Visual Novel / Fate/hollow ataraxia

Fate/hollow ataraxia is the fandisc pseudo-sequel to Fate/stay night and one of numerous works that take place in the Nasuverse. It is based on an unusual version of events: The Grail War has ended, Kotomine and Gilgamesh have been defeated and all is well. Only... all the Servants are still around and everyone seems to be alive. Well, okay, reasonable enough if you can't follow just one ending. But it's not that simple: Apparently thanks to Tohsaka's attempts to create a magical item based on dimensional hopping, all the different continuities have been mingled including ones we never saw. So what really happened and what's going on?

And that's not all there is to it. While Shirou and the Servants and Masters are leading their oddly domestic lives together, something darker is going on. Strange beasts are spotted and an unfamiliar magus appears to have restarted the Heavens Feel. That said, none of the Servants seem to actually care since they've settled into their new lives. Yet while this is going on, time seems to be looping in an odd manner, lasting four days before the world resets back to the first day with no apparent sign of any continuity between cycles.

On top of all that, no one seems to have informed Bazett Fraga McRemitz that the Fifth Grail War ended six months ago. She's not really sure why, but rather than the Servant she intended to summon she seems to have ended up with someone... darker. Meet the eighth Servant whose identity was only hinted at in the first installment: Avenger, the Spirit of Vengeance. Avenger seems completely psychopathic but utterly weak... but is that really all there is to it?

After years in Development Hell, a finalized and complete Fan Translation was finally released in November 2014. Please do not add details that relate to Fate/stay night and reserve this page for those dealing only with this story.

An Updated Re-release was also released in Japan in November 2014 for the PS Vita, with anime cutscenes done by ufotable and full voice acting.

This story provides examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: Essentially all routes and endings of Fate/stay night have been mixed together. So for the final battle Saber beat Gilgamesh and Shirou killed Kotomine. However, Rin's command seal was the one used to destroy the Grail and Saber is still around. Just like HF, Sakura's free from Zouken's control, the great Second Sorcery was projected in Shirou's shed, among others.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Saber gets to narrate for a short period. It is hilarious.
  • Art Shift: A movie seen in hollow ataraxia is presented with live action pictures of different types of dolls instead of the usual art style. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Artificial Limbs: Kirei cut off Bazett's arm during the Fifth Grail War. At the end of Ataraxia, Bazett replaces it with an artifical arm.
  • Author Tract: During the opening montage, Avenger starts ranting about how the world is dying and how much better things were in the good ol' days. Then again, this is a physical fact of the setting that Avenger would obviously be aware of, and this ideology isn't particularly pushed by Nasu in this work or any other, so ...
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Assassin and Souichirou
  • Body Horror: Spikes erupt from Caren Ortensia's skin in the presence of evil.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Sakura's book collection is about what you'd expect it to be- home economics, stress relief, cookbooks, and familicide.
  • Broad Strokes: Enough of the Fate/stay night continuity is fleshed out that you realize that one single story couldn't possibly hold it at all.
  • The Cameo: Satsuki, Len, Kohaku and Hisui make an appearance when Shirou and Rider go to see Tiger - The Movie.
  • Characterization Marches On: Actually less than one might think - this is the game that helped flesh out all the "Stay Night Seven" after F/SN itself, and even solidified Angra's characterization for later appearances - but there's still a few odd examples that will stick out to newer fans in a post-Fate/Grand Order world.
    • The biggest are Euryale & Stheno. Here, they're almost completely interchangeable, they both share the same outfit and nearly (but not quite) the same sprite and it's very difficult at times to differentiate one from the other; this is where, and why, they picked up the gimmick of referring to each other as "me". Grand Order would go on to differentiate their personalities and appearances significantly (Stheno being calm & collected and Euryale being energetic & flirty; Stheno's is closer to the personality both have in F/HA), and even give the two different classes (straight down to Euryale getting mixed up a bit with Eros and gaining Archer abilities).
