Shiro Emiya finds himself caught up in the Holy Grail war, a secret war that takes place every 60 years. The winner will obtain the Holy Grail and have their wish granted. He summons an epic hero named Saber, and to win, they must eliminate all the other epic heroes summoned by other mages.
Fate/Stay Night is a solid series from start to finish. It has a serious tone, and a somewhat dark atmosphere. It stays engaging throughout because the story is constantly pressing forward and there is little, if any, filler.
There are masters (mages) and the servants (epic heroes) they summon. To obtain the Holy Grail, they will need to work together. However, each master has 3 command seals to use which can immediately call their servant to their side in the case of an emergency, or force them to do something they do not wish to do. There are several different classes of servants: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Berserker, etc which basically defines their weapon type or fighting style. Servants are usually called by their class name to prevent the enemy from knowing their true identity so they can have an advantage in battle. Each servant has a special attack called a Noble Phantasm.
Overall, the show has a good cast of characters, although the main character, Shiro, can be annoying at times. For a show about fighting to the death to achieve victory, it's kind of stupid that Shiro doesn't want to kill anyone, even though he does have his reasons. However, it does get past this pretty quickly, thankfully. Shiro can also makes some pretty idiotic decisions. He is also surrounded by girls, but this isn't a harem. There is the cool, commanding classmate Rin Tosaka, his servant Saber, his caring classmate Sakura, and a Holy Grail War participant, Illya. The characters are developed in a natural way through the course of the series, instead of having character-centric episodes.
The show is dialogue heavy. There is quite a bit of time spent discussing the rules of the Grail Wars and events that took place in previous wars. Characters often talk about their different strategies to win. This exposition can make the show feel like it's explaining itself to you instead of actually watching events unfold.
Animation quality can range from average to great. The character art does look slightly off at times and there is lots of panning as well. The fight scenes are a step above your average anime. While I can't call out a particular duel as being truly spectacular, there are times where it shines. I think most will be satisfied with how the action is handled. There are 2 good, if not great, openings and endings, and the background music is also good.
Fate/Stay Night is a quality anime with good action, story, and characters. Recommended.
Written by Marc Frost on
Very little profanity.
Fights to the death. Some of the scenes are quite violent.
A couple scenes of brief undetailed nudity, and some minor sexuality in one scene.