Welcome to my sixth year of doing retrospectives on coolest moments that came out of Type-Moon in all of its various iterations. I should mention up front that this is a personal list. These are the events, announcements, games, characters, items, and pieces of fandom that have made me happy this year from Type-Moon. It is not necessarily the best of Type-Moon but merely what reminded me why I love so much of what comes out of the company.
That means that if something is missing from this list it does not mean it was not important and/or cool. I am not an omniscient so there is a good chance lots of little pieces and even some major elements of the fandom may escape my notice. Also, I can’t read Japanese so that cuts me off from a lot of what is happening in Japan. It also means most of the Japanese fandom is a complete mystery. In the end, I just have my own tastes so what might be incredibly important to me might otherwise be trivial for you and vice versa.
Fate/Grand Order went from the 800-pound gorilla of the Type-Moon universe to the Galactus. Therefore I actually to make an effort to ensure this was not a list of 11 Fate/Grand Order items and then one item from anything else. While Fate/Grand Order is still a massive part of this list I tried to remember some highlights from the rest of the universe.
0. Sayonara – The Melancholy Part of the Post
I always use this post to focus on the positive in Type-Moon fandom. I might bring up a complaint, problem, or fault in the discussion of what I love in the year but overall each point is a marvelous part of my year all things considered. But felt I had to start this post with a bit of somber reflection before I moved on to what was great.
The first bit of heavy news was that Miyu Matsuki, the voice actress for Hisui and Magical Sapphire passed away last year. This year she was replaced by Yumi Kakazu. Yumi Kakazu has been doing a good job but Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 3rei!! was a stark reminder that Miyu Matsuki was sadly no longer with us.
St the same time Risa Taneda could no longer voice Mash Kyrielight after getting sick and has been replaced by Takahashi Rie. While Risa Taneda is thankfully still alive it is still horrible to hear that she has gotten sick enough that she can no longer play the role.
I felt it would be irresponsible not to pay my respects to the voice actresses who have added so much to the Type-Moon universe when tragedy touches their lives.
12. Toranoana – Mother Flipping Jaguar Man
Let me start with a story. When Babylonia dropped in Fate/Grand Order I was talking to my roommate about some of the new Servants that were added to the game. One of them was Jaguar Man aka Taiga Fujimura. We both had a good laugh about her and her goofy tiger pajamas. He then asked if they had ever drawn Taiga dressed as a mobster considering her family. I said that if it existed I had never seen it but it seemed a surprising omission considering that the Type-Moon staff has always had a soft spot for her. Since we were discussing the chapter while almost no one had finished the chapter there was still a good deal of information coming in.
When we got home we discovered the amazing truth. After more people had obtained Jaguar Man they ascended her to her max level. Then her true nature was revealed. It was like Type-Moon was spying on our conversation and decided that a Mobster Tiaga was the best idea ever.
She is amazing. Good job Type-Moon.
11. Super Soaker Saber – The Debut of Artoria Pendragon (Archer) & Chums
Look, Artoria Pendragon (Archer) is not the new Mysterious Heroine X. Who could be that awesome? But she is a nice addition to the Artoria Pendragon pantheon. All that is left is the Artoria Pendragon version of Berserker and Caster before getting into really obscure classes. I sadly did not roll her during the Summer Event but hope always springs eternal.
That said the rest of the Summer variants of Servants were actually pretty fun. Now let’s call a spade a spade. They were clearly made to have versions of popular characters that show off a little more skin (or just have different skimpy outfits in some cases.) But they also made them interesting. While they are eye candy they also are more than that.
The standouts are distinctly Saint Martha (Ruler) and Mordred (Rider). Saint Martha not only adds an awesome addition to a class that does not have many members but she made a cool character even cooler. Her mixture of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Fist of the North Star influences make you wish she was not a limited time summon. Mordred (Rider) is just has a very amusing concept around the idea that King Arthur had both a shield and a boat named Pridwen. This gives Mordred a stolen magical surfboard.
I will also admit that Tamamo no Mae (Lancer) is not as clever as some of the other Summer Servants but I found her intensely aesthetically pleasing.
Hopefully, 2017 will give the fans a summer event with some male servants in beachwear alongside their fellow female warriors.
10. Prisma Illya 4: Sword Dancing All Night – A Good Year For Chloe von Einzbern
Over the last year, I have really come to appropriate Chloe von Einzbern. For the longest time, she just seemed like a rebellious and somewhat scandalous dark-skinned version of Illyasviel von Einzbern. But over the course of the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime, I have come to appreciate what she adds to the dynamic of the show besides an even more lascivious element to the series.
When the Prisma Causeway Event was announced I was curious to see what rarity Chloe would be. When she turned out to be the free servant I was thrilled. She is an excellent character to the point where she is actually better than the other 4 Star Archers I have. I was very happy to get her without having to rely on my otherwise mediocre luck.
