So, here we are at the end. It’s been an insane bunch of episodes with alot of action and craziness. Now, after last episode where so much went down, how could this episode possibly follow up as the true conclusion to this series? Well, it does so, but in a very odd way.
It skips us two years ahead, to Shirou and Rin at the Clocktower in London. We see them both a bit older, we learn she went there after high school and, as her pupil, Shirou got to come along too. So, basically they are in magic college. I must say, I like th designs for older Shirou and Rin. While very subtle changes, it also feels really natural. Mostly they’re just going through classes and the usual routine until…
We meet Luvia (I’m not saying her full name because I’ve got better things to do in those 20 minutes). She goes in, is a bit too friendly with Shirou, and pisses Rin right the hell off. If you’re wondering who the hell she is, she’s a relatively minor character in the games and side materials, who’s most prominently in the Prisma Ilya series actually. Its a really fun cameo, especially as how she and Rin hate each other. So much they actually have a full on fighting match.
Unfortunately, wrestling has been passed down Luvia’s family for generations, and Rin loses the fight. It was very fun, and while they haven’t done much, I like the vibe we’re getting from Shirou and Rin. Rin feels, while more mature, still very tsundere and cute when doing so.
Its after this wonderful moment we reach some actual plot, namely on Shirou being offered to join the Mage’s association. Not sure what exactly he’d do, but it seems like a pretty cushy job and one of high prestige, but he’s unsure. While its a nice opportunity, there’s his dream of being a hero and all that. But he’s been keeping it in mind. The next day they go to a certain part of England for a very important reason.
I really like this. One thing really funny, while this grail war threatened the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, to the mage world as a whole its a small ritual, and not given that much notice. However, its nice that Shirou got a chance to give his respects, say goodbye to Saber, all of it. Honestly, this episode’s main focus seems to be showing Shirou and Rin together and it just works very well.
One slightly jarring thing they do next is a flashback to one month after the grail war, mostly to wrap up everything that went on there. Kuzuki is reported missing, the temple’s being rebuilt, but mostly things are going back to normal. Shinji’s recovering in the hospital, but here’s the thing…it doesn’t say if he’s actually changed at all after what happened. Its never said if he became a better person or seen what a scumbag he was..just Sakura feeding him apples. I like to think though that now he’s injured, she’s actually in control of things now and is keeping him in line.
One thing his flashback does show is more of the reason why Rin took Shirou with her, and a big part of their relationship. She knows Shirou’s fate, who he will become, but she also believes she can influence that fate, affect that destiny, by being there. She knows she can’t change the course of his life, but she’ll make it happier, and do whatever she can to make him and his life better.
We then skip ahead to the future and as Shirou’s walking…we meet a very familiar face.
Waver discusses with him about the grail war, seeing some similarities between them, both being young novices who rushed their way into something much bigger than themselves. He questions what Shirou wants, what he’s gained, and learns of Shirou’s wish. While he does say it is an idiotic dream, anyone who has seen Fate/Zero knows his real feelings on the dreams of idiots. It was very well placed and much appreciated.
So Shirou tells Rin he’s not going o join the mage’s Association, instead going on his own path to become a hero. She understands, and says that after she is don with her education, she’ll travel with him, see the world, be at his side as they go on. While she knows their paths will likely part, she’s not letting that get in the way of the time they have now. She takes his hand, and it ends with the two of them together. And after the credits, we see a new Archer, that, while with regrets, still believing in the ideals he followed, and an older Shirou smiling as he wanders on his path to be a hero.
My thoughts on the episode. While the previous episode finished alot of the plot points, this felt like a satisfying conclusion to the story. It gave us what we needed, and it helped bulk up its run time with things that, while not necessary, were fun and by no means boring filler. It was a different note than I thought it would end on, but I find it very satisfying in terms of the characters and the story.
