“Unlimited Blade Works”
Saturdays at 1:30 pm EDT on Crunchyroll
Our heroes invade Ryudo Temple to stop Gil’s evil scheme and (for some reason) save Shinji. Saber destroys the Holy Grail after settling the score with Assassin, and Shirou uses Archer’s ultimate magic to defeat Gilgamesh.
As little budget UFOtable seems to have brought to the second half of Unlimited Blade Works, I have to give some credit to the final confrontation with Gilgamesh, which basically turned out how I wanted it. It’s definitely still some UFOtable-ass UFOtable, but in this particular case it’s miles beyond DEEN’s version of the final battle, which was just a bunch of close-range flailing until they could shoehorn in the game’s CG. It was also nice to finally have something cool enough to play Emiya over, since the Archer fight was such a letdown.
Speaking of musical references, episode 24 was packed with them. Like the aforementioned Emiya, there was also a new remix of Sword of Promised Victory for UBW‘s only use of Excalibur, and remixes of a few of the visual novel’s more emotionally-laden tracks. It’s a small (and blatantly pandering) but appreciated gesture, like when they busted out This Illusion for the end of the first half. I can only stay so mad when the ending scene uses a gussied-up version of the music that was playing at the very same moment in the source material.
UFOtable changed a few plot points from the original, for both good and ill. Most particular was Gilgamesh’s use of Ea against the Holy Grail: in the original, right after saying that he would consider going all-out on Shirou to be his own loss, he just busts out his ultimate attack for no reason and Shirou miraculously survives thanks to Archer’s clandestine intervention. It makes way more sense for Gil to use it to slap down the Grail and for Shirou to get smacked around by the backblast.
The other major change was Rin’s use of command spells, which seems inconsistent with established lore. Look, I know I’m a nerd, but bear with me here. Rin only had one command spell left when Caster severed her contract with Archer. She shouldn’t get any more from making a new contract with Saber; she’d still only have one, and accordingly she didn’t use any during the original scene. I can only assume UFOtable wanted to reference the end of Fate/Zero – where Kiritsugu forced Saber to destroy the Grail against her will – by having Rin do the same, albeit for different reasons.
Anyway, Unlimited Blade Works is finally (finally) coming to an end with the next episode, which should be about fifteen minutes of padding and five of actual denouement, with hopefully one or two references to the wider lore tossed in (perhaps we’ll catch a glimpse of ten-years-older Waver?). Maybe now UFOtable can finally move on from Fate and start actually producing Girls’ Work. Or a proper Tsukihime anime, following Sasaki Shonen’s manga version… please?