My thoughts on F/SN:
Loved the original series when I first watched it. And it's thanks to the series that I eventually played the (far superior) Visual Novel. For those less familiar with Fate, this series essentially covers the first of three arcs from the F/SN Visual Novel (with sprinklings of elements from the others, but essentially its the first route). Studio DEEN later produced a movie too, which more or less covers the second arc, Unlimited Blade Works.
A problem a lot of people will have with this series now is that the prequel series, Fate/Zero (animated by studio ufotable rather than DEEN), is just so much better. I recently tried re-watching this series and just found it painful. The mood and pacing just don't seem well conveyed. The animation quality, while not terrible, isn't amazing either, and a lot of key scenes that are supposed to be pretty epic just aren't. It doesn't help that the Fate arc is generally agreed to be the worst of the three as well (A lot of people find Shirou very annoying, which he can be, but he's at his absolute worst in the first arc. He's not too bad in the other two).
In short, I don't think F/SN is a bad series and had it not been overshadowed by the far superior adaption of F/Z I doubt many people would think so either, but ufotable have shown us just how good this particular franchise can be if put in the right hands.
ufotable have said that they will be working on a new Fate project in 2014. Whether it's a full reboot of F/SN or someone finally animating Heaven's Feel (the third arc) remains to be seen, but regardless I'm excited!
Incidentally, the F/SN Visual Novel was recently released on the Vita, and each arc has a new opening video animated by... ufotable! Maybe a little teaser of what's to come...? ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGSRdtExzkw (Unlimited Blade Works)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp3EfuYJ9d8 (Heaven's Feel)
"The only people a superhero can save are the people he sides with."
An entire review of the Fate/Stay Night anime adaptation can be boiled down to a single sentence; Shirou Emiya fucking sucks.
Seinen anime can easily be tanked by a terrible lead, and Fate/Stay Night is obviously no exception. The burden of Shirou Emiya is like wearing a full suit of armor while trying to go for a swim, no matter how strong a swimmer you are there is no chance of you keeping your head above the water. And no matter how good some of Fate/Stay Night's individual parts may be, it can't be saved when Emiya is constantly dragging it down. Then again, if you strapped Shirou in a suit of armor and tried to drown him he would inexplicably survive anyway since he is already wearing impenetrable and indestructible plot armor. Dude catches more certain death than Rasputin and just shrugs it off while being one of the most consistently stupid, selfish, and unlikable characters around. And that is his final form! At no point does he improve, learn anything, or develop.
The Emiyalbatross is a double shame, because Fate/Stay Night is a fantastic concept at its core. In the story, the Holy Grail appears every so often and some of the mightiest heroes in the history of our world are summoned to fight for their human masters in order to gain control of it. This leads to some really fun battles and great character designs that, if it weren't for the massive amount of missteps, would have been enough to make this an easy recommendation. Some missteps are on Studio DEEN's part due to how drab a lot of the animation gets outside of the battles, but most come as the plot is further revealed in the second half of the anime when the pace slows down considerably and twists are dumped on the viewer in some very unconvincing ways. Unconvincing twists are nothing new in anime, but when so much of Fate/Stay Night's second half revolves around the "romance" between Sabre and Shirou, oh boy does that second half drag.
The nature of Fate/Stay Night also works against itself. Considering it starts off in a hole by being an adaptation of one of those visual novels but with all the sex scenes removed - which leads to some painfully awkward scenes like "the place where the threesome probably went" and "the place where awful Shirou probably makes Excalibur puns while guilting Sabre into sex because he is just the worst" - it is just too much for the anime to recover from thanks to how truly terrible Shirou is as protagonist. I think I'm being generous by giving this an average score, but I don't think saying so is as controversial an opinion as it would have been when this was at the height of its popularity. The far superior, and completely Shirou-less, Fate/Zero did a lot to overshadow Fate/Stay Night while shining a light on its shortcomings.
WATCH if you have a unique form of blindness that renders you incapable of seeing any of Shirou's scenes. DON'T WATCH if you can just Youtube the two opening themes because they are pretty solidly the best part of every episode.
Hi guys, just FYI F/SN and F/Z are now separate entries.
F/Z can be found here http://trakt.tv/show/fatezero