    • Rider gets a little bit of it - HA rather implies, logically, that most of her actual career as guardian of the Shapeless Isle was in the form we know Rider in today, that when she was a "child" she looked much more like her sisters (character material guides would provide an illustration of this), and that when she went "full Gorgon" and murdered her sisters, she was kind of a pillar of snakes. Grand Order would go on to expand on this, both showing how "Rider" was more like a Lancer early in her career, how her outfit and appearance in that period was much different than that of her sisters, and showing that her Gorgon form was more complicated than just the snake pillar we briefly see, though that is part of Avenger Gorgon's Noble Phantasm.
    • We very briefly get a glimpse of Perseus at one point during Rider's flashbacks. The Perseus Rider that's been teased in Fate/Prototype material looks significantly different to the one in F/HA, though his appearances have been brief enough so far that it might just be him not having time to showcase his armor and whatnot.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Avenger and Angra Manyu were both mentioned in passing in Fate/stay night but the concept of the anti-heronote  was never explored apart from some implications that both Rider and Caster fit into that class. Though Avenger denies being the Angra Manyu.
  • Continuity Snarl: If you keep track of everything that is mentioned in the story, you'll note that Shirou has to remember an impossibly complicated and possibly contradictory series of events. For example, he remembers Tohsaka beating Caster in close range combat in the church like in Unlimited Blade Works but he also remembers her being impaled by Gilgamesh outside his house as she was in Fate. Thankfully, this is the Nasuverse, so all routes are canon (even ones that were never shown, like Ilya's route). Though ultimately this is also a major hint that something very weird is going on.
  • Cool Car: Illya owns a Mercedes Benz, 300SL Coupe, with a top speed of over 270 KPH. (Possibly a mistranslation?) She does, in fact, drive it around the Fuyuki area (after all, she is eighteen).
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Ataraxia ignores the sometimes large contradictions between routes and throws almost all of it in.
  • Death Is Cheap: Thanks to the time loop. The first couple times you go to the bridge, Shirou gets sniped. Bazett is also killed multiple times in fights against Servants and uses the resurrection to her advantage.
  • Demoted to Extra: While some Servants and Masters get larger roles than they had previously such as Lancer, Kuzuki or Caster, others don't fare so well. Here's to you, Shinji, who broke the fourth wall to state it outright.
  • The Devil: Subverted. Avenger states that his identity is that of Angra Manyu, but that he is not the demon god of legend. Rather, it's just a title that was given to him when his old name was taken away. He says he would rather be the god of something more mundane like pots or something since he isn't that special.
  • Door Stopper
  • Dysfunction Junction: This has actually been glossed over to a large extent. For example, Ilya has mostly relaxed, Shinji has stopped being quite so horrible and Sakura has grown a lot bolder, meaning while all the bad stuff is noted as still having occurred, people have mostly moved on.
  • Empathic Weapon: Zelretch's Kaleidostick. An incredibly powerful magical device capable of channeling enormous amounts of mana and giving its wielder powers and knowledge pulled from alternate realities, with the drawback being that it derives considerable joy from humiliating said wielder and forcing them into ridiculous Magical Girl costumes.
  • Facial Dialogue: Shirou and Saber are quite a tight-knit team even in Mundane Made Awesome situations.
    Shirou: [narrating] Saber's eyes and mine silently meet.
    Saber: —I shall lure Rin away from here.
    Shirou: —Ah, yeah, please do… Alright, leave the rest to me.
    Saber: —Understood. So please make plenty of stew.
    Shirou: —Roger. I'll take great pains to make at least 20% more than we'd planned to.
    Shirou: [narrating] Eye contact, completed. Transmission, over and out.
  • Familiar: All the Servants are a type of Familiar. Shirou wonders why Lancer is still around since his Master died. As established in Kagetsu Tohya only the most powerful familiars can stay alive even a little while after their master dies. Turns out he and Kid Gilgamesh have a new one.
