Wahfuu Revisit! Fate/Stay Night

Fate/Stay Night

It was the best thing I had. Sue me.

You know, some peo­ple say that I’m over­ly opti­mistic about VNs that I take on, and I think that’s true. See, I always do try to find the good even in the worst of things when it comes to VNs, but some­times I throw it under the bus real­ly quick­ly if the beginning/middle/one route isn’t real­ly that good. Yet, I’ll almost always give it a try. I don’t try to be some sort of high­er intel­lec­tu­al that knows the intri­ca­cies behind what makes writ­ing beau­ti­ful or what makes every­thing flow so well. No, I’m just a guy. A Cana­di­an guy. And a guy who has read a damn lot of visu­al nov­els.

See, now you are prob­a­bly won­der­ing where I’m going with this! Well, when I was a wee lad, I was just get­ting past a lot of entry lev­el VN stuff. Moege, ran­dom this and that shenani­gans, what have you. Fate/Stay Night was one of the first super-pow­er VNs I ever got into. And I was­n’t expect­ing much. Fool­ish, I was. Stu­pid. Igno­rant of all the real VNs out there. I picked up Fate/Stay Night expect­ing noth­ing real­ly at all, but holy shit. Damn. Seri­ous­ly, damn.I hate using the word epic that much, but that might be the only thing that describes the visu­al nov­el. Which might be why I always give some­thing the ben­e­fit of the doubt, because giv­ing Fate/Stay Night the chance blew my damn mind. And it was great.

So, dis­cov­er­ing that Fate/Stay Night had an updat­ed patch that I was total­ly neg­li­gent about when I first read it, I decid­ed to re-read the tale and share the review with you all! Fun stuff.

I can sing Fate/Stay’s pros for­ev­er, I think. Yet even things I love have imper­fec­tions. Like the fact that what makes it awe­some makes all the hypo­thet­i­cal what-ifs and jab­ber­ing seem ter­ri­bly off-putting, so some­times you can full into a lull when all you want is to keep get­ting to the next twist or hard­core part. The VN gets called over­rat­ed a lot. I don’t real­ly see it, but I can see why it would­n’t be amaz­ing to every­body. Espe­cial­ly if you’re an artfag — the game’s a bit old.

Either way, F/SN will always be one of my favorites. Not out of nos­tal­gia, either, out of sim­ply just sheer “holy shit” fac­tor. It’s pret­ty damn good. I mean, real­ly good. Now, you might ask what I think of the ani­me. I think the ani­me isss.…. bleghk. Bad in com­par­i­son. Does a pret­ty good stand-alone job, but not for me and I would­n’t rec­om­mend it to any­one if they ever planned on read­ing the orig­i­nal. Fate/Zero I’m also a bit iffy on. Shov­ing grim­dark into my face over and over does­n’t make me like it any­more, but, either way, I can under­stand the attrac­tion.

So, I’ve ram­bled on enough. Time for the Wah­fuu Review of one of my favorites, F/SN!

Just one, I swear.

Woops. Wrong pic­ture.

The one who obtains the Holy Grail will have any wish come true.

The Holy Grail War.
A great rit­u­al that mate­ri­al­izes the great­est holy arti­fact, the Holy Grail.
There are two con­di­tions to par­tic­i­pate in this rit­u­al.
To be a magus, and to be a “Mas­ter” cho­sen by the Holy Grail.
(The expe­ri­ence as a magus is not ques­tioned if one has the apti­tude)

There are sev­en cho­sen Mas­ters, and sev­en class­es of Ser­vants.

There is only one Holy Grail.
If you wish for a mir­a­cle.
Prove that you are the strongest with your pow­ers.” (from v11)

Fate/Stay Night, every­body. Some know it from the VN. Some know it from Fate/Zero. Wher­ev­er you heard it from, either way, it’s pret­ty rad. As the syn­op­sis says, the Holy Grail that every­one fights for that can grant one wish is fought for by magi with their Ser­vants. What are Ser­vants? Well, they’re heroes. In fable, leg­end, what­ev­er you want, real­ly. When they do great deeds and do amaz­ing things and become embod­ied in our mem­o­ries for it, they become things greater then the mind can com­pre­hend on death. Hero­ic spir­its, guardians of human­i­ty. The ulti­mate beings we human­i­ty have thought of or told sto­ries of. This in turn makes the bat­tle­field epic as hell.

