Fate Series for Noobs – Complete Anime Guide
Fate series is one of the best anime series out there. It features a wide variety of works hence, confusing many people where to start. Most of the works are set in a parallel universe to the main series but, you have to watch the main series if you want to watch any of the spin-offs. In my opinion, the main series is far better than the other works. Also, it should be noted that Nasu-sensei only wrote the original series, and a few spin-offs and many works are done by other authors as well. Let’s start then.
1st entry in the series is Fate/Stay Night it is a visual novel with 3 routes. Its protagonist is Emiya Shirou, a man who is dragged into the Holy Grail war. The routes tell almost the story setting but, major incidents are different. Seven masters summon seven servants to fight over the Holy Grail which is said to be an omnipotent wish-granting device. The series tells the story of the 5th Holy Grail war. Each route on progression reveals a more detailed plot and character development. The 3 routes in order are Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven’s Feel.
Fate route was adapted into an anime by Studio Deen but, it is really bad. I strongly suggest you play the VN for the fate route. VN for fate route would take approx. 20 hours to complete which is almost the same as the 24 episode anime. Fate route sets the introduction and world-building for other routes. The main heroine and servant protagonist of the route is Saber. The theme of the route is “One’s ideals”
Unlimited Blade Works
Unlimited Blade Works was adapted into an anime by UFO Table. The anime is amazing. It has 25 episodes. It features awesome animations, good openings, and amazing fights. The only thing it lacks is monologues. Monologues are an important part of character development and also serve as a way of explaining things. The anime is good you should watch it but if you can, read the VN. If not, then it’s fine too. Unlimited Blade Works tells us about many new things that we previously didn’t know. Its main heroine is Tohsaka Rin and the servant protagonist is Archer. Its theme is “One’s ideals vs. oneself”.
Heaven’s Feel again is adopted into 3 movies by UFO Table. 3rd movie was released in theatres last year and it should be available online by March this year. It inherits the pros and cons of the Unlimited Blade Works anime. Again featuring stunning visuals and awesome fights; it lacks monologues and explanations. Trust me when I say this, Heaven’s Feel route has a lot of explanations. Heaven’s Feel explores the origins of the Holy Grail war. The route also strongly links this and the previous (the 4th) Holy Grail war. This route is darker than the other routes. Its main heroine is Matou Sakura and the servant protagonist is Rider. Its theme is “Friction between ideal and real”.
2nd entry in the series should technically be Fate/Hollow Ataraxia but, it has no anime. The vn is mostly slice of life. If you have the time to read it, it gives us a chance to see our beloved characters living a normal life and not fighting. It’s fun to read for sure. It has a glorious ending that I promise. Aside from the slice of life part, its story somewhat decent. It’s one of the rare spin-offs that is written by the original author Nasu-sensei.
3rd or 2nd proper entry of the series should be Fate/Zero. It is adapted from a light novel written by the author of psycho pass and Madoka Magica. Just this is enough to give you a feel of the anime. It’s a masterpiece. The story is simple. Unlike the Heave’s Feel route but, what makes Fate/Zero good is its characters. It has many well-developed characters. It tells the story of the 4th Holy Grail war and is a prequel to the F/SN. Its protagonist is Emiya Kiritsugu, one of my favorite characters of all time and the adoptive father of Emiya Shirou, the protagonist of F/SN. Again ufotable did a phenomenal job. 25 episodes again.
Other Works worth Mentioning
Watch the main series in this order. Then you’re free to watch/ play any spin-off you want. The ones worth mentioning are:
- Fate/Extra – This is a mini-series on its own. The series starts with the PSP games Fate/Extra and Fate/Extra CCC (CCC was never released in English. Sadly. You can play Extra through ppsspp or you can wait for its remake that is coming this year) and their sequels Fate/Extella and Fate/Extella Links. Extraverse is actually decent if you have time for it. Do not watch the Fate/Extra Last Encore anime; while shaft did a fantastic job in animating it, it’s not worth the time because of how much the story was cut short.
- Fate/Grand Order – This is a mobile game and a very famous one at that. It features all the beloved fate characters from across the parallel timelines and makes many of its own. It’s one of the most spent on games. If you like gacha and turn-based games, F/GO won’t disappoint. As for the story, the first story arc of the game exists for the sake of existing. The second half of the first arc is somewhat decent but, the second story arc is fantastic. I mean it goes from a 0 to 100 really quick.
- Fate/Kalied Liner – Ahh, I’m gonna have to talk about this huff…. I don’t know if Nasu sensei wrote this himself. Anyway, in this installment of the Fate series, Illya is the protagonist. She was a main character in all 3 routes of F/SN. It’s basically Fate series’ take on a Mahou Shoujo anime. The later half actually is actually decent but, only if you can bear the earlier half. The earlier half is rather cringey. Beware, I warned you don’t blame me if you can’t take the earlier part of the show.
- Fate/Apocrypha – It is one of the better spin-offs of the series. It also is the series that gave rise to the Fate series’ most memed character, Astolfo. Its anime is worth the watch gives out some good characters Amakusa Shirou being my favorite. The visuals and story are not that attractive but, the characters will keep you hooked.
- Lord El Melloi II Case Files – It’s sort of a sequel to Fate/Zero. It features a grown-up version of a character featured in Fate/Zero. It’s one of the rare entries in the Fate series that does not revolve around the Holy Grail war. The story is interesting. The protagonist is smart. I seriously want a sequel to this anime.
That sums all the main installments up. Be sure to watch the main series first; then pick any timeline that interests you and watch/play it. I would recommend playing or reading the source material especially, for the Fate route and the Extraverse rest of the anime are rather well done. I’ll take my leave here. Let me know down in the comments what is your favorite Fate installment.