If there's one thing that I respect about anime that's been adapted from any sort of visual novel/dating sim/choose-your-own-adventure type deal, it's the fact that more often than not, they have to try to take key plot elements from all the routes of said novel or sim, and meld them all into one single often-times chronological beginning-to-end storyline. A number of series out there do this remarkably well. Anyone who's watched the Clannad and Kanon anime AND played the games will note how accurately the backgrounds of each of the characters were portrayed, usually with no particular character's backstory standing out more than another. Of course these two are not the only series out there that attempt this feat; other series use the same concept with varying degrees of success. Where does Fate/stay night fall?
As a recap for those who have yet to see the anime or play the visual novel, the story of Fate/stay night revolves around a fictional phenomenon in Fuyuki City, where the story takes place. This phenomenon, known as the Holy Grail War, takes place every couple of decades, and is essentially a big ritual between 7 mages in their attempt to claim the Grail as their own. Each mage is allowed the assistance of a single magical entity known as Servants, powerful spirits and familiars whose souls are drawn from great heroes from history, legend, folklore, and myth. These 7 factions fight it out with each other until one is left, at which point the Holy Grail will grant the victor one wish. This, I think most people would agree, is as intriguing a plot concept as any.
At this point, however, it's incredibly difficult for me to rate the series as unbiased as I should be, and there's also the question of whether or not the visual novel should make a difference, as I should be rating the series in terms of its ability to stand alone. However, I think the factors mentioned above are still not completely irrelevant. Take this into consideration; the three routes in the visual novel Fate/stay night are incredibly different in terms of plot. Different characters live and die in each one, details about certain characters are presented differently or not at all, Shirou is less annoying in certain routes than others (waiting for Unlimited Blade Works, anyone?); this is all the more important in context of Fate/stay night's central story. Had the anime chose to simply portray one route, certain details would have been omitted and resulted in a lot questions left over by the anime's end. In this regard, I respect the effort by the creators of the anime in attempting to address all the inconsistencies that come with trying to merge the important elements of all three routes into one anime series, something which I believe they did a pretty decent job of. The anime is still mostly based on Saber's route, Fate, but with the addition of more details introduced through added events. This creates a few minor inconsistencies, but these are usually easily forgiven by viewers who are familiar with the original story.
Unfortunately, this is where the hurdle is. Inconsistencies that seem minor to Type-Moon fanboys and viewers who have played the game will throw other viewers for a complete loop. Even I have to admit that the way certain characters were introduced later in the series made those characters seem like random additions, while in reality the viewer would most likely have already encountered that character early in the visual novel. Additionally, certain details that are emphasized in the visual novel are left out for the sake of time in the anime. Character personalities are mostly accurate, but as I mentioned before, the backgrounds of various characters are presented in a simplified fashion, or not at all. Again, taking Shirou as an example, I think most people would agree that the anime portrays him as a somewhat stupid/stubborn/annoying/foolish male lead. Sadly, that's not the only side of Shirou there is, but that's mostly what the viewers of just the anime will see. This coupled with the acknowledgement that even the visual novel itself had its fair share of weak points makes me understand where the opinions of casual viewers may be coming from.
In the end, Fate/stay night the anime series suffers its share of pitfalls that are inevitable in this kind of adaptation. While the plot concept is strong, and the storyline execution is mostly good, certain discrepancies simply can't be ignored, especially considering that most people who will end up watching this will not be Type-Moon fanboys, and will not be as forgiving. Even so, I can't bring myself to give the series a rating of any less than 7. This isn't just because I'm a Type-Moon fanboy (I absolutely love all their works. Check out Lunar Legend Tsukihime and Kara no Kyoukai), but because Fate/stay night was the one anime that I watched on a whim, and completely changed my standards of anime from what it had been, and looking back now, my standards back then were pretty scary truth be told. So... take my rating with a grain of salt. I definitely enjoyed the series and believe that it's of good quality, but if you're just a casual viewer or if you're not tolerant of minor inconsistencies in the plot, just know that your opinion may differ greatly from mine.
A pretty unmemorable anime. The storyline isn't great and the characters didn't appeal to me. In fact I can barely remember what it was about except that its a guy who has like a girl that guards him? Not sure anymore?
Fate/Stay Night is an anime series based on a Japanese Visual Novel made by TYPE-MOON that was released in Japan only on PC & PS2. As a disclaimer to this review, I have not read the original Visual Novel so I can't make any comparisons of how well the original work was adapted into an anime series. The Fate/Stay Night Visual Novel, however, is reportedly one of the best selling visual novels of all time in Japan.
I did read some summaries of the visual novel, however, so I do know that the original visual novel had 3 storyline arcs: the "Fate" arc, the "Unlimited Blade Works" arc, and the "Heaven's Feel" arc. This anime is primarily based on the "Fate" arc, though it also casually blends in a few elements of the other arcs.
