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Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works – 24 »« Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works – 22

Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works – 23

「顕現」 (Kengen)
“Incarnation”

Let’s talk about Shinji.

Now, I don’t particularly like Shinji, because nobody does. But I don’t hate him either, because 1. Hate is too strong of an emotion for my withered soul to feel 2. he’s a bit too unlikeable. At least Gilgamesh has power and charisma and the the voice of the ever brilliant Tomokazu Seki behind him. Shinji has nothing, and Kamiya Hiroshi‘s brilliance is channelled into making him sound as whiny as possible. Shinji is just a pathetic sack of meat, and he’s designed to pretty much be as unlikeable as humanly possible. So Shinji feels more like a victim of the plot, while Gilgamesh is comparatively more culpable for his actions. Not that I particularly hate Gilgamesh either (ref: 1.) but he feels like much more of a real villain than Shinji, relatively speaking.

Shinji, as the embodiment of human failing, serves an important purpose. With the Grail overflowing with human, and being used as a justification for Gilgamesh’s Final Solution to the human problem, we need a character to represent all our foibles. So, here’s Shinji, as a the worst possible sample of our race. The stronger point is that Rin and Shirou strive to save him anyway. Yes, Shinji has done despicable things. Yes, he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But such is the culmination of Shirou’s ideal: he should save him anyway. As Gandalf would say, many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Shirou’s idea of heroism is that one should strive to save them all, perhaps in pursuit of that small hope of redemption. Shinji must be saved. To do otherwise would be to abandon all that character developed we set up with Shirou vs Archer. Although, it’s a bit convenient that he could be so easily plucked out of that writhing heap of creepy flesh.

My little rant aside, the rest of the episode was not actually too eventful. Gilgamesh has gotten onto his villain soapbox again, so he’s not going to do much except monologue and slap Shirou around. He does get to show off Ea, though, which is still extremely hax for no good reason. That scene entire scene was not in the original visual novel, though I can see why they did it and I approve. It’s for the sake of setting up some future developments that UBW would not appreciate as much otherwise.

If you wanted actual fighting, no just Shirou turning into a Gundam, narrating his attacks, and exchanging sword volleys, you’ll have to look to Assassin vs Saber, which was sadly short, but still good. Assassin doesn’t get as much love compared to some of the other Servants of UBW, and getting to be cool one last time before the finale is about as much as he can expect. It’s also an appropriate time to get his backstory, such as it is. With Gilgamesh continuously deriding Shirou for being a fake, here’s Assassin who’s more fake than he is. But being a fake doesn’t stop Assassin from finding a purpose and, more importantly, being badass. Of course, his actual purpose is to let Saber defeat someone this Holy Grail war. Japanese swords are inferior. Yeah, I said it.

Looking ahead

Normally I like to be a bit reflective going towards the finale, but perhaps because we’ve been at it for two cours (not including the movie), or because I’m familiar for the source, I only really wish to see all this end. Really, what else is there to cover at this point? We’re at a fairly routine juncture right now. The hero needs to stop the villain. That’s it. Rin needs to get herself un-stranded. Shirou needs to get back up with Heroic Resolve. Saber needs to arrive at some point. This has been the first act of the final battle, and of course Shirou is going to take a beating. Standard, standard. Next week shall be act 2: Mugen no Kensei!

 

Preview

June 14, 2015 at 4:39 am
65 comments »
  • June 14, 2015 at 4:49 amthePiGrepper

    “Japanese swords are inferior.” it’s a match against f**ing excalibur lol.

    • June 14, 2015 at 6:21 amPotato

      Glorious Nippon Steel vs Gaijin Fairy metal

      • June 14, 2015 at 9:56 amdanes256

        haha damn funniest thing i’ve read today

      • June 14, 2015 at 11:05 amPetit Orenji

        I think glorious Excalibur pretty much has the power of Nuc bombs in this series…

      • June 14, 2015 at 11:45 pmewok40k

        Speaking of nukes, i wonder how would fare a HS hit head on by megaton-range nuke?
        It would be definitely something right out of certain mage-killer playbook…

  • June 14, 2015 at 5:42 ambelatkuro

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    Ea too OP pls nerf. I love using its full powered version, Enuma Elish in CCC to deal the final blow with 99999 damage. Probably the only time where Gil pulls it out for someone else, namely his Master, Hakuno.
    While the arm was too random, I do like this change to how Gil shows Ea for the first time instead of the one in the VN where you had to rely on an answer from Nasu to clear things up regarding how Shirou survived it.

