Fate/stay night

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I ask of you: Are you my master?

There exists a plane outside of human concepts, and within there is the Throne of Heroes. Here, the records of the brave men and women whose lives have become legends are kept, to be used as eternal guardians of mankind. The definition of "hero" is broad -- even the ruthless and heartless are the heroes of their own tales.

In Fate/stay night, when a legend is venerated enough by humanity, they can become a Heroic Spirit that surpasses time itself. There is a ritual where seven Spirits can ally with a Sorcerer Master via contract and become Servants. This ritual culminates in a seven-way war to acquire the ultimate prize, the Holy Grail, which can grant the wishes of the Servant and Master who are victorious. As enemies knowing their true name would give opponents an advantage over them, it is hidden. Instead, each heroic Servant Spirit is given a Class by which they are addressed: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Berserker, and Assassin. In addition, each Servant is armed with the mysteries that symbolize their legend -- Noble Phantasms, legendary armaments and abilities.

As each Servant falls, the Holy Grail receives their power, until only one remains, and the Grail is ready to grant the winners' wishes. The Holy Grail War that results in this has happened before, with a great cost of human lives, all for that one wish granted by the Grail.

Fate/stay night opens with Shirou, the near-Ordinary High School Student who happens to know a little bit of magic from his late father, a retired mage. Shirou is the sole survivor of a terrible fire that destroyed his hometown -- the site of the last Holy Grail War. He desperately wants to be a hero to overcome his Survivor Guilt, but as the events unfold and he gets sucked into the current Holy Grail War, he learns that Heroes are only heroes when people die. Can he be a hero and still maintain his gentle nature? How holy can this Holy Grail be, if so many die over it?

Then there is Saber, the Servant Spirit who gets bonded to him. Her true name is unknown, but she has the mannerisms of a knight and the appearance of a young woman. Add to this an aloof girl named Tohsaka Rin, a rival Master and schoolmate who finds him too pathetic to kill off immediately. Rin is a professional mage who knows the Grail War rules, but her conscience results in her helping out, despite her protests to the contrary. There is also her mysterious Servant, Archer, who claims to suffer amnesia in the beginning due to his botched summoning. In addition, Shirou has to protect his "family" -- his self-appointed "older sister" teacher Taiga Fujimura, and his kohai Matou Sakura, who has an obvious (to everyone else) crush on him.

Fate/stay night is a PC Eroge Visual Novel created by the company Type-Moon, and is set in the Nasuverse, an overarching Multiverse franchise which includes Tsukihime and Kara no Kyoukai. The game has three different storylines: "Fate", which focuses on Saber, "Unlimited Blade Works", which focuses on Rin and Archer, and "Heaven's Feel", which focuses on Sakura.

Although never released in English, the game has a Fan Translation patch made for it by the good folks at Mirror Moon. The Visual Novel has been adapted for PlayStation 2 and, while replacing the H-scenes that were in the original game with alternate, non-erotic versions, add some content like new CGs and new musiques. The PlayStation 2 version is subtitled Realta Nua and you can implement the extra content from this version on your PC version with this patch.


Adaptations

  • A first Anime adaptation has been created by Studio DEEN, a different company than the Anime of Shingetsutan Tsukihime. It's the Fate route with some extra material added in to make the series fill out 24 episodes. This is used to give more attention to characters who are pushed to the background in the Fate route. Some of these are semi-original, like Archer's fight with Berserker, which wasn't seen in the Visual Novel, and some are directly lifted from other routes. For example, an arc loosely based on ending of the Heaven's Feel scenario was added in order to give Caster, her associates and Sakura more attention. Overall, it basically takes an approach similar to Shingetsutan Tsukihime but with far less mangling of the story.
  • The Manga adaptation, serialized between 2006 and 2012, is also based on the Fate scenario -- although, again, material from other routes and original material are both used. The artist, Datto Nishiwaki, is a big Type-Moon fan, and makes references to other Nasuverse works in his end-of-volume rants.
  • A second manga adaptation illustrated by Task Ohna, this one adapting Heaven's Feel, has begun in June 2015.
  • A second anime adaptation was created by Ufotable, the same people behind Fate/Zero and the movies of Kara no Kyoukai, on two seasons emitted on Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 respectively. This adaptation covers the Unlimited Blade Works route with remarkable loyalty. An 10-minutes OVA for this series was released on October 2015
  • Ufotable has also announced they are making a film for Heaven's Feel. The date of release hasn't been announced yet.



Related works

  • Fate/Apocrypha, a light novel by Yuichiro Higashide (details are still scarce, so its place in canon is as-of-yet unknown) centering around a 14-Servant Grail War. This project was originally pitched as an MMORPG, but never took off.
  • A twelve-minute OVA, included in the final volume of Carnival Phantasm, called Fate/Prototype, showcasing the ideas and designs that Nasu planned to utilizing for his original incarnation of Fate/stay night as a paper-and-ink novel rather than a Visual Novel. As of now, there appears to be no interest in developing it any further.


Derived works

  • There is also a canceled project with a good deal of material published: Fate Strange Fake, a novella by Ryohgo Narita meant to introduce the setting of a potential role-playing game and deals with a badly-copied version of the Holy Grail War set in California, ten years after hollow ataraxia. The fact that it was originally published on April Fools' Day 2008 calls in to question whether this project was ever serious, however.

Tropes associated with the above-listed works should go on their own pages.


Fate/stay night and associated works include:


