|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Fate/ stay night Unlimited Blade Works TV
In spite of being a fan of Type-Moon's work, my feelings are a little mixed for this reboot of Fate's Unlimited Blade Works route. This new adaptation from Ufotable is a reboot from the film version made by Studio Deen five years earlier and is at least a considerable improvement over the film version. With the greater amount of time afforded to the TV version, there is more time to build up events that take place throughout the series, show off lighter moments to balance out the serious developments that take place throughout the Grail War and flesh out major characters throughout its run. In the case of UBW, the focus of the route is on Shiro's developing relationship with Rin and the boy coming to grips with the flaws to his idealized beliefs when a shocking revelation is unveiled over what sort of future he would be in for from another prominent character in the series. The kid's grown up with a rough life as he was victim to the events that took place in the conclusion of Fate/Zero and became orphaned after the loss of both his biological parents and adoptive father Kiritsugu. The development of his character and others here offers a good deal more depth to this series compared to Deen condensing such events for its film adaptation.|
The way that Ufotable adapted the UBW route for this TV anime adaptation is what has made my reception to it a bit mixed. For the most part, Ufotable is faithful to the original source material in terms of plot and character developments that take place. However to pad out time or expand on areas that the visual novel did not devote time for, the anime does make a number of changes and additions for key scenes that take place throughout the series. A number of these changes are welcome as they help to expand depth on some key characters in the series like Ilyasviel, Gilgamesh and Saber, who aren't given as much prominent focus in the game as Rin, Shiro and Archer got greater priority for fleshing out. The additional content also helps to provide some more natural flow to the plot progression since the visual novel was originally told through Shiro's perspective for the most part thus viewers were limited in what information they could be provided due to Shiro's limited understanding of magic unless the series cut to an interlude scene to show a differing viewpoint from other characters. Another plus was that the anime removed many of the meal scenes found in the game as they had little place within the plot beyond dragging the plot out. The anime also has nods to Fate/Zero as Saber makes reference to some of the key events that took place from the prior Grail War, some notable characters from the series make cameos at points and Gilgamesh retains his personality from that series, giving him a bit more depth to his character compared to the visual novel adaptation of his character where he was an archetypal villain.
These changes do come with their shortcomings though. The additional content leads the plot to drag out at a number of points, this being quite noticeable in the second half of the series during a few of UBW's major points in its plot. It also creates some inconsistencies in the show's plot at points in regards to whatever rules were laid out with magic in the world of Fate. Plus, they make a few characters in the series worst off in their developments than they were in the game as the anime bumped up Rin's tsundere character at points to make her character a bit obnoxious and Caster's character being rather inconsistent in her depiction as a combination of changed and removed content made it confusing if one should sympathize with her or not as the visual novel depicted with her back story.
Some of the flaws with UBW being a visual novel series also rear their head at points. In spite of having major roles to play at points in the series, Lancer and Kuzuki get limited depth compared to many of the other major players in the series and those having reduced roles compared to other routes from the visual novel get little in the way of fleshing out, this being notable with Sakura and Rider.
As one would expect from many of Ufotable's works, Fate/UBW offers up one of the more visually impressive TV anime titles you can expect out of recent titles. The drawing style is a bit different from Fate/Zero as character lining and coloring is more lighter, likely to differentiate the series from Zero's more darker storyline as UBW has its light moments to balance out the serious developments that take place in the series. Backgrounds and scenery are vast and richly filled with detail. Movement in the series is fluid with no loss of detail or noticeable shortcuts and action scenes are engaging to see for the most part. Only sore spot I found with the visuals were occasions where conspicuous CG animation reared its ugly head with vehicles and the skeleton familiars summoned by Caster.
While I did enjoy Unlimited Blade Works and found it to be a major improvement over Deen's film adaptation, a number of the changes done to the storyline at points did hurt its quality with some pacing issues and inconsistencies. Still if you're a fan of Type-Moon and Ufotable's work, I'd be hard pressed not to recommend this TV animated adaptation to Fate/ Stay Night's Unlimited Blade Works route.
Last updated Saturday, June 27 2015. Created Saturday, June 27 2015.
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