"I am the bone of my sword.
Steel is my body and fire is my blood.
I have created over a thousand blades.
Unknown to death,
nor known to life.
Have withstood pain to create many weapons.
Yet those hands will never hold anything.
So as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works."
This is the main quote from the movie Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. It may not be perfect in terms of English grammar, but it's a pretty intense moment when it first comes out. If you already know who says it and what its significance is then you need to see this movie.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is the theatrical release of the anime TV series Fate/stay night. The basic story is that every X years a secret war breaks out called the Holy Grail War. Seven "magi" (think wizard or sorcerer) call upon seven heroes of legend to fight in a battle royale. The last duo standing obtain the Holy Grail and have any requests they want granted.
If you've seen the TV series, then know that the movie follows Rin, Archer and Emiya more than the relationship between Emiya and Saber - or anyone else for that matter.
So let's get right into it. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (FSN: UB from here on out) is a visual beauty. The character designs haven't changed from the TV series in terms of design, but are they animated! This film has the best animated sword fights since Cloud vs. Sephiroth in Advent Children. Nothing is skimped on; entire sequences have characters fighting in the background and moving toward a stationary camera. This might not sound like a big deal if you don't know how to animate, but trust me! It's epic! Plus the lighting effects of the swords and Servants are awesome additions that make the fights really pop. Unfortunately, any time Rin and/or Caster get into a rumble, their magic looks nothing above ordinary. I was really hoping for a super light show, but was very let down. Thankfully, they don't fight very often.
The plot is changed around a good amount in order for the story to work in the timeframe given. The film goes through the events of the entire TV series as film. That means crunching 24, 22 minute episodes (not counting the opening and ending animations) into one 106 minute film. There are characters that aren't given mention but had a major role in the TV series (hi Sakura) and even one character that has the following introduction
Seen on screen, Emiya sees him, Emiya has a flash back to the TV series where character in question walks in, Emiya says his name, Fight!
Yeah, it can be a bit confusing coming from the TV series, but with 12 major characters to keep track of, I'm surprised that they were able to fit them all in. Granted, the majority end up being punching bags, but they are in the film.
Also, there is a sense of this being rushed to get to the fights. The time it takes to go from the quote at the beginning of this article to the first fight is maybe 10 minutes at most. It takes 3 episodes in the show. Not taking into account the TV series; there's barely an explanation as to what the hell is going on in the beginning. A kid walks a girl home and blood starts running down his arm, people are clashing swords with pretty light effects, a kid gets stabbed in the heart, and more characters are appearing out of thin air. WTF? There's also no sense of time. Granted most of FSN: UB takes place at night, but it's almost impossible to tell how many nights the film takes place over. Emiya's wounds are always severe, but he seems to be fully healed by the next scene. There is one exception to this and he was injured twice in the prior scene.
The music is okay. Thinking back on it, I can't really recall any track that stood out from the score. I also don't remember being completely aggravated with the score, so I guess that's a good thing. The main body of the score is orchestral and sounded perfectly when place with the light show that are the visuals of the film.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is a good film and a great trip down memory lane. If you know and remember watching the TV series, you'll be pleased to watch the story again. If you never saw the series, then I STRONGLY suggest watching this film with someone who has. Out of TOV 5 stars Fate/stay night: Unlimited Bladeworks gets a 3.5