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2032.jpg
    I do wonder why they changed the reasoning for Assassin’s defeat. Sure they were showing the cracked hilt as the reason but why change it from the bent sword in the VN? That was the reason why there was a gap in Tsubame Gaeshi where Saber went for the kill.

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%20Preview%2001.jpg
    They already spoiled Shirou’s line in the preview but still looking forward to it.

    • June 14, 2015 at 12:09 pmWtragedy

      Cause in the VN we can’t see the actual sword so the bent part was a surprise… now in the anime if it was bent we could see it and there won’t be any surprise.

      • June 14, 2015 at 1:30 pmGoXDS

        but the bent sword was mentioned early in the fight, not near the final confrontation. here, it’s left unclear. if Saber’s able to defeat him and his technique, then why was she so hesitant all this time, going as far as saying she loses the moment he releases this technique?

      • June 14, 2015 at 9:45 pmHanabira.Kage

        @GoXDS: She didn’t notice the damage. She subconsciously slipped into the opening between the slashes thanks to her Insight skill, that’s all.

      • June 15, 2015 at 2:54 amPasserby

        If I was to be really cynical, it’s simply easier to animate this way. No need to bother about adding a subtle bend the sword every frame and updating design documents. Just show some damage once.

  • June 14, 2015 at 5:59 amRavenlord

    So uh… if we’re saving everyone, what about Gil-kun? I think this is why I always preferred Archer to Shirou; more than often, one HAS to pick sides instead of making everyone happy.

    Also, I’m glad to see they expanded a little on Gin’s motivation. Now my heart can be content when I see him go down. :)

    • June 15, 2015 at 2:53 amPasserby

      Silly, Ravenlord, Gilgamesh isn’t real. He’s a copy created for the Holy Grail war. He’s a fake.

      • June 18, 2015 at 1:52 pmmaiku

        I reply again…
        is ironical how the one that is not a fake is archer himself.

  • June 14, 2015 at 6:02 amdamrod

    Comparing normal japanese swords to legendary swords is kinda meh.
    Then again, one could argue that japanese swords can be inferior at some things while being superior at others just like one could do with american or european swords

    • June 14, 2015 at 6:51 amWorldwideDepp

      if we would like to compare Sword, then “Highlander” would be the best fit. They maintain their Sword that Long, that they even can cut through cement (there was an underground parking fight scene, if i remember correct)

      But this Fight, between Assassin and Saber is not won with their Weapons. It was Saber’s Skill that won it. She knew his weak spot in this Attack, and use it

      • June 14, 2015 at 8:52 amYuu

        In pure skill Assassin is better, Saber won thanks to Luck, plot armor and how ridiculously thick is her broadsword

      • June 14, 2015 at 10:42 amdjango03

        Not this time. Saber could have blown him away with Excalibur but then she wouldn’t be able to stop the grail. The only reason she won was because Assassin directly locked swords with her to force the fight to an end before he faded away. Unlike Excalibur, Assassin’s sword is just a regular (albeit long and well crafted) katana. The clash damaged Assassin’s sword which resulted in his three way attack having a tiny opening in it. To be able to use that to win demonstrate’s Saber’s incredible skill but her skill still pales compared to Assassin’s. Remember that Assassin’s ‘noble phantasm’ is the result of pure skill not magic or strength. Even Saber can’t top that. The only way Assassin could really lose in terms of sword skill would be if Miyamoto Mushashi were to be summoned as a heroic spirit.

    • June 14, 2015 at 2:25 pmMgMaster

      Hehe, even if it wasn’t a legendary blade, assuming or close to equal skill, I’d still put my money on a crossguard & doubled edge.