Before we get to any of the routes, the pro­logue occurs, which takes us through the eyes of Tohsa­ka Rin, tsun­dere and super-pow­er magi extra­or­di­naire. She’s a rather huge slack­er and quite stingy on the inside, yet lets nobody see that. She’s been train­ing for the Holy Grail War for awhile, but you would­n’t believe it. Espe­cial­ly with how bad­ly she botch­es the sum­mon­ing for Archer. Which was intend­ed to be Saber. Kudos. Real­ly.

Any­ways, the pro­logue does­n’t last too long. It’s most­ly to show you how hid­den the Holy Grail War is sup­posed to be and give you a taste of Ser­vants fight­ing when Archer and Lancer meet. This, how­ev­er, is where Shi­rou gets stabbed by Lancer because he saw the fight. It’s not shown or told that it’s Shi­rou right away, but come on. You know it’s Shi­rou. Any­ways, Rin uses the rest of her mag­ic in the pen­dent that her father gave him to revive him. Which… in turn, makes Lancer go after him again, because nobody is allowed to know. Rin real­izes that she’s an idiot for the fifth time and goes to res­cue Shi­rou, but… some­how, Saber is there instead. She scares off Lancer, prompt­ly stabs Archer and gets ready to kill Rin, before we cut to the open­ing and Fate/Stay Night real­ly begins.

~FATE~

The intro­duc­to­ry chap­ter, every­body! It’s argued about a lot about Fate fans, it seems. It takes about half the entire route before Shi­rou will stop think­ing he can some­how actu­al­ly fight Ser­vants in place of Saber, despite her… you know, actu­al­ly being a Ser­vant, and one of the strongest ones. He also has to get stabbed by Rid­er a few times, too. Either way, it seems to be a con­sen­sus that Shi­rou does­n’t real­ly take the role of pro­tag­o­nist here, Saber does, even though it’s not real­ly the intent.

Any­ways, I think it does its job real­ly well. The intro­duc­to­ry chap­ter sets up all the right con­flicts and all the right mys­ter­ies with­out giv­ing too much away for the oth­er two routes. You get real­ly enthralled and pulled into the mythol­o­gy and the fight­ing of the whole sto­ry. Berserk­er is intro­duced as this giant mon­ster that instant­ly destroys your image of Saber being the strongest via an axe to the stom­ach, but this comes at the annoy­ing cost of hav­ing Shi­rou nev­er for­get that Saber gets the crap kicked out of her dur­ing the fight, which is why he won’t let her fight. Because, you know. *Big tough Shi­rou who near­ly gets killed a hun­dred times in the pro­logue is def­i­nite­ly going to make sure Saber can’t get hurt.

People die when they are killed

*Miko­to Edit

Saber does­n’t take too kind­ly, obvi­ous­ly. So, she goes up to the tem­ple that Shin­ji, douchebag ex-friend extra­or­di­naire, told you that there exists a Mas­ter. She ends up meet­ing Assas­sin half-way up, which results in her spend­ing a huge amount of mag­i­cal ener­gy, before she pass­es out and Shi­rou has to go find her and drag her back home, only for her to wake up and remind him he’s about as use­less as a rock. Either way, it’s not all bad. See­ing Shi­rou, even though a pale com­par­i­son of his Unlim­it­ed Blade Works or Heav­ens Feel self, come into his own is pret­ty cool. I find it hard to actu­al­ly com­pare the Fate route to the oth­er two, because I don’t think it’s meant to be. It’s exact­ly what it is, the intro­duc­tion.

I won’t say it isn’t slight­ly annoy­ing see­ing Shi­rou get back-seat­ed so hard. Hell, even when he starts using his ““repli­ca­tion”” mag­ic, Saber comes and uses it. Same with the final fight. Any­ways, I don’t agree that Shi­rou’s slight infe­ri­or­i­ty kills the expe­ri­ence when you read it for the first time. I don’t think Shi­rou was meant to get put on the bench in favor of Saber, but I think it work’s, and show­cas­es Sabers sac­ri­fice and how it relates to Shi­rou’s hero­ism. And with the incred­i­ble twists and fights that hap­pen, I think it does a pret­ty damn good job as the intro­duc­to­ry route.

