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Fate/stay night – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 30, 2013 by  

“Fate/stay night” is an enjoyable action-packed anime series and one of the better series based off a video game.  If you love the video games or just craving for an action anime series, “Fate/stay night – Collection 1″ is recommended.

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Filmworks.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fate/stay night – Collection 1

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2006

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition/16×9, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Release Date: January 29, 2013

Directed by Yuji Yamaguchi

Screenplay by Takuya Sato

Music by Kenji Kawai

Original Concept by Kinoku Nasu

Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi

Character Design by Megumi Ishihara

Art Director: Toshihisa Koyama

Anime Production by STUDIO DEEN

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayako Kawasumi/Michelle Ruff as Saber

Junichi Suwabe/Liam O’Brien as Archer

Kana Ueda/Mela Lee as Rin Tohsaka

Noriaki Sugiyama/Sam Regal as Shirou Emiya

Atsuko Tanaka/Tara Platt as Caster

Hiroshi Kamiya/Doug Erholtz as Shinji Matou

Jouji Nakata/Taylor Henry as Kirei Kotomine

Mai Kadowaki/Jennifer Sekiguchi as Illyasviel von Einzbern

Miki Itou/Julie Ann Taylor as Taiga “Tiger / Fuji-nee” Fujimura

Nobutoshi Canna/Tony Oliver as Lancer

Noriko Shitaya/Sherry Lynn as Sakura Matou

Shinichiro Miki/David Vincent as Assassin

Tadahisa Saizen/Michael McConnohie as Berserker

Tomokazu Seki as Gilgamesh

Yuu Asakawa/Kevin Strassman as Rider

Kazuhiro Nakata/Patrick Seitz as Soichiro Kuzuki

Rikiya Koyama/ as Kiritsugu Emiya

Raised by a mysterious sorcerer after the horrific death of his parents, Shiro Emiya has only just begun to help others using the small tidbits of magic that he’s learned. However, when he’s suddenly caught in a battle between two more powerful Magus, Shiro finds himself performing a spell above his expected ability, summoning the beautiful spirit warrior Saber to protect him! But safety is only momentary as Shiro and Saber now find themselves thrust into in a secret world of dark magic and deadly challenges: a no-holds barred duel to the death known as the Holy Grail War!

At stake is a prize of unimaginable power, but can the inexperienced Shiro and Saber survive long enough to even enter the contest? First they’ll have to withstand waves of treachery and assassination, even as Shiro scrambles to learn everything he’ll need to know to stay alive as seven teams of Magus and Spirit Servants face off in mortal combat!

When it comes to video games and its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON.  This series has captivated people from all over the world, merchandise continues to sell very well (considering its price for importing) and it’s quite impressive to see how the fanbase continues to grow and are dedicated to “Fate”!

My first introduction to the “Fate/stay night” was just hearing about the original anime TV series.  But it was the first PSP video game release (“Fate/unlimited codes” on the PlayStation Network that actually got me hyped for this series and made me learn more about the characters.

The more I researched, the more I started to noticed that a lot of people online were excited about this video game and discussing the anime series and while I never really understood the commotion of the series, I figured there were so many fighting games in Japan with characters that people go crazy for.

But then the Sony PSP game came out on the PlayStation Network and the huge number of posts on Danny Choo’s official website in regards to dolls or figures, may they be the release of Nendoroids from Good Smile! or FIGMA figures from Max Factory, suffice to say, I’ve seen the popularity for this “Fate/stay night” achieve critical mass not just in Japan but all over the world.

At Anime Expo 2011, I attended a press conference which featured the release of a “Fate Extra” and once again, I’ve seen fans going crazy.  In 2012, the Blu-ray and DVD of “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works” was released by Sentai Filmworks and now in 2013, the first volume of the original 2006 anime series will be released in January 2013.

The TV series is directed by Yuji Yamaguchi (“Yami to Boshi to Hon no Tabibito”, “Angel Links”, “Fate/stay night”), screenplay by Takuya Sato (“Armored Troopers Votoms Case; Irvine”, “Mission-E”, “Ichigo Mashimaro”), music by Kenji Kawai (“Devilman”, “Eyeshield 21″, “Eden of the East”, “Dai-Guard”, “Blue Seed”), character designs by Megumi Ishihara (“Moonlight Lady”, “Kakyusei”) and art direction by Toshihisa Koyama (“.hack//Liminality”, “Halo Legends”, “Kiddy Grade”, “Outlaw Star”).  Anime Production is by Studio DEEN.

What is “Fate/stay night”?

“Fate/stay night” is a Japanese visual novel developed by Type-Moon and was originally an adult game for the PC and then later released for the PlayStation 2.  The popularity of the video games led to a manga series which was serialized in Shonen Ace magazine and in 2007, a 24-episode anime series was released and a total of four video games.  In April 2012, the latest in the “Fate” anime series titled “Fate/Zero” (which is set 10 years before the events of “Fate/stay night”) began airing in Japan and the second season is still airing on television.

In 2010, Studio Deen released the film “Fate/stay night” and in 2012, Sentai Filmworks released the animated film, “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” on Blu-ray and DVD.  The film was comprised of important scenes from the original TV series that is 24-episodes long (12 hours) but unfortunately, with an abridged film at 105-minutes long, you miss out on a lot of story.

So, “Fate/stay night” will now be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Fate/stay night” takes place during a time in which a war is developing between the magi.  For two centuries, seven sorcerers have gathered and engaged in a war known as “The Holy Grail War” in which the winner will be able to make their wish come true.

