Welcome to another 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.
Now that Type-Moon is a juggernaut of anime, manga, and games I have far too many choices for this list that I know what to do with. I could easily just make it a list of Top 10 Grand Order Moments without breaking a sweat but that would crowd out everything else that is Type-Moon and enough of the fandom already is a bit sick of how prominent it has become often at the expense of other parts of the franchise. So while I won’t ignore Grand Order I made sure to throw in a healthy amount of Type-Moon moments unrelated to the mobile game.
I will note that I consider anything that happened on New Years to be the stuff of 2019. So if you are wondering why Benienma or The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II anime is not on the list despite being crazy amazing you now know the reason.
10.I Assume Her Noble Phantasm is Eternal Recurrence – Yukika Saegusa as Pseudo-Servant Friedrich Nietzsche
For New Year’s Type-Moon had 2 specials. Fate/Grand Order -MOONLIGHT/LOSTROOM- was filled with lore and teasers for the next arc of Grand Order. While I enjoyed it immensely the special that threw me for a loop was the Fate/Grand Order x Himuro’s World: Seven Most Powerful Great Figures Chapter special.
For the longest time, it seemed like Fate/school Life was this mostly discarded Type-Moon manga. Even Koha-Ace and Melty Blood X get some amount of recognition but it seemed that Fate/school Life was that weird title for the super nerds. So seeing Eiichirou Mashin’s work being animated was a delight.
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the whole affair was seeing Yukika, Kane, and Kaede as Pseudo-Servants. They were some amazing choices that really could have only come from the mind of the person who threw Sepak Bola Api into a gag comedy manga about the students of the Homurahara Academy. As much as this category praises Yukika as Nietzsche I feel that mixing Kane and Amelia Jenks Bloomer is a product of divine inspiration. Kaede and Takuboku Ishikawa are pretty good too but the first two are just amazing.
All of that had me cracking up but also wondering when they were going to be added into Grand Order as Servants. Seriously though, we need a Fate/school Life event in Grand Order sooner rather than later.
9. Mahjong Legend Tamamo ~The Good Wife who Descended into Darkness~ – Fate/EXTELLA LINK Premium Edition
I’m super excited to play Fate/EXTELLA LINK this year but until I have experienced the story and improvements to the gameplay I’m going to avoid rushing to praise most of that title. The one thing I can celebrate is the amazing Japanese Premium Edition of the game.
The original Japanese Fate/Extella Premium Edition came with a lot of cool things like the small Material artbook but the item that stood out to most people was the tacky Saber Bride booby mouse pad. I for one shed no tears when it was not included with the English special edition. But when it came to the special edition for Fate/EXTELLA LINK I actually saw something I was sad not to get.
The Mahjong set for Fate/EXTELLA LINK just looks so cool. With Tamamo, Atilla, and Nero taking the place of the Three Suits and the rest of the cast being the Honor Tiles. While I don’t play mahjong I would love to own a set of Fate/Extra tiles like this. Who knows? Maybe I will have to team up with Koizumi to defeat Vladimir Putin with the fate of the world on the line. If that happens I really should own my own mahjong set.
8. Who is this Blue Haired Elf Eared Woman? – Taste of Autumn – Caster’s Training in Japanese Dish Cooking
Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family is a splendid series and any episode could easily be chosen for a Type-Moon moment of the year. The whole cast shines brightly while cooking and eating delicious food. The show is a delight that brings joy to fans of the series while being dangerous if watched on an empty stomach. That being the case I wanted to highlight an episode where a neglected main cast member got a chance to shine in a way that they usually miss in other versions of Fate.
Medea is never entirely forgotten as a Servant. She gets a good deal of attention in Unlimited Blade Works and she occasionally appears in side material. But if you compare her screen time and fan support to any other female character in the Fate series and you see that she pales in comparison to most anyone else when factoring in her importance to the plot. She might get more screen time than Ayako Mitsuzuri but the captain of the archery club is never really the main driving force of any arc of Fate either. So it is nice to see Medea get a chance to show off once in a while.
The story mostly revolves around Medea trying to learn to cook a traditional Japanese dinner for her husband and everyone else having a minor psychobilly freakout about that. Saber has some particularly good scenes of being suspicious of Caster but is pacified with food. She gets some good scenes with Shiro and provokes some warm feelings when she interacts with Souichirou.