In Fate/Stay Night, the main character, Shiro Emiya, is the adopted son of a Magi, who has passed away by the start of the series. Shiro was found in the midst of a huge fire 10 years ago and was saved by his father. Despite his adopted father being a Magi, Shiro was not taught any magic. However, he has practiced a little of his own; he has the ability to re-enforce objects. Before long, Shiro is drawn into the "Holy Grail War", an event that occurs every ten years.
In the "Holy Grail War", 7 masters are chosen that descent from the magi. Each chosen master summons a servant of one of seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker. The masters and servants must face off in a series of battles that have to be fought in secret and can only be fought at night. The battles continue until only one is left standing; at this point, the holy grail will appear and grant the wish of the master and servant.
As Shiro is drawn into the war against his will after he inadvertently summons Saber, he decides to fight to prevent anyone from dying, desiring to become a hero of justice. As the war continues, Shiro comes to find how the war relates to his past, as he was found ten years ago… in the flames of the previous war.
Animation is easily the greatest strength of Fate/Stay Night. The animation is downright beautiful and you can tell that AAA quality effort was put into every last little detail of the entire series. The creators even bothered to paint a unique pattern on background of the opening Fate/Stay Night logo for each individual episode. This anime is quite possibly the most beautiful anime series I've ever seen; I wish the series was also available on Blu-Ray so that it could truly display its beauty.
The music of Fate/Stay Night is excellently done; it adds a mysterious feel to the anime that helps set the mood for the events that occur. The first opening theme "disillusion" and its animation sets a great mysterious feeling for the beginning of the series in my mind. The second theme, "Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni" helps set a more serious mood for the second half of the series after the major turning point occurs.
Characters are a great strength of Fate/Stay Night. One of the funnest parts of watching Fate/Stay Night was trying to figure out the true identities of the servants; some are given to you, while others are left for you to figure out on your own. Archer in particular is a very fun and epic one to figure out.
Besides the servant's identities, I liked most of the main characters. I disliked Shiro at first but began to like him in the second half of the anime due to the way his character changed as the series moved on. Rin was my favorite character out of the master's, and I loved how innocently evil Illya was too.
SUB VS. DUB?
You could go either way with this one, but I actually really like the dub for Fate/Stay Night. While both tracks are good, the dub was very high quality for a English dub and I feel that all of the characters were sufficiently and accurately voiced. In particular, for my two favorite characters, Rin and Archer, I actually like the English voice actors better than the Japanese actors. Liam O'Brien does an excellent job as Archer and he is a perfect fit for him. However, for those who prefer subs, you can definitely go either way: as I said, both tracks are good so pick whichever one you prefer.
Fate/stay Night is an excellent anime all around; especially if you fully understand the implications of the story and how all the servants relate to their masters. Fate/stay Night kept me watching episode after episode to until the very end; I couldn't stop. I highly recommend that everyone at least give the series a shot.
Normally I just watch each anime once. Just a few twice, I could count them on the fingers of my two hands. This one... This one I've seen it three times, and still I watch it with the same enthusiasm of the first time. There are no useless things, but this does not mean that particulars are neglected. It's 24 episodes of suspense, maybe sometimes slows down a bit to let you take a breath, but not really that much.
7 mages that summon 7 servants, heroes born from the legends of different civilities, in order to compete in a battle royale to obtain in the end an awesome reward. Each master and each servant with different principles. Who is ready to kill innocent civilians to take their soul and convert it into energy, who battles to stop this, etc.
But of course it does not stop here.
Original? Well, maybe not that much, but this does not matter, as this not-so-new story is so well developed that a new originality is found.
Interaction between heroes, coming from different legends, born in different lands and different times take place. As the battle rages on, some locus amoenus show up every now and then, allowing some development of the story outside the competition
Not the best I've seen, but this is nevertheless worth it's 9. Even just the character design is very good. The battles have some great animations, especially when there is some magic involved. But this does not mean that a sword vs sword match has a lower quality.
Very often, in other anime, whenever there are a few confused swings of some kind of weapon, explosion, and whatever, and the viewer is left with a feeling like "What happened? Oh this guy died this other is badly hurt, the other one just a scratch... But how the hell did they end up like that?"
In FSN this does not happen, each fight, spell, face, etc. is very well made and "self-explainatory".
The 2nd opening (Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni) is just awesome. No other words to describe it.
also within the episodes there are every now and then a few musics running in the background, anonymous enough in order not to distract the watcher form the action, but still they fit in so well, that I would feel something missing if they weren't there.
About the voices, they're also very well chosen, each single voice reflects the personality of the character, and not just for what they say, but for how they say it as well. It's just an odd feeling when they speak english or german, but doesn't mean it's not appreciated!
Huge cast. And very well differentiated. 7 masters + 7 servants = 14 characters? Not that easy. Without spoiling too much I'll just say that more characters join the plot and others leave as the story goes.