  • Fan Disservice: Caren's eroscene. Angra Mainyu, in the form of Shirou, suddenly forces himself on her and rapes her, out of a combination of lust and raw sadism. The act causes her immeasurable pain because of the way her body reacts to demons, and she spends the entire scene trying to keep her body from violently erupting and killing him, with parts of her body being torn apart internally as she does so. She actually starts to enjoy it towards the end, but by then Angra Mainyu has reverted to his black beast form!
  • Filler: A large amount of scenes have little to do with the main plot. For example, scenes with Rider flirting with Shirou, developing the track girls from the school or slice of life with Sakura. The story takes awhile to kick into gear on the Shirou side of the story with the actual plot events being tracked ingame. This is mostly because the game is a fandisc mainly devoted to harem antics with Shirou and many a Fandom Nod.
  • Final Battle: The Masters and Servants versus the Avenger copies.
  • Fission Mailed: Sneaking into Sakura's room with Shinji to look at her diary results in this.
  • Food Porn: Ooh yes. When three of the main characters are on the rank of Supreme Chef, this is inevitable.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The reason Shirou gets sniped by Archer the first few times he tries to cross the bridge at night? He simply forgot to practice his projection magic.
  • Fountain of Youth: Gilgamesh did this with a youth potion because, apparently, "this whole mess is stupid, screw you all". All the more hilarious, considering that he's been an Evil Overlord (in the past), not to mention a dog-kicking Big Bad who wanted to unleash a terrible curse on humanity because only those who could survive it were worthy of being ruled over; when he reverts, he turns into a cute little kid that everyone loves.
  • Friendly Enemy: Lancer sees no reason not to get along well with his enemies, but on the flipside is that if you're an enemy then you are perfectly fair game to be killed no matter how much he may like you.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Kid!Gilgamesh disapproves of his future self's attitude about leadership.
    Young Gil: The only type of person one can rule over is one who wishes to be ruled over. Unfortunately, it seems that I forget this once I grow older. If I had a choice, I would've liked to become a good leader. Why is it that other rulers attempt to rule through fear when the correct path is so simply trod?
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Shirou and Rin's adorable "cat-pajamas" love-scene is one of the most Heartwarming Moments in the game.
  • Götterdämmerung: This game gives us the first true taste of "Modern Magecraft vs. the Age of Gods". Though Caster notes that the likes of Sakura and Rin have some absolutely amazing potential and in her age it seems there were no True Magics like what Zeltretch can do.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Played for laughs- Shinji and Shirou have a card battle to decide the fate of the world. Overlaps with Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Surprisingly, apart from the gameplay functions of the four days continuously looping for Shirou's half of narration Avenger admits outright after the first time he and Bazett are killed that the four days will keep looping even if they're killed.
  • Hand Wave: There's an extended scene with Ilya about Saber, Kiritsugu and Irisviel about halfway through the game that devotes itself to tying up the canon neatly, particularly the parts that made no sense such as Saber and Kiritsugu never talking, Saber not recognizing Ilya despite having met her and Irisviel not only going unmentioned in FSN but also the implication that she wasn't even in town then. Some of the explanations are better than others. This would serve as the basis for what would become Fate/Zero.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal
    • Servants can have their Noble Phantasm coming out of thin air. Justified by the Holy Grail War system. Lancer pulls out Gae Bolg at one point to show to Ayako. And also chop flowers for a get well bouquet.
    • Gilgamesh, who can literally pull thousands of original Noble Phantasms out of thin air thanks to his Gate of Babylon, takes this one step further. While he technically owns every legendary weapon, this is one of his few genuine Noble Phantasms and is the key to his treasury, allowing him to remove weapons, wealth, wine and divinity sealing chains.
  • Jackass Genie: The Holy Grail, due to Angra Manyu's influence, will twist any wish made to it in a way that will kill or hurt as many humans as possible. Angra Manyu doesn't qualify: his will to realise truly one wish is why Bazett survives.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Tohsaka beating up Caster in hand to hand combat is mentioned and then averted for Caster herself, who does not have super strength. Though she's probably still fairly strong considering all the stuff she was carrying.