      Also, katana is shit vs armor, though Seibah’s shoulders are exposed.

      But vven if Assassin was the better swordsman, Seibah could’ve prolly taken one or two slashes to the body due to her armor while Assassin didn’t have that luxury. I suppose that alone means that he had to be more skilled than her to properly face her, though I don’t think the skill gap was large enough to make up for the difference in equipment, and this isn’t even counting Excalibur.

      • June 15, 2015 at 2:55 amPasserby

        Listen to this man. Katanas aren’t for fighting armoured foes, they’re for oppressing peasants.

      • June 17, 2015 at 3:34 amSMinstrel

        with the exception of special purpose sword like estoc, ALL sword are shit against any form of armor.

  • June 14, 2015 at 6:49 amCybersteel

    I am the Bone of my Sword,

    • June 14, 2015 at 7:48 amT.K.

      Steel is my body; and Fire is my blood,

      • June 14, 2015 at 8:51 amKrys

        I have created over a thousand blades,

      • June 14, 2015 at 9:06 amthesnnitro

        Unknown to Death; Nor known to Life,

      • June 14, 2015 at 10:27 amL002

        Have withstood pain to create many weapons

      • June 14, 2015 at 11:52 amAnonymous

        Yet these hands won’t hold anything

      • June 14, 2015 at 1:33 pmDorian

        So as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works!

    • June 14, 2015 at 2:46 pmRagefat

      Sorry to disappoint, but Show Spoiler ▼

      My whole life was unlimited blade works

      • June 14, 2015 at 2:52 pmDorian

        True. But everyone knows Archer’s by heart. Very few know Shirou’s.

  • June 14, 2015 at 7:38 amTechim

    • June 14, 2015 at 7:45 amWorldwideDepp

      dam, this Photoshop guy has skills

  • June 14, 2015 at 9:33 amManman

  • June 14, 2015 at 10:23 amL002

    As twisted as Gilgamesh became, he does have a good point in regards to Shirou’s hypocrisy; ideally, it would have been better to just kill Shinji, personally I hate the idea of Ilya being dead while Shinji gets to live, though some part of it is understandible since there was a reason that Sakura, in the past, saw that idiot as family.

    Notably, I recalled that Servants are nothing but copies of the originals, which includes their noble phantasms. I know Shirou can’t copy it, but that Ea should also be a copy right? Since it’s possibly a living thing then I understand that Shirou can’t copy Ea.

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2025.jpg
    On the side note Show Spoiler ▼

    • June 14, 2015 at 11:27 amLelo

      Only Gilgamesh can use that key, it shouldn’t be possible for a normal human to open the Gate of Babylon even using it.

    • June 14, 2015 at 5:42 pmfragb85

      Ea can’t be copied because its made of materials from extraterrestrial origins which Archer/Shirou can’t duplicate. It’s the same thing with Excalibur, it can’t be traced because apparently it was constructed from the realms of the Faeries are some s***. Although in the case of Excalibur the Fate materials constantly contradict itself whether it can be traced or not.

      • June 15, 2015 at 1:20 amL002

        Yeah, thanks for telling me. So then only the World can make a copy of Ea right? Or are you saying this Gilgamesh, a copy of the original, is using the original Ea?

      • June 15, 2015 at 4:07 amfragb85

        Heroic spirits don’t really have anything to do with the World. If anything, Servants are are not recognized as a proper existence and the World tries to “delete” them. That’s why Servants need a mana supply to maintain their form or they fade away.

        Heroic Spirits and their Noble Phantasms are summoned from the Throne of Heroes, which is sort of an extra-dimensional data bank with all the records of all the legendary figures of history. Saber is an exception since she isn’t from the Throne of Heroes hence why she can keep here memories from the previous war.

    • June 15, 2015 at 3:00 amPasserby

      See, we dealt with this thing about hypocrisy in the last few episodes. Yes, it would be more efficient to just kill Shinji, and that would definitely be the Archer solution. But Shirou’s ideal is, ‘wouldn’t it be great if everyone could be saved,’ and to live by that he must make an attempt. It’s not about vengeance, what Shinji ‘deserves’. It’s about leaving nobody behind, and perhaps believing that even scum like Shinji can find salvation. incidentally, this leads handily into Heaven’s Feel later down the line; watch out for it.

