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Fate/guide: Everything you need to know to get into the series
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/30/14
I wrote this a while back on reddit and thought I'd share it here.

There are a few things you first need to know. The original visual novel contained 3 main routes/stories: Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heavens Feel, which are recommended to be read in that order. The Fate/Stay Night 2006 anime by Studio DEEN is an adaption of the Fate route but also has things from the other routes badly mixed in and is widely considered as something new fans shouldn't touch. The movie made by the same studio is a rushed UBW adaption condensing a massive route into one small movie and is also something new fans shouldn’t watch. Fate/Zero is a prequel to the visual novel adapted by ufotable and the new Fate/Stay Night anime by them that’s coming out in fall is a 2-cour (split) adaption of UBW. They’re also planning to make a movie (most likely series) adaption of HF. Now here are your options:

Easy: Watch Fate/Zero first, then watch ufotable’s UBW and HF adaption. A lot of people have gotten into the Fate series by first watching Fate/Zero and have really enjoyed it. If you prefer to only watch anime and want an easy and quick way to get into the series, this is it. But I don’t recommend it for several reasons. First of all, Fate/Zero skims through the concept and rules of the world because it already assumes you've played the visual novel, so it may get confusing for most people. As I said Fate/Zero is a prequel, which was written after the visual novel came out. Fate/Zero will spoil events of Fate/Stay Night (primarily from Fate and HF) because it assumes you already know them. And at the time of writing this, there is no good adaption of the Fate route being planned, so you will miss out on that.

Patient: Wait for ufotable’s UBW and HF adaptions to get released and watch those, then watch Fate/Zero. Your patience will be rewarded as you get to enjoy Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero much more. F/SN spoils the conclusion of F/Z but that’s a small price to pay compared to the spoilers you’d get if you watched F/Z first. So if you don't want to try the VN and also want the closest intended experience possible, this is your choice. And again, you’d still miss out on the Fate route.

Brave: Read the entire visual novel first, watch Fate/Zero, and enjoy ufotable’s masterful adaptions as they come out. This way of getting into the series is ideal and gives you maximum enjoyment, but is the hardest to do and takes up many (50+) hours. It’s widely agreed that the VN has an excruciatingly slow start, but once it picks up you really won’t be able to stop yourself. You’ll be able to enjoy Fate/Zero to it’s fullest just as it was intended. You won’t miss out on the Fate route and things changed or left out of ufotable’s adaptions. I highly recommend getting into the series this way if you have the time and don’t mind reading, as you will most definitely be rewarded with the best experience the series has to offer.

Willpower: Read only the Fate route of the VN (around 10 hours), watch UBW and HF adaptions as they come out, and then watch Fate/Zero. This way you still technically experience the series in the right order. I say ‘Willpower’ because you’re gonna need a lot of it to stop yourself from reading the other routes when you already got as far as finishing the Fate route.

Additionally, there's a sequel VN to Fate/Stay Night called Fate/hollow ataraxia and a spin-off series set in another universe called Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA. It's ideal to watch/read Fate/kaleid after reading Fate/hollow ataraxia, but not necessary as seeing F/SN and F/Z is sufficient enough.

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More VN info:


There are multiple versions of the Fate/Stay Night VN. The first one was released in 2004 without voices, then later a PS2 version was made called Realta Nua which included voices and new CGs/effects. A fan translation patch was made that translated the original 2004 VN and included most (not all) of the new CGs and effects from Realta Nua. Realta Nua was later released for PC and split up the 3 routes into their own games. It was also released for PS Vita with new openings by ufotable and a remixed soundtrack.

The 2004 VN is for people that are 18+ and has (poorly made/implemented) sex scenes. Realta Nua (PS2, PC Re-release, and Vita) is for all ages and so it doesn't include them. A new fan patch was released recently which translates the PC release of Realta Nua and includes the sex scenes, vita openings, and vita soundtrack. If you don't want to have to go through the sex scenes there is an [option to turn them off](http://i.imgur.com/0dYcXu9.png), however it will change a certain part of the script in HF into something suitable for all ages. I recommend switching off the H-scenes for at least the Fate and UBW routes because the scenes that replace the H-scenes are (IMO) much better for the story.

You can get the PC Realta Nua fan patch here. Do not watch the video because it contains HF spoilers. The vita openings also contains heavy spoilers (but do a hell of a good job of hyping you up) so my recommendation is to skip them when they show up and watch them when you finish the route. I can't tell you where exactly to get the PC Realta Nua as it's against the rules but try searching up "Fate/stay night [Realta Nua] for Windows". If you're unsure if you have the right version, check your icons with this. There's a flowchart pdf file included with the fan patch that can help you out to avoid (or get) bad ends.

