Fate/stay night vs Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works

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A fair number of people have argued that Fall 2014’s Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is being rated as part of a beloved franchise, rather than on its own merits as a show. Since I hadn’t seen F/SN’s 2006 anime adaptation, and do not have time to read the LNs and other adaptations, I thought it would be interesting to put that theory to the test.

After only a few minutes with the older version, I’m surprised this franchise lived on to reach today, let alone carries a large fan base. Even before comparing the art styles and presentation styles, it’s obviously not a great looking show. With those comparisons… ouch?

Comparison Images are Old on Top of New.

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Cheaper, less immaculate storyboarding and detailing aside, F/SN’06 has downright terrible pacing. We get none of the breathing room that to mood build and silently develop characters as seen in F/SN’14’s.

’06 just jumps in with a narrator summing up what the Holy Grail War is and Bang! Rin is doing magic. Worse, the narrator poses the summoning process in what sounds more like a card-battle context, which just sounds dated and “Go buy a supporting CCG” product focused.

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Again, ’06’s short format forces Rin and Shirou’s opening stories to play out at the same time, in a quarter of the time they were given in ’14. The result is Archer shows up, says “Oh look I have a weird master” and then we cut to Shirou waking up the following day.

No character development, no world building, not even pretty costume design to look at. Hell, ’06 doesn’t even establish what some of the major magic elements are nor how they work!

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Speaking of Shirou, he’s a lage part of what makes ’06 so average, if not terrible. It’s not just because he’s a little obnoxious, a little cocky sounding, and has the contextual depth of a peanut. Really, It’s his constant narration.

I just don’t need a character to mentally introduce me to every character, backstory, and location. Especially when his explanations don’t carry any nuance or special detail that a real person — a believable character — would make. It’s all very lengthy and full of empty, textbook-style details.

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I can’t speak to people’s love of the franchise for it’s original LNs or any other adaptations, but man! Fate/stay night 2006 doesn’t seem like it would have done anything to keep the franchise in people’s minds.

Even by the standards of the day, it’s unimaginative and feels rushed. Sure, it was a TV series, which means smaller budgets than a lot of what I think back on at the time, but these drab colors seem more at home for a mid 90s anime.

If you watched more of the old adaptation that I did, or have an argument for it, shoot me a comment below!

13 thoughts on “Fate/stay night vs Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works”

  1. I essentially agree with your assessment oigakko-san. The 2006 anime, while adapting the Fate route and having its own storyline from Saber injuring Archer (an attack he fends off in UBW, hence its distinction and different set of events), messed up majorly. And in regards to the first two episodes that adapt the prologue, shared by all three routes of Fate/stay night, UBW blew it away. Deen cut out most of the prologue but kept most of the internal narration that’s OK to have in a visual novel where people read much faster then they watch and don’t have the benefit of third person, but that isn’t OK in an anime. UBW wisely cut much of Shirou’s less relevant internal monologue, especially since they all show up eventually anyway.

    For the love of all that is holy do not check out the 2010 UBW movie that’s also by Studio Deen. It’s everything that this 24-episode anime is going to be condensed in to TWO HOURS. It’s a rushed mess devoid of pacing and designed only to show off battle scenes that ufotable is trumping in this adaptation. If you want to watch it, watch it after new anime to laugh at it, because it’ll spoil every bit of new anime in the most subpar fashion possible.

  2. From what I understand, the Fate fanbase was largely based around the original visual novel. The DEEN adaptation was deeply disliked, but in Japan an anime adaptation can be dismissed as a side project.

    It was the Fate / Zero prequel by Urobuchi that really expanded the franchise’s fanbase.

    I would recommend going straight from the end of this UBW series to Zero. Don’t look around, as Zero is heavily spoiled. I’d also avoid even peeking at Zero’s first episode, as it contains many spoilers for Fate / Stay Night.

    1. What this guy said. Zero is qualify stuff done by the same production company, ufotable, doing the new anime, and written by based Urobutcher. It is, however, tantamount to watching the prequel trilogy of Star Wars before the original trilogy, so don’t watch it until UBW is done.

  3. We all know the 2006 and 2010 versions are really crappy and rushed. But the question is when is the 2014 series going to stop being crappy and slow? Just comparing the first 2 episodes to Deen’s version makes me worry that not even Ufotable can make an F/SN anime any good. Hopefully it already gets better with Berserker’s introduction.

    1. This is an interesting viewpoint I’ve seen all over twitter. It’s subjective, so neither of us is right or wrong, but my view point is that the slowness IS what makes F/SNubw a good show.

  4. I think one of the reasons the 2014 remake has come with so much hype is BECAUSE the previous adaptations have been so bad. The source material is still close to the hearts of many, which is clearly why they thought they could succeed in adapting Fate/Zero a few years ago… and they did, which is why they’re riding the gravy train and giving this another go. I think there’s a lot of silliness ad flaws in the source material and the previous adaptations, so we can only hope that this kind of serves to iron some of the out.

    1. because I’m not familiar with the franchise (and Zero didn’t come up when I searched my cue) I totally missed zero and it’s effect on anticipation of good stuff.

      1. I gathered that from your reviews so far–it will be interesting to see what you make of Fate coming into it as a blank slate, without all the fandom hype to boost you along. It will have to impress you for what it is as a standalone, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you think! In some ways it will be a much more objective review than people who are already invested.

  5. I’ve read the VN, so i can’t really say so much about the DEEN anime back when i first watched it, but i will say that getting into this franchise by way of the two DEEN adaptions is a mistake.

    Your obviously not going to like it because it was a low budget for DEEN even back when it came out, made for a relatively new VN with a relatively small fanbase compared to today. It is worse because they didn’t handle the series particularly well in execution to start. That includes from general overall pacing direction to handling of individual scenes.

    I can only say to new comers to watch the anime adaption of Fate Zero and FSN UBW by ufo. I know most people don’t have enough fan in them to read 80+ hours of VN plus light novels of the prequel to actually get a feel for the source material like myself.

  6. Actually oigakkosan, since UBW is more split-cour then anything (a continuous story splitting in to two, we all expect first cour to end on a cliffhanger or something), I’d watch Zero after the entire two seasons of UBW are done. Watching Zero between the seasons will still spoil you about some plot twists and other things (though they are fairly obvious and you can probably connect the dots).

      1. Its not really a second season, its just the second half of the series. FZ had to split itself into 2 pieces as well.

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