A few com­plaints would be that Gil­gamesh is absurd­ly abrupt. Cast­er gets com­plete­ly over­shad­owed after a real­ly small intro­duc­tion. And again, Shi­rou real­ly is a moron in this route for the longest time. The cons I talked about ear­li­er, with the what-ifs and talk­ing they do is prob­a­bly espe­cial­ly true for this route, too. Any­ways, Fate ends with a bit of unsat­is­fac­to­ry, not because of loose ends, but because of Saber’s bit­ter­sweet farewell at the end of the final bat­tle. The final bat­tle was a bit cliché with the whole final Noble Phan­tasm, but I don’t think there was a bet­ter alter­na­tive for it. Besides, the Real­ta Nua end­ing gives you what you want, for the most part. So, all in all, I find Fate to be a great intro­duc­to­ry route. Saber all day.

So, mov­ing on!

~UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS~

Unlim­it­ed Blade Works. I don’t know why it has the rep­u­ta­tion as the “meh” route, real­ly. While Rin does­n’t get the char­ac­ter build­ing as much as Saber or Saku­ra, I think it’s because she as a char­ac­ter does­n’t real­ly need it, because she’s estab­lished, built, and con­sis­tent right from the start. Saber’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion is amaz­ing and Saku­ra’s is fair­ly trag­ic (we’ll get to that lat­er), but I find Rin’s char­ac­ter and the whole romance with Shi­rou to be the most… believ­able, giv­en the set­ting. That’s why I like Rin the best. She makes the most sense to me, does­n’t hin­der the sto­ry or take the focus away from it at all, and still man­ages to be con­crete, help­ful and like­able at the same time.

Okay. I might be a bit biased, but seri­ous­ly. She’s my fav. Got­ta rep the wai­fu, yo.

Can’t say I approve of the whole… attempt­ed mur­der thing at the begin­ning, but y’know. Tsuns got­ta tsun, or else what else is there? No tsun.

So, the appeal of this route, to me, is how Shi­rou’s ide­al­ism is decon­struct­ed. It was prob­a­bly annoy­ing to deal with in Fate, right? Made you want to rip your hair out? Well, look no fur­ther! Ret­ri­bu­tion comes in the form of a super sar­cas­tic, ego­tis­ti­cal douchebag named Archer. Shi­rou isn’t quite as epic as his Heav­en’s Feel coun­ter­part out of cir­cum­stances, but I still pre­fer him here over his Fate coun­ter­part for sure. Archer is made to be almost anoth­er vil­lain with Cast­er and Gil­gamesh. Shi­rou still remains hope­less­ly stu­pid about his ide­al­ism, even at the end, but he def­i­nite­ly grows more mature with it, so that’s some­thing.

So, a big dif­fer­ence is that Berserk­er is trad­ed in for Cast­er here, and I think I pre­ferred Cast­er here as the main antag­o­nist. Berserk­er was a great wall of death, but Cast­er just makes you think about every pos­si­bil­i­ty because you don’t know the ends of her mag­ic and what she can do, which leads to some very cool and dis­turb­ing bad ends. Berserk­er is a foe you’ll have to fight even­tu­al­ly, but Cast­er you are fight­ing every step of the way even when she’s not in direct view, espe­cial­ly after the whole thing with Saber. It’s real­ly cool. You learn a bit more about Ilya too, although the cost is a bit… hefty, espe­cial­ly for me. Ilya is one of my favorites. Also, Shin­ji gets a slight pro­mo­tion in this route.

So any­ways, how much one likes Unlim­it­ed Blade Works will prob­a­bly depend on how you feel about Archer. He’s antag­o­nis­tic, yes, but when he starts telling you his sto­ry you real­ly start to see why Shi­rou’s ide­al­ism is so unre­al­is­tic. If you can’t get your­self to feel any­thing with Archer, then the whole route might feel point­less. For me, it was Rin. Shi­rou’s an idiot, that’s for sure, but Rin man­ages to sup­port him with­out com­ing off forced and her romance, while it does­n’t get the shine that Saber’s and Saku­ra’s do, feels more gen­uine when the scenes come up and it nev­er becomes a big­ger point then the Holy Grail War.

