Picking on what to focus on in the intro to my yearly Type-Moon Moments post used to be very easy. There would be one big title that could be the focus and then everything else was little points of interest that were relevant to me. Now that Type-Moon has really become popular there is a constant stream of anime, manga, light novels, events, cafés, games, and merchandise to choose from. We might not get all of it here in America. There is still a significant amount of Type-Moon titles that don’t get translated especially if they are long like the novels. If Lord El-Melloi II Case Files or Fire Girl was the best thing this year I can’t tell you about that. But there was enough other items to pick from that it might be for the best that I don’t have everything to choose from otherwise I might have to bump this up to Top 20 Type-Moon Moments for 2015.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room was definitely Fate/Grand Order. Any other year Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season would have been the main tent pole that everything crowded around as a side-show. This year it had to share the spotlight with the mobile game. You could easily make a list that was nothing more than Top 10 Type-Moon Moments in Fate/Grand Order for 2015.
10. Saberface, You’ve got the Cutest Little Saberface
Fate/Grand Order like any meaty RPG has a good deal of statics that are visible and even a few that are hidden under the hood. You have you obvious statistics and attributes like Hit Points and Class that are prominently displayed and then there are things you have to dig for in the code like Attributes, Star Absorption, and Instant Death Rate. But the most amusing stat is Saberface.
Yup. There is a stat that merely tracks how much a character looks like Artoria Pendragon. Clearly characters like Fate/Stay Night Saber and Lily Saber have max Saberface but also characters like Nero and Joan of Arc have the stat. It makes certain characters like Lancelot, Gilles de Rais, and Caligula target characters with the Saberface attribute and I am sure that Mysterious Heroine X will have a bonus to attacking those characters when she is put in the game.
If nothing else it displays the fact that Type-Moon still has a keen awareness of the in-jokes and terminology of the fandom. The existence Brainwasher Detective proved that long ago and the fact Saberface in now a term that the company uses shows that they are still tuned into what Type-Lunatics joke about among themselves.
9. Theme Park Panic! At The Disco
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is what it is. As a magical girl parody of Fate/Stay Night center around Illya there is going to be a distinct risky dangerous aspect to the show especially if they are catering to the less savory parts of her fandom. But while Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya can be externally squicky when icky parts come up it can be powerful on the opposite end of the spectrum when it is hitting it out of the park with some strong comedy or exciting action. The fact that it gave Bazett some time to shine lets the good parts counterbalance the objectionable scenes.
So when they split Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! into 2 separate anime seasons it was obvious that they were going to have to add some anime original material. While the new episodes were not guaranteed to be horrible it was also clear that if you were a bookie it would be in your best interest not to make the odds on “the filler episodes are horrible” too enticing. But despite that the new stories were actually enjoyable.
Theme Park Panic! was far better than I ever expected it to be. It was funny, cute, actually had a bit of character growth, and even worked in some drama and intrigue into what was otherwise a fluffy comedy episode. More importantly it had all those tones in a way that let one mood transition into another in a smooth manner. That alone is a delicate and easy to bumble balancing act that far too many shows can’t pull off.
It also had some great Bazett and Caren scenes that gave it a huge boost. The fact that it also had lots of Saber references just knocked it out of the park.
Good job, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz!! Lets hope they can pull off that same magic again with Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei!!
8. Move Over Tokiomi Tohsaka. The Real Elegant Bastard is Here. (Emphasis on the Bastard)
Speaking of great original material everything surrounding Atrum Galliasta really just made the already excellent Unlimited Blade Works even better. Caster’s original Master was the most generic cowardly plotter. There is a reason he was Sir-Not-Appearing-in-this-Holy-Grail-War in the original visual novel. There was no reason to waste an original character design on him.But since they decided to build up Caster in this version of the anime they needed to bump up her back story as well.
In this regard they added Atrum Galliasta as Caster’s first Master. That required a bit of retcon but it was worth it. Atrum Galliasta is far more fun to hate making him infinitely more memorable. They also tied him to Kayneth giving the series a greater connection to Fate/Zero at the same time.
There are lots or minor and major tweaks that make the Unlimited Blade Works anime stand as an equal besides the visual novel but nothing is more emblematic than this.
Plus the fact that Bazett was alluded to in Atrum Galliasta’s story really makes me hope that the future is going to give us a Fate/Hollow Ataraxia anime.
7. Sasaki Kojirou, The Savior of France
For the longest time Assassin has been the middle child of the Fate/Stay Night cast. He has never has a chance to be popular like Archer or Rider but at the same time he has never really been hated like Shiro or Sakura. He can’t even dream of being Saber popular but that is a unobtainable dream even for most of the popular cast members. If anything he has always just been … there. Mostly overlooked by the main gate of the Ryuudouji Temple. His only time to shine is during his fight with Saber and for gag material. Even then no one rushes to play his path in Fate/Tiger Colosseum.
