Fate Something or Other Ep. 19: The truth is revealed… again?

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 1919

I just spent 12 hours at the office and another hour commuting, but I’m still going to update tonight! See how much I care about you guys? And see how much I care about Fate Something… or Other? Alright, let’s get this battle of the Shirous on the road.

— Do you see the two Shirous facing each other in the screenshot at the top of this post? Yeah, that moment doesn’t occur until twenty minutes into the episode. Yes, that’s right. They don’t even get around to fighting in this week’s episode. They’re too busy talking.

— B-b-but talking a lot doesn’t mean a story is bad. Of course not. Some of my favorite stories are very “talky.” But not all talking is the same. Case in point, this week’s episode is just Rin’s visions from last week’s episode stretched out for no good reason whatsoever.

— Remember all those blurry images that Rin saw? And how she directly told us about Archer’s oh-so-tragic past? How he tried to help humanity, but humanity ended up betraying him? See, this is what cheeses me. The narrative still forces Saber to ask Archer why he wants to kill Shirou so badly, a question we’ve already guessed a while ago! Then Archer spends the entire episode telling us how he’s full of regrets, a fact that we’ve already established! And he reveals that when he became a Guardian, he ended up having to kill the very people he wanted to save… yet another fact that the series has already fed to us. Finally, all of the world’s ills were pinned on him… which, again, we already knew about thanks to Rin!

— But Rin’s visions were all tell and no show, right? And now we’re going to show, right? After all, we’re devoting an entire episode to the same tired topic.

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— Whoa, not so fast, skippy. Yes, things are not so blurry this time around. But we don’t actually see anything. It’s just a montage of Archer killing people accompanied by his voiceover. That’s still just tell.

— “Hurr hurr hurr, show and not tell is a hard and fast rule that you must always obey!” Of course. That goes without saying. Now, can you actually convincingly argue that Archer’s story couldn’t have been told in any other way? Can you convincingly argue that this method of storytelling is literally the only way to do his tragic life justice? Go ahead. Give it a shot.

— Exposition is obviously an important part of any story. Exposition usually accompanies feelings, emotions, drama, action, so on and so forth. It’s all exposition here, though. This entire episode is just Archer and Saber standing in a room, talking to each other. Shirou barely even says anything either!

— And to top it all off, Rin is also sitting in a room, talking to Kirei.

— Yeah, that’s right. Kirei is back in the picture. And he’s after the Holy Grail… as if a shady-looking fucker like him wouldn’t covet the Holy Grail. And he’s been deceiving Rin this whole time! A-a-and best of all, he was the one who killed Rin’s father! One, I don’t know who Rin’s father was or even what he looked like. Two, Kirei has had about as much character development as every other villain in this series, i.e. disappearing for huge chunks of time only to reappear when it is time to move things along. Three, Rin’s character development has also pretty much revolved around Shirou. So it’s sad, really. She finally learns the truth behind her father’s death, and she’s sitting there, spitting absolute hate at the guy… and I’m just like, “Um, okay…”

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 1921

— “Ah, you fool! You should have watched the entire Fate/Zero series before you watched this series. Then you would have understood everything about Rin and Kirei! You should have also played the game and gone through all three of its paths, because anime is really only made to sell copies of and promote whatever it is that it is adapting. You have to know all the details of the story first before you can really enjoy the anime version of it! You know nothing! Nothing at all!”

— Sure. That’s one way to enjoy Fate Something or Other. I agree. I’d probably enjoy the series more if I devoted hours of my life to all of those tasks. But so what? I can probably convince myself to enjoy a lot of things I wouldn’t normally enjoy. That’s what we’re blessed with, after all. We have the gift of a mind that can rationalize almost anything. So sure, I can jump through all those hoops in order to convince myself that I enjoy Fate Something or Other. Or I can just provide my perspective as someone relatively new to the series — someone that the series might want to court — and say, “Well, this doesn’t really appeal to me for x, y, and z reasons.” And you can take that with a grain of salt, as I’m sure any balanced individual would take any opinion with a grain of salt.

Now, you can just brush that aside and swear up and down that Fate Something or Other was really made for the fans first and foremost. And that’s a perfectly fine stance to take. But at the end of the day, this is a microcosm of the anime industry as a whole. To enjoy this, you must understand this. To enjoy that, you must understand that. You must be a true x before you can truly appreciate y. Gosh, it’s a wonder why anime’s growth stagnated after it’s big boom in the late 90’s and early 2000s. It’ was almost as if anime was threatening to become mainstream, and everyone instantly became gatekeepers. Things just had to get more niche and niche or else you were just one of those posers who got into anime because you saw Princess Mononoke or some mainstream shit like that. You can’t just sit down and enjoy a good story anymore.

