One reason why Fate/Stay Night sucked.

September 25, 2006 at 10:00 pm 33 comments

No, we’ve already established that DEEN haet eroge and doozin(Again, another bad pun from #shrinemaiden @ This is pertaining to not just the animated series, but also the game itself.

I’ve been reading Character Development And Storytelling For Games by Lee Sheldon  (ISBN: 1-59200-353-2, Library of Congress Catalog Card No: 2003115725, Amazon Link) And well, I’m reminded of the time I took Storyboarding and Scripting (if you must know, I am doing Creative Game Design and I knew this book would come in handy). One of the essential things that a story needs is for the main character to be radically changed, either in body, spirit or paradigms of thought, aka the main character has to develop and grow, aka he or she has to be somewhere else but here.

Looking back at what I’ve watched up till now and what I’ve read about the Fate Arc (which was essentially animated), we can safely assume TYPE-MOON picked the wrong arc to animate, because, well, the Fate Arc was shit. Character progression-wise.

To quote from the book, “There is only one realm in which characters defy natural laws and remain the same – the realm of bad writing. And it is the fixed nature of the characters which makes the writing bad. If a character in a short story, novel, or play (or in this case, anime and/or visual novel, or game) occupies the same position at the end as the one he did at the beginning, that story, novel or play is bad.” Okay, so I’m actually quoting Lajos Egri’s The Art Of Dramatic Writing (ISBN: 0-67121-332-6, Amazon Link) , but that’s immaterial.  Point is, Other than Saber’s  character going imperceptibly small changes(depending on how you see it) in her personality, what of Emiya Shirou, the main character? Apart from gaining the ability to shoot swords out of his hands and make uberhax scabbards, does his mental and psychological processes undergo a huge change? Does he realize his silly dream, or does he see the harsh truth about being a hero? In all respects, Shirou’s thoughts are as unchanged as the day we meet him. His wanting to be a hero has annoyed the hell out of us, and he still annoys us to the end. And then some. His core personality has yet to undergo a dramatic change. He has, as Lajos Egri says, defied natural laws (not all that hard considering Nasu’s earlier works) and stayed the same.

I’m not one to argue with a guy who wrote the best-selling visual novel of all time, but what the hell was Nasu thinking of when he penned the Fate Arc? I mean, Tsukihime kinda starts out the same way, but but Jove, Shiki is a changed man after turning Arc into delicious cuts of meat, killing Nero twice, Roa twice, killing himself, his beloved little sister not related by blood, SHIKI three times, watched Kohaku commit suicide, blahblahblah. If Nasu wanted to lay the foundation of UBW and Heaven’s Feel, well, I don’t think this is the way to do it. Again, I don’t want to criticize my idol, but as far as writers go, they are human, and humans goof up sometimes.

But is Fate truly a piece of shit? I leave it up to you to decide. General popularity assumes Heaven’s Feel was too much for the average Japanese otaku to bear, but personally, I found it to be a much better story than Fate. (And well, we all know UBW was ALL ABOUT ARCHER EMIYA and Rin, not that Shirou feller.)  Heaven’s Feel is really a good representative of what Nasu does best; exploring (and wallowing in) the dark side of characters. Hell, Tsukihime did the same thing(5 FREAKIN’ TIMES!), and became the best-selling visual novel of all time. As for me, the Fate Arc was the opposite of what Nasu does best. To me, it was one of the worst pieces of writing to come from the guy. And knowing he can, and has done better only makes me realize how incredibly shitty the Fate arc really is.

And this is coming from me, an overt Nasu fanboy. Fuck, I love Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night (and their respective fundiscs, Nasu does humour really well too!), but realizing this has got to be crushing, even mindblowing. But I have a greater purpose to fufill here, one to good storytelling, and that takes precedence over any silly fanboy sentiments.
So there you have it. The Fate arc is shit because Shirou still remains the clueless idiot he was when we first met him.  Apart from him gaining the ability to fire swords from his hands and make uberhax scabbards.

This makes me wish Archer killed him when he had the chance.

Entry filed under: Anime, Fate/Stay Night, visual novels.

I has Shion =3 “What do you think about the planetarium? That beautiful twinkling of eternity that will never fade, no matter when. All the stars in the sky are waiting for you.”

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. meganeshounen  |  September 25, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    >>This makes me wish Archer killed him when he had the chance.

