First of all, I have to ask just what that title actually means. True, a ton of Japanese shows use random English words in their titles, but at least they sound somewhat cool or have a meaning that kind of associates it with the show itself. Fate - Stay Night is neither cool nor means anything relevant to the series to which it is attached. Fate didn't bear any real link to the plot, and although some of the female characters moved in with the wimpy douche of a protagonist, none of them "stayed the night" with him... I know they did in the original hentai game that this was based on, just not in this PG-rated television show. And this is a fighting show too (like a mix of Soul Caliber and Pokemon), not a romantic drama. Personally I'd have named it something like "Saber Kills For You," or "Hot Chicks Fight Naked Dreams." Both tell a lot more about what to expect, and both are a bit less lame. A bit.
So what is Fate - Stay Night, you ask? It's a show about seven magicians and their mystical servants who fight over the right to claim the Holy Grail, and one wish to be granted, as their own. It's kind of like the Highlander or X... but the Highlander analogy is a lot less gay so I'll stick with that. F-SN was originally made by the same group that made Shingetsutan (Lunar Legend) Tsukihime, and as such has some of the same feel as that show (and I'm guessing it takes place in the same universe)... only Fate just seemed to drag on a little bit longer than it should have. But I digress.
So there's this "Holy Grail War" going on and 7 magicians conjur up a servant each to protect them and fight for them... even though the mages can't collect the Grail itself... and they can only give commands to their servants a set number of times... and if they die their servants have the option to find another master within a certain amount of time... and if they eat after midnight they multiply and turn evil... and if they eat after midnight the following day they turn back to themselves again but they have one extra ultimate weapon at their disposal... and if and if and if into infinity. That was the number one thing about this series that got me kind of ticked -- just how many rules there were. And how many rules for those rules there were. There was one episode in particular which was almost entirely dedicated to sorting out all the rules and laws that the magician masters and their servants must abide by -- some of them seeming to directly counter and contradict previous rules -- it became a running joke for me and my friends as we watched this 24 episode series; whenever another new rule was pulled out of some character's ass we would laugh our own rear ends off.
It was kind of like The Mummy Returns in that respect (oh, who're you fooling? You know you saw it). There are so many goddamn rules to follow in order to save the day that you know at least half of them were only made up in order to cover major plot holes that previous edicts left wide open. It's like if I was given massive restrictions in ordering a pizza... I would need to randomly pick a number from 1 through 7 and whatever phone number was listed would be the pizzeria I had to call. Once I had them on the line, I would only be given a limited choice on what toppings I could order -- unless I used one of my three "commands" up, with which I could then get a specialty topping or extra cheese. But if I got the extra cheese then the pizza guys would call up my neighbor and inform them of my order and allow them the opportunity to pay a penny more and get my pizza (with which I had already lost a command on). I could then use another command up to make sure that they do not outbid me, or I could send my dog over to their house and kill the delivery guy when he got there and bring the pizza back to me before my dick of a neighbor knew what happened. If that occurred though, my dog would have the option of eating or shitting on my pizza before bringing it back to me. I could use another command to prevent this, but if I did that my dog would feel slighted and probably bite off my jugular in my sleep... This would of course make my dog the victor, but then he'd have to quickly find another master before his hunger for pizza struck again. Back to the original order now... Without using any of my commands, my options would be a limited choice of what toppings I could ask for. If I didn't use up a command I would then be able to chant a special mantra in order to get the pizza guy to give me thick crust... ETC. ETC.....
The only difference between my example and the actual show is that try as I might my laws and rules actually all fulfilled a purpose and made sense to the final goal. The rules for magicians with servants in Fate - Stay Night kind of got really convoluted and fuzzy, especially near the end of the series when they were STILL making shit up. Can a servant live past the winning of the Holy Grail War? No... Wait, yes, but only if this this and this and this happen and it's a full moon and a butterfly flaps its wings at precisely 10:52:03:42PM due West at 42 degrees longitude and 51 degrees latitude for nothing more or less than six complete strokes, and at that precise moment the servant's master must regurgitate his last meal into the Holy Grail without letting one drop spill on the ground. IF one drops spills, there's still a chance if the butterfly actually flapped SEVEN times, and the final flap was 5% more powerful than the first. If it is not 5% more powerful, a frog must then eat the butterfly in one gulp within 2 seconds of the final flap and from when the drop of puke hit the ground. You get my drift. Honestly though, I wonder how the fuck ANYBODY knew ANY of these rules in the first place. How often did the stars align for any of these things to actually happen ONCE, let alone more than once for the knowledge of which to be passed down to the next generation of Grail Warriors. Ugh, I have a headache....
