Fate / stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 12 (Fin)

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Wisely choosing to go with a near hour-long format for its final episode until April 2015, F/sn also finds the magic of its first two episodes, which were responsible for immersing us in this show to begin with. There’s a heroic, almost intimidating scope to the narrative and the emotions that accompany it, that makes this feel like a short but very meaty film rather than a mere episode of television. In short, F/sn outdid itself yet again.

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The adorable but unfazed Morning Rin brazenly asks Shirou out on a date, and while Saber tags along, she tells them to pretend she’s not there. They have coffee; they eat sweets; they try on glasses; they have a spirited go at the batting cages.

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They even have a picnic. It’s F/sn at its most domesticated and on its best behavior. But whether it’s Saber constantly eating or getting excited about eating or getting really into the baseball, or never really knowing 100% whether Rin is messing around with Shirou or sees him as a legitimate love interest (most likely both, I’d wager), this kind of Fate is also eminently charming and fun, even if there’s a foreboding feeling lurking just outside the frame.

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But these fun times only comprise a third of the sprawling episode. The idyllic bright sunny day darkens as we check in on Fuji-nee visiting Kiritsugu’s grave, and see that she’s being shadowed by a chick with familiar hair and lip color. Fuji-nee has shown that she’s got combat skills, so she should be fine…right?

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Shirou, Rin, and Saber’s lovely tripartite date comes to a violently rude close so suddenly, it comes as a gut punch, the first of many to come. Their bus is blasted into a bounded field…

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…and Caster appears, with her magic thread wound tightly round a freshly-caught Fuji-nee’s throat. Caster, never one to play by the rules of the Holy Grail War, seeks to end it quickly, and is intrigued by Shirou. If he swears fealty to her, she’ll free Fuji-nee. He refuses, so she makes a counter-offer: take his arm with its command seals.

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With the choice now his arm for Fuji-nee’s life, there is no choice to Shirou. Saber is less sure, and charges Caster. That’s when Shirou, in a panic and worried about Fuji-nee’s safety, inadvertently uses his final command seal to freeze Saber in her tracks. Caster takes full advantage, running her “Rule Breaker” dagger through her, which has the effect of transferring Saber from Shioru to Caster.

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This was…well, what can I say? It was a shock. A huge shock. Here were Shirou and the girls, having a harmless fun time on the town, and it ends with Shirou losing his servant and friend. This is Fate taking the gloves off, and showing no mercy to someone who has someone to lose (Fuji-nee) and who also has no idea what they’re doing.

Caster spares Shirou on a whim and sics Saber on Rin, but Shirou comes between them and takes the strike in his shoulder. Now Shirou is down a servant and bleeding out. Fortunately Archer breaks through and rescues him and Rin, but it’s tough to watch Saber being left behind.

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A surprisingly upbeat (perhaps putting up a strong front?) Rin patches Shirou up at her place, then showers and has a chat with her own servant Archer, a scene which hearkens back to their first encounter at her house in the first episode. Here, they discuss Archer’s past (and his possible tie to Saber), their priority (defeating Caster), and the status of her pact with Shirou, which she intends to honor, even though he’s no longer a Master, until he decides to leave the war for good.

Up in her room, Shirou stirs and finds the pendant Rin used to heal him from mortal wounds once before. The sight of it reminds him just how much he owes Rin, and his still-fresh wounds (no longer being quickly healed by Saber’s mana) remind him how powerless he presently is to repay his debts.

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As the good guys lick their wounds, Caster wastes no time, posting Assassin at the temple gate to protect her Master (opening his chest and rearranging his ribs as motivation), then sets her eyes on the church where Kirei hangs out.

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Even the stoic Kirei shows a bit of shock when Caster presents Saber from beneath her cloak (and gets all touchy, adding to Saber’s clear discomfort). Here, we first learn about a ‘lesser’ and ‘greater’ grail. The latter is summoned when one servant remains, but the former is something she believes can be acquired before that, and aims to beat Kirei into submission.

Kirei calls Caster by her former title, Princess of Colchis, intimates that her ‘soft heart’ is the reason she’s so keen to bring the war to a quick end. He gets pretty banged up in the ensuing battle, as Lancer hangs back, promising someone (his master) not to allow anyone to interfere.

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Speaking of interfering, Shirou goes after Rin, despite the fact he’s no longer a master and can do absolutely nothing except get in her way at this point. He finds her on a rooftop, where she tells him as much without mincing words. So much has happened, their date feels like ancient history. She leaps off the roof, knowing Archer will appear to catch her in midair, and before bounding off into the dense city lights, gives Shirou these parting words: “Stay out of this from now on, or you’re dead.”

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As much as Rin may be trying to cast (no pun intended) aside her emotions so she can focus on the pressing matter of winning the war, those words sound and feel just as much like Rin looking out for him than they are a threat. She can’t afford to have a Fuji-nee-like Achilles’ Heel, after all. But let’s get real: Shirou may be out of it now, but he obviously won’t be staying out of this. We’ll just have to wait three months to learn how he’ll claw his way back in. Three…long…months.

10_bravRABUJOI World Heritage List

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

10 thoughts on “Fate / stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 12 (Fin)”

  1. The song at the end that was played, this illusion, is the main theme of FSN. It was the OP song of the Visual Novel and was also remixed for the FSN 2006 anime. Man, I feel nostalgic.