A-D[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Adaptation Expansion
  • All Myths Are True
    • The wide variety of legendary heroes who can be summoned as Servants. Partly explained by Assassin, who is by his own admission a fictional character, as a reverse of the hero making the legend (see Clap Your Hands If You Believe). This still doesn't explain how a mage is able to acquire the legendary artifact needed to summon the specific hero, such as Gilgamesh's: the fossilized remains of the first snake to shed its skin (tied to a legend about his quest for immortality). A direct corollary of Assassin admitting to being fictional is that all the other heroes were definitely real, since being fictional was a sign of the fact that he was summoned by another Servant, and became downgraded.
    • It's from a cancelled project, so its status as canon is debatable, but Fate/Apocrypha would've featured David (Archer) and Joan of Arc (Ruler/Saber), who are stated to draw some power from the Judeo-Christian God. At the same time, said game would've also featured Warrior Monk Benkei (Lancer), whose Noble Phantasm channels the power of some other higher power...and no, not believing in it won't save you from its effects, which would presumably imply that this second divine force is indeed real.
  • All There in the Manual
    • The Anime touches on elements from the Visual Novel, such as Archer's identity, Ilya's parentage, and Sakura's relationship with Rin, without actually providing its own explanations. In order to understand certain elements from the Visual Novel, in turn, you may have to reference a published extra called Fate/side material.
    • This is doubly true for the Unlimited Blade Works movie, which will make about no sense as a narrative unless you have already played the Unlimited Blade Works route. But hey, explosions.
  • Almost-Dead Guy - Loads. [context?]
    • Arturia, who returns to the point of her death whether or not she obtains the Holy Grail, since King Arthurs story states he did obtain the Holy Grail and this is treated as Arturias requirement to become a heroic spirit in the first place. She has a line like "This form is me, just before dying." in the game (Fate route).
  • Alternate Continuity - Possibly with itself. Archer's Mysterious Past is known to at least resemble the Fate scenario also followed by the anime, but how much is unclear. Actually, essentially all routes and endings are alternate continuities, with Fate/hollow ataraxia taking place in yet another continuity. Also, Zelretch appears from an alternate continuity in one route, just to say hi.
  • Always Save the Girl - Practically defines the Heaven's Feel route of the game.
  • Ancient Conspiracy - The Mage Association and The Church are big in the Nasuverse. Also, the true purpose of the Grail Wars, and to a lesser extent, the true nature of the Fuyuki Grail.
  • And I Must Scream
    • Refuse to participate in the Grail War when you're taken to the church for the first time, and see what Ilyasviel does to you.
    • Shirou is not the only Fourth Grail War orphan. The other children were taken in by the church and used by Kotohime for powering his associate Gilgamesh in Mana. Not for making him stay in this world, he has already a body, just in Mana. They are stuck in a grave, their bodies and souls being slowly dissolved. And yes, they are fully aware. Just listen to their whimperings.
  • Animation Bump - Considering Studio DEEN has a rather...spotty reputation, the sheer quality and fluidity of the animation in the Unlimited Blade Works movie is astounding, especially compared to the anime series. Well, except for one scene, anyway.
  • Anime Catholicism - The Church is an Egregious example. Other examples of this organisation can be seen in Tsukihime.
  • Artifact of Doom - The Holy Grail.
  • Artistic License - King Arthur is a girl (Word of God indicates the sexes of the two main characters -- Saber and Emiya -- were swapped during the development). Cú Chulainn has blue hair and red eyes. Medusa is a purple-haired mythological hero, and uses Bellerophon, the name of the greek mythological hero who rode the Pegasus, as reins for controlling magical beasts. Herakles is a nine-foot-tall monster, Medea has elf ears and a Noble Phantasm with a tenuous mythological foundation at best, and Hassan-i Sabbah looks like a black-skinned freakish cripple without a face. Gilgamesh suffers from Phenotype Stereotype and wears a full plate, a form of armour that post-dates his existence by almost four thousand years. Word of God establishes that not everything about the Heroic Spirits' backgrounds is true, and some parts may have even been lost to time.
  • Attempted Rape - Shinji to both Rin and Sakura in their respective routes. He gets his comeuppance almost immediately in both cases.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack! - Used by Shirou on Gilgamesh and it worked quite well. Since both are owners of virtually unlimited weapons but neither are masters of any of those weapons, it becomes a battle of Attack! Attack! Attack!. Even though Gilgamesh's weapons are stronger than Shirou's, within the boundaries of "Unlimited Blade Works" Shirou can pull out weapons faster than Gilgamesh, allowing him the decisive blow when a frustrated Gilgamesh decides to take the extra time to try to pull out Ea. It really helps that Gil is extremely arrogant and refuse to fight "mere trash" seriously until it was too late.
  • Badass - Nearly everyone, in one route or another. Archer warrants special mention for bringing the world the memetic acronym GAR to indicate badassness.
  • Battle Harem - Not so much in the original Visual Novel, where the route's romance is only with one girl, but Fate/stay night continuity might transform all of Shirou's possible Love Interests into one. After Fate Stay Night and in Fate Hollow Ataraxia proper, Shirou has definitively a Battle Harem, including a gender-flipped King Arthur, a magus who can use all five elements, a girl whose body possesses a piece of the Holy Grail, Medusa, and a homunculus who is the Holy Grail, and possibly several others.
  • Bait and Switch Credits - Second Anime opening, depicting Shirou and Archer facing off a la the Unlimited Blade Works scenario from the game.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For - Discussed in Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, but Averted since the Grail gets destroyed in every route. In Unlimited Blade Works, there are a few more versions when you discover what Archer wished to do and what Archer currently wishes to do.
  • Being Watched - Rin in the prologue, twice.
    • Mirrored later in Heaven's Feel by Shirou, who's equally uneasy.
  • Between My Legs - At least one shot in every scene involving Rin in the movie is from this angle.
  • Big Damn Heroes
    • In Fate and the Anime, it's Subverted by Gilgamesh who, after saving our heroes from their last opponent, becomes their new one.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works:
      • Lancer, when he saved Rin from Shinji.
      • Archer does this once when he saves Shirou from Caster and two more times near the end.
    • In Heaven's Feel, Rider saves Shirou twice in this fashion (first against True Assassin, next against Dark Sakura).
  • Big Damn Villains - In Fate, Ilya and Berserker conveniently kill Shinji after his Servant is defeated by Saber, saving Shirou from the moral quandary presented by having to deal with a totally defenseless person who crossed the Moral Event Horizon right in front of him previously.
  • Big Fancy House: A lot of them.
    • The Emiya household is very big, having a main building, external building, a storehouse and a lot of free terrain (In fact, Saber even wonders about using the free terrain for growing vegetables and raising animals like chicken and pigs to always have fresh food in Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shirou of course refuses).
    • The Tohsaka mansion is very big and Rin reveals in Fate/hollow ataraxia that she is already used to people thinking her house is a haunted mansion.
    • And then there's the Matou mansion, even bigger than the Tohsaka mansion.
  • Bittersweet Ending
    • Fate and Anime: Shirou Did Not Get the Girl but decides that life goes on. Ilyasviel survives, but probably won't live more than a few years (at best) due to her being a homunculus.
    • Unlimited Blade Works:
      • True End: Shirou cannot absolve Archer's fate, but the Counter Guardian comes to find peace with it.
      • Good End: Same as above, except that Saber is willing to stay in that time before going back and dying.
    • Heaven's Feel True End: Shirou gets the girl, but hundreds of people have died as a result of him saving her.
  • Blatant Lies - "All characters appearing in this game are over 18 years of age." Double Subverted -- the fact that a certain character is actually over 18 is a plot point, but this also means that the other main characters are underage, considering the character in question.
  • Bleached Underpants - The Anime, film and the PlayStation 2 version of the game (Realta Nua) replace the H-scenes that were in the original game with alternate, non-erotic versions.
    • It's even kind of jarring in the UBW movie -- they preserve the emotional context surrounding the Rin/Shirou scene while replacing the Deus Sex Machina with a comparatively tame 'transfer ritual', making Rin's reactions (entirely in-character with respect to the original scene) seem bizarre and pointlessly angry.
  • Blood From the Mouth - Shirou averts this trope after flushing out Ilya's binding spell, noting as he does that such an injury is light.
    • Fake Assassin also averts this trope as well, due to his code of honour not allowing him to taint the victor with his blood.
  • Blood Magic - The runes in the ritual used to summon servants are normally drawn in blood. Rider also possesses Blood Magic abilities related to her myth, as Pegasus was born of the blood from Medusa's neck.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal - Servants are supposed to protect their Master in order to maintain their mana link and survive. However...
  • Body Horror:
    • Shinji, an imperfect magus becoming the Holy Grail, causes him to become more of a mass of screaming flesh than anything resembling human, for example.
    • Whilst Mana Transfer can be ... pleasant if you're the hero, Gilgamesh is powered by forsaken children undergoing Body Horror over about 10 years.
    • The after-effects of Blood Fort Andromeda on its victims' bodies aren't exactly pleasant. Some of them are disfigured because their skin melted.
