I'll become a hero of justice for Sakura!
- Episodes : 1
- Genre : Action, Fantasy
- Airing Date : January 12, 2019, US: March 14, 2019
- Producers : ufotable
Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel II. lost butterfly Introduction and Story
Heaven’s Feel is the anticipated final story of the popular visual novel: Fate/stay night. In the original visual novel, Heaven’s Feel was the final route, featuring the heroine Sakura Matou and the protagonist Shirou Emiya.
Unlike the previous routes where certain allies could be relied upon, Heaven’s Feel switches the formula by creating new alliances. With new stakes established, Heaven’s Feel II enters into the second portion of its film trilogy.
1. The Power of Visual Themes
Sudo Tomonori is a relatively new director. His former involvement with TYPE-MOON was ubiquitous: key animation, character designs, and directing animation. His debut as a director began with Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin (2013) and then later the first Heaven’s Feel film (2017). His return to the second Heaven’s Feel comes with high expectations.
Although the movie has a rocky start, it quickly establishes a visual theme: the view of someone’s back. While this seems a coincidence at first, the movie uses multiple shots from behind a character. If someone turns their back on you (betrayal), if someone leaves you behind (isolation), if someone carries a burden (it’s on your back), these visual ideas help viewers understand Sakura and Shirou’s struggle and mindset.
Tomonori’s use of foreground and background, divisions between characters, and the middleground (where characters meet) is an impressive and skillful asset for the film. Tomonori’s awareness of space unveils the obstacles between a character’s motivation and intentions. The park scene is an example: the distance traveled shows both how far Shirou is willing to go for Sakura and his willingness to accept her.
2. A Story Told Through Animation, Color, and Lighting
Animation studio ufotable is a titan within the industry. Known for their gorgeous animation and impeccable sense of motion and energy, ufotable solidifies its fame with Heaven’s Feel II. If you’re a viewer who enjoys a visual spectacle, then Lost Butterfly is no stranger to it.
Action scenes are a festival of colors. They tell a tale that favors a side: blood red, the abyss-colored black, the yellow sparks of conflict, an otherworldly purple, and a sickening green--slowly the world is being consumed by a cruel force. This Grail War is unlike any other.
In the film, lighting combined with distance creates a strong tension and mood. It foreshadows with its shadow. It reveals with the warm light of a sun falling. It is no hyperbole that this conflict is truly between these forces. Even here, the director manages an impressive visual theme.
3. True To Its Source Material
This adaptation is an unexpected surprise. To better convey its message, the film preserves the explicit nature of its original. For those unaware, Fate/stay night is an adult-rated game, and its content involves scenes of a sexual nature. However, because of the emphasis on distance, isolation, desperation, and abuse, there is a strong argument for these scenes in the movie. While this may not jive with every viewer--one scene is especially cruel--it is an artistic decision that respect its source material.
1. Choreography: The Value of Concept and Execution
Despite the action’s visual splendor, the choreography can seem jumbled. Ignoring the first “action” scene--the intentions behind its clumsiness are clear--the majority of action scenes skirt a thin line between simple and animalistic.
In particular, the transition between locations feels a bit jarring. Logically, the fights are unfair, and the tug between between a traditional battle and one of survival make sense. However, the constant struggle to fight two opposing forces, the servant and the “shadows,” is emphasized by slapping characters around from screen-to-screen. This de-escalates the intensity of the servant vs. servant fights, ending on an unsatisfying and bitter conclusion.
That bitterness is a worthwhile goal. However, it needs a lengthier setup to properly invoke. Most action scenes end quickly, and while the end goal of these fights make sense, there is very little investment viewers can make before they end. Whether this is a positive or negative depends on how much viewers value concept over execution.
2. The Difficulty of Scriptwriting: Early Scene Pacing
When an adaptation is made, there are changes required to ease the transition from one medium to another. The job of the scriptwriter is to write scenes, stage direction, and dialogue for a play, game, TV show, or movie.
In the case of Heaven’s Feel II, the scriptwriter must reference the original’s scenes while adapting them into a new format, a monumental task given the length of its original work. However, with a strong synergy of visuals and writing, the burden of adapting dialogue can be alleviated
Although this is rare in Lost Butterfly, there are scenes where dialogue feels too fast. This is not a critique on a scene’s importance or legitimacy--the scriptwriter and director did an amazing job at pinpointing the important events of the story.
However, early on, the film feels rushed, as if it wants to force itself past the introduction in favor of its stronger middle and end. If the early scenes had dialogue inferred through visuals, information could be conveyed while relaxing the burden of its early dialogue and exposition.
Heaven’s Feel II is a gigantic improvement from its predecessor. As a budding director, Sudo Tomonori has progressed far, making use of his knowledge as a longtime staff member of TYPE-MOON. Heaven’s Feel II is the product of his dedication, an impressive evolution of his awareness of the lore and his attention to detail. As a huge fan of the Fate/stay night franchise, I can assure you that your anticipation will be rewarded.