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Literature / Fate/strange fake

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Truth, at times, crushes the world’s lies,
But it cannot erase the ‘truth’ that ‘the lies were there.’
Not even with the power of the Holy Grail.
Volume 1 Epigraph

A Light Novel and manga series set in the Fate universe, written by Ryohgo Narita (author of Baccano!) with art by Shizuki Morii (who both illustrates the novels and adapts them to manga), which began in January 2015 and is currently ongoing. Eight volumes of the light novel have been published as of February 2023.

Fate/strange fake originated as an April Fools' Day prank in 2008, when Ryohgo Narita posted a novella on his website (originally titled Fake/states night) that was seemingly a prologue to a (fictional) upcoming Fate video game. Although the text was taken down from Narita's site after only one day, the novella was later included as a bonus with the second issue of the Type-Moon ACE magazine, with an afterword by the author and illustrations by Shizuki Morii. No actual continuation seemed to have been planned, making the whole thing an introduction to a cast of characters who would likely never be seen again... but eventually it was decided that the concept was too good to waste and Fate/strange fake was turned into a real instalment of the Fate franchise, with the original novella making up the bulk of the light novel's first volume.

It was announced on September 24, 2022, that it would receive an anime special, Fate/strange Fake -Whispers of Dawn- by A-1 Pictures, to air on December 31, 2022, but it was subsequently delayed to summer 2023. Hiroyuki Sawano will be working on music. Aniplex has released a trailer.

The story centers around a False Holy Grail War, faultily copied from the Third Holy Grail War, in Snowfield, a small town in Nevada (California in the previous version), years after Fate/hollow ataraxia. Seventy years before the events of Fate/stay night, at the time of the Third Holy Grail War, a group of mages separate from the London-based Mage Association decided that they would copy the ritual. Okay, they were only able to steal parts of it, but they could fill in the blanks for the rest. (Yes. They're fudging a ritual that involves a hole in reality, the most powerful and bloody legends brought to life, and a fight where There Can Be Only One.) They completely lost the Saber template, the definition of "Hero" gets even more blurry, and the participants are less sane. And nobody paid attention to the clusterfucks that were the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grail Wars. Oh, and most of the participants seem to have missed the memo that Holy Grail Wars are supposed to be a secret.

This will end well.

So, those independent mages, working with the U.S. Government, manipulated events in Snowfield, Nevada (just north of Las Vegas) to replicate the Sacred Land needed to generate a Grail.

And as it happens, the False Holy Grail War is only a cover to generate the energy for a True Grail War...

Provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: The entire fight in the Snowfield police station is a back and forth of these.
    • While the Clan Calatin (Snowfield P.D.) with their manufactured Noble Phantasms were able to hold their ground against No Name Assassin, they are completely outclassed by Jester Karture. Jester makes a point of saying it was a bad match up as a Dead Apostle such as himself naturally weakens the Human Order thus he can destroy their manufactured Noble Phantasms with a simple touch. He does admits he can't do that against actual Noble Phantasms.
    • When Hansa Cervantes takes over, he's on a much more even footing with Jester. Hansa explains that due to being an Executor, his weapons were made to kill beings like Jester. Hansa even makes a point of saying it was just a good match up for him and not that the Clan Calatin are weak.
  • Adaptation Expansion: As the manga is done by the novels' illustrator with Narita's supervision, it adds several elements to the source material (like adding in Sella as the homunculus Fillia argues with) and even names previously unnamed background characters (Tsubaki's previously unnamed personal doctor made to be Amelia Levitt from the very start when the character would only be introduced in the fourth volume).
  • Affably Evil: Berserker is quite a pleasant sort for a Serial Killer.
  • All That Glitters: Subverted. Flat thought his teacher had given him a valuable relic to summon a Servant. El-Melloi II thought Flat wanted a cheap piece of merch he didn't care about and gave it to him without a second thought. Due to Flat's unusual abilities and the False Grail War's quirks, it was still enough to bring forth an incarnation of Jack the Ripper.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Assassin mastered all the special abilities of the eighteen grandmasters who preceded her, but couldn't come up with a new one.
