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Pretentious, badly-written... and just plain boring. (VN Review)
Fate/stay night has no idea what it wants to be. Low-key Urban Fantasy or High-key Ultimate Showdown Of Ultimate Destiny? Dark and serious story or Sengoku Basara-esque Rule Of Cool fest? F/sn tries to be both but, while I'm not saying it couldn't have ever pulled it off, fails miserably at it. The 'serious' stuff just ends up dreary and distracting, while the 'awesome' stuff just ends up childish and out-of-place.

I mean, King Arthur being a girl alone (for no real reason I may add) practically invites irony and sniggering, yet it's taken 100% seriously.

If the 'darker' approach was to work, then F/sn would need decent characters worth caring about. Characters it doesn't have. Shirou's dull, preachy and unrelatable (even in HF), Saber's even duller, Rin's just plain annoying, Archer only serves to make Shirou even preachier, and everyone else is either drowning in Deus Angst Machina, a stereotypical Complete Monster, or barely developed at all. Even the servants, for all Nasu's 'research', come off as pitifully watered-down versions of their legendary selves (Cuchullain especially, and what's the point of having Heracles there if all he's going to do until his 'death' is scream mindlessly?). Oh, and special note goes to completely ignoring Gilgamesh's entire Character Development in the original Epic.

All the usual pitfalls of the Nasu Verse make their appearance here too, rigid, inflexible and utterly boring World Building, tons of Info Dumps and Purple Prose that read just as bad in Japanese as they do in English, an unhealthy overdose of Magic A Is Magic A (so it can be conveniently broken for the main character) and being too far up on The Roddenberry Line for its own good, and an adolescent focus on 'action' (albeit justified this time considering F/sn's premise) prevented from being any fun from how hugely pretentious the rest of the work is.

Oh, and when F/sn actually does try to be humorous, the results are... dire, to say the least.

I guess the premise alone was intriguing, and some of the music and artowrk was fairly good, but those are about the only positive things I can say about F/sn.

Final Verdict: Avoid. The Nasu Verse in general is in need of a serious overhaul (or a much stricter editor), and Fate Stay Night shows that more than anything else.
I could not disagree more with this review. I absolutely loved Fate/Stay Night the entire time, and I think it pulled off both drama and action very nicely.

Is it perfect? No, it has a lot of flaws, but I really liked it all the same. I guess I liked the characters a lot, even if not at all relating to their original myths, and I never really found Shirou annoying (except in Fate).
comment #7133 LordOfRapture 30th Mar 11
Disagree with this review. I think Fate Stay Night excelled in quality and if the person that wrote this review thinks he can pull of something better than he should make a book. The originality, action, drama and character development were great.

Plus guess what? A lot of people actually liked King Arthur as a girl and it most likely made Fate Stay Night sell better. So I guess the reviewer assuming that people won't like King Arthur as a girl assumed to much.
comment #7216 Bf 7th Apr 11
This is pretty wrong on all accounts.

The story was never really meant to be "low key". That much is obvious, so you fail to grasp a stories tone. It's obviously high-key. Any "low key" moments exist as breathers.

You also fail to grasp the characters as well.

First off, Shirou is far from "dull" or "preachy" at all. Preachy is, in fact, the LAST word I'd use to describe him as a character. Ditto with the other characters.

"completely ignoring Gilgamesh's entire Character Development in the original Epic."

Excuse me? The development of Gilgamesh in he original Epic was largely about him learning to accept his mortality. In FSN Gilgamesh doesn't really cover that issue. Basically all Nasu did was transplant a Hero from that age, and how they were expected to act, and put him in a modern era with OUR morality. This made him an antagonist.

Everything else is basically opinion, so there's little point in refuting it. However, I WILL state that "pretentious" is basically one of those words that just means "I don't like it" and is such meaningless.
comment #7223 PataHikari 9th Apr 11 (edited by: PataHikari)
Agree completely with this review. Something that you don't mention though is that not only is turning King Arthur into a girl laughable, it serves no actual purpose beyond letting the heterosexual male protagonist have a love interest. If KN wanted to do that, he could have just made Saber Guinevere instead.
comment #7765 Concillius 23rd May 11
If KN wanted to do that, he could have just made Saber Guinevere instead.

