Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 24 – 「武器の貯蔵は充分か」

-I am the bone of my sword-
体は剣で出来ている。
-Steel is my body and fire is my blood-
血潮は鉄で心は硝子。
‑I have cre­at­ed over a thou­sand blades-
幾たびの戦場を越えて不敗。
-Unaware of Loss-
ただの一度の敗走もなく、
-Nor aware of Gain-
ただの一度の勝利もなし。
‑With­stood pain to cre­ate weapons, wait­ing for one’s arrival-
担い手はここに孤り 剣の丘で鉄を鍛つ。
‑I have no regrets. This is the only path-
ならば、わが生涯に意味は不要ず
-My whole life was UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS-
この体は、無限の剣で出来ていた。

We’ve arrived at the “final” episode of Unlim­it­ed Blade Works, and thus, the real bat­tle begins. Two own­ers, two “one-trick ponies”, one Fak­er. Was it able to sat­is­fy me as a read­er of the orig­i­nal visu­al nov­el? Find out after the jump.

Let's go, King of Heroes

Do you have enough weapons in stock?

Oh boy, I did­n’t think Ufotable would be able to do this final bat­tle jus­tice, but holy crap did they man­age to do that and more. It’s not exact­ly like the visu­al nov­el, but that’s the visu­al nov­el. In terms of the ani­mat­ed medi­um, I’d say it serves its job suf­f­i­cent­ly as an ani­mat­ed equiv­a­lent.

Espe­cial­ly com­pared to the pre­vi­ous adap­ta­tion of UBW by DEEN. Emiya Shi­rou actu­al­ly using his rain of swords? Gil­gamesh actu­al­ly using his Gate of Baby­lon? Shi­rou actu­al­ly cor­ner­ing Gil­gamesh into melee com­bat by shooting/pulling out dif­fer­ent weapons one by one and can­cel­ing his gate instead of using Cal­iburn the whole time? (Seri­ous­ly, what the hell, DEEN?)

And to top it off, a baller remix of EMIYA being played as it should:

Since the episode’s air­ing, I’ve seen sec­on­daries, Zero­tards, and the like hav­ing failed to pay atten­tion to pre­vi­ous episodes and call­ing Shi­rou’s vic­to­ry over Gil­gamesh bull­shit. This blows my mind, because oth­er than the fact that Shi­rou out­right explains why he can match Gilagmesh dur­ing the curb­stomp, it’s been estab­lished in pre­vi­ous episodes and scenes that:

1) Hero­ic Spir­it EMIYA’s Unlim­it­ed Blade Works con­tains all the weapons (name­ly swords), he’s seen in his entire life. When this Real­i­ty Mar­ble is deployed, EMIYA is able to call forth any of the blades that exists in his world with no mana cost (deploy­ing the Real­i­ty Mar­ble costs mana, using the weapons in it does­n’t).

2) Emiya Shi­rou, who is the younger ver­sion of this Hero­ic Spir­it, absorbed the com­bat expe­ri­ence of EMIYA (a.k.a. Ser­vant Archer) dur­ing their clash of ideals at Illya’s cas­tle.

3) Heck, even before that, Shi­rou was gain­ing expe­ri­ence just by being in Ser­vant Archer’s pres­ence for a pro­longed amount of time and copy­ing his fight­ing style, which obvi­ous­ly worked for him since it’s Emiya Shi­rou’s opti­mal fight­ing style. Shi­rou’s fight­ing pro­gres­sion in the Unlim­it­ed Blade Works route is basi­cal­ly an exam­ple of “what hap­pens if you touch your­self too much”…er, I mean “learn too much about your future.”

4) Gil­gamesh is an arro­gant SOB who is choosy with who he uses his best weapons against. Both in Fate/stay night and his actu­al epic. He feels that the moment he takes a mon­grel like Shi­rou seri­ous­ly is when he actu­al­ly los­es. He has used Ea on Enkidu (well, accord­ing to the epic, any­way), Alexan­der the fuck­ing Great, and the Holy Grail itself. Do you think he’d want to add a high school kid to Ea’s list of kills? He does­n’t even fuck­ing wear his armor pre­cise­ly because of this arro­gance — why would one need to wear armor when swat­ting a mere insect? He’s even like this in Fate/Zero, where he gets pis­sy when his great­est trea­sures get dirt­ied.