Overall I feel like this was a solid year for Chloe. She has really stepped out of her sister’s shadow to become her own woman. An impressive feat for a character what was generally made as a tip of the hat to a popular if somewhat obscure fan made character.
9. The Cutest Knight of Treachery – Type-Moon April Fools 2016
The last few April Fool events at Type-Moon have been rather impressive. Rojiura Satsuki Chapter Heroine Sanctuary in 2013 was a mini visual novel with a little faux Pokémon battle system in it. In 2014 the TM-channel had some lengthy drama CD styled videos alongside an elaborate website. Lastly, 2015 revised the fake in-character Twitter feeds taking the nascent idea of telling an April Fools story over social media and blowing it up to a whole affair with 27 characters and several websites all telling a series of connected stories throughout the day.
This year is was clear that Fate/Grand Order was eating up enough time that the April Fools was much more low-key the previous three years. But in compensation, it was super cute. Riyo, the author of Learn with Manga! FGO redesigned all the Servants in Fate/Grand Order in his silly style and they replaced the character art for the day in Fate/Grand Order.
There were a lot of great portraits in the mix but I think one of the most popular was an unusually happy armored Mordred. She alone made the whole event worthwhile.
8. Elementary – Sherlock Holmes is afoot in Fate/Grand Order
When people started data mining Fate/Grand Order they found a list of potential future servants. So far the list seems fairly accurate but of some of the Servants are still unreleased. One of the Servants I was really excited to see was Sherlock Holmes. But when the chapter in England came along he was nowhere to be seen as a summonable Servant.
But he has now appeared in the game. So far he has only been an NPC investigating the mysteries of the game but it is only a matter of time before he is fully added as a Servant. I really hope that I can pull him when that happens.
I was amused that the Fate/Grand Order version of Sherlock Holmes is clearly inspired by the Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the character in Sherlock. It makes sense as it is the version of the character that would jump to most people’s mind first after Cumberbatch became such a phenomenon.
7. Zero to Hero – The Reveal of True Archer in the Fate/strange fake
Even in a very fractured fandom, there are usually a few things most people agree on. Type-Moon is no exception. One of the few ideas most people rally behind is seeing Hercules as an Archer. As one of the most recognizable Greek heroes but he was just a hulking monster due to being summoned as a Berserker during Fate/Stay Night. A good deal of people wanted to see him in his full glory with his preferred class. He would not only be more powerful but he could be articulate.
Then the Fate/strange fake manga added the True Servants which was a set of crazy powerful servants that were not in the original set of Servants. When they finally revealed the identity of True Archer I think I actually felt a tear of gratitude stream down the face of fandom. He is a bit of an odd case of Hercules since he has the attributes of an Archer and an Avenger and is going by Alcides for reasons that too long for this post. Still, it is Hercules shooting a bow in a fashion that even puts Gilgamesh to shame.
The dream was real. Ryohgo Narita has your back Type-Moon fandom.
6. Don’t Be So Theatrical – Type-Moon Goes to the Movies in 2017
Other than Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Drei! there was not that much Type-Moon anime this year. Considering how much anime has come out lately it has been a bit of a moment for everyone to catch their breath. But 2017 is shaping up to be a huge burst of energy after this lull in the sea.
Heaven’s Feel is going to get a trio of movies from Ufotable so that all three paths of Fate/Stay Night will be animated in one form or another. The next leg of the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya series is going to the big screen as well. One top of that Fate/Extra is getting a TV series in the form of Fate/Extra Last Encore. The cherry on top is the Fate/Grand Order ‐First Order- TV special with hints that there is more to come.
Plus that is just what was announced this year. I would not be surprised if there was a Fate/Apocrypha and or Fate/Strange Fake series on the horizon.
5. The Steam Machine – Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code is Available on Steam
Melty Blood has always been a rather niche game that is several levels deep. It is an obscure part of the family of anime fighting games which is in itself in the ghetto of the larger niche that is fighting games. The fact that Melty Blood is based on a larger series of games that have no official release in English plus the game itself had not official released put it on a short list of games that would be licensed. While the game has done well in Japan it has always been an obscure game in English and only really played by the most die-hard.
With changes in getting on Steam making it easier for games to get a widespread distribution a major sea change occurred in which titles could get an English release. It means that a game like Melty Blood became a much more viable title. Now you can get a full translated version of the latest version of Melty Blood. Considering it is the version with Shiki Ryougi it is probably the best version to have.
If nothing else it is a small meal to hopefully help Tsukihime fans deal with their long wait for the Tsukihime remake.
4. Material Girl – Fate/Complete Character Material Artbook Gets an English Release
Melty Blood was not the only major Type-Moon resource to get an official English translation. Udon Entertainment also licensed the Fate/Complete Character Material Artbooks. The books have a wealth of information contained within them. While a lot of that material has filtered out to the fandom it is still nice to have the book released officially. I’m very curious to see the translation of the third book. The World material book has the most text and the most of the new material not in the games. I enjoyed the first book and I really am looking forward to the other books. I already preordered the second book.