The Holy Grail War has occurred every 60  years and one war happened prematurely a decade ago.

For each of these magis, they will each be given a servant from one of seven classes:  Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin and Caster.  And these servants must abide by their master’s request.  And as the magi will be able to make a wish, so will the servant.

The film focuses on a young man named Shiro Emiya, like his father, he wants to be a man of justice.  While staying late at school, he witnesses a fight between two servants: Archer vs. Lancer.  And because Shiro witnessed it, he is killed by Lancer.

Archer’s master, Rin, comes to the aid of Shiro by bringing him back to life.  Shiro has now been made to a magi and has been given the servant named Saber, and with this new power, Shiro vows to end this war for “The Holy Grail”.

But while each of the seven magi are to be enemies, Shiro is not that kind of person.  He respects Rin for saving his life and considers her his friend.  She tells him that they must be enemies but he refuses.  As Shiro, Saber and Rin are talking, they are attacked by Ilya and her giant servant known as Berserker.

While Saber does all she can to fight Berserker and protect her master Shiro, Rin also tries to protect Shiro….but her servant Archer is not thrilled that she has teamed up with Shiro/Saber. Rin tells him that for now, it would be good to work as a team and fight the other magi/servants.

And during the process of fighting against Berserker, Archer aims a devastating arrow towards both Berserker and Saber, hoping to kill both.  But Shiro manages to protect Saber and take the brunt of the damage.

The following morning, Shiro has completely healed and this leads to Shiro wanting to learn more about his servant and his new friend Rin, but also wanting to protect them.  And as Rin tries to explain that his sense of justice is going to hurt him (as they are all supposed to be enemies), Rin continues on the path of justice and wanting to protect the people he cares about.

But Shiro will quickly learn that while he may have Rin on his side, he and Saber have now become a target for the other five magi and their servants.

Will there be a true winner for this latest “Holy Grail War” or will Shiro find a way to end it?

VIDEO:

It’s important for people to know that “Fate/stay night” is an older anime series.  Not old-school but I usually feel that with series that were released 2009 and later, they tend to be HD native and look better.  But for older series, they either are remastered at a higher bitrate and in the case of “Fate/Stay night”, it’s a 1080i High Definition (16×9) release.

Fortunately, the series does look good for its age.  Colors are robust and while TV series are expected to have softness, fortunately the series is not too soft but you will see some banding and artifacts (not a lot but they are there).

But for those who have wanted “Fate/stay night” to be released on Blu-ray, for this 2006 anime series, you should be pleased by its overall picture quality as it does look better than many series that were upconverted to Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fate/stay night” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Typically, English soundtracks tend to have a more dynamic range as they are often fixed up for its US release.  In the case of this series, the Japanese audio actually has better dynamic range.  But both are well-acted and dialogue, music and sound effects are clear through the front channel.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fate/stay night” does not come with any special features.

Finally!  I can understand what the “Fate/stay night” storyline is all about!

Having played the video games and having seen the large dedicated fanbase for the “Fate/stay night” series in Japan, America and all over the world…I don’t think I have seen a video game receive so much recognition by fans worldwide.  You just don’t see people going crazy for “Street Fighter” or “King of Fighters” action figures but look online and there are fans that just go crazy for the video games and action figures.  And while I do feel that the character designs of the characters of “Fate/stay night” are quite cool to look at, I was drawn to it because of the character designs and for the fact that I am a fan of Japanese fighting video games.

And I am very  happy that Sentai Filmworks have released this animated series in the US.  Primarily to satisfy those who are big fans or are newer fans thanks to the video gae and the previous movie release.

While I do know that Japanese companies that sell the merchandise have done a fantastic job in making “alter” version and just continuing to give fans these wonderful looking versions of the characters and detailed outfits with the dolls and figures in Japan, here in America, more and more people are jumping on the “Fate/stay night” bandwagon.

As mentioned earlier, last summer I attended the “Fate Extra” reveal for the video game and the crowd went nuts when they saw the announcement of the game.  And similar to the video games, there is also innovation by trying to release the video games encompassing various genres instead of fighting video games.  From the adult PC game to the recent strategy tactic PSP game, fans are really enjoying the “Fate/stay night” series.  May it be the action figures, the dolls or the games, this is one series that fans all over the world are passionate about.

And therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if fans go after the Blu-ray or DVD release of “Fate/stay night”.

I’m quite biased towards the characters already and to finally now the context of what the story is about and the war between the seven magi’s, it’s a rather enjoyable concept, not necessarily unique, but it’s the characters that make this worthwhile.  There is non-stop action and while the animated series tends to focus more on Shiro and Rin, Saber and Archer fans will also enjoy this series.

A lot of action is featured throughout each episode and as mentioned earlier, unlike the movie which is 105 minutes of footage taken from the series, fans who saw the movie first, should be happy that they can see the series in its entirety on Blu-ray.

As for the Blu-ray release, it’s a 2006 anime TV series, so it is an upconvert, but compared to other anime series upconverts, it does look good.  Colors are vibrant at times but there are hints of softness, artifacts and banding as well.  But it’s expected for a series that is slightly older.  My only disappointment is the lack of any special features.

Exciting and action-packed, the first half of the series pretty much focuses on Shiro Emiya and Saber developing a relationship and taking on various challenges.  But things are definitely going to become much more difficult for the second half of the series.

Overall, “Fate/stay night” is an enjoyable action-packed anime series and one of the better series based off a video game.  If you love the video games or just craving for an action anime series, “Fate/stay night – Collection 1″ is recommended.

 




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