    Then we’d be having an Unlimited Blade Works ending.

    WAIT, isn’t that a GOOD thing?

  • 2. tj han  |  September 25, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    I was wondering, did you actually play the games in Japanese? I never did and so could only read synopsis.

  • 3. drmchsr0  |  September 25, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    megane: UBW Endings have Shirou living. But Archer gains +1 to Hindsight! YAY (>o<)b

    tj: Yep, I read the sypnosis. I use my brain to fill in the gaps. Plus I do know people who are translating the game.

    Shirou is an idiot. And pisses people off.

  • 4. Stripey  |  September 25, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I like your thoughts in F/SN here. 🙂 Frankly I’m of the opinion that Tsukihime could have been so much more if they went the Kohaku arc. However, for F/SN, if Studio DEEN went the Heaven’s Feel arc, they would have to kill Saber off rather early. And the powers that dictate anime merchandising had earlier collectively decided to pimp Saber figures so Heaven’s Feel route (a deep and affecting tale worthy of the TypeMoon franchise) was out of consideration.

    Bottom line 1
    Anime great 0

  • 5. jpmeyer  |  September 25, 2006 at 11:49 pm

    (I think I’ll check out that Sheldon book)

  • 6. Tyrenol  |  September 26, 2006 at 3:27 am

    Let us all get this out of the way immediately:

    If plot, writing, and character development are gonna be screwed up; the least these companies can do is have F/SN (and Tsukihime for that matter) as actual hentai anime. Thereby, the fanbase won’t be pissed off as much.

    I’m currently watching Shusaku Replay (the series R1ed by the dreaded NuTech). It hat its WTF moments. A lot of them. But atleast is had tons of sex.

  • 7. reslez  |  September 26, 2006 at 8:54 am

    FSN was a series that had all the ingredients to be good, but flawed execution and possibly flawed source material combined to spell its doom. I’m familiar only with the FSN anime series, so I have to confine my remarks thereunto. Shirou does indeed have a character journey in FSN The Anime. The arc is “heroism to disillusionment”. Unfortunately, the arc was so poorly carried out that it is deeply unsatisfying. You correctly identify the lack of consequence at the end of the series. If Shirou changed very much from a naive hero wannabe, it is never overtly demonstrated because the plot forces him to be heroic. It is never precisely clear what he is supposed to have learned. Saber’s arc starts out as “isolation/obsession to balance”, but it turns into a very cliche “tough girl falls in love”, which was again deeply unsatisfying.

    I will leave you with what I’m sure also appears in your writing books, the merits of show vs. tell. At the series outset we’re repeatedly told that Shirou wants to be a hero — he says so, other people say it of him — but we never actually see Shirou attempting anything heroic. Then the plot kicks in and it’s too late. Oh well.

  • 8. Ouabain  |  September 26, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    Fate has left a sour taste on my palate that prevents me from ever dabbling into adaptations of media with multiple endings.

    If you have to slog through the same characters and setting n number of times to achieve the desired effect, you have failed as a storyteller.

    Which also explains why I now find Higurashi more annoying than anything else.

    That is my USD$0.02.

  • 9. LianYL  |  September 26, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    This coming from a TYPE-MOON fanatic, lolgg.

  • 10. Tyrenol  |  September 27, 2006 at 12:08 am

    At least Higurashi… (Checking my list.)

    1: …had the guy who did the voice of Jesus Yamato (Garbage Seed Destiny) do the voice of Keiichi and proved that great male leads DIE. Horribly. And repeatedly.

    2: …proved the horrors of badly-animated emo faces.

    3: …can do semi-deformed cuteness and slaughterhouse violence. In 1 episode no less.

    4: …had “kana. …kana.” Best anime meme since #6 / Prisoner-chan’s “[blank] of the year.”

    5: …had twins with “melons for sale!” Awesomage for porn material.

    6: …has proper-speaking blonde tomboy loli.

    7: …proves that Geneon (Pioneer) are full of wanking fanpeople that would rather sell hot @$$ than commit to something that actually is worthy of having plot or character development.

    7b: But WAIT!! Didn’t Geneon make F/SN as well? (They used to be responsible for porn like “Gen” and “Spaceship Agga Ruter,” the Tenchi Muyo pRon rip-offs.)

