Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works Ep. 4: The exposition strikes back!

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 0411

Aaaaand we’re back to being boring.

Wut.

— And of course, the midget girl gets naked. Anime.

— Illya’s reasoning for not defeating her opponents when she could have? “Killing them right away wouldn’t be any fun.” Oh, my bad. I thought we were competing for an object that could make my wildest desires come true. Obviously, we’re just competing for a bar of Snickers, so we may as well make the competition seem more fun.

— According to the girl, there’s “no way to counter Berserker’s Noble Phantasm.” I believe her. There’s no way this’ll bite her in the ass. Plus, she has no ass, so…

— Ah yes, the midget pettanko and her maids with giant racks. Anime.

— Yeah, please don’t lie back on the water. That’s just nasty. I normally screenshot a lot of stuff to let my readers know what I’m talking about, but yeah, not going to do it here.

This is a cool visual effect, especially when it’s in motion. When the anime isn’t busy being so anime, it has the potential to be really cool. But unfortunately, it’s an anime.

— Plus, I think the faces in this show just look hilariously dumb. Haha, c’mon…

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 0406

— What the hell is Shirou freaking out about? He’s got his pants on. So keep your panties on, buddy.

— Rin: “Attacking someone in their sleep isn’t fair.” Pfft, kids. But on a more serious note, I get it. Look how she’s blushing. She obviously likes this dude. She says they’ll be enemies the next time they meet, but I’m sure Shirou’s wholesome shounen charms will win her over. Anime. In any case, the show’s attempts at light-hearted humor are a miss. What was with that emotional flab moment? It fell completely flat.

— Normally, Shirou’s not supposed to remove his bandages so soon, but of course, he’s an anime Wolverine. I like how everything else in the story requires a buttload of exposition, but the fact that our hero can heal from his injuries super quick seems to have been brushed off.

— Speaking of exposition… sigh…

— I’m not going to comment on a Wikipedia entry. I’m just going to doze off. Wake me up when the exposition ends.

— The gist is that… Saber won’t reveal her true identity to Shirou. Oh well, I didn’t want to know it anyway. Also, since she can’t dematerialize like Archer, she gets to wear regular clothes and be a cute shoujo. This way, she can follow Shirou around and blend in as a student! Funny how everything just seems to work out so perfectly.

— Elsewhere, Rin and Archer investigate the scene of a crime. Remember that supposed gas leak we had heard about? Well, Rin’s not happy that innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire, so–…

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— …whoops, let’s cut back to Saber and watch her eat food! Then Shirou’s teacher calls him up and demands that he brings her food. Of course, the guy does it. Why wouldn’t he? All wholesome protagonists are pushovers.

— We are then treated to exciting action like… walking Fujimura’s bento to her. And asking the girls in the archery club why they didn’t double-check to see if Fujimura had lunch!

— It’s so exciting, Saber wanders off on her own until she runs into Kuzuki, a teacher at the school. They proceed to have an uncomfortable staring contest until Shirou catches up to his Servant. I bet he’s a Master, isn’t he? The teacher, that is. Saber says he’s not a mage, nor does she smell blood on him, but c’mon… stories like these aren’t exactly full of red herrings.

— Why did Saber find Kuzuki odd in the first place? His gait was efficient, she says. Oooh, I’ve never seen a person with an efficient gait! But not only that, he breathes super well. Somehow, his breathing is both natural and composed. If it’s so composed, how is it natural? Well, y’see, that’s why he’s so suspicious!

— Saber then asks Shirou to show her around the rest of the school. I wonder if you have to do this in the visual novel as well. To move onto the next chapter, one must wander around until a flag is triggered! Then and only then will something exciting happen! Unfortunately for the adaptation, we run into Ayako once more.