  2. It’s been really fun following rabujoi’s coverage of FSN, since you’re one of the few blogs who have neither watched Fate/Zero nor have any prior knowledge of FSN. Lemme tell ya, it amuses me that this season has been getting such a high score, because ya haven’t even gotten to the really good stuff yet. It’ll probably be KLK all over again in Season 2, 10s across the board, lemme tell ya. It’s regretful that the cours had to be split, but there was no other way to maintain the budget.

    oigakkosan told me to inform of other Fate stuffs, and so I shall.

    If I say something won’t be answered in UBW, it’s because UBW is one of the three routes of the visual novel, and also serves as foreshadowing for the final route, Heaven’s Feel, AKA the Sakura route with also a lot of Illya. Do note that the main important reveal of UBW, Archer’s identity, has nothing to do with Zero. In fact, Zero won’t spoil anything of importance that couldn’t already be inferred or will be told easily and rapidly.

    Only watch Fate/Zero if you don’t mind answers or spoilers regarding the following.
    – the circumstances of the death of Rin’s father (not really brought up in UBW)
    – why Rin seems interested in Sakura (won’t be answered in UBW)
    – certain revelations about Kirei (won’t be brought up in UBW mostly)
    – who the blonde-haired guy is
    – what precisely is meant by Lesser Grail and Greater Grail, and its true nature
    – Saber’s identity
    – Kiritsugu’s past and the events that led up to the Great Fuyuki Fire
    – why Illya seeks vengeance upon Kiritsugu (probably won’t be answered in UBW)

    Aside from that, there’s a magical girl spinoff of the show called Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya. It’s fun and also sort of nerdy. Only watch if you don’t mind the following.
    – certain revelations regarding Illya (won’t be answered in UBW)
    – Saber’s identity
    – the appearance and abilities of the Assassin in the 4th Holy Grail War of Fate/Zero

    Furthermore, there’s a comedic spin-off focusing on FSN’s characters called Carnival Phantasm. Whole thing is on YouTube. Only watch if you don’t mind the following.
    – Mysterious blonde guy’s identity
    – sort of Saber’s identity; her title is given
    – characters from another Type-Moon franchise, Tsukihime, appearing, when you don’t know who they are

    In addition, if you feel like it, you can watch Studio Deen’s 2004 Fate route anime. I would recommend strongly against it. Be wary of the following.
    – Saber’s identity, as Saber is the primary focus of the route
    – certain character deaths from UBW are transplanted in to the anime for whatever reason, and will spoil accordingly
    – why Rin seems interested in Sakura (won’t be answered in UBW, stuff here is transplanted from the Heaven’s Feel route)
    – revelations regarding blonde haired guy, Kiritsugu, Kirei, why Illya seeks vengeance upon Kiritsugu (to an extent), Grail’s nature
    – horrible animation
    – horrible pacing
    – so much cut content
    – a Shirou that seems stupid as hell

    There is also Studio Deen’s 2010 UBW movie. It is the anime you are currently watching condensed in to two hours. For the love of all that is holy don’t watch it, because it will spoil everything for the second cour and do it poorly as well. You have my strong, strong, strong recommendation not to watch it until after second cour, so that you can laugh at it.

    Aside from that, all I can really do is recommend a work that takes place in the same fictional universe and is written by the same person and animated by the same people as this except with a movie budget. Kara no Kyoukai is a very artsy film series that is basically a love letter to what oigakkosan likes. No exposition, pieces coming together, non-linear storytelling, beautiful and artsy and symbolic and metaphorical. 10/10 would recommend for watching anytime.

    Oh, yeah, loved the finale. Anyone familiar with Greek mythology will be aware of who the Princess of Colchis is, why such an individual would have a dagger of betrayal, and would bristle at being called a witch. (or has read Percy Jackson lol)

    Something interesting to note is that Assassin both says in his fight with Saber that “he has no true name” and refers to himself here as “the person that you refer to as Kojirou”. Very much food for thought.

    Anyway, thank you so much for covering this, looking forward to see it again in three months. :D

      1. Oh, now that I think about it, watching Kara no Kyoukai would also be good for further insight in to this universe’s magi, the sort of expectations and legacy that Rin struggles with. (10/10 would recommend, super artsy and super cool)

        Thank you again for being so awesome with your reviews and whatnot, and I look forward to hearing oigakkosan’s thoughts as well!

        (Would this episode be retroactively added to 2014’s best episodes if it got in to the World Heritage List?)

    1. I would recommend not watching Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, or even Prisma Illya or Carnival Phantasm. They all casually reveal some important bits in UBW. There’s no reason to spoil Heaven’s Feel with F/Z. UBW might even throw in a HF revelation or two, given how they’ve been expanding everything.

      The only think I’d recommend is KNK. It’s a nice glimpse at this universe. The joke is that the Tsukihime anime never happened due to quality issues, but it might be worth it to knock off one bad series.

      After this second season is over, I would recommend burning through the DEEN series and then going to F/Z. That will give you an idea of how far this series has come. It was, originally, a visual novel that was forced to be an erotic game to get produced, after all.

      (Trivia Time: That is one reason Saber is a girl. The original protagonist was a girl, but that didn’t fit with the format, so Shirou and Saber had their genders flipped.)

      1. I actually watched Kara no Kyoukai many moons ago, before this blog came into existence. Now I remember what other ufotable I’d seen before UBW.
        I really need to watch that again now!

  3. I like how Rin causes Shirou to blush by giving him halfhearted teases, while Shirou causes Rin to blush by being earnest. It’s a nice contrast.

    1. If we’d ranked out top couples of 2014, this episode would have surely propelled Shirou x Rin higher up…even if things don’t end so well!

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