    • As Shirou progresses through the Heaven's Feel route, Archer's arm protects his body by creating blades in the place of bones and muscles. Shiro's body is slowly invaded by Archer's Reality Marble until the blades start bursting out of his skin and cutting him to pieces. This is foreshadowed with a bad end in Fate route, and referenced directly in Unlimited Blade Works ("My body is made out of swords!")
  • Book Ends - When you first start the game, the prologue is told from Rin's Point of View. In Heaven's Feel's True End, the final epilogue is from her as well.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy - Saber as of manga Volume 8.
  • Break the Cutie
    • Sakura's Backstory is a Up to Eleven breakage, Nasuverse speaking -- it seems to border on Author Appeal for Nasu, as there's usually a heroine in each his stories with a horrific back-story, but Sakura makes even Kohaku look like she had a normal childhood by comparison. This Backstory counts because the reader can see Sakura when she is a child and then all the horrors that she went through. She is still a sweet person, so she averts Used to Be a Sweet Kid, but then we have a second example...
    • Heaven's Feel is the Break the Cutie route for Sakura, who is manipulated by Zouken into losing all hope and sanity. She is at the contact of the Evil contained in the Holy Grail, and is so broken that she becomes Dark Sakura.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Subverted Trope. Shinji raped Sakura repeatedly, but they are Not Blood Siblings.
  • But Thou Must! - Or often suffer horrific, pointless death. Fate/stay night punishes the player who choose to play a Out of Character Shirou.
    • A more literal example near the end of the Heavens Feel route when Shirou goes to rescue Ilya. When he gets there, she refuses him and tries to make him go back. You are given three options on how to proceed. They are all the same.

1. Bring Ilya Back
2. Bring Ilya Back
3. Bring Ilya Back

Shirou: I don't even need to think about it. There's no alternative in my mind.

Saber Alter: [Shirou], Lunch. NOW! <munch> Like always, your food is terrible.

  • Character Filibuster - Kirei Kotomine is physically incapable of entering and exiting a scene without at least a few dozen pages' worth of exposition, philosophical contemplation or cruel mind games in between. Usually, all three at the same time, or at least two out of them at the same time, depending on the length of the scene. He gets called on it after a while. This is justified in the eyes of many by Kotomine's voice actor, whose voice can be listened to for hours.
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • In Fate, the sword Caliburn that keeps appearing in Shirou's dreams.
    • In the final fight with Berserker, the Anime and the Fate Route, Shirou is able to defeat him because he remembers Archer's advice that if he found an enemy he cannot defeat alone that he should visualize something that can.
    • In Heaven's Feel, Ilya's explanation to Shirou of how transferring a person's consciousness works. Guess how she saves his soul in the True End.
  • Chekhov's Gunman - Gilgamesh shows up in the prologue as Rin and Archer are scouting around the city.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang - Done across routes
    • Rule Breaker: In Heaven's Feel, Caster is taken out of the game early on. Since she and her Rule Breaker have played a major role in the previous route, most people put her out of their minds. But then, literally at the last day of the route... her Noble Phantasm, Rule Breaker, is what saves Sakura.
    • The Azoth dagger: A near last-minute addition in Fate that Shirou uses to kill Kotomine, shows up again in Heaven's Feel, supposedly as a tool for Shirou to project Zelretch's Gem Sword. However, its real importance was Shirou using it to kill Saber Alter.
    • Rin's pendant: She used it to heal Shirou in the prologue. Archer's version of it, which he carried all his life and after (and returned to Rin in the prologue), turned out to be the catalyst for his summoning. In Unlimited Blade Works, Shirou returns his version of the pendant to Rin, giving the latter the final proof that Archer is Shirou's future self. However, in Heaven's Feel, Shirou's version of the pendant turned out to have the tiniest bit of magical energy left in it, which in the True End allowed his soul, newly-revived by Ilya's sacrifice and the Third Sorcery, to hold on until Rider could rescue him. The pendant also probably anchored Shirou's soul to the material world; Rin commented that Rider "plucked Shirou out" of the rubble of the cavern two weeks after it had collapsed.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe
    • All Mythological Heroes Are Real... if their legend is popular enough. The more well-known heroes are in the time they are summoned, the more powerful they are. Archer is an exception, being a Counter Gardian.
      • However, Rin does admit that the power up caused by being famous isn't that much.
    • Shirou's[2]Projection magecraft works with this; his tracings break down and vanish if he acknowledges even for an instant that they are but illusions.
  • Compressed Adaptation - The Unlimited Blade Works movie skims over days of story at a time and completely excises most of the exposition, which is somewhat inevitable when adapting what's essentially a long Choose Your Own Adventure book exploding with exposition into a slightly less than two hour movie. The end result is a film with somewhat choppy pacing that's completely incomprehensible to newcomers, but has time to adequately show how epic the fights are.
  • City of Adventure - Fuyuki City, which is based on Kobe. However, there isn't a single character with the Kansai Regional Accent one would expect almost everyone to have in the heart of that region.
  • Conspicuous CG - What Bleached Underpants did to the sex scenes in the Anime. To elaborate, Saber has to have Deus Sex Machina with Shirou to restore her power. In the Anime instead, there's a sudden flash to a CG dragon that bites Shirou's arm off. "Mana Transfer Dragon" has become a minor meme as a result. There's a similar scene in Unlimited Blade Works with a dolphin to replace the scene with Shirou and Rin that was there before.
  • Contractual Immortality - Shirou, but it's Averted in Heaven's Feel.
  • Conveniently Orphaned - Not a single remotely major character has living parents, and several (including the main character) are orphaned twice over. Not only that, but those who actually have something passing for surrogate parents would much rather that they didn't.
  • Cooldown Hug - As she can't quite bring herself to deliver the fatal strike, Rin gives one of these to Sakura at the end of their battle in Heaven's Feel instead.
  • The Corruption - The contents of the current Grail, since the Third Grail War.
  • Crossover - Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya features a crossover between Fate and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha where Rin summons Nanoha and Fate as her Archers (and Archer is summoned by Yuuno).
  • Cryptic Background Reference - The events of the Third Grail War are pretty vague; pretty much all that is known is that the Edelfelts summoned good and evil versions of the same Saber and that the Einzberns summoned Avenger.
  • Cue the Sun - Fate and Unlimited Blade Works route endings both use this.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique
    • Any Noble Phantasm that must be called out to be used, because calling out the Noble Phantasm's name reveals its identity, therefore its wielder's identity, and therefore all the wielder's abilities and weaknesses.
    • Saber's Noble Phantasm (thanks to her dwindling supply of mana).
    • Shirou's main ability, which eats away at his body.
      • It gets worse for Shirou in the Heaven's Feel scenario, where he loses an arm and gets Archer's arm grafted on as a replacement. The magic circuits within the arm greatly boost Shirou's Projection abilities, but bombards Shirou's mind with a lifetime of Archer's memories and experiences, eroding the former's mind at an incredible rate. For this reason, the arm spends most of its time under a Power Limiter.
  • Dark Reprise - All the Evils of the World is one for Church on the Hilltop, which was ominous enough to begin with.
  • The Dark Side - Heaven's Feel route goes over this.
  • Deadly Upgrade - Archer's arm in Heaven's Feel.
  • Deal with the Devil
    • Rather involuntarily, Sakura becomes outrageously powerful by virtue of drawing on the power of Angra Mainyu.
    • One of the ways one becomes a Counter Guardian is to make a deal with The World. In exchange for a Miracle, one is taken out of the cycle of Reincarnation and thus serves the World forever after death. Simply put, Counter Guardians are those who gave up their afterlife for service to The World in exchange for their miracle. Normal Heroic Spirits are folks whose names are remembered throughout time. Both are outside the cycle of Reincarnation and can get reincarnated as Servants, but the classes are distinctly different.
  • Death By Pragmatism - A rare video game example.
  • Death Is Cheap
  • Defusing the Tykebomb - Pretty much the entire point of the Heaven's Feel route (although Sakura isn't really a child any more).
  • Demoted to Extra - Rider? Berserker? Assassin? Illya's explicitly mentioned to have been demoted during development, as she was originally going to have her own route as an offshoot of Sakura's. She still plays a prominent role and got a her own spinoff manga though.
  • Deus Sex Machina - Mana Transfer Ritual.
  • The Devil - In Unlimited Blade Works, we learn that Angra Mainyu, the devil in Zoroastrianism, lives inside the Holy Grail and has corrupted it. As is explained in Heaven's Feel and further elaborated upon in hollow ataraxia, it turns out that Angra Mainyu isn't the Devil -- he's a Servant whose legend was born of a ritual where a single man was ritually sacrificed to personify all the the sins of his fellow humans so he'd absolve them by being killed. In the Third Holy Grail war, when Angra Mainyu, summoned as Avenger, got killed because he was a horribly weak Servant, the Grail identified him as a human rather than a servant and tried to fulfill his wish. Considering that the Holy Grail is an omnipotent device whose entire purpose is to seek and grant wishes and that Angra Mainyu is the personification of the world's wish for a concrete form of all evil... Let's just say it doesn't turn out well.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?

