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.

Source: Fate/Zero official website  ©Nitroplus/TYPE-MOON・ufotable・FZPC

1. Fate/stay night
Studio Deen, 2006

Based on the first route of Type-Moon's original visual novel, Fate/stay night introduces protagonist Emiya Shirou in a world where Masters are secretly battling for the rights to the Holy Grail (which grants one wish) by summoning Servants. 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

While an anime film of the same name was released in 2010, the 12-episode Unlimited Blade Works TV anime gives fans a better chance to explore the relationship between Tohsaka Rin and Emiya Shirou. 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 Emiya Kiritsugu, also the future adoptive father of Emiya 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

Focussing on Shirou's friend Matou Sakura, 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 her role in the conflict. The first installment, presage flower, premiered in Oct. 2017 and the second, lost butterfly, in Jan. 2019. The third and last movie, spring song, is slated to open in spring 2020.

Source: Fate/stay night official website ©TYPE-MOON・ufotable・FSNPC ©TYPE-MOON

Currently, there are also quite a few more anime projects to look forward to, such as Fate/Grand Order: Shinsei Entaku Ryouiki Camelot, a two-part movie which will adapt the game’s popular “Order VI: The Sacred Round Table Realm: Camelot” storyline. Set for release in 2020, the two installments are titled Wandering; Agateram and Paladin; Agateram. Production I.G. will be handling the animation for both.

Another TV anime adaptation will premiere in Oct. 2019, titled Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Maju Sensen Babylonia. Produced by Clover Works, the story will be based on the game’s "Order VII: The Absolute Frontline in the War Against the Demonic Beasts: Babylonia" arc.

Before that, you can also get yet another perspective on the Fate universe with The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II, a new anime adaptation that will follow the investigations of a former Master who once participated in the Fourth Holy Grail War. Based on the mystery light novel written by Sanda Makoto and illustrated by Sakamoto Mineji, it takes place between the events of of Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night and will premiere in Jul. 2019.

Of course, among fans there are tons of theories as to which order is the most fulfilling, and it gets even more interesting when taking deviations from the Fate/stay night storyline into account. 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. Read on for some alternate universe entries worth watching!

Source: Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA official website ©2013 ひろやまひろし・TYPE-MOON・角川書店/「プリズマ☆イリヤ」製作委員会

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

Fate takes on a magical spin with Illyasviel von Einzbern (first featured in Fate/stay night ) 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 Tohsaka Rin. 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 is also set for a theatrical release on Jun. 14, 2019.

Fate/Apocrypha
A-1 Pictures, 2017

Adapted from Higashide Yuichirou 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.

Fate/Extra Last Encore
Shaft, 2018

As part of the Winter 2018 anime season, Fate/Extra Last Encore premiered on Jan. 27, 2018. An adaptation of Type-Moon RPG Fate/Extra, the anime follows Kishinami Hakuno, 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 a wish granted by the Holy Grail.

Today's Menu for the Emiya Family
ufotable, 2018

In this blissfully peaceful spinoff, Shirou 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 Feb. 2018.

Source: Today's Menu for the Emiya Family official website ©TAa・KADOKAWA・TYPE-MOON / 「衛宮さんちの今日のごはん」製作委員会

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.

Source: Fate/Grand Order official Twitter ©TYPE-MOON / FGO PROJECT」製作委員会

Another handy option is the smartphone game Fate/Grand Order, where players must go back in time and fight to prevent the extinction of humankind in the greatest Holy Grail War yet. 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 been adapted into an anime TV film, and has inspired a VR game that allows fans to interact with popular character Mash Kyrielight.

What will be your next Fate experience?

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article.

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