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 1917

To truly get some random show, you have to understand a myriad of anime references that has built up over the years. To truly give Fate a fair shot, you must put in so much fucking time, because by golly, Fate Something or Other isn’t really for you if you won’t even put in the effort to be a true fan!!! How utterly exhausting.

— Anyway, Kirei makes Lancer kill himself because the latter wouldn’t kill Rin. And Shirou is going to finally fight Shirou or something. But I’ve already moved onto the next anime I have to blog…

— The only part of the episode that I truly enjoyed:

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 1907


27 Replies to “Fate Something or Other Ep. 19: The truth is revealed… again?”

    1. I laughed SO hard when Lancer impaled himself and fell backwards with that face of his. And also when Archer threw a huge dagger at Shirou and asked him to kill himself. I just couldn’t hold myself. To add some salt, this is definitely NOT the reaction they wanted the viewers to get, I’m pretty sure. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😁😁😆😆😆

  1. Speaking of lack of development, the main freaking character has shown no development what so ever has well considering he still has absolutely no justification for fighting in this despite being proven how wrong he is. But i guess you need to do a bunch of bs research to understand why shirou think he shouldnt just kill himself.

    1. I think that’s because of how the visual novel is set up, you need to play the Saber route before you can get to this one and in the Saber route the main characters are Shirou and Saber while in this one it’s more Archer and Rin, who also get almost no development in the Saber route, at this point you should already who Shirou and Saber are and it’d be a true waste of time to develop them again when other characters need it, obviously thia translate really poorly to anime, especially if you haven’t watched everything before this.
      I also have no idea why Shirou won’t kill himself.
      Shirou: “hurr I totally won’t make the same mistakes as you”
      Archer: “dude… I thought that too, we are the same” Shirou: “nope nope, we are totally different, I won’t regret anything”
      Archer: *facepalm*

  2. My god! How long are they gonna drag this story out? If it’s Naruto or Bleach, you can say that they’re waiting for the manga to catch up. What’s UBW’s excuse? This show only has 12 ep worth of story.

    Also, I’m already half way through the Fate route of the visual novel, and it’s even worse than the anime. The prose is awful (maybe because of the translation though), the story is so stretched out, and Shirou seems to be even dumber than his anime counterpart. Not to mention what’s the point of having choices in a linear game and the logical choice will lead to your death?

    Fuck it. I’m dropping both the anime and visual novel. Reading E Minor’s post is more entertaining.

    1. I remember getting into the F S/N VN hoping there would be some RPG elements, something. I mean, it’s an all out war between mages using superpowered spirits, how can THAT not give rise to exciting battles?
      I dropped it when after 3+ hours of “playing” I was still in the prologue and had not met a single choice or gameplay element at all, really.

    2. There are actually normal ending and good ending. So it’s not really linear.
      But yeah, the choices lead to death and bad endings are ridiculous.
      It seems that you have to be illogical in order to survive. Which is the opposite of how real world works.

  3. I think that about Rin and her father, yes, it’s a matter of having seen Fate/Zero – but I think that’s because Ufotable has generally set up this series as a sequel. If you look at it that way it isn’t that weird. They constantly used references to F/Z (for example a lot of allusions to similarities and differences between Shirou and his adoptive father Kiritsugu, especially as seen through the eyes of Saber) so I’m pretty sure they meant it as that. Which is… kinda acceptable, while asking you to already know all the material may be a bit too much, relying on a specific previous installment as your starting point makes sense.

    Other than that, I wholeheartedly agree about the exposition. GOD THIS WAS BORING. Dragonball Z doesn’t hold a candle to this – usually when you say it takes them a whole episode to throw a punch, it’s a bit of a joke. Here it isn’t. The previous episode built up to a fight, and in this one a single punch was thrown. It was a rather satisfying one, but it was only one.

    1. Them doing the same for Shrou and Kiritsigu doesn’t really mean it was better there. And besides, Fate/Zero isn’t really much of a “previous” installment except only by those who really insist it must be seen first.

      1. Actually Bobduh got a lot of flak from F S/N diehard fans for saying that he thought F/Z should be seen first and that was clearly the way the show was hinting you should do it… either way, I see it as being Ufotable’s call. They set up UBW as being a sequel so it’s fundamentally that. I can’t really fault them for it, and the fact that the name isn’t literally “Fate/Zero 2” hardly makes any difference (it’s not like all sequels follow that naming scheme after all). I think the one thing that’s really killing this show is the “too faithful” sickness that spawns from being afraid that the fans will snub the BDs if they get anything but 100% literal adaptation. As a result the show has this terrible pacing, because the story isn’t long enough to carry two seasons alone but god forbid including additional material from the other routes. And it has mutilated character arcs because those were meant to be fulfilled/completed in the other routes. And it has pretentious writing because, well, Nasu, but that’s hardly news.