It is not enough to break Medea into the top 10 most popular Type-Moon characters but it is a nice treat for anyone who loves her character. I’m also a little surprised that Tamamo’s Lonely Heart Club Band has never tried to study under a Good Wife, Wise Mother success story. She might just be able to give them a tip or two.
7. Best Married Couple – Sakamoto Ryōma and Oryou-san
So far the game has primarily focused on the ever-popular Shinsengumi went it comes to servants from the Bakumatsu period. That makes sense but we have not seen anyone from the Ishin Shishi movement. The first pair from the opposition of the Shinsengumi is darn strong.
This husband and wife duo leave a strong impression on the player with a style that feels like a character from Jojo’s. Sakamoto Ryōma has a mixture of sword and gun combat whereas his wife feels like a Stand. But their combination is where they really shine. They have effortless chemistry and a good balance between their personalities. They get a good deal of fan art because they work well for comedy as well as for badass combat poses. Their friendship with Okada Izō only helps their case.
Also if you look into the life of Oryou-san she comes off as quite the impressive individual. She could easily be a Servant all on her own.
6. Coming Out Strong – Napoleon
Overall Napoleon seems a fairly solid but otherwise unremarkable 5-star archer. He has some decent animation surrounding the giant cannon that he swings around one-handed and a flashy Noble Phantasm. If you need a farming Archer he has you covered. For most people, he is nice to get if you pull him randomly but otherwise forgettable.
The reason I bring him up is that he did cause quite a number of fans who are usually fairly quiet get very vocal in a good way. As much as Grand Order is often called a waifu simulator, and often for good reason, it is not only enjoyed by heterosexual guys even if that might be the game’s primary demographic. The fans of muscular men in Type-Moon fandom came out in full force with Napoleon’s release. You saw a bit of buzz when Ivan the Terrible was released but he was very unavoidably also in the monster boy category. Napoleon is a hunk that has a much simpler universal appeal.
While the fans of Servants like Napoleon are still a minority they are a minority you don’t really hear from much. I was very interested in hearing from them and hope that they get Servants that make them happy in the future. I’m 1000% sure I will continue to get Servants that appeal to me so I have no problem with everyone else getting Servants that make them happy as well. It makes for a stronger and more interesting community.
5. Ikenai Borderline – Valkyrie
While Maid Alter is definitely peak Takeuchi Takashi (Saberface, Maid, Motorcycles) I would say a very close second place would be the Valkyries. If you have ever looked back on Takeuchi’s old doujinshi work he did before he got famous you will notice there was a whole series about Valkyries called Valkyria. Ciel from Tsukihime is clearly based on Clobette from the series. The man clearly likes the choosers of the slain.
They are also just a neat variation on the standard Servant. They are the first multiple person Servants that feel like an actual team. You have had Servants like Orion, Anne Bonny & Mary Read, or Hundred-Faced Hassan but they usually feel like just a single Servant that has a neat gimmick for their NP. But each costumed ascension is represented by a different member of the Valkyries each with their own sprite and voice actress. It is like getting three Servants in one. Sadly we did not get the other six Valkyries in anything other than their NP but it would be naive to assume they will not get a different version down the line. I could easily see them being a free holiday Servant or getting a Summer version.
4. Order in a Meal from the Emiya Family – Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family Licence
I think it was no surprise that Crunchyroll picked up the Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family license. I would have been more shocked if no one was streaming a Type-Moon property given their recent popularity. But there is never that same guarantee with Type-Moon manga. While we are getting much more Type-Moon manga than ever before there is always a question about any Type-Moon related manga. Some have a distinctly higher probably than others but very few are guaranteed.
Fortunately, the newly formed publisher Denpa picked up Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family as one of their first titles out of the gate. While the first volume has yet to drop everything seems to be pointing towards this being a great release. I can’t wait to read about stories that were not in the anime as well as experience the old stories in their original format.
3. Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh Wgah’nagl Fhtagn – Katsushika Hokusai
There are some amazing Servants in Grand Order but few are so beautiful and well designed as Katsushika Hokusai. This father and daughter team seems a level above and beyond. The team seems to have a little extra love packed into them and I appreciate that.
When the Foreigner class was first introduced there was a lot of speculation on what sort of historical and fictional personas would be put into the class. So it was a little surprising when the second Foreigner was a famous Japanese painter. It really showed that the class had a bit more range than people might have had initially assumed because of Abigail Williams.
