Beginner's Guide to Fate Anime!

Beginner's Guide to Fate Anime!

The massively popular Fate franchise spans a huge variety of mediums, and some of its most well-known works are the various anime adaptations.

With so many titles portraying different routes and alternate universes, it can be difficult to wrap your head around it all if you're not familiar with the world of Fate. For those who are starting out, a great way to handle it is to keep it simple - in other words, just watch it in order of release! For a quick rundown of the must-watch Fate installments, take a look below.

1. Fate/stay night storyline
- 1.1 Fate/stay night
- 1.2 Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
- 1.3 Fate/Zero
- 1.4 Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel
- 1.5 The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II
2. Fate/Grand Order storyline
- 2.1 Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
- 2.2 Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot
3. Spinoffs and side stories
- 3.1 Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA
- 3.2 Fate/Apocrypha
- 3.3 Fate/Extra Last Encore
- 3.4 Today's Menu for the Emiya Family
4. Other media

Fate/stay night storyline

Created by Type-Moon, the original Fate/stay night visual novel was released in 2004. It revolves around Shirou Emiya, who is forced to enter the Fifth Holy Grail War, a tournament where powerful Masters summon Servants and battle for the rights to the Holy Grail, which will grant the victor one wish.

1. Fate/stay night
Studio Deen, 2006

Source: Fate/stay night official website

Fate/stay night follows protagonist Shirou Emiya in the first route of the original visual novel. Despite his status as a high school student and amateur magi, one day he encounters Servants Lancer and Saber, with the latter declaring him to be her Master.

2. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
ufotable, 2014-2015

Source: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works official website

While an anime film of the same name was released in 2010, the 26-episode Unlimited Blade Works TV anime gives fans a better chance to explore the relationship between Rin Tohsaka and Shirou Emiya. In this adaptation of the visual novel's second route, Shirou is again thrown into the chaos of the Holy Grail War, but is able to form a truce with Rin, his classmate and a powerful Master who summons the Servant Archer.

3. Fate/Zero
ufotable, 2011-2012

Saber is back in this prequel set ten years before Fate/stay night! The main player in the Fourth Holy Grail War is accomplished Master Kiritsugu Emiya, also the future adoptive father of Shirou. His reputation as a "magus killer" and his quest for the Holy Grail, as well as world peace, serve as an intriguing point of conflict in the midst of the struggle between Masters.

4. Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel
ufotable, 2017-2020

Source: Fate/stay night official website

Focusing on Shirou's friend Sakura Matou, the film trilogy marks the first adaptation of the third and final route of Fate/stay night. As Shirou is drawn into the Holy Grail War, he begins to discover Sakura's fateful role in the conflict. The first installment, presage flower, premiered in Oct. 2017 and the second, lost butterfly, in January 2019. The third and last movie, spring song, opened in August 2020.

5. The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II
Troyca, 2019

Taking place between the events of of Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, this TV anime series follows the investigations of a former Master who participated in the Fourth Holy Grail War. Based on the mystery light novel series written by Makoto Sanda and illustrated by Mineji Sakamoto, it ran for 13 episodes.

Fate/Grand Order storyline

Spinoff smartphone game Fate/Grand Order became a huge hit after its release in 2015. Taking on the name of Ritsuka Fujimaru, players must go back in time with Demi-Servant Mash Kyrielight to prevent humankind's destruction in the greatest Holy Grail War yet. In the process, they encounter numerous Servants named after significant figures of human history and legend. Available for both iOS and Android in Japanese, English and Chinese (Simplified/Traditional), the free-to-play app frequently holds special events and campaigns. It has also inspired a number of highly anticipated anime adaptations.

1. Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
Clover Works, 2019

This TV anime series is based on Fate/Grand Order's "Order VII: The Absolute Frontline in the War Against the Demonic Beasts: Babylonia" arc. Ritsuka and Mash are back with a highly dangerous mission in B.C. 2655 Mesopotamia, where they must help King Gilgamesh to protect the humanity's last stronghold in the face of Demonic Beasts.

2. Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot
Production I.G. and Signal.MD, 2020

This two-part movie will adapt Fate/Grand Order's popular “The Sacred Round Table Realm: Camelot” storyline. Against the background of a conflict between three major powers, Ritsuka and Mash are joined by the wandering knight Bedivere in Jerusalem in order to restore human history. The movie's two installments are titled Wandering; Agateram and Paladin; Agateram, with the former set to premiere on December 5, 2020.

Spinoffs and side stories

Among fans there are tons of theories as to which order to watch the anime is best, and it gets even more interesting when taking into account deviations from the main storylines. Some depict parallel universes where key elements like Masters and Servants are still included, while some spinoffs bring fan favorite characters to unrelated, albeit rather more peaceful settings. They're also a great chance to get a rest from the high stakes and epic battles of the main series, so read on for some alternate universe entries worth watching!

1. Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA
Silver Link., 2013

Source: Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA official website

Fate takes on a magical spin as main character Illyasviel von Einzbern (first featured in Fate/stay night ) finds herself transformed into a magical girl by the Kaleidostick Ruby. With the Holy Grail War having already been prevented, Illya grows up in relative peace, but soon finds herself on a mission to collect the seven Class Cards under the supervision of sorceress Rin Tohsaka. The Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA anime was based on the original spinoff manga by Hiroyama Hiroshi, with sequel anime adaptations following in 2015 and 2016. An OVA titled Prisma Phantasm was also released in June 2019.

2. Fate/Apocrypha
A-1 Pictures, 2017

Source: Fate/Apocrypha official website

Adapted from Yuichiro Higashide and Konoe Ototsugu's light novel series of the same name, Fate/Apocrypha is set in a parallel (yet equally tumultuous) world to Fate/stay night. Rather than the conflict between Master/Servant pairs, the story centers on the epic battle between the Red and Black factions from the Mage's Association and Yggdmillennia respectively.

3. Fate/Extra Last Encore
Shaft, 2018

Source: Fate/Extra Last Encore official website

As part of the Winter 2018 anime season, the 13-episode series premiered in January 2018. An adaptation of Type-Moon RPG Fate/Extra, it follows follows Hakuno Kishinami, who wakes up in a world he has no memory of and is thrown into battle. With the aid of a Servant, he must withstand encounters with those who fight for the wish granted by the Holy Grail.

4. Today's Menu for the Emiya Family
ufotable, 2018

Source: Today's Menu for the Emiya Family official website

In this blissfully peaceful spinoff, Shirou Emiya cooks up delicious dishes for many other familiar Fate characters! The first episode was broadcast in 2017 as part of a New Year's Eve special and continued in February 2018.

Other media

For those who are keen for an even better understanding of the Fate universe, try starting where it all began: the original visual novel by Type-Moon! Plenty of other game genres and stories are covered too, like dungeon crawl-style game Fate/Extra and action video game Fate/Extella.

What will be your next Fate experience?

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article.


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