    • Gilgamesh, as per usual, through his Gate of Babylon, which contains every single Noble Phantasm.
  • Alternate Universe: Most Fate titles are alternate universes to each other, but strange fake is special in that it is a hybrid of the Fate and Tsukihime timelines with the ability to summon Servants combined with the existence of the 27 Dead Apostle Ancestors.
  • Anachronic Order: The story is mainly told in regular order, but it sometimes does this, especially in epilogues where a Flash Forward hints at the events of the next volume. Notably, Volume 3 goes back and forth in time between the events of the war on the first day and the summoning of almost every True Servants the day before.
  • Anger Born of Worry: After realizing that Flat has joined the Holy Grail War and finally getting ahold of his number, El-Melloi II calls him and angrily berates Flat for two straight hours over his recklessness. Then he asks to talk with Jack and gives him a heartfelt plea to do whatever they can to keep Flat safe.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Gilgamesh asks Tine one in the casino when she explains what her tribe wants out of the Holy Grail War.
      Gilgamesh: Is retaking this land from the mages your will? Or do you speak as another’s puppet, abandoning choice and making fate your excuse?
    • Earlier on, El-Melloi II asks several of these to Flat, hoping to get through just how dangerous the Holy Grail War is. While Flat doesn't quite get the point of the questions, he does at the very least start thinking a bit about the possibilities.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Jack finds the sound of El-Melloi II's voice over the phone to be unnervingly pleasant. So unnervingly pleasant, in fact, that they suspect he's an incubus and refuse to get on the phone with him again.
  • Ascended Extra: Mary Lil Fargo, who originated as a one-off character from the Lord El-Melloi II Case Files anime for a mystery of the week episode, appears here as one of the collective Masters that is the El-Melloi Classroom for True Rider.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The unnamed mage who initially summoned Archer is promptly killed by Tine Chelc. Since he killed his son for not having magical aptitude and his wife for trying to stop him, this isn't really a tragedy.
    • Tsubaki's parents experimented on her until she was put into a coma. As soon as Pale Rider is summoned, they are killed.
    • Wolf's creator abused it horribly. Enkidu is summoned and puts him in his place, then Faldeus kills him.
  • Author Tract: Narita must have been pleased he could finally give his opinion of the King's Banquet scene from Fate/Zero through True Saber. He had to be, considering the events of Zero shouldn't have any bearings on strange fake to begin with.
  • Badass Army: By the standards of a "war" that's supposed to involve fourteen people total, thirty cops equipped with Noble Phantasms by Caster easily qualify.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Brought up when discussing the possibility of having to kill Tsubaki for the greater good. Both Saber and Ayaka, who have severe guilt over past actions and do not think highly of themselves, separately offer to Shoot the Dog to keep others' hands clean should the matter come to that.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Jack the Ripper makes a passing mention to one time where they absentmindedly turned into what Apocrypha or Grand Order fans would recognize as the "real" Jack the Ripper of the Fate universes. Flat's response is to freak out, immediately cover them in a blanket, and demand that they change into literally anything else before someone sees them and calls the cops.
  • Blatant Lies: Caster's prone to outlandish bragging, especially about his luck with women.
  • Break the Cutie: Subverted when Francesca takes an interest in Saber, taking his Knight in Shining Armor act and Hero Worship of King Arthur at face value and deciding to shatter his naive idealism by showing him the broken mess she truly was. Unfortunately for them, Saber considered the Round Table's Dysfunction Junction a feature, not a bug.
  • Broken Masquerade: A much bigger focus than in previous installments of Fate/. As Lord El Melloi II points out, the rise of the internet and social media has made it much harder to keep something as big as a Holy Grail War under wraps and he predicts that the world of magecraft will be fully revealed within the next five years. It might even be earlier than that, as events during the war seem to conspire towards that end. Saber gets arrested on national television mere minutes after being summoned, which is later uploaded to YouTube; the battle between Gilgamesh and Enkidu is visible from space; and two Masters on the American side, Prelati and Haruri Borzark, both have the explicit goal to use the Grail to reveal magecraft to the entire world.
