AIR DATE: 06/01/2006 : END DATE: 16/06/2006 : STATUS: CompletedThe Fate Stay Night anime is actually based off a adult visual novel, they are commonly refereed to as ergoe (which means erotic) or hentai games. And the game has three different branches. The first one is Fate. The second one is Unlimited blade works. The final one is Heavens fall.
In the anime a secret battle royal occurs between seven people. These seven are referred to as magi or masters, confused?..well this bit will clear up the confusion, they can summon ethereal / spiritual servants. These servants are historical or mythological entities. And these servants belong to 7 classes. They are: Saber, Archer, Berserker, Lancer, Assassin, Caster and Rider. The masters and servants are battling each other for the right to claim the holy grail.
The anime centres around Shiro Emiya. Our male lead protagonist. He was made in to an orphan from the last holy grail war. Ironically enough, he was adopted by a certain "master" from the last last holy grail war. Shirou is your typical straight up, honest, reliable, dependable, -some what normal- hard working guy. Who also happens to have a "hero" complex, will explain that in just a bit. The anime has not just one female lead, but two. The first lead female is Saber. This young lady also happens to be Shiros servant. The Saber class is considered as one of the knights class, along with the Archer and Lancer class. Saber is not her real name. Servants hide their name so other servants can't guess what type of attack they have in their arsenal. Ironically enough, if the attack is well known it can reveal the servants identity anyway, as in case with the first battle with Lancer. Now since Shiro is more reserved especially when it comes to Saber, whilst Saber is on the more offence.
This clashes with each others goal. Now remember that Shiro having a hero complex, this is one of the reason why it clashes with Saber. He insists he does the fighting whilst she hangs back a bit, this changes abit later on though. The other reason is; he suffers from survivors guilt and doesn't want Saber to get hurt. Rin Tosaka is your other female lead and heralds from a prominent magi family. Unlike Shiro, she excels in her magical craft. At first glance, she is your typical high achieving school student. In reality what she really is: stingy, tom boyish and a slacker. Her servant is Archer. There seems to be a mystery around Archer. That is revealed in unlimited blade works. There also seems to be a connection with her and one of Shiros other female friend Sakura. Ironically enough the antagonist Kotomine, was her guardian since the last holy grail war.
I particular found Shiro annoying at times, because his ethos of "to become a hero" at the beginning, but eventually came to accept that that's his character. Even though it is toned down a bit in the later half of the series. He does become more proficient with his magical craft later on in the series. With some cryptic encouragement from Archer. Who also wants to kill him - this is explained in Unlimited blade works scenario. With Saber, I didn't find any issues with her. She served her role as one of the lead females with ease. I did find it quite comical that she can eat just as much as Tygre can. It must be pointed out that in the visual novel and anime, Shiro and Saber do have a romantic relationship. In the original visual novel however, it is implied that it is that they do have a sexual relationship. Type moon created two versions of the visual novel. The anime follows the second version R alta Nua.
Rin is your typical tsundre character. And her comical put downs on Shiro are quite funny, I thought they did at least. Again I really couldn't fault her at all. Her back story is shown in the pre-equal as well. Her servant Archer is just plain awesome, especially his chants and music that goes with it. Even though he gets less screen time in Fate, he gets a shed load in unlimited blade works movie. It is also implied that Shiro can have a relationship with her.
The animation is fluid, the fight scenes between servants are really top notch and this coming from a 2006 anime. The music are enjoyable to listen too. The anime however is too convoluted. It tries to do too much and the story suffers from this. Since studio Deen tried to shove all three branches in. With fate taking up most of the parts. Anyone who hasn't played the visual novel will feel overwhelmed, whilst those that have played the visual novel will feel under whelmed with the way the anime was handled.
If you like action anime, with some mythical figures thrown in then Fate Stay Night will be the one for you. However with the way Studio Deen handled the scenarios, I'm not surprised that most viewers who have not played the visual novel felt confused by the whole thing.