— They have some boring conversation about how Shirou never smiled when he used to be in the archery club. Nevertheless, she wants him to rejoin them. You normally wouldn’t have an encounter like this unless the girl’s going to soon run into trouble, which is what I expect to happen since the episode is almost over and, well, nothing has happened. I mean, it’s kind of a silly storytelling technique. Right before someone meets his or her end or whatever, you almost always have to have the most mundane conversation with them. I don’t know why, either.

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It’s supposed to be a stark contrast, I guess. One minute, everything seems normal — boringly normal, in fact — then the next minute, the person is dead. Then you can’t help but cry, “Why! Why didn’t I appreciate those boring moments with her more!” Oh well. Point is, I expect Ayako to be in serious trouble in the next episode.

— Afterwards, Shirou’s walking home with Sakura and Fujimura. He tells them that Saber will be staying at his place for the time being, so the women all freak out because it’s anime. No one seems to mind the fact that her name is fucking Saber. I mean, c’mon, you couldn’t bother to make up a fake name for the girl? Meh, who cares? I’m still bored.

— Then Sakura stands there all forlorn and shit, because it’s also obvious that she likes Shirou. She and Rin are like two peas in a pod: both in love with the same boring protagonist.

— Anime always has to give us a good look at the food that the characters are eating. Problem is, it’s all the same damn food anyway, and it adds nothing to the visual narrative. It’s just food.

— And look, Shirou’s surrounded by girls. Not only that, everyone decides to stay with Shirou, because who wouldn’t want to share a living space with a teenage boy! You know it’s a visual novel adaptation, because all of the other male characters are assholes. Meanwhile, the protagonist can hardly beat the girls off with a stick since they’re practically throwing themselves at him.

— Elsewhere, Rin — remember how she’s in this episode too? — is staring down a couple of skeleton… dogs? Why isn’t this adaptation told from Rin’s perspective? C’mon, she’s doing all the cool stuff! She’s investigating a murder mystery! She’s petting skeleton dogs! Why instead am I spending the majority of my time following Shirou and his stupid domestic drudgery?

— After zapping those skeleton dogs to dust — obviously, they probably weren’t dogs, but who cares? — Rin gets to fight an even bigger one!

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— It turns out a Servant — Caster, to be exact — is going around, putting people into comas so she can absorb their lifeforce. Rin will have none of that, so we can expect a showdown between them pretty soon. Unfortunately, the episode is about over, so we’ll have to put a hold on that little pickle.

— Archer doesn’t get why Rin wants to go after Caster when Shirou’s just a sitting duck. Psst, it’s because she likes him! Rin nevertheless claims that she’ll kill Shirou if he comes to her.

— Yeah, this episode sucked. All the intrigue is with Rin, but she’s not the main character, so… what can I say? Shirou and his exploits are about as interesting as a wet blanket.

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32 thoughts on “Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works Ep. 4: The exposition strikes back!”

  1. Considering that we know Sakura is a mage of the Matou house from watching Fate/zero I’m pretty sure there’s more to Sakura’s reaction to Saber than “oh no, romantic competition!”

      1. It’s a sequel so maybe? I mean they didn’t bother explaining this episode why Illyasviel has a grudge against Kiritsugu, because that’s explained in Fate Zero.

        1. More to the point, Zero was intended for people who’d read/watched Stay Night, not the other way around. So at this point you’re meant to think that Sakura’s just a typical love torn girl.

        2. We can argue that Zero is an expansion of the original FSN. However judging how ufotable is adapting this route, they’re doing it in a way as if this is a sequel to Zero.

        3. That’s arguable. I’m sure it has callbacks for fans to enjoy, but every story still needs to stand on its own to attract new fans. Arguing that so-and-so should know x and y about z character is ultimately fruitless.

    1. “Considering that we know Sakura is a mage of the Matou house”
      WAY TO GO BUDDY
      SPOIL THE PURPLE AWAY

      Anyway, while the pre-sequel delves into this, you should be able to tell that this story (which came out first, btw) is letting out that kind of information slowly (very, very slowly), so don’t just jump to later-plot developments.