  • The Cameo:
    • Gray from the Lord El-Melloi II Case Files series, though unnamed, is heavily implied to be the female student who helps El-Melloi II up after he faints from learning that Flat participated in the Grail War in the first volume. She appears again in volume 5 to suggest that El-Melloi II call Rin in to help Flat.
    • In the fifth volume, Flueger, also from Case Files, has been hired by El-Melloi II to infiltrate Snowfield to watch the proceedings and report back to him.
    • At the end of the sixth volume, Adashino from Case Files and Goredolf from Fate/Grand Order make brief appearances as the Clock Tower's Policies department places Lord El-Melloi II under house arrest.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Gilgamesh dismissing his summon catalyst as a worthless trinket because he can use his famed vault as he pleases comes back to bite him in the ass when Ishtar finds it and uses the key to seal off his Gate of Babylon portals.
  • Chucking Chalk: A variant. An irritated Cervantes flicks a coin augmented to lethal speed at his ward. However, he sends back the coin, breaking it into perfect eighths. Cervantes apologizes for assuming Hansa hasn't kept up with his training.
  • Church Militant:
    • The first thing we learn about Assassin is her deep faith. She even kills her summoner (not that it sticks) and sets off to destroy the Grail because she considers the idea heretical, as the Grail's concepts come from Christianity.
    • Hanza Cervantes, the Overseer of this war, is a member of the Holy Church Executors.
  • Continuity Porn: One of the most notable aspect of the series, taking from all over the Nasuverse, to the point it has its own page.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: True Assassin has EX Presence Concealment that only drops down to A+ when he attacks. His true stats also can't be seen. However, as a result, he's even weaker than a normal Assassin and his Noble Phantasm is implied to be unsuited for actual combat.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Instead of being set after any of the routes of Fate/stay Night, this series takes place in the timeline of Himuro no Tenchi, a manga spinoff.
  • Death Trap: During the attack on the police station, Ayaka is initially reluctant to leave. Saber points out that for one, if it's the lair of a Master, then it likely won't be the only attack, and two, the cell she was kept in had a magical seal designed to kill the prisoner.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By:
    • Masters will sometimes relive their Servants' memories in dreams, as Ayaka does Saber's in the fourth volume.
    • The entity with the beautiful voice makes contact with Tsubaki in her dream, and offers her Qin Shi Huangdi's crossbow. Tsubaki is unable to truly claim the weapon, but she sees flashbacks to the ancient Emperor's history when she touches it.
  • Emotionless Girl: Tine Chelc, which becomes slightly awkward when Archer orders her to rejoice.
  • Enemy Mine: When Ishtar decides to go all out, all nearby Servants and their Masters (with the exception of Gilgamesh who got stuck in Ereshkigal's Kur after Ishtar defeated him) order a ceasefire to stop her before she transforms Snowfield into her new temple.
  • Evil Gloating: Invoked by Faldeus, who talks about his plans in front of the man he's about to kill, knowing full well that he's speaking to a magic puppet and his words will be heard by the real mage far away.
  • Foreshadowing: The reason why True Rider has the same haircut as Saber from Fate/stay night despite not being a Saberface is noted in the afterword of volume 2 to have a "very trivial" reason for it. Fast forward to Volume 8 revealing who her Master(s) actually is, it makes a lot more sense and is outright confirmed that Rin is the one who did her hair to make her inconspicuous.
  • Fountain of Youth: A bored Gilgamesh was about to drink his Elixir of Immortality rather than face the Holy Grail War... and then he senses Enkidu. Suddenly excited for the possibility that the War might actually pique his interest, he tosses the bottle of Elixir to Tine. He warns her not to drink it since she is still a child.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • In-Universe example. False Caster, examining the records, notes the mages copying the Third Holy Grail War expected to take centuries to create a Sacred Land suitable for the Grail's creation. And yet, barely seventy years later, the True and False Holy Grail Wars have begun on Snowfield. Faldeus' inner monologue reveals that a piece of Fuyuki's Grail was stolen and "planted" in Snowfield, opening the possibility it's likewise tainted with All the World's Evils.
