Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works – Sunny Day Extra

hisui_icon_4040 Minor miracles do occur every day. Legend of the Galactic HeroesThe 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.

– Alain

Previous Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works posts:

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

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6 thoughts on “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works – Sunny Day Extra

  1. Mary says:

    “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”

    Is it like that? You put my mind at ease because I had thought it was the typical crappy male harem ending. I read the visual novel and always thought it was the other way around.
    My reasoning was: if Rin had set saber free or given her back to Shirou, Rin would have had to have sex with Saber out of necessity to give her mana (as there would be no master- servant relationship that would be the only way). Now, since saber and Rin maintained their pact Rin has no need to have sex with her (as she supplies mana constantly thanks to her immense magical knowledge) and it would be Shirou that comes to be in a enviable position as his “seed” would be needed to maintain the girls (either through Rin or directly to saber if that wasn’t enough).

    I like your train thought way more than more =P

    • reversethieves says:

      Well, Fate/Extra and Prisma Illya (and Tsukihime) make it clear that two women can transfer mana through sexual congress as well as a male & female pair. Also, I always felt like Unlimited Blade Works was partially an attempt to return Rin partially to her place as the heroine of the series like she was in the extremely early planning stages of the game.

      But let’s be honest. Rin is Rin. She is going to be the boss in that relationship if you stay true to who she is. Rin can be passive and demure but that is hardly her default or preferred mode of being. Large and in charge as the BOSS is her normal way of living. Shiro might occasionally be in charge but he is clearly the Vice President to Rin’s Commander-in-chief.

      Also, Rin is canonically bisexual although she leans towards heterosexual … because let us be honest it is still an eroge for guys. All of that gives me a good groundwork for my interpretation. It could easily be seen as Shiro getting his cake and still being able to eat it as well considering it is an eroge but this version is quite possible as well.

      If anything a little trinity where Rin and Shiro both “do their best” to keep Saber in this world in probably closest to what would happen.

      Ayaka Sajyou may no longer be the heroine of Fate/Stay Night but she is not forgotten.

      – Alain

      • Mary says:

        Thank you for your answer!

        “But let’s be honest. Rin is Rin. She is going to be the boss in that relationship if you stay true to who she is. Rin can be passive and demure but that is hardly her default or preferred mode of being. Large and in charge as the BOSS is her normal way of living. Shiro might occasionally be in charge but he is clearly the Vice President to Rin’s Commander-in-chief”

        I do think Rin is gonna decide everything but I’m not sure it’s mainly because she’s bossy (she’s always struck me as a reasonable girl once you give her valid arguments)
        I’d say that if Shirou really really wanted an equal relationship and fought for it he could obtain it (Rin wants to keep him after all and she always talks about the equal exchange and stuff like that. She always wants to win but that’s different from not letting Shirou decide stuff)
        In my opinion, the reason for her to make every choice has more to do with Shirou’s personality (or rather lack of it). Whenever she asks him if he wants to do something he replies something like “whatever you want to do is fine”. He has no wants and lets others take advantage of him in unimaginable ways. Do you remember the first episode?
        Shirou went to talk to Shinji because he thought he had beaten Sakura. Not only does he believe him immediately when he denies it but the rest of the conversation was just beyond this world. Something like this (the words are not exactly correcy, it’s just what I remember):

        Shinji: Now that we cleared that, go and spend the evening cleaning the archery club. I have to do it myself but I’ll be busy having fun with these girls.
        Shirou: Of course, don’t worry about it.
        Shinji: Hahaha you really are a sucker (the girls were saying things like wow, he’s really stupid). And Shirou was smiling while they told him that …

        This is Shirou’s future without Rin (getting fooled again and again and his reward is an eternity living in what he’ll judge to be hell)

        Considering Rin knows this it would be very selfish of her to let him decide stuff :D

        “If anything a little trinity where Rin and Shiro both “do their best” to keep Saber in this world in probably closest to what would happen”

        I think in the end it all depends on what Rin wants (as you suggested)
        Shirou wouldn’t oppose her but it is also true Rin takes Shirou’s feelings into account.
        My thoughts are: in the true ending Shirou is 100% devoted to Rin and just Rin. If saber had stayed I have a hard time thinking Rin would have done anything sexual to saber considering Shirou’s feelings.
        In the good ending Shirou loves Rin and likes saber. Now, this changes everything. I can imagine Rin taking the opportunity to say something like: you like her and I like her too.
        Of course this is open to interpretation. The ending is so open that it isn’t far-fetched to think Shirou and Rin remain a couple either. It would have been nice if Rin had said something less ambiguous. It’s like Nasu is telling us: turn this into your happy ending.

        But somehow the anime made me think it’s just Rin X Shirou. Nasu said the anime is “Rin and Shirou in a relationship and saber watching over them”.
        Well, the anime makes sure to turn Rin pretty much heterosexual (she was supposed to adore saber in the prologue and nothing was said, just a “it’s the saber”; in the date Rin is supposed to at least pay a decent amount of attention to saber but in the anime she focuses on Shirou; in the good ending Rin should have pulled saber’s hand, not Shirou’s”)
        It’s the same with saber. In the VN she’s telling Shirou I stayed for you while in front of her master Rin (talk about awkward). The anime version “I stayed to watch over you two” seems much better (although they should have changed how she vanishes in the true ending as well. Saying “I am happy knowing Shirou has you” as her last words is certainly not something they should have kept from the VN. “I’m glad you have each other” would have felt more natural).

