Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Episode 12 (Finale) – Fun Times. Dull Times. Conflict.

(I actually have notes for all episodes. When will they go up on the blog? At some point™. Check the “Episodic Notes Page“, where they’ll all appear eventually. Hopefully this week.)

This episode came out at 3:30 AM. I was awake, but trying to get my sleep schedule even nominally under control, and being as it was a double feature, I decided to go to sleep. With that out of the way, last episode had a lot of gag moments, funny faces, and tsundere-Rin, which was enjoyable but empty calories, and another session of “Shirou discusses philosophy with Rin/Archer”, which was much meatier, but didn’t entirely add up in terms of internal logic. I expect a lot of sweet action this episode, so let’s go.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album 1 (up to 17:32), screenshot album 2 (up to 35:01), screenshot album 3 – imgur has a 150 image limit per upload. Joint album, but with reverse image order.

1) A Day Out:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Emiya Shirou, Tohsaka Rin and Saber enjoying a date

1) “The bread I bought is gone and has been replaced by 300 yen.” – TAIGA!!!!

2) Tohsaka always has a hard time waking up. The notable thing about this shot is how Shirou dematerialized, how he ran away. There should’ve been a Shirou outline.

3) “We’re going to the next town, to have a date.” – “Sure, a date between who?” – Emiya Shirou, densest protagonist, strikes again.

4) And how is Fujimura not surprised or troubled by Saber joining Shirou and Rin on their date, hm? And what of Sakura? Entirely forgotten.

5) “You two are fine with submitting to my plans?” – I love the translator used the word “Submitting” here. Also makes sense when one discusses “Servants”.

6) Looks more like Rin and Saber going on a date, with Shirou tagging along. Rin always wanted Saber, after all.

7) Saber and her love of eating. Forgot that gag from DEEN’s version.

2) Friendly Banter, Meet Sexual Tension Subtext:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Tohsaka Rin, Emiya Shirou and Saber on a date

1) “Don’t worry about it, you’ll grow a lot taller.” Makes me wonder what else she saw in her dreams.

2) Solid build and filling out don’t necessarily translate to height.

3) Saber is trying to slice the baseball balls, swinging entirely horizontally. Heh.

4) Saber’s ahoge (cowlick) going through a hole in her helmet, heh.

5) Those dorks. Cute moment, though.

6) “I assumed you got hungry in the middle of the night and ate the whole loaf of bread.” – Smooth, Emiya, smooth.

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Blushing Tohsaka Rin

Kindness, a tsundere’s greatest weakness.

7) At least Rin admits she’s toying with Shirou. Rin’s alien nose in this shot is going to give me nightmares, I know it.

8) Actually enjoying the Rin and Shirou banter here. I like silly RomComs.

9) “I need more time, so please keep it at our current level.” “Out of context”, but not exactly. This is all relationship innuendo. Fate/Stay Night confirmed best Harem RomCom of the season.

10) The tsundere’s greatest weakness, when someone shows kindness back, so they’re prickly, to be on the offensive, to never have to defend.

11) If they ever make a Fate/Stay Night live action film, Sarah Jessica Parker is the only one with the right face for Rin.

3) Serious Business, Darkness, Etc.:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Shocked Emiya Shirou

“You’ve involved /Civilians/?! What a villainous villain!”

1) Taiga’s “date”, telling Kiritsugu’s grave how Shirou is doing. And boy, does he remember “Saber-chan”.

2) That woman with the evil smile (dare I say “Smirk”?) directed at Taiga. I’m going to go ahead and guess it’s Caster.

3) “I haven’t goofed around like that for a long time.” – You must be starring in a different anime than the one I’ve been watching, then :P

4) “I don’t know what happened to you, but if it was that bad, wouldn’t you be much happier if you let go?” – That’s not how people, including you yourself, work. You, living your father’s wish, Rin.

Also, since you admit to not knowing, don’t run your mouth off, Rin, that’s rude.