    • This also causes problems for the Beautiful Assassin. Despite spamming Noble Phantasms left and right, she never runs out of energy, even though just using them once or twice should be enough to deplete her initial stores after killing her Master. This leads her to realize Karture is still alive, still her Master, and she just executed the Assassins' vaunted techniques with energy given to her by a monster.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: The authorities have been doing this for several battles. They call the explosion left by Gilgamesh and Enkidu's battle a gas leak, Beautiful Assassin's attack on the police station a terrorist attack, True Archer's attack on Gilgamesh's hotel a tornado, etc. The authorities are extremely worried because they know they can't keep it up forever and the public will eventually figure it out, especially after the media circus Saber instigated after Excaliblasting the Opera House.
    • Lampshaded by Faldeus later on, when during the fight against Ishtar, the electric lines go out. He mentions this being a relief for the gas companies taking all the blame this time.
  • Genius Ditz: Flat Escardos is an incredible mage and an utter moron.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Apparently the risk involved in the Snowfield Holy Grail War is so high, Zelretch and his fellow Dead Apostle Alcatraz have actually decided to intervene, even if only indirectly. The first even implies there's the possibility of ORT awakening prematurely, which, as other series shows, it would be CATASTROPHIC.
  • Government Conspiracy: The organizers of the war and Faldeus' bosses, which apparently include a high-ranked General. Apparently, the US Government sent an agent, one of Faldeus' ancestors, to Fuyuki, in time to participate in the utter disaster that was the Third Holy Grail War, hoping to analyze enough of the ritual to make their own, and then someone came forward with additional information as to how they could get started a bit faster...
  • Great Offscreen War: It's mentioned that somehow Fuyuki's Third Holy Grail War was even worse than its successors in terms of both damage and cheating. It's no big surprise, considering it featured the Edelfelt sisters cheating by using their Ore Scales ability to summon two incarnations of the same Saber, the Master of Lancer (Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia)'s attempt at stealing the Grail with Nazi help, the Master of Assassin turning out to be a spy scoping the ritual for reverse engineering, and the Von Einzbern attempt at summoning a God of Evil as their Berserker. However, even after all these years, it's still key in explaining the irregularities of Snowfield's Grail War, as the conspiracy studying the War for replication had the misfortune of trying to copy precisely the War in which everything went wrong.
  • Groin Attack: The narration mentions that had El-Melloi II seen Flat successfully summon his Berserker without an altar or the requisite chant, he would have praised him... after kneeing Flat a couple of times in the crotch for doing something as idiotic and dangerous as joining a Grail War.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Saber enters Ayaka's cell in spirit form, where he says he wants to check how she's doing and make sure she isn't his master. Once Ayaka again affirms she isn't, Saber hangs around despite her protests, as he doesn't have to obey her.
  • The Hedonist: Caster wants women and food as a reward for all his hard work.
  • Historical In-Joke: A common occurrence thanks to the premise. Saber is especially prone to them, be it playing "Ja Nus Hons Pris" on electric guitar or claiming his completely ordinary sword is Excalibur.
  • History Repeats: A major plot element in the series is how almost every major characters from The Epic of Gilgamesh have been reunited again for this one Grail War in this one city. At first it's Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but then the moment True Berserker (aka Humbaba) is summoned, it is followed by Ishtar and Gugalanna. As noted in the seventh volume:
    Mesopotamia's famed Epic of Gilgamesh. The world's first story. In it, the Hero King and his clay doll companion defeated the watcher of the forest, refused the goddess' proposal, and later put down the Bull of Heaven. But the Hero King fought the watcher of the forest and the Bull of Heaven separately. The watcher of the forest, the goddess, and the divine beast. Those three being in the same place at the same time never happened in the myths. The False Grail pulled together all the strings of fate and ultimately manifested a cataclysm beyond the myths. And so, the all-star spectacle begins in Snowfield.
  • Hope Spot: Flat, False Berserker, and John Wingard work together and manage to inflict serious damage to True Archer. True Archer collapses, seemingly dying, and congratulates the three on their efforts, causing them to relax... then True Archer suddenly says he pities them because it is not enough, heals his injuries, and knocks them down with his Battle Aura.
