Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works – A Great Piece, Well Executed By Ufotable

Fighting for others, but not yourself, is nothing but hypocrisy.

~Archer~


Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works route just ended. Kudos to Ufotable for delivering the animation awesomely.

As most people know, the Fate/Stay series is super popular. Based on visual novels, it follows three different routes. The first route Fate, was animated by Studio Deen in 2006. The same studio adapted Unlimited Blade Works (UBW) into a movie in 2010.

fate ubw

So how does the Deen’s production differ from Ufotable?

I’ll say, by miles.

1) Quality
Ufotable has a big budget and they did not waste it. The animation was done beautifully and it’s a shame if fans did not watch the series in HD.

2) Story/Plot
While Fate/Stay plot is pretty much fixed, Ufotable invested a lot in character development and gave a proper background to most of the characters. It played with the emotion and made you understand more about those who involved with the Holy Grail War.

3) Ending
Ufotable chose to follow UBW True Ending, where Rin and Shirou both went to study magic at Clock Tower in London. And it did not stop there. They explored Rin’s and Shirou’s life after the war, and what decision Shirou had come to.

They also added a nice bit where Rin brought Shirou to visit Saber’s grave (who was the great King of Britain) for him to properly say goodbye to her.

There were also cameo appearances by Waver Velvet who was currently known as Lord El-Melloi II, a great professor at Clock Tower (you need to watch Fate/Zero in order to know who Waver was) as well as Luvia Edelfelt.

4) OST
The combination of Aimer, Kalafina and Lisa for opening, ending and insert songs. What else do you need?

Whilst this route can be watched as an independent series, I highly recommend to watch Fate/Zero (also produced by Ufotable) prior to this. Why you ask? Fate/Zero unfolded a lot of things you need to know about the Holy Grail. It was set 10 years before the 5th war took place. And since UBW route follows directly after Fate/Zero, there were a lot of references to the previous series, especially stuff related to Emiya Kiritsugu (since he had the most connections with the characters: Emiya Shirou, Saber, Kotomine Kirei, Ilya etc).

However, once you’ve watched Fate/Zero, you’ll find that not all issues were resolved in a single route. Take UBW for example. Ilya died without knowing the truth as to why Kiritsugu abandoned her. The dagger used by Kirei to kill Tohsaka Tokiomi, and was later passed down to Rin did not make it appearances in this route (but it was used by Shirou to kill Kirei in the Fate route. Yeah, talk about karma..). Till the end, Sakura Matou did not know that Rin was her biological sister (but this was revealed in the Heaven’s Feel route).

In conclusion, I’m happy with Ufotable adaptation of UBW. The pacing was great, the story was nicely told, the fight was realistic, and Shirou’s monologue was brilliantly represented. And most of all, it brought out the best of Rin. She is definitely the best girl in this series!

p/s: Heaven’s Feel movie by Ufotable will be released sometimes later. Let’s hope Ufotable maintains its great job ^-^

Sword Art Online Progressive Volume 1 (Novel)

There’s no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die…

~Yuuki Asuna~


I’m a big fan of Sword Art Online (SAO). Though I’m not really happy with the way Kawahara Reki downgraded the heroin from amazing to just being Kirito’s girlfriend, as well as adding other females to Kirito’s harem, however, story wise, I have to give credit to Kawahara sensei.

I watched its anime. It seemed a bit rush. So I read its novel, SAO – Aincrad Part 1 and 2. A lot of details were left out from the anime, especially on Argo the Rat. She’s the information broker, an important figure however she only appeared briefly in the anime, on episode Red Nose Reindeer.

The anime is still entertaining to watch. It just that I wish for more. The first novel started from 74th floor. The second novel only consists of side stories about Silica, Lisbeth, Yui and Sachi. I really wanted to know about the players early lives in Aincrad. What happened after the first floor boss fight.

SAO Progressive holds the answer.

SAO progressive 1

It covers three stories.

Aria on a Starless Night – This part covers in details how Kirito first met Asuna. It was actually in a dungeon, not during the floor boss meeting as portrayed in the anime. The story then progresses to the floor boss meeting, the deal Diavel made with Kibaou and Argo to buy Kirito’s Anneal Blade sword in order to prevent him from taking the last attack and ends with Kirito holding the title ‘Beater’.

The Reason for the Whiskers – After the first floor had been defeated, Kirito went on a quest where he learned the truth behind Argo’s whiskers which earned her the nickname ‘The Rat’.

Rondo for a Fragile Blade – Kirito and Asuna once again partied up together to solve the mystery of sword thieving committed by the first Aincrad blacksmith. They did not stop there, and later joined up with Agil and the rest of the front liners to beat the boss of the second floor.

SAO Progressive basically is a story about how the bosses for each floor is defeated, which is not covered in SAO – Aincrad. The second volume (English) has just been released and it is on its way to me ^-^

As far as I know, there is Volume 3 as well. I don’t what Kawahara sensei is planning but I hope he would write for each floor, though that might take forever 😛

Seraph of The End (終わりのセラフ)S1 – Not Just Another Vampire Story

“…I was looking west. That’s where Mika’s gotta be, right? In the vampire city. I heard the place they held us was somewhere underneath Kyoto… Someday, I swear… I’ll go get him back.”

