems like it’s missing the point even further.

        ” Really, my main-problem with Fate/Stay Night is that it belongs to the VN-format if you keep this format as you described it here:”

        And I agree, I hope I’m not coming off as too defensive or hostile or anything. It’s a decent-ish adaption so far(how could anything be worse than the last one?) and the source material is above average VN fare but Stay Night has drawn accolades for it’s impressive feats in nonlinear story telling which don’t make it across to adaptions unfortunatly.
        Type-Moon is better at that stuff than anything else I’ve encountered and any real praise of the series belongs to its innovation in structure.

        That said I think Heaven’s Feel is meant to act as the dark reprise of UBW- it isn’t exactly unheard of for OVA and movie plots to follow a different or darker storyline. The problems with this being the story to follow Zero persist however since telling Heaven’s Feel without the background knowledge in UBW- this person COULD have been a hero- it wasn’t just a pipe dream- he was actually good enough- dumb enough – strong enough BUT he threw it all away for this *and it looks like it wasn’t actually worth it*.

        Well there isn’t any impact to that story- we need to know Shirou could have been a hero for there to be any tragedy in him choosing not to be.

        It’s just barely possible to squeeze Stay Night into two retellings- one light and one dark. But it isn’t possible to go directly from Zero and be satisfied with just UBW and it isn’t possible to not tell HF and still get Stay Night. Still we need to get Shirou’s story out of the way, every one of these Servants has gotten their story told before and Shirou needs to get his own legend over with before he can stand up to the things in HF. What you’re suggesting- adapting Rin’s story instead and using Shirou in the background wouldn’t work for a number of reasons but most importantly is that without a suitably meaningful sacrifice there isn’t anything particularly interesting going on in that storyline.

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    • @ii:

      “The parallele I drew with Eva is that the first half looks like a super robot series, the latter half reveals conspiracies and mental issues. In the case of Stay Night this is just done over reiteration rather than linearly. We wouldn’t get nearly enough out Shirou in Heaven’s Feel alone (a boy decides to save his girlfriend- big whoop) if we weren’t informed that this is not a boy- this is the embodied trope of the ally of justice- Arnold Swarzenegger hearing classical music for the first time in “last action hero”. ”

      Ah, okay, yeah, I agree with you in that regard. Comparing NGE and F/SN still leaves a somewhat bitter taste in my since they’re for their similarity in that regard still vastly different series, I feel like.

      And there’s also the part of using plottwists that radically change the depth, tone and direction of the story. At its worst, it’s the sort of thing M. Night Shyamalan does in a lot of his movies. You tell one story and then you can hear it coming to a screeching halt as the script-writer basically turns to the audience and says: “You think, you know what’s going on? Think again! This shit will blow your mind!”. In the VN, that move is more understandable as it underscores the game-play-aspect but in a TV-series? You’re basically just testing the patience of the audience in setting up such a plottwist.

      Also, Fate/Stay Night does have a complicated story and I feel like it’s a bit TOO complicated for a TV-series. The amount of time this series had to already spend on actually necessary exposition is unbelievable. The weak writing for some of those scenes doesn’t help either in just getting this over with.

      “Shirou is flat but his flat in a 3D plane and aware of it, it’s the reason theres so much argument about him, how do you not argue over something being done wrong on purpose? His meant to be out of place and foolish- but at the same time how would you know the author got it right? How do you judge if the degree of out of place foolishness was proportional to what was desired?”

      Well, it’s the usual problem with this degree of self-awareness. If characters call attention to how stupid another character’s actions are and the audience thinks that as well, said character just ends up looking foolish. And foolish actions require a lot of suspense of disbelief. When Archer attacked Shirou from behind and then later Shirou wouldn’t even be angry with Archer, you’re not thinking “Why is Shirou not angry?”, you’re thinking “WHY is Shirou not angry?!”. And Saber expresses incredulity as well but the thing is… that’s just pointing at the “stupid thing”. That’s where the script-writing would need to step in and try to sell the idea of that reaction. And I feel like the writing of Shirou in this series just isn’t good enough to sell his character.

      “What you’re suggesting- adapting Rin’s story instead and using Shirou in the background wouldn’t work for a number of reasons but most importantly is that without a suitably meaningful sacrifice there isn’t anything particularly interesting going on in that storyline.”

      Oh, I know… It would’ve been an actual challenge to make this change of perspective work. The story would need to be heavily rewritten to make this work. And personally I’m a fan of an adaptation to take such risks. I mean, I’m not saying that this would even automatically improve the series. It’s more like you’re at least getting away from the daunting task of adapting a really good VN that is partly good BECAUSE it’s a VN. And this is the second time we got to see the UBW-storyline. Who knows, maybe they will change some stuff in order to reference Fate/Zero more…

      “I hope I’m not coming off as too defensive or hostile or anything.”

      It’s fine😀 . Don’t worry.

      Like

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