  • I Can't Sense Their Presence: Said in much the same words by Svin Glascheit at the end of volume 6, who says that it feels like "a smell that was all over disappeared". He's unknowingly sensing the moment Flat is killed.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every chapter from Sigma's point-of-view are titled "Interlude", and many of them have titles referencing the theater. To a lesser degree, almost every chapter where a Servant is summoned are "Prologues", with the exceptions of True Assassin and True Rider.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Narita mentions in the afterword to volume 4 that strange fake is a completely different world to stay night despite the outcome being the same. The most visible evidence of this is the coexistence of the Dead Apostle Ancestors and Heroic Spirits - normally, their existence in a given timeline is mutually exclusive, with timelines that have one not having the other.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Archer's initial summoner, who didn't care for the lives of a son with no skill in magic or a wife who couldn't provide him with a magically-powerful heir.
    • As ever, Gilgamesh exemplifies this as well.
    • Tsubaki's parents are ecstatic to know she will still develop functioning ova even if she never wakes up.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: Lord El-Melloi II is not a strong mage, but has an amazing ability to improve other mages. Many of his students have jumped up in magus ranking, something almost unheard of in an age of decaying magic.
  • Lampshaded the Obscure Reference: Dumas is surprised to discover that Flat has read Les Mille et Un Fantômes, a book which rarely shows up on Alexandre Dumas's English-language bibliographies and had not even been translated to English until 2004.
  • Look Behind You: When Sigma is attacked by False Assassin, Sigma looks over her shoulder and yells, "Now! Stab her, Chaplin!" When she turns around to counter this nonexistent threat, he throws a flashbang grenade at her and runs.
  • Lost in Translation: A variant. Lord El-Melloi ordered a game, Night Wars of the British Empire, straight from Japan. Because "night" and "knight" are spelled the same way in katakana (ナイト), he thought it was a knight combat simulator, while it was actually an RPG. He filled out the survey card, making note of the confusing title. And that's how he won that toy knife to begin with.
  • Master of All:
    • Enkidu has straight A stats across the board and in life was durable enough to just tank most of what Gilgamesh could dish out with Gate of Babylon.
    • No Name Assassin has mastered the techniques of all the previous Hassans.
    • Saber has the personal skill Talented in Every Field, which not only renders him a master of all skills he had in life, but also makes him an Instant Expert for ones he doesn't (such as boxing or electric guitar).
  • Meaningful Echo: At his summoning, Gilgamesh asks twice, "Are you the insolent mage seeking to cling to a king's brilliance?" When directed to his summoner, it is contemptuous at the man trying to control the King of Heroes ("the arrogant mage hiding behind Gilgamesh"). When he asks Tine Chelc, however, it seems to be given as a dare, in light of her showing nothing but respect and obedience ("the foolish but bold mage who wishes to follow Gilgamesh"). The Whispers of Dawn animation emphasizes this with his body language, with him sitting bored in front of the summoner, but standing before Tine as he considers her more worth his time.
  • Miranda Rights:
    • After Saber blows up an opera house, Ayaka is arrested for it because she was in the area. The policemen who cuff her Mirandize her. She is surprised that the police actually say it, having seen it from watching TV.
    • Later, when the police try to arrest the wisecracking priest Hansa Cervantes, Chief Orlando Reeve says, "You do not have the right to remain silent. Nothing you say will be used in a court of law. You do not have the right to an attorney, and one will not be provided to you. Be prepared."
  • Mistaken for Romance: Jester Karture, who is obsessed with making the Beautiful Assassin his, sees her and Sigma talking and automatically assumes they are an item, which makes him furious and vow to make Sigma suffer.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: During and after battles, muggles often believe it is a terrorist attack. This is what got Ayaka and Saber arrested.
  • The Mole: Faldeus, who spent some time acting as a member of the Association but really works for the US Government.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Played with. Faldeus has some non-mage subordinates shoot Rohngall, an Association investigator, full of holes and discusses how the right modern weaponry can overcome magic defenses such as a shield of mercury or the transmission of consciousness into insects. On the other hand, since Rohngall's "corpse" was actually a remotely-controlled doll, shooting it full of holes does little more than inconvenience him.
