Fate Stay/Night: TV Reproduction Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! — In addition to taking a look at the first episode of every show from the Spring 2011 anime season that has been subtitled and giving it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, I am also going back and cleaning up loose ends for shows from 2010 I may have missed or have recently become available. For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Staying at school late one night, Shirou Emiya oversees a battle between powerful sorcerers that he was not meant to see. One of the participants, a weapon known as Lancer, tracks him down and attacks him; Lancer’s master and fellow student Rin finds him near death and resurrects him. When Shirou is attacked again, he unexpectedly summons his own weapon, Saber, and forms a pact with her. Shirou soon learns that he has now become a participant in a grand battle royale where the prize is the Holy Grail itself. Based on a video game, Fate Stay/Night was adapted into a 24-episode anime series in 2006. In January 2010, a two-part “TV Reproduction Special” was produced (in conjunction with the Unlimited Blade Works movie), condensing the entire series into a 2-hour summary version.
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ep. tl;dr review: Girls plan for an overseas trip; Just more of the girls acting stupid and doing pointless things, as usual.
Episode Summary: This one-hour episode condenses the first 12 episodes of the television series. Shirou Emiya is at the school late at night, and accidentally oversees a battle with his fellow classmate Rin Tousaka and her weapon/servant Archer, fighting against one of her foes, Lancer, as part of a new war for the Holy Grail. Vowing to leave no witnesses, Lancer strikes him down, but Rin manages to save his life. Shirou returns home magically healed, but Lancer once again attacks him; during the battle he inadvertently manages to summon a weapon of his own, and forms a pact with the powerful Saber. With Rin’s guidance, he learns about the Holy Grail War, and that he has become the newest (and completely inexperienced) participant. While battling the weapon Bezerker, Shirou blocks a blow intended to kill Saber. He continues to battle and learn more magic, even when attacked by Rin, and learning of some of the other masters and servants. Lather, rinse, repeat.
My Reaction: I already had a taste for Fate Stay/Night when I watched and briefly reviewed the Unlimited Blade Works Movie that came out in early 2010 – and gave it an unsatisfying Grade of C-minus. It was all quite confusing, definitely not intended for someone unfamiliar with the story. The television series is based on a video game which as three major “paths” that the player can take. The movie follows a different path, so the story is essentially the same but a different perspective from the television series.
Perhaps because I recalled some of the elements from the movie, I was not as confused this time around — but this “TV Reproduction” episode was still quite a jumbled mess. Trying to take twelve episodes and squeeze them down into just one hour means slicing out 75% of the story, and it shows. It feels like they hacked and slashed almost at random, leaving important story elements on the cutting room floor. If this was meant to get new viewers “up to speed” with Fate Stay/Night, they did a pretty horrible job at it. In some cases it seems to jump from one scene to another without rhyme or reason, some stuff just unexplained as they rushed forward to the next confrontation.
As for the story itself, I’m just as unimpressed now as I was with the movie. For comparison, think of it as an anime version of Highlander with seven masters and servants battling it out until just one is left to gain control of the prize. Perhaps because so much was cut out of the TV Reproduction version from the original television series, I didn’t really seem to understand some of the reasoning behind the battles or what was really going on. Even though I paid close attention, I was left feeling as if I didn’t grasp the story.
I really wonder exactly what audience this “TV Reproduction” version of Fate Stay/Night was aimed at. Seems it is intended to explain the series to new viewers without them having to go back and watch all 24 episodes — but if that is the case they did an absolutely terrible job of that, and the unwashed viewer is best left going back and watching the original episodes instead. If this was intended for the existing Fate Stay/Night fan, then it doesn’t contain anything new (as far as I have been able to tell from reading reviews online), all it does is provide a lesser entertaining version of what they already know. I probably would have been better off never watching this at all, and if anyone really wants to watch the series, don’t follow my mistake and watch the 2006 anime episodes instead.
- Videos and Previews:
- Trailer for the series on Youtube
- Additional Info Resources:
- Official United States Licensing Information:
- Complete series released on DVD by Funimation
- A Sampling of the Blog-Roll of Reviews:
- “Wow. Just wow. Jamming such a story as vast as Fate/Stay Night into two hours is not a good idea. It definitely isn’t. Fate/Stay Night TV Reproduction is basically a summary of the 2006 series. While it includes most of the important bits, so much of the much needed dialogue and scenes were just missing. This is not meant to be seen before the TV series. Grade: 6/10.” – My Anime List Reviews
- “It felt like it was constantly jumping from battle to battle nonstop. If you’re new to Fate/stay night, you’re better off playing the visual novel or watching the TV series. Without prior knowledge, it’ll be hard to keep up with what’s going on in these OVAs…I liked Fate/stay night back then, and I still do now.” – Project Saber