  • Lighter and Softer: The story has its dark moments and is still a Nasuverse work, but is more character-driven, doesn't always take itself seriously and uses and abuses the trope Death Is Cheap.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Almost everyone has, at most, two sets of clothes (typically school, armor, armor/casual, or school uniform/casual, or in Ilya's case, cold-weather/normal). Other non-standard outfits are Dark Sakura, Ilya's Dress of Heaven, Rin's bedclothes, and the occasional birthday suit.
  • Luminescent Blush: Among others, the three main heroines, Saber, Rin and Sakura, are prone to this.
  • Magic Wand: The Kaleidostick
  • Mood Whiplash: The appearances of Rider's sisters in her backstory, where they are initially shown bullying her terribly in scenes that are played for laughs, but then comes the harsh reminder that Medusa turned into a monster and devoured both of them. Her memories of being bullied by them are the fondest ones she has.
    • A more light-hearted example from Rider's backstory is a grim scene of her stalking through her temple, examining the statues left by the warriors she's turned to stone over the years. She drives her chain-dagger weapon into two of them... then uses the stretched-out chain as a clothesline for hanging laundry on.
    • An In-universe example occurs when the girls are swapping stories about growing up with their own elder siblings. Saber tells a fairly heartwarming story about her foster-brother Sir Kay. Sakura goes next. We don't actually hear her story, but it leaves everyone feeling "numb and lifeless."
  • Moment Killer: Sakura does it all the time for Rider, killing many a moment with Shirou.
    • All of the heroines have somewhat of a jealous streak, so many a moment is killed by all of them. Like when Saber crashes Sakura's date with Shirou.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Lancer picking flowers and showing off for girls with Gae Bolg, an Imagine Spot of Rider petrifying policeman who are after her, Saber unleashing the Barrier of the Wind King when Shirou teases her about her stuffed lion and more.
    • Caster has her clothes enchanted with water/stain/grease-repelling magic and she also wield an antibacterial protective shield. You could say that cooking for her husband is Serious Business for Caster.
    • Archer can use his Projection magic to imitate every legendary, immensely powerful weapon he's ever seen. He can also use it to make a modern, top-of-the-line fishing rod.
    • Bazette using Fragarach to win a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  • My Future Self and Me: Trapped inside a pocket dimension, Rin and Shirou try phoning for help- and end up talking to alternate versions of people they know, including Rin's future self, who is madly, hopelessly in love with Shirou. Present Shirou wonders what he could have done to make her so lovey-dovey, while Present Rin is seemingly astounded that anyone would fall for him in the first place. Overlaps with Other Me Annoys Me, although hilariously Rin doesn't recognise her own voice and assumes her future self is just "some strange woman" Shirou is going to meet.
  • Mythology Gag: Sakura gives an almost perfect description of Akiha and even says the person she's talking about is named Tohno. She's actually talking about Tohsaka, but it's amusing nonetheless. There's also a scene called Kagetsu Tohya, though it has little relation to that story. Neko-Arc is also referenced as the title of a completely nonsensical movie that is currently showing.
  • Noodle Incident: Shirou and Rin's disastrous second date. It's only mentioned in their Eclipse scene, and seems to have been a shining example of Murphy's Law.
  • No Ontological Inertia: All the Servants being able to stick around is odd, but has some precedent with the Unlimited Blade Works good end and Heavens Feel true end, but Shirou wonders why Lancer is still around after the death of Kotomine.
  • No Romantic Resolution: In this continuity Shirou does not seem to have settled down with anyone in particular, though sex scenes are still implied to have taken place.
  • Not Himself: Many of the characters are nothing like they were in Fate/stay night, which is actually an early clue that something's wrong with this reality besides the whole "Groundhog Day" Loop thing.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Avenger rapes Caren, but this is not addressed much by either party, and they both seem to come out better people for it. Caren 'begins to consent' halfway through, and doesn't seem particularly upset about the encounter afterward. They even have a romantic and touching moment later on...