    • And later, Faldeus' strike team is completely useless against Thia Escardos.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: No Name Assassin can grow a third red arm when using Zabaniya.
  • Mythology Gag: Coupled with the list on the Continuity Porn page, the books are drowning with references to other characters and scenes from the franchise.
  • Near-Villain Victory: It turns out the Kuruokas were, indeed, on the verge of summoning something with Qin Shihuangdi's crossbow, before False Rider put them into comas. The incomplete entity would later help Tsubaki and hand the weapon to Sigma before disappearing.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Flat Escardos, if his excited gushing over Jack the Ripper is anything to go on.
  • No Name Given: The original summoner of Archer and the creator of Wolf.
  • Noodle Incident: Saber at one point in his life apparently teamed up with Hassan-i-Sabbah and Saladin during the Crusades to take out a Dead Apostle. Said incident is also one of the reasons Saber's seeking out alliances with other heroes, as he knows exactly how dangerous Jester's presence in the War really is.
  • No Ontological Inertia: True Archer uses Reincarnation Pandora to steal False Berserker's Noble Phantasm, From Hell. Flat suggests that if True Archer is killed, Berserker will be able to get From Hell back. However, Berserker says that won't work because From Hell has become a part of True Archer now. He'll be able to get it back if he is killed and summoned again, but Flat understandably doesn't want to try that.
  • No-Sell:
    • Enkidu's first Noble Phantasm, Enuma Elish, is said to be a linchpin that holds the World together. This means that it's able to outright nullify the Anti-World capabilities of Gilgamesh's own Enuma Elish attack.
    • True Archer completely deflects the full might of the Gate of Babylon without effort.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The False Servants all stretch the definitions of their Classes to extreme degrees (although it doesn't hold a candle to the later Fate/Grand Order). Gilgamesh isn't an archer, but he launches his weapons instead of holding them. Enkidu doesn't use a spear, but "Lancer" is the closest class for someone who fights by extending chains from their arms. The Pale Rider doesn't use a horse or chariot, it "rides" hosts as a pathogen. Alexandre Dumas isn't a mage, just a normal author. No Name Assassin wasn't an Old Man of the Mountain. Jack the Ripper's Madness Enhancement somehow makes him overly rational instead of the opposite.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Hanza spends his entire mission debriefing playing around on his cellphone. When his superior asks him this question, he cheerfully replies, "Relax, Father. I didn't hear a single word."
  • Not the Intended Use: Despite all of the hype surrounding the Grail Wars, ultimately the goal of the conspiracy running the Snowfield Holy Grail War isn't the actual Grail - it's studying the Third Magic with the hope of easing its use into magecraft.
  • Nuclear Option: Code 983 "Aurora Fall", which is a measure by the organizers to wipe Snowfield off of the map in 48 hours and make it look like it was destroyed by falling meteorites. It is enacted after Thia Escardos "emerges" and fights with Enkidu, causing the organizers to realize the situation has gotten too out of hand and to cut their losses. There was also another contingency plan, Code 982 "Abyss Rise", which consisted of overcharging the Grail and the LeyLines, triggering a volcanic eruption.
  • Odd Couple:
    • It's lampshaded that happy-go-lucky Flat Escardos, who thinks it'd be cooler to make friends with enemy Servants than kill them, is nothing like the Serial Killer he's summoned.
    • Likewise, the dignified police chief who tells his subordinates they are justice is contrasted with the crass Caster who just wants to see the drama unfold.
  • Offing the Offspring: The original summoner of Archer killed his son in his quest for power, and his wife when she tried to stop it.
  • Off the Rails: At first, it looked like it was going to be two different teams vying for the Grail, much like in Fate/Apocrypha. However, instead it turned out that the flawed ritual used to trigger the appearance of the Grail instead allowed for two entirely separate Holy Grail Wars, collectively referred to as the Snowfield Holy Grail War. The False Holy Grail War was only intended to attract fools to generate the necessary power to kickstart the True Holy Grail War. As such, the former is more flawed, using only six classes, while the True Holy Grail War does use the seven standard classes, and might even require the summoning of Ruler. How the failed ritual, the participants of both Wars and the Holy Grails interact and the fallout from the Wars affects the world is an important theme in the novels.
