Winter 2019 Anime: Official Twitter Hashtags & Pages
2018 is almost out, guys and girls, and that means that another anime year is ready to take its place.
As this article is written with Fate newbies in mind, we’ve avoided all spoilers where possible.
The theatrical movie Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel premiered in Japan on October 14, 2017 and was a major hit at the box office. The Fate franchise is very popular, and its online role-playing game Fate/Grand Order generates a lot of buzz on social network services every time new information is announced.
While Fate continues to gain more fans every year, there are many who have not yet checked out the original Fate/stay night series. The Fate media franchise is huge and it varies from light novels such as Fate/Apocrypha to video games such as Fate/EXTRA. There is also a new anime adaptation planned, and it will increase the number of fans in the future too.
That said, some fans may be afraid of checking out the film, thinking “I may not understand the story because I don’t know the plot at all”. Therefore, we have decided to run a series of introductory articles about the Holy Grail War to give you a basic understanding.
※The explanations are based on the world of Fate/stay night, so there may be facts that differ to the Holy Grail Wars of other series in the franchise.
※Informal and straightforward phrases are used to make things clearer.
Our first article is about the basic rules of the Holy Grail War. The circumstances of the war will be explained more in the next article.
In a nutshell, the Holy Grail War is a battle royale between those who want the Holy Grail. ‘The Holy Grail’ in this series is a chalice capable of granting wishes. It is said that only the winning pair can have their wish granted, but its true purpose is revealed later in the latter half of the story.
The Holy Grail War started as magi gathered and established the Holy Grail system in the fictional Japanese city of Fuyuki, which is filled with magical energy. Einzbern, Tohsaka, and Matou were the three magi who first gathered there and started what are now called ‘the Three Founding Families’. They were the ancestors of Illya, Rin, and Shinji respectively, who are the participants of the war in this film.
The First Holy Grail War took place around 1800, and since then more of them have occurred every sixty years or so. The wars have such a cycle because it takes time to generate enough energy to summon seven Heroic Spirits.
The Holy Grail War in Fate/Stay night: Heaven’s Feel is the fifth one, and it occurred only ten years after the previous one (seen in Fate/zero). The fourth war didn’t use up much energy and the unspent energy was recycled and resulted in the premature occurrence of the fifth.
Only seven Masters can participate in the Holy Grail War, and each of them forms a contract with a Servant as their familiar to fight the battle.
Under ordinary circumstances, a master is usually a magus, but anyone can become one. It’s just that it is a high risk and it isn’t easy for an ordinary person to deal with the battle or to support a Servant. Also, a Master has to have a Servant, but they can claim a new Servant if they lose one.
Servants are Heroic Spirits summoned to this world and made into special familiars that are bound to the Masters. They are incredibly powerful compared to normal familiars. The summoned spirits are often historical figures or well-known heroes from fiction. It takes an enormous amount of energy to summon one, and it would be too difficult to do so without this Holy Grail War system that lends you energy.
Servants have seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker. You cannot choose which class to summon.
The Command Spells are part of the important system of the Holy Grail War, and they signify a Master with their red holy seals, appearing on Master’s body. The shape of the seals is different for each Master, but they always have 3 parts to them.
They aren’t just holy marks but claims of absolute obedience from Servants. Masters obtain three Command Spells, and they disappear as they are used up. The more absolute the commands are, the more powerful they force Servants to obey. A good example is “Come here, Saber” by Shirou Emiya. On the contrary, Rin Tohsaka uses a command such as “Obey me” which is more vague and therefore weaker. However, as Rin is a powerful magi, her command has a stronger effect. Repeating the same command can strengthen the effect of the forcing power.
Even though the Command Spells can be used up, the possession of them is one of the biggest reasons that Servants obey Masters and there is a risk that Servants may attack you once they are gone. To obtain more, you would have to steal or negotiate with an enemy Master or overseers.
There are overseers of the Holy Grail Wars who watch over Masters and Servants at war. They are from the Holy Church, and Kirei Kotomine is one in this film. Their job is to make sure they have enough magi for Masters, protecting drop-out and victims, and acting as mediators when a trouble happens at a battle. As there are many places getting destroyed or bombed, producing many victims during the Holy Grail Wars, they take the least noticeable and hardest roles. Therefore, the staff members from the Holy Grail Church other than Kotomine are also working around the War behind the scenes.
Overseers often keep their Command Spells that they hadn’t used in the previous battles, meaning that it is possible for them to hold more than three at once, and they may get attacked for them.
That’s all for the first in this series of explanatory articles. The next article will be about “The History of the Holy Grail Wars and the Relationship of the Three Founding Families”. Please look forward to it!