Problems:

  • Can't call her Saber then.
  • Guinevere isn't a legendary hero by any stretch of definition, so she can't be a Servant candidate.
  • No Excalibur/Caliburn/Avalon, all of which were pretty important to the Fate route.
comment #7766 zeroplusalpha 24th May 11
This review basically is completely wrong. A wonderful, wonderful story and world. In fact, it just seems that tsuir failed to understand the story. And characters. And...well, everything. It's not perfect by any means, but you could do a hell of a lot worse and still have an enjoyable VN.
comment #9174 Shinji117 9th Aug 11
Im going to agree with the Review.

The series is so silly its annoying. Without decrying the Fans (except the six above), I must say... Good god, what a Horrible series. The mythology is warped to kingdom come, Arthur becoming a girl is just plain stupid, the power levels are balanced horrible and frankly, it really suffers from the problem of trying to cover to many settings and ideas and all become jumbled.

That doesn't mean one couldn't enjoy it. Heavens know there are far, far more broken works out there who still mantain a respectable fanbase and are still fun to watch.

But for me, what broke the world was the Noble Fantasmas. Especifically Gae Bolg (who always pierce), the Gate of Babylon and the Fragarach. Those had to be the most stupid, flat out broken weapons ever created. I mean, come on, a weapon that rewrites reality so you are already dead and one who posses literally thousands upon thousand of noble Fantasma and Ea, who can cut reality, time and the world itself.

How do they mantain Drama and Willing Suspension of Disbelief with such otherwordly powerful weapons in a Survival Game? In the most stupidiest way possible, by either the people being to proud to use them or simply forget them... because is not fair.

I'm going to be honest. I didn't watch the entire Anime, I read half of the novels and I have never played the games. Many of the things I found out was because here and scrolling Stay Night Wiki for days. Does that make my comment meaningless? No, it doesn't, because only a pedant would demand to watch until the last particle of a Fanon to say yay or nay and frankly, I would not end the works even if I was payed. Like comment 3 and "pretentious" which seems to be know the keyword for ("you are a snob, so your opinion doesn't matter in fan circles)... which come as a little Hypocrite if I must say so.

I read what I could and left the rest to rot.

It bored me, it annoyed me and besides the fanfic Hill of the Swords (which was so-so), its just plain boring. It hasn't left me with any meaningful fealing except of how:

  • Not to use weapons.
  • Don't portray Mythological figureas as winny bastards.
  • Naru Verse had some of the must fuck up morals since Song of Ice and Fire about Kingship and leadership.
  • Showdown of Ultimate destiny are overrated.
  • Either explain or don't, but don't put half assed constructed bullcrap like the Holy grail and the root to your readers
  • Just because it sounds cool doesn't mean its going to come cool.

Give it a check but don't expect too much abou it. Except Alexander, that man was awesome.

comment #9365 WhitebeardYamato 20th Aug 11 (edited by: WhitebeardYamato)
How do they mantain Drama and Willing Suspension of Disbelief with such otherwordly powerful weapons in a Survival Game?

...because everybody has them? It's like Marvelvs Capcom 2, everybody's a Game Breaker.

Like comment 3 and "pretentious" which seems to be know the keyword for ("you are a snob, so your opinion doesn't matter in fan circles)... which come as a little Hypocrite if I must say so.

No, it means "I don't like this. But it's not enough to just not like it. I MUST use meaningless words to deride it so I can insult its fans"
comment #9369 PataHikari 20th Aug 11 (edited by: PataHikari)
This feels like a troll review. Next.
comment #10694 GintaxAlvissforever 10th Oct 11
Having a different opinion =/= Trolling. Try again.
comment #10705 eveil 11th Oct 11
I wouldn't say trolling. Rather, failing at grasping the tone of the work and not liking the characters ? Yeah, it pretty much boils down to that.

