Type-Moon seems to remind me of Christopher Nolan when he isn’t making masterpieces like Monento, The Dark Knight, or Inception. Type-Moon is incredibly smart and clever and can pull off some interesting ideas, but it’s all executed coldly and without any disregard to the viewer’s comprehension. That said, however, it was in this block of episodes that the show started coming into form.
This is probably because the majority of this block was spent pointing out how unrealistic, or at least improbable, Shiro’s idealism, which almost gets him killed at least three times. Most of the arc focuses on his training to fight alongside (rather than wisely fighting behind) Saber, as well as establishing some of the other major players in the Holy Grail Wars. It all culminates and ends with a battle which, while seeming significant for the war and saving any people, seems to have come at an undefined cost.
Honestly, Saber and Rin are the components of the show keeping it going and propelling it. Saber is Shiro’s servant, but she doesn’t seem to have any desire to follow Shiro’s wishes. Where he wants to save everyone, Saber wants to win the war to get the Grail. Rin, on the other hand, is the best mentor character someone like Shiro could hope for. She doesn’t believe in his blind “save everyone” methodology, but she will at least let her “enemy” become more knowledgeable and a better magus. It shows that this was originally an eroge visual novel (in story structure only. There has only been one scene of fanservice and no sex in any way, shape, or form.), but that isn’t an insult. Type-Moon knew their medium and studio DEEN knew how to adapt the path they’re following (yes, I’m aware that this anime adapts one of the game’s three paths and a film is out which adapts the second one).
Honestly, I wish the series wasn’t a slow burn or wasn’t one which had as much of the high school crap in the beginning. As the series focuses more on the mythology and the Holy Grail Wars, the strengths are much more obvious. I hope it continues to get better and better.