  • Older Than They Look: Saber, who is said to look a couple of years younger than Shirou, but is actually around seven years his senior due to the age-stopping effect of Avalon when possessed by its rightful owner. Gilgamesh also appears in child form and Ilya is a homunculus and thus has what has been called 'unusual growth patterns' and thus looks around ten.
  • 100% Completion: There's an actual meter for it.
  • The Real Remington Steele: A major plot point.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Fate in general takes a fairly Broad Strokes approach to mythology (which should be obvious as soon as it's revealed that King Arthur was a woman in this story) but there's at least one outright mistake:
    • When recounting the backstory of Rider and her sisters, the narration explains that Stheno and Euryale had perfect immortality, unlike the rest of the Greek gods who needed to eat the golden apples to sustain theirs. This is incorrect; it was the gods of the Norse pantheon who had to eat the golden apples of Iðunn to retain their youth (possibly they got mixed up with the Ambrosia the Greek gods ate, which could supposedly grant immortality, although the gods weren't necessarily dependent on it themselves).
    • Rin wonders if Saber's Idiot Hair is her "reverse scale", so she cuts it off to see what will happen, resulting in Saber transforming into her Alter form. However, reverse scales are only a feature of East Asian dragons — a scale on the underside of their chins that causes the normally benevolent Eastern dragon to go berserk if agitated — while Saber was infused with the blood of a Western dragon.
  • Screw Yourself: Gilgamesh expresses an... interest in his cute younger self.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Among other things, Fate/hollow ataraxia uses a different spelling of Ilya's name than Fate/stay night did. They used Illya instead.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: Fate/hollow ataraxia is a sequel, not an adaptation, but it essentially mashes together parts of all the routes in the original, while removing or ignoring things that would be contradictory or difficult to handle on a fandisc, such as most of the traumatic bits of Sakura's backstory mostly being glossed over. This is probably justified by Rin accidentally almost merging all realities a month before Ataraxia takes place, as well as the nature of the "Groundhog Day" Loop occurring in the story.
  • Transformation Sequence: Rin's Magical Girl transformation
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: One of the first signs that something is off: Shirou, seconds after reminiscing about how the servants were gone, encounters Caster... and proceeds to see nothing strange about this.
  • Unwanted Harem: The story does not have Shirou paired off with any one character. Instead, he now has Tohsaka, Saber and Sakura plus the addition of Rider and Ilya while Ayako and the three track girls also seem attracted to him to varying extents. A particularly entertaining scene opens up in Eclipse after you get 100% Completion, where Bazett and Caren both also try to move into the Emiya household, and each of the heroines vigorously protests.
    • Averted with: Bazett, even if the heroines protest about her moving in for a week, it's clear she's in love with Lancer. Caren, on the other hand, seems mildly taken with Shirou's resemblance to Avenger. This IS still an aversion, since it's mostly Avenger.
  • Verbal Tic: Normally averted, but when the crowd gets a hold of some Einzbern spirits, each drinker gets a verbal tic based on their preferred animal. Rin talks like a cat-nya, Saber like a lion-gao, and Shirou talks like a dog-wan. In general, though, at least in the original Japanese, one can reliably distinguish almost every character simply by their natural speaking patterns, without needing to involve a lot of odd speech or particles (Himuro's odd use of archaic honorifics notwithstanding).
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Shirou says that he's learned that Servants generally never lie outright as a matter of pride. If you look back at Fate/stay night you'll see the evidence supports this conclusion. Even Archer, who says he has no pride at all, does not seem to care for lying so much as being misleading. Of course, while they won't lie, there are other ways of keeping secrets.
  • You Remind Me of X: Rider is really embarrassed that she got killed by Perseus in her original life. She describes him as a loser and a spoiled brat and that he's like a "successful Shinji Matou". In hindsight, this means her getting bossed around by Shinji in the original Fate/Stay Night must have been harsh.