I loved UBW, from episode 0 to 25. It had alot of amazing things going for it; great action, stellar animation, some great characters and plot twists, all very entertaining and fun. I liked Shirou far more than I thought I would, and there wasn’t a single character I thought was boring or dull, I was engaged the whole way through. It gave wonderful dramatic moments, funny moments, and explored its themes in alot of detail and gave the story alot of weight and gravitas.
As for the downsides, these are things that are issues, but not ones this series could ever solve. As an adaptation of a route for a visual novel, there’s certain plot elements and characters that get shafted. In Fate/Stay night, each route has vital information or character exploration the other’s don’t, so you need to play all three routes to get the full story. This would be especially jarring for anyone watching this series after Fate/Zero, which was made as a prequel to all three roués and hues set up plot points for all three of them. I will say however, that UBW is the most complete out of the three, using the most amount of characters to their full potential. But things like..Gil talking with Sakura in episode 0 and Sakura’s whole story is never touched on, characters like Kirei and Rider are killed off quickly and with little of the characterization the other characters got, etc. These aren’t the anime’s fault, its just a simple fact of how the routes were designed. It still gives a satisfactory story and those plot points might be far less noticeable for those who don’t notice. However, since I do notice, it does make the anime slightly.incomplete. But luckily, the movie will get all of my HF feels so that’ll be awesome.
Overall, I give this show a 9.5/10. Its fantastically done, beautiful and amazing, and the only real complaint I have is something that those working on the anime could not have fixed in adaptation since its an issue with the source material If they had veered off, this could have ended up in studio Deen territory and noone wants that. If you are interested in Fate, or in action, or good stories, you should watch it. Its easily one of the best anime I’ve seen since..well, Fate/Zero and it meets and even exceeds most expectations.
Midnight’s final thoughts
As Savage said, a lot of my issues with this anime aren’t exactly the anime’s fault. It’s the case of they decided to adapt one route and stick with it, so many characters ended up shafted. However, this anime did do a lot for the franchise after the disaster that was the Deen anime. I do have to say however, in the second half of the series in particular the pacing of the storytelling got a little wonky.
The Archer fight taking three episodes was a little unnecessary. I get that they needed to fill an episode quota, but you could of spent it somewhere else. I mean, you spent half an episode creating a backstory for Medea’s previous master before Kuzuki. Someone who, up until now has only been vaguely mentioned in other materials. I feel as if they could of done some things like that for others. On that note, if we get the fan-service bone of seeing Luvia in the final episode, what was keeping them from giving us even a glimpse of Bazett as Lancer died?
All of that being said, this adaptation was still beautiful from start to finish. The animation in particular was always stellar, I was watching the final episode with people who live in London and they were commenting on how accurate everything was. Even at the end, it was well researched and animated. I’ve read that people think that certain backgrounds, [-cough- the blade works -cough-] were overused and got rather dull after a bit. I would have to strongly disagree with that. I enjoyed every artistic choice they made.
While I have yet to get the honor of playing the Visual Novels, I spent much of this anime watching it with people who did play it. As they would point out minor differences here and there. I never heard any major complaints from them.
Overall? I’d give Unlimited Blade Works a 9/10, the pacing issues did drag it down at some points and especially during the build up to the Archer fight all I could think was “Get on with it already!”, because as I said in my reviews back then. Let’s be honest with ourselves what we were here for from the beginning was the beautifully animated fight scenes! I still also would of liked my Good ending compared to the true, so I could have my threesome.
BUT THEN I WOULDN’T OF GOTTEN LORD EL-MOLLEI II! I’m totally one of those four people that would of rioted if he wasn’t in the episode. I loved the throw back, I loved the conversation.
I am hoping for an anime adaptation of the El-Mollei files or Fate/Strange Fake so badly. However, for now we have HF to look forward too in the future. If you watched the episode on Crunchyroll you may not of seen that the episode ended with a trailer for Heavens Feel. Unfortunately, no new animation nor a release date were given.
Soon! Also, Ufotable, Fate route plz. Then nobody has to watch Deen ever. I’m begging of you, think of the children…