~Hyakuya Yūichirō~


There are heaps of vampire stories out there. No, I’m not really a big fan of vampire. But to me, Seraph of the End holds its own charm.

I guess what captivated me the most was the focus of the story. About the relationship of two brothers, though not blood-related (yeah, some even called it ‘bromance’ :P).

It is a dark fantasy story but amusing. The protagonist, Yūichirō or Yū for short, followed the characteristics of a shounen MC. Strong, nice but an idiot.

owari no seraph

The setting of the story took place after the trumpets of the apocalypse caused the death of most humans, except for children under 13. In the midst of calamity, vampires arose from the underground, took control of the human world and kept these children as livestock, where the kids had to ‘donate’ their bloods in return.

Unlike the other vampire stories where the bitten human would be turned into one, these vampires are very reluctant to reproduce. Hence only vampire nobles were given the authority to turn a human into a vampire.

Among the livestock was a group of children from Hyakuya orphanage. One day Hyakuya Mikaela planned to escape from the vampires together with Yū and the rest of his so-called Hyakuya family. Unfortunately his plan backfired. Most of his family were killed by Lord Ferid, a vampire noble. Mika sacrificed himself to allow Yū to escape.

Angered by the event, Yū who was rescued by the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, vowed to avenge the death of his family. However it was later revealed that Mika was still alive and had been turned into a vampire against his will by Krul Tepes, the vampire queen.

Mika, convinced that Yū was being used by the humans, was very determined to save him from them. Fate reunited these two brothers. Yū, after learning the truth, was also determined to save Mika from the vampires and turn him back into human.

yu and mika

The first cour of the anime has just ended. The second cour will start in October 2015. The manga is still on-going with a lot of questions unanswered.

Hyakuya Sect performed a human experiment on the children they sheltered. As told by Yū’s demon, a tenth of him was not human. That was the reason why he was ‘saved’ the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. Mika was also turned into a vampire for the same reason. It was said that the human had involved in a forbidden research, Seraph of the End. What the research is about, is still a mystery. But the key to this answer is definitely Mika and Yū.

At this point of time, it is hard to say who the bad guy really is. The vampires claimed that it was the humans’ greediness that brought the world into its current state, and hence decided to get rid of them. The humans, on the other hand, led by the Hiragi family, also had an ulterior motive and were constantly breaking laws by performing forbidden research on humans in order to gain more power.

This is the story about family, brotherhood and friendship, with power struggle mixing in between. The direction its taking seems promising and up until now, the story has not disappointed me yet. Enough to make me invest my money in its volumes (Volume 5 (English) was just released, and Volume 6 is scheduled to be released in September, with Krul Tepes on the cover).

If you love a shounen dark fantasy story with less romance (but more on bromance :P), this is for you. The story was great, the animation was done brilliantly and the musics were awesome! After all the musics were composed by the musically genius Sawano Hiroyuki ^-^

Book Depository – Free Delivery Worldwide

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

~Benjamin Franklin~


BookDepository.

Thousands of choices. It’s cheap. It’s fast. It’s reliable. And free delivery. Doesn’t that spell great?

I was introduced to BookDepository by a friend. Before this I purchased manga volume from the Mighty Ape. But since I’m no longer in New Zealand, I need to find a cheaper way to buy my favorite books without having to worry about the shipping fee.

And yes, BookDepository is the answer.

I received my first purchased manga from the site within the estimated time frame. The condition is good. And I had received the other four as well, also in good condition.

book depository

I value a great customer service and BookDepository does not disappoint me. Whenever I have questions, they would answer me promptly.

As a happy customer, what else could I say except to brag about them? ^-^

So yeah, feel free to visit Book Depository page to see what they have to offer and shop without worry :)

“When Marnie Was There” – A Touching Ghost Tale

The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.

~Elbert Hubbard~


Recently I had a chance to watch Studio Ghibli’s latest release ‘When Marnie Was There’. My thoughts on the movie? It was beautifully done. Definitely worth watching.

I’m a fan of Studio Ghibli’s movies, though not as hard core as watching anime series. A few of its productions were outstanding, some were good, and of course there were some ‘meh’ ones.

To me, what interesting about the story was the revelation of Marnie. The story began with Anna, a lonely, asthmatic girl, who was sent to a small village with clean air to improve her health condition. There she saw a mansion that captivated her interest.

The mansion had been abandoned for years. So when she met Marnie in an empty house like that, it was not hard to guess that Marnie was a ghost. This was where the story got interesting. Who was Marnie? Why could only Anna see her?

when marnie was there

At first I thought it was just a cliche ghost story. Marnie might be a girl who was killed in the mansion, and was looking for someone to reveal the truth about her death. I didn’t realize how far off I was from the truth!

The truth about Marnie was far more beautiful. The whole story was not about solving Marnie’s mystery but how it healed Anna’s wounded heart and gave her a new perspective of life.

Simple but not boring. Thrilling and entertaining.

Rumor has it that this might be Studio Ghibli’s last movie. Let’s just hope that this won’t be the case. We still need more beautiful stories like ‘When Marnie Was There’.