Shirou (thinking): I didn't notice before, but her black hair looks really pretty and causes my heart to beat faster.
Tohsaka: "...Huh? That's weird. the wound is smaller than before. Do you have a healing charm on you?"
Shirou: "Huh? No, t-that's not true!"
Tohsaka: "Really? But your wound's almost healed."
Shirou: "I didn't say anything about it being pretty -- huh? What did you say, Tohsaka?"

  • Did Not Get the Girl - In the Fate route. The only ending in which Saber stays is the Unlimited Blade Works "good" ending. That would be Rin's harem, by the way, as she likes to make perfectly clear.
  • Dude in Distress - In Fate and the Anime, Shirou is kidnapped by Ilyasviel and tied to a chair. He is then rescued by Saber, Rin and Archer.
  • Doorstopper - The Visual Novel is about a million words long in English.
  • Downer Ending
    • Bad ends excepted, Heaven's Feel Normal Ending where Shirou is dead and Sakura ages alone, still waiting for him.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him - Given how many characters there are, this was always inevitable.
    • Unlimited Blade Works: Rider dies anticlimactically, off-screen, to Kuzuki and Caster.
    • Heaven's Feel: Assassin dies almost instantly as True Assassin is summoned. Lancer and Caster may also count, although Caster's Rule Breaker is still an important element, and Gilgamesh succumbs quickly from The Worf Effect against Dark Sakura.
  • Dying as Yourself - Played straight with Berserker.
    • Apparently Averted with Saber Alter, who dies wordlessly in the main story. Depending on how you interpret the Bad End choice with her: if you choose to not kill Saber Alter, she expresses profound disappointment in Shirou, saying, "I have cursed you for the first time." It could be interpreted that somewhere deep down she really, really wanted him to end it all for her. See also The infamous Sparks Liner High Bad Ending, where Shirou goes to the Grail cave without reinforcement from Rider; Saber Alter gives advice on how to beat her and save Sakura!
  • Dysfunction Junction - Well, it IS the Nasuverse...


E-L[edit | hide]

  • Earn Your Happy Ending - In the ending of the Fate scenario of Realta Nua, as Saber lies dying, lamenting on losing Shiro, she is visited by Merlin, who feeling that she is owed something for all her hardships claims that there is a way for her to be reunited with the one she loves. However, it would require two impossible feats: she must wait for him continuously and Shirou must pursue her endlessly. They do. And are reunited in what appears to be Avalon.
    • Really, pretty much every ending that could remotely be called "happy" counts as this. Ilya mentions in the final Tiger Dojo that there's no such thing as a real happy ending and it's only natural that some people are missing.
  • Editing Works/The Abridged Series - Character Development, Cliff Notes style:
    • Fate
Shirou: I want to save everybody!
END.
    • Unlimited Blade Works

Shirou: I want to save everybody!
Archer: That is both a logical contradiction and a denial of the self.
Shirou: But the ideal encompasses an aesthetic that makes the endless journey worth it. Why can't I selfishly pursue selflessness?
Archer: FUCK.

Gilgamesh: MONGRELS! THOSE SWORDS ARE FUCKING PATENTED!
END.
    • Heaven's Feel

Shirou: I want to save everybody!
Archer: That is both a logical contradiction and a denial of the self. If you do not realize this, you get no Sakura sex.
Shirou: You're right. I'm a moral relativist. God is dead.
Archer: That's the spirit. Here's a present before I go away. Don't mind it if it starts to kill you.

Kotomine: But I'm still evil somehow, right?
END.
  • The Electric Slide - Saber does this one during her first fight with Berserker.
  • Elemental Powers - Very exceptional ones, they are attributes linked to the "Origin", explained in Kara no Kyoukai; Shirou has "Sword", Rin has all the basic five ("Average One"), and Sakura has "Imaginary Numbers" and artificially "Binding".
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower
    • Fate and Anime: Caliburn, Avalon
    • Unlimited Blade Works: Rho Aias and Unlimited Blade Works
    • Heaven's Feel: Jewel Sword Zelretch and Excalibur.
  • The End of the World as We Know It - Quite likely the result if the current Big Bad wins in all three routes.
  • Enemy Mine - Halfway through Heaven's Feel, Kotomine and Shirou have both lost their respective servants (Gilgamesh, Lancer and Saber) and must do a Badass Normal team-up to rescue Ilya from Zouken and Dark Sakura. Refusing Kotomine's help will result in Shirou attempting to go it alone and, upon successfully infiltrating the Einzbern's castle, gets swifty dispatched by Master-killer True Assassin in a Bad End.
  • Equivalent Exchange - You pay for your magecraft, no matter what. True Magic, on the other hand...
  • Eroge - Even if the Hentai is hidden amidst hours of non-sexual gameplay, Fate/stay night is an full-fledged Eroge with one to three/four H-scenes for each routes.
  • Erotic Dream - One in the Heaven's Feel route. Thank you Rider.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep" - Justified. The Servants are usually only addressed by their Class. Knowing a Servant's real name may give a clue to their weaknesses, so their names are kept secret where possible. Also, out of formality, most Servants refer to their masters simply as "Master," but Archer and Saber go against common practice and refer to their Masters by first name.
  • Expy - We found some ressemblances between Fate/stay night characters and olders Nasu's works. For more precision, see the Characters Pages.
  • Fan Service - The movie is just less than two hours of pure Fan Service to those already familiar with Unlimited Blade Works. If you haven't played the route, the movie will make absolutely no sense, have flat characters and feel rushed. If you have, you get to see everyone being awesome at the expense of skipping some scenes used to build the route's actual conflict. There's very little in the way of the other kind of service in any medium despite Fate/stay night starting its life as an Eroge, except for the occasional Male Gaze.
  • Fan Translation - Mirror Moon provides a patch to the original game (you have to get the actual game yourself) to fully translate it.
  • Field of Blades - Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Field Power Effect
  • Final Boss Preview
  • First-Name Basis - Rin calling Shirou by first name, Saber calling Shirou everyone by first name, and Archer calling Rin by first name (but Archer overdoes this for a moment by saying that Rin's name suits her well - Rin means cold).
  • Fission Mailed
    • In Fate, for an amusing fake Bad End, tell Saber that there will be no food today.
  • Flynning - Noticeable in the Unlimited Blade Work movie, especially since the original is very specific about which vital points particular strikes are aimed at.
  • Food Porn - Ooh yes. If you didn't have an interest in Japanese cooking before, you will after reading the Visual Novel.

