I felt an almost electric excitement as I waited for the first episode of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. The overall story of Fate/Stay Night always had a stormy history. The visual novel is generally well-respected but it is long and it has never been officially licensed. Plus lets face it, the sex scenes while an allure to some don’t do the game any favors. That means the audience for the Visual Novel is restricted to a bit of a niche audience within a niche audience.
The original animated adaptation of Fate/Stay Night always had a mixed reputation. While it grew the fan base beyond the initial group of VN fans the production was flawed. While it is not utterly loathed like the Tsukihime anime it is always considered the inferior product. It tries to mash together all three plot lines of the game into one slightly misshapen chimera of a narrative. The lackluster and workman Studio Deen animation is nothing more than an additional anchor around its neck. Even their theatrical adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works path came of as a rushed clip show. So it seemed Shiro’s adventure was doomed to be one of Type-Moon’s most famous stories with nothing but mediocre animation.
Then the Fate/Zero anime came to town. Ufotable’s has proven itself with their version of Kara no Kyoukai so when they were chosen to produce the Fate/Zero anime over Studio Deen there was much rejoicing. The Fate franchise would finally get the treatment it deserved even if it were just for the prequel. Fate/Zero brought in a renewed interest in the franchise as well reinvigorated the long time fans dreams of getting the animated version they so desperately wanted. So when the Fate/Stay Night remake was announced it was as a time of celebration. Fans wondered what paths would and would not be produced. What format would the story be in? Kara no Kyoukai was a series of movies and Fate/Zero was a TV series. As it turns out the 2nd path of the game, Unlimited Blade Works, would become a TV series while Heaven’s Feel would get the cinematic treatment. Despite some grumbling the overall feel was positive. The dream was real.
Personally I can honestly say I myself have been hit with an intense case of the feels. Unlimited Blade Works is my favorite path in the game. We see Shiro make some real progress as a character, we get Archer’s full story, the story has some of the most iconic fights in the game, and it is the only path where Saber has an actual happy ending if you play your cards right. While most people were looking forward to this being adapted I have a special level of interest in this part so the intensity of my feelings are a bit stronger. This version has a lot of expectations to live up to but if anyone can jump a hurdle that high it is Ufotable.
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