  • One-Hit Kill: No-Name Assassin's good at this. She can use all eighteen Zabaniya techniques through her own Noble Phantasm, Zabaniya: Phantasmal Pedigree, from Cyber Phantasy, through Delusional Heartbeat, Febrile Inspiration, and Raving Shadow Flash, to Ichor of Reverie.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Gilgamesh shows an unusual amount of an emotion that's not arrogance or anger when he realizes that Enkidu has been summoned.
  • Parody Displacement: An In-Universe example — one of Watcher's phantoms is rather disconcerted to learn that Sigma's entire frame of reference for Arthurian legend is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Pet the Dog: During Bazdilot's dream, he saw a vision of True Archer and Jason during their time as Argonauts. For all the kind of douchebaggery of Jason we've known since Fate/Grand Order, he considered True Archer/Heracles a true friend and his goal was to make a kingdom where everyone is equal and even monstrous people like Heracles can live and be loved. When Bazdilot woke up and chided Jason as a fool, Alcides (who was already deprived of his honorable traits) only agreed for half of it: He may agree that Jason was foolish, but he was one of the few people that treated Alcides as a human being, so he didn't take the insult towards Jason that well.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Gilgamesh attempts to use Sha Naqba Imuru, his scrying Noble Phantasm, to look up what happened with the Gil who was summoned to the Fuyuki Grail Wars, but he fails, since the Grail is blocking the Phantasm.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Ever wonder what would happen if Alexandre Dumas discovered the internet, wizards had access to S.W.A.T. teams, or The Mafia could hire wizards? Well, now you know.
  • Precision F-Strike: Lord El-Melloi II's reaction when he realizes that Flat is involved in the Holy Grail War.
  • Psychic Link: Most of the Masters share one with their Servants, allowing them to share senses and speak telepathically with them. The exceptions are Ayaka, who doesn't have a proper contract with Saber, and Orlando, who deliberately avoided establishing one because he finds Caster too obnoxious to share headspace with.
  • Quest for Identity: Berserker knows that he's Jack the Ripper, but has no more idea who committed those murders than anyone else. He intends to wish on the Grail for the answer.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: A drug store clerk mistakes Saber as Ayaka's boyfriend after they both break out of jail. Ayaka denies it while Saber ignores the comment and just excitedly questions the man about the instrument he's carrying.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: El-Melloi II's analysis of the Snowfield Grail War concludes that the conspiracy's goal is to mass-produce Grail Wars, basically cheapening the miracle of the Third Magic to magecraft, in the same way Darnic's spreading of the mechanics behind the Grail resulted in multiple Subcategory Holy Grail Wars in the world of Apocrypha.
  • Shoot the Dog: Discussed by multiple characters in regards to how to handle Tsubaki and False Rider after being trapped in her dreamworld. Most realize that killing Tsubaki would be the most efficient and surefire way to escape the Reality Marble her servant dropped them into, but are deeply unnerved by the concept of murdering an innocent child.
  • Shout-Out: Dumas mentions a Three Musketeers adaptation that genderbent Aramis while complaining about an American edition missing the point of the end of The Little Match Girl.
  • Smoke Out: When Clan Calatin battles True Archer, Vera Levitt tries to blind the Archer with a smoke bomb. The tactic fails because True Archer used his stolen Noble Phantasm From Hell to turn into a winged demon, and he simply flies above the smoke.
  • Some Nutty Publicity Stunt: A few civilians witness True Rider in action, but assume from her outfit and horse that she is a performer promoting a store.
  • Spirit Advisor: Something with a beautiful, androgynous disembodied voice reaches out to the dreaming Tsubaki while Pale Rider is distracted, wondering why she doesn't immediately react, grousing that "Zheng (Qin Shi Huang) noticed immediately", but mentally chastising itself, thinking that "maybe humans change in two thousand years". In the end, the voice succeeds in rousing Tsubaki and calling her attention to it, identifying itself as "a remnant of a god".
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Gilgamesh points out to Tine that they could win the war right now if she ordered him with a Command Spell to wipe Snowfield off the map. She refuses, not wanting to sacrifice all the townspeople. He then says he just wanted to test how she would react.