Rabbit's corpse. One eye missing. Rotten, soft, and fresh. Forced into my mouth. Rabbit's corpse smears my esophagus. A clear sensation of eating life. Life is life, even if is rotten. Its real. I can't taste this with cooked food. It feels good. There's no taste. But I'm forced to eat it as long as it is in front of me. A popular place. A big line. A place that will eat rabbits. There is only one clerk. The line consists of rabbits. Lines and lines. They rot as soon as they get in the line. Infested with maggots. Which is rotten? Which is infested with maggots? Which is alive? Which is doing the eating-

  • Foreshadowing - Loads of it, and in the most unlikely or innocuous places, too. For example, a major reveal in Heaven's Feel (Sakura's "training" regimen) is foreshadowed in the Mini-Theater you get by completing all Tiger Dojos in Fate'.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble - The leading ladies of the different routes exhibit this: you have Saber as melancholy, Rin as choleric, Sakura as phlegmatic, and Ilya/Taiga (in the Tiger Dojos and, presumably, the cut route) as sanguine.
  • Freudian Excuse
    • Ilyasviel's Freudian Excuse is the reason why she is after Shirou. We have hints and some explanations during the Visual Novel, but supplemental materials and Fate/Zero will help for the comprehension.
    • Sakura's Freudian Excuse is the bread an butter of the Heaven's Feel route.
  • Game Breaker - In-Universe, Saber Class Servants are always one of the finalists in the Holy Grail Wars. In the fifth one, some Servants are designed as such:
    • Saber herself, with her Anti-Magic, Excalibur and Avalon, although having Shirou as her master renders her more balanced.
    • Berserker with his twelve lives and immunity to attacks below B-rank.
    • Gilgamesh, who is canonically about five times as strong as your average Servant.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration - While being pretty low on actual "gameplay", the status menu listing all the attributes and information gathered on Servants thus far is Justified as being an ability granted to all Masters in the Grail War. Every master sees it in whatever way would be most comprehensible to them. Shirou apparently finds RPG-like status screens most familiar despite no indication of being a gamer. Arguably, Shirou might have a completely other image in his mind and -we- see it as an RPG-status screen.
    • This is probably because Shirou is a very pragmatic person. To him, status-like numbers would be really comprehensible and easy to evaluate.
  • Gas Leak Coverup - A number of non-fatal incidents around the town (caused by Caster's efforts gathering mana) are attributed to gas leaks.
  • Gender Bender - In the prototype storyline that Nasu apparently wrote in his college days, Saber was male and Saber's master was a female named Sajyou Ayaka. All changes in female Saber's background were likely due to the fact she is now the main heroine of an Eroge game.
  • Good Bad Translation - One overly-literal fansub had Shirou saying "People die if they are killed" with an ultra-serious look on his face[3] A screenshot of this sub is now a Me Me when talking about bad translations and/or Engrish.
    • A lesser-known fansub had the same line, though followed up with "plain and simple", instead of "...that's the way it should be" in the commonly screencapped version. The official subtitles and English dub have the more-logical but less-memorable line, "If people are injured badly enough, they die. That's the way it should be.".
  • Good People Have Good Sex
    • Played straight with the second Shirou/Saber sex scene and with Shirou/Sakura, not to mention the "Cat-Pajamas" Shirou/Rin love-scene in "Fate Hollow Ataraxia" wherein Rin had a positively-ADORABLE smile all the way through it, (in the original games only, of course)
    • Averted by Caster and her Master, who aren't good people, and yet apparently have an extremely good sex life.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal
    • Not counting the bad ends, Shirou has his guts torn open, arms broken, heart impaled and nerve system burned too often to be healthy. Every time, by next day he's dizzy and nauseated but otherwise fine. The trope is Justified by his Chronic Hero Syndrome, who leads him into bad situations. Thankfully, he has a mysterious Justified in-story Healing Factor.
    • The servants tend to get rather bad injuries (Archer almost has his head cut off by Saber near the beginning of Fate, for instance, and Saber gets roughed up quite a bit herself) but because of their supernatural healing powers granted by the Holy Grail System, they usually turn out ok fairly soon afterwards.
  • Gorn - The game borders on it at times... and then the Unlimited Blade Works movie takes a flying leap into it and keeps going.
  • Gotterdammerung - Modern Magecraft vs. the Age of Gods.
  • Gratuitous English - Unlimited Blade Works and the Title Drop Noble Phantasm are examples of Gratuitous English. Archer's Noble Phantasm Invocation makes great deviations between the accurate translation from the Japanese text and the Japanese "translation" that accompanies it in the game.
  • Gratuitous German - A lot of Rin's spells are in really strange German, for example "Neun, Acht, Sieben, Stil Schießen, Beschießen, Erschießen!"[4]
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Fate/stay night genuinely rewards you for seeing the BadEnds. Though most of them are fairly easy to figure out, one of them requires some hoop jumping to get Saber's Relationship Points low enough.
    • Getting the good ending in Unlimited Blade Works requires Saber to have 4 or more relationship points and Rin to have less than 8, making it the only Type-Moon ending that needs more than "reload and change the last choice" for the alternate ending.
    • One genuine example of Guide Dang It is in Heaven's Feel: at one point the player is asked by Rin whether to remove the Shroud of Martin covering Archer's arm for Shirou to use Projection Magic. Beforehand you are told/shown that removing it would practically cook Shirou's brain. Answering "no" leads to Rin congratulating you on your wise choice to not remove it so easily. Answering "yes" has Rin say that you shouldn't be so keen to sacrifice yourself. They decide not to remove it either way, no matter what you choose. Later in the route the player is given a choice of "Kill Sakura" and "I can't do that", unless you answered "no" to Rin's question. Then the choice point is skipped altogether and Shirou automatically tries to stab Sakura, but is killed by Rider. Hmmm...
  • Gut Feeling - Rin, Saber, and Shirou are all prone to this.
  • Hammerspace - The whole point beyond both Shirou and Archer's Trace Projection magecraft.
  • Hannibal Lecture - In Unlimited Blade Works Archer tried to break Shirou's idealism and turn him into a nihilist like him in their final battle... with the emphasis on "tried."
  • Have a Nice Death - The Tiger Dojo serves this purpose plenty of times. Taiga and Ilyasviel are our hosts and will sometimes mock gently the player or make absolutely no sense. But they will always thow in a hint about why the player reached this Bad End.
  • Hentai - Some people are very surprised when they find out that the original Fate/stay night was an H-game. These people, of course, are completely ignorant about what eroge H-games really are.
  • Hermetic Magic
  • The Hero Dies - Some Bad Ends and the Normal End of Heaven's Feel.
  • High-Pressure Blood - LOADS of it in the Unlimited Blade Works movie. One could even make a case for Overdrawn At the Blood Bank, perhaps.
  • Homoerotic Subtext - Enough to deserve subcategories.

"Hold on, Tohsaka. How's that girl...!?"
"She's doing better. She's sleeping in the nurse's office now, so her life's not in danger."
"??????I see. That's good."
I sigh with relief.
...That means all problems have been resolved.
Then what's left is???
"Huh? W-why are you staring at me? H-hey, I wouldn't do something like that!"
I don't know how she misunderstood.
Tohsaka, um, makes the stupidest misunderstandings sometimes.

