Story Telling

When I first read/watched Fate/Stay: Night, I had never encountered the particular Japanese form of story telling it contained. I was familiar with time paradoxes and loops from Star Trek, and they were certainly interesting in a time, causality, and quantum mechanics perspective. People have done some work on alternative worlds such as historical fiction or alternative fiction. It was the first time, however, that I was just blown away by the sheer verisimilitude and impact of this mode of story telling. Fate/Stay Night is basically 3 stories that all start from the same space-time coordination. The same day, the same location, but because the characters made a few different decisions, it branched off into one of the 3: Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, or Heaven’s Feel. What was most well done was that these stories are told in order. In the beginning of the game, you are given some seemingly inconsequential choices. But none of them matters because you’ll always go into the Fate story line or die. Only until you finish Fate and get to the end, can you then loop around start a new story, and proceed to Unlimited Blade Works. It was very surprising. I was like, “Oh, Fate was a pretty good story. Some things I wasn’t too sure about, but generally very nice”. Then I went to Unlimited Blade Works and I was like, “What more can they do with these characters and settings, isn’t it getting boring now”. Well, I spoke too soon given my inexperience with Japanese visual novels. There was a whole heck load of more stuff to discover and read, because Fate was only… an introduction. Only an intro, even though Fate took tens of hours to finish reading and had a great beginning, interesting middle, and moderately satisfying ending. Stuff I would expect from a really good American tv series or book… but there’s 3 of em. And each one is better than the one before, in terms of expanding the characters, their motivations, the world, and the plot. Something my mind had trouble encapsulating and comprehending. How is this kind of art and craft possible.

Visual guide

A lot of wiki links concerning FSN is full of needless spoilers. But this one is very clean. FSN being the first visual novel I ever experienced, yet also the one I have yet to reread, occupies a special place in my memories.

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