VN or anime first?

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What should I go for first?

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#1 by janpri
2019-07-11 at 17:15
Hi there!

I've postponed playing the VN and avoided any Fate/ related franchise for around 5 years now. The reason for that would be extensiveness and amount of all installments intimidated me and I didn't know where to begin (anime, spin-off anime, movies, manga, light novels, drama CDs, various games, visual novel,...)
I feel that now is a time to take the first step and to start somehow.


My question is fairly simple:
Should I play the Visual Novel first or watch the anime?

My main point of concern would be fighting scenes. I've heard they are pretty common and there's a lot of them. From my experience descriptions of battle scenes in VNs are incomparably inferior to seeing them in animated format (I don't know if it's truth in this case though) and just reading about how someone managed to do unbelievable stunt can't get me really pumped up.

Anyway, If it would be feasible, I would like to experience the best version possible for my first time. What do you think?Last modified on 2019-07-11 at 18:24
#2 by fuukanou
2019-07-11 at 17:23
Read the VN for Fate [route] and Heaven's Feel
Watched the anime for UBW, then started reading the VN for it, tbh the anime is better, especially because the H in UBW is (one scene) and bad.

Maybe the movie will be good for HF but it's not out in full yet.

EDIT: Fate/Zero anime is also a good call, but because it's a prequel, watching it makes a lot of tense things in Fate/Stay Night forgone conclusions. If you know NOTHING about FSN's story then don't watch it before playing FSN, if you know the common spoilers then probably it'll be more fun to watch Fate/Zero before playing FSN.Last modified on 2019-07-11 at 17:35
#3 by surferdude
2019-07-11 at 17:31
Watch the Fate/Zero anime first, then read the VN.
#4 by janpri
2019-07-11 at 18:10
@fuukanou All I know is
- There was (or will be) some war (World war perhaps?) because of some spear thing
- People can summon familiars (something as pokemons or personas probably) that fight in their stead (I think so, at least)
- In the universe there's cute loli lesbian Iria (or how is she called) that is a magical girl
That's all.
#5 by maggierobot
2019-07-11 at 18:26
I recommend reading the VN before watching F/Zero. Even if it's a prequel, it was written after the novel, so it does have in mind that you already know some common spoilers (That you don't know from what you described). Most of the first route twists would be ruined going at Zero first imho.
#6 by pabloc
2019-07-11 at 18:28
Just tackle it in the order it was being released. Read the VN first, then watching Fate/Zero anime.

Watching/reading Fate/Zero first is a VERY bad idea, because it contains massive spoilers that completely fuck up major plot twists in the VN, mainly in Heaven's Feel route. Also, it's better to be familiar with the lore beforehand, since F/Z anime doesn't have a whole lot of time for explaining everything in detail, so it might be confusing.

First F/SN TV series and UBW movie aren't worth watching. UBW series on the other hand is pretty good. I wouldn't recommend watching it instead of reading the corresponding route in the VN (I prefer VNs as a medium in general though, so it might be just my personal bias), but it's worth watching afterwards to see well animated fight scenes.

As for other stuff, Fate/Kaleid Liner series is also great. It seems like a silly, ecchi comedy on the surface (and it certainly delivers plenty of that), but it gets serious at times and has very solid fight scenes that remind you that you are indeed watching a Fate-related anime.
Fate/Apocrypha is kinda meh, at least in comparison with other stuff I mentioned. It's worth watching only for Jack the Ripper. :P
#7 by fuukanou
2019-07-12 at 01:55
#4, ok it seems like you don't know anything important and so watch Fate/Zero after FSN.
#8 by botzy
2019-07-12 at 03:30
F/SN is a VN that heavily relies on two factors to draw in the reader, chuuni lore and emotional impact. If you go for an anime adaption first you will lose most of that second factor since no matter how well it's done, you cannot replicate 50+ hours of build up for the climax of some characters arcs in a 2 cour series, or a movie trilogy. I would absolutely recommend reading the VN first, and on top of that having as little exposure to other Fate works as possible before doing so. You can always just watch the anime adaptions afterwards and still get the full impact of them since they were made with people who have read the VN as the audience in mind.

