Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works · Reviews

Like the Hunger Games? Then This Is the Anime For You!

The internet was right about one thing, that’s for sure. Naruto Shippuden is a long series. Thus, I’ve taken the liberty to break free from it for a while. And that’s all I plan on saying about the topic until further notice. *Whew!* *Is it just me, or was that the sound of my audience breathing a sigh of relief?* Anyhow, I’ve started a new, more manageable series in my free time, and that anime is called Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. Where do I start? This series had me captivated from square one. It has fantastic animation and music, the characters are intriguing, and the plot line -wonderfully mysterious and suspenseful all at the same time. What more could an audience want?

How about a real description? you may be thinking. Well your in luck, because I have just the one for you. As the events of the story played out through the span of the four-some episodes I’ve watched thus far, I couldn’t help but notice the story’s similarity to another. By now this shouldn’t surprise you at all, am I right? Anyway, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is almost identical to Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games series in more ways than one. Yes, there’s a boy and a girl and some running around in the woods, but there’s more parallels between the two stories than just that. Believe me, if there were just a few minute similarities, I wouldn’t be here writing this. But that’s not the case, and there are many, many comparisons I can make with the two stories. So let me prove it to you.
The first and possibly most evident similarity between The Hunger Games and Fate/stay night is the Games themselves and the Holy Grail War. For those of you not familiar with Fate/stay night and the Holy Grail War, I have included the following dialogue from episode three:

Shiro Emiya: “The messed up war where seven masters fight to the death?”

Kirei Kotomine: “It is a ritual meant to seek out the madge who is worthy of holding the Grail…The war selects it’s [the Grail’s] true owner by having seven masters fight over it.”

Apart from the term madge being used above, you may have started to see a pattern between the two fictional works. If not, let me stop and explain. Just like the Hunger Games, the gruesome Holy Grail War battles children and young adults alike. Only one winner can be chosen as an outcome of both the Games and the War -only one can be victorious. Each is a fight to the death. Each requires sacrifice. And each offers a prize. If you win the Holy Grail War, you’re garunteed a wish. If you win the Hunger Games, you’re guaranteed freedom (which, in my opinion, is most certainly every tribute’s wish).

But that’s not all. Not only does the main conflict relate between the two, but the characters do as well. The female protagonist Rin is much like Katniss, both in the way she holds herself and how she is presented. The girls have brown hair and an outfit most popularly associated with them. Ironically, the colors of these two outfits match: black and red. Who would’ve thought? Also like the young heroine of The Hunger Games, Rin finds herself entering a war of sorts with a boy from school that she barely knows.

Speaking of this boy, Shiro is perhaps evermore like Peeta. Shiro is selected to be a master -the title of the humans who fight in the Holy Grail War. Peeta is also chosen by a greater force to fight a battle he likely has little knowledge of. This greater force that chooses Peeta is fate, or in other words, the reaping bowl. Shiro questions the morality of such warfare, and Peeta does the same. Just like Peeta, Shiro at first lacks the skill and confidence needed to win the War. In one instance he can even be caught saying, “What could someone like me possibly do against a monster like that?”.

After both Rin and Shiro meet as masters of their new servants (the not-so-human individuals that fight in the War), Rin tries to give Shiro the slip just as Peeta does to Katniss before the Games. Though Peeta’s is an act and Rin doesn’t hold full meaning behind her words either, both seem to acknowledge the fact that warfare creates enemies, not friends. Shiro tries to argue with this logic, claiming, “See, I really like people like you,” and I was once again reminded of similar feelings being voiced by Peeta.

Literally my favorite part in the whole series!

As far as similarities between other characters go, I’d like to take a minute to talk about servants and victors. Servants help masters just as previous victors help tributes from the same village. There are also different kinds of servants just as there are different kinds of victors. They each have a special skill and a past they must preserve but would probably rather forget. Both Archer, Rin’s servant, and Haymitch introduce themselves to the story in the same snarky manner.

Earlier, I briefly eluded to the Hunger Games being annual. This is another key factor to consider when discussing similarities, because as we learn in episode three of Fate/stay night, the Holy Grail War has also gone on for a number of years -five, to be exact. This provides both a similarity and a difference within the two series, and as you might have guessed, plenty of the latter can be found in many instances as well. The major contrast in Fate/stay night as opposed to The Hunger Games is that masters can surrender their place in the Holy Grail War before it begins. As I’m sure we all know, this is unfortunately far from the truth in The Hunger Games. Although, one might argue that the process of volunteering for tribute in someone else’s place is much the same idea… Another contrast involving the rules of both the Holy Grail War and the Hunger Games is that in the Holy Grail War, evasion from killing may win you the War, but not the prize. This differs slightly from The Hunger Games, where Peeta tries at all costs to carry out his compassionate demeanor, but still ends up winner of 74th annual Hunger Games despite this peaceable manner of his.

Dissimilarities aside, the rest of this article was written with the purpose of proving something. I hope you can now clearly see that if you like The Hunger Games, your sure to like Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works and vise versa.You may wonder why I’ve chosen to post such an article after watching just four episodes on my own time. It’s obvious that more similarities and contrasts are yet to come. But the reason for my doing so is quite simple really. I’ve chosen to do so for two reasons. First, for those just beginning the series, this article might provide a bit of background to relive some of the confusion found in the prologue (also referred to as episode one on Netflix). The second reason I chose to post this content right away is because, like me, I’m sure you’re all allergic to spoilers. Getting four episodes in allowed me to cover the basis for the article, while restraining from spoiling the whole series for future watchers. Speaking of spoilers, the footnote below explains something I personally did to avoid them.**

What about you? Do you see the similarities between the two series? If you’ve read/watched through both, are there any more you can think of?

**I apologize for the lack of pictures from Fate/stay night in this post. Really trying my best to avoid spoilers, as I think I already encountered a couple when googling Shiro’s last name D:

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