Mon 24 Dec 2012
Here we are, folks. It’s Christmas Eve and that means this is my last post for Desu ex Machina’s 12 Days of Anime, so let’s get this show on the road.
Day 11: Tripping and falling into the Type-Moon Fandom
It all started in April of this year with Fate/Zero. I had known of Fate/stay night before, but only by its title and that Saber, Rin, and Archer existed as characters. After kevo recommended I watch F/Z, I was a little skeptical, especially since he would refer to the F/SN anime as “Fate/Stay Away”, but I figured I’d give Gen the benefit of the doubt, considering how much I liked Madoka. At the time, 16 episodes were out; not having to deal with the months of hiatus between the two seasons, I was able to marathon all 16 episodes over the course of two days. A battle royale of historical and mythological figures? Yes, please.
I was intrigued by the strategic aspect of the Holy Grail War as the Masters figured out who to ally with, who to avoid, who each Heroic Spirit was, etc. It was awesome, and at the center of my new obsession was Saber. I immediately liked her within the first three episodes because of the intense strength in the glares she gives her opponents. It sends shivers up my spine, and seeing an attractive female character be that bad-ass is a rare treat. Not only did she look slick as fuck in her black suit, but she could also slice Cthulhu in half with one strike. I had no choice. My heart had been won and there was nothing I could do about it.
So there I was, I had caught up the Fate/Zero and needed more Saber in my life. What was I to do? I didn’t want to watch the Fate/stay night anime, so instead, I took a deep breath and entered the frightening world of visual novels.
In the week before episode 16 and 17 of Fate/Zero, I played and completed Saber’s route. I hated Shirou. In the Fate route, he came across as a sexist tool-bag that just needed to sit back and let Saber kick ass. Thanks to him though, Saber was able to accept her life and the outcome of the rule — and for that, I forgave him. Shirou put Saber at peace and finished the work that Rider had started in Fate/Zero.
After finishing Fate, I decided to play the other two routes for the sake of completion, despite it being finals week and everything. Unlimited Blade Works has quite a lot of super bad-ass parts as well as some of the worst god damn pacing in all of Nasu’s work. It’s thanks to UBW that I started liking Shirou, though, namely the snark-filled scenes with him and Rin. It’s hard for Rin not to make a scene great, though. I talk a lot of shit about Nasu’s writing, but Rin and Ilya are solid fucking gold.
Then came Heaven’s Feel. The first time, I pretty much sped through it and didn’t focus to much on what was going on because I just wanted to get F/SN over with. It was only a few months ago that I played through it again and actually payed attention. Despite the ludicrousness of Sakura’s situation, Nasu was still successful in motivating me to save her. Her steady break down over the course of route pained me and whenever there would be interludes with her crying about how much she’s hurting with everyone, my heart would bleed for her. That’s why it was important for me to finish it this time. She had to be saved, and she had to have her Shirou. To this day, I refuse to pair Shirou with anyone else. He belongs with Sakura; if Saber needs to be paired with anyone, it’s Rin.
After finishing Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, I did what I always do with my favorite anime characters: I went on Danbooru and saved absurd amounts of Saber pictures. After a while, noticed that certain outfits would keep coming up. Adorable street clothes? Maid Saber? Pool saber?! I had to be a part of this. Thus began my second journey into the land of visual novels.
This shit was bananas and exactly what I needed. While playing F/SN, I realized that Nasu is great at writing comedy, so F/HA was a godsend. I got more of Saber and all the other characters I loved and was able follow their shenanigans in a slice of life setting. So many scenes would have me laughing myself to tears, like Gilgamesh and Archer ruining Lancer’s fishing experience or Rider trying to seduce Shirou into letting her use the racing bike instead of the granny bike. I didn’t care too much about the serious parts with Bazett and Avenger, but some pretty bad-ass stuff went down because of them. The translation patch for F/HA was only 80% complete at that time, so I cannot wait to play again when it is complete.
Then came a pause in my consumption of Type-Moon media. As with F/HA, my next calling was signaled by pictures that intrigued me, urging me to track down their source and assimilate it.
I went into Carnival Phantasm without knowing too much about Tsukihime/Melty Blood, but still loved it to pieces. I was helpless against the opening; “Super Affection” is the tactical nuke of upbeat, diabetes-inducing anime openings. Combined with seeing Saber doing that dance? I was done.
The first episode alone was enough to assure me that I was in for a good time what with the Holy Grail War reduced to a game show with events like the Servants playing karuta. Then came the Tsukihime beach episode, Shirou and Shiki dating all their love interests at once, the race between all the Holy Grail War teams, and Caster’s weebtastic Saber room. AH, IT’S SO GOOD. If you’re a Type-Moon fan, it is your imperative to watch this show; it’s so god damn funny.
In an effort to get more of the jokes in Carnival Phantasm, I set off on a quest through time; back to the very beginning of Type-Moon visual novels.
It was quite the adjustment, going from Fate/hollow ataraxia to Tsukihime. This was back in the day when Takeuchi Takashi art left much to be desired. Is it so hard to draw matching eyes for Akiha? Or is she just doomed to have one eye be bigger than the other for all eternity? As for the writing, there were a number of parts that made it clear that Nasu had yet to understand what tolerable pacing and writing looked like, namely, the infamous “this chair” segment.
Thankfully, my fascination with Shiki’s Mystic Eyes of Death Perception and the general Nasu-verse won out against my exasperation, leading me to through all five routes, my favorites being Acueid’s. Arc was just so adorable and upbeat, but still able to kick unholy amounts of ass. Thinking about her True End still makes me sad, but at least I have Carnival Phantasm to cheer me up.
Special mention goes to Kohaku. I was interested in her even back when I was playing Arc’s and Ciel’s routes, I liked her cheerful attitude and wanted to know more about her. The closer I would get to her route, however, the more it was clear that something was very wrong, culminating in the end of Hisui’s route. Kohaku had forced my hand, like Sakura, and now I had no choice but to save her.
Needless to say, I am pretty hyped about the Tsukihime remake that has been in the works for a while. Lots of people are upset with some of the redesigns of the characters, but if it means the whole VN will be Mahou Tsukai no Yoru tier, I will gladly accept them.
Well there you have it. Several months later and I have several years of Type-Moon under my belt, showing no signs of slowing down. Damn Nasu for getting me fascinated in his universe full of magic, vampires, and glorious character. Damn Takeuchi for coming up with gorgeous female characters and baller male characters. I plan to finish the demo of Mahoyo soon and then kevo and I plan to watch the Kara no Kyokai movies. I may never be able to escape the clutches of TM, but then again, I don’t really want to. It’s not really a “moment” in anime this year outside of the fact that Fate/Zero was airing this year, but thanks to it, I was introduced to this rich universe full of awesome characters and great stories. For that, my experience with the Type-Moon works remains my favorite anime related moment of this year.