The Rebirth of the Witch and the Knight

Carnival Phantasm has come to an end. The grand Type-Moon cross over even ended with some little cameos by the cast of Fate/Zero, Kara no Kyoukai, the Mobile Site, and some rather minor Type Moon characters. The they even gave some love to Notes with V/V. But at the very end after the credit a mysterious woman picks up the phone to introduce the bonus movie. This woman is Sajyou Ayaka who is the original protagonist of an early draft of Fate/Stay Night. To celebrate the end of Carnival Phantasm the extra goes back to the origin of the Type-Moon universe with Fate/Prototype. This video is an animated version of some of the notes to the original unfinished story that would be used to make Fate/Stay Night.

There are some major changes that this prototype story went through before it became the game known as Fate/Stay Night. The most famous change is that originally Saber was a man and the young witch known as Ayaka Sajyou was his master. Takeuchi Takashi felt that visual novel fans would not like to play as a female protagonist to the genders were swapped. Ayaka Sajyou seems like a mix of Rin and Shiro with a bit of Enjou Tomoe thrown in for good measure. She is much more powerful and knowledgeable than Shiro but she has his softhearted nature while having the gloomy edge of Enjou. Also the religious theme around the Holy Grail War are much more pronounced. All the Masters have a different choir of angel they are connected to and the Grail itself has far more of a twisted Christian connotation. In fact the final secret Avenger style Servant is the Beast itself. Rider is certainty a new man and his master is equally different (as much as we might have wanted Shinji to be bed ridden.) Phahn Sancraid is definitely a creepy priest like Kotomine but he looks and feels creepy in his own unique way. Also while Saber was involved in a former Grail War this time his Master was Ayaka’s sister and she was not a very nice person.

On the other hand you also see many of the seeds that would go on to make Fate/Stay Night what it is. The basic framework is unmistakable. The structure and cyclic nature of the war is the same. The hidden tainted nature of the grail is still in the background. Ayaka and Saber’s relationship clearly went on to inspire Rin and Archer’s relationship. Also taking Ayaka and combining her with Misaya Reiroukan gets us the Rin we know in Fate/Stay Night. Saber’s tragic participation in a previous iteration of the war with his new’s Master’s family is also the same. Gilgamesh is still the same Gilgamesh. Also Saber’s battle with Gilgamesh was giving me vibes from the Saber and Rider’s battle from the Fate route.  Gilgamesh looks a bit more primitive but he is still spamming swords and wearing golden armor. He is still an arrogant king of nonconsensual relationships only this time he wants Ayaka instead. Lancer also looks different but he is still Cu Chulainn. I am sure being Lancer is still suffering. He even hunts down Saber’s master impaling them through the heart as the catalyst for summoning her servant. That results in a first meeting of Master and Servant that would be reproduced in Fate/Stay Night. And as the Type Moon wiki points out Manaka Sajyou looks like evil baby Arturia Pendragon.

It is fascinating to see how Fate/Stay Night morphed to become the visual novel we see today. While the basic structure might be the same you can see the initial concept went through many changes when it was adapted to another form of media. In the end I am somewhat divided. Part of me would love to see this expanded into its own series. Seeing how everything would have originally played out if it had stayed as a linear novel would be a great insight into how Nasu has changed as an author. There seem to be some very interesting concepts here that never made it into the final product. At the same time I wonder if these changes were not made for very good reasons. It is easy to forget the value of editing that takes a messy raw concept and refines it into a more complete product when done correctly. Maybe many of the ideas and plot that were changed were changed with good reason. Without the adaption we would not have the sexy sex machine that is Rider. Then again that scene of Ayaka getting out her witches’ broom seemed pretty cool as well. Overall while I would buy a full length Fate/Prototype series it would not break my heart if it were never made. This is a good enough sample for now.


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