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Unlimited Blade Works
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I'm repurposing this as a thread for the Unlimited Blade Works anime by ufotable. Seems we're nearing the end of the anime with most of the contestants eliminated and the
dual between Shirou and Archer
. I've been liking this anime a lot so far, with friggin' amazing animation and interesting interpretations of various mythological figures. It's funny how for a lot of the anime I was really looking forward to Gilgamesh showing up but when he actually did I was like
you killed Illya you bastard! Not just that but he had to do it in such a cruel way, I mean cutting out her eyes and making her think she was still with Berserker even after he already died, seriously?
and now I'm looking forward to seeing someone wipe that smug prick look off his face. Also I wonder if they're going to do anything with Sasaki Kojiro or if he's just going to stay stuck at that temple until he runs out of mana. It'd be a shame if he didn't get to have a final dual with Saber.

With the latest episode we get into quite a bit of heady philosophical territory with
basically deconstructing Shirou's entire worldview while effortlessly dominating their fight. I got chills down by spine when Shirou had his Heroic Second Wind and Last Stardust by Aimer started playing as his affirmed his desire to be a hero of justice no matter what. Also:

Typical Shirou statement right there. While he's at it, is he gonna remind us that people die when they're killed? To be the fair the statement is probably translated awkwardly (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of nuance was lost in translation during that whole dualling ideals bit) and he probably means something more like "just because your reasoning is correct, doesn't mean your actions are right".

And here's an eargasmic English cover of the season 2 opening "Brave Shine" by amateur singer Sapphire AKA StrawberryCreme.

Evil flower of Pure Illusion... we're going to pluck you out!
The finale of Unlimited Blade Works is almost here folks! Now the only opponent left for our heroes to face is
. I was wondering how ufotable was going to handle the "mana transfer ritual" between Shirou and Rin considering what it was in the original Visual Novel (hint hint, the series started out as an eroge). Expecially since Rin's dialogue in the preview seemed pretty suggestive with "in order to face my most important fight, I'll give away my important possession" or something like that. But it turns out she was talking about
her magic crest
although the show still played it with a fair degree of intimacy (an emotional, rather than physical intimacy). And scenes of Rin acting all cute and tsundere are always good.

Also I was surprised that Shirou showed so little reaction to discovering that
Saber caused the Fuyuki fire
. That was basically the defining event of his life and he learned that one of his closest allies
caused it, albeit to prevent something far worse
. You'd think he'd at least react a little bit. And it seems that Sasaki Kojiro will be showing up again, what with the final battle
being at Ryudo Temple
and all.

Evil flower of Pure Illusion... we're going to pluck you out!
Unlimited Blade Works is now officially over! It's interesting that even though Shirou
literally saved the entire world and defeated an obscenely powerful foe
from the perspective of the Mages Association the entire Holy Grail War was merely a small-scale conflict localized to a single city. They presumably never even realized that
the Grail was cursed
. The interactions between Shirou and Luvia at Clock Tower were pretty funny to watch, with her mispronouncing his name as "Sherou" and Rin getting all jealous and stuff. Also on a cruder note Luvia and especially Rin's combat outfits during that sparring match were unbelievably hot. Rin in form-fitting tank top and short shorts, yes please!

Shirou and Rin's interactions were also quite cute and sweet in an understated way. It was good to see Shirou
visiting a certain king's grave and paying his respects to Saber there
. So at the end Shirou resolves to leave the Clock Tower and continue chasing his dream of being a "hero of justice". Hopefully Rin being at his side will curb his more self-destructive impulses and prevent him from ending up the way Archer did. Shirou, while his desire to be a hero is without a doubt noble, is also indisputably pretty messed up. When the series starts he basically places no value in himself as a person except for how he can help others. Rin's presence provides a more commonsensical and balanced perspective (ironic that the mage has a more normal perspective than the semi muggle in this case) and at the very least he'll realize that hurting himself will hurt her as well.

I guess the ultimate message of the show is that "Ideals are great, but if you follow them to the point where you're hurting yourself and pushing away others, than that's pretty fucked up." The end result of an ideal shouldn't be the death or destruction of it's holder. For all the things (and there are many) that Ayn Rand got wrong in her philosophy, she got this right.

All in all, a satisfying ending to a great series.

Also: I've finally reached 100 posts woot woot!!!

Evil flower of Pure Illusion... we're going to pluck you out!
The English dub for season 1 of Unlimited Blade Works has just come out so I'm going to be re-watching the series, starting with the first (er, technically zeroth) episode. This is definitely a very "talky" show so I think a dub will definitely make the many dialogue scenes seem less like just reading text on a screen while the camera pans around. Also I hope the dub will make some of the especially complex dialogue (i.e Shirou VS Archer) more easily intelligible instead of "Just because you're correct doesn't mean you're right!" and stuff like that (although they did keep Rin's "So the Archer class is really made up of archers!" line).

All the dubbed voices sound pretty good I would say. Shinji sounds like a smarmy douchebag as expected, Archer has his cool, sarcastic tone and none of the voices sound offensively bad. When I watched the trailer I thought Rin's voice sounded a bit too high pitched and watching the first episode, honestly I kinda still think that a bit but it's not too bad and I'll probably get used to it (like Senketsu's dubbed voice from Kill La Kill). I'm somewhat disappointed we didn't get Rin's "The world is just another word for the things you value around you, right? That's something I've had since I was born. If you tell me to rule such a world, I already rule it." line on the rooftop with Archer. I hope that doesn't mean too much of the nuance will be lost from the dialogue this time around. That'd be a shame.

Also Rin's putdown of Shinji was hilarious: "I have no interest in archery, but I have even less interest in you!"

Evil flower of Pure Illusion... we're going to pluck you out!
Just finished the first season the English dub of Unlimited Blade Works today (whew, that was a mouthful)! All in all the English voices were pretty good, I would say. None of them were really unfitting or anything and I especially liked Caster and Shinji's voices. The English VA for Caster really nailed her haughty, vaguely sensual personality and Shinji sounded as much like a smarmy douchebag as you'd imagine he would in English. The second season is where a lot of the more complex philosophical dialogue comes in though so when it comes out I'll have to see how they pull it off. Definitely good to get a chance to rewatch this great series. I think I'm appreciating it even more the second time around.

Evil flower of Pure Illusion... we're going to pluck you out!
So the dub for UBW's second season came out sometime recently, in case anybody's interested. Just watched the first episode today. Some badass moments with Shirou, Archer being as smug as ever, Saber being dolled up in a bridal dress while Caster tries to "enslave" her and some good tsundere moments for Rin. Show's definitely as good as I remembered it being! Dub also seems pretty satisfactory so far, though we'll see how it handles some of the more complicated later stuff once we get there.

Evil flower of Pure Illusion... we're going to pluck you out!
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