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Unfamiliar with Fate Stay Night, I went into this anime expecting a fair bit. Epic Heroes throughout myth and history clashing over the Holy Grail? I was looking forward to it. Even King Arthur being a woman interested me as I'm generally open to new takes on old themes.
What I got was disappointment, frustration, odd moments of disgust and even unintentional amusement. This anime was utterly terrible as a whole. I will say that the dub itself works rather well, even if Gilgamesh does have an odd Surfer Dude-esque accent. Beyond that though, there's little to praise the series for.
I know that some of the problems I have were probably addressed in the Visual Novel, but as a stand alone series, Fate Stay Night is just bad. The plot suffers from constant deus ex machinas, poor explanations and stuff that generally comes out of left field with few hints. Characters are introduced and are discarded with little fanfare once they're deemed unnecessary by the plot. It actually leads to an oddly funny scene where Sakura (Unbeknownst to her) is actually serving food to her brother's murderer and the people who know this fact don't feel the least bit awkward over it.
The characters themselves are the biggest failing of the entire series. Villains are brought in with Caster and her partner being the weakest of the bunch as they basically let the heroes live since, hey, the plot requires it. What motivation people get is poorly explained or generally not bothered with much with Kuzuki's motivation being explained by him as being "I'm evil... I guess."
That pales in comparison to the main character, Shirou Emiya. An annoying, self-righteous idiot who constantly refuses to learn from his mistakes and lead to traps so obvious, the only thing missing from them were giant neon signs saying 'THIS IS AN OBVIOUS TRAP'. There is absolutely nothing redeeming or interesting about him aside from a possible drinking game where you take a shot every time he's stabbed or mortally wounded.
Terrible writing, bland or terrible characters and mediocre animation all hamper a series I was really looking forward to. Maybe the Visual Novel or other parts of the franchise are better, it'd be hard for them not to be, but this anime has really killed my interest in checking them out. If you want to get into the franchise, check out something else from it first.
If by "Sakura's brother" you mean Shinji, then she either murders him herself, or is deeply thankful for it, as are the viewers usually. So, there's nothing awkward there.
Granted, in the visual novel, she has plenty of reason to be thankful, but in the anime, the full depth of his crimes against Sakura are never shown. It's kinda hinted that she knows something never happens but since Shirou doesn't know about this (Or, at least, not shown in the anime to know), it just creates this bit where he knows Ilya is responsible for Shinji's death, doesn't know what Sakura knows and you'd think it would be brought up at least. Just one of those points where the anime all but forgets about a character once the plot no longer needs them.
I for one agrees with pretty much everything you brought up, with the lone exception being that comment about the animation.
If this says anything I searched some parts of the VN in youtube to get some answers for the parts I did not understand in the anime and now I can make a guess as to why I they were so vague: The editors of the anime adaptation propably realized how poor those parts were and decided not to focus so much at them. From an objective view Saber is way too far from what any person with some sense would call \"perfact king and ideal knight\", despite the fact that even in F/SN it is made perfectly clear Gilgamesh tried to rape Saber that she viewed him as noble after that, Shirou\'s dramatic speech of how he\'ll still struggle for his ideal in F/SN UBW is reduce to an raging outburst of denial that would make you think he somehow replaced Heracles at the berserker class. And these are just a few of the flaws of the VN of F/SN.
If this says anything I searched some parts of the VN in youtube to get some answers for the parts I did not understand in the anime and now I can make a guess as to why said parts were so vague: The editors of the anime adaptation propably realized how poor those parts were and decided not to focus so much at them. From an objective view Saber is way too far from what any person with some sense would call "perfact king and ideal knight" (and , what's even worse, at the end of the VN she pretty much feels proud of herself and belieces that she did her job right and Shirou, after viewing her past, comes to the conclusion that her people were assholes and she was a victim of fate), despite the fact that in F/SN it is made perfectly clear that, before the events take place Gilgamesh tried to rape Saber, she views him as noble and Shirou's dramatic speech of how he'll still struggle for his ideals in F/SN UBW is reduces to a raging outburst of denial, that would make you think he somehow replaced Heracles at the berserker class, in the VN. These are just a few of the flaws of the VN of F/SN. All in all, from what I've seen, the V Ns of F/SN, UBW and HF is a perfect example for tropes like Designated Hero, Protagonist-Centered Morality and pointless, hardcore You Cant Fight Fate ( pointless because in most cases where it used it's obvious that the characters could have easily avoided their fates, sometimes they even do Screw Destiny in various levels and, thanks to the multiverse Nasu himself has made, it basically makes no sense to say that certain things were, are or will be unavoidable considering we all know they have, had or can be avoided in an alternative universe).
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