If anything, it shows at least that a story cannot please everyone. I'd go so far as to say it's an incitation for people to forge their own opinion about it. Just be warned that if you tend to be butthurt about "mythological accuracy", you may be in for a disappointment.
comment #11060 antan 26th Oct 11
"The mythology is warped to kingdom come", I have to disagree, Fate/Stay Night is one of the most mythological accurate series I have ever had the pleasure to watch. Because of the fact that they take an original look at the mythology does not mean it is twisted at all. So what if they made King Arthur a girl, the legends never denied the possibility that King Arthur was a girl hiding her true gender, otherwise it wouldn't be very well hidden would it? Also since you only watched the Anime it is not really a very good way to judge it since it leaves out all the detail the VN's put in. I mean the only myth you are focusing on is King Arthur's, Lancers (Including fate zero's) had a very accurate representation that was spot on with the original myths. You are allowed like any other human being to hold your own opinion, however please eat the whole cookie before you want to throw it out since you think the rest will taste bad.
comment #11629 Hollownerox 29th Nov 11
@Hollownerox

This review IS on the Visual Novel, so your argument is mostly invalid.
comment #11872 Nettacki 12th Dec 11
Context: Haven't played the game or seen the series or read the book.

What's wrong with making King Arthur into a girl?
comment #12069 randomfanboy 27th Dec 11
I would call this review hypocritical based on several of the reviewers assumptions that his own knowledge of historical characters, fictional or not, are the only interpretation. It's fairly presumptuous of a reviewer to call any work pretentious because of its use of certain characters without hard evidence that the multitude of chronicles, myths, and legends are somehow all factual, yet contradictory in many cases. Afterall, there are so many different interpretations of these characters, that none have to be completely accurate according to historians, as long as they resemble the characters. That's one of the great things about using a Public Domain Character or a Historical Domain Character - they are allowed to be subject to personal interpretation, and as such, Artistic License.

Was Medusa a monster or was she an unfairly treated victim of circumstance? There are contradictory myths regarding the character, and it would be wise for detractors of the so-called "mythological inaccuracies" to remember that there is no single solitary version of the various myths, and that a pre-conceived notion regarding any of them can and will detract from the experience.

Arthur was not written by a single person, but rather chronicled by different people, and as such, the stories have all undergone some blending into what we today understand today as the Arthur legend. The same is true for every one of the mythical characters who appear in Fate/Stay Night and it's sequel and prequel.

The same is true for Medea, Medusa, Gilgamesh, Herakles, and even Cu Chulainn. The various writers of history cannot agree on what some of these great mythical characters did. So, anyone who would try to claim inaccuracy simply Did Not Do Research.

In terms of the structure of the story, there is nothing wrong with making King Arthur a girl if the explanation is presented as believable within the universe in which it appears. That's simply the story's internal logic, which works. Every time they set up a 'rule', they also make exceptions to those rules. We are, afterall, talking about a story that plays with the Timey Wimey Ball as well as at least three different forms of an Alternate Universe. The change that Arthur is a girl who takes up the mantle of King, and uses magic to disguise her gender is no less believable than a god-king like Gilgamesh who is, if he is true to the legend, two-thirds divine (you do the math on how that works out), yet lives a mortal life and spends the rest of his days after his supposed Character Development trying to find eternal youth and life. Remember, he died. Now he found a way to live again. The question stands: If Gilgamesh found a way to live again, what would he do with his newfound vitality?

If there's any criticism to be given, it should be in the writing style and how those characters are presented, and that of course, is Your Mileage May Vary.
comment #12576 DevilTakeMe 29th Jan 12
"King Arthur being a girl alone (for no real reason I may add) practically invites irony and sniggering, yet it's taken 100% seriously.

Stopped reading there, you clearly are too biased and pretentious [why does no one actually understand what that word means] to give this novel/thing a proper review.
comment #17006 calamondin 28th Nov 12
Definition of PRETENTIOUS

1: characterized by pretension: as a : making usually unjustified or excessive claims (as of value or standing) <the pretentious fraud who assumes a love of culture that is alien to him Richard Watts> b : expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature <pretentious language> <pretentious houses>
comment #17654 KyleJacobs 12th Jan 13
@calamondin: You're misusing the words "biased" and "pretentious". This is a proper review, and it has been successful in informing my decision. I'm not going to pick up the VN.

PS commentators. Saying nothing but "I disagree with the reviewer" or "I agree with the review" won't sway the reader's decision either way. So what if you don't agree? At least provide a compelling counter argument instead of just saying "actually, the drama was done well".
comment #17683 maninahat 14th Jan 13
"Stopped reading there, you clearly are too biased and pretentious [why does no one actually understand what that word means] to give this novel/thing a proper review."

