「暗剣、牙を剥く」 (Anken, Kiba o Muku)
“The Dark Sword Bares Its Fangs”

Unlimited Blade Works, compared to its sister stories Fate and Heaven’s Feel, is often considered the ‘action route‘. The advantage it has in this area is, I feel, in how it juggles its tension rather than the amount of action, which all routes have. Unlimited Blade Works is a constant roller-coaster of highs and lows, alternating swiftly between good times and bad for our heroes. Contrast this with, say, Heaven’s Feel which is relatively longer stretches of low and longer stretches of bad. Incidentally, it works for a movie format, where everything is compressed.

To demonstrate the point, this week of Unlimited Blade Works is quite packed, especially compared to the lull of last week’s episode. The highlight was, of course, the big Servant fight; it’s Lancer’s turn to just be cool. This is Lancer, though, who apparently exists in the Fate universe to be slighted, so even his big moment is upstaged. Sorry, Archer needs to be cooler, though he does struggle more in this adaptation that he did in the movie (which probably just makes him more badass). Rho Aias, by the way, is supposed to be the shield of Aias (more commonly spelt as Ajax), and he had little claim to fame compared to the other heroes of the Illiad other than a big shield and throwing rocks at Hector (and later, getting shown up by Odysseus), so I guess the shield better be damn good. I feel for Lancer; for Archer to pull something like that out of his hat is akin to cheating, and indeed, one will get the feeling throughout UBW that Archer really is a cheater (in more ways than one; watch him break Rin’s heart again). Still, it was a nominal victory for Lancer so… hurray Lancer!

Of course, the fight was not just a matter of spear vs shield; as always Fate makes the fight personal. Lancer is perhaps the only Servant summoned in the Fifth Holy Grail War to fight as an honest-to-goodness Heroic Spirit (Saber has circumstances, Berserker is insane), which puts him at odds with Archer, who scorns the very notion of heroism. What the outcome of the fight says about their individual philosophies I’ll leave up to interpretation, especially since Archer will probably get more opportunities to rant next episode. For that same reason, I’ll leave the brief dissection of Souichirou’s past aside as well, because his ‘fighting without purpose’ thing makes him a nice foil to Shirou, and that will become clearer later on. Also, nobody wants to sit around and discuss vague character motivations. This was the action episode! Let’s reserve our words, bask in the shiny effects, and feel sorry for Caster. Caster, who finally shows for face and looks better for it, gets it worse than Lancer, sucker punched and then multi-stabbed without much dignity. The difference is, in spin-offs like Carnival Phantasm she is always allowed her happy ending, so we don’t have to feel too bad for that tragic character. So… ding dong, the witch is dead! Woo.

Looking ahead

Oh hey, it’s Saber! I had kinda forgotten that she was still supposed to be around. Well, she’s not in much of a state right now, so forgive her if she can’t even afford to get changed before the next round. Maybe the action will slow down again next week, as we’ll probably have to suffer Archer monologue about why he wants to kill Shirou and explain the purpose to his scheming and all the usual villainous stuff. It depends on how long they intend to drag out the preliminaries, I suppose.

The alternative is that next week is another high-strung episode, in which we’ll find out exactly why this route is named Unlimited Blade Works. It’s still going to sound a bit dumb even with explanation, but the title drop should make for something appropriately climatic. Either way, our heroes are definitely not out of the fire yet, so stay tuned.

Full-length images: 13, 14, 19.




  1. hotDoge
    1. i have a feeling that UBW is Archer’s as MC Way of telling Things. Archer will get the Holy Grail. But i dunno if i like the Way he take for achieve that

    2. Every mage was kung fu fighting! KUNGFU FIGHTNING

      For people saying she is japanese and should be karate, read below
      (VN trivia: Tsunderin likes to cook chinese food and knows Kung fu)

      1. in times of Stalkers, Chinkans and other Dirty minds, a girl of today should know hoe to defend herself. let alone to “protect” the Family Honor, if you get my gist…

  2. Food
    1. The german she speaks is so fucking bad, that I considered to mute my speakers for the fight.
      If those spells would AT LEAST MAKE SOME SENSE, but not even that. It’s just some fucking random words…
      (jeah I’m german..)

  3. Unlimited Budget Works strike again!
    Not one but two battles are lavished with effects: Rin versus Caster and Lancer versus Archer….
    Kuzuki versdus shirou is less glamorous, but still nicely animated.