        1. They set up UBW as being a sequel so it’s fundamentally that. I can’t really fault them for it, and the fact that the name isn’t literally “Fate/Zero 2″ hardly makes any difference (it’s not like all sequels follow that naming scheme after all).

          Nah, that’s having it both ways. It didn’t literally need to be called Fate/Zero 2, but there are plenty of shows I wouldn’t touch because I haven’t seen the original. You can’t allow me to think that this is the Rin route of the original game, and then proclaim, “Wait, no, you have to watch the prequel that didn’t exist when the game first came out!” Even a lot of sequels will have a bit of a “Yo, let’s catch you up a bit on…” Not so with this anime. Rin and Kirei practically have no interaction after the first few episodes, but we’re supposed to just accept that they had enough in a different series.

          Furthermore, even if Rin and Kirei’s relationship have already been fleshed out in Fate/Zero, that doesn’t mean things can’t be fleshed out in a different way. You could have cut out one of the many billion conversations in this series and included a few crucial scenes from their past… but perhaps from a different perspective that might perhaps be interesting to diehard fans and yet wouldn’t leave new people in the dark. What we see here is just pure laziness. Or the utter belief that those billion conversations are all equally important and can’t be excised from the story whatsoever.

        2. *What we see here is just pure laziness. Or the utter belief that those billion conversations are all equally important and can’t be excised from the story whatsoever.*

          Well, if they were, someone would probably ramble about it… and considering that the target demographic here is “F S/N fans” because that’s the people who’s going to be more willing to throw money at Ufotable for the BDs, you see where this is going.

          About the sequel argument, I see your point, but after all this is the SECOND route in F S/N. The game’s structure forces you to play routes in that order, so to understand the second route you need input from the first. Input that here was given instead by Fate/Zero. Granted, it’s a slightly different background, but it works equally well. My point is that if Ufotable has made ONE single concession to adaptation needs, diverging from the VN, has been in this, building up on F/Z rather than the first route of the VN (which would have been totally alienating, since it’s never been adapted that I know of – the Deen anime was a mishmash of all three). Anyway works to a point because really, Fate/Zero was definitely the superior anime. When characters talked there usually was *something* that they were actually saying/debating. Here it’s really way more ineffectual; you can see there’s a nugget of conflict buried under layers of pretentiousness trying to make it look more deep and meaningful than it is.

        3. In interviews the director has said that they didn’t do the first route (the Saber one) because Fate/Zero existed, Fate/Zero did a bunch of world building that would be repeated in the first route and they decided to skip it and go to this one (basically replacing the first route with Fate/Zero), so in a way you’re meant to watch at least Fate/Zero or you’ll be missing out on some stuff, you’ll still be missing out on things if you didn’t watch the original series too since the VN is linear in terms of routes (you play one, the next one is unlocked) and Fate/Zero isn’t really a replacement for the first route either, but the idea was that Fate/Zero did a well enough job at giving some background to the characters so they didn’t need the first route to flesh them out.
          People will usually say to watch Fate/Zero AFTER everything but the director doesn’t seem to think that way here, they are only doing the second route because Fate/Zero exists.
          In a way this was made thinking everyone has watched everything before it (heck, the director also mentioned that this is a very popular game that’s already 10 years old so he played with a few things so it’d not be boring, this hints at the idea that he thinks everyone has already played the game already).

  4. tbh, I didnt have the patience either to sit there and scroll through a VN game. I also decided to skip this one because shirou and rin are too annoying.

    I think the biggest problems the fate series has is that it’s so up its ass with its own lore and the overzealous fanbase that keep insisting that this piece of mediocrity is a masterpiece.

    For all the unwatchable moeblob, highschool setting, ecchi harems that come out every season I just watched fate/zero because it looked different, it had it’s flaws(ie; talking) but it was decent for me. But everyone has this mindset that a show must either be a masterpiece or a piece of crap with no middle ground. it doesnt help when the type-moon fanbase are foaming from the mouth hyping this stuff before it even airs.

  5. “See how much I care about you guys? And see how much I care about Fate Something… or Other?”
    Aw, I feel the love already. Hahaha

    It’s less a matter of anime industry movers becoming “gatekeepers” and more a matter of marketing. Type-Moon, the company that created Fate S/N is a master of this.

