Fate/Stay Night (2006) & UBW Route 1 – My Fate Journey Begins…

A Great Place to Start?

For the past few years I’ve slowly been collecting all of the mainline Fate entries along with a few other editions in order to finally dive into the franchise in full. With both season 15 and 16 of #AniTwitWatches my chance to start finally came. During this period we watched both of Deen’s adaptations of Fate/Stay Night (2006) and the Unlimited Blade Works film. Rather than do a typical review, I’m electing to instead discuss my expectations with each and my general thoughts on the franchise moving forward as I prepare to continue this journey deeper into the fandom.

Fate/Stay Night – The Roots of a Franchise

To say that Deen has a bit of a sordid history may be a bit of an understatement. Their reputation hasn’t exactly been glowing, even with some solid improvements in their anime catalog across the years, which leads to my first point of interest:  Deen/Stay Night doesn’t have a good reputation. When asked where to start the franchise at you are likely going to be told to take a look at Zero, or even Unlimited Blade Works (series), with a caveat for the original 2006 series being only recommended for completionists like myself. After all, once you see the shiny and new, it’s going to be difficult to go backwards to a time where things aren’t as fancy.

In this regard, I can agree with the sentiment. If you don’t start on Fate/Stay Night, you likely will have a tough time getting into this version. The adaptation is somewhat clunky, often overly ambitious, and needlessly convoluted in a way that only Fate can be. Yet, starting here offers a foundation that would be missed for later entries while being a worthwhile experience in spite of these issues.

My expectations going into the 2006 version of the series was that I would see a fairly mediocre series, get a bit of context for Fate in general, and then move on with my life to the “better” entries. Like with School Days the fanbase’s perception painted a certain picture for me, but in turn, I am always skeptical of these kinds of claims to begin with. So while I wasn’t expecting much, I can honestly say this exceeded even my slightly optimistic hopes for what the adaptation would be.

If I had to boil down my main takeaways from this experience, I would list them as follows:

  • There’s a lot of setup for later entries and spin-off material
    • To this end, there’s so much context given to things
  • Deen’s work is generally above average here; legit, the show looks good
  • I want to watch the Illya magical girl series even more now
  • The ending was a lot better than it deserved to be

Maybe this doesn’t sound like much to you, but it’s difficult to explain. On the one hand, watching this version of Fate is almost a vapid experience. In truth, things just happen and not a lot of explanation is given to most of its story outside off-handed remarks or minor exposition. Though I say this, there’s also quite a bit of meat there to enjoy too. It’s almost like a paradox, which is why I wanted to avoid a traditional review. I don’t think I can make this sound appealing, but if you ask anyone who stuck with the watch to the end, you’ll hear over and over that this offered a good experience overall.

The result of all this was that I was able to get more excited about the future installments to the Fate franchise. I was also given a lot of context to things I knew about Fate already, but just hadn’t seen in motion yet. For me, this was a lot of fun as I know a lot of random stuff about Fate but don’t always know how or why it fits into the narrative. The experience was deepened for me in my knowledge for historical figures and events as well. Finally, it got me to doubt the reputation of the Unlimited Blade Works film which will be our next topic of discussion.

But First…

I want to take a quick moment here to highlight my partner in crime, K at the Movies. You might have seen during the course of the watch that he organized a Fate event called “Fate/Discordia.” As a participant in this big collab, I have to say it was a lot of fun! It also enhanced my experience with Fate so far as I got to kind of do a little fanfiction exercise along with it. In any case, I ask you take a few minutes here to watch the video he made featuring Route 2 of the event. After that, please click the link here and give him a like (tell him your thoughts on the video too)!

Fate/Stay Night:  Unlimited Blade Works – “The Worst Anime Film of All Time”

Spoilers, it’s not. Seriously, this film isn’t good per say, but it is a far cry from what the fans would have you believe. Huh, it’s almost like that’s a running theme or something. Who knew? This section will be pretty short but I do have a few things to say.

Let’s start with the initial claim about the film itself. You can’t watch this movie without having seen Fate/Stay Night (2006), end of story. As a standalone film, this movie sucks. It’s bad. I would give it like a 3 or 4 out of 10 on a good day. So then why am I saying that the film is decent? Well, I have seen that version of Fate. Since I’ve done that, the film has a lot of nuance and context that elevates the overall experience.

The reason for this is pretty clear. During UBW, everything is rushed but constantly moving forward. It expects you to implicitly understand certain plot points from the previous entry and extrapolate those for character motivations and events. This, given context is fine. On top of that, the movie looks really good most of the time and has a lot of fun action. Now I won’t claim this is a masterpiece or an exceptionally good time, I did only give this a 5/10 score on MAL, but it was worth watching at least once.

Part of the reason for this is likely the knowledge I already brought into my start of the Fate journey and my biases with the main character. Emyia isn’t the greatest character, when you compare him to literally anyone else, this is even more apparent. If you are like me, then the “twist” of the film and the focus of this story is going to be lackluster, but again, the overall experience is there. This does have me weary for the UBW series though, as I’m not sure that a full TV show of this is going to be super amazing. Still, I’ll reserve an actual judgement until then.

What’s Next?

That’s it for these two entries. Not a ton to say, but I also don’t think there needed to be much said about the start of what will ultimately be quite a series. Next up for me is Fate/Zero followed by some kind of intermission. Might start the Illya spin-off or watch ApocryphaEither way, rest assured that there will be more to come with this throughout the year.

Let me know your thoughts on the Deen adaptations of Fate and if there are any entries outside of the mainline series you would recommend to me. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the franchise has in store for me as I make my way through the entries. Please be sure to follow so you can know when the next part drops!

If you enjoyed the article, please consider leaving a like and sharing as this goes a long way. Additionally, if you’d like to support my work and help me to do this stuff a bit quicker, check out my donation pages using the buttons below. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you for the next one!

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15 thoughts on “Fate/Stay Night (2006) & UBW Route 1 – My Fate Journey Begins…

  1. I’d – rather tentatively, because the reactions to it are rather polar – recommend Case Files of El Melloi II, but only after at least Fate/Zero. The most recent special and the series itself build on the themes that character unpacks in F/Z. For understanding the entire thing, you might need other Type Moon content like Tsukihime (so admittedly, you might have to just roll with some of it), but otherwise, it’s basically its own brand of mystery/fantasy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah Deen Stay Night honestly not that bad…arguably the best ending I’ve seen in the whole thing. UBW movie, I’ve seen a little of it and it has worse execution than the series but I don’t get how people say the movie is garbage but the series is a masterpiece…they have same fundamental flaws and pretty much the same story.

    I mean you’re hitting all the main ones maybe some of the Grand Order stuff would be fun after a long break and someone has to Last Encore…maybe one of us will get to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, don’t do Last Encore. Just don’t. I mean, maybe its something that I have against shaft’s all over the place style that I don’t like but its just not a well told story at all. Save yourselves……..

      *dramatically dies somehow for no reason*

      Liked by 2 people

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