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YMMV / Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]

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  • Ass Pull: Just like the VN, Archer's appearance at Ryudou Temple in episode 24 is considered ridiculous by some fans. The scene is that, after running low on mana and being attacked by Gilgamesh, Archer shows up twelve hours later and saves Rin and Shirou from the Grail, with no one wondering how he's still alive.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Almost all complaints of adaptational unfaithfulness were silenced with Episode 20.
    • Episode 24 has redeemed the soundtrack in the eyes of some naysayers, bringing out mixes of a lot of classic tracks.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
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    • Shirou. Many of his same character traits from the visual novel are present, but many of his inner monologues and some of the complexity of his actions is removed, which can give anime-only viewers a different perception of him. This is especially evident between viewers who have read the visual novel (they understand him very well and are much more sympathetic to him) vs. new viewers who have been introduced to the Fate/Stay Night franchise through this anime (where he is borderline The Scrappy to these people). It's not quite as bad as the reception to him from the 2006 anime, but still noticeable. However, for those who watched the 2006 anime first, this is a huge step up from that Shirou.
    • Caster. Again, the root of the dissatisfaction comes from visual novel readers who feel the show gives viewers a rather one-dimensional portrayal of her and leaves out a lot of the deeper layers to her character found in the VN. On the flipside of things there are those who feel that this portrayal of Caster actually paid off on what was only hinted at in the visual novel, by showing the nature of her first master and the reason for her betrayal of him and even showing her rescuing his innocent captives. Showing her to have sympathetic traits beyond her tragic backstory and her love for her master.
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    • Gilgamesh. Some people love him for how powerful and laid back he is. Others hate him because of how he effortlessly defeats almost all of his opponents (which was also in the VN) and tends to steal screentime. Some people hate him simply because he has one of the most vocal fanbases, complaining excessively the moment he is inconvenienced.
  • Better on DVD: As with its predecessor, the series is one continuous plot arc and better paced when you can watch all the episodes back to back.
  • Broken Base: The fact that in Episode 22, ufotable chose to use the Bleached Underpants version of the mana transfer scene from Realta Nua (complete with Narmy CG dolphins) rather than even hint at Shirou and Rin having sex pissed off a portion of the VN readers who were expecting the series to not shy away from some of the more mature material. Others prefer the Realta Nua scene, feeling that it makes more sense in the context of the story and Rin's characterization, and that the original sex scene was a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Catharsis Factor:
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    • The momentary slow motion on on Shinji's face while being punched by Lancer was largely unnecessary, but very appreciated.
    • Gilgamesh's Humiliation Conga leading up to his death feels very well-deserved after what he did to Illya.
  • Contested Sequel: With the Fate/Zero anime adaptation, also done by the same company. While no one is saying either one is bad by any stretch of the word, people hotly debate which is better between the two adaptations.
  • Creator Worship: The studio ufotable recieves this treatment from a lot of fans, there's a reason why this show called "Unlimited Budget Works".
  • Foe Yay:
    • Lancer/Archer is an extremely popular pairing on the slash side of things.
    • Caster's just a bit too touchy-feely with Shirou in Episode 6. For an added dose of Les Yay, she gives lots of lingering caresses to Saber in later episodes.
  • Genius Bonus: If you look more closely at the container of the Grail before Gilgamesh activates it, you will notice it resembles a face, whose? Angra Mainyuu's one.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The show's final shot shows Shirou traveling to the Middle East to fight for justice as a hero. While this was already established as far back as Fate/EXTRA, it has a much more sobering tone when taking into account the war against ISIS at the time of the show's airing, and how thousands of foreign volunteers were rushing to Iraq and Syria to participate in that conflict for purely ideological reasons on both sides. Couple that with the meme of Archer taking out ISIS, and you have people worrying about his future.
  • Ho Yay: Shirou stripping Issei's clothes to check for a command seal.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Archer manages to have everyone dancing to his tune, even resident Magnificent Bitch Caster. That's just how badass he is.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Caster wasn't exactly a slouch in the DEEN adaptation, but in this version...HOT DAMN. Forcing Shirou to give up Saber for Fujimura's life is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Unlimited Budget Works". due to the out-of-this-world animation, which (as of 2014) is arguably the best-looking anime ever broadcast on TV. Some would even go so far as to say it's the best-looking animated television show ever shown.
    • Kinoko Nasu's hard-to-translate writing style provoked a couple of hilarious subtitles that have joined the infamous People die if they are killed from the VN and the 2006 anime. Except that this time they don't have the excuse of being fan-translations (although considering Crunchyroll's insane workload, they were likely rushed translations).
    • 360 No Scope! explanation 
    • "Archer took out ISIS!" explanation 
    • People comparing the Lancers from here and Fate/Zero, especially after Cu Chulainn is forced to kill himself like Diarmund was. Cu Chulainn's line "I wouldn't be much of a Heroic Spirit if I died right away from a scratch like this." evokes images of Diarmund being pissed at the implicit insult.
    • Kougami Eliminated Shinji explanation 
    • So Assassin fights King Arthur with a swalow-slaying technique, eh? Is it African or European swallow?
    • DOLPHIN explanation 
    • Kill Steal! explanation 
    • Unlimited Salt Works explanation 
    • Rin is a rhino explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Archer definitely crossed the line when he left Rin completely helpless so that Shinji could rape her. This is more of a case of Adaptational Villainy, as Archer despite everything had intentions of protecting her still in the VN. It was stated in the VN that Archer was left with only 10% of his power after his fight against Saber, thus leaving him unable to make a proper stand against Gilgamesh, who got quite a few lines of narration describing his killing intent towards Archer; this makes it understandable that he would have to make the decision to pursue his plan to kill Shirou rather than choosing to get killed quickly by Gilgamesh and still leaving an outcome where Rin gets raped. However, with the anime throwing that entire detail into question due to Archer still being able to materialize Unlimited Blade Works (a reliable counter to the Gate of Babylon) against Shirou, it really makes Archer's actions seem a lot colder by comparison.