    See, what you think is a niche, convoluted thing is actually Japan’s “Star Wars”, but with the marketing superpower of Lucas combined with Disney. All of the company’s money is derived from
    visual novel sales
    remakes of the original visual novel
    the sequel to that original visual novel
    comic adaptations of the original visual novel
    that one game
    that other game
    that sequel to that one game
    the original anime
    the novels
    the spin-off comics
    the spin-off anime based on the spin-off comics
    the theatrical adaptation(s) of the original visual novel
    the board game
    the fighting game(s)
    the mobile game(s)
    the movie adaptation of the second route of the original visual novel
    this anime adaptation of the movie adaptation of the second route of the original visual novel
    ~~We’re in the money! We’re in the money!~~

    tl;dr the reason you have such a hard time with this is because FS/N is not a series but a franchise, one designed to market every other aspect of its being. The audience isn’t expected to know anything beforehand, but rather they are expected to WANT to know everything afterwards. This is the intricate web of continuity that spans the FS/N franchise, thus breeding an ever-growing revenue that keep the execs of Type-Moon in mansions.

    1. Oh, and you might note that in a way this could be considered a detriment to newcomers. It isn’t, at least not in Japan, because of how immense it is. Saber is one of the most iconic figures in all of anime today, on the level of Skywalker or Vader.

      If you know nothing about the series by now, like ten years later, then you’re blind and deaf (in Japan).
      But the same can be said about such things in the West, and like in the West, this births the mentality of “true fans know what’s up” and “how do you not know about this yet?” and “You should start with x and work your way through! It’ll be fun!”.

      Perhaps there is a level of the “gatekeeper” mentality at play, but it’s not to make things more niche. In fact, it’s a result of things becoming mainstream.

      1. You said it right there: Saber is iconic to anime fans. Can’t make a comparison to Star Wars because everyone knows who Vader is. My girlfriend who grew up in another country and never watched Star Wars know who he is. Mainstream implies no barriers of entry. I sincerely doubt every Japanese person is aware of Saber.

      2. I would argue Pokemon is closer to Star Wars as it is well known around the world and still remarkably popular in Japan itself. It even made a lot of awful spin off material :)

        1. Well, lots of anime characters in Japan end up getting more mainstream attention than they do in the west. Luffy from Onepiece is pretty popular too, and out of Japan only anime fans would know him. After all, the only anime characters who are recognizable at mainstream level in the west may possibly be Goku and Pikachu. In Italy a few more, like Lupin III or Captain Tsubasa, because we have a thing for anime. What I mean is, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Saber was actually THAT well known. Her design is at least pretty iconic.

    2. yeah, if you thought the western fanbase of type-moon were awful then look no further. for Type-moon the fate series is an endless money cow that’ll never run out of milk. and they dont even have to try since the fans will eat it all up once they see their waifu seiba.

      and sadly, they’re still creating new games and manga spin-offs to this day.

  6. “Furthermore, even if Rin and Kirei’s relationship have already been fleshed out in Fate/Zero, that doesn’t mean things can’t be fleshed out in a different way.”
    That’s the thing though, it wasn’t. The relationship between the two in Fate/Zero wasn’t given much attention besides that fact that her dad taught Kire. The whole format of the individual character arcs taking place in different routes is exactly why Deen mashed them together in their adaption. Rin wasn’t developed in Fate/Zero and she isn’t here. So I end up not caring when she mouths off to him. Not to mention her dialogue feels so stiff and unnatural i couldn’t take her serious. It’s beyond me how people come to this show’s defense.

    1. That’s really what annoyed me here. While Rin wasn’t all that fleshed out in Zero, UBW could have used F/Z as a springboard for her exploration here. But, naw, the writers seems to have decided to forget everything about Zero with nary a mention here.

  7. It seems like, at least for this adaptation, that the writers probably created a checklist filled with stuff like ‘show don’t tell’ and ‘character development’, planned out the basic plot, then once it’s done, fill out said checklist by adding in stuff between the plot points so that it would look good enough to anime fans.

    Case in point, so it turns out the silver-haired loli is going to die, and she doesn’t have any character development yet, so let’s dedicate an episode just for that just before she dies! The same thing with both Caster and Archer Shirou. I’m wondering if they’re going to dedicate another episode to explain much ado about Rin, Kirei, and Blond Archer before all this is over.

  8. “You’ll get what you are waiting [Archer’s backstory] in the next few episodes. Maybe they will allot two episodes for it.”–a reply to me by a fellow Fate fan.in another blog.

    Well, buddy, they gave me only less than five minutes of pointless montages and around ten minutes of expositio9n. Barely enough to fill an episode.

    Tsk, Urobuchi has his share of flaws, but the guy at least give concrete details with his Fate Zero backstories to, you know, give context to those. This one? I don’t even know why the hell is Archer shooting those guys in those measly montages.

    1. Gen Urobuchi isn’t responsible for this story. He only wrote the prequel Fate/Zero.
      UBW is all by original creator Kinoko Nasu and boy does his aggravating way of storytelling come through…

      1. I mi-phrased the comment above. I was referring to how Urobuchi handled the character backstories in Fate Zero.(or at least the more important ones, such as Kiri killing his mother figure Natalia). At least, Gen actually showed some semblance of story in the “backstories” of his characters. This one, I don’t even know.

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