      …Though I think that has more to do with heaven’s feel than anything in UBW.

  2. “Psst, it’s because she likes him!”
    Psst, she doesn’t like him.

    “Illya’s reasoning for not defeating her opponents when she could have? “Killing them right away wouldn’t be any fun.” Oh, my bad.”
    Psst, Illya is overpowered. She can have fun, the Grail isn’t running away.

    “There’s “no way to counter Berserker’s Noble Phantasm.””
    Psst, there is no way to counter Berserker’s Noble Phantasm.

    “I like how everything else in the story requires a buttload of exposition, but the fact that our hero can heal from his injuries super quick seems to have been brushed off.”
    Psst, remember “show, don’t tell”! It seems F/SN does need to tell everything in detail or else many people are unable to follow or misinterpret events it seems.

    “This way, she can follow Shirou around and blend in as a student!”
    Psst, this didn’t happen. Assuming too much is a bad character trait.

    “No one seems to mind the fact that her name is fucking Saber.”
    Psst, except for when Sakura explicitly repeats her name. Saber’s a foreigner among a crowd of Japanese. Having a foreign name wouldn’t be weird whatsoever. “Show, don’t tell”, mate!

    1. “psst, just so you know, when you start a comment with some passive aggressive attitude, instead of just stating your opinion, don’t be surprised when someone tells you to fuck off”

      SO yeah. . .

      Fuck off.

      Next time, learn how to speak to people you bogan.

    2. Psst, she doesn’t like him.

      Sure.

      Psst, Illya is overpowered.

      Doesn’t change anything. Still stupid if the Holy Grail is super powerful.

      Psst, there is no way to counter Berserker’s Noble Phantasm.

      Sure.

      Psst, remember “show, don’t tell”! It seems F/SN does need to tell everything in detail or else many people are unable to follow or misinterpret events it seems.

      I’m not asking them to tell me anything. I’m asking them to not brush it off. Those aren’t the same things. Seems like you misinterpret words you read since you can’t follow them.

      Psst, this didn’t happen. Assuming too much is a bad character trait.

      Oh no! It’s the end of the world! I made an assumption!

      Having a foreign name wouldn’t be weird whatsoever. “Show, don’t tell”, mate!

      Saber is a weird name, foreign or not. And this has nothing to do with “Show, don’t tell.” Funny how you’re condescending, but you don’t even know how to use the phrase correctly.

      Anyway, it’s one thing to defend your show, but it’s another to be a giant jackass. So bye.

    3. Does “Saber” sound like a foreign name? Well… maybe, if you have just no grasp of what names of different nationalities sound like. That’s not the problem though, because everyone who stands to harm Shirou by learning Saber’s name knows that saber is one of the servant classes. It’s not like this is a weird abstraction of the title – he’s literally making a cover identity of the same word his enemies use to describe her.

      It’s like Jason Bourne living in China under the cover identity of Jason Bourne, in a city where the people that want him dead have an office and some big conspiracy is happening. Sooner or later the old lady next door is going to blab something about handsome Mr. Bourne in line at the supermarket next to somebody with a clue. Such a stupid risk!

  3. ” the midget girl gets naked.”
    That’s a kid.
    No, really, that’s not a “Lolis are kids no matter their age” bullshit. She is actually a little girl in the story.
    …uck

    Anyway, this was a blast to read as usual. It was a boring episode but the review was fun enough considering what little it gave you. That Kazuki bit made me laugh harder than I thought.

    *T MINUS 2 EPISODES*
    The first biggest mind-breaking fuck up is coming. It will rock you.
    I mean, I guess it can happen next ep, but from what I remember it’ll be a bit longer.

    Oh! And I haven’t read the other comments yet but let me also add: “Lifeforce” = “Semen/Vaginal Juices”.
    That’s not a joke.
    Caster is a whore.