Make sure you read the VN in this order: Fate->Unlimited Blade Works->Heavens Feel.

Some things to do to avoid problems with installation:

Rename the exe files to get rid of the japanese forward slash "/".

Get the latest LAV filters. You need this to avoid an error when the vita openings play.

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I've already watched Fate/Zero, is Fate/Stay Night completely ruined for me?

No, but it will most certainly change your perspective on some of the characters while you read/watch through it. And as I've said, there will be some plot twists spoiled BUT there are plenty of more twists and turns in F/SN to enjoy so don't let this detract you from reading/watching it! Also according to this scan, there will be a new scene which subtly ties both F/Z and ufotable's F/SN adaptions together. So you can look forward to that.
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Posted 9/16/14
Its not exactly correct to call Illya a "spin off set in separate universe", because that describes every single work in nasuverse as even FSN is set in three separate alternate universes and FSN as work itself is set in alternate set of universes to the ones in Tsukihime and KNK. There's no "mainline" canon in nasuverse. All works have equal status, just like all three fsn routes have equal status and happen in separate worlds.

Prisma Illya simply branches out just before Fate/Zero events, while works like Apocrypha branch out during Third Grail War.

Also F/HA is not exactly a sequel.


This is the basic timeline of fateverse part of nasuverse that I seen on tumblr:
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14
I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s. Considering its what pulled me into the series and still one I hold in relative good regards. (And its the one most focused on Saber, alongside Rin being one of the bada$$ characters in the series)
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Posted 9/16/14

xCrimsonEX wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s.


I'm not saying it shouldn't be touched at all, but it just isn't a good entry to the series. It's decent as a standalone but when you compare it to the VN, it's like turning something 10/10 to something 7/10. I personally started the series with the 2006 anime (and loved it at the time) but now that I've read the VN and look back on it, there were a lot of things about it that was badly handled. I'm just giving the best advice I have from experiencing both the 2006 anime and the VN.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 2/18/15

redshadoww wrote:


xCrimsonEX wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s.


I'm not saying it shouldn't be touched at all, but it just isn't a good entry to the series. It's decent as a standalone but when you compare it to the VN, it's like turning something 10/10 to something 7/10. I personally started the series with the 2006 anime (and loved it at the time) but now that I've read the VN and look back on it, there were a lot of things about it that was badly handled. I'm just giving the best advice I have from experiencing both the 2006 anime and the VN.


I actually have the opposing view that its probably a decent intro since a) you won't have grander ideas of what you want to see since it'll be brand new and b) it'll give you the basic core info for the verse to lay the work for the rest of the series. Deen's version is prob the closest anyone that's a fan of 'Fate' will get so I'd rather it not get put under the rug.

ftr my post wasn't really directly aimed your way but more at the timeline thing that had a note about not watching 2006 FSN, which honestly is a recurring thing I've seen and always grinds into my nerves since I still like the Deen version and Fate story.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14

xCrimsonEX wrote:


redshadoww wrote:


xCrimsonEX wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s.


I'm not saying it shouldn't be touched at all, but it just isn't a good entry to the series. It's decent as a standalone but when you compare it to the VN, it's like turning something 10/10 to something 7/10. I personally started the series with the 2006 anime (and loved it at the time) but now that I've read the VN and look back on it, there were a lot of things about it that was badly handled. I'm just giving the best advice I have from experiencing both the 2006 anime and the VN.


I actually have the opposing view that its probably a decent intro since a) you won't have grander ideas of what you want to see since it'll be brand new and b) it'll give you the basic core info for the verse to lay the work for the rest of the series. Deen's version is prob the closest anyone that's a fan of 'Fate' will get so I'd rather it not get put under the rug.

ftr my post wasn't really directly aimed your way but more at the timeline thing that had a note about not watching 2006 FSN, which honestly is a recurring thing I've seen.


The info given will be incorrect though.

DEENFSN draws an entirely incorrect character portrait for Shirou and directly contradicts visual novel(within the first few minutes even).

At best it will make one misunderstand the whole franchise at worst it will turn people away from the franchise.

If people want to experience Fate route they can do so with that route in the VN.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14

Kitanishi


The info given will be incorrect though.

DEENFSN draws an entirely incorrect character portrait for Shirou and directly contradicts visual novel(within the first few minutes even).

At best it will make one misunderstand the whole franchise at worst it will turn people away from the franchise.

If people want to experience Fate route they can do so with that route in the VN.


Again I started the series with the Deen adaptation and I got the correct info I needed from it, not to mention it intriguing into the entire franchise.

How exactly is Shirou's altered? He's shown as someone that values others' lives more than his own which is shown in the Deen adaptation. He still has his same 'trace' abilities as in all other routes so even there still the same. And if its his 'newb-ishness' even that makes sense for a 'Fate' based arc which is supposed to be basically a lead in/premise setting arc.

HF could also turn people away since its darker than other routes and has Sakura as the main female role, even UBW for those not fans of heavy-action could be turned away.

Not everyone wants to download the game (risking getting viruses and what not) and/or have to go through the game. For them there's the Deen adaptation. And again if people want the HF or UBW arcs then there's the VN you can play for them, but they're getting movie and anime series too.

The Deen adaptation as said before isn't this horrible abomination, it doesn't completely nail the story down but it does set the stage and has an awesome female lead in it to boot. Not to mention have a decent story + premise setting elements.
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Posted 9/16/14

xCrimsonEX wrote:

How exactly is Shirou's altered? He's shown as someone that values others' lives more than his own which is shown in the Deen adaptation. He still has his same 'trace' abilities as in all other routes so even there still the same. And if its his 'newb-ishness' even that makes sense for a 'Fate' based arc which is supposed to be basically a lead in/premise setting arc.


You see that already shows that DEEN-FSN makes you misunderstand the character, which is not surprising since they intentionally toned down most of his "highpoints" in the storyline AND cut out all of character development that makes people understand that.

Hence if you ask DEEN-FSN viewer to define Shirou, most common answer would be "that useless ginger sexist teenager".

In none of the routes Shirou is a newbie. FSN Shirou is less powerful in terms of power, but just as badass as in other routes.
Deen FSN intentionally toned him down to give more focus to Saber, so scenes that are supposed to make us like him never made it to adaptation, neither did most of character growth. What essentially is one of the most complex, unique and interesting protagonists comes off as generic loudmouth shounen hero in DEEN adaptation, hence why majority of deen-fsn viewers hate him as a character.


xCrimsonEX wrote:
HF could also turn people away since its darker than other routes and has Sakura as the main female role, even UBW for those not fans of heavy-action could be turned away.

None of FSN routes could be defined as "heavy action" - its a LOT of talking and philosophical debates, intermixed with some VERY badass fights. Its not an action show/novel.

Arguing that "routes" can turn people away is strawman argument at best, considering we are not arguing the opinions of routes - we are arguing DEEN-FSN as representation of the whole content. And it does not do a good job at that.


xCrimsonEX wrote:

Not everyone wants to download the game (risking getting viruses and what not) and/or have to go through the game. For them there's the Deen adaptation. And again if people want the HF or UBW arcs then there's the VN you can play for them, but they're getting movie and anime series too.

And there are alternatives for those people already provided in this thread.



xCrimsonEX wrote:
The Deen adaptation as said before isn't this horrible abomination, it doesn't completely nail the story down but it does set the stage and has an awesome female lead in it to boot. Not to mention have a decent story + premise setting elements.


It is mediocre show, but a horrible adaptation. DEEN-FSN can very well turn away people from the show, so entering the franchise without bias that could come from that adaptation is the best choice for newcomers.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14

Kitanishi wrote:


His character isn't altered nor misunderstood, he's shown as someone that seeks to protect everyone else even if it means sacrificing himself. In every medium he's shown in this way and its the main point of his character, growing slightly away from it so that he values his own life. Again Fate route is more about Saber thus yes she gets a bit more spotlight and development, however Shirou does grow.

Even among people well read on the series as a whole he's seen as 'useless' and/or 'sexist' in some regard. Some that call him useless are probably annoyed with how he interferes with Saber thus they take out frustrations via calling him it. This thinking can be applied to any manga/anime as different people take different things from mediums.

He has basic level of 'trace' magic, thus he's 'newbie' in my book at the beginning. By the end of the Deen adaptation he's 'tracing' Excalibur itself thus showing his growth. He even briefly stands up to Gilgamesh further showing his growth. He's shown as being a normal teen guy that guy pulled into a war that he knew nothing about, then having to come to adjust his views on certain things (like letting Saber fight). The part a lot of people probably have with him is his initial 'weak' state and again his interfering with Saber.

And ofc since the Deen adaptation is more heavily influenced by Fate its going to focus more on Saber, since she's the main heroine of that route. Could it have been better? Sure. Is it complete rubbish? No, its a decent story and gives a basic premise for expansion (which is where you going out and finding other mediums comes in).




ugh the upcoming HF movie can turn people away cause its most likely going to be dark and some people don't find that to be their cup of tea (for me this was my initial reaction to Fate/Zero with Kiritsugu being the kind of character he was). UBW series will probably be more action-oriented which will also turn some people away that don't want to watch action. The Deen version doesn't hurt anything, the purists whining about it does that well enough. Everyone I know that knows of FSN started with the Deen version and continued from there, thus showing that it does its job in setting a premise to getting into the entire franchise.




So a decent/viable anime should be completely ignored because it doesn't convey the exact 100% of the original story (which is impossible anyway considering there's 3 different routes)? That's idiocy (the concept not the person). Another example of this goes back to Full Metal Alchemist vs FMA: Brotherhood. Both are entertaining and convey a good story but because FMA isn't 100% accurate to the source some will insult and degrade it, while I take both as good.




Its a decent show that sets up the story and can pull people to invest more time into the franchise as a whole. Its 'horrible' to people that want 100% accuracy no matter how unlikely that is to be gotten. Again a) people just entering the series will see it as being a 'decent anime' rather than comparing it to anything else thus won't have their purist soda box to preach from and b) Its the most likely for people to actually see the Fate arc (even if it is a merged one) since the other routes are getting their own dedicated mediums.
Posted 9/16/14
Skip over the UBW movie entirely. It's complete crap.
Posted 9/16/14

xCrimsonEX wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s. Considering its what pulled me into the series and still one I hold in relative good regards. (And its the one most focused on Saber, alongside Rin being one of the bada$$ characters in the series)


If it is a bad adaptation, (Which is most certainly is, objective quality is objective.), you can't blame them.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14

PeripheralVisionary wrote:


xCrimsonEX wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s. Considering its what pulled me into the series and still one I hold in relative good regards. (And its the one most focused on Saber, alongside Rin being one of the bada$$ characters in the series)


If it is a bad adaptation, (Which is most certainly is, objective quality is objective.), you can't blame them.


I don't see it as a 'bad adaptation', its not 100% accurate (which as I've said before is close to impossible considering 3 differing routes) but it still conveys what it needs to. I point to the FMA vs FMA: Brotherhood comparison, both are good stories with the same characters but each has varying levels of relation to the source material. Purists however will still insult and degrade FMA while praising FMA: Brotherhood cause the latter is closer to the source material, though both have good stories to them.
Posted 9/16/14

xCrimsonEX wrote:


PeripheralVisionary wrote:


xCrimsonEX wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that the 2006 Deen adaptation shouldn't be watched, it shouldn't per se be praised and held as the golden trophy of the series but its not completely bad either. For me only 'purists' want to try to keep spewing that b.s. Considering its what pulled me into the series and still one I hold in relative good regards. (And its the one most focused on Saber, alongside Rin being one of the bada$$ characters in the series)


If it is a bad adaptation, (Which is most certainly is, objective quality is objective.), you can't blame them.


I don't see it as a 'bad adaptation', its not 100% accurate (which as I've said before is close to impossible considering 3 differing routes) but it still conveys what it needs to. Again I point to the FMA vs FMA: Brotherhood comparison, both are good stories with the same characters but each has varying levels of relation to the source material. Purists however will still insult and degrade FMA while praising FMA: Brotherhood cause the latter is closer to the source material, though both have good stories to them.


I disagree, and so do a lot of people. It butchered the storyline in an attempt to get everything in. To be fair, it's hard to make a good adaptation if you want to convey what the visual novel wants to say, as you have to play all 3 routes to get the full breadth of it. *Especially since the main route they focused on was Fate. After all, all three routes focused on something different, such as ideals against one self.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 2/18/15
Just watch whichever one you want to is what I say. If you feel like watching DEEN's adaptations, go ahead. Ufotable's? Alright. Read/play the visual novels? Sure. Read the manga/light novels? Why not? Play the video games? Ok. Blind buy figurines online because they're cool-looking? More power to you.

It doesn't really matter how you start, 'cause if you're into it, it shouldn't matter which one you watch/play/read/whatever first. If you're not into... then you're not. There really isn't a "right" way.

End of story.
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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14
*slides into this topic*



If you have a PSP and / or a Vita, I recommend playing Fate / Extra. It may not take place in the same universe(s) as the anime and the VNs, but it still has a fantastic story, and is well worth your time. (It has also the best Saber and the best Caster, but that is my own personal opinion, albeit one that is shared by a number of fans.0
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