Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Season 1 Review & Characters - The Hero of Justice


  • Episodes : 12
  • Genre : Action, Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : October 12, 2014 – December 28, 2014
  • Producers : Aniplex

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

This iteration of Fate/stay night focuses on the 5th Holy Grail War and on Emiya Shirou in particular. Shirou is a novice mage who only has the briefest of introductions into the world of magic.

But, he’s about to be thrown into the world’s greatest battle for the most powerful magic artifact, the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail War has begun and Shirou needs to find the strength to survive and claim the Grail. If not, he and the entire world may fall prey to the will of whoever takes the Grail and uses its power for their own desires.

Who does Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works cater to?

This show is for anyone interested in a narrative that mixes genres. Fate/stay night is a great combination of a modern day setting mixed with magic, swordfights, mystery, Holy Grail lore, and much more. Fans of the visual novels and previous anime iterations will enjoy this show as well.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

This show is beautifully animated, the visual effects in particular. It looks more like an OVA than a standard anime. That’s probably why season 1 only contained twelve episodes as opposed to most shows that air around twenty-four. But the appeal doesn’t end there.

Character investment is another huge draw for this show. You connect with certain characters and want to see them come out victorious in the end. However, you know that many, if not most, of the characters will have to die in order for the ultimate prize to appear to the victor. The Holy Grail War is a bloody one, and hoping your favorite character survives is part of the enjoyment of the series.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Characters Promo

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Main Characters List

Shirou Emiya

Voice Actor :Noriaki Sugiyama

He is a 17 year old boy. He lost his parents early on in his childhood. After their deaths, he was taken in by Emiya Kiritsugu. Under his care he was introduced into the world of magic. He received a small amount of training, before Kiritsugu passed away. He has made taken on his adoptive father’s dream of being a “hero of justice”. Shirou has a strong heart and is sometimes overly considerate of others. His desire to protect others from harm was ingrained in his core after a traumatizing event he underwent as a child.

Now that the War for the Grail has begun, he has been selected as one of the seven Masters. Though he has some magic ability, he is still far below the level of proper mages. He displays some ability in strengthening magic. He uses the little magic he has to fight alongside his Servant and do whatever it takes to prevent the Holy Grail from falling into the wrong hands.

Saber

Voice Actor :Ayaka Kawasumi

Saber is Shirou’s Servant. She is a slim-figure blonde haired woman who wears a knight’s armor from the medieval era. She is a highly skilled sword fighter. Her close range fighting abilities are admired by the other six servants. Saber is one of the few Servants who appears to genuinely care about her Master’s opinions and well-being. She even trains Shirou in sword fighting upon his request.

She keeps her real name and past a secret from her Master. It doesn’t appear that she mistrusts him, however she fears that a more powerful Master could easily extract that information from Shirou and use it against them. She reveals early on that she has been to this time period before, which is seems very peculiar. It seems that she may have some connection to the horrific fire and massacre that Shirou experienced as a child.

Rin Tousaka

Voice Actor : Kana Ueda

Tousaka is a 16 year old girl who attends the same school as Shirou. Similar to him, she was trained in the magic arts. However, she has a natural knack for it and was trained from an early age. As a proper mage, she is able to fight alongside her Servant much more proficiently than Shirou. Her Servant is Archer whose specialty is long-range attacks. The pair seem to have a mutual respect for one another. However, Archer disapproves of the temporary alliance that Tousaka makes with Shirou.


Contains Spoilers

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Season 1 Review

To start, I have to admit that this first season was my introduction to the Fate/stay franchise. I hadn’t seen the other anime or played the games before. But as soon as episode 1 began I was hooked! Especially because I didn’t expect the artwork to be so crisp colorful. On top of that, the first episode clocked in at around forty-eight minutes of glorious animation. I couldn’t help but be intrigued as the show sunk its hooks in and pulled me into the dangerous world of magic and deceit.

