OP: 「disillusion」 by タイナカ サチ
10 years ago, two figures fought in the middle of Fuyuki City and enveloped it in an explosion that destroyed everything. Now, it’s apparently time again for seven magicians who employ servants to fighting each other for the Holy Grail. One of the few people who survived the inferno from that time, a boy named Emiya Shirou, was saved and has since grown up. Though the man who saved him and became his father, Emiya Kiritsugu, is no longer around, Shirou is taken care of by his homeroom teacher Fujimura-sensei (Fuji-nee) and his friend’s sister Sakura. On their way to school, Shirou and Sakura see a bunch of police cars racing somewhere, but think little of it. During the day at school, Shirou helps out by repairing machines when he’s not in class. He pinpoints the problem using magic to understand an object’s structure, but it seems that his powers are fairly limited. On their way to homeroom, Issei and Shirou spot Tohsaka Rin, a girl who seems perfect in every way, but Issei doesn’t seem to like her.
While Shirou is in an eventful homeroom led by Fuji-nee, Rin is with Archer on the rooftop discussing the other servants. Archer doesn’t have the power to perceive enemies from far away, but Rin decides to go searching anyway. During lunch, Issei tells Shirou of the crime from this morning where a family of four was murdered (which is where the police cars were going earlier), and the murderer is still on the loose. Shirou later remembers a conversation with his father about how difficult it is to save everyone. Though he feels that he understands now what his father meant, Shirou disagrees and still feels that he can help everyone. After work, Shirou senses other servants around the city, and then sees a smiling young girl on the street. She passes along the cryptic messages that he’ll die if he doesn’t quickly learn to summon.
The dinner conversation with Fuji-nee and Sakura is about Shirou’s childhood dream of becoming an ally of justice. After the two women leave, Shirou starts to practice his magic and remembers when his father told him that he was a magician. Shirou looked up to his father as a hero, but Shirou himself ended up with little magical abilities and thus has no seal to prove that he is a magician. His father did teach him that he shouldn’t use magic in front of people, and that since magic is hard to control, he should not neglect his training. But the most important thing is that magic should not be used for yourself, but only for others. Shirou swears to himself that just like his father saved him, he’ll save others and never forget his oath to be an ally of justice. Meanwhile, Rin and Archer are getting acquainted with the city and with each other.
ED: 「あなたがいた森」 by 樹海
I haven’t played the game, but I’m told that the OP is a cover of song 「THIS ILLUSION」 from it. I’m not particularly fond of the song though, and much prefer the ED (a much slower song) over it.
The first episodes does a good job of introducing various characters, but, for me who was expecting this to be an action-filled show, it seems rather slow. I was disappointed that the only fighting that takes place is at the very beginning. Those 30 seconds of fighting (between Saber and Archer it seems) looked pretty good though. And they do a good job of reinforcing how much Shirou looks up to his father and how much he wants to save people and be the “ally of justice,” which I guess is going to be one of the main themes. I don’t know the story very well, so I don’t know how that’s going to fit into the whole Holy Grail War aspect. Aside from Shirou, we’re introduced to a slew of characters from Fuji-nee (comic relief) to Rin and Archer (enemies).
The show looks pretty good animation-wise, and the music so far has been decent, but nothing to call home about. And it doesn’t seem like the quality will deteriorate for the next episode either. In fact, next episode should have quite a bit more fighting as they’re going to introduce Lancer and maybe even Saber (it looks like her armor that they’re showing towards the end of the preview). Something to look forward to…