Fate / stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 08

fsn81

This week gave us some interesting moments, great action, creepy Halloween-like golem design, and kept the exposition not-too-talky. It also shows us why High Schoolers and their total lack of judgement and common sense make terrible death sport contestants.

fsn82

The Summing Up: Emiya spars with Saber and is quickly improving. Unfortunately, he’s improving using techniques he’s learned from Archer, which does not exactly fly with Saber.

Then Emiya and Rin work out some issues over lunch at school, which is interrupted by Shinji re-starting his life-draining runes. Emiya summons Saber to grind all the small fry and he and Rin charge off to face Shinji. Meanwhile, Shinji is defeated by an unseen master, Rider is killed, and the field collapses before anyone in the school can be totally killed.

fsn83

The Good: Shirou’s sparring practice with Saber was not only fun to watch, but interesting as a plot development. I greatly appreciated that he went back to practicing (with a very Archer double-sword technique) after Saber left.

Rin’s mom/tsundere/frustrated girlfriend presentation may be painful for some, but it actually came off as believable to me. She’s clearly torn over liking Emiya, slowly gaining respect for his quickly improving skills, and deeply annoyed that Archer nearly ended him on Archer’s terms and not her own. Its a complicated emotional scenario, even from an adult perspective. So kudos for keeping it remotely together as a teenager.

fsn84

Killing Rider was also a good move. Sure, she was the blandest, least coherent of the stooges, but all the pretty combat in the world was going to wear out its welcome in an episode if the death-game didn’t truly get under way.

Bonus points awarded for how completely brutal her neck snap was — and that we only see the extent after the fight — since the fight itself was off-camera.

fsn85

The Not-So-Good: It was obvious that Shinji was pure, chaotic evil from the very beginning. From his ‘I’m so crazy I can’t contain my emotions’ Face, which I find especially annoying as an anime convention, to the fact that he beats his sister and antagonizes everyone around him. He’s clearly a worthless d-bag and the fact that Rin and Emiya both wrote him off as harmless makes no sense at all.

Not unless we had a scene where they’d both beat him to a pulp easily, to be lulled into a false sense of security.

fsn86

Furthermore, even if Shinji doesn’t have a familiar anymore, letting him run off scot-free makes no sense either. He’s a strategic liability, in addition to still being an attempted mass-murderer. In this context, Rin or Emiya would be within their emotional range to have killed him.

fsn87

The Verdict: it was a decent episode with a good balance of action and plot development. Letting Shinji go feels like padding and not revealing Caster’s master feels like padding but that’s a season long issue more than a fault of the individual episode.

I’m guessing Sakura is the other mage at school and Caster’s master. That would explain Shinji freaked the heck out when he was confronted in the chemistry lab. It would also explain why Caster’s played a little less-directly-vicious than she could have been with Emiya but maybe not.

Just Remember: I have not seen any of this franchise before, so no spoilers in the comments below, please!

9_ogk

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Fate / stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 08”

  1. “I’m guessing Sakura is the other mage at school and Caster’s master. That would explain Shinji freaked the heck out when he was confronted in the chemistry lab. ”

    Sakura was unconscious when the event happened. First, Shirou and Rin found her
    unconscious. The next scene was “someone” attacking Shinji and Rider. Shinji also asked the attacker “How are you able to move?”

    I don’t think Sakura is the other mage behind the attacks, unless She was “faking” her unconsciousness.

  2. Rin was off her game after agonizing the entire night over Archer almost murdering Shirou, so when Shinji revealed himself as a Master, she thoughtlessly dismissed him as a persistent annoyance as she’d always done before and instantly assumed the barrier was the work of the 4th Master. Her entire school almost dying because of her brainfart didn’t improve her mental state any, which is why she gets dragged around by Shirou for the rest of the episode. As for Shirou, he doesn’t want to kill anyone.

  3. I loved LOVED loved the double sword routine Shirou starts after Saber leaves the room! It’s so nice to see him actually take training seriously. You know, since he’s such a rush in and unthinking kind of guy otherwise!

  4. Rin was willing to mind wipe Shirou’s memory a couple of episodes ago (that’s the Bad End if you lose that fight). Yet Shinji is okay to go? Why not, at the very least, turn him over to an organization for threatening the secrecy of magic?

    I can’t recall what Rin knows at this point, but she might have wanted to avoid angering the Matou household. Magic is a political business. Or, perhaps, she’s trying to mimic Shirou’s ideals after being put off by Archer.

    Speaking of Rin, I wish we could have seen the argument where she used her Command Seal. It wouldn’t have worked with the pacing of this episode, but they might have been able to put it in at the end of the last one.

    Finally: Goodbye, Rider. We’ll see you again in Fate and Heaven’s Feel. As I’ve said before, none of the plots of FSN give the full shape of the story. This makes it somewhat sad when you know Rider’s motivations and potential, which are just as strong as any other servant. I was hoping they might give her a bigger sendoff (maybe even showing the fight) since both Saber and Berserker have been stronger in this adaptation. I guess they want to keep the suspense of the source material. Maybe we’ll see it in a flashback.

    If anything, that image of her neck spinning was more powerful than any fight could have been. Like the shot of Shirou’s empty eyes, it helps to paint this world as having a darker element we’re not privy to just yet.

  5. You know, I think you may be the only one covering this anime that is going spoiler free. It is really nice to read. I hope you are not getting too much casual spoilers elsewhere. Everyone else seems to have watched Fate/Zero (which is very spoilertastic for F/SN ).

    1. UBW’s Fridge Logic page on TV Tropes has a section where someone makes the case that F/Z mostly just spoils Fate and HF. The biggest twists of UBW can’t be found in the prequel.

      (Obviously don’t go there if you’re avoiding spoilers.)

      1. That is sorta true, but not totally. Yes, it is true the biggest twists of UBW are not spoiled in F/Z. However, it is not like Fate and HF are completely separated stories with different characters and different themes. F/Z severely alter how you look certain characters can really color your perception of many parts of the plot.

        Yes, it is not as bad in this particular route, but it is still not the same as going into the story fresh.

  6. Rider takes an arrow in the knee because Shinji and Rider arc is already done and UBW is written with assumption that audience already read Fate. They didn’t bother to do any adaptationing about that so Rider looks like yet another dead woman in the fridge in a product aimed primarily at teen boys.

    Also the spin me right round was too overdone and ridiculous.

  7. I’m seriously wondering, do you not find what Shirou said to be strange, or how he was portrayed to be abnormal in this episode, at all? I read the VN so I’m just wonder how people see this episode.

  8. Second your notion of Rin’s portrayal this week. It was nice to see her as the vulnerable one this time, with no Archer and only one command seal left — without her feeling like a damsel in distress.

    Her opinion of Shirou probably only improved this week, both as a a man and as a near-future opponent, as she sees how level-headed he seems, despite being surrounded by his unconscious, near-dead classmates (a sight she struggles with more, at least outwardly).

    It doesn’t hurt that the only other guy running around this week to compare Shirou with is the snivelling Shinji, who is a fine anime version of early Draco Malfoy if I’ve ever seen one.

    One thing I do like about Shinji is his seiyu Kamiya Hiroshi. He seems to chew scenery in most of his roles, but few chew it with more charisma.

Comments are closed.