Yeah, pretty much.
comment #17685 kay4today 14th Jan 13
"This is a proper review, and it has been successful in informing my decision. I'm not going to pick up the VN."

How can you claim it a "proper review" if you haven't touched the source being reviewed? You have no idea how legitimate the complaints are, having only this review to base those complaints off of. It's not as if such complaints are the general consensus, either; this comment section proves that. It's not as you say with their comments, either; commenters like Devil Take Me, Pata Hikari, and Hollownerox all give a lengthy justification for their viewpoint, as opposed to just saying "I disagree."
comment #17686 MFM 14th Jan 13
"How can you claim it a "proper review" if you haven't touched the source being reviewed?"

The whole purpose of a review is to inform the people who haven't already played the game, and to help them decide whether they should give it a try. If you've already played the game, the review is useless, as you've already found out for yourself what the game is like. Whilst I don't know if either the reviews or the comments are "reliable" (that is to say, if their views will match my own), I'm going to value their opinion more if they produce a compelling enough argument, consensus or not.

"commenters like Devil Take Me, Pata Hikari, and Hollownerox all give a lengthy justification for their viewpoint, as opposed to just saying "I disagree."

Then obviously my criticism of short opinion posts doesn't apply to them.

comment #17687 maninahat 14th Jan 13
@maninahat

That falls kinda flat, since there are always positive and negative reviews of a work. Just forming your opinion on one review can be really misleading.

comment #17688 kay4today 14th Jan 13
It is usually worth reading more than one - wescotta's review was a good contrast to this one - but you don't need to hear very many opinions to form a decent enough picture in your head, especially if those opinions are explained well.
comment #17690 maninahat 14th Jan 13
Well there's also the matter of the context the opinions were based on. Having recently played F/SN, I'm rather neutral on it, but I can say for a fact that everything Pata Hikari said was more or less true (my only point of contention would be that I did find the protagonist somewhat preachy, but it was more restricted to his monologuing rather than what he says to anyone else). Those particular criticisms did come across to me as out-of-context slander.

I also feel that the review does a disservice to the work by failing to mention the interactions between any of the characters, which I feel is probably the high point of the work. Conversely, the review didn't mention how F/SN is obnoxiously long for some reason, and that by the time you get halfway through Heaven's Feel, the story has long worn out its welcome. That's probably the worst part of F/SN. These criticisms, I doubt anyone who's played the game could argue on anything other than the grounds of YMMV, but an opinion decrying a work for its mythical characters not being the same as in their original myths when transposed to an entirely new setting and given entirely new roles and motivations is rather childish, if you ask me.
comment #17695 DeviousRecital 14th Jan 13
I have to agree with some of the critiques in this review. The game definitely suffer for infodumps, and portions are marred by purple prose, and King Arthur being a girl was a terrible idea.

Other critiques I have to say are the exact opposite of problems I had with the game. Rather than the worldbuilding being too rigid and inflexible, with an overdose of Magic A Is Magic A, I think the whole Nasuverse suffers for having worldbuilding that's much too flexible. Nasu follows the philosophy that "rules are made to be broken," and so he introduces rule after rule, just to try and create an impact by breaking them.

I've refrained from writing a review of FSN myself because I wouldn't be able to keep within the space restrictions, just expounding on the flaws in the game.

But I still rated it a 9/10 on the Visual Novel Database.

Fate/Stay Night has loads and loads of problems, but I think that its strengths are exceptional. I had a very dubious impression going in; pretty much everything I knew about the premise failed to endear it to me, but I wanted to give it a chance on the strength of someone else's recommendation. And I was very glad I did. In spite of all its faults, I became intensely invested in the characters, the conflict, and the action. If I don't have room to describe everything I thought this game did wrong, I certainly don't have room to describe everything I thought it did right either, but I will say that it affected me more powerfully than most works I've ever experienced.

All the various spinoffs have only succeeded in leaching away the further interest in the setting I came away from the game with though. I'd be much more interested in Nasu's future work if he didn't overexploit the success he's already had.
comment #17718 Desertopa 16th Jan 13
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