5) Water familiars, cut them down, and the parts reform. What a pickle.

6) “Just so, fighting within my bounded field will only expend your mana to no avail.” – It’s the return of the ridiculous expository adversarial monologue. Why is she telling them this?

7) Caster is involving civilians! The one thing Shirou can’t forgive, even if it weren’t someone he knew.

8) “What do you hope to accomplish by taking a hostage.” – “I’ll take “Questions with obvious answers” for $200, Alex.”

4) Caster: The Return of Dr. No:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Caster tries to convince Emiya Shirou

Caster, please find someone else to write your lines.

1) “I’m not interested in you, I’m interested in that boy.” – HAREM INTENSIFIES!

2) “I’m resorting to these crude tactics because I wish to win you over, not kill you.” – HAREM KEEPS INTENSIFYING!

3) Caster wants interesting abilities, not the boring ability to accomplish any and all things. She’s voicing Nasu here. Imperfect powers, give and take relationships within narratives.

4) “We are basically Soul Eaters by nature.” – She’s telling them that if they fight her, in order to sustain her energy, she’ll be drawing out the life energy of the city’s population, so if they fight her, they’ll essentially be killing the people they wish to protect, by fighting her.

5) There was one line that was hidden in Caster’s words with a lot of meaning, “You were adopted by Emiya Kiritsugu and trained in magic, only to serve in the next war.” – Meaning, Kiritsugu adopted him so if there were another Holy War, so Shirou will fight in it. What a terrible fate for Kiritsugu to wish upon his adopted son.

6) “I have a way to win the Grail without fighting.” – Shirou must be very interested in this, since rather than merely the wish the Grail will give, it’s the war itself that has this cost he wishes to avoid.

7) “Are you mad? Do you understand the position you are in?” – Fate/Stay Night is anime’s James Bond, it’s true. At least in terms of villains.

8) “Saber’s Master!” – This is interesting, she’s interested in Shirou, but the one she needs is Saber. So she is interested in the Grail.

9) “You called me a witch?!” – Oooooooh.

5) The High Cost of Ideals:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Tohsaka Rin tries to talk sense into Emiya Shirou

You sort of missed what “ideals” entail, eh? Archer said it’d be this way.

1) “You’re going to kill Shirou in cold blood?!” – Rin, what was it you told us about fighting other masters and the Grail War? Seriously. She’s killing him to obtain her goal, like a true mage.

2) The price for saving Fujimura, aside from aiding Caster, is giving his entire arm? Shirou is understandably having second thoughts.

3) “You don’t have to go to such extremes to help others!” – Rin, I think you sort of misunderstood what “ideals” mean, and “self-sacrifice”, while we’re at it.

4) 2nd smirk by 22:46, we’re coming up dry here on the smirk front.

5) “Saber! Stop!” – Damn, that Command Seal sure picked the wrong time to activate.

6) “Idiot! Why did you do that?!” – We’ve just been over this, Rin, ideals, self-sacrifice, etc.

7) Magic Resistance, the one mentioned as the melee hero classes as having. Rule Breaker nullifying magic. So magic resistance resisting Command Seals. This is actually a neat moment of using aforementioned rules. Also explains Archer’s behaviour.

8) Garcher is here! Time for sweet finale action!

And the scene ends. Fuck.

6) Knowing Ourselves:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Emiya Shirou and his debt to Tohsaka

Oh please, get over yourself, Emiya Shirou.

1) Archer, what a charmer. So witty.

2) Garcher being back means the smirk count is going up again, though.

3) “I think I respond to everyone in the same (cold) way.” – “Really? It only seems that way to you.” – Yup, Archer sure was chummy with Caster, and you can see his repartee with Rin :P

4) “You’re only awkward when it comes to yourself. You’re smooth when it comes to others, which is why no one notices.” – In other words, Archer is the stand-in for the too-cool but actually self-aware people watching F/SN.

