One word. DISAPPOINTED.
We are currently 5 episodes into the series. Let’s talk about the good stuff first.
The animation is jaw-dropping. This is by far the best quality of animation I’ve seen in an anime. The lighting and the smoke/air/fire effects are out of the world. The fight scenes are perfect. Every second is a visual treat, from every spark of clashing weapons, to every swerve of movement, to every glimpse of the golden Excalibur. The background score gels well with the overall tone. The show also manages to do away with the cheesiness of the old FSN. Actually it is pretty awesome for a stand-alone anime series.
I simply HAVE to measure it against Fate/Zero. I have to. For those who don’t know, the first time I watched Fate/Zero, I was so awestruck that I made a separate blog (link) about it! Even though I was too lazy to maintain it, the gesture means a lot. I also read The Once and Future King by T. H. White, which is a series of (awesome) books containing King Arthur’s legend. I know I say this often, but: if you haven’t watched Fate/Zero, stop what you’re doing and watch it. Even if you’re not an anime fan.
Coming back to Fate/Stay Night UBW.
Where are the quality dialogues? Where are the chilling undercurrents between characters? Where are the conflicting emotions? And why do I not have to ponder over who is ‘right’?
Let’s clear the air. I know I’m absolutely wrong to even expect these things from Fate/Stay Night. The main characters are teenagers, and there is no room for the various philosophies and ideals present in Zero.
Yet I had hoped that somehow ufotable would find a way to work around those stuff. They definitely haven’t screwed up, but they haven’t met the expectations either. The episodes without major battles and plot developments seem too slow. The blushing scenes are a bit off-putting. I also find it strange how Rin tries to kill Shirou, but Shirou saves her life, and then they become friends again; all in a matter of minutes. They’re probably following the original plot and all. Sigh.
I’m looking forward to the upcoming episodes though. Can’t deny the entertainment in some good animated action. Hopefully it would turn out to be a bit more than that.
P.S. I went ahead and rewatched Fate/Zero. Related posts coming soon.