I’m sure that we all remember what Fate/Zero was like, and even before that what Fate/Stay was like. Well, this, Fate/Stay Unlimited Blade Works is one of the other routes in the original Fate/Stay novel.
This route follows Rin Tohsaka, the daughter of Tokiomi Tohsaka, who participated in the previous Holy Grail War. We get to see a lot of her personality in the first ten minutes of this prologue, as she interacts with the characters dotted all around the school. Some of them are important, some of them aren’t, but the important part is her interactions with everyone, and to a lesser extent, how her friends interact with her too. It is equivilant to throwing character development down people’s throats, but in this instance, I believe that it does work out, mostly own to the fact that we move on into the interesting stuff.
For those who don’t know, the Holy Grail war is a battle royale type situation, where several people summon Heroic Spirits, souls from history to fight for them, in an attempt to gain the Holy Grail by being the last man standing, and getting their wish granted. It’s a simple concept, but an effective concept. There are several classes for the heroic spirits to fill, which are Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Berserker and Assassin. These spirits follow their master to the death, as they all have their reasons for fighting. This part is where it starts to get pretty complicated, but it’s covered in quite extensive detail in the prologue anime, Fate/Zero (gonna be bringing this up quite a bit…)
Rin’s aware of all of this, and wishes that she’ll be the master who summons servant Saber, who she believes to be the strongest of all the servants However, due to an irritating mistake, she draws a ‘wild card’ because of her mistake, and ends up with an interesting grey haired man clad in red. Despite the fact that servants are supposed to be bound to their master, he’s not interested in his master, and believes that the two should act separately. As their relationship continues to decline rapidly, she uses one of her Command Seals to force this man to follow her orders. Whilst initially a mistake, the action of doing this and the magic which she uses is enough to create a sense of respect for each other, despite, y’know…him NOT being Saber and all.
Due to the fact that the summoning was imperfect, which meant that she pulled a wild card out, Archer has no idea which Heroic Spirit he is, where he comes from and what he does. I think it suits her, having a rebellious and wild servant, and the two of them certainly have a ‘good’ relationship with each other.
Upon arriving at school the next morning, complete with an undercover Archer, Rin discovers that a magical barrier has been put in place around the school. It’s a fortress of blood, a barrier which drains the life of everyone inside it for some extra mana. However, upon investigating the barrier, Rin gets attacked by a servant who is also around investigating, the Lancer class servant. As is the rule when two servants meet, the two of them fight in a very flashy and stunning fight scene, where Rin’s Archer reveals that he actually fights as a duel blader, rather than a bowman. However, unlike other swordsmen, he appears to have an unlimited amount of blades to use.
Unfortunatly, a student t the school was present at the scene of the battle, and witnessed it all. This student, Emiya Shirou, was pierced by Lancer in an attempt to remove all witnesses. It’s an oddly morbid scene, especially when Archer returns to report that he failed to track down Lancer or his master, yet trouble comes about yet again because of Rin’s impulsive action of reviving Shirou. When the two of them leave to go save him, they get ambushed by the Saber class servant, a figure who i’m sure will be very familiar to everyone.
Fate/Zero was truly outstanding, and this appears to be largely the same. You know that this should be a truly outstanding anime just from the name, and this prologue is a great indication of this. The production values are obviously incredibly high, and the original story is amazing.