  4. If you wonder, why Archer attack’s Saber. Well, as i wrote back here. It is a Highlander game. Where only one can Survive. And he attacked Saber because she is Shiro’s Servant….

    Archer.. Saber is like you… Free of Command Seals, an Freelancer Spirit. So there is no point right now, killing her. Because She has right now not an Pact with a Master, and i do not know the exactly rules of this Holy War.But are the rules the same for Freelancer Spirits/Servants?

    That is the only “logical” hole i found it out here.

    1. right now we have 2 Freelancer Spirits fighting each other. Archer and Saber. They still not recreate the Bound with the old masters… Dear Director

      1. You are way too wrong,

        obviously you haven’t see the anime, the visual novel , or the movie by deen

        archer tried to kill shirou, not saber, and if you think is a gap hole, then you’ll have to pay attention to the whole series again,

        Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Hard to see for me, because both where on the same Spot.. But this still not change the “Highlander” rule. He is doing it for that Purpose, knowing Rin would not have the Heart for that

      2. Knowing Archer, Saber would most probably have been collateral damage. Shirou’s his real target, as he has specified at the end of the episode, so there’s no doubt about who he’s trying the kebab.

    1. Well, yes. She used this kind of Magic for the Jump of the Top of a Building? Where Archer catch her.. So, we just forgot that she is capable of this

      or do i just mix different Fate’s together?

      Btw, this kind of Strengthen magic.. Shiro’s “Trace on” alike? is she some kind of Shiro’s magic Mother for his Trace On abilities?

      1. (That was a little joke for those who’ve already seen Avengers: Age of Ultron. Explaining it any further would be spoileriffic.)

        OK, I guess the VN players saw that coming, as well as those who saw DEEN’s UBW (to an extent). I’m one of the latter, though I’ve already elected to forget that hypercompressed yet decayed adaptation. It’s good to still be surprised with what you watch, after all.

        Anyway… (spoilered for tl;dr explanation) Show Spoiler ▼

        On a seiyuu-related note, I just finished season 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (the 2012 TV series) and I can’t help but be reminded of Lisa Lisa whenever I hear Caster speak. Atsuko Tanaka has one hell of a fine voice…

      2. that is not strengthen magic, those are actually magic circuits being activated,
        they shine as mana runs trought them

        side note:

        pay attention to shirou’s magic circuits animation when he activates his magic circuits
        you can see them like “overloading with energy”

  5. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2017%20-%20Large%2016.jpg
    Been waiting to see this part get animated and it delivered. It begs the question which feat is better, GayGae Bolg being able to pierce up to the 7th layer of RawRho Aias or Aias being able to stop the spear of certain death.

    1. Well, it was a Draw. But Archer said he needed to Burn to much Mana as he think. So, you could say Lancer had the tip on his Side. But “my work is done here!”. His Master must be a friend or such

    1. Actually, about that…

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. it depends on the mechanics of when and where archer appears
        Show Spoiler ▼

  6. Good episode, but I’m a bit disappointed since Shirou was again useless. I mean he is protagonist, so I’m expecting for him to have some cool fight scenes, not being rescued all the time.

    1. Don’t worry, he undergoes some major developpment from this point on. You could even say the moment Archer says “Trace on” is the start of the real UBW route.

    2. Don’t worry UBW and HF are the routes where Shiro is actually the most useful. Just wait a couple more episodes and you will get your wish. Actually he’s been pretty useful from the start (those familiar with the route will get it)

  7. It seems to be that Souichirou might have Caster’s interests at heart despite apparently not having one, but Caster might seem to have strangely found a new purpose in her life regarding her Master. Her circumstances were unfortunate, and it seems ironic that she was betrayed by yet another man who had an agenda of his own. RIP Caster. I’ll see to Carnival Phantasm for your happy ending.

    You ought to understand now that multi-classing is important now, though. Well done speccing into melee moves Rin. :p

    Archer’s double agent act shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for those familiar with the Fate universe, but the revelation was nicely executed. However, I’m not too overjoyed with the pacing – particularly the transitions – even though I understand that things are moving quickly. Shirou’s immediate tracing is a gripe for me in how quickly he could make carbon copies of Archer’s blades just like that.

    At least the fight was extremely satisfying, and it’s not just the visuals but how there was a huge difference between Lancer and Caster in Archer’s battles. In this one it looked like he was at a complete disadvantage with his normal arsenal, and even with Rho Aias Gae Bolg could not be stopped entirely. The other thing I’m satisfied with is how Lancer is showcased as a relatively powerful Servant.

    It goes without saying that Shirou never catches a break. For the newcomers to the series, the identity of Archer should be pretty obvious by now and if not, it will most likely be revealed next episode. I’m also looking forward to one of the most powerful Master-Servant combinations that will come soon.

    1. Shirou inherited nothing from his foster father save his estate and his ideals. Not his magecraft, not his fighting style, not his Mystic Codes. Notably, Kiritsugu wanted to pass on nothing but his ideals.

  8. So ends the Caster arc of UBW. A little anti-clmatic sure, but it does highlight how cunning Archer can be. He is pretty much one of the weakest Servants but he does know how to plan and manipulate events to his advantage. And so Archer finally reveals what he truly wants: To Kill Shirou. This of course is tied to his ideals as foreshadowed. Has any new viewer already figured out who he is yet? Its practically been beaten on the head of the audience by this time.

    The highlight of course is the rematch between Archer and Lancer. As always, Archer is no match for any servant in direct command, so he instead baits Lancer to use Gae Bolg’s most powerful attack so he tank it with his Rho Aias. Still, Archer didn’t expect that his shield would be destroyed so Lancer does essentially win the fight. Even Archer admits that much.

    Rin displays a very rare spell few uses mages use: The “spell casting is overrated, lets just beat the s*** out of your opponent” spell. Sure Caster is far more powerful than any mage on the modern age but Rin points out that squishy mages have been so last century and they are taught self-defense now. That’s Rin though, she’s not above trying to do something practical if it puts her on top. I have to admit I do feel a bit disappointed how it turned out though. The mage duel felt flashier in the novel, and I do remember Rin pummeling Caster rather that the few hits she did here.

    1. the “one of the weakest servants” part is not entirely accurate: hes not a true Heroic Spirit.. so yeah his “raw” power is lower than them.. BUT hes a Counter guardian.. meaning that Alaya will give him the power to counter any threat (even enemies that are way more powerful than himself)

      true he isnt acting as a Counter guardian atm.. but his reality marble more than makes up for it.. explaining further would be spoiler tho.. need to watch the next episode to see the true potential.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Should also be noted Show Spoiler ▼

  9. Am i the only one who was disappointed by the Lancer vs Archer fight and also especially the whole fight in the basement? Oh well. Still better than Pacquiao and Mayweather fight.

  10. God damn, next week can’t come sooner. I’m really excited on how they will adapt the up coming events.

    I’m not worried or anything, but as a fan of the source material, I just can’t wait to see things get animated.

  11. Souichirou’s death was sort of uneventful. While archer did stab him multiple times, part of the buildings ceiling just smashed him. There wasn’t any flashiness, to it just smash and that was it.

    1. well hes only human… the ONLY reason he was able to beat Saber (and Rider before that) on a melee was because:

      – sneak/first attack (the “snake”/martial art he uses is deadly if you havent seen it before… thats why he always goes for a kill… once the target sees thru its “secret” it becomes easier to avoid it)

      – he was underestimated (after all hes a non magus)

      – Medea’s reinforcement (iirc a form of reinforcement so strong that actually gave him stats comparable to a saber class servant)

      when he went against Archer he lost all the advantages he had:

      so Archer just went an killed him in 2 strikes.

  12. I guess, given the fact that Kotomine has been her guardian for 10 years, he must have passed over some of his Kung Fu.

    So, ladies and gentlemen. Without further ado, I present to you: Rin Fu!

    Rin Paaaaalm!

    Rin Puuuuunch!

    Rin Xross Blooooock!

    And that’s it for tonight, ladies and gentlemen. A big applause to Tohsaka Rin!

  13. Feel that UBW movie fight between archer and lancer had more impact with dialog (could be the dub change it though). This episodes visuals are much better though and give a chance for Lancer to really show why he is one of the knight class.

