Brilliant animation and battles that just devour you.
What They Say:
Shirou Emiya made his choice: to keep fighting, and to protect Sakura Matou. Due to the participation of Zouken Matou in the Holy Grail War, and his summoning of the Servant True Assassin, things begin to distort, steadily worsening day by day. Resolved to protect Sakura and not betray her, Shirou refuses to leave the battle. While Sakura worries about Shirou, she also finds herself entangled in her own fate as a mage. However, their fervent wishes are about be crushed by the mysterious black shadow that covers the city, killing Masters and Servants one by one…
The audio presentation for this film brings us the original Japanese language track along with the English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The 5.1 mix is a really strong part of this film as the audio design is great with how the action flows across it. The dialogue side is solid throughout with what it does as it works the highs and lows in a clear way but most of it is pretty straightforward. The showy points of it the whole mix is the action as the fights move around with the camera well and it has a great feeling to it as we get elements thrown to the rear channels and some strong bass sequences as well. It’s a film that knows what it wants to do and it handles the quiet scenes very well but knows that it has to go all out in the big scenes and does it in a crisp and clear way that shines.
Originally in theaters in 2019, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Animated by ufotable, the film looks gorgeous from the first frame to the last as one would expect for a project of this caliber. The color design is just beautiful throughout and the big sequences where the animation is very fluid is fantastic. It has a great smoothness to it that with the rich colors comes to life wonderfully. I love the look of this film as I have other ufotable projects and it really is the kind of thing where it gets hard to just say it looks as near perfect as can be. The encoding here is great with solid colors throughout that really makes it come alive with its vibrancy but it fleshes it all out with wonderful detail as well. It’s just fantastic throughout and made it incredibly easy to get absorbed in the story itself.
Coming in just like the first set, the packaging for this limited edition release is pretty fantastic as we get a heavy chipboard box that uses one of the key visuals for the film with Sakura upside down with all the red and purple around her that utilizes various locations and other characters mixed into the darker areas. It’s a chilling piece in general but with the black wrap that has the hints of purple in it and the layering of it all it comes across really well. The back cover gives us an all-black piece with just the logo symbol in the middle done as a silver embossed piece that’s very striking. Within the case, we get a digipak that’s very glossy looking that continues the darker tone and purple shading with more of the young woman getting some prominence at first and opening up to more characters. The main interior doesn’t have artwork but the film disc and CD soundtrack look great within. The first booklet we get is an animation material one that has a lot of interview material and a copious amount of small shots as it goes into the production. But the really big inclusion is the hardcover art book which is filled with gorgeous pieces on high quality paper. The interior also has some really great textured pages at the front and back while the cover goes for a purple embossed element that really brings it out in a striking way.
The menu design for this release is one that’s simple but effective in what it does. The main design uses clips from the film itself but it does it with a moving and sliding format that has various clips playing at once in different boxes and shapes that come in and out. It gives it some variety after starting simple with the logo itself. The navigation is kept simple along the bottom with a thin strip in purple with a white border that holds the basics. It expands well for the extras in showing what’s there and all of it is easy to read even with the smaller and thinner font that they use. It’s easy to navigate and it works well both as a main menu and as a pop-up menu during playback.
The extras for this release brings us a few familiar pieces with several promos and commercials with the trailers to promote it.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Coming out a year after seeing the first film, Heaven’s Feel brings us more of this updated and reworked story of the original Fate/stay night. As I’ve said before with this property, I am simply confused beyond words as to what anything means anymore. We’ve had so many variations, routes, remakes, and adaptations that it’s just a big pile of stuff that’s there. But, like the first film, it’s so utterly beautiful in its presentation that it can delight easily and especially if you can try and remove what you remember from previous adaptations from your mind. That’s not easy -especially with the gaps between installments in Japan and here – but the reality is that these films are drop dead gorgeous and should be seen just for their technical excellence at the least.
This film landed in theaters in January 2019 and brought in just under $20 million worldwide, which did better than the first film did more quickly. It’s one that’s definitely got its quiet moments, and some really nicely done sexytimes between Emiya and Sakura that I was glad to see presented as beautifully as it was, but it’s largely focused on the action side of things. Emiya’s struggling at the start of this because Saber’s presumed dead after the fight from the first film but he’s intent on fighting and ends up in a situation that brings in both Archer and Rider to the situation. Shinji was long the character I disliked the most from the original series and this incarnation is just as icky for me. Seeing him use Rider as he does in this fight reinforces it but we get some really beautiful moments, such as Archer crashing through the window and some of the other back and forth. Rider never got a chance to really shine in a big way but she gets some great moments here and the visual design is once again fantastic.
Emiya’s education over the course of the film isn’t a huge thing but we do see that he is learning a bit along the way, such as what Kotomine brings to the table and just his larger understanding of the battle with Rin talking more about parts of it as well. The real education, however, comes in a really engaging sequence when his group goes to see Illyasviel in order to find a working situation to keep alive in the game. But with several characters in battle there, they get caught up in it and Emiya ends up with an arm lost, which is brutal considering how his power works. What’s really fun to watch is with Archer as he gets taken down hard, knowing that he’s not going to make it, and basically does a magical arm transplant for Emiya. That’s putting some real problems on Emiya as we see in a bath later, but it’s a sequence that puts Emiya and Rin closer – at a time when Sakura’s still not completely up to speed on things and feeling very vulnerable to the point where she really fears losing Emiya to Rin.
The film moves everything forward well when it comes to these fights and battles and it’s absolutely beautifully animated. But it also comes with a cost, quite a heavy one, with the final act as it deals with Shinji once again as he threatens Sakura and to tell Emiya what he’s done to her for years. It’s brutal and something that will be incredibly hard to watch for some because of how it’s presented, but it just makes Shinji an even worse character and brings in some terrible sexual issues into the series that I still wish it had been able to avoid because you don’t always need to go there. All of this simply pushes Sakura into a darker and darker space and victimizes her over and over again.
Fans of this franchise have another incredibly beautiful set to add to their collection. These releases continue to be top-tier productions in how they come together, giving us a good chunk of what the Japanese release is like. I can’t overstate how great the books are for getting so much visual material to pore over and enjoy and just the overall slickness of the set is fantastic. The big piece though is how well the actual film is presented and it’s simply stunning here. These are the films that you hope are brought out in 4k just so you can be completely lost within them. They’re visual beauties and the story, generally, works very well. I may not be quite the fan I was when I first started learning about this property but it has so many parts the resonate it’s easy to continue to be a fan.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, PV & CM Collection, English Cast Interviews
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: November 19th, 2019
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.