After long periods of discontinuity and stuff I’ve finally managed to finish the final route of Fate/Stay Night.
My review will contain heavy spoilers. Read on at your own discresion (or scroll to the bottom for my opinions):
Heaven’s Feel (or Sakura’s route) serves not only as the route of another girl, it also serves as something which provides all the info missing in the previous two routes. In Fate (Saber’s route), it’s all about Saber; Unlimited Blade Works is about Archer and more info on Caster. Heaven’s Feel provide some facts about the beginning of the Holy Grail War, the fall of Makiri (which is now Mato) as well as the Fourth Grail War. As expected, the main focus of this route is Sakura, and…some characters from previous routes have even less of a role.
Saber gets absorbed by Sakura’s shadow when she and Shiro goes to investigate Ryodo Temple for the second time. Having not actually played Fate/Unlimited Codes I can only image how broken she is. With rank A Mana burst and basically unlimited mana, Saber Alter is pretty much invincible (mana enhances her attack and defence, and she can use Excalibur without hesitation). During the first encounter, Saber was able to overpower Berserker with raw power alone.
At the end, Saber was knocked out by Rider’s Bellerophon with the help of Rho Aias that was projected by Shiro. Even so, it was an even match as Rider, too, was knocked out. Shiro dealt the final blow and Saber vanished without saying a word.
Berserker fought Saber Alter valiantly but was ultimately consumed by the shadow. Zoken initially thought that Sakura had completely devoured him but it turned out that he was kept as her Servant. He gave chase when Shiro and Kotomine rescued Ilya from her castle.
Shiro kills Berserker nine times by releasing the limiter on Archer’s arm and projecting Nine Lives (A set of bow and arrows that Heracles slew the hydra with); and three more times by projecting that stone axe-sword.
The Assassin that was originally intended to be summoned in the 5th Holy Grail war. Zoken used the body of the usurper (Sasaki Kojiro) as the catalyst for summoning him. True Assassin has the lowest combat capability of all Servants summoned, his basic technique is to throw Darks (his daggers) and find an opening when he can use his Noble Phantasm. His cursed arm would produce an image of a heart of his opponent and destroys it, during the process the real heart would be destroyed as well and this killing his opponent. To defend against this, one must input a larger amount of Mana than True Assassin to repel this attack.
Rider was able to beat the crap out of True Assassin in Ryodo Temple. Kotomine Kirei was able to fight with True Assassin for quite a long time using Black Keys. Unknown to Assassin, his Noble Phantasm was useless on Kotomine as Kotomine doesn’t have a heart. Archer mocked True Assassin by saying that he can’t even kill a kid (Shiro) without attacking from behind.
He is the True Assassin because it is a set law that only the assassins from al-Assasin can be summoned as the Servant Assassin. He is different from The Assassins in Fate/Zero becasue he is only one entity. Under the skull mask is nothing, as many over time has taken up the name Hassan I-Sabah that his identity is lost. His wish is for his name to live on, similar to Zoken’s wish for immortality.
Archer has a limited role. He tells Shiro that he himself will be the ultimate judge for his actions. He and Shro gets critically wounded by Dark Sakura (his core of existance gets damaged while Shiro loses an arm). Archer lives long enough to have his arm transplanted onto Shiro.
Rider breaks free of Shinji’s control and serves as the main Servant with the corruption of Saber. The first encounter with the real Rider was when Shiro was trapped in a room in Ryodo Temple by Zoken, when Rider came and saved him, at which time Rider effortlessly beat the crap out of True Assassin. All was revealed when Shinji kidnaps Sakura, and she manages to hold Archer at bay when he tried to kill Sakura as she lost control.
Throughout the story Rider remained loyal to Sakura, which limited her appearance somewhat, she is willing to kill anyone who tries to harm Sakura without hesitation. She eventually did ally with Shiro and manages a tie against Saber Alter with Shiro’s help.
Sakura was originally born into the Tosaka family, but was adopted by Zoken ten years prior to the Fourth Holy Grail war to succeed the Mato lineage. Her eyes and hair colour was configured by Zoken’s crest worms and she was made to use the magic of the Matos. Unknown to everyone, Zoken had inplanted the Grail left in the fourth war into Sakura in the form of a crest worm.
