Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 13

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New cour, same Fate.

I honestly didn’t expect a whole lot to change with UBW simply because three months have passed – this is very much one contiguous series, just as the split cours of Fate/Zero were.  I like what I always liked – the production values are simply stunning, and most of the material involving the servants tend to be strong.  And the same stuff makes me groan – namely, the quality of any F/s n episode is inversely proportional to the amount of TsundeRin it contains.

Given all that, it’s no surprise that I liked the first half of this ep a whole lot better than the second (including preferring the new OP to the new ED).  The ship has pretty much sailed on my ever buying into a Rin-Shirou relationship so those developments were largely wasted on me (never mind the textbook tsundere routine) but the “betrayal” by Archer in the A-part was excellently handled.  And I like Grumpy-sensei a lot – he’s easily my favorite of the masters this go-around.

Why is it that I’m reminded of a certain Police song every time Caster gets up to her machinations?  Indeed, things are complicated – and the situation involving Archer is a complicated one for a number of reasons.  As a blogger, I don’t know if it’s safe to talk about “that” yet – I mean, it seems pretty obvious to me but that may be because I already knew.  I suppose until anything is explicitly acknowledged on-screen it’s best to assume folks don’t know it, but it does make talking about what Archer did this episode a lot more difficult.  Suffice to say I hope everyone has figured out enough about Archer by now to know that there’s more to what he got up to with Caster than meets the eye, and that’s so obvious I don’t think it can be considered a spoiler by any but the most obtuse observer.  It’s just the kind of guy he is.

I must confess, in the end, I’ m still finding UBW harder to consistently engage with than F/Z.  It just seems to me that the commitment to character was deeper – the cast was so much more fleshed out, and we didn’t have these interminable stretches between appearances by characters that are actually interesting.  It’s not really UBW‘s fault – it’s not trying to do what Fate/Zero did, and it’s much more tightly constrained (though I would argue by choice, to a major degree) structurally than F/Z.  In the end I think Zero was simply better suited to be engaging in anime form, most especially for those not obsessively immersed in the mythology.  But at least the visuals are still off the charts…

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  1. w

    You don't really have to worry about Rin that much after this point, she is there (because after all she is the heroine in this route) but loses most of the focus for other more important stuff.

    Like Nasu Kinoko said in the BD-Box booklet, it could be said that Rin route already ended at this point and now begins the actual story.

    And yes, a LN will be always more suitable for anime form than a VN.

  2. C

    I dunno, for some reason I thought this episode was really good. I mean I'm just so glad they included at least one of Shiro's monologues and that they didn't waste screentime on Caster molesting Seiba.

    Excluding Rin's moments of tsundere-blobbing, I liked her dialogue with Shiro and it was very nice that he confessed his feelings at this point. Most harem MCs wait until the end… ugh.

    Archer as always is the highlight of this show. Best boy.

  3. E

    I like Saber's pose as she was chained up by Caster. Not even in serious scenes can we escape the pandering…

  4. s

    didnt you know; caster is a sadist…true story

  5. m

    I guess the lack of focus on the more interesting characters is just a byproduct of the original material being a VN. You are Shirou in the game, and thus he has to be the main focus, whereas F/Z was more of a fleshing out of backstory not really focusing too much on any one character. The romance between Shirou and whatever heroine's route he is on is just going to have to a major portion of screen time and that is the downside for anyone who doesn't care about that aspect of the material. I wouldn't say it's a failure of the show or the original material at all, it's just an unfortunate consequence of the genre.

  6. E

    heh, what about fuji nee, rin and saber? Shirou is hardly the only dull character in the story, I don't think he comes even close to the worst.

  7. I agree he's far from the worst. Though he is the worst to blog about for fear of spoiling.

  8. w

    I don't know, I actually like those three even if they are not my favorites.

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