    • Gilgamesh takes a flying leap over the horizon with his brutal beatdown and murder of Illya.
  • Narm:
    • After Illya and Berserker's deaths Rin and Shirou sit down and have a chat about Gilgamesh and his epic. While in the VN this information is unnecessary since players would have already played through the Fate route and therefore know what Gil's deal is the anime needed to introduce him to its audience for this adaptation. Unfortunately they decided to do it with a painful exposition dump where they discuss his epic and status as the first hero. While it's a little bit of a stretch that the two would know something as obscure as Gilgamesh's epic off the top of their heads its not completely impossible. Where it gets ridiculous however is when the two then proceed to guess, with 100% accuracy, how exactly his Gate of Babylon works and why which is such a bizarre leap in logic that it could only come about if the two had glanced at the script beforehand.
    • In Episode 21, Shinji being warped and mutated by Illya's heart into the grail core is indeed horrific... but then a bunch of disembodied arms come out of nowhere and turn it into a Big Ball of Violence reminiscent of something you'd see from a Looney Tunes episode, turning the scene from horror to pure hilarity. And even then, with a different character it might still have been frightening or disturbing... but in this case, it's Shinji, so it's 'k.
    • "Just because you're correct doesn't mean you're right" is pretty much the new "people die when they are killed" in that the intention is meaningful and works in context ("just because you're factually correct doesn't mean you're doing the right thing"), but the redundant-sounding wording turns it into hilarity.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Both Luviagelita Edelfelt and Waver Velvet (as Lord El Melloi II) appear in the last episode of the series during the segment of Rin and Shirou living their lifes in the Clock Tower. The former has one of her classic rivalry scenes with Rin (with a short but well-animated fight scene), while the later has a brief but interesting conversation with Shirou about his ideals. Both cameos were well received by the fans, especially since it revealed to anime-only people what was of Waver (one of the fan favourites from Fate/Zero) after the end of the 4th Grail War.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Many fans generally agreed that despite what they thought Shirou initially, the events of Episode 20 completely redeemed his character.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Comes with the territory of being an adaptation of a visual novel with several possible love interests.
    • Shirou/Rin is the Official Couple of this adaptation, and although this pairing has a big share of followers, there's also a good number of viewers who think Shirou has more chemistry with Saber. Thank God for the Sunny Day ending which came out as an extra in the second season box set...
    • Then there are those who still thought Rin was a much better match with Archer (even after he betrayed her, kidnapped her and gave her to Shinji), although this one has been an FPC since as long as the original VN has existed. It's ironic because Archer and Shirou are the same person, so in the end Rin's going to end up with him either way.
  • Tainted by the Preview: While the recast was expected by most people, Shirou and Archer being recasted for the English version did not sit well with English-speaking fans.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The anime started adding more and more original scenes while downplaying a lot of other elements from the VN (in particular internal monologues and explanations of some of the verse's more complex subjects). One major point of contention was the anime's expansion of Caster's backstory which Type-Moon vets felt took time away from other plot points that needed to be addressed.
    • The English dub cast was announced on July 2015, and... to say that Bryce Papenbrook as Shirou is controversial is a pretty big understatement. Replacing Liam O'Brien with Kaiji Tang for Archer also got people worked up (though this ended up working out, partially because it turns out Tang is an enormous fan of Fate and Archer and turned in a killer performance).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A somewhat... odd example in the case of Sakura. Although there are some nods to the events of Fate/Zero, her torture at the hands of the Matous isn't addressed in this anime because it wasn't meant to be outside of Heaven's Feel. The Heaven's Feel adaptation movies will be happening, but coming right off of F/Z it can feel disjointed.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Simply put, if you watched Fate/Zero before this and expected Unlimited Blade Works to be a direct followup which gives closure to all of the plot points from the prequel series, you could end up mildly disappointed to say the least. Sakura's torture by the Matous isn't even remotely brought up. Gilgamesh's Hidden Depths and subtle character development from the prequel where he showed himself capable of mercy and even camaraderie with his enemies is nowhere to be seen at all. Illya's past and potential to bond with Shirou as siblings who both shared Kiritsugu as a father is thrown under the bus as Illya gets brutally killed before she can make any real connection with Shirou. Rin does find out that Kotomine was the one who killed her father but at that point, she isn't even allowed a single chance at revenge. The only thing that really carried over from Fate/Zero to this series is Waver and his appearance is very brief to say the least.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Among other issues, the main one stigma against this series is that it's a follow up to Fate/Zero's anime adaptation, which received near-universal acclaim. So naturally fans were a bit disappointed that this series doesn't build on what Zero established (beyond a handful of continuity nods) and the scale of the Fifth Grail War is much smaller than the Fourth, with a more constrained narrative.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Some people have argued that ufotable has made one of the best-looking televised anime of all time. It's not hard to see why, especially when you compare the 2006 series to this.
  • What an Idiot!: At the end of Episode 9, Rin, Saber, and Shirou realize Rider was killed by Caster's Master and interrogate Shinji to find out who it is. After one try, they all just let him go, despite it being clear Shinji knows exactly who he is. However, this can be explained by the fact that they're more concerned with making sure the students are alright.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Episode 24 has won the praise of every VN fan who was dissatisfied with the way the anime was taking things. At the same time, a lot of Fate/Zero fans were alienated by it due to Gilgamesh getting his ass kicked by Shirou. It really hurts that Gilgamesh has major Popularity Power among some very loud Fate/Zero fans.

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