5) “Luckily, she missed anything vital.” – This is back to the first episode. It probably wasn’t luck, but effort. Master swordsmen and all that.

6) “I can reject him all I want, but is nothing is over until he himself says he wants out of the war.” – This is true on two different levels. The first, Shirou’s nature, even without powers, he can keep on fighting, especially now with his Projection powers. The other is what we’ve seen with Shinji, an ex-Master can still gain control of a new Servant, and return back to the Holy Grail War. He needs to bow out and seek asylum with the Church.

7) “But this is one debt that I can never repay!” – Emiya Shirou, you’re seriously stupid. She saved your life, just as you saved hers earlier today. To act as if only you can be grateful and owe debts, get over yourself, you truly are self-righteous.

7) Rushing Ahead:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Kotomine Kirei against Caster's Familiars

Kotomine Kirei, Priest, Lover, Man of Action.

1) “Guard the gate with your life.” – “Actually, this person whom you address as Kojiro does not truly feel alive.” – Oh my, the help is speaking.

Ordering such a person to do anything to the death is meaningless, is it not?” – And it thinks itself clever, to boot.

2) Erupting his rib-cage, sexy. Caster doesn’t like backtalk, apparently.

3) “No Heroic Spirit may enter this place.” – Liar, what about that golden haired servant you’ve given Shinji? :P

4) Hm, “Command Seals?!” – That means Caster summoned Assassin sans Command Seals, which explains all his backtalk, I guess.

5) “Greater Grail” and “Lesser Grail”! – Information out of nowhere, something the viewers couldn’t predict as no allusions have been made.

6) Kotomine Kirei, professional ass-kicker, at your service.

7) Well, seems old age had gotten the best of Kotomine Kirei. Time, that unconquerable tyrant.

8) “Without Saber, you’re helpless.” – Shirou, acting to protect Saber, but passively being protected by her.

9) Shirou, seeing Rin in the hands of another man, the hated Garcher. And cut.

Post Episode / Cour Thoughts:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Preview with Gilgamesh

It’s coming.

Uh, erm, where’s the real cour-finale, or the other half of this one, the one with all of the sweet action? I mean, a lot of what made this shounen-fest quite enjoyable to watch was the totally sweet action the series was filled with, which was quite lacking, not just in this finale, but over the last few episodes as well. Considering the show has had three 1-hour double features, you’d think they’d have organized it to truly end on a bang.

Which brings us to Saber being controlled by Caster. Yes, it’s a momentous event, and yes, it’s going to have major ramifications going forward, but between it not being dwelt on yet, or how we keep seeing Saber still struggling, still not truly converted, it didn’t have the necessary “Oomph” to make me go “Oh, snap!” If it were meant to be the “Oh snap!” moment of the episode, then it should’ve ended there, but the episode sort of ended on a non-moment, the whole half did.

The point here is the show’s pacing, and appreciating what its high and low moments of drama is a bit lacking, it treats almost everything, or at least too much, with the same sense of grave importance that makes none of it feel truly important, and more like a genre poking fun at itself. I often felt Rin’s treatment was a caricature, the show poking fun at itself and material.

Which brings us back to the first segment of the episode, the slice of life harem RomCom. Considering it’s based on a visual novel, one shouldn’t be too surprised. More to the point, it’s not entirely what I expected out of the show, and it’s pretty standard fare, but I have been enjoying the easy-going comedy romance nature of the show quite a bit, though Rin’s tsundere archetype had been dragging scenes down, and most that’s there could’ve easily been transported to any other number of shows.

Which brings me to my overall impression of the show thus far. The show had been an enjoyable shounen, with chuuni delusions, which are par the course, with terribly hilarious dialogue lines delivered seriously, with a cast that has a good chemistry, sweet action scenes, magical system references pulled out of nowhere. Sure, some of it is exciting, some of it is fun, some of it is overwrought. But the watch was overall enjoyable, it gave me most of what I expect from shounen shows, for better and for worse, and thankfully much less fan-service than I’m used to in this time and age.

