Today, we’re talking about the best Fate watch order in order to well understand and comprehend what’s going on in this beloved anime. Fate franchise comes with so many seasons, specials, and movies, making it a bit confusing to watch. But don’t worry! We’re here to guide you through the best way to enjoy and truly appreciate this masterpiece saga.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the must-watch Fate series to get a well-organized order, in which you will fully understand all The Fate series, movies, specials, and spin-offs.
The best and the essential Fate watch order:
- Fate/Stay Night
- Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
- Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel
- Fate/Strange Fake
Let’s kick off our Fate series watch order with Fate/stay night, aired in 2006 and producted by Studio Deen. The story centers around Shirou, whose life takes a dark turn when a mysterious fire claims his family. Kiritsugu Emiya, witnessing the tragedy, adopts him, becoming his mentor in magic and justice.
Years after Kiritsugu’s passing, Shirou finds himself thrust into a perilous confrontation between two superhuman entities known as Servants while cleaning at school one fateful night. In an attempt to escape, he sustains a life-threatening injury from a Servant. In a desperate bid to survive, he summons his own Servant, a knight named Saber.
Thus begins the Fifth Holy Grail War, a high-stakes battle royale featuring seven Servants and their summoners, all vying for the ultimate prize—the all-powerful Holy Grail. Fate/stay night unravels the story of Shirou as he grapples with the thin line between heroism and ruthlessness, challenging his ideals against the harsh reality surrounding him. Will he rise as a hero akin to his foster father or meet his end in pursuit of that lofty goal?
Aired over 2 seasons between 2011 and 2012, Fate Zero, produced by ufotable, is the second in the Fate series that you should watch to grasp the storyline fully. The Holy Grail, possessing the power to fulfill any wish, initiated three brutal and ruthless wars in the past, leaving no clear victor. However, the affluent Einzbern family believes that the Fourth Holy Grail War will be different, now that they possess a vessel of the Holy Grail. For this reason, they enlist the much-reviled “Magus Killer” Kiritsugu Emiya, binding him to their only daughter, Irisviel, through marriage.
Kiritsugu is now at the heart of a fierce survival game, pitted against six other contenders, each wielding an ancient familiar and driven by unique desires and beliefs. Alongside his familiar, Saber, the infamous mercenary faces his toughest adversary, Kirei Kotomine, a priest pursuing salvation from his inner void through Kiritsugu.
Adapted from the light novel by Gen Urobuchi, Fate/Zero depicts the Fourth Holy Grail War’s events, a decade before Fate/stay night. It showcases a battle royale where survival is far from guaranteed.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
This anime has two versions: a 2010 movie by Studio Deen that didn’t quite appeals to hardcore fans, and a TV series with two seasons that aired from 2014 to 2015, and I genuinely enjoyed it due to its great animation quality and storytelling. The Holy Grail War is a fierce battle among seven magi, known as Masters, who command powerful Heroic Spirits called Servants using command seals granted upon their entry into the war.
In this particular edition, which is the Fifth Holy Grail War, Rin Toosaka is one of the magi participating. She aims to secure the coveted prize—the Holy Grail, a mystical artifact with the power to fulfill any wish—with her Servant, Archer.
Shirou Emiya, one of Rin’s classmates, unintentionally becomes part of the competition and finds himself commanding Saber, a powerful Servant. As they confront common adversaries, Rin and Shirou opt for a temporary alliance, pooling their strengths to challenge their opponents in the grueling Holy Grail War.
Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel
Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel is a trilogy of movies that includes “Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower” (2017), “Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly” (2019), and “Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – III. Spring Song” (2020).
These Fate films delve into The Holy Grail War, focusing on a specific and, in my opinion, the best storyline in the Fate Stay Night series – Heaven’s Feel. However, it’s important to note that this is just the beginning of an intense journey, and some fans unfamiliar with it might be surprised by the outcomes of their favorite characters.
Among the trilogy, “Presage Flower” is arguably the weakest, but it remains faithful to the source material. The story takes some unexpected turns as it covers the elements left out in other routes, making it a bit peculiar to follow. Nonetheless, it provides some thrilling moments, including memorable battles and the fate of certain servants, with Lancer’s fight being a standout in recent anime history.
Fate/Strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn
Fate/Strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn that recently aired in 2023, animated by A-1 Pictures as a TV Special. Think of it as the prologue setting the stage for the upcoming Fate Strange Fake Anime Series—sort of like Episode 0. Did it do its job well? Absolutely. It seamlessly introduced us to the diverse array of Servants and Masters, as well as notably, our intriguing character, Gilgamesh.
This plot is about the Holy Grail War, a fierce contest where Mages (Masters) join forces with their Heroic Spirits (Servants) in a battle for the omnipotent Holy Grail, rumored to grant any desire. The backdrop shifts years after the conclusion of the Fifth Holy Grail War in Japan, now hinting at the emergence of a new Holy Grail in the western American city of Snowfield.
Masters and Servants, each with their unique agendas, begin to converge upon this city of intrigue. However, something’s amiss—the appearance of a missing Servant class, perplexing summonings of Servants, a nation veiled in secrecy, and a city deliberately crafted to be a battleground. These oddities send ripples through the Holy Grail War, spiraling it into depths of sheer madness. The stage is set for a captivating masquerade, where both humans and heroes are made to dance upon the false stage of a Holy Grail. Let the show begin.
With the ones listed above, you’ve got the best Fate watch order covered. However, when it comes to the Fate universe, there are also some other spin-offs that stand on their own and can be enjoyed without worrying about a particular viewing order.
Here are some of the notable and popular Fate spin-offs:
- Fate/Grand Order
- Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
- Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
Fate/Grand Order follows Ritsuka Fujimaru, a young mage, and their loyal shielder Mash Kyrielight, embarking on an epic journey to correct time anomalies. They travel across various historical and mythical eras, summoning powerful heroic spirits to save humanity from extinction and restore the fabric of time.
In a world where the Greater Grail is stolen, two factions, Red and Black, summon their own heroic spirits for a Holy Grail War. Fate/Apocrypha unfolds as they battle fiercely to obtain the Holy Grail and fulfill their desires. The story explores complex character dynamics and intense conflicts in this alternate Holy Grail War.
Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is a magical girl spin-off set in the Fate universe. It follows Illyasviel von Einzbern, who discovers her magical potential and becomes a magical girl tasked with collecting magical cards. The series combines themes of magical girl tropes with Fate’s unique storytelling, presenting a compelling and light-hearted story.
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore is set in a digital realm known as the Moon Cell Automaton. Hakuno Kishinami awakens within this artificial world, partaking in a Holy Grail War. As they navigate this virtual landscape, they confront foes, unravel mysteries, and strive to obtain the Holy Grail.
Fate/Prototype is a prototype version of Fate/stay night and serves as an alternate iteration. Set in a parallel universe, it explores an early concept of Fate’s story, showcasing different character dynamics and plotlines. The story revolves around a new set of masters and heroic spirits vying for the Holy Grail.
In conclusion, watching the Fate anime can be a bit hard given the numerous series, movies, and spin-offs. However, understanding the basic watch order can make it a more enjoyable experience. Starting with Fate/stay night, you can then progress to Fate/Zero for a prequel perspective. Afterward, exploring other spin-offs like Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Grand Order, and Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya can add more understanding to the overall story.