The Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Bluray was brought over to America by Sentai Filmworks and originally came out in theaters in Japan in January of 2010. If you haven’t seen the Fate/Stay Night anime or played any of the visual novels then don’t fret, for Unlimited Blade Works is just one of the series three possible routes. An alternate universe per say. So you will not need any prior knowledge of previous incarnations if watching the series for the very first time.
During the past 100 years the epic war called the Grail War has been fought between Magi who wished to obtain the legendary Holly Grail, that would grant them any wish they desired. Seven spirits are called forth to be servants for seven masters. These sprits may be historical, mythological, and even biblical. The war has taken place a number of times through the century resulting in terrible outcomes. Shiro Emiya a meterocure Magi who knows nothing of the Grail Wars unexpectantly summons Saber and enters a temporary partnership with Rin Tosaka and Archer. Along the way they face the other 5 servants and masters. Some of witch don’t exactly play by the rules.
Visually Unlimited Blade Works is stunning. It puts the animation of the Anime adaption of Fate/Stay Night to shame. It is nearly flawless and the colors are so bright. Since is a 105 minute movie and not a 26 episode anime, action is jam packed into every scene. This does not, however, come off as a good thing, as the story feels rushed giving less importance to characters and plot points. With that being said however, we do get to see some characters in a different light despite them having less screen time. It is defiantly a more gruesome and dark experience then the anime. Heck even the villain’s motives are more brutal.
Like I said before some of the characters are much different then their Fate personifications. Caster becomes more a central villain then the role of an overseer, as she breaks the rules and tortures Saber. I really admired Lancer in Unlimited Blade Works just because he isn’t a jerk like he was in the Fate route. He always felt like the most misunderstood servant to me as he was stolen from his true master angst his will. There is just something so heroic about him that sets him apart from Lancer from Fate/Zero. Shiro and Rin haven’t changed much and that’s the way it should be. Saber is just as powerful and epic as before, but is pushed aside as the movie hits its climax.
The plot isn’t completely solid since it throws you right into the War without much explication. They could have done a better job at explaining what the Grail War was, but its not much of a problem since the entire thing just rather sketchy to Shiro and the viewer in the first place. The blu-ray its self doesn’t have much in the way of extras but the English dub is included. Its not a half bad dub but I do recommend watching it in Japanese to witness its true authenticity.
Despite the lack of character development and rushed plot, its actually a great movie and really makes up for the visual prowess that the anime lacks. My final verdict: 8/10.