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.
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.
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!
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.
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!