Shirou was a character that took me some time to grow fond of. At first, I was a bit disappointed because he was very weak compared to the other Masters that we were introduced to. But not just that, he didn’t really progress in his strengthening ability even though tirelessly worked on it every day. Then just when his abilities start to get interesting he’s blindsided by Caster’s devious trap. Lame.

Of course, Aniplex did this on purpose so that we would be invested in our main protagonist and would want to see how he recovers in season 2. Well, I fell for it! I’m rooting for Shirou to come out on top of the war or at least get revenge for what happened in the finale. I know he’ll be much more of a badass in the next season. (I haven’t started watching season 2 yet.)

Besides our main protagonist, I was intrigued by how the events of the Holy Grail War have been playing out. In the first couple of episodes the setting and rules were set for how the Holy Grail would appear to the victor. I expected some typical fights to ensue and possibly free for all brawls to break out between the Masters. However, I didn’t expect for some Servants to take it upon themselves to twist the rules or find loopholes. They basically take control of their Master or work behind their back to ensure the Holy Grail reaches their grasp in the end.

They set me up to believe this was an ancient tradition that has been taking place for centuries. There was some honor and pride in participating in the war and coming out victorious. But in fact, these battles really are one big war that’s bloody and corrupted. Rules don’t mean anything when you’re dealing with magic and people who still stop at nothing to obtain the most powerful artifact in the world. And, that’s just how it should be.

Lastly, I want to mention that after watching a full season we still know so little about the Masters and Servants. I’m particularly interested in Saber since she’s been to that time period and fought there before. She has some connection to Shirou’s past. Not to mention, there’s that blonde haired Servant that we’ve seen a couple of times but don’t know the extent of his abilities or motives. Needless to say, this isn’t about thing. It’s great that season 1 was so entertaining and engaging without having to reveal everything. It means there’s still plenty of story and excitement left in this anime.

1. Shirou’s Projection Magic

For most of the season we were lead to believe that Shirou was only capable of using strengthening magic. So, it came as quite a surprise when he suddenly created replicas of Archer’s dual blades. Of course he did it just in the nick of time and successfully fended off Souichirou Kuzuki’s deadly attack. But, it was the first glimpse we saw of Shirou’s true potential. Plus, we saw him using his magic to do more than just strengthen a broomstick or metal pipe.

2. Shirou’s Promise to Kiritsugu

This heartfelt moment was revealed Shirou’s personal reason for constantly helping others. Shirou promised Kiritsugu that he would carry on where he had given up. Shirou vowed to become a Hero of Justice in his place. Though they may have seemed like empty words at the time, the Holy Grail War has given him the opportunity to truly fulfill that promise. We know that Kiritsugu meant the world to him and so he’ll lay his life on the line to be the hero his father could not.

3. Caster Takes Over

In the season finale, Caster weaved together a deadly plan to increase her chances of winning The Grail for herself. First she trapped Shirou, Saber, and Tousaka in a dimension filled with infinite water minions at her disposal. Then, she held Fujimura-san hostage in order to take over Shirou’s Command Seals. I don’t want to ruin everything that happened in the last episode. You’ll just have to see how it played out for yourself! But, it was definitely a game changer to The Holy Grail War and the series.


Looking back, season 1 was a bit slow to start. But, it made up for it with the developments at the end of the season. I need to end this article so that I can start catching up on season 2 immediately!

But, what about you guys! Did you enjoy season 1 of Fate/stay night? Is it much different from the games? Who’s your favorite character of the 5th Holy Grail War? Let us know in the comments below!

Javier Garcia

Writer

Author: Javier Garcia

Hey guys! I'm a huge fan of anime and video games. I used to be a competitive fighting game player (search my name in YouTube). So, I guess it was natural for me to make my way over here to Japan. I teach English, write anime articles, and put together videos when I have time. I hope you enjoy the content we've created for you here at Honey's Anime!

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