  • 11. wontaek  |  September 27, 2006 at 6:20 am

    The point raised here concerning internal growth of the characters is very valid. This has led me to think about several anime series.

    1. Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi: There are developements or are there? I think there is, but my wife say it isn’t enough, and I seldom win an argument against my wife.
    2. Zero no Tsukaima: Some think there is, but I don’t think there is enough for the three main characters of Siesta, Saito, and Louise. Considering what they will go through as well as changes in minor characters, the lack of changes on character psyche has me little disappointed, but I may be missing something big here.
    3. Ouran High Host Club: Most people, including I, don’t think there is enough developement, or have I missed out on something big here as well?
    4. Solty Rei: Of recent anime series, I think this had the best character developements of them all. Too bad most people don’t know about it.
    5. ARIA: This show is not supposed to be about character developements, but why do I feel slight growth of characters’ mind every episode? Has my fanboyism creating illusions?
    6. Evangellion: I feel the character developments here is either lacking or forced, or has my distaste for the series blinded me?
    7. Binbou Shimai Monogatari: We didn’t have enough episodes and events to justify character developements, but we can see how the character was formed in the first place. Although there is lack of change, episode wise, it is clear that these sisters were different 5 years ago. Should that count as character developement?
    8. Saiunkoku Monogatari: This show is about character developements and it does decent job about it. I do see some room for improvements in many places, though.

  • 12. Tyrenol  |  September 28, 2006 at 7:50 am

    I personally don’t know, wontaek.

    My flaw is that I don’t usually watch anime to see character development. But I know a lot of bad shows because of horrible writing, bad directing, and evenitably bad character development.

    The top of my list includes Negima, Chrono Crusade, Scrapped Princess, E’s Otherwise, Morning Mist Shrine, Galaxy Angel, and Steel Angel Kurumi. Now, they’re either badly animated, eye-candy filler, just too silly to bear (in Galaxy Angel’s case), or done by a fat-headed company (in Chrono Crusade’s case). But I enjoy these shows none the less.

    On the bottom of my list are Evangelion, Gundam Seed Destiny, Ranma 1/2, Love Hina, and most “harem romance comediies” for obvious reasons. Respectively:

    Hideaki Anno is a sad sack of crap that tried to use us viewers as his collective psychiatrist.

    Mitsuo Fukuda and his wife Morosawa are wanking fanpeople who are on Sunrise’s member.

    Rumiko Takahashi seems to enjoy men getting beatened up by women (and her show is badly animated).

    Ken Akamatsu thought for a while that losers getting beatened up by sexy women was actually considered funny.

    And there are people out there who still believe that this is what anime is about besides “moe” and “wanking to pantyshots.”

  • 13. drmchsr0  |  September 28, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    Eh? I thought Anno did Eva (AND THEN EBICHU) to get himself fired from Gainax?

    Takahashi is too greedy to end anything.

    Mitsuo Fukuda and all the silly Gundam fans clamoring for his death deserves to be anally raped to death by an army of gay men in front of International TV LIVE and his wfe, errr… … … be burnt at the stake.

  • 14. LianYL  |  October 1, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Anno! fap fap fap

  • 15. LianYL  |  October 2, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    Since you think FSN sucked, then you should enjoy this link:

  • 16. Malintex_Terek  |  November 26, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    I agree in full; the Fate arc isn’t representative of Nasu’s best work, and it was quite silly to animate that arc. However, of all three FSN scenarios Saber *is* the most interesting female, so I think the anime could have been a bit more solid provided Studio Deen didn’t try to meld all three scenarios into one gigantic mess.

    Personally, I think Deen had a perfect opportunity to go the UBW route at episode fourteen; while Archer dying in a blaze of glory was quite a marvel to see, provided he had beaten Berserker and become Ilya’s Servant, we could have seen some sort of UBW incarnation. At that, there would have still been some development between Shirou and Saber, which would have been torn apart by Rin when she forges a contract with Saber.

    However, I think that sort of scenario is beyond the writing abilities of Studio Deen; original or even adapted material doesn’t appear to be their forte. After all, they are the ones responsible for killing the Rurouni Kenshin franchise with their filler season.

  • 17. linkinuzelos  |  December 12, 2006 at 6:09 am

    You do know that Archer is shiro right? lol that would be pretty bad if archer….well killed himself!

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- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI

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