Fate Stay Night
The Holy Grail in history is something that many searched for and no one has ever found. Wars were fought for the supposedly holy land of Jerusalem and thousands of people have died in wars for the holy land and the many artefacts that have been left over from Jesus Christ’s time on the world.
However, in Fate Stay Night the Holy Grail War is something entirely different, it’s a time when seven Masters summon seven Servants to fight for the right to obtain the Holy Grail so that their wishes can be granted.
Our main protagonist, Shirou Emiya, is the sole survivor of a great fire, the incident that managed to kill his entire family and leave Shirou as an orphaned boy. He was lucky enough to be saved that fateful night by his adopted father, Kiritsugu Emiya. Since that day Shirou has done everything in his power to become a Hero of Justice and has tried to live every day the best he could. This budding engineer and high school student had no idea that his father was already a Hero of Justice. However, unlike his adopted dad, he had none of the skill or the power that led to Kiritsugu becoming a Hero of Justice and a Magus. A Magus is a powerful Master who is able to summon a Servant to fight in the Holy Grail Wars so that they are able to have their wishes fulfilled by the Holy Grail.
One day on his way home from school Shirou stumbles across two men who are fighting in the street, unsure as what to do, fear takes hold of him and Shirou tries to run away from these two battling men. Unfortunately as he turns to run he is fatally struck down by one of the combatants and much to his own surprise rather than simply dieing he manages to live and is approached by Saber, an armour clad woman, who tells him that he is now a Master and has been chosen to participate in the Holy Grail War. He has no interest in participating in this War, but he discovers that it was his wish to become a Hero of Justice that caused the Wars to start again. Upon this realisation he decides to take full responsibility and actively participates in the War.
There’s an indepth storyline in Fate Stay Night and this expensive story is explained bit by bit throughout the first volume of the manga. Where characters that are introduced in the opening pages that have a much more critical role in later stages in the manga. With a large number of characters it can become a little confusing as to who is who, and the dialogue can confuse the reader a little as it doesn’t appear that there’s much direction to which character is speaking in the early pages.
Throughout the story there are flashbacks to Shirou’s childhood, when Kiritsugu is adopting him and when he passes away. These flashbacks, which are vital to the plot, seem to be littered around the manga and do not appear to have a direct trail in this volume. This isn’t helped by the rapid character development and the occasional data dump to actually explain what’s going on.
Fortunately though these data dumps actually enlighten the reader and bring a strong sense of clarity to the book, which is to be expected with an indepth storyline such as this.
» Final Score
Fate Stay Night is a strong opening to a manga with magic, mages, death and destruction. The main problem is the rapid character development and all too often data dumps; however, these are small prices to pay considering where this could go.