Monday, August 26, 2013

Anime Review: Fate/Stay Night

FATE/STAY NIGHT: Amazing on some departments, not so much on others

Fate/Stay Night tells the story of a recurring war for the Holy Grail, an artefact that could grant any wish. It takes the perspective of Shirou Emiya, a survivor of the previous war.  Before he realizes it, he is drawn to the current war as a primary contender for the Holy Grail, as he accidentally summons the servant Saber.

This premise is intriguing in itself. It immediately imposes a series of questions to the viewers. “Who are these Servants? Why do they fight for the Holy Grail? And what is the Holy Grail, exactly?” are just some of those questions.

What makes the story even more intriguing is the history behind it -- the previous war --, which is revealed little by little, as the plot progresses. Despite this, there are still a number of threads from the history that remain to be mysteries. This could make the foundation of the story weaker, but this is not the case for Fate/Stay Night. It feeds the viewers with only the important plot points in the back-story that are relevant to the current timeline, and leaves the other details to the imagination. This makes the back-story even more intriguing, and actually strengthens the foundation of the story instead of weakening it.

The back-story is but the icing of the cake. The real focus of the anime is the current timeline -- and I must say that it is a story worth telling. What makes it such is its uniqueness and ability to trigger emotions.

However, it should be added that some parts could be problematic for other viewers. This story, as a Shounen title, is not very action-packed. Other viewers could find this problematic, for they would surely expect an action sequence on each episode, and not witnessing one or two could make them declare that the pacing is slow.

Personally, this is not an issue for me. The lack of action does not necessarily translate to bad pacing. Sure, there is a tremendous amount of explanation regarding the Fate mythos and its technicalities, but as long as the story is going to the right direction, and doesn’t dwell on random details to delay the events, the pacing is fine.

If anything, this limitation of the action scenes makes the action scenes very satisfying when they finally arrive. Their quality just compensates for their quantity. They are very well made. They will surely make the viewers pumped up, especially with their incorporation of incredible soundtracks that fit perfectly to the themes of Fate/Stay Night. Speaking of music, this anime is clearly on top of the line. It is so powerful that it adds emotion to the story.

The weaker part of Fate/Stay Night is its characterization. Don’t get me wrong, some of the characters are amazing, like Arturia the Saber and Tohsaka Rin; they are very interesting and distinct characters. However, their being well made is somewhat overshadowed by the blandness of other characters.

Some of the characters are just so flat that they are not very relatable, and this prevents them from triggering emotional responses to the viewers. It is a good thing that there are amazing characters to counterbalance this problem, for they are able to trigger such responses.

Tohsaka Rin

This is only a personal matter, but I find the design of the characters pretty mediocre as well. In fact, the art style and animation as a whole are generic and not very appealing. Their only redeeming feature is the action scenes that are rather flashy and very entertaining.

Overall, Fate/Stay Night’s entertainment value lies on its story and mythos, which, I must add, are one of the most entertaining I’ve seen in a while. Even though most of its characters are not very fleshed-out, there are some that are, so the characterization is compensated. The interest that has been triggered to me by the story and some of the characters is enough for me to overlook the flaws of the series. In fact, this interest has become so great that the Fate franchise has really captured my attention, so I’ll be indulging myself with the other Fate titles and review them afterwards.

Related posts:
           Anime Review: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya            
           Anime Review: Fate/Zero
           Character Analysis: Arturia Pendragon


  1. Once I finished Fate/Zero I considered watching Fate/Stay Night, but since almost everyone considers it inferior to Fate/Zero and since ufotable is remaking Stay Night, I think I will wait for that. If ufotable wasn't remaking this I would probably just watch Stay Night but I am sure the new one will be much better considering how well Fate/Zero turned out.


    1. I'm also really excited for the Ufotable remake! I hope they make it more mature like Fate/Zero, because this version of Fate/Stay Night has a lot of Shounen elements in it. But really, I haven't found enough data whether ufotable's project will be a remake of Fate/Stay Night itself or another Fate story route. But whatever it'll be, it's sure to be good.