  • June 14, 2015 at 11:25 amTrapMasters

    Is it just me, or does it seem that Shirou is developing more and more plot armour as the story goes on? Not that I’m not enjoying UBW, but Shirou’s managed to survive every encounter so far, despite being totally unprepared and underpowered. This episode, Shirou said he can probably do pull off 10-20 projection after receiving Rin’s magic crest, but during Archer’s fight, he definitely pulled out WAY more projection than 20, and he’s survived encounter with Gil at least 2 times, and now, this fight, he still manages to hold on. I get that Avalon heals him, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make you invincible, does it?

    • June 14, 2015 at 11:29 amPetit Orenji

      The plot requires him to survive. There’s no practical reason why he should be alive.

      • June 14, 2015 at 6:22 pmTrapMasters

        But couldn’t they do it a bit more naturally and more subtle? I feel UBW could’ve gone on my top anime list if these situations were done better, but maybe that’s just me :P

  • June 14, 2015 at 11:27 amPetit Orenji

    “Shinji is just a pathetic sack of meat, and he’s designed to pretty much be as unlikeable as humanly possible”
    Fxxk no. He almost raped Rin because he can’t get pussy any other way. Characters who exploit sexually that always go on my “Despicable” list, whether they’re male or female. You can’t judge a character in a story by his writer’s intentions. You have to have a suspension of belief and treat a character as you would treat someone you know in real life. People were doing that about Five and Lisa in Zankyou no Terror and it drove me nuts.

    And I believe every episode from now on is just going to leave me irritated due to how ridiculous everything has become. Archer only died because he was blabbing too much and wasn’t paying attention, just to spew BULL to Shinji about his ideals. If he hadn’t killed himself off, Rin wouldn’t have to have to transfer her mana to inexperienced Shinji. Rin, Archer, Rin’s Servant Saber, with Shinji on the side would have made a wonderfully dynamic team to fight against Gilgamesh. But noooooo, because then we wouldn’t have had any fan-service from the mana transfer. Pathetic plot choice is pathetic.

    By the way, isn’t Saber’s ability supposed to be limited now? Isn’t she only supposed to have only a few swings left from her sword? She definitely swung her sword more than “a few” times during her battle with Assassin. And Assassin’s only purpose to battling Saber in the first place is because… he doesn’t have a purpose anymore? What kind of fxxked up reason is that? Oh wait, it’s his ideals -_-…

    I dislike how how Saber being Rin’s Servant made absolutely no difference to their fighting formations, even from the previous episodes. Saber still sticks to Shinji like a dog even though she could do so well with Rin. But nooooooo, in Japan, we want to show women’s loyalty to men… pathetic plot choice is pathetic.

    • June 14, 2015 at 11:49 amLelo

      I think you confused Shinji and Shirou.

      That aside, the true use of Saber’s Noble Phantasm isn’t swinging it like a normal sword.
      That doesn’t consume mana at all.
      The attack that she can perform only once is the Anti-Fortress BeamSword of Holy Light (un-official name), and she didn’t use it with Assassin.

      And Assassin is a ghost with no name and no purpose (he never had one), summoned by a woman he hated, unable to seek a wish for the Holy Grail and doomed to die again just by waiting until he desappears. He only has his sword skills, so I find it justified that he wants to die in a duel of swordmanship.
      In his situation, I wouldn’t care about anyone or anything.
      “I am about to die anyway, so I want to die in an honorable duel”.

      • June 14, 2015 at 4:57 pmPetit Orenji

        Assassin should just kill himself then instead of wasting Saber’s time. Isn’t that honorable for a samurai?

    • June 14, 2015 at 1:36 pmGoXDS

      adding to above reply, don’t forget she pledged her loyalty as a KNIGHT already… and Saber’s still respecting Rin as her Master

      • June 14, 2015 at 4:55 pmPetit Orenji

        As far as I know, Saber has done a fraction of what she has done for Shirou. Not even, probably. Actually, what HAS Saber done for Rin besides engage her in conversation?

