I just went to a showing of the The Tale of The Princess Kaguya in Manhattan with Vinnie, Ink, and Walter Amos after watching this episode. At our meal before the movie the topic of conversation inevitably turned towards the new anime season. Because I was involved we started to discuss Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. Ink was commenting that only a few episodes into the story the production already seemed far more involving the original Studio Deen adaptation. The superior animation and more delicate direction is surely a key factor but I think that this episode truly bring to light the most important difference. It is the focus. Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven’s Feel are all parts of the same game but they have very different themes. Or at least different answers to the question “What is a hero?”
This version takes care to just try to adapt Unlimited Blade Works with a laser focus. Everything that reinforces that theme from the story is played up and everything that detracts from that goal is dropped. At the same time it is informed of what came before it and what will come after letting all the key reveals be set up elegantly before the are unveiled. Even all the little elements that make it clear that this was the studio that made the Fate/Zero anime add to the story.
This may not be the Unlimited Blade Works the fans deserve but it is the version they need.