      • Shirou is quite blunt in asking his best friend Issei to remove his school uniform. And Issei, for his part, was strangely okay with it. Not to mention Issei's general dislike of women...
    • Heaven's Feel Route
    • Any Master can give any Servant they've got a contract with energy through either magical means or intimate contact. There are routinely more Male Servants and Masters than there are female examples, and even then there are presumably female Master x Servant pairs like Sakura x Rider and Female Protagonist x Saber/Caster. You can probably read the implications from there.
  • Hot Mom - Based on the mythologies: Caster, who is Medea. Technically, Saber counts, despite being a virgin. Also, Sakura may count if you count "Angra Mainyu" as her "child".
  • Human Resources
    • Servants can recover magical energy by draining the prana of humans. Depending on how much they drain, the process is either highly draining or outright fatal to the human in question. Both Rider and Caster, who lack Masters capable of granting them magical energy, do this. Gilgamesh has rank A independent action and a physical body and doesn't need to do it to stay alive, but has spent the last 10 years draining the orphans in Kotomine's basement in order to stockpile magical energy for repeated Gates of Babylon-usage.
    • The Holy Grail's power comes from absorbing the souls of the heroic spirits who died in the war.
  • Humiliation Conga - Happens to Shinji a good few times in various routes.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal - Servants can have their Noble Phantasm coming out of thin air. Justified by the Holy Grail War system. A more litteral example would be Gilgamesh's Gates of Babylon.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed - Thanks to Archer's relatively unknown abilities, many of his fights are won because he is able to pull out another Badass trick that he'd been holding back until just the right moment.
  • Image Song - Released during the run of the Anime adaptation, sung by the voice actors; only some characters (Saber, Rin, Sakura, Ilya, Rider, Caster, Archer, Shirou, and Taiga) got them, though. The original Visual Novel had an album called Wish that had three voiced songs for the heroines and instrumental songs for all the other important female characters.
  • Immortality - Lets list characters and types of immortality they possess.
    • Shirou: Type III (Super regeneration)
    • Zouken: Type IX (Parasitic - Taking over the body of another person to extend lifespan) but also Type VI (Immortality Only): even if protected from a death from old age, he's not protected from old age and eventual decay itself.
    • Dark Sakura: Type III (Super regeneration)
    • All the servants: Type II (Doesn't age) and Type III (Super regeneration) as they're immortal spirits renforced by the Holy Grail War Ritual system -- however, they're not supposed to last past the end of a Grail War. Gilgamesh, who is material, have magic/artifacts that compensate for it.
      • Berserker: Type I (Invulnerability) but with exceptions for the highest grade of attacks, and Type IV (Resurrective - New body on death) on top of regular Servant immortality.
      • Al-Hassan ibn-al-Sabbah: Type VIII (Immortality Through Legacy - All the leaders of the Assassins take on this name and identity, giving the impression of a single, immortal Al-Hassan ibn-al-Sabbah.)
  • Implausible Fencing Powers - In the movie, Shirou gains the ability to deflect many incoming projectiles by Dual-Wielding swords for no apparent reason other than Rule of Cool. It's partly Justified by his newly-gained power: Shirou has siphoned some of Archer's knowledge and skills during their duel. Even if his fencing powers aren't part of what he got, Shirou draws on the skills/knowledge of utilisation of the weapon's users during a Projection. It still doesn't explain how his untrained body and untrained mind allow him to do that.
  • Inconsistent Subs - Mainly because there have been several different sources of translations, either the official Anime translation, the Mirror Moon's Fate/stay night translation, or others. This isn't normally problematic, but the terminology tends to look very different between versions. The latest official translation via Fate/unlimited codes will hopefully standardize things a bit, although it made some strange choices (like referring to what's almost universally called "Projection" as "Gradation Air", for instance.)
  • Instant Runes - Played Straight in the Anime, mostly Averted in the Visual Novel.
  • It Got Worse
    • Heaven's Feel, over and over again. All the more effective due to it being accomplished without a single Diabolus Ex Machina.
    • Volume 8 of the manga adaptation. Remember that scene from Unlimited Blade Works where Caster stole Saber's Command Seals and tried to enslave her? Well, manga Caster succeeded and Saber is now her living weapon. Joined shortly afterward by Archer, only unlike in the game he wasn't planning it. Ouch.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure - Extensive bad ends exists solely for mocking Shirou's stupidity, and many Tiger Dojos love to rub the player's choice is his face. Note that there is lots of horror in these bad ends - and the occasional ending that actually isn't horrific is almost startling and a welcome respite... Still, even if you did find the good choice and reach the end without dying, you have to eventually see all those bad endings in order to unlock everything.
  • Jackass Genie - The Holy Grail, due to Angra Maiyuu's influence, will twist any wish made to it in a way that will kill or hurt as many humans as possible.
    • In the movie Unlimited Blade Works, Gilgamesh qualifies. You want the Holy Grail? I'll make you into the Holy Grail. Poor Shinji
  • Jerkass - Shinji. Fortunately, he dies in Fate and Heaven's Feel. No such luck in Unlimited Blade Works despite the Hope Spot at the end.
  • Kung Fu Wizard - Studying magic without the Martial Arts to deliver it in the Nasuverse is basically a glorfied death-wish. Nasuverse magus really want to subvert the Squishy Wizard Trope.
  • Laughing Mad: Caster is prone to this, and Archer, of all people, also does this at one point in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Let Them Die Happy - In Fate True End, when a dying Arturia tells Sir Bedivere that she saw a dream and asks him whether she can see the same dream again if she closes her eyes, Bedivere says that yes, he had that experience once before.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Heaven's Feel, Kotomine comes off as WAY better than Zouken, despite being technically worse for the world. However, at least he stays true and consequent to his motives and beliefs and helps the heroes out in an Enemy Mine.
  • Lighter and Softer: The manga seems to be heading this direction. It was already focusing mostly on the rather idealistic Fate route, but seems to have gone even further in recent chapters; the most traumatic parts of Sakura's childhood apparently never happened, and Shinji of all people gets a softer side and survives the events that killed him in the Visual Novel.
  • Limited Wardrobe - Almost everyone has, at most, two sets of clothes (typically school, armor, armor/casual, or school uniform/casual, or in Ilya's case, cold-weather/normal). Other, non-standard outfits are Dark Sakura, Ilya's Dress of Heaven, Rin's bedclothes, and the occasional birthday suit.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Luminescent Blush - Among others, the three main heroines, Saber, Rin and Sakura, are prone to this.


M-R[edit | hide]

  • Made of Iron - Most characters that haven't a Healing Factor, but special mention goes to Taiga. Despite being completely mundane in a town of overpowered freaks, she knocks herself out on her desk and gets up moments later with nothing to show for it, and later all but shrugs off an exposure to Bloodfort Andromeda that hospitalizes every other non-major character present.
  • Magi Babble - The Nasuverse is known for his Functional Magic.
  • Magic A Is Magic A - The problem is that most of the characters (and the readers) don't know half the rules.
  • Magic Contract Romance - The romance of Saber and Shirou in Fate.
  • Magic Missile - The Gandr spell actually sounds like a gun, and even leaves bullet holes behind.
  • Magic Skirt
    • Even if Rin has a mini-skirt, Shirou or others characters never has the occasion to see under it. Still, Rin nearly loses the Magic Skirt effect in one Unlimited Blade Works scene, where she loses her composure after Archer betrayed her.
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works film, where despite loads of Dramatic Wind, a literal Megaton Punch, being thrown around, and low camera angles, Rin's skirt never shows more than it should.
  • Magic Wand
    • On all routes: The Azoth sword and Rin's jewels
    • Heaven's Feel: Jewelled Sword of Zelretch
  • Male Gaze - All over the Unlimited Blade Works movie. If a scene has Rin in it, there will be at least a few shots focused lovingly on her Zettai Ryouiki for no particular reason.
  • The Many Deaths of You - The game gets very.. graphic, discussing in first person perspective, how you die or fail.
  • Melee a Trois: The Holy Grail War is fashioned as one: 7 Masters, their eventual associates, 7 Servants. For reaching the end of the War, 6 Servants must die. The Master's death is not required, but killing a Master is the fastest way to dispose of a Servant who doesn't have the Independant Action skill. A Servant who survive his Master's death long enough can take a new contract, and under some conditions a Master can have a contract with more than one Servant.
  • Memento MacGuffin
    • Rin's pendant, which she used to save Shirou, and was also the summoning catalyst for Archer.
    • Heaven's Feel: Sakura's ribbon, which was the first ribbon Rin ever made, and one of the few signs of their true feelings for each other, as opposed to the apparent indifference or even outright hatred that is shown through most of Fate/stay night.
    • Fate Anime: Saber's lion plushie that Shirou bought for her on their date, which is the anime's final shot.
  • Mental World - The Reality Marble Unlimited Blade Works
  • Mind Control Eyes - In Unlimited Blade Work, Issei is living in Ryudou Temple, aka Caster's stronghold. She puts a safe-mecanism spell on him, just in case a ennemy Master asks the boy about her.
  • Mind Rape
    • Fate: The mud from the Holy Grail at the end also does something like this to Shirou.
    • Heaven's Feel: Archer's arm grafted unto Shirou does this to him, as does being immersed in the Living Shadow.
  • Mistaken for Gay - Played Straight, Subverted and Double Subverted. In the Versus Valentine story in Type-Moon Ace Vol. 2, Issei tries to give Shirou Valentine's Day chocolates. After telling Issei he's straight and hearing "it'll bother me if you don't accept these!" in reply, Shirou freaks out and runs away. Later it turns out that Issei was just delivering the 'chocolates' on behalf of Ilya... and then Issei gives him actual Valentine's Day chocolates and tells him that they're from him. Cue freaking out and running away again.
  • Moment Killer - At one point in Heaven's Feel, it looks like there's going to be a H-scene with Sakura...and then Saber walks in.
  • Mons: The Servants are humanoid version. A Master can order his Servant around, can make a contract with more than one and a Servant can continue in the Grail War if he makes another contract with someone.
  • Mood Whiplash - Played Straight, Subverted, Double Subverted and Invoked. Very, very many of the bad endings are intensely sad, intensely disturbing, or both. They are then followed by a trip to the Tiger Dojo, which is a completely goofy little comedy segment where Ilya (in a gym uniform, for no discernable reason other than Fan Service) and Taiga give you hints as to what you did wrong, occasionally mock you, and run their own little Boke and Tsukkomi Routine. In fact, the Tiger Dojo is so reliable in this that the extremely few times they're totally serious are paradoxically whiplashtastic. For example Bad End 30 "Mind of Steel", where Shirou puts his ideal to be a superhero ahead of Sakura's life, and lets Rin kill her:

Taiga: "Huh. I don't have much I can say this time."]
Ilya: "......idiot."