Then Fate/Grand Order came along. It seemed like Kojirou was destined to be the middle child of the game again. He was the lowest rarity so his stats were mediocre despite the facts that his skills were actually quite excellent. He mostly seemed like someone who you would get until you got any decently rare Assassin and then never touch him again. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Then the second chapter happened. France is filled with dragons. Really hard dragons. It was sort of stumbling point for players as most characters either has no advantage against the dragons or were weak to them. Assassins were strong against them but few people had the rare Assassins. It basically seemed like you either had two options. Find someone who had a high level assassin to team up with or just grind your way through the section. But then people had a revelation. Kojirou was really common, easy to level, and super effective against dragons. All of a sudden Kojirou’s fortunes had changed.
Kojirou was all of a sudden in the spotlight. It seemed like everyone had a Kojirou in their party. He was the center of 1,001 memes as the Savior of France. He was actually shipped with other characters to the point were recent events have actually made reference to the fact. He was the forgotten cast member no more. He had finally ascended to the level of the popular characters.
The real question is if the Kojirou boom will last. With new chapters coming out, better assassins being added to the game, and dragons not being the problem they once were it already seems that without a new reason for him to stay in the spotlight most people won’t be using the saying, “Dragons are just bigger swallows” in a year or two. Sic transit gloria mundi.
But at least for a brief time he was a star.
6. Rider Ships Reinhard x Kircheis
The April Fools event for this year was quite elaborate. They created a bunch of twitter accounts for various Type-Moon characters that would tweet in-character for the day. In 2010 they had done a similar event on a much smaller scale with just a few characters and the occasional cross over. 2015 had twice the characters, multiple elaborate intersecting plotlines, accompanying web sites, and just more content within the tweets as well. It was like 2010 was the test run and 2015 was the real deal.
But the most interesting part (which is no small accomplishment) of the whole affair had to be the fact that we learned that Rider is a huge Legend of the Galactic Heroes fan. She ships Reinhard x Kircheis and thinks the best characters are Yang and Oberstein. Clearly a woman of fine tastes. If you did not think there were enough reasons to love Medusa they added another one to the list.
After that point I noticed more and more hints that the Type-Moon staff were totally into LotGH as the Fate/GUDAGUDA Order above proves. At that point if my love for Medusa grow twice as much then my love for Type-Moon in general grew tenfold.
BTW: That comic above is filled with spoilers. Just so you know.
5. A Christmas Miracle – Santa Alter
The Holiday events in Fate/Grand Order have been pretty good so far. They have given out good prizes, had funny storylines, and can break the monotony of grinding and how you play the game when they are going on. They have also clearly gotten more elaborate as they have gone on. The Nero Festival was a change of pace but it was mostly just a generic tournament with some cool prizes. But by the time the GUDAGUDA Honnouji Event rolled around there were storylines, in jokes, and the overall feel that these are not just thrown out there willy-nilly but have some thought and craft placed into them. Plus the free gold characters are not THE BEST high level characters but the are a godsend to us free to play users.
I would have picked the GUDAGUDA Honnouji Event as my moment of awesome in 2015. Okita Souji and Oda Nobunaga’s good-a-doof antics really were charming and made their delay into entering the game worth it. But then the Christmas event came.
I am merely a man made of flesh. I can be bought. Apparently my price is Saber is a black Santa outfit.
4. The Rebirth of Arihiko Inui
What is more bitter than a rich dark roast coffee with no milk or sugar? The answer is hard-core Tsukihime fandom. Every time anything Fate related comes out, especially if it involves Saber (which is most of the time), they are just a passive-aggressive mob of hard feelings. But their one shining light on the horizon is the Tsukihime Remake. If only that were finally finished then there is a chance the White Princess of the True Ancestors could rise to her old throne of prominence. The main problem is that Fate stuff keeps popping up and Bloodborne does not play itself. It seemed like something Nasu liked to occasionally talk about more than actually release.
But this year there was a little more progress. There were characters designs for more than just the main heroines, a little more information about the game, and even a new character in the form of Noel. I doubt everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting for the reveal of a female homeroom teacher but it was a major sign that something was happening behind the scenes that was not Nasu getting better with the Kirkhammer. Also the hope for the Sacchin path with the news that is was not just a graphic overhaul but an upgrade of the story as well.
But the part of the whole reveal that surprised me the most was the redesign of Arihiko Inui. It is not that I thought that he would be dropped from the game. I just assumed that he would never be shown as part of a preview. He seemed like the sort of character that had a small be dedicated following of ladies. Someone that they would rush to post after the game came out to anyone who cared about him. The fact that they went out of their way to show him off to build up hype is cool. All too often the female characters get all the attention in the marketing so a little love for the guys is much appreciated.
Now just remember Tsukihime fandom:
- Fate/Grand Order is going to have more events in the future and as far as I can tell they are making money hand over fist with those.
- The Bloodborne: The Old Hunters DLC pack is out.
- Dark Souls III should be out just as everyone has played through everything in The Old Hunters.
So what I am saying is FromSoftware does not want you to have nice things and maybe you should not hold your breath until you get the Tsukihime Remake.