  14. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20stay%20night/Fate%20stay%20night%20ubw%20-%2017%20-%20Large%2010.jpg
    I’m very pleased with this episode; I couldn’t ask it to be better than it already is and it just brought up my expectations to be higher for next episode. It turns out (in my mind) that it was a draw for Lancer vs. Archer, and a winner takes all battle from “beating” the Caster.
    Hopefully Gilgamesh would come interrupting Archer long enough for Saber to change into her battle/armor attire, but I don’t mind seeing her fighting like that.

    random viewer
    1. Let us Hope, that Saber’s Mana battery is not empty. She is right now a Freelancer, like Archer. And even Archer burned much Mana as he thinking against Lancer.. Perhaps we have here a Mana draw, and Skills and speed will be important

      I dunno. Saber could hold her ground against Assassin Sword, but is it enough to hold Archer’s anger in check? until Rin can force the Command Seals back on him? She knows the Ritual, she just need to do it on Time. Perhaps Shiro will help here, while Saber keeps Archer busy.. When Rin has successful “command” over Archer, he is back as “friend”…

      Well, if the director and me are on the same wavelength of course

      1. Oh boy… you’re so wrong mate… so wrong. Next week, Show Spoiler ▼

  15. Good animations but in NV lancer may stronger in a term of attack but he never land a single hit on archer due to archer impressive defense. In anime archer just look completely weak and I’m not satisfied……

  16. Great episode. Was expecting the Gay Bolg vs Raw Ass duel, and the scene exceeds expectations. Lancer deserves the extra dose of badass after all his adventures in Carnival Phantasm (Especially that Final Dead Lancer ep)…

    Btw, I’m just asking, am I the only one who gets irritated when reading WWD’s comments? Ever since A/Z the guy speaks so confident for someone with rudimentary English and talks as if it’s important enough that the anime studios consider the guy’s ideas.

    While it’s refreshing to read some of the ideas – especially since the guy’s not familiar with F/SN – but the guy just act like an expert while knowing shit about F/SN.
    Oh,and that habit of multiple self-replies… ah what the fachma. WWD must be a real funny guy IRL.
    Yofi tofi, end of rant, now I need some Kiwi Watermelon.

    1. That of WWD is deliberately stating misleading facts with conviction while he actually knows what was canon to avoid telegraphing some spoilers to the newbies.

      If you look closely on all his posts, it’s usually the reverse of what’s actually going to happen.

    2. I have loved this series soooo damn much !!
      all the side material !!
      all the new things
      i love you kinoko nasu <3

      and yeah… i hate that WWD, i'm actually downvoting all of his misleading posts,
      other newviews will get wrong ideas or spectations

      1. You are a noob, and your comments are a disgrace!
        talking like you know the series,
        even criticizing the director cause you’re not even able to understand the plot.

        just watch it, and when you’re done, you can criticize whatever you want about the series.
        and by watching it , i mean :

        first anime series (Fate stay night)
        visual novel fate stay night

        also… i hope you have watched fate zero

        then… if it really hitted you

        you might want to read tsukihime
        THERE IS NOT !!!

        all of them are available in english
        you can find fsn and tsukihime patches in mirrormoon
        also you can find melty blood’s and kahetsu tohya’s

        watching this… you’ll have a bit of the idea of how complex the nasuverse is

        then… i’ll hear your complaints

        by adaptation of the original series… this exceded by far any of my and spectations I’m sure that anyone who has readed the novel would agree.

        also you might want to watch the 8 kara no kyoukai movies

        just go and learn about type-moon before trying to talk like you understand the characters

      2. Oh, an Hard core Fanboy… You know what, did i insult you? No? You know the Plot? You Know the Game? You know everything? And how is now talking from above knowing everything? It is not me, i am just an Anime Fan that love to Speculate.

        Nothing more, it is you that are Upset. I do not insult the Anime in any case

        Last comment

      3. look, you’re lame, i’m not the only one who’s getting uncomfortable by reading your comments,
        if you can’t see there’s something wrong with what you’re doing, then you’re hopeless

        hard core fanboy ? maybe,

        but at least you get the idea that you’re misunderstanding lot of things on the series

        like your so called “highlander game”
        Show Spoiler ▼

        so… yeah… you’re not insulting me, you’re insulting a piece of art that’s very valuable for a lot of people in here.

        reading you is like hearing how a rapper complaints about the stridency of heavy metal.
        is strident or noisy because you don’t understand it.

        last comment

  17. Ep 18:

    i give them a 6/10

    Show Spoiler ▼

  18. I always cheer so hard when I see Caster get skewered (this route is Archer…Fate route was Gilgamesh…poor woman always getting stabbed by a shower of swords).

    Dunno if it was her condescending tone (“eh…ramble ramble ramble”), or just her whole demeanor. I’m sure her tragic death and ending was supposed to make us feel empathy, but I never did. Ah well…still loving this show! I remember my reaction when I first realized “the twist,” can’t wait to see it here!


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