The only problem there is that the F/SN VN is still the best Fate work so it's all downhill afterwords...
#9 by janpri
2019-07-12 at 21:10
F/SN is a VN that heavily relies on two factors to draw in the reader, chuuni lore and emotional impact. If you go for an anime adaption first you will lose most of that second factor since no matter how well it's done, you cannot replicate 50+ hours of build up for the climax of some characters arcs in a 2 cour series, or a movie trilogy.
What about battle scenes? Isn't there lot of fighting; since there is some war and all? As I have written, from my experience descriptions of battle scenes in VNs are incomparably inferior to seeing them in animated format, so wouldn't it be better to watch the anime just for that factor?
#10 by pabloc
2019-07-12 at 23:21
^ It doesn't actually have any "battle" scenes per se. F/SN only features fights with very limited numbers of participants (mostly duels really). Just saying.
And yeah, it certainly has plenty of fight scenes, and they do look great in the animated format. However, it still spends the majority of time on other things - story, complex lore, character development, etc. (oh, and food discussions of course :P). And the VN does these things better than the anime.

In the end, it's lore and characters that make the fight scenes in F/SN epic, and you'll be sacrificing some of those if you only watch the anime. Also, only the 2nd arc of F/SN has a decent adaptation right now (in the form of UBW series). First anime wasn't all that good, and it kinda mixes up bits and pieces from all routes. And Heaven's Feel movie trilogy probably won't have enough time to do the final arc well either. So yeah, 1st and 3rd arc are pretty much VN-exclusive at this point (if you want a good experience), so you might as well read UBW along the way.
You can always watch UBW anime afterwards - then you'll have full lore and context from the VN combined with awesome, animated fight scenes. As it was already mentioned, anime was made with VN-readers in mind, you certainly won't lose anything by watching it later.Last modified on 2019-07-12 at 23:25
#11 by eacil
2019-07-12 at 23:56
Didn't read the VN but there was nothing good in the 2006 Deen anime, and certainly not the fighting scenes. It flabbergasted me to see so much hype for an anime so crappy (I didn't know back then that it was because of the VN).
It's only thanks to Ufotable that Nasustuff became watchable.Last modified on 2019-07-12 at 23:59
#12 by kei-tr
2019-07-13 at 01:23
In the end, it's lore and characters that make the fight scenes in F/SN epic, and you'll be sacrificing some of those if you only watch the anime.

That reminded me Shirou's thought process before his projections (especially at his first proper projections), his thoughts of just milliseconds before he or Saber or Rin about to die if he don't do something. That 8 (or it was 9?) steps of projection, what he experiences while trying to project something much beyond his level but he has to do or someone will die. After projection completed how he borrows wielders skill for few seconds, his pain and state of his magic circuits after projection.

These things happens in fighting scenes and they don't take more than few seconds, because of that they are mostly lost in anime.

P.S. for op: They are very mild spoilers (even more milder since you don't know anything about lore), but I put them in spoilers nevertheless.Last modified on 2019-07-13 at 02:53
#13 by botzy
2019-07-13 at 04:08
#9, as others have said it isn't so much the action that makes the fights in F/SN good, it's the context. The majority of fights are quite short, and in the long climactic fights it is what is being fought for that is the engaging part, not the description of the fight itself. One of the most exciting fights in the VN doesn't involve any of the superhumans, it's just two men with their lives on the line.

That's not to say the fights are boring without that, or that they don't look cool when animated, but IMO it would be better to read the fight then watch it rather than watch it and then go back later to read and understand the context around what's happening. As chuunige, much of the fight description in F/SN is dedicated to explaining mechanics and concepts and internal monologues, and thats difficult to get across in an animation.

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