Image source: アニプレックス on YouTube

Type-Moon’s Fate series is a sprawling story told across games, anime, novels, and manga. But even if you stick just to the anime, it can be hard to know what to watch–or even what exactly there is to watch.

Fate/stay night

Visual novel Fate/stay night is the point where the entire Fate franchise began. It’s a modern fantasy tale that follows young mage Shiro as he accidentally finds himself paired with a hero from legend known only as “Saber” and battles against six other mage/hero pairs for the right to have one wish granted by the Holy Grail.

Fate/stay night (2006) – 24-episode TV Anime

There are three possible routes through the original visual novel. The first anime, Fate/stay night largely follows the titular “Fate” route from the game, though with occasional elements taken from the other two routes through the story. It focuses mostly on the relationship between Shiro and Saber as the pair fights on towards the Holy Grail.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Video

Image source: アニプレックス on YouTube

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014) – 26-episode TV Anime

Unlimited Blade Works follows the second possible story route through Fate/stay night. Rather than the relationship between Shiro and Saber, it instead focuses on the relationship between Shiro, rival mage Rin, and her hero partner “Archer.”

Where to Watch: Hulu, Crunchyroll, Amazon: Anime Strike

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2010) – Anime Film

Like the 2014 series, the Unlimited Blade Works film covers the second route of Fate/stay night. However, while the 2014 anime has nine and a half hours to tell the story, the film version is forced to try and cram the whole tale into 105 minutes.

Where to Watch: Amazon

Image source: アニプレックス on YouTube

Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel (2017) – Anime Film Trilogy

The upcoming film series Heaven’s Feel is set to cover the third and final possible route of Fate/stay night. This time, the story focuses on Shiro’s relationship with his longtime friend Sakura and the history behind the mage/hero battle he is involved in known as the “Holy Grail War.”

Where to Watch: Nowhere yet.

Fate/Zero (2011) – 25-episode TV Anime

Fate/Zero is, as the name implies, a prequel to the three routes of Fate/stay night. While Fate/stay night is the story of the Fifth Holy Grail War, Fate/Zero is the story of the Fourth and follows Shiro’s father, Kiritsugu, as he and Saber attempt to win the Holy Grail. But unlike the generally kind and righteous Shiro, Kiritsugu will do anything to get his hands on the Grail–no matter how immoral the act or who is caught in the crossfire.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Alternate Universe Fate Anime

Outside of the main Fate/stay night timeline, there are numerous “what if” stories where the universe is changed in ways both small and large.

Fate/Prototype (2011) – OVA Anime Episode

Fate/Prototype is a short, twelve-minute anime based on the original, prototype version of Fate/stay night released as a bonus included in the “third season” of the Carnival Phantasm OVA series (which we’ll get to later). In this version, Shiro’s proxy Ayaka is female while Saber’s is male. The short shows the origin of Ayaka and Saber’s relationship and a battle between Saber and the Prototype version of Archer–as well as some brief scenes introducing the other mages and some of their partner heroes.

Where to Watch: (No English Subtitles)

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA (2013) – 11-episode TV Anime
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei! (2014) – 11-episode TV Anime
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei! Herz (2015) – 10-episode TV Anime
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 3rei!! (2016) – 12-episode TV Anime

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA and its direct sequels are set in a reality where the events of Fate/Zero played out very differently–so much so that there is not even a Fifth Holy Grail War. Instead, the characters all grow up having relatively normal lives, including the young Illya. Well, until the day she becomes a Card Captor Sakura-style magical girl tasked with collecting cards containing the corrupted souls of Fate/stay night’s legendary heroes, anyway.

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Fate/Grand Order: First Order (2016) – TV Anime Special

Based on the popular Japanese mobile game, Fate/Grand Order is set in a world where, due to a series of temporal anomalies caused by wishes from the Holy Grail, the extinction of all humanity is only a year away. To fix these broken timelines, the last time travel-capable mage and a girl merged with the soul of the mysterious hero “Shielder” must travel back and fix what once went wrong. Their first stop? A world where the events of Fate/stay night went very, very badly.