    • June 14, 2015 at 2:43 pmpearthefruit

      Damn man pay attention to the show more. It’s nearing the end of the show and you still don’t have the main characters’ names down. How can you even expect to understand anything?

      Anyway, Archer’s death was necessary for Shirou’s growth. Even without him dying, he wouldn’t have enough mana to face against Gilgamesh. At that time Rin was Saber’s master, not Archer’s. Archer was cut off with Caster’s noble phantasm.

      Regarding Saber’s “only 1 more use” technique, it’s talking about her noble phantasm, not just a normal sword swing. She didn’t use it in the fight against Assassin. Assassin never had a purpose from the beginning. He isn’t even a real heroic spirit. He only wanted a proper fight before he faded away, and that’s what Saber gave him.

      Saber being Rin’s servant was already answered by someone else. Read the above please.

      • June 14, 2015 at 4:52 pmPetit Orenji

        Don’t nitpick when you know who it is I’m referring to. It doesn’t change the purpose of my argument. My Apple Safari was smart enough to automatically change Shirou into Shinji as the latter was already added as a new vocabulary for the browser but the word Shirou was not. And to have a character in a story to serve as a “I have no purpose” filter of some sort is very, very peculiar.

    • June 15, 2015 at 3:20 amPasserby

      You’re conflating, Petit Orenji. Someone’s role in the story is just as important as what their actions mean out of it (especially in something like Zankyou no Terror). It’s not for the sake of excusing their actions, but rather to give them meaning (which I admit is an awfully modernist viewpoint but whatever). In this case, Shinji may be to his very core an utterly horrible person, but Shirou will save him anyway. When examined within the context of what we’ve seen of Shirou’s philosophy, it’s a natural course of action.

      I doubt I’m going to redeem the plot for you at this point, but I think if you try to see the bigger picture things will just be more enjoyable for you overall. For example, think of Archer being knocked off as him covering for Shirou. On Assassin’s part, you may remember that this duel with Saber is simply one postponed from before. It’s less about honour and more about self-gratification. He never had anything but his sword skills, so he lives and dies by it. What is about honour is Saber’s oath to Shirou, which she took when first summoned on top of the usual Command Seal business. And Saber, being who she is, takes oaths very seriously.

      I think if you were a bit more positive you can find perfectly reasonable explanations for all sorts of things. I mean, UBW‘s twists aren’t even at their silliest yet. You’re not going to last at this rate.

  • June 14, 2015 at 1:15 pmfragb85

    Surpsinyly not much happened this episode. The most signigicant event was Assasins final duel. Hopefully that means the ensuing battle will be REALLY good. Hope UFOTable can deliever on that.

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2019.jpg
    My only complaint now is Rin’s rescue of Shinji felt too easy. The Grail’s mud is supposed to be mind raping her every step she takes not provide a mild scalding. That’s kinda point of being the incarnate of humanity’s curses. The visual effecst were cool at least, especially the opening of the Greater Grail.

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    I do like the reveal of Ea though. Gil pulled it much earlier than in the VN battle. And its so powerful that it destroyed the temple just by mere fraction of its power. It sets him up as a bigger threat than before. I also like how it empathized that Shirou couldn’t trace it because of its non-terrestrial origin.

    My favorite line in UBW has already been spoiled by the episode preview but I can’t wait to see how well the scene is done next week. DEEN really screwed that line up on the UBW movie.

  • June 14, 2015 at 1:36 pmDorian

    Gotta say they’ve been going to slow to this point. This and the next episode should’ve been longer so as to add more. Like how Rin is practically having her mind invaded by the mud, that Assassin and Saber could’ve had an actual damn fight (showcasing better why Assassin would lose) and because I fear that Shirou vs Gil is going to be anti-climatic.

