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.
It’s been more than two months since the film Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel premiered in Japan, yet it is still a topic of conversation in Japan. The online role-playing smartphone game Grand Order was the most trending topic on Twitter this year, and the anime adaptation series Fate/Apocrypha has just finished airing. The Fate franchise continues to please the fans with its wide variety of mixed media from games to anime and from events to stage dramas.
Anime! Anime! has been running basic introduction articles to Fate/stay night‘s ‘Holy Grail War’, both for people new to the franchise and for people who just want their memory refreshed.
The third and final in this series of articles is about the Servants. The most outstanding players of the Holy Grail Wars are Servants. What are they? You can get a basic idea by checking out the previous article:
※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.
The Servants are the so-called Heroic Spirits summoned by rituals and who are then made into special familiars. Some achieved great deeds in life and some appeared in myth or legend. They are not actual spirits themselves but magi borrow their power to mimic them.
Heroic Spirits vary. There are Kings who ruled over a country, great men who performed amazing feats in battle, and many others. In the current Fate franchise, anyone notable or worshiped by people (even from fiction) can be summoned, but in the original Fate/stay night series, Servants were all figures of myth or legend. However, the Arthurian legends are depicted as being a series of true events.
In the Holy Grail Wars, one each from the seven standard classes of Servant is summoned: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Caster, Rider, Assassin, and Berserker. Saber is a knight of the sword, Archer is a knight of the bow, Lancer is a knight of the lance, Caster is a magus of spells and sorcery, Rider is a mounted knight, Assassin is a silent killer, and Berserker is a mad warrior. Heroic Spirits do not actually have classes and they are classified as such only for the Holy Grail Wars.
The class depends on each spirit’s background or special weapon used. Some of them have multiple class qualifications and can be summoned as a different class. For example, Hercules is the Berserker-class Servant but has qualifications corresponding to six classes, i.e. all of them save for Caster.
It is usually one of the Hassan-i-Sabbahs that is applicable to be summoned as an Assassin-class Servant because Hassan is the etymological root of the word ‘assassin’ and the class name acts as the catalyst when summoning. Furthermore, the name Hassan is a pseudonym shared by the 19 members of the assassin sect, and there are different Hassans. The Hassan which appeared in Fate/stay night was called ‘Hassan of the Cursed Arm’, and multiple Hassans appeared in the Fate/zero series.
Summoning a Servant requires a magic circle, a spell, and a massive amount of magical energy. Up to seven Servants can be summoned for the Holy Grail Wars thanks to the active support from the Greater Grail. However, it still takes a lot of energy and even gifted magus Rin Tohsaka was so exhausted from the summoning that she had to be absent from school the next day. Besides, it takes a lot of magical energy for the upkeep to keep them and give them orders, so one Servant to summon is usually hard enough for a good magus to maintain. It’s tough work to treat one as a familiar.
By the way, Servants can take either material form or spiritual form. Remaining in spiritual form can decrease the upkeep as it has no physical interference and can reduce the Master’s energy consumption.
Using an artifact with a connection to the Heroic Spirit makes it easier to summon a Servant. Using it as a catalyst gives you a higher chance of attracting the desired spirit. The Saber of Fate/stay night was summoned because Kiritsugu Emiya had Avalon, the sheath of Excalibur. However, you do not have to have a catalyst to summon. Then, the Heroic Spirit among the candidates that has good affinity with the Master will be chosen.
Servants have different skills depending on the class. Skills are the individual ability of each Servant and they are ranked from C to EX. One of the most common skills is Magic Resistance, which grants protection against magical effects. Having it at a rank of B or higher can cancel major spells, which would put an enemy Caster at a huge disadvantage. Mad Enhancement is a special class skill of Berserker that raises all the basic parameters, but in exchange, it hinders mental capacities and/or destroys the sense of reason.
There are skills not specific to a class, such as ‘Charisma’, which increases the ability of allies, ‘Clairvoyance’, which connotes superior visual perception and can even give the ability of precognition at higher ranks, and ‘Golden Rule’ that gives you the good fortune to be able to acquire wealth.
What you must not forget is the Noble Phantasms that Servants own. Servants often shout a phrase when attacking, the name of the armament they wear. They pour their magical energy into it and activate its power at the maximum. There are various kinds of Noble Phantasms: ‘Anti-Unit’ for single combat, ‘Anti-Army’ with wide enough range to harm an army, Barrier that creates bounded fields and so on. These Noble Phantasms also have ranks like skills.
Some Servants have multiple Noble Phantasms. For example, Saber has three of them; Invisible Air: Bounded Field of the Wind King, Excalibur: Sword of Promised Victory, and Avalon: The Everdistant Utopia. They are trump cards to be used in a battle since they consume a massive amount of magical energy and it is hard to use continuously.
This is the third and last of the articles. How did you like it? If you have any requests like ‘I want to read about this!’ or ‘I want to learn about that!’, please don’t hesitate to inform us. We are also looking forward to how the Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel movies will continue to develop!