WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
As animated films go Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel is exceptionally beautiful. Not only is it beautiful but it is stylish and utterly vivid. Hands down the best out of every Fate series yet. Before I get into this if you have not watched any of the other Fate/Stay films or shows then you will want to skip this one, there is a lot to take in from the other shows.
If you have not heard of Fate/Stay basically there are three different versions of the story and each has it’s own season. The different versions all follow Shirou as tries to win the Fourth Holy Grail War. In each series he falls in love with a different women, causing events to differ wildly. To help speed things along and stop events from boring the audience Heaven’s Feel uses a quick montage to skip everything we have seen before. Instead we get some much needed back story to how Sakura and Shirou first became friends. Once this is out the way we quickly move onto the action.
I say action but what I really mean is character development. That’s right this one is more of a character piece, than the others. Heaven’s feel takes a good hard look at Sakura and help’s us understand how she is the way she is. Though the animated form does not go fully into her abuse at the hands of her “family” but along the way we see signs of the physical and mental scars she receives under the watchful eyes of her guardians. Compared to the Fun tale that was Fate and the action orientated Unlimited Blade works, this series is very melancholic.
Character wise everyone pretty much stay’s the same
Shirou Emiya: Is still on his quest to be a real hero yes he is still probably to good for his own good.
Rin Tohsaka : Rin is still ultimate teenage wifu – I am saying this looking back at my teenage self (As an adult it is all about Rider)
Sakura Matou: She is still the quiet reserved girl but as I previously stated her quiet side is further explained
Taiga Fujimura – The upbeat fun teacher is a little more reserved in this plot line, but that only makes sense based on the tone of the story
Shinji Matou – is still a little shit, though in the novels and games he is worse
Illyasviel von Einzbern – always a strange mix of creepy and adorable
Zouken Matou – more of shit than Shinji and creepier than Illyasviel, so nothings changed there
As for their servants and the other masters they all remain the same. The only major difference is that in the Heavens Feel time line, True Assassin finally appears. If you have watched the other versions of Fate/Stay then you will remember that Caster had summoned her own assassin, well this time round we get to see what a proper true assassin can do. Not only that we see what a proper master can do too. If you think about it Rin, Shinji, Illyasviel and Emiya are not the equals of their predecessors, while Caster and Souichirou Kuzuki where never supposed to be masters either. True Assassin and their master are utterly terrifying compared to other opponents in this war. True Assassin and their master are more akin to those how participated in the 3rd Holy Grail War.
I know I said that this one was less action orientated that it’s predecessors but when their is action it is utterly glorious. They put all previous series to shame. With the battle between Lancer and Assassin being mind blowing, going from the top of a massive crane, onto a moving trailer and then into a swamp, I just could not take my eyes off the screen once.
Another positive with this new timeline is that we finally get to see what Rider can really do. Believe me women does not disappoint, she was so under used before this and the wait was worth it. (Looks like Shinji really was unworthy of wielding her power.)
I can see why this was one of the most popular fate based series. It is a deep dive and that will suck the joy right from you. But the watch is worth it. Sakura is one of the most compelling characters in the series, it is just a shame that we could not get to know her before this. She has hidden depths and strengths that we have yet to find out. This one is really worth the watch and one of the best Anime films I have seen in a while.