10 years after the Holy Grail War—a battle waged by Masters and Servants over the wish-granting container, the Holy Grail—another war breaks out in Fuyuki City. Shirou Emiya—the adopted son of Kiritsugu Emiya, a participant of the previous Holy Grail War—resolves to fight, carrying out Kiritsugu’s dying wish. There’s a young girl by Shirou’s side who’s in love with him—Sakura Matou. Every morning, she goes to Shirou’s house to make breakfast and dinner for him, bringing kindness into the life of a boy utterly alone in the world. But once the Holy Grail War starts, there’s a change in the air in Fuyuki City. Murders abound across the city, and the atmosphere grows ominous. Shirou decides to shelter Sakura in his home. Along with Saber, the Servant he summons, Shirou allies himself with the magus Rin Tohsaka and takes part in the Holy Grail War. But the battle starts to go awry as secret maneuvers by unseen forces are put into play.
Source: Official Site
I will try to not spoil this movie for people. But I might put a few things in there so to be careful im going to say SPOILER WARNING. This is my first experience with the Heaven's Feel route. Some of the most epic fight sequences ever put to the animated screen. The fight between Lancer and Assassin truly shines as one of the best battles we've ever seen between two servants. It's not even just the fights though. The stakes are incredibly high, and we know there's some greater evil at play. The visuals are nothing short of spectacular. Ufotable at their best as usual, you can feel the Kara no Kyoukai similarities. I liked how the movie 'fast-forwarded' through some of the introductory stuff, it doesn't re-tread over old ground (When Shirou emiya's first encounter of a battle between Servants). It very much assumes that the audience have already seen or experienced the first two routes so one should be familiar with the Fate series before watching the film. Sakura comes off as extremely bland in every other Fate series, but this version of Sakura has some emotion and character which I like (best Girl). There are some beautiful flash back scenes between her and Shirou, you see from the very beginning that there is something incredibly tragic about her. We may not have the answers yet, But...... Given how the film ended, the best is yet to come. There are still so many mysteries to uncover. While this film focused on Shirou and Sakura, while also giving characters like Rin, Saber, Kirei, and Zouken moments of Epicness. Archer didn't have much to do and Illya appeared only briefly. Yuki KAJIURA at her best composing the music for this film, WOW. That ending song!! We still have two more films to go!!!
Before watching this I would recommend watching Ufotable's Fate/Zero and Unlimited Blade Works if your interested in getting a better understanding of who some of these characters are and how they play a role in the Holy Grail War. Outside of that as a stand-alone film Presage Flower is one of the greatest things I've ever watched. Every frame is so masterfully crafted, simple scenes feel so natural while the fights look amazing. Nothing looks cheap or stiff, every motion big or small really leaves an impact. Background lights and cars, weather, the characters themselves; there is so much motion in this movie and it all looks so natural and detailed. The mixture of 3-D and 2-D animation is really impressive, it's so rare that the two animation styles look good together but Ufotable makes it just seem normal. Real eye candy for animation lovers. The sound production is edited flawlessly, every scene sounds so crisp. You can hear the rain, a cool brease, leaves, snow, and bugs so clearly without it ever overpowering the dialogue. The sound team really did an outstanding job, background sounds in anime don't really make a big impression on me most of the time but it does such a great job here adding extra layers to the film. On top of that you have Yuki Kajiura handling the OST and she delivers one of her best scores really giving the film that final magical touch. Tomonori Sudou makes Fate/stay night look better than it ever has before, Ufotable already proved they know how to make an amazing multi-part film with The Garden of Sinners eight part series but this was even bigger and better than The Garden of Sinners. It's absolutely insane that we are getting two more of these films.
Presage Flower is truly unsettling, in an amount of senses that is in and of itself, only describable with this word. There is little comfort to be had, as the brutal fights, lavish detail in Ufotable’s visuals, and the hauntingly melodic pieces by Yuki Kajiura convey an atmosphere of dread that permeates most of the film. It is truly an ominous, even exhausting piece of work, one not meant for the eyes of the unfamiliar. This film is newcomer-repellant, as it goes so out of its way to not clue you in on anything, and outright skip the first major battle, the moment of our main character summoning her servant, him and Rin meeting, and everything around this time frame, into a montage monitored by Zouken, our disgusting antagonist. This is not the holy grail war you remember, but you must certainly remember in order to grasp this film. It could have been more lenient, as the meager two hour runtime is already blitzed as is in some cases. Then again, this film is so bloated that it feels like it’s ending 5 times in the span of a half hour. Thankfully, aside from the core cast, certain side-characters aren’t let in the dust, mainly Shinji, who is thankfully, far more emotionally complicated about his relationship with Shirou than in previous installments. He is far more complicated a person, mixing feelings of resentment, bewilderment, and attachment to Shirou, as he hardly understands him. How he managed to be far more interestingly written than everyone else here is beyond me.To add on to the knowledge required to understand even an iota of this installment, the Grail War and most of its players are barely established before many start dropping like flies due to the central, ominous shadow that stalks every chilling scene in the film. It is as punishing as it is disturbing. Punishment can also be felt in the run time. Even with two hours causing apparently vital information and other important early moments to get cut out, the film feels longer than The Dark Knight Rises. Perhaps it is due to the pacing feeling truly out of whack in the 20 minute mark and towards the end, as it feels almost meandering, like it doesn’t exactly know how to end so it keeps on trudging along. Presage Flower is also adept at leaving the viewer with questions, for better or worse. Even outside of how its newcomer-repellant status, the fact that it deviates so far from grail wars of yore with chaotic, more disturbing elements, is as enticing as it is disturbing. It leaves the viewer unsure about exactly what is going on. It’s a terrifying mystery hiding in plain sight, much like a horror film’s supernatural antagonist. It is bone-chilling set-up for the next two installments. However, there are some notable questions that may not be answered, probably due to the cutting that needed to be made for a 2-hour long piece of cinema. Questions such as "How does Shirou get some of the visions he has, namely the one with Illya notifying him of them effectively being brother and sister?" are the more unintentional questions you'll find yourself asking. Though, questions such as "What is this new threat that corrupts this grail war and its combatants?" and "What is this new assassin?" are where the mystery comes in. It certainly makes the film more conflicting to evaluate, as one needs to truly collect their thoughts and ask those who read the material for clarification of what was cut and what is actually part of the mystery. Though, there is some well-done foreshadowing regarding its main heroine. In many ways, it's like the recently -and undeservedly panned- Fate/Extra: Last Encore.The appeal is in the dread, the torment from the unknown, for better or worse. Just make sure your endurance levels are high. Aimer's wonderful ending song shall be your reward, as confusion and dread consume the sky and the petals of death begin to fall.
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