  • June 14, 2015 at 2:54 pmGil ccc fan

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 14, 2015 at 8:46 pmrandom viewer

    This is like the succession technique for all samurais, to be able to slash twice or more simultaneously.
    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2031.jpg

    • June 18, 2015 at 3:27 amGG

      Master Yi and his Wuju

  • June 14, 2015 at 11:33 pmewok40k

    I think very notion of saving Shinji is proof of utter nobility of main characters pair.
    Gilgamesh definitely doesnt get it.
    But, who cares about him… we dont need kings anyway save for representative purposes like in UK.
    He would be actually quite good at being “show monarch” if he ever considered lowering himself to this position…

    • June 15, 2015 at 3:26 amPasserby

      Ugh, no. Her Majesty’s strength as a constitutional monarch is in being reserved. Gilgamesh is probably too showy and will be embroiled in scandal on his second day. If he became my king I’d start pushing for a republic post haste. Kinda like Charles, really.

      • June 15, 2015 at 11:26 amewok40k

        just imagine Gilgamesh opening the olympics…
        no stunt doubles needed
        but as he is he would rather end up like Charles II

  • June 16, 2015 at 4:02 amwhyso

    “Shirou turning into a Gundam, narrating his attacks”

    i lol’d

  • June 16, 2015 at 9:24 amgawrshness

    OK UFOTABLE you made all the build up! You better not disappoint for the final battle! Also it looks like they’re going with the original route in the UBW after all…me sad…

  • June 17, 2015 at 3:29 amFood

  • June 17, 2015 at 1:21 pmmaiku

    and my reply about gil being a copy got deleted….
    damn.. i wanted to read it again….

  • June 17, 2015 at 3:57 pmGrahav

    I agree with this article in relation to Shinji.

    I can’t bring myself to REALLY hate characters like him, Joffrey and Immortan Joe.

    The authors are pretty much screaming in your face: HATE THEM! HATE THEM! SEE HOW EVIL THEY ARE AND LOVE MY PROTAGONISTS!

    They don’t feel really human. They are something made to everybody hate and blame all the evils of the world on to make themselves feel superior.

    They work as a metaphore. But as humans, if you start to think in the meta way it is like the authors are gods who made someone utterly irredemeable to be continously shat on.

    • June 18, 2015 at 1:48 pmmaiku

      i see what you’re trying to say

      like they are an evil deus ex-machina to give the reader a reason to hate them

      but… that’s only because we are not seeing the human part in shinji,

      how much he was shamed, hurt and understimated, the reasons and the goals for his participation in the holy grial war.

      i can say this about shinji:

      1.-he is not evil, he is angry, mad, to the point of an insane obsession
      the origin of this madness is
      a) that he was forces magic unto him even thought his body is not propper to develop magic
      b) being replaced as heir by sakura
      c) his envy and jealousness towards shirou because sakura likes her (as he likes sakura, but he doesn’t love her, he likes her and hates her)

      After reading the novel, you don’t hate him…. you just end up feeling pity for him
      and he gets worse than he deserves,

      until heaven’s feel comes out people will understand better shinji’s suffering and corruption

      • June 19, 2015 at 11:55 amGrahav

        I was able to see it too.

        But even with that, he comes across as pathetic.

        Tragic backstories are made for all characters but Emiya is a hero (Stu), Rin is the cute genious tsundere (codename for pretty, obnoxious, jerk) and Shinji is the hate sink.

        Damn it, even freaking…

        SpoilerSpoilerSpoiler

        [spoiler]Zouken, gets a backstory and some kind of redemption in his final scene of Heaven’s Feel.

        And the worse part? People like Gilgamesh. A guy with power, coolness, and an OP weapon. Has more agency than anyone else. Aaaand he chooses to be an asshole. He deliberately chooses to treat people in the same way Shinji treats people, and he still has fans.[/spoiler]

        Also presenting 5 minutes of symapthy after hours and hours of saying “bad bad bad”…

        That is why a lot of thugs like “Scarface”. Simple math. 90% of the movie killing, being rich and etc. vs 10% of being killed.

  • June 20, 2015 at 11:44 amWorldwideDepp

    Ep 24:

    Show Spoiler ▼