3. Victory for Saber Fans Everywhere!: The Sunny Day OVA
I very much enjoyed Ufotable’s take on Unlimited Blade Works. It had its flaws but overall it really captured the visual novel experience in a different medium. But as the show came to an end I began to wonder which ending the would go for. The melancholy Brilliant Years or the happier Sunny Day? I had a distinct feeling that they were going to go with Brilliant Years but I held out hope for my preferred ending. In the end they went with the choice that spoke the most to the fans which was probably for the best.
But I still wondered if maybe just maybe would we get a little treat with a Sunny Day extra added to the home video release. It would have been a nice little extra for anyone who played the games and wanted to see Saber get some degree of happiness (because none of that would be in Heaven’s Feel.) But there was also a distinct possibility that the extra would just be something like the Garden of Avalon novella or the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room specials. A nice little treat but not the good ending I was hoping for.
But lo and behold the Sunny Day OVA was included AND subtitled on the box set. It is hardly the grand affair with extra materials that Brilliant Years got but that is OK. Sunny Day itself is a simpler ending therefore we got exactly what we needed out of it.
Also I can’t understand why more people don’t love Sunny Day. When Queen Tohsaka can have her Saber and some Shiro on the side at the same time it truly is a great sunny day for everyone.
2. New Fate/Grand Order Servants
There are some solid legitimate complaints about the mechanics and ethical nature of free to play games. The thing is because they want to keep you on the treadmill they are constantly adding new material. That means that Fate/Grand Order has more new Servants, art, story, and world building than any previous Fate title. You can explore minor characters like Scathach, Kiyohime, or Euryale while giving alternate takes on characters like Saber Gilles de Rais, Caster Cú Chulainn, and young Iskandar.
Oh and more Sabers. So many more Sabers.
But some of the best characters have been the characters who are new for the game like Marie Antoinette, Hector, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Saint Martha, and Arjuna. They are great additions to the universe who I would love to see in other material. Plus with characters like Sherlock Holmes, Nikola Tesla, Charles Babbage, and Cleopatra on the horizon I can’t wait to see who comes next.
Also give me Jaguar Man (Taiga Fujimura) and Heroine X yesterday. Thank you.
1. The Best Gift of All: Heroine X 1/7 Complete Figure
Speaking of Heroine X the dream is real. She has gone from the best dressed girl in Back Alley Satsuki – Chapter Heroine Sanctuary to a proper figure. I assumed she would be on the market on April 2nd but apparently Type-Moon needed to keep me in suspense.
But the proper sacrifices were made and dues were paid and now she is here. Saber in a suit is still the BEST Saber but Mysterious Heroine X is a close second.
Now we just have to wait for the Santa Alter figure. (Plus I’m sure they are working on the Lancer King Arthur (Alter) figure as we speak even if she is not in the game yet.)
But that is what 2016 is for.
I originally had this as an entry for our Narutaki & Hisui VS. The Best of 2015 post but Kate said that games did not count for the awards post. Since I already wrote it up I decided to just put it here as a little extra for the post.
Favorite Non-Canon Pairing
(The Couple I Don’t Talk About Award)
Saint Martha and Sasaki Kojirou from Fate/Grand Order This is the very silly category for very silly pieces of headcanon. Since this is probably the most loosey goosey part of the awards post I am going to go throw the silly throttle to the maximum with a pair from Fate/Grand Order. Fate/Grand Order may have more story than most mobile free to play games it still is what it is. But it allows Type-Moon characters who would never usually interact in anything but gag manga actually clash swords, fight together, and sometimes even fall in love. So the sister of Lazarus and the loser of the duel of Ganryū Island can become star-crossed lovers.
At least they can become power couple in the eyes of fandom.
It is funny. Sasaki Kojirou has always been the red-headed step child of the original Fate/Stay Night. He never really had a fandom. He was not even particularly hated either. He was just someone who people usually said things like, “I guess I sort of liked him as well” or “I never really cared too much for him.” Most of the other cast member overshadowed him. But since he was insanely useful but easy to get in the French portion of the game he quickly started to gain a fan following like he never had before.
Saint Martha only just premiere Fate/Grand Order but quickly gained a decent fan following. Her mixture of Catholic school girl and sukeban delinquent made her the darling of a good deal of players. The fact that she is easy on the eyes does not hurt.
Since Kojirou got famous in the game for his effectiveness killing dragons and Saint Martha is known as the dragon tamer fandom started to pair them together. The pairing is popular enough that a recent event even referenced it. It is not anything remotely canonical but the fact that they are willing to make it a ship tease shows how prevalent the idea was.
I mostly just support the idea because I like the story behind it and I like the fact that it keeps Kojirou in the spotlight.
Just in case here are the previous Type-Moon Moments posts:
Top 7 Type-Moon Moments for 2014
Top 11 Type-Moon Moments for 2013
Top 7 Type-Moon Moments for 2012
Top 5 Type-Moon Moments for 2011