Where to Watch: Daisuki, Crunchyroll, AnimeLab (AU/NZ)

Guda Guda Order (2016) – TV Anime Special

Airing as part of the same New Year’s Eve special as Fate/Grand Order: First Order were a series of shorts made to introduce the world of Fate and talk about upcoming Fate projects. These shorts, based on the characters of Fate-based gag manga Fate/KOHA-ACE, follow “Sakura Saber” and “Demon Archer” as they (along with big name Fate characters like Saber, “Red Saber,” and Rider) comment on the franchise via fourth wall-breaking humor.

Where to Watch: YouTube (No English Subtitles)

Image source: アニプレックス on YouTube

Fate/Extra: Last Encore (Winter 2018) – TV Anime

“Based on the Fate/Extra game series, Last Encore takes place in a world similar to that of Fate/stay night–except that a mysterious event in the 1970s caused all the world’s magic to disappear. Now, in the 2030s an amnesic young man awakens in an artificial environment and is forced to battle 128 others alongside his partner, “Red Saber,” in order to have his wish granted.

Where to Watch: Nowhere yet.


Fate/Apocrypha (2017) – TV Anime

In a world where all the objects needed to summon the strongest heroes of legend have been lost, begins the Great Holy Grail War. Instead of the typical seven mage/hero free-for-all, however, two teams of seven are summoned to battle each other–along with a fifteenth hero of legend: “Ruler.”

Where to Watch: Nowhere yet.

Fate-Related Anime

There are several other works that take place in the same world as the Fate series. While they do not focus on mage and hero pairs fighting for the Holy Grail, the magic system, world history, and even some characters are shared between them and various Fate works.

Tsukihime, Lunar Legend (2003) 12-episode TV Anime

Shiki is a young man who, after a childhood accident, is able to see “death lines.” If he cuts along them, the corresponding person or object is destroyed. Returning home after the death of his father, Shiki becomes involved with various magical and supernatural adventures.

Where to Watch: Amazon

The Garden of Sinners (2007-2013) 9 Film Anime Series + 2 OVA

Shiki is a young woman who, after a childhood accident, is able to see “death lines.” If she cuts along them, the corresponding person or object is destroyed. [Editor’s note: That sounds oddly familiar.] Living an austere life with only a single friend, Shiki works for a mage-run detective agency whenever they discover a supernatural threat that needs fighting.

Where to Watch: Right Stuf

Carnival Phantasm (2011-2012) 15-episode OVA Anime

Carnival Phantasm is what happens when you have spent years creating a massive universe and then choose to use it to have fun. Using characters and situations from Fate and Tsukihime, it is both off-the-wall parody and celebration of ten years of Type-Moon creations. It pure fan service in the best possible way.

Where to Watch: (No English Subtitles)

Comments (6)
  1. Been playing Fate/Extella, and that combined with being a big fan of the Prisma Illya spinoff has made me realize that I really do need to check out the rest of the Nasuverse. Even if most of it will likely be depressing….

  2. I feel like without commentary on what order to watch stuff, or what could be skipped (or what does not actually exist! *coughtsukihimeanimecough*), this could do a disservice to people trying to get into the Nasuverse.

    Specifically, Fate/Zero should really be labeled “a sequel that depicts the events prior to Fate/stay night.” People who watch Fate/Zero first will be exposed to a lot of random references to all 3 F/sn routes that either blatantly spoil the story or simply make no sense without the proper context.

    • To make it worse, zero is an alternate universe prequel, so it isn’t even a direct prequel (sequel technically) to stay night.

    • Yeah I came here looking for that sort of information and instead this is basically the same information I can find on Wikipedia so thanks for nothing lol

  3. The best Fate/Stay night guide there is. No bias involved. Thank you for that.

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