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.
Fate/Stay Night is a Type-Moon VN adaptation from 2006, about the Holy Grail Wars, the wars in question being the 5th, thusly providing a story with plenty of revelations throughout the series, providing a richer story than would otherwise have been achieved.
Story - 7.5/10
The Fate/Stay Night story is a above average story, providing enough twists and revelations throughout to keep the viewer engaged for the length of the series. Sadly though, a rather void patch in the middle of the series does detract from the series, not enough the put someone off finishing the series but enough that its noticeable and disappointing.
The ending is also somewhat disappointing. Only a few series should have sad, almost anti-climatic-romance endings like this and this certainly wasn't one of them. The romance is only brought together in the last few episodes and never establishes a good enough atmosphere and back-story to justify such an ending, which is a real shame as a simple happy ending would have maybe been a little cliche but it would have been a fitting ending to the story.
Animation - 8.5/10
For a 5-year old series the animation is of high quality, and would pass if it aired now, even given the vast improvement in animation quality in the past couple of years. There are some points (particulary where the light coming from windows into rooms) that the animation becomes somewhat hazy and unclear, which is disappointing given how the animation for the most part is prety good.
Overall, the soundtrack is great, the op's and ed's are good, although the first op isn't really a fit and feels out of place. The lack of any cheesy moments created by the music is a joy, as too many series tend to use cheesy/cliche music at big moment during a series and it can detract from the overall feeling.
Characters - 7.5/10
A good cast, although some characters aren't developed enough. Sakura and Taiga in particular aren't really developed at all, and given how they make frequent appearances, including one large part in one of the final "arcs", a little more development on these characters would do wonders for the scenes they appear in.
Unfortunately, Shiro is a "save everyone, no matter what" protagonists, which isn't really to my liking, saving Saber and the other cast members isn't the problem, its saving everyone in the whole town that can wear thin as the series progresses.
As a whole, the Fate/Stay Night is an enjoyable series, lacking in a totally solid story,ending and cast, although these points don't devalue the series to an unwatchable mess, they do detract from what would otherwise be a far more highly regarded series.
This is my second review, and the first one that I prepared for by taking notes on throughout the series. Since I'm still feeling out this reviewing thing, I don't yet have a firm rating scale, so bear with me, okay?
At first, Fate/Stay Night's story seemed to have potential, but I rather doubted that the potential would be fulfilled. Surely the story would be cheesy or lackluster, especially seeing how the first few episodes went. Negative reviews gave me little hope of improvement. Imagine how glad I was to be proven wrong!
First, the bad: Why was I expecting cheesy or lackluster?
I remember one scene with a conversation between Emiya Shirou and Saber (the main characters) somewhere in the first few episodes. Shirou made some comment, probably about saving lives, that the authors appearantly thought significant or touching. I know this was supposed to be significant because Saber said, "Oh, Shirou!" And I said, "Oh brother!"
That scene wasn't the only failed attempt at significance within the first few episodes. Thankfully, this wears off after a few episodes, and, for the most part, we're allowed to find significance ourselves by watching the story unfold. Shirou's speeches happen less and less often, and Saber never again has to tell us that a comment was supposed to be touching.
Now, the good:
Suspense, magic, swords, a touch of romance - Fate/Stay Night brings all these and more into the story, even if it is a bit slow on the uptake. By the end of episode six, I wrote in my notes: "Okay, I'm in, regardless of what ____ said in his review."
What hooked me? The battles. These were, perhaps, a little cliche as far as magic-type battles go. But we still saw some physical technique, and I wanted to see what weapon or display of bravery would come next. I particularly liked how Shiro's skills evolved.
Fate/Stay Night has a wide cast of secondary characters, and I sensed that they each had a story of their own to tell, even if there wasn't time to tell it in the 24 episodes. This added more to the overall story.
Sum it up:
- A little slow on the uptake and somewhat repetitive in Shirou's comments
~A bit straightforward, but at least hints at multiple facets to the story
+Developed, suspenseful, with a fitting final episode
Enjoyable, yet not superb.
I don’t usually pay much attention to the animation, except to note its style. If the animation is horrid or incredible, I might notice. For the sake of this review, I even took notes on the animation in Fate/Stay Night. So, here it goes:
In some reviews and comments I’ve read about Fate/Stay Night, people have said that they watched the whole thing only because the animation was really good. Having now seen it, I must say… do you all need glasses?!?
In my humble opinion, the animation was not bad, but neither was it superb. I shall split it into two categories: characters and general animation
Characters – outfits come in character section below. This is for the art/animation itself.
Shirou, the main character, seems a bit underdone. It seems like the artists took five minutes to decide on a firm looking face, strong but normal sized body, and basic eye and hair design. That five minute sketch became the permanent, unimpressive character design.
I have one other complaint regarding specific characters, and shall paraphrase what I said in my notes after episode 5: That teacher of Issei’s looks like the priest/supervisor, who in turn looks like Shirou’s dad. If those three aren’t related, I’ll pound the artists for their unoriginality.