Back to the show. Each of the servants are actually historical or mythological warriors from the past who seemed to be called to duty in this modern Grail War at their moment of death way back when. Some of the fighters' identities will make you say "Hey, that's pretty snazzy! I'd hate to fight him/her..." But the lead female servant's ID (Saber's) is really kind of gey. Beyond that, Shirou (the male lead and n00b magician who controls hottie Saber) has some strange powers of his own. They're strange in the same way that the main character in Shingetsutan had strange powers (he had the power to see "lines" on everything, and if he cut those lines whatever object they were on would instantly fall apart). Shirou's power is to be able to "trace" the elements of objects and strengthen them... But what's really comedic about his ability is that he apparently has to yell out (in horrible Engrish mind you) "Twace on!" when he works his mojo.
Now for the things that really really bothered me about this show, almost as much as the previously stated over-rules: Saber's "invisible sword"... What the hell were they thinking?; Why are the battles for the end of the world always held in Japan (a relatively small island nation, especially when all the servants are called from all across the globe)?; The fact that episode 15 was OBVIOUSLY a place where Shirou and Saber were supposed to get it on in the original hentai game, but we're not even given the slightest bit of fan service during that scene in the anime (and it was probably a threesome with that brunette as well); The fact that Shirou goes beyond the limits of your typical "goody-goody" during the action in this series... He is so stupid at times, and he just has to be gay (If you ever had a hot, toned, naked blonde tell you to look at her... Wouldn't you?); The fact that there was hardly ANY fan service at all in this thing (once again pointing to the fact that you're adapting a steamy hentai game to a fairly boring TV show... give us some skin! Liven things up a bit!); And the fact that this thing turns into a harem anime (with NO fan service... so what's the point?) so fast that it makes all the dramatic shit going on all around the heroes appear to be really laughable in the same context of the story.
There was one part of this show that really stuck in my head as an uncharacteristically cool thing of Shirou to do -- BIG SPOILER for the last episode -- When Shirou first stabs, then turns around and PUNCHES that dagger further into Kotomine's chest... That was beyond awesome...
END SPOILER... Pussy.
Okay, it may just be me, but I really don't feel like taking detailed notes and making tape recordings of shows for later study if I simply want to veg out in front of the TV and watch some anime supposedly about fighting spirits or whatever.
This Fated to Stay the Night series was a mess. The Rossman told me it was originally an X-rated video game in Japan and that there was a chance that we'd see some young warriors getting it on... but that was not the case. Nope, not even one quick scene of body bumping the whole damn show. Though I did come away from this show with one thing: a headache the size of my fist behind my eye. We tried to keep track of all the shit that was going on, and all the really stupid laws that the poor fucks in the show had to remember, and I think I had an aneurysm again. I really ought to get that looked at.
This anime series reminded me of that time I hooked up my Uncle's 4D Vortex Capacitor to my GameBoy Holo and accidentally brought the warrior king, King Arthur, to life from my Street Fighter MCV: Time Fighters Championship Edition game. He was an odd duck, that Arthur. I am to mean, I understand that his programming was that of a retarded 3 year-old dementia victim (which is how smart sociologists of my day believe all people from the Middle Ages were... Plus you must understand that mongoloids in my time are about 3Xs as intelligent as those of yours, dear reader), but his take on things such as plastic, automobiles, and hard-light brothels was really annoying.
"Hark!" he'd bellow every ten feet as I walked him down the street to the Video Game Repair Store, "What twisted bit of sorcery conjured THIS madness?! Answer me, knave!" To which I would patiently reply, "That's a robot, your majesty," or, "That is only an interplanetary, faster than light, transport rocket vehicle," or "That's a simple Instantaneous Orgasmatron... Though people usually only keep them flesh-toned so as to not make others stare." It was getting to be ridiculous and embarrassing for me. King Arthur even killed a child for making fun of his strange armor (which was pretty homosexual in appearance, it is true), and maimed two bums for not allowing him (apparently the "greatest king of all time, forgotten or not!") to sample their stale whiskey.
Needless to say, I was quite happy when the Repair Store could not only remove the pleading-for-his-electronic-life king from reality, but erase him from my game as well. Honestly, I would have felt a bit guilty had I ever had to fight against him again in SFMCV:TFCE. I never realized that average royalty were such big dicks. I'm just glad that we eventually abolished even "display monarchies" hundreds of years ago. I'm sure that they were all assholes. Our new Galactic Uber-Emperor, however, is so much more beyond the average unenlightened prigs from Earth's past. All heil the Galactic Uber-Emperor! All heil Lord Hy-Minbrakor!