Genre: Action, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural
Release: OVA (2011)
Simultaneously released with the third season of Carnival Phantasm, is Fate/Prototype, a 12-minute anime digest that showcases the original story of Kinoko Nasu’s Fate/Stay Night, before refurbishing it to suit the PC-based eroge visual novel and anime we know today.
It’s pretty amazing that Kinoko was able to come up with this masterpiece when he was still in college! Then he and Takeuchi Takashi formed Typemoon afterwards. Little is revealed regarding the other characters, but it’s nice to see them in anime form.
The original story is famously known for its gender-switched protagonists where the master is female, and servant Saber, male. I guess this is how it’s really supposed to be (considering that Saber IS King Arthur), but this setup probably posed a number of problems when it was being transposed to an eroge visual novel. It would be so weird if the player assumes the role of a female, and be constantly done by the other protagonists, antagonists and even the supporting characters. Reverse-eroge, perhaps?! Lol.
Meet Sajyou Ayaka, the archetype of Emiya Shirou and the master of Saber. It is revealed that her father and older sister both died in the Holy Grail War eight years ago, and is now forced to participate in the upcoming war. Unlike Shirou, she comes from a line of Magi, but is mediocre in it, therefore developing a complex against her genius older sister. But like Shirou, she also gets pursued by Lancer and is saved by Saber after.
Next up, Saber! Also identified as King Arthur Pendragon of legend, but is completely different from his counterpart, Arturia Pendragon. He seems to be happy-go-lucky and playful around his master, Ayaka, and isn’t plagued by the troubles brought by his past. The female Saber, on the other hand, is always dead serious, stiff, and couldn’t get a joke or two. Their relationship is similar to that of Rin Tohsaka and Archer’s.
Reiroukan Misaya is the counterpart of Rin Tohsaka, and is the master of Lancer. Like in today’s Fate/Stay Night, she goes to the same school as Ayaka. Not much is known about her, except that she really wants to kill the protagonist, and that she herself gets killed sometime in the war due to a curse, making Lancer valid to form a contract with a new master.
Lancer in Fate/Prototype pretty much plays the same role: tracking down the protagonist to kill him/her, which then leads to the summoning of servant Saber. Sometime during the war, his Master Misaya would die due to a curse. He will later form a contract with the protagonist Ayaka, who at the time lost her servant to Berserker’s master. He would then fight both Berserker and a corrupted Saber, while Ayaka will face the master of Berserker to reclaim her command seals.
Archer is the archetype of Gilgamesh and his master is a president of a skyscraper that overlooks the city. Unlike his counterpart, he does not refer to other people as ‘mongrels’ but he still thinks of himself as the strongest servant around even though his class is just third among the Holy Grail Servants – Saber being first. He falls in love with Ayaka at first sight, and considers Saber to be his love rival. Unlike in the series, Gilgamesh falls in love with Saber and tried to kill Emiya numerous times.
The one who assumes the evil role of Kotomine Kirei is Sancraid Phahn, who is possibly a current or previous member of Assembly of the 8th Sacrament. He is also participating in the War under the direction of Templars under a false name (due to his notoriety). Unlike the sarcastic Kirei, he mostly appears quiet and calm, but sometimes switches to his psychotic and obsessed personality when the evil around is rampant. In the story, he gets to steal Saber from Ayaka, using him against her and the other servants.
Sajyou Manaka is Saber’s master in the previous holy grail war, and is Ayaka’s older sister. Her role is similar to that of Emiya Kiritsugu, but not quite. She is dead crazy over Saber (She stated that him killing her only made her more yandere for him.) Upon winning the last Holy Grail War eight years ago, she gets killed by Saber upon discovering that she had been offering sacrifices to the grail, her father and Ayaka included. Just in the nick of time, Saber was able to save Ayaka, and then threw Manaka’s corpse into the Grail without knowing that it would resurrect her. She gets to participate in the next war, summoning from the Beast class. Her obsession over Saber is pretty much reminiscent of Caster’s.
This OVA looks pretty badass, but sadly, there are currently no plans by Type-moon to do anything related to Fate/Prototype. Well, at least they have other neat stuff in the works!