Also, there was an interesting little back and forth with the reaction. Since Katsushika Hokusai is an iconic artist there were some people groaning that another historical person had been gender-swapped if the Type-Moon universe. Given that the woman is the immediately notable part of the team it was a fair assumption. But even before the full translation came out I speculated that people maybe have been a little too quick to judge. I had seen Miss Hokusai in theaters so I had a feeling that the girl was Katsushika Ōi and the octopus was Katsushika Hokusai much like the Orion and Artemis combo. It turns out I was correct. I’m proud that I figured that out.
That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their design. If you see the animation you will see so many pieces of art from Ōi and Hokusai like Masculine Wave and Night Scene in the Yoshiwara as well as the iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Of course, the theme of their outfits is also tied to The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife because of course, it is. It is a great homage to art with a Type-Moon twist.
They are also just a wonderful looking servant. Their animation is just fluid and colorful. It integrates their art with combat in a way that feels fun and true to the characters. They also have an entirely new set of animation with their third ascension so it is almost like getting two Servants in one. It was more than they needed to do but it was very much appreciated.
And to cap it all off they are actually a useful Servant thanks to their ability to utterly decimate an enemies’ defenses with their Nom de Plume: Extraterrestrial Octopus skill. So they look good but also play good. If you roll for one Servant that is not an Artoria I would suggest this one.
2. RUN!RUN! Lancer! – Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower
Ufotable as been getting better with each Type-Moon property they animate. Their work on Kara no Kyoukai was like nothing that came before it and they have only upped their game each time after that. The Heaven’s Feel movies have to compress all of the third arc of Fate/Stay Night into three movies when the Unlimited Blade Works anime had 26 episodes to do a similar task. So far the movies have been hitting it out of the park while looking even nicer than the Unlimited Blade Works TV series.
While there are a lot of scenes I could highlight I have to say the fight between Lancer and True Assassin is the one that is going to stand out for most people. The fight is fluid and dynamic as they battle across the city. It starts off on a high structure, transitions to the streets on top of a truck, goes from building to building, and finally ends in the lake. Each part of the fighting taking elements of the setting into the battle which adds to the impact of the fight. It shows off Lancer’s abilities in full even if he eventually is killed due to interference from the Black Shadow and at the same time shows of True Assassin who has not really been seriously animated up until this point.
1. The Summer of Super Robot Wars – Everything About Servant Summer Festival! 2018
I have loved so many Grand Order events up until this point. They are often times funny little side stories that let the characters break the fourth wall while often still telling a compelling adventure tale. It is where the writers really get to let their hair down and poke fun at the fans and themselves. But the 2018 Summer Event was just so good. Combining Comiket with an American style convention in Hawaii was brilliant. Apparently, it was even based on some of the staff’s experience at Kawaii Kon. I’m sure that fact alone has had a few Type-Moon fans who have been to the convention wonder if they randomly passed by someone who worked on Grand Order and did not know it. Also the doujinshi created during the event were everything from cute to disturbing but always amusing.
But the Servants from the event were even better. First of all the fact that the free Servant was Summer Jeanne d’Arc Alter was shocking. You could have knocked over quite a few people with a feather when they revealed such a beloved character could be obtained by just playing the event. Now regular Summer Jeanne was a 5 star Servant but the fact that they were not both is the gacha was quite unexpected. On top of that, they gave Summer Jeanne d’Arc Alter a silly chuunibyou shtick whereas Summer Jeanne’s Noble Phantasm was an instant meme.
Leaving out the rest of the Servants in the event would be criminal. Ibaraki Dōji Lancer is tons of fun and has an amazing Nobel Phantasm. Summer Mebd is extremely funny and actually uses Caladbolg in her own special way. Summer BB could get her own place on the list with 2 very different forms, her great costumes, her unique class, her Space Jam style, and overall sexy attitude.
And then there is the lady herself. Mysterious Heroine X is back and now she is a Space Police officer. Mysterious Heroine XX has references to Gundam, the Metal Hero Series, Type-Moon lore, and mecha in general. Most unexpected her Noble Phantasm is a call back to Ado Edem of all things. Crazy. She solidified her place as my second favorite version of Artoria without breaking a sweat.
If anything this event set the bar very high. I’m curious what they could pull out next year to even come close?
So that was my list. Did you have any moments I missed? There were quite a few that I left off that might have even been more special to you.