        Maybe I’m wrong but all these (and more) unnecessary changes from the VN make it seem the anime producers are trying really hard to tell us it’s just Rin X Shirou in this new version.
        Otherwise, why change it in the first place? They’re not against bisexuality or otherwise caster woudn’t have touched saber’s butt that way (I don’t remember caster touching it in the VN, I think that’s new)
        But maybe it’s just my imagination ^^

        As for what my favourite endings would be:

        1. Good ending with Rin X Shirou (Rin gets 2 servants and gets to live as a queen)

        2. Good ending with Rin X Saber (Rin gives up on Shirou and lets him go and become archer). I know it’s mostly headcanon (it’s difficult to imagine Rin being so heartless) but it’s a good way to have a fully fledged relationship between them.

        3. True ending: It could be number 2 if it wasn’t for the last scene before the credits. I really wanted to punch Shirou when he more or less says: Thank you for everything. It was nice knowing you but very soon I’ll abandon you to become a hero. Rin following him shows true love/compromise (something Shirou seemed to lose somewhere)

        4. Good ending threesome. I hate threesomes. They’re impersonal and don’t let relationships grow. You can argue it could be Rin doing Saber in the afternoon and Shirou at night but these things can’t be hidden when the 2 people you’re doing happen to be living together.
        I do believe there’s no need to have sex with saber because of the link.
        Let’s imagine Rin says: “Shirou, let’s make love to supply saber with prana. There’s no need to but I’ll do the same with saber later.”
        Considering saber ships Shirou and Rin and the fact that Shirou loves and trusts Rin I feel like they may accept it, but it’s not what they’d like and it should give birth to many unconfortable situations. If Rin becomes an utter despot Shirou and saber and bound to join arms against her at some point.
        To me it would be similar to Shirou telling Rin he’d like to inject the prana into saber the direct way as well: “Rin, after we’re finished I’ll have some alone time with Saber. I want to give her my prana directly too”. Even if Rin were to allow it I’m sure such betrayal and unnecessary selfishness would hurt her deeply.

        Sorry for the super long reply…

  2. Vegeto says:

    @ Alain; Mary

    Your conversation regarding who has better conditions in the mana transfer is unnecesary as there is no mana transfer through sex in the anime.
    Nasu said the anime occurs in a different universe with different laws. Mana transfer, as shown in episode 20, doesn’t happen through sex. You guys can’t take things from the Nasuverse cause it doesn’t apply to this universe. This universe uses Realta Nua method.

    You can’t assume Rin is even bi-curious either as you can’t take anything from other routes given this is a completely different universe and other routes would happen in a different way as well.

    Nasu said that in the anime the ones in a relationship are Rin and Shirou. The only thing I agree with your conversation is Mary saying the anime shows Rin is straight here. She is 100% focused on Shirou as a love partner. Then again, you can’t take any info from other routes cause this is a different universe with different rules and even the characters are different. In other routes there would be no mana transfer through sex and given Rin’s behaviour in the anime it is shown she’s clearly straight.
    Nasu also said the anime changes were relevant and that actions speak. Now, let’s see those changes just on the 7 minute (without credits) OVA.

    1. In the VN when talking about the mana transfer all 3 of them are together. Shirou asks what his mana boost will be like and Saber says she wants to know as well. Rin blushes a lot.

    In the anime this is a private conversation between Shirou and Rin. Saber just stands 20 meters away looking into blank space.
    How do I interpret this?: They’re having a private conversation and Saber knows that. Them being together means it’s just the 2 of them in love related matters. Saber is an outsider there, and waits for them to finish.

    2. In the VN Rin gets mad cause Saber says she’s staying just for him and Shirou and Saber start flirting.

    In this universe the ones in a relationship (as stated by Nasu) are Shirou and Rin, so they don’t show that scene.

    3. In the VN Rin pulls saber (last CG). In the anime she grabs Shirou’s arm with both her arms, pulling him with one arm afterwards. Again, this shows Rin and Shirou are the happy couple and removes possible doubts.

    As Nasu said, the changes are relevant and in the anime the ones in a relationship are Rin and Shirou.
    In the VN Shirou could be just with Rin or with saber and Rin. It’s an eroge, and considering he doesn’t feel any guilt from cheating on Sakura with Rider in Fate Hollow (Rider eclipse scene) and the saber eclipse scene it wouldn’t surprise me too much if it were Shirou’s harem in UBW good ending.

    In case you guys haven’t read it, in Fate Hollow (the sequel to the VN) through the eclipse scenes we are shown Rider is doing Shirou in Heaven’s Feel ending. In the game saber comes from UBW good ending. Her eclipse scene is her going inside the bathroom while Shirou is bathing. Shirou tells her to wait but she tells him not to wrorry, she undresses and bathes with him. After a while Shirou gets turned on and he says he’s unable to resist his instincts, so they have sex. Saber was very happy Shirou would allow her to make love to him.

    • Vegeto says:

      Apparently there isn’t an edit option. I just wanted to clarify my point number 1.
      When I said that in the VN Saber wants to know how Shirou will give his boost and Rin blushes it still doesn’t have to be Shirou X Saber. Shirou and Rin being a loyal couple and saber a very close friend can still happen in the VN.

  3. vegeto says:

    And one more thing, Rin doesn’t have to do anything to saber in the VN. She is in the same situation as Sakura-Rider in Heaven’s Feel true ending and they don’t have sex.

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