  • Morning Wood:
    • Shirou wakes up with one of these on the 5th day of the Heaven's Feel route while Saber is by his futon, much to his embarrassment.
    • The same situation happens in Fate, this time with Ilya around.
  • Multiple Endings: Fate True End, Unlimited Blade Works True and Good Ends, and Heaven's Feel True and Normal Ends. Plus 40 Bad Ends.
  • Mundane Utility
    • Rin's first order of business to his Servant Archer, a heroic spirit of mighty power ? "Clean up this mess." Then the next morning, the first thing Archer does is make tea. Damn good tea according to Rin.
    • Initially, Mundane Utility is the only utility Shirou's magic powers have. It really puts his levels in badass in perspective when you consider that at the beginning of the story, Shirou was using his magic to...repair household appliances.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya
    • Unlimited Blade Works: "It's not a mistake!" (Shirou's defense of his ideals, to Archer)
    • Heaven's Feel: "So she can eventually smile in front of other people...you're getting in the way of that. Get lost. Sakura can't smile if you exist...!" (Shirou's thoughts about Angra Mainyu, while fighting Kotomine)
  • Mythology Gag - Two examples from Fate/stay night in Fate/EXTRA.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, Lancer snarks that, too bad, he would have wanted Rin as his Master. Six real-life years later in Fate/EXTRA, he gets his wish.
    • The Servant of class Saver.
  • No One Could Survive That - In Heaven's Feel, Gilgamesh says that to Dark Sakura upon skewering her to apparent death.
  • No Ontological Inertia - Well, there is some, but Servants cease to exist if they stop getting mana from, or lose their contract with, their Masters, generally disappearing after a few hours. Minor exceptions are servants with Independent Action (mostly a class skill of the Archer class, though Rider has it as a non-class one), who can survive longer; Archer, with Rank B, can last for three days without a contract, while Rider, with Rank C, can last for one.
    • There's also one major exception, with Rank A+ Independent Action, who can stick around indefinitely without a Master: Gilgamesh, due to being splashed with the Grail contents during Fate/Zero and also gaining a true corporeal body. Then again, even for him, mana for Noble Phantasm usage is a separate question altogether.
  • Nonstandard Game Over - During theses bad ends, the Tiger Dojo says they can't technically be called "dead ends" and/or "bad ends".
    • Fate and Unlimited Blade Works shares a Nonstandard Game Over if you refuse to cooperate with Rin in Fate or if you make the wrong choice for escape route in Unlimited Blade Works. Upon reading the same scene, you automatically make the wrong choice in Fate. Shirou 'loses' the Grail War, but survives everything just fine and goes back to his mundane life (minus a few memories).
    • In Heaven's Feel:
      • The "Mind of Steel" Bad End where the war continues with Shirou still involved.
      • The last Bad End where Shirou fights Saber Alter solo and dies defeating her. Even if he dies, Shirou reaches the top of the top, and was for the time of a fight the equal of a mighty heroic spirit.
  • Not Quite Dead - A ridiculous amount of times:
    • Fate Route:
      • Berserker, who gets massacred by Rin, but then it turns out he has 12 lives.
      • Subverted: Caster sets it up for this, but Gilgamesh sees through it and takes her out.
    • Unlimited Blade Works Route:
      • Archer first gets cut off from any mana supply, then is stabbed through by Shirou, then takes multiple attacks from Gilgamesh, and finally reappears long after he should have disappeared thanks to his Independent Action Rank B to quickly save Rin from the Grail and kill Gilgamesh, saving Shirou, and still have a good-bye talk with Rin. Sheesh.
      • Lancer gets back up after stabbing himself due to a command seal order, stabs Kirei, still scares the hell outta (and lightly stabs, for safe measure) Shinji, and rescues Rin. He's Killed Off for Real after that.
      • Assassin, who should be long gone from not having a master or a mana supply, but turns out to have both...just enough to stick around and fight Saber a second time before his actual death.
      • Berserker gets smacked around by Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon and chained with the Enkidu Chains, and then his master dies. Berserker forces himself to stay alive through sheer willpower, shatters the chains, and attacks one last time before dying.
      • Caster thinks she's killed Kotomine, but Rin knows better - as she noted, Caster really should have checked the body (or noticed the later lack of one).
    • Heaven's Feel Route:
      • Saber and Berserker, after they are "killed" by The Shadow.
      • Rider, who would have normally disappeared when Shinji lost, except that it turns out her true master was Sakura.
      • Rin, who survives Sakura's attack because her Magic Crest will forcibly keep her alive as long as there is mana to power it.
      • Zouken does this a few times too, thanks to him being made of the special "worms" he created, and then the core of said body being somewhere inside Sakura's heart.
  • Not So Different - Shirou spends all of Fate and Unlimited Blade Works hating Kotomine's guts, though he is never able to figure out why. Then during their final confrontation in Heaven's Feel Shirou finally realizes it: he was trying to ignore the fact that the two of them are actually incredibly similar: both felt guilty over the past, and sought to follow paths of atonement knowing they could never actually be satisfied.
  • Off-Model - The Anime was rather infamous for this (even present in the first episode, which is usually better animated). The film shows almost none of this, although Shinji's "rape face" Evil Laugh looks less like him and more like a character from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni about to do something horrible, which makes sense.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works route, it is mentioned off-handedly in an intermission that Servant Assassin fought off Lancer, Saber, Archer, Rider, and Berserker when they approached Caster's temple.
    • In the Manga, Rin and Archer come across the aftermath of a battle between Berserker and Caster at Ryudou Temple. Apparently Berserker avoided Assassin by not using the mountain gate, meaning he just ripped right through the mountain's anti-Servant barrier field. The battle itself left the Temple as kindling and the ground around it gouged with massive scars. And we get to see precisely none of this titanic conflict.
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works movie, even though Archer and Shiro use the titular Reality Marble a total of three times over the course of the film, we never hear neither Archer nor Shiro recite the complete chant, either version. Archer's version does appear in text form at the very beginning of the movie, but it just isn't the same.
  • Oh Crap
    • Gilgamesh gets one of these per route, after juggling the Villain Ball for too long to notice he is about to get killed.
      • In Fate, this is how he reacts when Saber brushes off the blast from Ea and is about to cut him in half.
      • In Unlimited Blade Works, when he realizes that he locked himself into an unwinnable fight by falling in Shirou's pace.
      • In Heaven's Feel, when he notices that Sakura is Not Quite Dead and is currently eating him alive.
    • Unlimited Blade Works: Just after revealing his true motivation, Archer has one. With Saber seconds away from fading, Rin restrained, and just about to deal a finishing blow to Shirou, he hears Rin and Saber forming a contract, not only saving Saber from fading but allowing her to draw on so much more mana than before she actually glows with energy. A Curb Stomp Battle ensues until Archer threatens to pull a Taking You with Me and kill everybody in the room but Saber, who's effectively invincible against him at that point.
    • Heaven's Feel: Rider's great moment when fighting True Assassin, who, upon discovering Rider's chain-spike embedded in his shoulder, only had one thing to say ("W-Whaaaaaat?!"). Cue epic wall-slamming...
  • Older Is Better: A very strongly adhered-to rule. It's also one of the reasons Gilgamesh is so powerful: he possesses the Platonic ideal of every weapon-type Noble Phantasm that ever was or will be, meaning that they're all at least one rank more powerful than the actual versions that were used by the Heroic Spirits.
  • Older Than They Look
    • Technically all the Heroic Spirits are at least hundreds, if not thousands of years old, chronologically, but special mention goes to Saber, who is said to look a couple of years younger than Shirou, but is actually around ten years his senior due to the age-stopping effect of Avalon when possessed by its rightful owner.
    • Ilya is around eight to ten years older than her looks.
    • Zouken has a decrepit grandfather features that hides the fact that he should have been dust over a century ago.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ - Church on the Hilltop, which is Kirei's theme.
  • Omnicidal Maniac - Angra Mainyu as spawned by the Holy Grail
  • One-Handed Zweihander: Played straight by Berserker, whose 'sword' is more like a massive chunk of metal with a hilt. Averted by Saber and Assassin, who use their two hands.
  • One Hundred Percent Completion - In Fate/stay night, you have to complete all three routes for the new splash screen. You can also accomplish every Tiger Dojo for other bonuses.
  • Our Vampires Are Different - Different even from Nasuverse vampires, in fact! They are not Death Apostles, but have enough similarities to warrant this Trope.
    • Rider has the Kiss of the Vampire and drinks blood to get stronger.
    • In Heaven's Feel:
      • Zouken has been likened to a vampire because he consumes the lives of others to prolong his own lifespan even though his body is so decayed he cannot withstand the sunlight.
      • Dark Sakura is practically an avatar of death and evil who needs to consume large amounts of lives and souls continuously just to stay alive and is also The Corruption.
      • Kotomine makes vague allusions and implications that Rin might be descended from vampires, which could help explain her family's connection to Zelretch.
  • Outside the Box Tactic: Saber is representative of King Arthur Pendragon. She is vulnerable to items and spells that harm dragons as a result.
  • Paint It Black - Anyone who made a Face Heel Turn through The Corruption, although Berserker is more red than black from apparently having lost his skin.
  • Parental Abandonment - That'd be Ilya, among others.
  • Pet the Dog
    • Ilyasviel (homocidal sociopath) and her Servant Berserker (Nigh Invulnerable embodiment of madness and destruction) get poignant sympathetic moments in the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel routes in the game that reveal the deep bond they share (and their Start of Darkness), with Berserker's determined devotion pushing him to impossible acts even by his standards.
    • Servant Caster's love for her Master, willingness to sacrifice herself to save him, and farewell speech almost make up for the fact that she freely murdered and drained the energy/souls of people throughout the city to achieve her goals.
    • Makiri Zouken's original (and long forgotten with insanity/senility/desire for life) goal of making the world a better place.
  • The Plan
    • Archer does this large-scale in the Unlimited Blade Works route.
    • Rin does two small-scale versions: in the Fate route she deliberately attacks Berserker, fails, gets caught, and just when Berserker is about to crush her to death she reveals that that was just the setup to her true attack, and in the Unlimited Blade Works route she challenges Caster to a duel between magi, gets her ass handed to her, then suddenly bumrushes Caster and beats the crap out of her using martial arts.
  • Podcast - Fate/stay tune was an internet radio show that was broadcast while the Anime was on the air, hosted by Ayako Kawasumi (Saber) and Kana Ueda (Rin). A sequel show, Fate/stay tune: Unlimited Radio Works was broadcast for the Unlimited Blade Works movie, hosted by Junichi Suwabe (Archer) and the aforementioned hosts.
  • Possession Implies Mastery - One of the big themes. Mainly Averted.
    • The "Riding" skill plays it straight -- as long as the skill is highly ranked enough, a holder can simply grab the controls of any vehicle or mount and instantly know how to operate it as if they had been for years.
    • Gilgamesh possesses nearly every Noble Phantasm, but owns/masters just one, and has a second that accesses all the others.
    • Archer and Shirou do not master their projected weapons, but can get the skill/knowledge of utilisation of a weapon thanks to their re-creation of the actual creation and its history as its master used it. You could say that they take a diminished mastery over a diminished weapon.
  • Power Degeneration - Shirou when he uses magic above his level, especially with Archer's arm.
  • Power Glows - Justified: Mana distorts reality, so strong enough amounts of Mana become visible to the naked eye.
  • Power Levels - Gilgamesh's profile in the game lists the max base damage of his main attack as "4000", whatever that means. Of course, considering that he's also listed as Chaotic Good, it could mean anything.
  • The Power of Love: Shirou's main motivation in Heaven's Feel. His love for Sakura keeps him going, even when he becomes so brain-damaged that he forgets her very name.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation - In various degrees among various adaptations.
    • Anime adaption: You really can't do Fate/stay night justice by just following the Fate route, but the episode/continuity limits don't really let you do two and tell a coherent story. So they took Fate and add a little Unlimited Blade Works to it and came up with something, even if it doesn't match the original in quality. They also threw in the odd reference to Heaven's Feel as well- namely the revelation that Rin and Sakura are sisters.
    • Unlimited Blade Works film: Especially noticeable, where some of the romantic undertone between Shirou and Rin is lost, as well as merging separate visits to locations in the original into a single very eventful one and things happening for different (but more easily explainable) reasons.
  • Precision F-Strike - Heaven's Feel: Shirou's response to the idea of letting Angra Manryu be born and wrecking Sakura's life even more (in addition to pretty much destroying all of humanity)? "Fuck that."
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang - Kanshou and Bakuya, Archer's twin swords. As long as Archer holds one, the other will always return to his hands. This is their special abilities as Noble Phantasms, along with the anti-demonic charms which improve magic resistance.
  • Public Domain Character - Every Servant except one, Archer, the Counter Guardian EMIYA, is a Hero from myths and legends.
    • Public Domain Artifact - And of course their Noble Phantasms are in the same situation, with the exception of a few that were made out of whole cloth.
  • Punny Name - The main theme song of Fate/stay night is "This Illusion", and when it was remixed for the Anime, it's name was changed to "Disillusion". If said out loud, they sound almost the same, while meaning the exact opposite of each other.
  • Random Power Ranking
  • Rank Inflation - We've got A...and A+...and A++...and then A+++...also EX... It's explained that the E through A ranks are where a skill or stat rates as a quantifiable amount, with EX representing an unquantifiable rating, and plus marks indicating situational increases in rank. Rarely, minus marks marks on a rank are seen, and though those haven't been explicitly explained, it stands to reason that they're the opposite of plus marks.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni - Rin and Saber.
  • Right Makes Might - Averted. If not for some special circumstances, Shirou was losing the following fights:
    • Unlimited Blade Works: the climatic battle between Shirou and Archer.
    • Heaven's Feel: the final battle between Shirou and Kotomine.
  • Right Through His Pants - Lampshaded in the Unlimited Blade Works H-scene, when Rin tells Shirou that he's a failure as a man if he keeps his clothes on while doing it. Of course, the whole scene is being Played for Laughs, so...
  • Road Cone - With three different story paths, it's only natural that adaptations of the series would leave out some things. Both the Anime and (to a certain extent) the manga are based on Fate, though the movie is based on "Unlimited Blade Works".
  • Role Playing Game Terms - The character profiles.
  • Root of All Evil - Supposedly, Angra Mainyu.
  • Rule of Cool - The order of the day for the Unlimited Blade Works film. Notably, Shirou deflects both Archer's and Gil's sword-bullets with Implausible Fencing Powers rather than using his own sword-bullets as in the original route.


