Original is the definition of anime. Some tend to be more unique than others and Fate Stay Night is one of those. Yes there are fights, and magic, and underdogs trying to be greater than they are but what brings these elements together makes it different.
Shiro is a talentless wizard who is accidentally drawn into the grail war. Yes this is a war to obtain the Holy Grail of legend. The winner of this war gets the grail and can make a wish for anything they want. Shiro has a personal stake in this because 10 years ago a wish made by a winner killed his entire family and only left him alive.
Each wizard, or magi, summons a servant from one of seven classes; Saber, Archer, Berserker, Assassin, Rider, Caster, and Lancer. Shiro happens to get one of the most powerful classes called Saber. The Servants, as they are called, cannot give the Magi their true name so they are named for the class they are a part of. Saber is a female warrior who wields Excalibur in defense of Shiro. The two develop a bond over the course of the anime and surprising secrets are revealed.
The animation is crisp and done by Studio Deen. They are responsible for Getbackers, Knight Hunters, and King of Bandits Jing. Character design is nearly flawless but it seems that a lot of the female characters only vary by eye and hair color and clothing worn. The faces tend to be very interchangeable but overall the look is sharp. Action sequences are not super detailed but you can feel the tension.
Action takes the wait and power up approach with cutaways to dark screens showing lines of light representing blade strokes and then a character will drop down dead or be shown in a blocking position. That is fine because it leaves a lot for the imagination to create.
Sound is also good here and the English voice cast is well done by Funimation. The voice cast they picked for the English version handle themselves well and fit the characters we see on screen.
Overall when you consider story the anime is a definite 3 and a half star affair. The animation while good is lacking in some facial variation. Sound and voice acting were excellent and it’s nice to see Funimation doing a good job with translations.