5) Gil­gamesh of the Nasu­verse is mere­ly a king, and not a true war­rior. He owns over a thou­sand Noble Phan­tasms but he’s the mas­ter of none of them and rarely ever goes into close-com­bat melee with just one. Against Shi­rou, who has sim­i­lar abil­i­ties and is a fak­er who not only owns an infi­nite amount of weapons, but is able to trace their his­to­ry and fight­ing style as well as hav­ing expe­ri­ence in close-quar­ters melee com­bat, who do you think has an advan­tage? Espe­cial­ly in the Real­i­ty Mar­ble, Unlim­it­ed Blade Works?

Using his own strengths and his ene­my’s inher­ent char­ac­ter flaw, Shi­rou A.K.A. ALTERNATE YOUNG NON-SERVANT ARCHER is able to take Gilagmesh down. The Nasu­verse isn’t some giant pow­er lev­el scale where A is greater than B, C is greater than D, etc. A magus like Shi­rou can eas­i­ly take down Ser­vants if the cir­cum­stances are right. Like Tohsa­ka almost punch­ing a hole through Cast­er because she’s a squishy mage. We even clear­ly see that in the event that a Shi­rou becomes an Archer, even with shit­ty Ser­vant stats, he can be a seri­ous threat using his tac­tics alone.

It’s sad that a lot of peo­ple always need to have this infor­ma­tion spoon-fed to them, when Ufotable actu­al­ly does a good job mak­ing the facts obvi­ous using visu­al cues in place of the visu­al nov­el­’s nar­ra­tive text. Between these extreme­ly dense crit­ics and a cer­tain ANN review­er, who to the very end kept mis­con­stru­ing the themes of the ani­me and Shi­rou’s ideals (even imply­ing that the fuck­ing Urobutch­er is a fem­i­nist and that Fate/Zero is a fem­i­nist work), I don’t know which batch of ani­me fans makes me more ashamed to be asso­ci­at­ed with ani­me.

In fact, maybe Gil­gamesh was right. We’re beyond sav­ing.

Thanks Archer

Note of ambi­gu­i­ty: Either it’s the same as what Nasu claims to have hap­pened in the VN (Archer being the one to project Rho Aias while Shi­rou is deploy­ing Unlim­it­ed Blade Works) or Shi­rou man­aged to “see” Rho Aias in Archer’s Unlim­it­ed Blade Works and/or mem­o­ries.

RHO AIAS

Either way, he knows how to use it now from his future self, who prob­a­bly learned it from Ajax dur­ing one of his Counter Guardian mis­sions.

(Not gonna lie, I became the bone of my sword when he uses it dur­ing his sword-toss­ing with Gil­gamesh.)

lol Fuck you King of Heroes

(Can you say, kar­ma for killing Liz?)

God dammit Nasu

I-…uh, I don’t remem­ber this Holy Grail mon­ster being in the visu­al nov­el. Is this sup­posed to be anoth­er form of Avenger or some­thing?

Either way, it reminds me of some­thing straight out of Dark Souls. See­ing how obsessed Nasu is with From­Soft­ware games, I would­n’t be sur­prised if this addi­tion was his lit­tle idea.

Right in the nads

Right in the nads

Some­thing else that peo­ple are call­ing bull­shit for: Archer still being alive.

Ugh, time to hold more hands.

1) Inde­pen­dent Action. Shi­rou is already a per­sis­tent lit­tle moth­er, guess what hap­pens when he gets Archer class skills?
2) If you look close­ly at Archer’s “death scene” in episode 22, all but one of Gil­gamesh’s trea­sures miss­es Archer, leav­ing his core intact. Appar­ent­ly the King of Heroes has shit­ty aim.

It’s still a deus ex machi­na since Ser­vants should be able to sense oth­er Ser­vants even when they’re dema­te­ri­al­ized, but it isn’t THAT bad, and it ends up giv­ing a more con­clu­sive end to Archer’s char­ac­ter arc as opposed to him just dying at Illya’s cas­tle.

HYPE HYPE HYPE

(Sword of Promised Vic­to­ry” vio­lin verse plays)

At that moment, I came in my pants.

(main cho­rus kicks in)

Excalibur!

EXCALIBUR
約束された勝利の剣!