S-Z[edit | hide]

  • Sadistic Choice: In Heaven's Feel:
    • Shirou is given two options: Kill Sakura (and everyone else he cares for) and thoroughly embrace the ideal which destroyed his father, or discard his ideal to protect her and risk her going insane through prana deprivation and killing many innocent people.
    • Later you have to take the "sadistic" choice if you don't want to die. So, do you want to kill Saber?
  • Say My Name: Shirou shouts out Saber's name so often during the game and anime (for various reasons) that you either learn to hate it or love it.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black - Rin skipped school to show Archer around the city. Despite being the heir to a rather wealthy family, she still choose to wear her school uniform for this outing.
  • Science Destroys Magic: Technology moves towards the future, magecraft moves towards the past. Present magic can rarely match up against the heroes of legend.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Angra Mainyu
  • Second Year Protagonist: Sakura is younger and can go to the same school while there's another year ahead of Tohsaka and Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works endings.
  • Serial Escalation - Think that the battle scenes are epic? Use the patch described here to implement the Realta Nua CGs/SFX - it multiplies the epic GAR. Many times over. The Unlimited Blade Works Movie takes this even further thanks to a huge Animation Bump.
  • The Seven Mysteries - The Holy Grail War only works with 7 Servants and 7 Masters. Partly Justified by the Grail needing six Servants for powering him, the seven one being a justification for participating in the Heaven's Feel.
  • Servants Need Popularity Badly - The more popular you are during the time period you're summoned, the more powerful you are. The inverse is also true. Saber, for example, as everybody knows King Arthur. If a heroic spirit was powerful enough during his lifetime, then he can get around this problem. For example, Gilgamesh. Berserker, being Hercules, is both.
    • Rin admitted that the power boost coming from popularity is not really that great.
  • Shout-Out
    • If you listen closely to the background music whenever Shirou's TV is telling the local news, you can hear some music from Tsukihime, another Type-Moon Visual Novel.
    • During one of the Tiger Dojo chibis, there's a Touhou reference when Sakura and Rin briefly have a cute fight with each other, complete with rainbow-colored bullets everywhere and a side-shot of both of them vertically.
    • The scene where we see the worms at work is a fairly obvious Shout-Out to Stephen King's novel IT, where Patrick Hocksetter dies in roughly the same way.
    • The aftermath of the Grail Fire and Shirou's reaction is incredibly similar to the aftermath of the atomic bomb explosion as described in John Hersey's Hiroshima.
    • There are a few of these in the Anime with regard to the Visual Novel:
      • In an early episode, Shirou introduces Tohsaka Rin with some narration; one of the accompanying images of her is an animated version of the final CG from Unlimited Blade Works' True End.
      • If you watch closely, most of the CGs from the Fate route appear in animated form in the anime as well. This is repeated with the Unlimited Blade Works route in the Unlimited Blade Works film.
  • Slasher Smile - A seemingly cheerful smile is Tohsaka's default sprite for her occasional rage against Shirou.
  • Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: Of course, Lancer will use his lance as a thrust weapon, but occasionally it will be used for slashing.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism - Depends on route. Fate is very idealistic, Unlimited Blade Works lies somewhere in the middle, and Heaven's Feel is rather cynical.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - Various individual character examples are listed on the character sheet.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Archer can create weapons out of thin air. It's the same for his past-self Shirou, who can "trace" various historical and mythological swords, creating inferior copies of them to use in battle.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers - Shirou and Saber in the Fate route.
  • Start of Darkness: The backstory suggests that the Holy Grail underwent this around World War 2, though the consequences don't really become apparent until the events of Fate/Zero.
  • Statistically Speaking - Averted: The stats of the Servants seem to have little, if any, bearing on their actual abilities. Archer is able to hold off Lancer despite being statistically inferior to him in practically every way, and True Assassin and Gilgamesh get defeated by humans they should, by all accounts, outperform several times over. Although, this is due to the circumstances rather than them genuinely being weaker. Indeed, the only stats that ever seem to come into play are Saber's B-rank Luck and Magical Energy, which allow her to withstand Lancer's Gae Bolg attack, Archer's Independent Action Rank B and Rider's Eyes of Petrification. Of course, when you get down to brass tacks, the stats honestly ARE meaningless- the game is a Visual Novel, not an RPG and the stats are only there to add flavour.
  • Stay in the Kitchen
    • Shirou seems to show this attitude towards Saber in the Fate route and the Anime, which has suffered Memetic Mutation. This in turn leads to him saying some really Egregious sexist lines and trying to do the fighting in Saber's place. Ironically, Shirou plays with this trope more than he plays it straight; his adamant refusal to allow Saber to fight only happens in the route where she's his love interest and it comes after watching her nearly get killed defending him in her first fight with Berserker. In no other route and for no other girl does Shirou use this Trope, and when Saber fights Berserker to a draw in the Unlimited Blade Works route, Shirou expresses so much faith in her abilities that Saber herself is surprised. In hindsight, it seems less logical that Shirou actually holds this position and more logical that he's trying to invent a reason to keep someone he cares about from getting hurt. It should be noted that Shirou explicitly has a spiritual disorder that causes him to have little to no sense of self and derive any sense of happiness and worth only through helping others. It causes him to put way too much responsibility on himself and refuse to compromise his desire to help everyone. Fate is the only route where he sees a female lead get horrifically injured so early in and he has a flashback to seeing Saber drenched in blood, barely able to stand and using her sword as a crutch, almost every time she is about to enter a dangerous situation. His initial attitude towards her is pretty blatantly caused by that rather than an actual Stay in the Kitchen attitude.
      • Amusingly, Shirou also inverts this trope's name; he happens to be a fantastic chef, and occasionally can be heard telling Rin and Sakura to get out of the kitchen for various reasons.
    • The one character who confirmably has traditionalist views on gender roles is Issei.
    • It should be noted that Shirou only acts protective towards Saber if she fights Beserker at beginning and he sees her completely bloodied and broken fighting for his sake. This event, exclusive to the Fate route, is actually the key event that led into that route.
  • Stepford Snarker: Archer. It's clear early on that he's got some issues, but Tohsaka is actually bothered when he stops being stepfordy about it even before he Face Heel Turns.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option - The Tiger Dojo sometimes lampshades this: "Go back to the previous choice and try choosing the reckless, immature choice!"
    • This is the rule in every Type-Moon Visual Novel- unless a choice is specifically hinted at as being right or wrong, the more dangerous choice is always the correct one. Most players learned this after being eaten by a shark. This Trope is Justified by the Visual Novel telling the story of a character, not the story of the player.
  • Suspiciously Vague Age - Taking into account Fate/Zero puts Ilya at about eight years old and takes place ten years before this story starts, it's actually impossible that the characters depicted can all be 18 or older.
  • Summoning Ritual - The Holy Grail War System provides the power behing the Summoning Ritual required for acquiring a Servant.
  • Sword Lines
  • Sword Sparks
  • Synchronization - Servants and Masters who are in tune with one another have this to a certain extent. Also Shirou and Archer in Unlimited Blade Worksroute.
  • Tastes Like Friendship - Whenever Shirou makes friends with someone, the occasion is marked by him either making or buying food and sharing it with them. Due to his skill and general friendliness, it usually works.
  • Temporal Paradox - The actual goal of two Servants in the Visual Novel.
  • Tenchi Solution - Unlimited Blade Works Good Ending. As mentioned above, this is as much Rin's solution as Shirou's.
  • Their First Time
    • In Fate route: Shirou x Saber x Rin
    • In Unlimited Blade Works route: Shirou x Rin
  • Thematic Theme Tune - Among others:
    • In the Fate Anime: Kimi to no Ashita (A Tomorrow with You)
      • "It was no coincidence that we met / For it's a destiny unchanged since long ago."
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works movie: Imitation
      • "Even if it's a false dream, I will strive for it / It's okay to laugh about it now / Even if it's something simple, I want to aim for it / It's still off in the distance, but surely, even the fake will become real."
  • Theme Music Power-Up
    • Anytime "Emiya" starts playing, you know something epic or an important battle is going to happen.
    • "Sword of Promised Victory" plays whenever Excalibur or a similar Noble Phantasm is about to be used.
    • "Into the Night" (The title music) plays when the Final Boss is about to get a beatdown -- it's an even more reliable power-up than "Emiya".
    • "Premonition of a Storm" (Arashi no Yokan) is one of those "Shit's going down!" songs that can pump it up. Sadly, it's not in the original Visual Novel, but a new musique of the Fate/stay night Realta Nua version.
    • In the Heaven's Feel route, "Light and Darkness" (Hikari to Yami) plays during the last battle, between Shirou and Kotomine. Or rather, half of the song plays at first, giving a tense techno beat while Shirou's getting his ass kicked. It's only when he reflects on Sakura and pulls off a frenzied counterattack that the second half of the song plays.
  • There Can Be Only One - The very concept of the Grail War. At least, that is what they want you to think, even if the actual goal of the Grail War is still something really different.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: They pop up in the backstory as the Nazis sent in their own "representatives" to the Holy Grail War at one point. Justified in that said war took place around the same time as World War 2 and that the ensuing bloodbath might have played a role in the Holy Grail's Start of Darkness.
  • Talking Is a Free Action - In two forms:
    • Talking Is a Free Action: mostly Averted, but spell-casting is pretty much done at the speed of plot. The notable exception is Caster who has an unfair Justified advantage, but sometimes the characters can even cast complex spells in less time than it takes for an already incoming blow to land.
      • Subverted in the film: Archer stops in the middle of an attack against Shirou, listening to Rin chanting the oath to make Saber her servant...but then finishes the swing 2/3 of the way through (Shirou unfreezes at the same time and dodges). Apparently he just froze in confusion before the implications registered.
    • Thinking Is A Free Action - Apparently in the Nasuverse, people can have long-winded epiphanies several hundreds of words long in the span of two or three seconds, regularly and in the middle of combat, no less.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works
    • Justified with Kanshou and Bakuya due to the intrinsic magnetic property they possess that will always pull them back together. If you throw them to the sides of your opponent, they'll sweep in and cut them apart. Knock them away with a second pair of them and they'll continue doing this.
  • Time Travel
    • The Holy Grail summons the souls of dead heroic spirits across time. Justified in that the location of their dead souls is separated from time, but the effect is still summoning heroes into a time different from when they last lived.
    • A more litteral example is Saber. The World takes her across time to the particular place where she will be able to realise her wish. It sould be noted that her soul goes back to the split-second where her body is dying before doing another attempt and Time Travel.
  • Title Drop
    • In Fate
      • "Stay night" is the title of the climactic scene of the route, where Shirou and Saber face off against Kirei and Gilgamesh, respectively.
      • The title of the same route's True End, "Continuation of the Dream", comes from its final words: "Do you see it, King Arthur? The continuation of your dream?".
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, the titular Archer's Noble Phantasm: Unlimited Blade Works.
    • In Heaven's Feel, the true name of the Holy Grail War ritual and Ilya's robe for the ritual is the "Heaven's Feel".
  • Together in Death - This seems to be what happened to Shirou and Saber in The Last Episode. Shirou most likely followed the same path as Archer, but unlike Archer he did not regret his ideals because those were the ideals he shared with Saber, the ideals that he found to be so beautiful. Also unlike Archer, he had a goal in mind, a goal that is for nobody's sake but his own: to endlessly chase after the golden-haired girl, who is eternally waiting for him alone on the fields of gold.
  • Tragic Dream
  • Translator Microbes - The Holy Grail acts as one. Pretty convenient considering a Servant can come from across time and from any culture around the globe.
  • Troperiffic - just look
  • Trope Overdosed
  • Turn the Other Cheek
  • Two-Teacher School
  • Unholy Holy Sword - Saber Alter's Excalibur in Heaven's Feel.
  • Unreliable Narrator - The Narrator, Rin or Shirou, is given to making observations which are later proven false.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee
    • In Unlimited Blade Work, Rin's plan for defeating Caster.
    • In Heaven's Feel, but played extremely strangely as it is essentially Shirou keeping his own plan from the protagonist. It's possible for the Unspoken Plan to fail because of a bad choice from the player -- essentially, Shirou screwing up his own unspoken plan due to not knowing the details! Although Shirou's mind at this point is literally breaking apart, and it's not a stretch of disbelief to suppose that he forgot about it.
  • Vampiric Draining - A possible way of powering a Servant, used by Rider.
  • Violation of Common Sense - The choices you have to make sometimes. Made worse by the fact that you are, almost without fail, scolded by other characters for making the idiotic choices.
  • Voices Are Mental - Played Straight in the original Visual Novel and in the Fate Anime: when Caster possesses Issei, Shirou notes that it's her voice coming out of his mouth. But then in Realta Nua, when the voices were added in, it's Issei's voice that was coming out.
  • Wall of Text - A Visual Novel is text-based by nature, but at times the presentation bogs down with dense blocks accompanied by unvoiced, single static images.
  • Wall Slump - In Fate, Rin does this after failing to prevent Kotomine from taking Ilya away from Shirou's house.
  • Wave Motion Sword - Three of them, in fact.
    • "Excalibur, the Sword of Promised Victory", Saber's Noble Phantasm.
    • Ea, Gilgalmesh's preferred weapon of mass destruction.
    • The Jewelled Sword of Zelretch.
  • Weirdness Censor
    • Not even an rumor about the war going on, even for things that couldn't be covered up or downplayed easily (sonic booms from attacks, shining golden light shooting into the sky at a flying horse, etc). Justified by a cover-up done by The Church and the Magical Association, but we never see it in action during the Visual Novel.
    • Played for Laughs on a smaller scale, when Rin gets so angry at Shirou that she shatters her "perfect student/school idol" image in front of everyone to shout at him. Everybody stares... then go back to what they were doing, subconsciously repressing those memories to maintain their "perfect" image of her. This happens on two separate occasions.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? - The scene in the Chinese restaurant in Heaven's Feel. Only, it is played completely straight. And it works: in a route filled with genuine horror, Kotomine ordering a second mapo tofu comes across as menacing.
  • When It All Began - The last Holy Grail War affected the lives of every major character in the game.
  • Witch Species - Magic in the Nasuverse is often genetically inherited through bloodlines. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, though, as people from mundane families (like Shirou or Ciel) can be born with magic circuits, and it's a plot point that one bloodline has slowly lost all of its power over generations. It's also possible to artificially create or increase magical potential.
  • The Worf Effect - Servants are supposed to be ridiculously overpowered against ordinary humans, so whenever a human character is a Badass, they prove it by curb stomping a Servant. When someone is really badass, they prove it by curb stomping a servant who used to curb stomp powerful servants himself. Most of the examples, though, are the result of serious circumstantial advantages evening the playing field (most obviously Gilgamesh's massive ego, which directly contributed to his defeat by Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works and Sakura in Heaven's Feel).
  • World of Badass
  • Xanatos Gambit:Kotomine has one in Fate route. His plan? Stay the out of the way, let one person win, use that to accomplish his goals, and kill the winner if necessary. He was even prepared for the hero walking right into his hideout, and if said person doesn't, he just walks to the hero's house and kills him!
  • Xanatos Speed Chess
    • Archer's plan in Unlimited Blade Works. His repeated gambits to kill Shirou and set up either himself and Rin or a Rin/Saber team as the winners of the Grail War by playing Caster, Kotomine and the protagonists against each other are truly inspired.
    • Kotomine has a pretty good one in Heavens Feel. {{spoiler:Start with sending Lancer to figure out who everyone is, where they are and how strong, as he did in the two other routes. Crap, after roflstomping True Assassin he got his heart pulled out and eaten. Ok, uh, well we still have Gilgamesh, and he's pissed about the serial killings going on. Damnit, he got eaten too. Fine, we'll set up Sakura, the monster eating everyone to turn into the gate and destroy the world. Uh oh, the Core of the Grail just got hijacked, time to team up with Shirou to recover it. Oops, True Assassin came after him and humans can't kill Servants with the tools he has. Guess we'll destroy Zouken's body, using my fake heart as a decoy and then drive off Assassin. Woops, my heart was beating due to Angra's energy and Sakura crushes the connection.I am running out of time, since my heart relied on Angra's mud to keep on beating. And, breaking the narration, he still makes it to the end of the path and still nearly unleashes a plan that is in fact much worse than the scale of what he was trying in the first two routes. Plus, Shirou's ideology has been neatly discarded, and Kotomine really hated it}}.
  • Yandere - Ilya just loves Shiro to death. She even kills him, or near, in some bad ends.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair - Many characters are like this. Surprisingly pointed out in Sakura's case, but that's for a good reason. See the Characters Pages for more informations.
  • Zettai Ryouiki - Rin Tohsaka, Goddess of the Zettai Ryouiki. Rider also sports some Grade-A Zettai Ryouiki.
  1. One which requires you to play so intentionally poorly that the game itself calls it the hardest ending to get
  2. and Archer's, by extension
  3. This is a legitimate idiom in Japanese, usually as a statement about how tough someone is that they won't die even if you kill them, but makes little sense out of context.
  4. "Nine, Eight, Seven, Style Shooting, Shelling, Shooting!".