Fate Anime’s Watch Order Explained

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Fate Anime’s Watch Order Explained

There are a few anime series that can genuinely be called a franchise, and Fate is certainly one of them. Originally a visual novel released in the early noughties, the series has gone on to spawn almost countless anime adaptations. It’s a great fantasy anime, so if you want to see it for yourself, here’s a Fate watch order to consider.

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How Many Fate Series are There?

Fate Anime’s Watch Order Content Explained

So far, there have been around 24 different anime seasons and films produced in the Fate franchise.

The easiest way to wade through this mountain of content is to remove any shorts and comedy parodies and divide the rest by their storylines.

See the table below for all the notable anime content related to the Fate series:

Fate Storyline First Anime Release Date Formats
Fate/Stay Night20062 TV Series, 4 Films
Fate/Zero20111 TV Series (2 Seasons)
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya20131 TV Series (4 Seasons), 1 Film
Fate/EXTRA20161 TV Series
Fate/Grand Order20161 TV Series, 4 Films
Fate/Apocrypha20171 TV Series

Which Fate Anime is First?

First Fate Anime’s Watch Order Explained
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The series that started Fate off is Fate/Stay Night. This was the first visual novel released and the first to get an anime adaptation.

Technically, in terms of the Fate universe’s timeline, the prequel story Fate/Zero is first. However, Zero is intended for people who have seen Stay Night as it provides some spoilers for the first series.

Related: Anime Seasons Explained

The Best Fate Order

Best Fate Anime Watch Order

The best order for working through Fate will depend on your personal preferences. With this in mind, I’ve created two different watch orders for you to choose from!

The Streamlined Fate Storyline Order

If you’ve heard about Fate and would like to watch it without getting bogged down in hours of content, here is a streamlined watch order.

This Fate watch order covers all the key and notable parts of the series’ main storyline, removing spin-offs and other avoidable extras.

  1. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV Series)
  2. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel - I. Presage Flower (Movie)
  3. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel - II. Lost Butterfly (Movie)
  4. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel - III. Spring Song (Movie)
  5. Fate/Zero (TV Series)

The first anime series – simply called Fate/Stay Night – is widely seen as a poor adaptation of one of the visual novel’s storylines. While you might want to watch it for a more complete picture, you won’t miss too much if you skip that series and go straight to the good stuff.

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Similarly, there is a film version of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. However, it covers the same story as the TV series and is not as good, so is not recommended.

For many fans, myself included, Stay Night: UBW is the best series in the franchise. This tells one storyline from the Stay Night visual novels.

The three Heaven’s Feel movies tell another storyline from the Stay Night story.

The Heaven's Feel movies were released after the Unlimited Blade Works TV series and it’s widely recommended that you watch the TV series first, as it provides some more context.

Fate/Zero is technically a prequel to the Stay Night series. It also serves as a good standalone series but does contain some spoilers for Stay Night, so it’s recommended you watch that first.

Everything outside of Stay Night and Zero can be classed as a spinoff. Those additional series and films don’t tie into the story in the same way as Stay Night and Zero, so they are optional depending on how you enjoy these first shows.

The All-You-Can-Eat Fate Watch Order

Best Complete Fate Anime Watch Order Explained
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If you’ve seen a bit of the Fate series and now want to watch everything you can get your hands on, here is an order for the whole series, including the main spin-offs.

  1. Fate/Stay Night (TV Series)
  2. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV Series)
  3. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel - I. Presage Flower (Movie)
  4. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel - II. Lost Butterfly (Movie)
  5. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel - III. Spring Song (Movie)
  6. Fate/Zero (TV Series)
  7. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya
  8. Fate/EXTRA
  9. Fate/Apocrypha
  10. Fate/Grand Order

As mentioned above, the main storyline essentially consists of the three Stay Night storylines and the prequel Zero. Everything beyond that can be regarded as a spin-off, although some of the stories are canon for reasons that are explained in the show.

Many of the spin-offs assume prior knowledge of the series from Stay Night or Zero, so it’s still recommended to watch those first. After that, you can largely watch the other Fate series in their release order.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is an alternate universe spin-off of the Stay Night story which turns it into a magical girl anime. Therefore, you’ll want to watch Stay Night first.

Fate/EXTRA is a Netflix anime that is technically an alternate universe and spin-off version of Stay Night. Even fans of the series were somewhat confused by the adaptation’s place in the Fate world, so it can largely be seen as its own thing.

Fate/Apocrypha is arguably the most distinct spin-off from the Fate franchise. It’s a parallel world story that can be enjoyed completely separately from the rest of the Fate series.

That being said, like with the others, you’ll want to see at least Stay Night first so you understand how Apocrypha works.

I’ve put Fate/Grand Order at the bottom of this watch order because, out of all the spin-offs, this is the most complex.

Again, though, Grand Order has no direct connection to the original Fate storyline, so you can freely explore this in the order it was released.

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I hope these watch orders clear up this confusing but excellent anime franchise!

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