Man this week has been difficult. 3 Tests and 2 Projects later I have survived to watch and write about anime. I am expecting an action packed episode from Fate/Stay Night this week to let me relax and relieve some stress. Last week we had a boring back story for caster followed by a decent build up to the action with the unknown servant. With what seems to be the final boss being truly introduced to the story, this episode should be the momentum starter to finish off this series.
00:06 – Ufotable doesn’t do greenery as well as Kyoto Animation in Hibike Euphonium, but I do enjoy their darker cityscape shots more. Japanimation has really been stepping up lately, though it still doesn’t match the consistent fluid motion of Disney.
02:02 – In all anime, I often get bothered by how many people just stand still during fights. I understand that Heracles is practically indestructable, but it lends to more entertaining action scenes when we get to see some more back and forth action, which I can only assume is going to happen soon.
02:48 – God, Shinji is so dumb.
03:36 – Shinji’s new servant looks overpowered. Cool effects accompanying him everywhere but I wish they had some budget left to leave some background in and have wider shots to portray the action. As of now all I get to see is flashes then Heracles getting screwed up.
04:29 – We Cowboy Bebop now. One eye for the past.
05:23 – I do not remember this part of Illya’s past, adding more stuff to tie in with Fate/Zero it seems.
06:12 – Nice huge shot of the room to show how small and lonely Illya is in comparison.
06:52 – Really digging this imagery of doubt slowly creeping into the mind. “Irisviel” slowly takes up more and more space in the room which represents Illya’s own mind, until the only thought she can have is of abandonment.
07:22 – This scene really reminds me of End of Evangelion. It’s crazy how such similar moments can give off totally different meanings.
08:03 – These are the types of shots that I love from Ufotable. Still has the wide profile shot that accents Illya’s loneliness, while having great composition and lighting. Even though the room is dusky the water gives off this iridescence that makes the characters almost look like ghosts haunting their own home. Not quite human, but still alive.
08:55 – Remind anyone of a earlier shot from Fate? Also I am getting Rei Ayanami vibes from Illya and these other homunculus. Not nearly as subtle and developed as Rei’s existential crisis but the questions are still human and resonate the same way.
09:25 – Look at the constantly moving reflections on these walls! Sometimes I wonder how Ufotable allocates their budget, why didn’t they send this money to Caster’s fight scene in episode 12.
10:07 – Pretty impressed with the animation and effects so far. The only bonds that Illya has left are with these other homunculus, but even then she is not the same. Separated from everything, and only being kept alive because of her duty her family wants her to carry out.
11:14 – When did Sella get such a brown nose?
12:37 – Good thing for Illya that Heracles isn’t so weak that he can be moved by a mere loli’s punch.
13:18 – Ufotable really strayed from the visual novel here. I actually think this strengthens the source material significantly. I found Illya to be much more compelling when driven by her parents abandonment and need to prove her own worth rather than just being thrown out in the wild with Berserker like in the visual novel.
14:26 – Oh I guess they still kept this stuff from the source material and just added more to the story to make it interesting, or maybe I just forgot what happened in the first place. Either way it makes sense that Illya has such a strong bond with Berserker because he was the only one that didn’t abandon her.
15:48 – The servant turned into and older Aiza Takeshi from Your Lie in April.
17:20 – YES! The action is finally here.
18:01 – Shots where a character takes over the focus even though they are in the background are so cool. See lots of this stuff in Kill la Kill where they distort body sizes a lot.
19:13 – I have all of the most powerful noble phantasms in the world. Let me take out the most boring sword ever.
19:39 – The servant might as well as stabbed Shirou. I think he reacted more to this than to his own body almost being ripped apart. I guess it fits the bill for Shirou’s personality.
19:49 – She just got stabbed in the heart. Let it end, no more melodrama please. I already know I should be sad for the little girl who had both her parents killed and then the only person she cared about killed in front of her. We don’t need this extra stuff that lessens the impact of the earlier actions.
21:01 – Shirou has some of the best expressions.
22:08 – Whoa, this music really complementing the atmosphere of the ending. I think it is a different version of the same song from the earlier 2 episodes? The ending animation looks ridiculously detailed too, just look at those grooves in the snow. Japan is definitely improving in the computer graphics department.
Fate/Stay Night finally coming back to the action bringing up the excitement with stories about Illya’s past. The first episode in a while that I have been impressed by the direction of the cinematography and been entertained from beginning to end. I enjoyed what they did with Illya’s background story, adding more depth to it and connecting it with Fate/Zero’s story line more clearly. The messages of Illya’s loneliness from her abandonment and bond with Berserker came off as a little blunt, but it got the job done. There was some small philosophy talk in there but I don’t think the show delves enough into it to warrant any analyzing or discussion.
Sadly the sentimental parts of the episode fall kind of flat. Even with a whole episode dedicated to empathizing with Illya, I can’t see her more than just a little girl with a tragic past. Though the story explained to us more about her past and how she became who she is today, it’s difficult to connect with something that is so detached from grounded human emotions. The life that Illya goes through is too extreme. That in combination with her prolonged melodramatic death, wasn’t enough to compel me to care. Overall, it was a solid episode from the production standpoint, but I still wish the writing was a little stronger. At least this week I am looking forward to the next episode.