Unlimited Blade Works

Well, the movie is finally subtitled in English and I watched it.

There were some plot inconsistencies due to the cuts they had to make given the movie time allowed, but generally it brought out the strongest aspects of UBW. Which was? The action and fight scenes. Some of the emotional character development in the VN got dropped due to simply not having the right framework to communicate these emotions and character developments to the audience. The plot was generally clear, however. But the action is so fast that often there is no time to think about a scene and thus truly comprehend it. Without truly comprehending what each character was feeling and thinking at a particular time, there is less impact in a dramatic sense.

I already read the VN and I’ve watched FSN the anime as well as the tv remake they did that shortened it and made the action more entertaining, so not much in the movie surprised me. I cannot testify as to the dramatic impact of the movie on an originally new audience. Maybe I’ll go around and see what others have to say, that didn’t read the VN, about the movie’s most impactful or insightful bits.

In terms of action scenes it is very fast and exciting. The animation is well drawn and still holds true to the VN computer graphics in general artistic style. Colors are blurred into auras and each aura focuses in at the point of the impact between the fighters. The sword fighting is more colorful than Sword of the Stranger (Stranger -Mukou Hadan-) but slower, utilizing sword slashes which allows the audience to focus in on the strikes rather than emphasizing on blind speed. Given the changes, it really makes Shiro look much more heroic than Fate Stay Night anime heh. Funny how that turned out.

Oh, btw, the bedroom scene between Tohsaka Rin and Shiro was something I knew was going to be funny given what they did in FSN. Especially at the end when she got angry and I knew why she got angry but it wasn’t for the reason stated in the movie. Kind of an easter egg there.

There are tons of worthy villains here to eliminate. And they get eliminated often in the 3 main arcs of FSN. This arc is called Unlimited Blade Works. The anime that came before it was Fate, which focused on Saber’s history. This one should have focused on Tohsaka Rin’s history but…. well, that was part of the character development that got cut. Instead of her history, you see a few flashbacks but primarily the movie is going to be hinged upon Shirou, actually, and Archer’s relationship with Rin.

That covers animation. On to story quality and character development.

The story is sourced directly from the original source. Sort of like how movies in the US are sourced from novels like Lord of the Rings. As a story it is top notch, but it is only one third of the story. The other two thirds are not told in UBW movie. This can leave a rather negative impression. Spoilers on what was missing later on.

Character development wise, it was a lot better than Fate SN tv. The reason why it is better is because UBW was a story almost designed for an action movie. A lot of the plot movement is in action scenes where something is actually happening. This is as opposed to the slower, more somber, pacing of Fate.

Fate: Stay Night is a story that is split into 3 parts. Coincidentally, the character development is also split into three parts. You won’t know the full story of Sakura or Shinji until Heaven’s Feel. And Tohsaka Rin’s story was presented in UBW. Saber’s development was in Fate. There’s some more development for Saber in UBW, but the primary focus isn’t on her. And it helps a lot if you already know Saber, when watching UBW.

Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven’s Feel.

Spoilers

Okay this is for people who have seen the movie, but want to know all the goodies that were left out which would make the movie more complete or logical. Here we go.

There is a time gap of a day or two missing between the initial action scenes. School, Ryudou temple fighting Caster, back home fighting Caster, and so forth. The shift between Shinji and fighting dragon’s teeth in the school, that was pretty jarring. Because the threat analysis was left out. The Blood Fort became activated when they came to school on another day. And the Fort was designed to melt the flesh off living beings and convert it to mana. All those bodies laying around should have been dissolving. Which is a special horror for the Japanese due to their emphasis on “face” or appearances. It’s horrible for a girl to be scarred in the face, for example, in such a society. And this was happening to everybody. That is why Tohsaka Rin became upset. A slightly more full context changes the drama there.

Another more major disconnect is near the end when Tohsaka Rin goes and saves her would be rapist, Shinji. Tha makes no sense in the movie because they didn’t tell you her real motivation. Tohsaka Rin cares for Sakura in a very plot complex fashion. She saves Shinji because she doesn’t want Sakura to lose her brother.

They also completely wiped out Illya’s little ova scene with Berserker in the past. That was one of the great moments. Very dramatic and emotional. It enlightens the reader on what Illya and Berserker’s relationship really is. Helps set up the revelation later on about Illya and Shirou in Heaven’s Feel.

A small distortion was when Gilgamesh said Angrya Manyou, the Holy Grail, was a servant. Which is true in a sense. The Holy Grail is not really Holy, in case people hadn’t noticed that by the movie’s end. It’s too bad the movie went a little bit too fast and skipped all the motivation parts. The heroes fight for their Master because the hero has a wish they would like granted. It makes the whole Master/obedience/disobedience bit more interesting.

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