It’s modern day Fuyuki City in Japan. Shirou Emiya is attending his High School and helping the student council with repairs on air conditioning units. It’s a breeze for Shirou Emiya as he is the adopted son of a mage and knows how to trace the components of most things and reinforce or recreate them within minutes. One day he stays late helping out the Archery Club with some cleaning, as his friend from childhood Shinji Matoi decided to shirk his duties, he encounters a battle between two fast and powerful people. One wielding a lance and the other a pair of blades. They both stop and take notice of him and the Lancer disengages his opponent to pursue Shirou who has since run away in fear. Running through the abandoned halls of his school to try and escape, he ends up being cut off and finds himself face to face with the Lance wielder who simply states, “You were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” as the Lancer skewers his heart and leaves.
Shirou in his dying moments sees a pendant shaped like a heart and colored red. A few minutes later he wakes up to find himself covered in his own blood with no wound. Groggy and confused he makes his way home, trying to recall the events of what happened, remembering only the pendant and being stabbed by a red lance. As he recalls the events from the high school, the Lancer appears again and attacks him. Shirou manages to reinforce a few objects lying around to defend himself but they get shattered by the sheer strength of the Lancer he is fighting against. He runs throughout his home and eventually makes his way to the storage shed. As he is certain that he’s about to meet his fate, regrets are spinning through his head and a magical circle begins to illuminate the room. Through the light comes a knight, fast and furious, to send the Lancer away. The knight turns and looks to Shirou addressing him, “Are you my Master?” she asks. Shirou looks at the incredible woman before him, clad in armor, who engages the Lancer again to drive him away from Shirou’s home.
Once they have a moment to speak, Shirou asks who this Knight is and what was going on. She addresses herself only by the name ‘Saber’ and asks again if Shirou is her ‘Master’ before having the dual blade user from earlier in the day show up with a young girl that appears to be one of his classmates from school, Rin Tohsaka. Rin tells Shirou that he has unwittingly entered himself as a Master in the Holy Grail War, a ritual where 7 Masters are chosen by the Holy Grail and are given the means to summon a Servant, and the last Master and Servant standing are given the chance to have any one wish granted they desire. Servants of the war belong to the classes Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Berserker, Caster, and Assassin.
At this point Shirou must choose whether he wants to participate in this war and risk his life, or find a way to forfeit his participation in the war. Does he abandon his Servant to her fate in this war, or does he find a purpose to fight in this war that he knew nothing of?
The Fate series has been my favorite anime of all time because of it’s premise, it’s characters, and that there is more than one story to be told. The main story is that the Holy Grail is an omnipotent sentient device that has unlimited power to grant the wish of those who hold it. In the first war it was decided that the one that survived was the one most worthy of claiming their wish. Servants in the series are all heroes and legends based out of time, and the Grail acts as a conduit so that Masters can summon their Servants. Depending on the translation that you watch they’re referred to as either Epic Spirits or Heroic Spirits and if you’re a fan of myths and legends, bigger legends like Alexander the Great and even smaller ones like Robin Hood, you’ll probably be very interested to see the characters that Type-Moon uses for their Servants in the series.
Fate is based off of a visual novel by Type-Moon and has multiple different story arcs and endings that all fit within the same timeline. The popular arcs are named as Fate\Stay Night, Fate\Unlimited Blade Works, and Fate\Heaven’s Feel. The story in each one revolves around a few characters but the main protagonist slightly shifts in each story arc. The most recent Anime produced by the studio ‘Ufotable’ has a mix of Fate\Stay Night and Fate\Unlimited Blade Works. Where the main characters of Stay Night are Shirou and Saber, and Unlimited Blade Works is primarily about Rin Tohsaka and her Servant, Archer. Ufotable does an incredible job with their animation quality and the fight scenes throughout the series is absolutely incredible.
While Ufotable did Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, they also did a prequel series labeled Fate\Zero which recalls the events of the previous Holy Grail War a mere 10 years earlier which revolves around Shirou’s adopted father and his fight in the 4th Holy Grail War. Fate\Stay Night also had an earlier anime adaptation in 2006 by Studio Deen which received high praise and was followed up by a Fate\Unlimited Blade Works movie in 2010 by the same studio.
This brief review only accounts for the part of the beginning of the newest series, Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, so I highly recommend checking it out if any of this has sparked your interests, and I still heavily recommend the old 2006 series, the Unlimited Blade Works movie, and the other Ufotable series Fate\Zero.