Minor miracles do occur every day. Legend of the Galactic Heroes, The Rose of Versailles, and Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure are all licensed for an English language release. Smile PreCure! is going to be on Netflix. (It is going to be called Glitter Force but I am talking about minor miracles. Smile PreCure! being licensed without significant changes would be in the category of major miracles.) I even got Artoria Pendragon and Attila on two accounts in Fate/Grand Order. (I don’t have a Tamamo no Mae but once again … MINOR miracles.) So it should not be completely shocking that the second Unlimited Blade Works has a Sunny Day OVA but it was hardly guaranteed to be on there either. Also it would have hardly been blindsiding if it were on the box set but then not subbed. I would not put it past Aniplex. I’m looking at you Einzbern Consultation Room. So another minor Type-Moon miracle occurred. But despite the odds the OVA was there and subtitled.
You can argue until your blue in the face if the changes Ufotable has made in adapting Unlimited Blade Works were a good idea. There are hundred page threads consisting of nothing but complaints about certain segments of the original visual novel being left out, comments that some of the new scenes are questionable additions, detailed screen caps showing times when there were animation mistakes, and pacing debates as varied as the color palette on a Full Ultra HD TV. But what you can’t say is that Ufotable did not go out of their way to try to make fans as happy as they could with this version of the story. When the animation is firing on all cylinders it is OVA quality, the story tries its best to stay as faithful as it can while adapting the narrative to a different medium, and there is a palpable respect for the original and its fandom in the end product. You can argue how well that was accomplished (I think it was very successful with a few minor and easily forgivable hiccups) but I think this Sunny Day extra is a real proof that Ufotable is going out of their way to give you the most authentic reproduction of playing the visual novel (or at least the Réalta Nua version) you can get in an anime from.
This is a short little OVA that basically sums up the Good Ending of Unlimited Blade Works as opposed to the Brilliant Years ending from the anime proper. While it is not the expanded story that the 25th episode of the TV series was for the original ending it is an acknowledgement that there was another valid ending. Because of that (and because of my preference for this ending) I would be remiss of me not to do a quick review of this unnecessary but greatly appreciated bit of fan service.
After Shiro awakes he discovers he passed out after his fight with Gilgamesh and the corrupted Holy Grail. He is overjoyed to see that Saber was able to stay materialized after the fight despite using Excalibur. The trio of Shiro, Saber, and Rin now face a world of possibility freed from the chains of grief that weighted them down during the conflict.
I admit my roommate an I started the OVA with a bit of bated breath. We were not sure that the episode was going to have subtitles. The fact that it took a minute and half for any dialog to occur does not seem that much of a wait but it can seem like an eternity when your on the edge of your seat. I think we both audibly let out a sigh on relief when Shiro finally started talking.
Past that point there is not that much story. It is mostly just a bow on the idea of happily ever after. Shiro is overjoyed to see Saber is still alive, Rin and Shiro have a conversation about the future, Saber confirms her contentment to live with Rin and Shiro. If you know anything about mana transfer in the Nasuverse then you know that Rin is in an extremely enviable position. It seems she will have to spend a good deal of time with both Shiro and Saber if she wants to keep Saber as a Servant.
There is a reason I call this the Pimp Daddy Rin Tohsaka ending. There is a reason that my Rin/Saber shipping roommate loves this ending as well.
The animation is fairly strong. In the end there is nothing particularly difficult going on here. It is mostly some talking heads with a bit of reused footage. Considering what was going on with God Eater anime at the time the fact that they were able to allocate anyone to work on this is a testament to their commitment to the Fate franchise.
In a way this ending did not really need a full episode conclusion. While Brilliant Years is hardly a tragic ending it is filled with a thick layer of melancholy. While Rin and Shiro are doing well together it is clear that the weight of the Holy Grail War still is a heavy burden on their shoulders. It needed some time to examine the complexity of Rin and Shiro’s relationship. It is clear that their future is full of potential it is just potential to either be equal measures of great and terrible and neither of those paths are mutually exclusive. It is even implied that Shiro could end up still being the broken man who becomes Archer. That dark future is not really a possibility in the bright future of Sunny Day.
You could have added some additional material. It would have been fun but it would have undercut the efficiency that is in the OVA. They are trying to tell a complete ending with less half of the time that you usually get for an episode. Thankfully they really hit all of the high points that get across mood of the ending while also successfully contrasting how this will be different than Brilliant Years. A Happily Ever After ending does not need as much expansion. You basically know how it goes with such a traditionally upbeat conclusion (until Fate/hollow ataraxia and Avenger comes along.)
I will be honest and admit one of the reasons I have always enjoyed this is ending is because it is the only path that gives Saber a happy ending. Fate and Brilliant Years give Saber a bit of closure but it is always the finale of a noble sacrifice. Both full endings of Heaven’s Feel end even more tragically for Saber without her even get something close to an emotional completion to her arc. It can easily be argued that the other endings have more emotional complexity to them. This is sort of the simplest path in how utterly cheerful and optimistic it is. But I don’t subscribe to the Key Games Studio philosophy of worshiping the beauty of the ending filled with tragedy. I have enjoyed many a sad ending filled with Pyrrhic victories or defeats. I would never be able to reliably watch sports anime if that were not the case. I just equally appreciate a well done ending filled with rainbows, puppies, and cupcakes.
Especially when said ending involves a happy blond monarchs.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #025 – All Good Things…
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #024 – Gilgamesh Gets Disarmed
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #023 – Duel at Ganryu Island Redux
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #022 – Under the Sea
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #021 – See the Title of the Post for Episode #1
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #020 – A New Meme is Born
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #019 – I Didn’t See Aigis or Metis Anywhere
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #018 – I Endorse this Ship
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #017 – Boot to the Head
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #016 – Another Spin
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #015 – When You Dream
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #014 – All in Good Time
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #013 – Break Your Heart
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #012 – The Empire Strikes Back
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #011 – The Silly Faces of Taiga Fujimura
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #010 – The Bushwhackers
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #009 – The Issei Strip Mahjong Game
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #008 – There’s a Shortage of Perfect Breasts in this World
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #007 – Curse Your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #006 – Shiro the Puppet
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #005 – The Silly Faces of Rin Tohsaka
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #004 – A Good Neighborhood Tiger
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #003 – Spoilers: Archer Uses a Bow
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #002 – Emiya Visits the Rip-Off Church
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #001 – People Almost Forgot Shiro is the Hero
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works #000 – Archer the Combat Butler