There will be very nearly 250 Type-Moon related posts on the blog by the time I post the article. It is presently 15% of the total content of the blog. I mostly mentioned that so if you see that I am no longer writing for the blog after this post then you will know why. Thankfully Kate’s eyes mostly gloss over anything that says Type-Moon on it so I am probably safe. For now.
Until the time in which I am mercilessly kicked off my own blog I feel it is my honor and obligation to do an overview of the highlights of the year in the world of Type-Moon. If anything else much like the “Narutaki & Hisui VS. The Best of” posts these articles help me look back on what I loved about Type-Moon every year. It is easy to remember the annoying fan wankery, ugly flame wars, delayed titles, or untranslated gems just slightly out of reach that can easy sour you to everything. But when you see all the great things that happened in 2014 it easily makes you excited to see what we are going to get in 2015. Hopefully if you are a fellow Type-Moon fan than this post will do the same for you.
This is hardly the definitive list of the coolest things that happened with Type-Moon this year. But it is a list of the things that meant the most to me.
7. The Forever War: Fate/Grand Order
I don’t think anyone could blame me for being slightly hesitant to be thrilled about a mobile game from Type-Moon. While the overall reputation of mobile games has improved ever so slightly in the last year or two it is still a sea of the worst offenders in the hell of free to play sinners that the world has ever seen. For every one game that everyone loves on a mobile device there are ten more that are stamina bar driven skinner boxes. So I am still slightly hesitant to full embrace this project.
That said there is quite a bit about the game to make you ignore that. We have Shielder (aka Stray Servant) who was up until this point just a cutting room floor heroine that would have made Sacchin feel pity for her. There is also a Caster Class Cú Chulainn, a few original heroes, and some old classics just in the first meaty trailer. Plus it seems to actually have some amount of actual gameplay as opposed to simply tap to see if you win mechanics. The seeds of a good game are there. And Type-Moon really seems to be pushing this game hard. They have gathered a good stable of voice actors and artists to work on the game. Hopefully the design put into the mechanics is equally passionate.
If worse comes to worse we get some amusing new characters for Koha-Ace, Carnival Phantasm, and April Fools specials. But if the game is actually good it could be an interesting new avenue for Type-Moon games.
6. Say Hello to My Little Monofilament Friends: The Rin vs Illya Fight in Unlimited Blade Works
There are so many reasons to love the Ufotable version of Unlimited Blade Works. You could make a separate top 12 list that was just best moments in Unlimited Blade Works but I just wanted to limit it to one for this list.
While Ufotable has spruced up several scenes from the visual novel this fight was the first scene that really stood out as being made from whole cloth in the best way possible. For all the talk that Illya is this powerhouse mage we never actually see her sling any spells (other than a petrification spell) in the game proper. This fight actually lets us see the von Einzbern craft in action. While Rin puts up an excellent offense you see that Illya is on a whole other level with her autonomous familiars. Illya goes from someone who gets a lot of praise for being dangerous to a legitimate threat that you can see.
It was the scene where I knew this version of the story was going to actually build on the original as opposed to just adapting it.
5. She Was Kung Fu Fighting: Bazett’s Year to Shine
If last year was the Year of the Sakura than in 2014 the Type Moon Zodiac chanced to the Year of the Bazett. She showed up prominently in Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei! as well as the Vita version of Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. Plus she also made her formal debut to English-speaking fans as well. She has always been one of the most underrepresented heroines in the Type-Moon universe and the only main female character in the Fate Universe not to get a 1/8th (or larger) sized figure. When the male characters get more merchandise than you then you know something is up.
Thankfully she is finally getting her chance to step out of the shadows. Her multi-episode fight at the end of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei! was the highlight of that series. It is probably the one part of the series I could recommend anyone watch. It really sells her combat abilities and cool grace. Fate/Hollow Ataraxia is where her legend started so it is nice to see Japanese fans can experience her story in a portable format.
I’m hoping this exposure gets her a little more popularity on both sides of the Pacific. She is never going to be Saber popular but hopefully she will no longer be stuck on the minor character roster for much longer.
4. I Choose You, Galactica Saber! : Capsule Servant
The flashiest addition to the Vita version of Fate/Hollow Ataraxia had to be the addition of the new Capsule Servant game. It is a fun little tower defense game with a wicked sense of humor. Rin and Shiro have to go on a Pokémon style journey to win the Holy Grail War. Along the way the run into some familiar faces as enemy Masters including an appropriately sad Kayneth, an amazing Master Artoria, the wonderfully garish Celebloomers, and the greatest Bayonetta tribute character TOHSAKA. There are also a ton of delightful Capsule Servants you can collect from almost any conceivable Fate franchise. They even manged to make a new version of Saber called Galactica Saber who is wearing a space suit that would make Barbarella blush.
But beyond that the general scenario is quite well realized and the jokes are just damned funny. In fact it would be easy enough to spin-off this whole idea into its own standalone game. It could let series like Fate/Apocrypha and Fate/Zero get a little more love. It could be the new Fate/Tiger Colosseum.
Speaking of which they should make a new Fate/Tiger Colosseum.
3. A Book is a Dream that you Hold in your Hand: Rise of the Light Novel
It is not as if Type-Moon has never ventured in light novel territory. Fate/Zero, and more importantly Kara no Kyoukai, prove that it is a medium they have shown some interest in but this year they have gone in full–bore. We have had volumes of Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Prototype: Fragments of Blue and Silver, Fire Girl, and the Lord El-Melloi II Case Files all in the same year. These all seems like interesting stories worth reading. I’m not sure all of them will be great but they are letting new authors get their hands into the vast and easily expandable Type-Moon universe. Like everything else there is a bias towards the Fate side of things but Fire Girl distinctly opens up some new doors a well. From what little I have read of Fate/Apocrypha summaries I have enjoyed what they are creating there.
I wish one or more of these titles could get picked up for an English release. In previous years that would seem like a mere pipe dream but with the renewed interest in Light Novels I can’t say the idea is utterly off the table.
I want to read about the adventures of Ameno (and other less important characters) damn it.
2. Type-Moon You Tube Stars: The 2014 April Fools Videos
I would be remiss not to mention this year’s April Fools event. While few things will be able to top Rojiura Satsuki Chapter Heroine Sanctuary I think that this year’s event was able to at least stand beside it. This year unveiled the “live streams” of several characters from the Type-Moon universe. One half of them revolved around Red Saber and the ladies of the Fate/Extra universe while the second group were about Satsuki Yumizuka and the rest of the Back Alley Alliance. The videos are hard to find now but if you want to watch Red Saber play Kancolle then they are all here. I really hope someone translates something past the first video.
See I mentioned something Tsukihime related in the list. So no one can complain now.
1. The Dream is Real!: A Fate/Hollow Ataraxia Translation!
It seemed like it would never be done but we finally got a full English translation of Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. It seemed to be a project forever designed to be 2/3 done. But this year I finally got to play the sequel to Fate/Stay Night. I have always been curious to learn more about Bazett and Caren so for that alone this was a delight. In that sense alone I feel like a major hole in my Type-Moon knowledge has finally been filled in with wonderful memories. I think the different storytelling in this game might disappoint some people but it is best to see the game as an addendum to the original story rather than a full-blown sequel. It definitely expands the story of Fate/Stay Night, fills in some holes, and creates some new avenues that are all worth exploring for fans of the series. You just have to realize they call it a fun disc for a reason. If you go in just wanting a fun time you will be most pleased.
Also I will never pass up more Saber.