I mentioned about a week ago that fans tend to think of visual novels as collections of short stories rather than full products. Again, whether this is a good or bad way to engage with this particular medium is not for me to decide, but this mentality does bring its share of problems; putting at risk the overall quality of a possible anime adaptation is one of them.
This dawned on me as I watched the last few episodes of ufotable’s Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. To put things in perspective, Fate/Stay Night is a visual novel with 3 routes titled Fate, Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel respectively. Back in 2006, Studio DEEN adapted it into a 2-cours show, mostly focusing on the Fate route but mixing it with chunks of the other two. While they were trying to satisfy fans of the franchise by doing things this way, the plan backfired, and with reason: each route is very different from one another, and you’d need some crazy planning skills in order to make everything fit into 24 episodes. The end result left a lot to be desired: there was just too much information to take in, too many plot points, too many characters that died as underdeveloped husks of themselves; events just didn’t happen in a way that’d let us know or care more about these people. It was frankly quite a mess. Continue reading