Episode 15 Impressions: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

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Berserker’s fury is unchained as Illyasviel is beyond herself with emotion and desire for revenge for her fallen comrades. However the enemy before them is no push over, and may be their biggest threat imaginable.

e14fatestaynightunlimitedbladeworks07Synopsis
Echoes ring out into the surrounding forest as the golden-haired man rains down barrage after barrage of flying blades on Berserker. While Shinji is fooled into believing their opponent dies, it’s no surprise to his companion that Berserker can truly revive himself. After Berserker’s opponent mocks him for his identity and becoming a slave to his Master, Illyasviel calls her Servant unbeatable and the battle wages on.

The scene changes as we get a flashback to Illyasviel’s childhood, we find her alone in her estate, waiting for the day that Kiritsugu would return to her. However, she’s only tormented by the shadow of what she mistakes as her mother. Claiming that Kiritsugu betrayed them, killed her mother, and had a family before dying. But the shadow doesn’t leave it at that, and desires for Illyasviel to fight her little brother.

All alone, Illyasviel is continuously tortured, molded into what she would e14fatestaynightunlimitedbladeworks12become. Cut open daily, watching Einzberns’ creations die and be discarded in front of her. This all molded her into the cold heart that she became. Desiring to be the one who would win the Holy Grail War. But first, she would control the great Berserker that the Einzberns summoned for her. While at first she believed him to be a soulless tool, she would soon learn of Berserker’s desires.

Thoughts
Probably the best episode of unfotable’s take on the Unlimited Blade Works arc so far. Filled with some absolutely great backstory telling for Illyasviel and so many rushes of emotion.  Yes, that’s right people, Illyasviel is actually older than Shirou.  Welcome to anime!

Kicking the episode off, we got golden boy’s take on who he believes Berserker is, and his subtle acknowledgement of his power. Though it all seemed to be an obvious showing of just how powerful this new contender is. With that showing e14fatestaynightunlimitedbladeworks17of arsenal, it’s not something anyone can really question.

Following up this slaughter fest, we really dive into the now cold and twisted mind of Illyasviel. Catching her in her innocence, alone and poisoned, watching the Einzberns create tools for activating the Holy Grail, being told of another boy being raised by her abandoning father. To be honest, after watching every animation offering of the Fate universe to this point, this was the first time I actually found Illyasviel to have character and purpose.

I have to point out that, besides the amazing action scenes that ufotable has already shown us countless times, this episode featured some of the most visually artistic and beautiful scenes yet.  The scene with Illyasviel in the snow was amazing.  Contrasting innocence, blood, slaughter, and strength was truly one of the best things I’ve seen in anime yet.

e14fatestaynightunlimitedbladeworks15About the only thing that leaves a bit to be desired is the explanation for what corrupted Illyasviel. A shadow of her mother that seemed to be speaking ill of her father’s actions and the son he had. Was the shadow a figure Illyasviel created to fill the gap of her missing family, or a creation of the Einzberns to fill her with unpleasant thoughts?

That said, besides some later parts that I can’t really get into without being heavy spoilerish (may cover in the next impressions), this was an excellent episode and easily ufotable’s best offering yet. It only gets more intense from here!

This series is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.com!

Episode 15: A Battle of Legend

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Amazing

Pros:

  • Visually epic
  • Great telling of Illyasviel’s past
  • Powerful emotion

Cons:

  • No explanation for mother’s shadow

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.