(Got to wait for the Blu-ray ver­sion for prop­er light­ing, but here ya go…)

Bye Seibah

Ufotable: So long Saber, sor­ry for not ani­mat­ing the Fate route, ever.

It’s to note that in the visu­al nov­el, if you have enough Saber flags, she sees Archer/Shirou (“the red knight who orig­i­nal­ly made a con­tract with her, return­ing to ful­fill his role”… that or she sees Rin, it might be a mis­trans­la­tion) and decides to remain in that world, grant­i­ng you a dif­fer­ent end­ing where she sur­vives. As I said in my review of the visu­al nov­el, it feels kind of forced and you get denied from extra clo­sure for Archer (his after­word in the epi­logue). It’s great for Saber fan­boys though (name­ly, Takeuchi Takashi).

But yeah, she stayed for the GARcher (or Rin’s anus)…

DEEN plothole spotted!

I think I just spot­ted a plot­hole in DEEN’s ver­sion of the Unlim­it­ed Blade Works route which I actu­al­ly nev­er noticed until now. The moment Saber destroys the Holy Grail (again), Shi­rou’s Real­i­ty Mar­ble should have shat­tered (the mag­ic crest dis­ap­pear­ing). But in the DEEN movie, the mag­ic crest sig­ni­fied Saber’s death and because of this, Shi­rou goes bat­shit insane on Gil­gamesh with Cal­iburn in the mid­dle of their fight with­in UBW… Dammit DEEN.

Just die, Gil

Gil­gamesh remains arro­gant to the bit­ter end. Even with Angra Mainyu des­per­ate­ly try­ing to turn Gil­gamesh into its core (note: it can’t, but again, it’s des­per­ate), he’s not tak­ing Shi­rou with him. He’s using Shi­rou as an anchor to save him­self from death.

Not sur­pris­ing, since even being drowned in All The World’s Evils at the end of Fate/Zero did­n’t twist his per­son­al­i­ty much like it would have done to oth­er Ser­vants.

Move to the right

Move to the right.”

BOOM! Headshot

Shi­rou kill­steals Shi­rou

It’s ter­ri­bly amus­ing see­ing Shi­rou call him­self a show-off.

Aniplex continues to suck, and Rin continues to be cute

To the bit­ter end, Ani­plex sub­ti­tles man­aged to remained shit­ty. Rin did­n’t fin­ish her sen­tences because she can’t bring her­self to say it. It’s part of her char­ac­ter, how she’s not actu­al­ly as deci­sive as she lets on and can’t think of the right things to say to the peo­ple she cares about when it real­ly counts. Because her words aren’t some­thing that can fix Archer Shi­rou’s sit­u­a­tion and she knows that.

It should be “No mat­ter how much time pass­es, you won’t be…

I know I’m prob­a­bly being a gigan­tic ass about this, but pro­vid­ing shit­subs like this does make the view­er lose out on char­ac­ter details and par­al­lels no mat­ter how lit­tle they may be.

Same thing with sub­bing the Unlim­it­ed Blade Works chant with Shi­rou’s Japan­ese aria in this episode — it would­n’t have been that bad if they had used it the entire show, but for the major­i­ty of time, the only ver­sion Ani­plex used for both Archer and Shi­rou is the Eng­lish “I am the bone of my sword” one, even when it’s sup­posed to be the Japan­ese one. You don’t see the par­al­lel between Shi­rou and Archer Shi­rou’s poems because you nev­er see Archer’s full Japan­ese chant nor Shi­rou’s full Eng­lish chant with­in the sub­ti­tles.

Don't worry, Tohsaka. I'll do my best from now on too

This was the moment I was wait­ing for! Archer’s send-off, and him return­ing to his old hair­style. Per­haps Super­man wear­ing glass­es was­n’t so far­fetched after all. His hair being slicked back threw every­one off, tan and whitened hair from mage­craft aside. The moment he lays off the gel, you can tell that he’s def­i­nite­ly Shi­rou.

