Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Episode 0 Review

My most anticipated series of the entire year is here, and it does not disappoint. 

Also, for those who have yet to watch the episode, I will hold off on the spoilers until after the rating, and if you do not have not access to Crunchyroll, you can click here to watch the first episode on KissAnime.com.
Fate/stay night takes several years after the events of Fate/Zero during the Fifth Holy Grail War. From the start, the series almost expects that you have seen Fate/Zero since it does not provide a lot of exposition as to what exactly the Holy Grail War is, or how it works. It provides hints, but if you have not seen Fate/Zero, you are likely to be a little confused. Of course, for viewers of either Fate/Zero or the original Fate/stay night, it is relatively easy to follow. Since I have intentionally avoided the original Fate/stay night and most spoilers about the series in general, I do not know exactly how the series will play out, so if you have seen the original series please reframe from spoiling it in the comments. However, this remake is taking a different route from the original series, so the ending will be different. 
Rin Tohsaka is the main character of this version of the series, and the majority of the episode focuses exclusively on her. Having only seen Rin briefly in Fate/Zero, I do not know much about the character. From the onset, Rin is obviously a tsundere with an antagonistic demeanor but with an obvious softer side to her, as she blushes after Archer's comments. Archer is the other character introduced, and he is Rin's Servant. If you are not familiar with the Holy Grail War, each mage that participants summons a Servant based on various historical figures each with their own special abilities. The mages and servants battle to determine who will have their wish granted by the Holy Grail, and thus a game of death and deception begins. 

With the heavy focus almost exclusively on Rin and her Servant, the series does appear to be taking a narrative structure similar to the original opposed to Fate/Zero, which split the screen time among the seven masters and their servants. Providing that Fate/stay night is able to develop the characters effectively, the focus on the characters could work well. Even after the first episode, Rin and Archer are adequately established characters with likable traits, so hopefully the series will continue to execute the characterization well.
Wow, just wow! Unlimited Blade Works’ animation amazing! The series is from studio Ufotable, aka the best animation studio in the entire freaking universe, and Fate/stay night's animation does not disappoint in the slightest. Seriously watch Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Zero, or this new Fate/stay night and tell me that the animation is not the mind blowing. They are delivering film quality animation in an anime series. Throughout the 45 minute episode (the first two episodes are twice as long as a typical series), the animation is beyond amazing, and even the school setting had high quality animation. However, the action sequence towards the end is, hands down, the best action sequence of the year; nothing even comes close. It was intense, expertly animated, and stunning. 
Even though famed music composer, Yuki Kajiura, did not return to score the new series, Hideyuki Fukasawa is doing a fine job of reusing some of her amazing music, while also adding in some new tracks. All of the voice cast is top notch, and without any negatives as well.

Knowing that the original Fate/stay night lends itself more to a shounen action series than the psychological suspense thriller that is Fate/Zero, Fate/stay night will hopefully add more serious, seinen, aspects like Fate/Zero. If it does remain a mostly serious shounen action series, Fate/stay night can still be one of the best series of the year providing that the characterization and plot are well executed, like last year's Attack on Titan.

Overall: 9.0/10- Fate/stay night is off to a visually stunning start that continues to make me hyped for what is to come. Of all the series released this fall anime season, none are off to a more satisfying and impressive start than Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works.

Note: Ratings of first episodes are relative to all other pilot episodes only. 

Please do not forget to check the first parts of my review of the summer anime season by clicking on the links below.

What did you think of the episode? If you have not seen it, do you plan to watch the series? Please comment below and let me know.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

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