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How to watch the Fate series in order?
What's keeping you from watching the fantastic Fate series? Perhaps you're thinking twice because there are several anime series and films already and you don't know where to start. You are not the first person to face this problem. Many anime fans have expressed their disappointment after watching the Fate series in a certain order, going so far as to say that the story is confusing.
The Fate series is a Japanese visual novel released in January 2004. Created by Type-Moon, this novel became an immediate hit. But many fans prefer watching the series instead of reading the visual novel. With this in mind, the manga creators gave a license to Tokyopop to make an English series in North America. This gave birth to the 24-episode anime by Studio Deen that also aired in Japan in 2006.
The series became immensely popular, especially among those who have read the manga. It also attracted new fans due to its compelling storyline. This craze among fans led to the release of the second anime series released in October 2014 and ran until June 2015.
The story revolves around Shirou Emiya, an honest and hardworking teenager, who enrolls in the Fifth Holy Grail War, a fight-to-the-death tournament. Shirou needs to fight opponents with strong magical powers. When he's on the verge of dying, Saber saves her life. Saber is a renowned historical figure who helps participants in the Fifth Holy Grail War.
Apart from Shirou and Saber, the other important characters in this series include Archer, Lancer, Illiya, Berserker, Sakura Matou, and Rin Tohsaka.
Fate series release order
Those who have already read the novels would figure out which episodes to watch first. But if you don't belong to this group, you should keep the following order in mind. Remember, these are ranked according to the order of their release dates.
1. Fate/Stay Night
Studio Deen's 24-episode adaptation
This is the prequel to the entire series
3. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
This is a film based on the manga
4. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Series consisting of 26 episodes
5. Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel: I. Presage Flower
This is the first film of the Fate trilogy
6. Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel: II. Lost Butterfly
This is the second movie in the trilogy
7. Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel: III. Spring Song
Final movie in the trilogy that got delayed due to the global pandemic
Many people who plan on watching this series would watch it based on the release dates of the series and films. However, keep in mind that most fans agree that this is the least recommended Fate series watch order. Things can get confusing pretty quickly, and you'll encounter many spoilers that might take away from the fun and excitement of the rest of the series.
Fate series chronological order
Different people have different opinions on the order of the Fate series, but if you want to go chronologically, then here's the order that you should follow:
2. Fate/Stay Night (this is Studio Deen's adaptation, and you may or may not skip this part)
3. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (watch the TV series instead of the movie)
4. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel – I. Presage Flower, followed by II and III in the trilogy.
The original series that aired in January 2006 with 24 episodes followed the main storyline of Fate. Apart from the original story, it also delved into the lives of other characters to make the series more thrilling. During the planning stages of the anime adaptation, Studio Deen was also developing an original story based on Shielder, a heroine that gained importance in Fate/Grand Order.
The series went on to receive international TV premieres in 2007 because of its widespread popularity. But many people often question why there was a need to come up with the Fate trilogy.
It's worth noting that the trilogy doesn't have anything to do with the storyline that Studio Deen worked on in the TV series. Instead, it focuses on the Heaven's Feel route, one of the most crucial parts of the visual novel. That means you get the best of both worlds once you finish watching both the series and the films.
Recommended Fate series watch order by fans
Now that you know the chronological order, you may feel tempted to start watching the Fate series right away. But hold on just a little bit. According to ardent Fate series fans, the chronological order isn't how you should watch the show. In fact, the following order follows the release order of the source material.
1. Fate/Stay Night
2. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (watch the TV series instead of the movie)
3. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel – I. Presage Flower, followed by II and III in the trilogy.
However, the chronological order is more accessible right now than this order as you can only watch two of the three movies in the trilogy. But if you want to watch the series according to most fans' preference, you shouldn't watch Fate/Zero first. It's the prequel of the entire series and is meant to be seen after watching the original series.
The order that provides the best experience of watching Fate starts with Unlimited Blade Works, followed by Heaven's Feel, and then Zero. One of the reasons why fans urge everyone to watch Zero after finishing the entire series is it contains major spoilers for Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel. That might reduce the overall thrill of exploring the different characters' dark secrets in these two series.
Many fans even recommend not watching the 2006 anime adaptation. The reason is that this series doesn't add much to the storyline. But you may still choose to give it a go for the sake of watching the entire series, including the anime and movies based on the novel's storyline.
Best tips for first-time viewers
1. Watching the 24-episode adaptation is optional. If you want to dive directly into the lives of Saber and Shirou, you may start by watching Zero.
2. It's totally up to you whether you want to go by the chronological order or the fans' suggestion. You can even try both and see for yourself which is truly the best Fate series watch order.
ReViewMeMedia on October 07, 2020:
Fate/Zero spoils all three routes of Fate/Stay Night, but especially Heavens Feel the last route.
Caleb Melvern (author) from Philippines on September 30, 2020:
Fate/Zero is a prequel, and most fans say that it's meant to be seen after the original series. It also contains spoilers, which could affect your UBW and HF viewing experience.
Naomi Starlight from Illinois on September 30, 2020:
Could you get more into why the fans recommend the order that does not put Fate/Zero first? That part was confusing for me, a non Fate series fan.