I like how Ufotable actu­al­ly makes Archer look like an old­er Shi­rou here, unlike DEEN who basi­cal­ly took young Shi­rou and palette-swapped him. The CG in the VN is excus­able because his eyes were closed, so we real­ly don’t now if he actu­al­ly had the kid-eyes or not. Any­ways, I’m kind of dis­ap­point­ed that Suwabe did­n’t try to imi­tate Sugiya­ma’s voice in the ani­me like he did in the visu­al nov­el. Along with the return of Shi­rou’s old­er speech pat­terns, that imi­ta­tion real­ly solid­i­fied the fact that Archer does a Bat­man voice most of the time.

Good job Tohsaka!

Give your­self a thumbs up!

There’s noth­ing much to say about this entire show for me besides the fact that, well, my thoughts on the sto­ry and char­ac­ters them­selves remain very much the same as my thoughts about the game. The first cour was con­sis­tent­ly good to me, and while the sec­ond cour got slight­ly bumpy at episode 18 or so, they man­aged to pull a sav­ing throw with this final episode.

In terms of ani­ma­tion, Ufotable was amaz­ing for a lot of it, but when the sec­ond half came around, it was clear that they’re not above find­ing a way and tak­ing short­cuts. They’re just an above-aver­age ani­ma­tion stu­dio, with very tal­ent­ed staff — they’re not gods of ani­ma­tion nor are they rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the medi­um in any way. Regard­less, I appre­ci­ate the fact that they exist.

The final episode is… prob­a­bly the high­est point of the ani­me for me, to be hon­est. See­ing Gil­gamesh lose his shit in prop­er ani­mat­ed form was cer­tain­ly some­thing, and when they actu­al­ly start­ed using sev­er­al remixed sound­tracks from the visu­al nov­el, I just got chills, espe­cial­ly when they played EMIYA and Sword of Promised Vic­to­ry. I also did­n’t expect New Dawn to be played dur­ing Archer’s send-off, though it’s a shame they did­n’t get into the main cho­rus. Over­all, I have the feel­ing that if the music direc­tion was sim­i­lar to the final episode for the rest of the series, it would have been a lot bet­ter. Fuka­sawa Hideyu­ki is a great com­pos­er and has con­tributed to many greats such as Mahout­sukai no Yoru (exam­ple) and I feel that he was great­ly under­uti­lized for this ani­me with its intent on giv­ing the OST a movie-like ambiance, which to be hon­est does­n’t fit Fate/stay night in my opin­ion. It’s espe­cial­ly dis­ap­point­ing when you lis­ten to his mix­es of the VN music and wished they were used in the ani­me’s pre­vi­ous episodes.

Any­ways, we’re not done yet — we have an epi­logue to look for­ward to next week. Off to Lon­don we go.

Stay moe 4ever

――――Amidst the golden sunrise
The smile he had was like that of the boy

5 thoughts on “Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 24 – 「武器の貯蔵は充分か」

  1. I only watched like 6 or so episodes of the orig­i­nal ani­me that focused on the Fate arc and of course the bat­tle in this episode was great, espe­cial­ly when Shi­rou launched mul­ti­ple swords in Unlim­it­ed Blade Works. But still, kind of expect­ed the arro­gance from Gil giv­en that he is the only ser­vant that sur­vived the last grail war. Not only that, he was picky on the weapons to launch in Fate/zero too. Of course, it’s expect­ed that it won’t end well for him giv­en the arro­gance and nar­cis­sism he built up, espe­cial­ly since he was giv­en flesh and body by the grail.

    Don’t mind the ANN review­ers, they are a bunch of crap any­ways and Ani­me Blog­gers will always write bet­ter reviews from them any­ways since blog­gers do it for fun, not for the mon­ey.

    1. @chiko­ri­ta: Yeah, over­pow­ered vil­lains like Gil­gamesh basi­cal­ly need fatal char­ac­ter flaws in order to real­is­ti­cal­ly lose. With Gil­gamesh, there was also the fact that he was a jack-of-all-trades but was­n’t a mas­ter of any one weapon.
      As for the ANN review­ers, that’s true. It goes to show you that being paid does­n’t make one bet­ter than a do-it-for-free fan (same goes for offi­cial subs vs fan­subs).

  2. I com­plete­ly agree with every-fuck­ing-thing you wrote here.

    The main issue is that the VN already deliv­ered a per­fect (for me) prod­uct. What UBW ani­me tried to deliv­er in some scenes felt a bit forced and weird, but yeah, over­all it was good.

    And fuck sec­on­daries, what a fuck­ing can­cer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.