Turns out, the three truly had no family ties. And yet the main physical difference between them was the hair style (even hair color was the same!). Oh, and one of them had glasses. I realize that they are only secondary characters, but that is no excuse to create them nearly identical. The artists managed to make all the other characters pleasingly unique. Surely they could have scrounged up one or two more new designs.
The rest of the characters, like I said, were unique and wonderful to look at. Even Shirou, depending on the scene, was pleasing. I could tell that he was strong, though in a quiet way that the artists did not emphasize. Tohsaka (bossy school mate and important character), especially, was beautifully done.
In episode 15, I say the first big flaw in the animation. While entering Saber’s core, Shirou encounters a dragon (why? I have no idea). They way the dragon flies around is pretty cool – I found myself thinking it would be pretty thrilling to watch in 3D. However, the dragon’s style conflicts with the other animation, especially when next to Shirou. Shirou reminded me of an animated character in an otherwise live action production – except he was the one that belonged. This short scene was enough to bring the entire animation rating down .5 in my book. In the next episode, during a fight with Berserker, I noticed something similar.
While usually pleasant, the animation quality is inconsistent, sometimes in the same instant. Colors seem a bit faded, though not bad, and the art isn’t always detailed or brought to its full potential.
All together, I give the animation a 7.
The music was beautiful, simply beautiful. Opening, ending, background: almost all the music was wonderful. The second opening song was a bit disappointing in comparison, but still good.
Voice acting was all around good. I don’t usually take note of voice acting, so I don’t have much else to say about that.
Background sounds were well done, too.
I give sound a 9.7
Let’s start with first impressions! Here’s what my notes had to say after the first four episodes:
Shirou – His words give more impact than they deserve. Kind of repetitive.
Saber – Really? A girl with a puffy blue dress, hair ribbon, and a sword?
This better not turn out to be a strong girl/pathetic guy anime.
Other characters – at this point, even less noteworthy.
Needless to say, I was not impressed. Thankfully, the characters improved with each episode. As of episode 8, Tohsaka’s character was still the best. She was not a central character, though, so I remained skeptical. At episode 9, Saber intrigued me more and more. "Hurray! She was more than some girl in a puffy dress!"
Ilya, a manipulative little brat who has few qualms about killing, succeeded in making me love her despite her evil tendencies. No other anime character has accomplished this.
By episode 16, I could safely say, “Yay! Shirou isn’t just some pathetic guy!” Moreover, Saber continued to evolve.
My conclusions regarding characters:
Tohsaka was one of the best developed, dynamic characters. And not dynamic in the comic relief or stereotypical way.
Shirou – For someone who supposedly only cares about others, Shirou is very selfish regarding Saber. This part of him does not mature until the final episode, when he suddenly realizes every wrong stance he’s had. Yep, he learns the most at the end, a little late for my taste.
Saber – She has a cute little nose, a stubborn personality, and a learning curve that almost matches Shirou’s. And the authors left some holes regarding her. As I watched, I waited in vain for the development I hope for, leaving these three questions:
How, exactly, did she fail as king?
What makes her think someone else will do better?
Has any one stopped to think that if history changes and a different person becomes king, it will affect all events leading to present time and to the future?
Characters could have been worse, but they could have been a whole lot better, too. I give them a 6.5
Fate/Stay Night was enjoyable enough that I want to see its companion movie. I gave it 4.5 stars because I enjoyed it. However, I can’t be so generous in this review.
To calculate the total score:
Story x2 because story is the most important part
= 7.64, or 7.6
Fate/Stay Night is a must for fans of magic and some types of fantasy. I’d put it in the same genre as Kaze no Stigma. It has magic, a tiny bit of romance, fights, and age old heroes. If you enjoy this genre, you’ll probably enjoy Fate/Stay Night. Otherwise, I'm not sure.
To begin with, I have not read the visual novels so this review is solely based on the anime itself.
Watched this after fate zero, just to follow the flow of the story instead of the time of production. I guess I'm more of a picky person. I formulate a good ending and I wish to see that ending in the end just so I can feel satisfied upon finishing the anime. Fate Stay Night offers that and contrasts Fate Zero, where all the bad things happen.
Story 8/10 - Cliched to some extent but there's actually a clearer and more decent plot compared to Fate Zero and these cliched plots never fail to impress and lighten you up. You'll hardly lose focus or get confused in the middle of mindless brawls.
Animation 7/10 - Probably not as flashy as Fate Zero but it's still decent and achieves the effect
Sound 9/10 - I personally love the tracks it really creates the perfect atmosphere to set the scenes in. It's repetitive in various scenes but it's decent overall.
Character 9/10 - The role of the main antagonists and protagonists does not sway or gets stolen by other sideline characters. Throughout the whole anime the focus are always on those main characters namely Rin, Saber and Shirou. You see how their character developes individually along with their relationship with each other, and slowly you'll begin to like each of them. The character developments in this series add value to the anime as a whole and compensates what Fate Zero couldn't achieve.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed it more than Fate Zero given that it has a more focused story and a satisfying conclusion/final episode.
Dropped at episode 1.
Why? Cause I hate what Studio Shittyass-shit DEEN have done to Fate series, I hope ufotable fixes what this useless, bad and should be bombed out of the surface of earth- have done.