Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works is a Battle Royale anime in which seven sets of mages and heroes are set against one another to fight for the illustrious prize of the Holy Grail, the Grail comes with the magical ability to grant the winner any wish they so desire. The combatants all have the birthright of noble mage family's to fight in the Holy Grail War and have inherited the ability to use the life source of the living things around them to create and manipulate things that wouldn't otherwise be possible if it weren't for their mystical abilities.
The show begins with the protagonist Rin Tohsaka summoning the hero we simply refer to as Archer, he is of one of the seven hero classes that can be summoned from the past. The remaining six hero classes Lancer, Saber, Rider, Assassin, Berserker and Caster must all be summoned to act as servants to a mage before the fighting can commence. It's only once there is a single hero standing that the Grail will appear. Tohsaka and her hero Archer stumble upon their first foe outside of her school where an innocent bystander witnesses the battle and thus has to be killed in order to protect the knowledge of the war and it's magical participants from being discovered. The bystander is Shirou Emiya, Tohsaka's peer from school. It is then that Tohsaka's decides to use a form of magic to save Emiya which leads to him later becoming the seventh mage to summon a hero, Saber and thus becoming an enemy of Tohsaka's.
The show does well at setting up the story for the Holy Grail War to commence, introducing the first couple of hero's in exciting ways that build anticipation for the exchanges that will happen between them later on. The scene is well and truely set for an interesting fight to the death of six hero's and their mages but this turns out to be an anti climatic turn of events as the exchanges come but the results are always boring and similar, no one dies, no ones defeated and at the end of it all there hasn't been much movement forward in the plot. It seems to be that the main issue with the show was that rather than using the grand incentive of the grails power, the heroical status of victory from slaying ones opponents or the desperation to survive as the intrinsic motivation driving the characters forward it was the opposite. The show becomes one over the top meta dialogue in which the main characters are simply avoiding fighting one another for one reason or another and they spend all their time sitting around explaining why they aren't fighting each other. Which seems to defeat the whole purpose of a Battle Royale, to watch people battle.
The big win and where I can't help but give praise is for the quality of the animation. Each of the heroes had a unique and distinct look that featured some very polished artistry. The backdrops and B-roll were simply stunning, the detail that went into them was phenomenal, the furniture inside Tohsaka's house or the amount of houses drawn into the city was an extra touch that breathed life into the show. The main highlight of the show would have to be the fight scenes and their animation. The fight scenes featured fluid, quick and stylish movements, with an exciting clash of colours and played well into the characters unique traits. This was another point of praise for the show, each character had a lot of personality, they had their own unique persona wether it was Archers sternness or Tohsaka's bratty and playful side there was something extra given to the characters that made the show a little more palatable for the times where we wanted action and progression but we were getting lengthy dialogues.
The first season ends well with Emiya and Tohsaka being forced into an exciting battle between themselves and one of their enemies which they narrowly escape and hardly unscathed as there has been a great loss on their side. No spoilers as to what. By the end of the season all of the mages and their heroes have been introduced and we can expect for the blood shed to finally commence. We can only hope to see some climatic fights as the remaining episodes left in the show is dwindling down into the final season.