I have also since seen Fate/Unlimited Blade Works, which felt weak too (despite looking stunning). Last year though, I was able to enjoy the spinoff series Fate/Zero when it streamed on Nico Nico Douga, and I had to admit that the Fate universe was an interesting one when presented in the right way.
Which brings me to today's review: Carnival Phantasm. This is a completely ridiculous series of special OVAs, based on a gag manga spinoff of the TYPE-MOON universe. The bulk of the cast come from Tsukihime and the Fate series (I have to admit that I'm not familiar with a couple of the recurring characters at all). The series is well produced and full of energy, but what really makes it click is that it focuses more on the character interactions than its parent series, and through shameless self-parody it takes the viewer on a high speed tour of the worlds its characters live in.
Carnival Phantasm doesn't skimp on its music, and the OP, Super Affection, has become rather famous on Nico Nico Douga as a source of endless parody itself. It's a collaboration from an all-star team of popular anime/game performers, and very catchy. In the OVA series it accompanies some truly charming animation which gets you in the mood for some silliness immediately. The ending is Endou Masaaki's Fellows, a rousing but considerably less hyperactive anison.
I was always disappointed by how little time Rider spent on screen in Fate/stay night (her design is one of the things which had originally attracted me to Fate many years ago) and it's good to see her getting some lines here, even if she's often the butt of jokes in the end. Needless to say, in my case the inclusion of the magnificent Gilgamesh was also a selling point...
Carnival Phantasm hadn't had an English-language release to date, though if Section23 see their recent TYPE-MOON acquisitions performing well there's no reason to think that they won't try to pick it up in future. In Japan, the main series is available in three individual 'season' sets. The special OVA episode 'Carnival Phantasm EX Season' is available as a DVD-only bonus item with the special edition of Takenashi Eri's Take-Moon manga.