I’ll give it 7.1/10 for now. It was hardly the best thing I’ve watched, and I had fun mocking it quite a few times, but I had fun, which is what matters.

2 comments on “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Episode 12 (Finale) – Fun Times. Dull Times. Conflict.

  1. EatzAce says:

    I faintly remember you saying you disliked F/Z (pardon me if I’m wrong) so my question is did you enjoy F/SN better than F/Z?

    Personally, as a huge fan of F/Z, the main problem I found with F/SN was that it felt lacking in terms of real stakes. For each major battle, a major consequence would follow but that consequence was almost immediately solved or mitigated and then quickly forgotten about.

    The biggest examples were when Shirou was stabbed in the back by Garcher right after the latter saved him from Caster. Immediately following in the same episode Shirou not only magically recovers but bears no feelings of hatred or fear against his attempted killer. Instead he simply resents how he mocked his ideals. The next episode Rin shows signs of guilt over her servant’s actions (mixed in with a lot of blushing and angry foot tapping) but in the end their alliance continues after Rin uses a command seal to stop Garcher from killing Shirou, no questions asked.

    Another example was the fight between Beserker and Garcher + Saber. Garcher invokes the “bone of his sword” making Beserker go up in flames but still remain very much alive. Ilya retreats, Shirou coughs up blood and the episode ends. Next episode Shirou is late for school (the horror) but is otherwise relatively fine. We learn Beserker’s noble phantasm of full recovery every 3 days, Ilya’s never seen again and it transitions back to VN slice of life comedy, effectively making the fight nothing more than an expository spectacle.

    In fact, the entire first half felt like one huge exposition with not a lot actually happening. The only meaningful things that occurred in the first half are Rider’s death and Saber’s kidnapping. The rest simply felt like set up for the 2nd half mixed in with light harem comedy to pass the time.

    F/Z on the other hand laid all the ground work exposition in the first hour long episode and built upon it with each character while simultaneously driving the story.

    While some reviewers like Digibro argue F/Z “shot itself in the foot” with this narrative structure as it results in a very boring first episode and little room for character development in the future, I’d argue it was perfect for a show that put heavier emphasis on its characters than its overall plot. I’d also argue it was far better than F/SN’s formula of having nearly every fight being nothing more than an expository spectacle to set up the latter half of the series.

    What do you think of F/Z’s exposition style compared to F/SN’s? Also sorry for the wall of text (I swear I initially planned to respond in 3-4 sentences).

    • Guy says:

      I didn’t dislike F/Z, I just didn’t like it all that much. I think it could’ve easily been a much better series, by reorganizing its episode structure. You said:

      I’d argue it was perfect for a show that put heavier emphasis on its characters than its overall plot.

      Err, no. The first half of the series didn’t at all work on making you care for the characters, and was entirely plot-driven. The second half had what actually made you care for the characters as characters. Had they actually included it in the first half, then you’d have been more invested in everything that followed, the “plot”, simplistic as it was, and the characters, which were the vehicle of the show and the ideological talking-heads “battle”.

      Did I enjoy F/SN: UBW’s first half more than Fate/Zero’s? Probably. Did I enjoy it more than F/Z as a whole? About equal? There were bits I enjoyed more, and bits I enjoyed less. I do think it’s not as good of a show, though, and F/Z wasn’t that good of a show either.

      That problem you outline with F/SN isn’t lack of stakes, but lack of narrative weight to the action, which I talked about in this last episode write-up – Saber gets taken, and there’s no tension that follows it, things just continue as normal, with the same levels of excitement and stress. It’s not lack of stakes that’s the issue, but lack of weight to the consequences. No stakes means nothing is up for grabs, here there’s something for grabs, which is why they fight, but then it turns out to have no meaning, no emotional meaning. So why get invested?

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