As you can tell from recent articles, I’ve really got into the accessibility and limitless-ness of anime TV series’. However, I can’t deny that anime does lack in some key areas compared to traditional TV and film, especially for a ‘reviewer’. Therefore, instead of using a post to review just one anime, I’m going to review two.
THAT’S TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! You’re welcome.
Steins;Gate (2011-12, 1 Season, 25x25min)
Okabe Rintarou, a self-proclaimed mad scientist, leads his lab team of a pervy hacker and an innocently-oblivious girl towards the discovery of time travel. At a local time travel seminar he meets female teen-genius Makise Kurisu, who asks him about a conversation they previously had. He then finds her dead minutes later. After sending a message back to his lab, he stumbles into the secret of time travel, saving Makise while also putting a satellite into the time travel seminar building. The story follows the group of misfits as they try and refine time travel, which they discover can do more harm than good.
This was very good. What started off as a very funny, Big Bang Theory-esque show developed into a really intriguing story about time travel. The colours in the series are much bleaker than anything I’ve ever seen (see picture above), and the characters are quite underwhelming, but that seems to make the dialogue and relationships between characters’ even funnier. The story near the end does start to feel a bit dragged out, with some problems that you feel should take one episode to solve ending up taking three. But overall, this is much better than I thought it would be.
Also, Too-to-roo is still one of the best, most simply-strange and strangely-good catchphrases I’ve ever heard!
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014-2015, 2 Seasons, 26x24min)
Young Adult, Fantasy
In a very Hunger Games-esque story, seven mages (magicians) from famous magician families get chosen to participate in the fifth Holy Grail War, a battle to the death where the winner wins the grail, capable of fulfilling any wish. They each get given a servant, a powerful Hero from a different time period with a particular skill. The story follows Shiro Emiya, an incapable high-school student who is saved from an immediate death by Saber, a swordswoman regarded as one of the strongest servants there is. The two of them team up with Rin, another high-school student who has been training for this all her life, who is teamed up with antagonising servant Archer.
First of all, F/SN:UBW might just be the worst title for anything I’ve ever heard*. This is the closest to Attack on Titan in terms of the size and budget of production. For anime, this looked very big time!
I must say that it took me a while to get into this series. With two 45minute episodes opening it up, I watched the first, then didn’t return to watch the second until I had finished Steins;Gate. However, once this got going, this was seriously good. I’ve related this to the Hunger Games because of the relationship that forms between the very capable Rin and the underprepared Shiro. Their relationship is extremely good to watch, and the way Shiro develops throughout the story feels very natural while also being the pivot this dramatic story turns on. Also, the fight scenes between the powerful servants are some of the most epic fight scenes I’ve seen in any format. The speed, colour and detail of those moments is worth the watch all on itself!
Overall, this is one of those stories which you don’t realise how much you liked it until it’s over!
*I’m prepared to eat my own words on this one. After further research it turns out there’s meaning to the title, and a very complicated one at that! I did about 30 minutes of research and I’m still not sure if I’m right here. Prepare yourself for this, because this is SUPER COMPLICATED!
Unknown to me, what I watched is just one part of a larger series based around the Holy Grail Wars called ‘Fate’, a series of visual novel games (if there’s such a thing). Fate/Stay Night is the main part of the franchise, becoming multiple TV series’, a PS2 game, a series of novels and two movies!
The F/SN story follows the same war and the same protagonists, Shiro and Saber. However, at a very early stage (episode 2 in the TV series above, I think) the story branches out into three different lines, each changing the importance of certain characters and certain plot points (for example, Rin only plays a major role in this story, not the others). At the same time the stories still work after being read one after the other, with certain mysteries from other stories being revealed in other plot lines, which I think sounds incredible!
According to Wikipedia, the main theme overall is “Conquering oneself”. The first storyline is Fate, where the ‘theme’ is “oneself as an ideal”. Then there’s Unlimited Blade Works (above), which is “struggling with oneself as an ideal”, which makes sense if you’ve seen it. Finally there’s Heaven’s Feel, the upcoming movie, whose theme is “the friction with real and ideal”.
Fate/Zero is a prequel, looking at the previous Holy Grail War 10 years ago, starring many of the same servants and some of the UBWs master’s parents. I think this also splits into three plot lines, but I’m unsure.
Literally, this ‘Fate’ might be the most confusing series that’s ever been made. Reckon you’re smart? Click the link and try to make sense out of their nonsense…
What did you think of these mini-reviews (or these animes if you’ve seen them)? Follow us to make sure you catch the next anime pocket reviews, which will include rom-com My Little Monster!