    1. illya is 18 years old. so no. not a kid.

      and no again. in this case it’s just old, boring lifeforce. the semen she gets from elsewhere.

      1. she sure as hell doesnt look like it.

        Anyway, i thought that unlimited blade works was rin route? Why does it feels like the old fate/stay night?

        Look i am all for more fate stay night, the fight scene interest me, but isnt this her story? If i want to see shiro story, shouldnt i be watching the original series or play the vn or how about the previous unlimited blade movie??

        1. She was born 8 years prior to the start of Zero. It actually says “8 years ago” in the first episode of that show when we’re shown Illya being born. Fate/stay night is 10 years after Zero so she’s 18. Ironically she’s older than Rin and Sakura both.

      2. “the semen she gets from elsewhere.”
        What? Dude I distinctly remember the long monologue about how body whatever was used as a way to transfer mana, and that between semen and blood a servant can continue to exist and be empowered for a long time.

        I also very vividly remember Caster being the one to either sever or crush the testicles of their victims. Something like that. I forget. Not to spoil anything but yeah, she drains them dry and does some real nasty things to them. Rin comments on it to Archer in the VN.

        1. you are correct, one such scene is indeed part of the fate route, but that isn’t important since i wasn’t saying that she doesn’t get mana from intercourse, only that she isn’t raping random dudes all over town. she fucks her master, that’s it. your memory about her “crushing testicles” is not accurate. the magic to suck out peoples(literal) life energy leaves them infertile and/or impotent.

      3. “illya is 18 years old. so no. not a kid.”
        Also this is ridiculous. I get that Fate/Zero made her 18 but in the visual novel she acted, looked, and played exactly like a little kid to the point where EVERYONE believed she was a little kid.

        I remember Shirou thinking as much, and it was the reason why two characters who’d gotten their shit wrecked by her suddenly felt sorry for her when she was crying because I’d chosen to not -spoiler- her. If you played the Fate route you’ll know what I mean.

    2. No, really, that’s not a “Lolis are kids no matter their age” bullshit. She is actually a little girl in the story.

      Looks like people disagree with you. I don’t think it matters, really. Who cares if she’s technically 18 if she looks like she’s five.

      Caster is a whore.

      Well, we don’t need to go there.

  4. “Looks like people disagree with you. I don’t think it matters, really. Who cares if she’s technically 18 if she looks like she’s five.”
    I can understand that. Size doesn’t matter and neither do proportions, but no matter how stylized something is we can always tell the difference between a midget and a kid based on how they act and what they look like. I find it’s specifically usually in the eyes and size of the head. The cuter/innocent they appear, the more like a child they are.
    Also everyone in the cast, including them, will treat them like a kid.

    “Well, we don’t need to go there.”
    Aw, mate, you have no idea…

  5. This isn’t worth the price of admission. This episode was so boring. Technically she’s 18? I don’t see how that’s important as we can see that she functions as a kid in the story. Your ayako point is interesting but I doubt anything will happen to her. I just feel that the convo was included as a way to characterize shirou along with the episode title. It gives me the feeling that he’s just well…plain. He’s just going through the motions with no strong desires for anything. I’m kinda looking forward to seeing what happens with her if anything does that is.

    1. Not to spoil anything, but I think a degree of the focus on Ayako’s character both here and in the VN is that she was originally intended to be the protagonist of the entire series, long before it was set in stone that we’d have Shirou to contend with and Saber would be a woman. Some of her original character planning remains, so she shows up more than you’d expect for an otherwise unrelated side-character (eg. the trio of friends who accosted Shirou).

        1. I’m guessing she’s used to put a face on everyday life for Shirou, the way the other three girls are for Rin. As things go on she’s the only one who gets to keep the perspective of a normal person, oblivious to what’s happening in the city. I suspect they liked her character too much to throw her away.

          Beyond that though, you weren’t that far off in your first prediction – mundane conversations make for a predictably ill omen.

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