3. Let’s Make Some Crazy Money – Fate/Grand Order makes out like Gangbusters
There is a reason the staff at Type-Moon would not have enough time to work on the April Fools event like they have in the past this year. They were probably all working on Fate/Grand Order and with good reason. That game makes CRAZY money. There are three prime indicators of this. The first is the fact that Fate/Grand Order comes up every time Sony has an earning report. It does well enough that it is something they bring up to stockholders and investors to reassure them that everything is going swimmingly. The second is that the game just had a big roll-out in China. The third is that Bloomberg just wrote up an article with an accompanying video about how Fate/Grand Order is actually doing better than Pokemon Go in Japan. If that does not speak volumes I don’t know what does.
It has shown in the game. The events have become more complex and frequent as the game has been proven to be more profitable. Also, a lot of the characters who had simpler animation and sprites have gotten significant upgrades. The newer characters are also pretty complex. Look at Ishtar’s animation, the original Elizabeth Bathory (who should be getting an overhaul soon) to her recent Elizabeth Bathory (Brave) variant, or the original Atilla vs. her upgraded graphics.
It is very clear that Fate/Grand Order has been doing VERY good for Type-Moon so I expect to see get a good amount of time and money poured into it as it continually only seems to be a great return on investment.
2. An Event to Remember – A String of Great Fate/Grand Order Events
Speaking of the events in Fate Grand Order they have been getting really good. While most people were not too impressed with the initial Nero Festival and Moon Goddess Event they really started picking up steam with the Halloween 2015 Event. Since then the events have always been something to look forward to.
The Saber Wars Event was hysterical and introduced Mysterious Heroine X into the game. The fact that they acknowledged Lilly Saber’s crotch-focused beam was a nice touch. The Kara no Kyoukai Collaboration Event opened the door to other Type-Moon properties as well as just having an interesting design with the missions inside the apartment complex from Paradox Spiral. Fate/Accel Zero Order was an equally complex event with great added Servants. The Island building in the FGO 2016 Summer Event was hysterical. I loved the Prisma Causeway Event and getting a free Chloe was the cherry on top. The fact that they added to the older events like the Halloween 2016 Event that allowed new players to get important free Servants while giving everyone something new to do at the end. I also really like the retro game and RPG nods in the Halloween 2016 Event.
The events in are really the highlight of Fate/Grand Order making already a good game much more enjoyable.
1. Ad Astra Per Aspera – The Past Present and Future of Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star
The biggest event without a doubt was the release of Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star. While Fate/Grand Order is only a little over a year old it has already established itself quite handily. In many ways, it is a known quantity. Fate/Extella despite being the third game in a series it is so radically different from the games that came before it that it can be examined as a new title, a piece of the Fate/Extra series, or a branch of the greater Fate Universe. It has really opened up storytelling possibilities for the Servants of the Holy Grail War.
Fate/Extella is a revival of a part of the Fate Universe that seemed to be in cold sleep. After Image Epoch filed for bankruptcy it seemed like the Fate/Extra series might be down for the count. But now Fate/Extella is continuing the series with more of Dynasty Warriors battle system instead of the Rock-Paper-Scissors system that was probably the least popular part of the first two games.
The game really allows the Fate/Extra cast to spread their wings. Nero and Tamamo no Mae were already very popular characters and this is just another chance to expand their characters. While they are also in Fate/Grand Order they have a great deal space to expand their characters then they would in the mobile game. Just look at how much they have expanded Attila in Extella despite being one of the poster girls from Grand Order when the game debuted. The Extella series could easily be used to expand on the character and history of popular Grand Order characters like Scathach, Sakata Kintoki, or Edmond Dantes.
I think the fact that the publisher presumably planned to release the game here simultaneously with the Japanese release to be rather bold. Now they might have just been using the Japanese release date as a place-holder but as it stands the English release is poised to come out in January. It is crazy to think that a Type-Moon game would (hopefully) come out two months after it came out in Japan. For the longest time, the English-speaking world was not even a factor when it came to Type-Moon. Now at least Marvelous factors us into their plans.
Considering Fate/Extella took up three places in the best-selling games in Japan the week it debuted it would be shocking if they did not make a sequel in the future. This will almost assuredly be series that shapes the franchise for years to come.
As I stated at the top this is just MY list of Top 12 Type-Moon Moments for 2016. I clearly overlooked some very cool events in the fandom and I am curious what they were. If you have your own list I would love to hear them in the comment sections or see some response posts from other blogs.
Hopefully, 2017 will have even more Type-Moon Moments!
Just in case here are the previous Type-Moon Moments posts: