|Fate/stay night (フェイト/ステイナイト Feito/sutei naito?) is a Japanese visual novel developed by Type-Moon, which was originally released as an adult game for the PC. An all-ages version of Fate/stay night, titled Fate/stay night Réalta Nua (Irish for “a new star”), was released for the PlayStation 2 on April 19, 2007, and features the Japanese voice actors from the anime series. On October 28, 2005, Type-Moon released a sequel to Fate/stay night, entitled Fate/hollow ataraxia. Its plot is set half a year after the events of Fate/stay night.
Fate/stay night has made transitions into other media. A manga series based on the visual novel was first serialized in the Japanese magazine Shōnen Ace and published by Kadokawa. The manga is illustrated by Japanese artist Nishiwaki Datto and is currently ongoing. In 2007 the manga was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Tokyopop. A twenty-four episode anime series created by Studio Deen aired in Japan between January 6, 2006, and June 16, 2006. The anime series were initially licensed and released in North America by Geneon Entertainment, however On July 3, 2008 Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America including Fate/stay night. On November 22, 2006, Type-Moon announced a series of light novels entitled Fate/zero, set as is a prequel to Fate/stay night. There have been four video games based on the series to date. Three fighting games have been released, Fate/unlimited codes for arcades and PlayStation2, Fate/tiger colosseum and its sequel Fate/tiger colosseum Upper for PSP. A PSP RPG entitled Fate/Extra was released on July 22, 2010. A Fate/stay night film was also created by Studio Deen and was released in Japanese theaters on January 23, 2010.
Fate/stay night’s gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the game’s duration is spent on reading the text that appears, representing either dialogue between the characters or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Often, players will come to a “decision point” where they are given the chance to choose from options displayed on the screen, typically two to three at a time. The time between these decision points is variable and during these times, gameplay pauses until a choice is made that furthers the plot in a specific direction. There are three main plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story. To view all three plot lines, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices during the decision points to progress the plot in an alternate direction.
Setting and themes
Fate/stay night chronicles a two-week period in the life of the protagonist Shirō Emiya, an amateur mechanic who attends a school named Homurahara Gakuen in Fuyuki City, Japan. The story primarily takes place at and around Shirō Emiya house, which acts as their base location in the Holy Grail War. Outside of Shirō’s house, frequented locations include the Homurahara Gakuen high school, and the Ryūdōji Temple.
The main theme in Fate/stay night is “conquering oneself.” There are three story lines in Fate, each has a different theme. The first one is the “oneself as an ideal.” The second one is “struggling with oneself as an ideal.” The third one is “the friction with real and ideal.”
Shirō Emiya is a serious yet helpful, hardworking, and honest teenager. His hobbies include fixing a variety of broken things, from VCRs to stoves, as well as cooking and cleaning. He has some slight talent with magic, though he was discouraged by his foster father Kiritsugu Emiya from improving his gifts. Saber is Shirō’s Servant and one of the main heroines. Shirō unwittingly summons Saber to fight with him in the Holy Grail War. She is an agile and powerful warrior; loyal, independent, and reserved, Saber acts coldly but is actually suppressing her emotions to focus on her goals. Saber is frustrated by Shirō’s “protective” tendencies, believing his erratic and reckless behavior will jeopardize her chances of winning the Holy Grail War.
The second of the three heroines is Rin Tōsaka, a model student and idol of Shirō’s school who is secretly a magus and Master in the Holy Grail War. She is a descendant from a long line of magi, and though she lacks a formal magic education, she is extremely powerful in her own right. She is perceptive, resourceful and avidly competitive. The final heroine is Sakura Matō, a student in her first year of high school, and the adopted sister of Shinji Matō. After Shirō’s father Kiritsugu died, Sakura often visited Shirō’s home to help him with his daily chores. Sakura is outwardly shy and timid, but possesses great inner strength. She has a long-standing and obvious crush on the oblivious Shirō Emiya.
When Shirō was a child, his father told him how he had failed at his life ambition to become a “Hero of Justice”. Shirō affirms to his adoptive father that he intends to devote his life to achieving that distant ideal, much to Kiritsugu’s chagrin. To do this, Shirō pleads with a begrudging Kiritsugu to teach him sorcery; but being born without the capabilities of a magus, Shirō proves to be talentless in almost all the fundamental sorcerous disciplines.
When the story begins, Fuyuki City is the setting for a secret and violent war among competing magi. For the past two centuries, seven sorcerers have gathered and engage in a Battle Royale, each gambling his or her own life to obtain the Holy Grail, a legendary chalice capable of granting wishes. The past four Holy Grail Wars have typically occurred every sixty years, with the most recent concluding a decade ago, but the fifth war has started prematurely.
Each of the sorcerers, better known as Masters, is aided by one of the seven summoned spiritual familiars known as Servants, who are the reincarnations of legendary souls from all across time. These resurrected souls possess superhuman characteristics and wield powerful artifacts or abilities called Noble Phantasms. Only one Servant can be summoned in each war from one of seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin, and Caster.
After cleaning his school’s kyūdō dojo late one night, Shirō stumbles upon two Servants, Archer and Lancer, battling in the school courtyard. To avoid compromising the war’s secrecy, Lancer hunts down and pierces Shirō’s heart with his Noble Phantasm Spear. Shirō is then discovered near death by Rin Tōsaka and because of his relationship with her sister Sakura Matō, she uses an heirloom filled with concentrated magic, Mana, to restore his damaged heart and leaves before he awakens. Shaken and dazed, Shirō picks up the heirloom and returns home only to be assaulted a second time by Lancer. Shirō weakly defends himself against Lancer using posters he turns to metal with magic reinforcment, but is soon overwhelmed by the powerful Servant’s attack, and is sent flying into his shed. Cornered, Shirō prepares for the worst; but before Lancer can inflict another fatal blow, a magical mark on Shirō’s hand begins to light up and a summoning circle used previously by his foster father inside the shed begins to glow. A young woman clad in armor with an invisible sword is summoned and blocks Lancer’s attack. After driving Lancer away from Shirō, she introduces herself as “Servant Saber”.