Manga of the Month: Fate/Strange Fake

Fate/Strange Fake (フェイト/ストレンジフェイク)
by Ryohgo Narita and Shizuki Morii

It was only a mater of time before I got a proper Type-Moon manga in the Manga of the Month. (I did Take Moon but that is a total joke manga). The only problem is most of the manga based on Type-Moon properties are lesser adaptations of the works they are based on. The Tsukihime manga is far better than the infamous anime but that is faint praise indeed. I enjoy the various Melty Blood related manga but I’m not sure I would put any of them in this section any time soon. Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA is Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA. Yeah. So it is nice to get a full-fledged Type-Moon related manga in here without any guilt.

I will admit that I have only read the first chapter as of writing this post but given Fate/Strange Fake’s pedigree, what I saw of the chapter that has been translated, and the additional information I know let me be fairly confident in making it a Manga of the Month. Just in case it does all fall part in the end I will apologize in advance but so far so good.

After the Third Holy Grail War a group of American magi have attempted to replicate the infamous ritual through a mixture of subterfuge, research, and a bit of patchwork magecraft. While they were able to make an approximation of the original it is not a perfect copy. This False Holy Grail War only has six of the original seven classes and there are disturbing signs that there will be other major differences. But that has not stopped seven participants from summoning Heroic Spirit in hopes of winning the battle and grasping their desires. But this time the Holy Grail War takes place in American. Saver bless the USA … because nobody else will.

I think it is worth mentioning that this started out as an April Fools post for Type-Moon. Every year they do at least one silly little joke project. In 2008 the announcement for a new game called Fate/Strange Fake was released on April 1st. It was called Fake/States Night then but it was most of what would become Fate/Strange Fake.

Unlike silly projects like Neco-Arc The MovieHazakura Romantic, and the Type-Moon Wrestling League this actually seemed like something that could be real. The fact that they got the author of Baccano! and Durarara!! to write the post only lended an air of legitimacy to the project. Like all of the Type-Moon April Fools posts it was taken down on the second but the Internet never forgets. The idea stuck around long enough that last year the seed of a story put down in 2008 has been turned into a full novel and a manga series.

If there was any Fate franchise entry Kate might actually enjoy it would probably be this one. Gilgamesh is back and this time he seems uncorrupted by the filth of a tainted Holy Grail. There is also a Master who is a wolf. They even threw in the male blond Saber. Not sure how much more Kate you can get.

I am curious to see Shizuki Morii’s spin on the title since the original main character was just called The Player as the story was originally supposed to be a totally player defined character. In the story this character has been replaced by Ayaka Sajyou who was originally the main character from Fate/Prototype. Considering the fact that Gilgamesh and Tine Chelc are also being positioned as the protagonists it is a bit harder to determine who will be the winner of the Holy Grail War. In Fate/Stay Night it was fairly obvious who the winner was going to be. This time the winner seems more up in the air. That alone makes it interesting.

I know that Tsukihime fans are always bitter that Fate is the more prominent title but I think Fate/Strange Fake show why that is. There are so many different famous characters who can be used for different Holy Grail Wars that it is a wonderful playground for a wide variety of authors. A Holy Grail War written by Ryohgo Narita partically sells itself.

Who knows? They might even make one that does not have some version of Arturia Pendragon in it. I look forward to that as much as I look forward to the end of this series.

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