The final arc of Fate/Stay Night, Heaven’s Feel is the route dedicated to Sakura Mato. Heaven’s Feel, unlike the other two arcs Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, is being adapted into 3 movies. Lucky for me, and plenty of other fans, the first of these movies, Presage Flower, was put into theaters by Aniplex USA who even gave away posters for those who bothered coming out (I’m not only a sucker for seeing anime on the big screen but adore being given gifts for going, so let’s just say I was more than a little excited to see this movie).
I won’t pretend that I’m an expert on the Fate franchise (I’ve only seen the original Fate/Stay Night and the first half of Fate/Apocrypha, which is an unrelated entry) but I have enjoyed the various parts of the franchise I’ve seen and despite not having seen Rin’s arc, I was excited to get to see Heaven’s Feel on the big screen. If you haven’t seen any of the Fate/Stay Night adaptations, I recommend seeing at least one to get the basic story down. Set in Fuyuki City, Japan, Fate/Stay Night follows Shiro Emiya as he learns he is the final master in a competition known as the Holy Grail War. Each Holy Grail War takes 7 magus/magicians (called Masters) has them summon 7 heroic spirits (called Servants) and has them fight a life and death battle to get a wish granted by the Holy Grail.
Unlike the rest of the competitors, Shiro is not a practiced magus. He’s pretty mucha normal guy with a wish to become a hero. Heaven’s Feel makes the main female character Sakura Mato, the younger sister of Shinji Mato. In Fate/Stay Night (2006) Sakura is often seen at Shiro’s house doing cleaning and cooking. She’s very clearly in love with Shiro but isn’t a really good character, at least in my opinion. Heaven’s Feel though features a completely different Sakura. Here we get to see the relationship between Sakura and Shiro’s begin. This was an interesting part of the movie because there’s really no explanation of why she shows up at Shiro’s hour in the original anime, plus it gives a unique start to the movie.
I’ll be honest, I still don’t like Sakura. At least in Fate/Stay Night (2006) Sakura had a personality. She might have just been a ‘Senpai notice me’ type of character but that’s more than she has in Heaven’s Feel. She barely speaks early in the movie, has dead eyes, and we see little real interactions between her and Shiro. Yet I’m still expected to believe he develops feelings for her? -sigh-
Regardless of my personal feelings for Sakura, the story building in Heaven’s Feel was really good. Heaven’s Feel has a very different story from the other two routes in Fate/Stay Night. A much darker story, Heaven’s Feel introduces us to True Assassin, who doesn’t appear in any other route, as well as a mysterious shadow that is targeting the Servants. The inclusion of Zoken Mato also made a huge difference. Zoken has done a lot of awful things in the Fate/Stay Night universe and continues to act as a villain in the first movie, not to mention he’s creepier than any of the servants.
I have to say, despite not being familiar with all the different routes or aspects of Fate/Stay Night, Heaven’s Feel turned out to be a great movie. The visuals are amazing (especially when compared to Fate/Stay Night 2006), the voice acting is also top notch. While I can’t remember much about the music, I can say that the ending is a perfect representation of the darker, more somber story.
Getting to see Presage Flower in theaters was a great experience. Initially we weren’t sure we would get to see it but thankfully Aniplex added a showing late into the the run. It’s true that this might be boosting my opinion of the movie, making me more likely to recommend it, but if you’re interested in watching something darker, you can’t go wrong with Heaven’s Feel.
Rating Scale: Worth Watching. Featuring a more mature story and unbelievable art/animation, Heaven’s Feel is worth watching even if you haven’t seen any other entry in the Fate/Stay Night franchise. The only warning I give for people is that Heaven’s Feel does contain incest/rape. While the first movie is free of this, it is possible it will show up in either of the 2 planned movies because it is part of the story.