Ever wondered how to get into the Fate anime series? Here’s a handy guide made for different viewing styles.
An Intro to Fate
First, let’s talk about the Fate series as a whole. Originating as a visual novel, Fate/Stay Night has three main routes that differ according to the choices the main protagonist (Shirou Emiya) makes (and who he decides to date). While the characters remain the same, the relationships and plot direction change in each route to make three unique stories in the same universe. These three routes have been turned into anime series as Fate/Stay Night, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven’s Feel.
But it doesn’t stop there. There are several other Fate-related anime both in the same universe as Stay/Night and outside of it. Notable ones include Fate/Zero, Apocrypha, and Extra. There are also crossovers, such as Carnival Phantasm, which combines other Type-Moon works into a comedy. The mobile game, Fate/Grand Order, also has anime based on the singularities, such as Babylonia and Camelot.
So where the heck do you start? If you want to get into the main series, Fate/Stay Night, here is my recommended guide based on your normal viewing preferences.
If you like following a story from the very beginning, then start with the prequel: Fate/Zero. The animation style is gorgeous (thank you Ufotable) and the plot builds up to the main scenario in Fate/Stay Night, while explaining the lore a bit better than the original. After Zero, you can go straight to Unlimited Blade Works (UBW) if you enjoyed the style. If you can get hold of the movies, you can watch Heaven’s Feel after Zero. Alternatively, you can go by order of the routes, beginning with Stay Night, then UBW, and lastly Heaven’s Feel.
After watching Stay Night, you can take a light-hearted, fun break with Carnival Phantasm. You need to have seen at least one of the Stay Night routes first to understand who all of the characters are.
Order of Release
If you like watching things in the order they were first released, start with Fate/Stay Night by Studio Deen. Note that this series is much different tonally and style-wise from the more recent versions. After Stay Night, watch the Unlimited Blade Works movie, then Carnival Phantasm. After those, watch Fate/Zero which Ufotable animated and was made as a prequel to the original three routes. If you like Ufotable’s style, watch the Unlimited Blade Works series after Zero. That covers the main scenario, and you can trail off into the alternate realities or stick with the original universe with slice of life shows like Today’s Menu for Emiya Family or the Lord El-Melloi Case Files.
If you want to watch the series based on genre, here are some suggested titles:
- Comedy: Carnival Phantasm, Grand Carnival
- Slice of Life/Story a Day: Today’s Menu for Emiya Family, Lord El-Melloi’s Case Files
- Action: Fate/Zero, Unlimited Blade Works, Heaven’s Feel, Stay/Night, Apocrypha,
- Magical Girl: Prisma Illya Kaleid Liner
- Cerebral: EXTRA Last Encore
- Based on Grand Order: First Order (intro), Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front (Babylonia singularity), Moonlight/Lostroom, Divine Realm of the Round Table (Camelot singularity), Grand Temple of Time (Solomon, Final Singularity)
Note that you will need to know about the main characters and plot (specifically about the Holy Grail Wars) for a majority of these titles, as they are connected in various ways.
There are also different universes/timelines within Fate as a whole. The Fate/Stay Night universe consists of light novels, manga, and anime that follow the Holy Grail War and three routes that change the course of the war. There are also video games that introduce new stories, such as EXTELLA and EXTRA, with accomanying anime series or movies. The mobile gacha game Fate/Grand Order has nearly every single character in the Fate franchise with all new stories, called singularities, that are being adapted into movies or anime series. Apocrypha is in a different universe from Stay Night, following the story of a special Holy Grail War. Other anime series take the characters from Stay Night and put them into a different genre, such as Carnival Phantasm, Kaleid Liner, and Today’s Menu.
But wait, there’s more…
Can’t get enough of Fate? There are plenty of light novels, visual novels, manga, video games, and animated shorts out there to read and explore!
What is your favorite Fate anime? Mine is Zero, which introduced me to the series and my favorite character: Gilgamesh.