Each one quite well elaborated. Of course there are some that are taken to a higher level, but this does not affect the fact that all the due attention is given even those does not enter in these elected few.
And yes, you can find some "hated" characters coming from FSN in my list, but it's just cuz I do not like then, but that does not mean they're not well made :)
This anime is a really good mixture of really good things. I never felt like something was missing, and I also never felt like there was too much of something, up to the point of becoming oppressive.
Entertaining story, during the episodes there are a lot of hints on how the plot will evolve. Still many twists awaits you just behind the corner. Some predictable, some not.
This anime will always remain in my suggestion list, if someone ever asks me "what are your favored anime?"
Of my many problems with Fate/Stay Night, none irks me more than the fact it boiled down to be only superficially coherent. Yes, there is a loose central theme that drives the series; yes, the series does progress in a fairly linear fashion; ultimately, however, none of it makes much sense. While the series had a given premise and a pre-determined end, the actual content turned out to be utterly shallow and haphazard. Save the incomprehensibly retarded lead, Shirou, whose ignorance and stupidity remained consistent throughout, every other character's personality varied from scene to scene, which made it immensely difficult to acquire even the most trivial amount of sympathy for the entire cast. This resulted in an utterly pointless watch, as the complete lack of story-driven substance coupled with non-existent character development removed any inkling of my interest.
Perhaps the only intelligent aspect of Fate/Stay Night is its opening sequence, as right off the bat the story seems to take a bold stance. The basic idea revolves around an object of great power, known as the Holy Grail, materializes itself every few years in order to grant humanity a single wish. To decide the person worthy enough to make this wish, it binds the spirits of seven of the world's champions to seven humans and forces them to fight to death. When only one remains, that fighter and his spirit are given the right to make their request. Sounds interesting, no? Well, take out the whole "fight to the death" concept of the storyline, and you have Fate/Stay Night in a nutshell. Instead of fighting, our wonderful prodigy for a protagonist seeks to win his battles through friendship, and as such the whole concept of death gets thrown completely out the window.
That's not to say, though, that the series is devoid of action; on the contrary, there are actually quite a number of fight scenes. Most, however, come with more talking than swinging of swords and are thrown in just to fill space. One of Shirou's rivals generally just shows up entirely out of the blue, upon which Shirou ironically gives the obligatory "I will protect you!" speech to his summoned warrior and then proceeds to try to defeat the enemy with kind words. This is repeated over and over again ad nauseam, only it becomes progressively more abrasive as the series drags due to the remarkably predictable plot. While there are "twists" to these fights, they generally involve a completely random introduction of a side character who serves no real purpose other than to ensure Shirou emerges victorious. After the said fight sequence ends, that character vanishes faster than he or she was introduced, never again to be seen until the comically lame epilogue at the end of the series; not surprisingly, it ceased being cute after the first fight.
Looking back, Saber's summoning sequence was perhaps the sole determining factor in my decision to watch Fate/Stay Night all the way through. With the gorgeous, dual-source lighting of her character from the moonlight above and magic circle below, it easily takes its place as the highlight of the series. Fortunately, while the rest of the visuals didn't prove quite as splendid, this level of quality held true, which made watching twenty-four episodes worth of trash a more bearable experience. All in all the character designs are smooth and movements are fluid, resulting in a slightly above average production that's not too difficult on the eyes.
Oddly enough, Fate/Stay Night has an astounding soundtrack in lieu of its numerous other faults. There are quite a few awesome insert tracks that immediately caught my attention, and I made a point to grab the series' OST so that I at least got something worthwhile out of watching it. While not on the level of the music, the voice acting was decent save for Shirou's seiyuu whose constant, nasal screaming of "Saber!" got on my nerves relatively quickly.
If Fate/Stay Night serves no other purpose, it's to remind humanity that stupidity is contagious. Shirou, without a doubt, is quite possibly one of the worst male leads I've ever had to set my eyes upon, as his ignorance knows no bounds. Come the series' end his pestilence manages to spread to every other character, as even Saber regresses into an utterly shallow husk of her former self. To draw an apt comparison, liken Shirou to Raki from Claymore, only twice as naïve and thrice as brain dead, and make him the lead role. He somehow seems oblivious to the fact that he summoned one of the world's greatest swordsmen in order to fight his battles, and instead espouses that he, a random teenage reject, can take her place. Never mind that Saber also is armed with an invisible sword (which randomly becomes visible later in the series), full plate mail, and magical abilities - Shirou is going to protect her! His character grew increasingly more contrite with each passing minute, and I ended up having to fast forward through his speeches in the later episodes. Toss in his random romantic harem circle (after all, women dig stupidity) for good measure, and it's hard for me to fathom how I watched him idiotically prance around for as long as I did without vomiting.
I'd mention other characters, but none are even worth talking about; by the end they're all Shirou clones.