  • Suicide Mission: Faldeus sending True Assassin to spy on Ishtar is noted to be basically this.
  • Super Cell Reception: When False Rider traps several people in its Reality Marble, which is basically another dimension, Flat is still able to call Lord El-Melloi II on his cell phone.
    • Caubac Alcatraz has spent centuries trapped in his labyrinth, yet he's still able to converse with Zelretch via phone and even send a flip phone (presumably Mr. Cellphone) straight into El-Melloi II's cigar case.
  • Super Strength: True Rider interrupts the fight between Gilgamesh and True Archer by punching True Archer so hard he flies away and crashes into a mountain.
  • To Unmasque the World: Haruri Borzak, True Berserker's Master, loathes the world of magecraft, and her wish to the Grail is to render all forms of the Masquerade useless.
  • Tracking Device: Orlando Reeve fitted himself and his subordinates with electronic chips that he can detect with his magical senses. It allows him to tell False Berserker is impersonating his secretary.
  • Translation Convention: Though the series is written in Japanese, most of the characters are noted to be speaking in English. There's even an In-Universe example — when Ayaka has a dream about Saber's past, she takes note of how everyone appears to be speaking in modern Japanese rather than Old English. Or French, rather, since it turns out the King of England never managed to learn his own kingdom's language.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Tine Chelc, who's about twelve, first literally unhands and then kills another man as calmly as she does everything else.
  • Truce Zone: The Church is a safe haven for Masters. Saber tells Ayaka to stay there so no one will attack her. Hansa Cervantes gets annoyed and points out that since Ayaka is an active Master, despite her refusal to participate, she's technically cheating, but does not turn her out. However, Gilgamesh attacks the church anyway. When Saber calls him out on this, Gilgamesh says he doesn't care about any institution for the gods.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Caster takes on this sort of role. The Noble Phantasms he creates are apparently more powerful than the ones they mimic.
  • Unexpected Character: In-Universe, this is the case for most of the False Masters - Orlando was the only one of the mages originally chosen to join in, as False Archer's Master was killed by Tine, the Wolf summoned False Lancer itself and its creator got killed by Faldeus, the Kuruokas were rendered comatose by False Rider, False Assassin killed Cashura, who was supposed to become Saber's Master, and Flat and Jester summoned their Servants before Faldeus' cronies managed to.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: How do the Kuruokas react after their daughter frees them and others from Pale Rider’s dream world? They try to steal her Command Seals. Sigma is notably enraged by this, and leaves them both crippled.
  • Unwitting Pawn: All of the False Masters. This is the reason Faldeus chose people like the Kuruokas or the original False Masters of Lancer and Archer - the False Holy Grail War was intended only to serve as a primer for the True one.
  • The Voice: Caubac Alcatraz doesn't enter the scene himself; he appears only through Zelretch's phone.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Hansa Cervantes asks this to Ayaka, because even though she is not a magus, she is able to fuel Saber's mana requirements even better than a first rate magus. She cannot answer, then he apologizes for putting her on the spot like that.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: Gilgamesh's Enuma Elish is an attack designed to destroy the world, while Enkidu's Enuma Elish is a linchpin that holds the world together. The blasts cancel each other out.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Jack the Ripper, of all characters, gets one of these from El-Melloi II.
    El-Melloi II: Who or what actually committed those murders in 1800s London is a black box. Even within the Clock Tower, opinions are greatly divided. Still, I am frankly grateful that it was a level-headed being like yourself who appeared to Flat. If that foolish apprentice of mine has had any influence on you, for better or for worse, then I believe it would be right to say that a new facet of Jack the Ripper has undoubtedly been born. I promise to remember you, not an urban legend or a Heroic Spirit, regardless of what you were in life. I promise to remember the you I am speaking with now as Flat’s Servant, the being who showed him the way, if only for a short time.
  • Your Vampires Suck: How did Caster learn about Dead Apostles? Because he went to a showing of James Robinson Planché's The Vampire and wound up sitting next to a very angry Charles Nodier, who wouldn't stop heckling the play for getting vampires wrong.note