Any­ways, what are the cons? Well, Archer can come off as forced to a lot of peo­ple. He says all these things that real­ly seem too dark to most peo­ple with­out much con­text, and with­out the con­text a lot of the route can just come off as Archer being a prick. Also, if you aren’t a fan of Rin, a lot of the points I made ear­li­er won’t mat­ter to you either. One oth­er thing is that we get to see high­lights of Shi­rou’s love-stu­pid­i­ty when it comes to Rin’s tsun­dere qual­i­ties, which as I have com­plained about before, is frus­trat­ing.

Alright, so, we’re com­ing near a close, so it’s time for the holy hell route. The one that every­one who reads F/SN knows and the ones who watch it don’t know about. Yep, it’s time.

~HEAVEN’S FEEL~

THE ORIGINAL DOESN’T HAVE AN OP. SO YOU GET THIS.

So, every­thing you knew about Fate/Stay Night is now gone, ladies and gen­tle­men. A new antag­o­nist in Zouken, extreme pow­er that we have nev­er seen in the Shad­ow, a new ser­vent in Assas­sin, Saber is elim­i­nat­ed from the process very ear­ly, the Holy Grail that we have seen in the past two incar­na­tions is now thrown out the win­dow and Gil­gamesh is even reduced to a pile of noth­ing. And the best part? Shi­rou’s ide­al is prac­ti­cal­ly smashed. He wants to pro­tect Saku­ra, not every­one else now. His ide­al is prac­ti­cal­ly dirt on the floor in this route. Hell, even the way he learns to “project” in this case is total­ly turned into a 180.

So, I don’t truth­ful­ly know where to start here, but I feel like I have to start with the cons for this one. Heav­en’s Feel is amaz­ing, but I have to point it out before I start talk­ing: I do real­l­ly find it hard to like Saku­ra. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she’s bad­ly writ­ten or any­thing of the sort, but the “love is give and take” is total­ly thrown out the win­dow as Saku­ra does noth­ing but take. That being said, Saku­ra’s pain is ungod­ly and it trans­lates pret­ty damn well. It’s hard not to sym­pa­thize with her, but I find all her pain escap­ing, all her mal­ice unearthed when she final­ly “turns” is the best por­tion of her char­ac­ter. Mind you, Shi­rou’s romance with her isn’t bad at all, filled with the most absurd and unsolv­able sit­u­a­tions con­ceiv­able, but I almost find that a total­ly sep­a­rate enti­ty from the Saku­ra char­ac­ter her­self. I can’t explain it that well, but I don’t know. Saber and Rin gave and gave and were strong, sup­port­ive. It felt too… weak to me, but maybe I just found it hard to sym­pa­thize over most peo­ple.

Now, I can’t say I hate Saku­ra and her romance is cer­tain­ly a huge focus. As I said, the pain Saku­ra goes through is bare­ly rivaled by any­one else in the VN, but I can’t take how much the VN loves to point out how much we should be feel­ing bad for the trag­ic, needs-a-hug Saku­ra. This ties in to the sec­ond prob­lem I have. Saku­ra almost com­plete­ly over­shad­ows the Holy Grail and the con­flict, going so far as to actu­al­ly break Shi­rou’s iron ide­al. That kind of writ­ing is irri­tat­ing to me.

So, mov­ing on from that: This route is real­ly heavy on the heart. Saber’s cilem­na, espe­cial­ly after being with her for two oth­er routes, hurts pret­ty bad. Rin’s attempt at mur­der­ing her emo­tions at attempt­ing to do the right thing is just painful to read. You can even feel your­self feel­ing bad for Shin­ji, who was pret­ty much dri­ven insane by his mas­sive infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex. He’s a dick through and through, but you real­ly get to see why. We can’t for­get Shi­rou, who’s ide­al is smashed and the girl he loves has a guil­lo­tine over her head. And final­ly, Ilya. I con­nect­ed with Ilya the most, I think, although I’m not sure why. The entire rela­tion with Kir­it­sugu, Shi­rou being a broth­er fig­ure to her and Ilya just try­ing to smile for it all was real­ly heavy for me. The scene where she is singing and Shi­rou immag­ines what it’d be like if Kir­it­sugu was in the mid­dle was real­ly nice. There’s sim­ply a ton to swal­low in this route and it’s hard to not feel emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed in at least one char­ac­ter.

