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.
If I have one thing to say following watching Fate/Stay Night, it's that I want the eight hours of my life wasted on this crap back. Had the series even loosely stuck to its premise it might have been mediocre, but with such an atrocious cast of characters, there's simply no justifying even giving it consideration. If you somehow fancy watching a seven man deathmatch turn into a seven man friendship festival give it a shot, but remember that stupidity is indeed contagious, and you run the risk of infecting yourself if you attempt to view it all the way through. Ultimately, there are much better shows out there to watch due to boredom - Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, for instance, would be a good choice.
The Holy Grail War is a battle between seven magicians who each summon a mythical hero to fight for their cause. Shirou, a twice orphaned high school boy, had so little magical talent that his foster father did not bother teaching him about the war and its meaning. Thanks to that lack of foresight, Shirou finds himself in a bit of a pinch when he accidentally summons a hero of the strongest class, and is sucked into the fray. The Grail grants the winner any wish they have. But driven by an unyielding sense of justice and self-sacrifice, for what will Shirou fight?
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!