Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 25 (End) and Series Review

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How fitting that a Fate/Zero character best sums up my feelings about the last arc of UBW.

But why rub it in?  I can’t say it any better than Waver did, so I won’t beat it into the ground.  And truth be told I said pretty much everything I needed to say about my feelings for this slice of the Fate franchise after last week’s episode – which was the real ending if not the finale.  In the end I kind of think it was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, and there was really nothing much in this last episode to change that.

Apart from the appearance of a certain Lord El-Melloi II (which was long enough to make me realize how much Unlimited Blade Works could have used him) this final episode was remarkably uneventful for those of us uninvested in the Shirou-Rin relationship.  The two of them have enrolled at Clock Tower, and engage in their usual song-and-dance with each other.  I will say that the A-part may have come close to a record for the most laboured (note the British spellings, in Clock Tower’s honour) exposition in a single anime episode, but apart from that it was pretty much a yawner.

I did, as usual, like the way ufotable did the backgrounds here (they’re underrated at that).  Having been to Glastonbury Abbey I can affirm that it’s a very cool and mystical place, and the visuals did it justice, but Shirou’s visit to Saber’s grave (in truth, almost no historians believe Arthur’s Glastonbury grave is legitimate) was oddly clinical and detached.  Even accounting for my lack of emotional investment by this stage, it really seemed as if the direction did the moment short shrift.

And really, that’s about it.  In the end, UBW did what it’s always been fated to (pun intended) – preach to the choir.  This was fanservice, pitched at the hard-core fans of the franchise, and just as I said about last week’s climax (though not to the same extent) I can’t imagine those folks will have found much to be disappointed about.  Those of us hoping that UBW would rise above itself might not have gotten what we wanted, but I don’t think there was any disappointment there either, because the series’ fate has been set in stone for a long time.

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10 comments

  1. R

    Yep, aside from the beautiful animation, there was really nothing for me to be hyped about here to. And I am a Fate fan. It's pretty much the the standard epilogue that all the fans of the VN wanted to see animated.

    UBW pretty much suffered the same fate (pun intended) as the Sailor Moon Crystal in that the creators simply wanted to cram as much event from the source material as possible to please the hardcore fans, without that much regard for narrative, which really leaves new viewers in the dark (SMC, by the way, really has terrible pacing, which never made me want to care about the characters beyoind nostalgia).

  2. S

    I came to really like the ending. I like the fact that they went forward 2 years, into the main characters lives and shows us what happens and that Rin and Shiro becomes a couple which I am insanely happy about. I just hope in the future movies and series they can keep the ShiroRin concept but since each series until now is a different path I doubt but I hope. One thing that bothers me is that there is no kissing between Shiro and Toshaka. They held hads aso but I would at least love to see a kiss in the last epiosde. Hopefully they can change that in the upcoming series/Movies.

    This is the best anime I have watched and by the looks of it, it will stay that way.

  3. C

    It was comfy. To me, the highlight was Rin saying that the HGW was just a "minor Eastern magic tournament", expressing how big and busy the Nasuverse is, and how an epic battle with summoned heroes and villains is just one event among many.

  4. R

    That would have actually been a good hook for something akin to the Marvel Cinemaverse, but then again, we all know that there won't be likely anything more out of it.

  5. M

    I have to wonder how the Holy Grail thing can be considered a minor event. If Gil hadn't been stopped last episode it seemed to me that the whole world and much of the human population of Earth would have been affected. How is that minor? And even if Gil didn't jack things up, doesn't the winner get a wish granted? That's a pretty big deal depending on the wish.

    I've never seen any of Nasu's non-Fate stuff, so I'm just really unsure how it could be minor.

  6. E

    Isn't that sort of how the marvel Cinemaverse works too? We have people saving the earth from destruction in several parts of the world because there are just so many supervillains who hate life.

  7. M

    Yeah, but when they do save the world they don't make it out to be some minor thing right? I guess I don't read a ton of superhero comics, but I imagine each world saving event is super serious as it's happening.

  8. f

    omg that guy was waver ???? i didn't realize that because he seemed so manly now

  9. E

    People in the fate series grow up very dramatically I think, Archer and Shiro have quite different faces as well..

  10. Z

    Well call me the choir, The epilogue was pretty much everything I was looking for and for me it brought things to a nice clean satisfying close. Of course, i've always been bought into the Shirou character myself. I think he expresses what some of us really see as the cost and benefit of the true hero. A hero who is committed to his insane beliefs at the cost of everything he loves. I also really like the idea of a man quite literally having a fight to the death with the result of his own ideals.

    The romance angle wasn't terrible as far as anime goes. Tohsaka definetley had her moe fan-service moments, but I think we're all fooling ourselves if we don't expect a couple teenagers to act like that.

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