Annnnnd the cli­max. Dear god. With­out being spoil­er-ish, I’ll just say, “holy hell”. I real­ly want­ed to use this sec­tion to sing its prais­es, but I must resist the temp­ta­tion. It was real­ly long, that’s for sure. And I wish it was­n’t so bit­ter­sweet, but hon­est­ly the fact that the true-end­ing hap­pened is amaz­ing in itself con­sid­er­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Even though I dis­like Saku­ra, her end­ing real­ly left an impact on me. The whole thing was filled with moments, expla­na­tions for every­thing and epic fights. And hell, Shi­rou can appar­ent­ly real­ly throw punch­es when it mat­ters. As bit­ter­sweet as it was, I was left incred­i­bly sat­is­fied at the end.

FSN FINI

Right! So, what else is there to say? I think the expe­ri­ence of F/SN will prob­a­bly be dif­fer­ent from per­son to per­son. The game is a fair­ly large time com­mit­ment, for one. Shi­rou’s absurd stu­pid­i­ty will annoy most peo­ple, too. There could be a lot of things that make the expe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent from per­son to per­son, prob­a­bly one of the high­er polar­ized VNs you’ll find. Yet, I liked it. A lot. Not every char­ac­ter was like­able, but I found the huge mys­tery behind the Grail and the cor­rup­tion enthralling. Find­ing out every Ser­van­t’s iden­ti­ty is a pret­ty cool treat, too. F/SN’s abil­i­ty to grip some­body is amaz­ing. The want to just… know more.

There are a lot of things you can take away from F/SN. Sac­ri­fice, ideals, what-have-you. I just loved the read­ing expe­ri­ence of it all. At first it was just a great way to kill time, but damn it just grabbed me and nev­er let me go. The game can run into pac­ing prob­lems and qui­et times when all you want is to feed your need for the sto­ry to advance, but when the ball gets rolling it’s very hard to get unclogged. So, no. I don’t think F/SN is over­rat­ed. I think it deserves the praise it gets, but I can see why some­body could be pushed in the oppo­site direc­tion.

So, any­ways. That’s all. TL;DR: You should read this, it’s pret­ty wild, cool shit every­where, go get em’. So, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next. Prob­a­bly Rewrite.

Cya next time!

Salute

;-;7

5 thoughts on “Wahfuu Revisit! Fate/Stay Night

  1. I was ecsta­t­ic to see this post, I’ve been a huge fan of the fate series for quite some time now and have to say its among my top favorites (if not num­ber one). After watch­ing the ani­me a few times I want­ed to know more so then I start­ed play­ing the visu­al nov­el. I got­ta say that the vn has quite a few improve­ments over the ani­me, one being the pro­logue which I thor­ough­ly enjoyed (main­ly because Rin is my favorite char­ac­ter as well). I agree with you all to much on Shi­ro, he was and still is my main source of annoy­ance in this series, I can’t stand his naive view on every­thing, which is why I enjoy the main pro­tag­o­nist in Fate/Zero much more (Kir­it­sugu is just epic imo).I’m still play­ing through it and acci­dent­ly bypassed the Heav­ens feel route so I’ll have to go back and check it out lat­er.

    1. Oh, you can’t bypass Heav­ens Feel!

      Any­ways, Shi­rou will prob­a­bly be every­ones annoy­ance. Heav­ens Feel he becomes annoy­ing for a dif­fer­ent rea­son. I don’t think he’s a bad guy nor a bad char­ac­ter, but hes not easy to relate to. At least he keeps his word.

      I do hope the MC of Fate/Apocrypha does­n’t have a super­hero dream.

  2. Well I did­n’t “bypass” Heav­ens Feel but more like screwed up and was­n’t able to go to that route, my favor with Saku­ra was too low, my favor with Rin how­ev­er ^ ^

  3. Well FATE has three stages. First is fate stage if you clear fate you get Unlim­it­ed Blade Works (UBW) stage. If you clear UBW stage you get Heav­en’s feel stage.

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