The story puts more of a focus on Sakura during the beginning. Shortly after the Grail War starts Sakura began to fall ill. During which time her shadow, the pre-mature form of Angra Manyu (Avenger) starts going around the night devouring people and any Servant that it runs into. When she was eventually revealed as the master of Rider, she had a break down due to the crest worms in her body. Kotomine performed a life-prolonging operation on her. After that, Shiro had to supplement her with mana every night.
Sakura became Dark Sakura when Shinji threatened to tell Shiro his history of raping her. She eventually purged her body of Zoken’s worms and killed True Assassin. Rin confronts her and matches her power with the Jeweled Sword of Zelretch. When Rin eventually did make up to her, she could not deal the killing blow, at which time Sakura stabs her sister in panic. Realizing that her sister still loved her, Sakura held off Angra Manyu long enough for Shiro to dispel the contract with Rule Breaker.
Rin was cold and hostile for most of the story, but in truth she did care for her sister. Shiro never actually made an alliance until the end. Shiro manages to project the Jeweled Sword of Zelretch, which Rin used to make her way to Sakura.
Kotomine is a mixed bag in this story. Other than providing Shiro with information and prolonging Sakura’s life, he briefly makes an alliance with Shiro in order to rescue Ilya.
Kotomine is an Executor of the church and uses Black Keys as primary weapons. He keeps the hilts inside his robe and materializes the blades when needed. He fought True Assassin and pins him to a tree (Black Keys immobilize the target by pinning their shadow) while destroying Zoken’s body by purifying his soul.
It is revealed that Kotomine was a Master in the fourth war and that he says that ke killed Kiritsugu. It may also be hinted that he was the master of Assassin, although he says that he knew of Assassin’s Noble Phantasm while observing his fight with Lancer.
Zoken Makiri was one of the three original magus who created the Holy Grail War. Having lived on for 500 years, his body is now a collection of crest worms and deteriorates quickly. He summons True Assassin after witnessing Shinji’s failure with Rider, and controls Sakura’s shadow in order to eliminate the rest of the servants.
Zoken’s body was exorcised by Kotmine when Kotomine fought True Assassin and Sakura kills the worm that held his soul.
It was said that the Makiri blood line began thinning on Zoken’s generation when they moved to Japan. Which was also the time they changed their name to Mato.
Shiro is different in every story. In Heaven’s Feel, he abandons his ideal of becoming a Hero of Justice in order to save Sakura.
In Fate, Shiro has access to Avalon and limited projection. In Unlimited Blade Works, Shiro also uses projection and has access to his (Archer’s) Reality Marble. In Heaven’s Feel, Shiro inherits Archer’s arm and is able to use his powers (such as running at 50 MPH and surviving a jump from the third floor from Ilya’s castle), combat knowledge, and his blue prints of projection. All that comes with a price, however. As the difference between his and Archer is too great, Archer’s arm will start killing him internally upon the first activation.
Using Archer’s arm, Shiro projects Nine Lives, Berserker’s Axe-Sword, which kills Berserker nine and three times, respectively; the Jeweled Sword of Zelretch after viewing it from Ilya’s memory; Rhio Aias (dubbed 花瓢盾， although his only has four petals as opposed to the original seven); and Rule Breaker.
Ilya becomes a main character in this story. Unlike previous stories, Ilya is quite serious and mature after the first half of the story. She helps Shiro make the decision to save Sakura, and she also allows Shiro to access her memory in order to project the Gem Sword.
It was also revealed that her mission was to kill Emiya Kiritsugu and Shiro, but was saddened when she found out that Kiritsugu died years ago.
At one time, Shiro asks Ilya to live with him when everything is over, but Ilya responds that only one of them will remain at the end.
Lancer fights True Assassin in Ryodo Temple and is ambushed by the shadow. True Assassin takes advantage of this and kills him.
Assassin was killed and his body used to summon True Assassin. Saber manages to catch a glimpse of his sword when she and Shiro went to Ryodo Temple for the first time.
