Fate/Stay Night UBW Episode 19-20

ubw20fight
“Idealism’s End (The Answer)”
“Unlimited Blade Works”

Saturdays at 1:30 pm EDT on Crunchyroll

Shirou confronts Archer while Lancer stops Kotomine from cutting out Rin’s heart.

Iro’s Thoughts

This has been plainly obvious from day one, but damn this show likes to talk a lot. There are only so many ways that Archer can tell Shirou that his ideal is wrong, and only so many ways Shirou can tell him to shut up. Considering this has been going on for basically the entire show, it’s pretty tedious to devote the bulk of two episodes to it. On the bright side, UFOtable devotes a bit of time to showing how the discussion is affecting Saber, whose beliefs are theoretically relevant but ignored because they were already explored in the Fate route. I would have appreciated going a bit deeper into that, considering we’re following Fate/Zero, but I suppose they can only change so much. We also get another shot of the Battle of Camlann depicted in Fate/Zero‘s first ending sequence (referencing a famous work of art), complete with Fate/Apocrypha‘s redesign of Mordred.

On the subject of things-I-liked-but-wish-were-more-fleshed-out, we get a fair amount of screentime showing Archer’s past. The bulk of it is of his work as a Counter Guardian, which means him shooting a bunch of people across time and none of Alternate-Shirou’s lifetime up to him selling his soul to Counter Force. What is shown lines up surprisingly well with some more obscure sources in the “canon” of the universe, however: a conversation with Archer in Fate/Extra notes that he first became a Heroic Spirit saving people from some sort of nuclear meltdown, and UBW‘s depiction of the event takes place in what looks like a reactor pool. It’s a nice nod to people who put in the time, at least.

ubw20lancer

The B-Plot during these couple of episodes involves Rin being tied to a chair in a shed while various people argue over what to do with her, which is just as dull and unfortunate as it sounds. Shinji’s still a slimy, ineffectual asshole, Kotomine’s still obviously evil, Lancer’s still a pretty decent guy, and everybody in the audience yawns. Kotomine’s alleged death at the end of the show’s first half and sudden return is completely ridiculous, clearly another artifact from adapting the three-route structure, and there’s little reason to believe Rin couldn’t just use her magecraft to snap her bonds. The ridiculous-minor-detail-only-crazy-people-notice this time is Lancer’s use of runes; in the DEEN UBW film and the visual novel, Lancer uses the Ansuz rune (also used by Touko Aozaki in Garden of Sinners) to burn down the castle. Here, he uses the Kenaz rune, which actually has some sort of thematic connection with fire.

Anyway, UFOtable has somehow managed to drag this all out for three whole episodes (assuming it does indeed end next week), which means they should probably pick up the pace and pump in some more money to keep things rolling. Overused CG and ridiculous insert songs are probably fine for most, but I’m here to see UBW‘s iconic moments, which so far have had precious little time devoted to them. Here’s hoping the home stretch won’t be a complete disaster.

ubw20shirou

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