The Fate “backslash” series has finally returned to the small screen.
Just like Gundam Reconguista in G from earlier this season, it’s premiering with an hour long episode. It’s a bit more of a prologue and world building episode, but it paints the world in a beautiful, somehow believable world of servants fighting their masters for the illusive Holy Grail. For those who recall the 2006 Fate/stay night series, this seems to retread familiar territory, but from another viewpoint–specifically, Rin Tōsaka. In the 2014 version, we’ll be following the Unlimited Blade Works path of the original visual novel’s “choose your own adventure” storytelling.
Nowadays , the first episode of nearly any series that’s based off an existing property has a lot of exposition in its world, and Fate/stay night UBW is no exception to this trope. It’s done well though, don’t be discouraged. If you’re ready to endure the rest of the series after its 40+ minutes of setup, that’s okay, but if this is anything like Fate/Zero from 2011, you’ll be missing out on a stellar series! Truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t get through Fate/stay night’s 2006 series even after a few tries. It was full of too many of what I call “dong moments.” (Think every shonen series wherein something comical happens and a *dong* noise is made and the characters have a static, stupid expression on their faces.)
So far, Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works is lacking in these moments, despite Rin’s young age and ineptitude. Her father is Tomioki Tōsaka, who fell in the fourth Holy Grail war back in Fate/Zero (sorry for the spoilers, nerds, but it’s been 3 years) and feels she needs to prove herself and the Tōsaka lineage by winning. If you’ve ever seen any media wherein there’s a character trying to prove themselves in accordance to another relative or generation, you can already see Rin Tōsaka’s character path and mentality building before your eyes. I trust the writers will treat Rin more than typical, but the first episode isn’t doing much to shake that cliché, yet.
Rin and Archer’s relationship is rather fun to watch though, as they grow to learn to like each other and realize that they’re stuck together while both aim for the grand prize: the Holy Grail. Whoever wins the battle royale is allowed one wish, and although Rin (or any other characters) hasn’t revealed her intentions, it will be a fun ride seeing who battles and survives on the way to the endgame.
Meanwhile, we have Hideyuki Fukasawa (Flowers of Evil) providing the compositions as the servants and masters battle, and they couldn’t be more fitting. Strings and guitars complement battles and scenes, helping bring Fate/stay night’s world to life even more. We’ve only gotten a glimpse of Fate/stay night UBW, but it’s built us a world with characters that I want to see succeed and fail–something the 2006 version could never make me do. Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works is set for a two cour (season) run, with 13 episode through the fall and a break before returning in the spring of 2015. You can stream every episode weekly via Crunchyroll, and even Aniplex’s site every Saturday. Stick with Laser Time for more anime goodness!