Soichiro Kuzuki was dead and Caster was found wounded. Saber takes out Caster in one hit.
Gilgamesh for the most time stayed in the church. When he did go out to confront Dark Sakura he lacerates her with Noble Phantams from Gate of Babylon. However, Sakura regenerates and devours him.
Bazette was not mentioned
After freeing Sakura from Angra Manyu, Shiro tells Rider to take Sakura and Rin to safety. He then approaches the Grail with the thought of destroying it using his last bit of energy. As he approaches, he found Kotomine blocking him. Kotomine said that he was broken, and his only wish is to see Angra Manyu being born so, as a priest, he could bless the birth. With both their lives nearly extinguished, they fight in an effort to outlive the other. Shiro was losing, until Kotomine’s life burned out first.
Meanwhile, Zoken hastily placed his soul into another worm, and had his remaining worms assembling into a pile of flesh. Living on his will to live, he approaches the holy grail. Ilya appears, wearing the Dress of Heaven, and Zoken remembers his true desire (to not let the sacrifise of Lizleihi Justica von Einzbern be for nothing). He recalls the image of Ilya’s ancestor and accepts his fate.
Endings from this point on differ dependong on whether one gets the True Ending or the Normal Ending.
In both endings, Shiro, his life nearly burnt out by Archer’s arm, plans to trace Excalibur to destroy the grail. In the True Ending (the one I got initially), Ilya stops him, rescues his soul, and stops Angra Manyu from being born. Her last words were: “You said an older brother protects his little sister right? Yeah, I’m the older sister, so I must protect my little brother.”
The narrator shifts back to Rin, who returns to Fuyuki from her studies in London. Two years have passed and they have all graduated. Due to the fiasco that was the fifth Grail war, Rin was put on trial by the Mage Association, as she is the keeper of the land. Strangely enough, Zelretch appears and takes Rin as his apprentice, after which she named Sakura as her successor and stays in the Clock Tower.
Sakura still lives in Shiro’s house along with Rider, who would live on Sakura’s unlimited mana and is finally shown in normal clothing. Shiro’s body died with the Holy Grail, but his soul was rescued and placed in a puppet (hinted to be made by Aozaki Tōko) . He missed a year of school but was basically back to normal (and Rin says that with training he will be able to use his Reality Marble). The very last scene was Shiro, Sakura, Rider and Rin viewing the cherry blossms.
The different endings are decided by the final option, as I have just realized. In the Normal Ending, Shiro projects Excalibur and destroys the Grail along with himself. Sakura, refuses to believe that Shiro is dead, continues to wait for him because he promised that they would go see the cherry blossoms together when everything is over. When you have gotten every ending, your game turns like this:
I have mixed feelings towards this story. Aside from the obvious rant of Saber not being the main character, my other problem is with Sakura. I didn’t like her from the start and I like her even less now. Constantly having problems, jealous of anyone who gets too close to Shiro and what not. Even though she becomes evil she doesn’t actually do much. It might also be the fact that I’m more into relationships blooming, whereas here it happens all too quickly, followed by three days of nothing except H-scenes at night. Oh, I didn’t find those H-scenes to be very tasteful either.
Being a Rider fan, I was disappointed to find Rider not having as much of a role as I originally thought. But this was tipped somewhat because I have the voice patch and Yu Asakawa’s voice makes up for the lack of action. My opinion of Ilya, changed. Ilya isn’t just a loli like she is in Fate. She is shown to be a lot more mature, being the only one to understand the entire situation and not afraid of sacrifising herself. The way she told Shiro that she wanted him to live on definitely touched my heart and it sucks that she wasn’t mentioned at the end.
I actually never read the contents of the Normal Ending because I wanted to finish writing this thing. But the True Ending wasn’t as much of a kick between the legs as I had initially expected. The theme was quite joyful, as those who remained lived a normal and happy life. It’s one of those ‘everyone lived happily ever after’ things. The final moment was a great choice where everyone was back together.
I do apologize by my incorrect word choice and such. I was never that great at writing this kind of stuff and apparently a part of me died during my time in university.