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Fate: Watch the hit anime and its many spinoffs in release and (somewhat) chronological order

From stay night to Grand Order to Prisma Illya, experience the Holy Grail wars this way

Image credit: Crunchyroll

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In 2004, a studio called Type-Moon release a visual novel called Fate/stay night, set in a fantasy world incorporating magic, legend, and real historical figures. In case you don't know, a visual novel is a kind of interactive fiction, in which the reader (or player, since they're released on consoles) makes choices to determine the end of the story.

The Fate/stay night VN featured three alternate endings, but don't let that number fool you: just those three endings spawned a plethora of adaptations, from anime to mange to film to video games to (of course) more visual novels.

While we won't try to tackle how to dive the entire franchise right now, we are going to tell how how to get into its anime wing with Popverse's Fate anime watch order. We're going to get into the various series and spinoffs, tell you how they're connected (well, more like how they're not), and give you a peak into the futures of this sprawling, decades-spanning fandom.

Get ready, it's a doozy.

How to watch the Fate saga in release order

Screenshot from Fate/strange Fake movie
Image credit: A-1 Pictures

Fate has its share of loyal fans, some of whom have been with the various animes since the very beginning. If the experience you're looking for is one that mirrors theirs, the way you might want to get into Fate is by order of release. It's a blessedly simple path to approaching the franchise, considering that all you have to do to follow it is order them by date. If that's the path you want to follow, it goes like this:

  • Fate/stay night (2006)
  • Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2010)
  • Carnival Phantasm (2011)
  • Fate/Zero (2011)
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA (2013)
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei! (2014)
  • Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014)
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei! Herz (2015)
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 3rei!! (2016)
  • Fate/Grand Order: First Order (2016)
  • Fate/Apocrypha (2017)
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Vow in the Snow (2017)
  • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] Ⅰ.presage flower (2017)
  • Fate/Grand Order: Moonlight/Lostroom (2017)
  • Today's Menu for Emiya Family (2018)
  • Fate/EXTRA Last Encore (2018)
  • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] Ⅱ.lost butterfly (2019)
  • Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note (2019)
  • Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia - Initium Iter (2019)
  • Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia (2019)
  • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] Ⅲ.spring song (2020)
  • Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE - Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot - Wandering; Agateram (2020)
  • Fate/Grand Carnival (2020)
  • Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE - Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot - Paladin; Agateram (2021)
  • Fate/Grand Order Final Singularity Grand Temple of Time: Solomon (2021)
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Licht - The Nameless Girl (2021)
  • Fate/Grand Order: Fujimaru Ritsuka Doesn't Get It (2023)
  • Fate/strange Fake -Whispers of Dawn- (2023)
  • Now, we're not here to tell you how to enjoy the Fate saga. That should be up to you. However, we do want to point out that if you dive into this series by release date, the plot is going to be fairly confusing. If you want to track that plot linearly (and we're using the term loosely here), you're going to have to piece out the alternating timelines of the Fate saga. And do do that, you're first going to have to figure out...

    How are all Fate series connected?

    Artwork showing two anime characters from Fate/Grand Order.
    Image credit: Popverse/Lay-duce

    As we said before, the plot of the original Fate/stay night contains multiple different endings. The anime series and films that have since adapted the novel have chosen to go down different respective paths based on those endings. Here they are, along with a brief description of how each one relates to the novel.

    • Fate/stay night - The very first Fate adaptation, this anime series tells the story of young Shirou Emiya, an orphan caught up in the Fifth Holy Grail War, a brutal magic competition with a prize of the most coveted object in history. This series adapts the first Fate/stay night ending, marked by Shirou's romantic relationship with a girl called Saber.
    • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] - Also an anime series, this venture into the plot of Fate/stay night adapts the second optional ending. Like all of the Visual novel's adaptations, it is also demarcated by Shirou's choice of romantic partner, this time being someone named Rin Tohsaka.
    • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] - Finally, Heaven's Feel adapts the third ending, with a romance by way of friend-turned-lover Sakura. Unlike its fellow stay night adaptations, this anime saga was not a show, but a trilogy of movies.

    In addition to these three, there's an anime series called Fate/Zero, which serves as a possible prequel to all of the diffferent endings, and a film called Fate/strange Fake -Whispers of Dawn-, which serves as a possible 'What If?' expansion of Unlimited Blade Works (more on that later).

    That's all the anime adaptations of stay night, but as you probably guessed, it's not even close to being the end of Fate animes. After Heaven's Feel, multiple animators began telling stories in the Fate universe without selecting an ending of the VN to adapt. In fact, some of their additions downright contradict the original story.

    Though each entry in this next batch of Fate animes all exist in the same multiverse, they also exist in separate timelines. We're listing them here, along with a brief description of how the story splits from stay night.

    • Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya - Kaleid Linear winds back the clocks in the Fate universe to the Fourth Grail War, where it splits the timeline from the one in stay night. Some of the characters from that series, however, do appear in this alternate timeline.
    • Fate/Grand Order - Speaking of stay night characters, there is one that dies (we won't say who) that makes a lasting impression on the story. In Grand Order, however, that character survives.
    • Fate/Apocrypha - Neither Fate/stay night or Fate/Zero happen in Apocrypha's universe, which alters history during the Third Holy Grail war.
    • Fate/EXTRA Last Encore - This one is a little tricky; the timeline splits somewhere in the 1970s, between Holy Grail Wars. But what makes it confusing is that this anime is actually a sequel to Fate/EXTRA, which is not an anime, but a game. Viewers who really wnat to understand will need to play that first.
    • Carnival Phantasm - Technically, this entry doesn't featue a cohesive timeline at all. Instead, it's a comedy that works various Fate characters from all timelines into funny sketches. Think of it as one of the Robot Chicken Star Wars Specials, and you'll be good to go.
    • Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family - Similarly, this anime takes characters from Fate/stay night and works them into different scenarios. Rather than comedic sketches however, this series is a 'Slice of Life' anime featuring familiar faces.

    Alright, with all of these alternate timelines covered, it's time to answer a question that many people new to the Fate franchise ask. Just keep in mind, it's not exactly simple to explain...

    How to watch the Fate saga in chronological order

    Anime artwork for Fate/Zero, which is part of the larger Fate universe.
    Image credit: Popverse/ufotable

    Each series or movie in the Fate saga can pretty much be enjoyed on its own, due to all the separate timelines. So what we've done to create Popverse's chronological watch order for Fate anime is organize the timelines not by an internal chronology but an external one - the order in which their animes began. Within each timeline, any of the animes that overlap in their events are marked in bold. any of the series that overlap with another, timeline-wise, are marked in bold. Here you go:

    stay night - First anime from 2006

    • Fate/Zero (2011)
    • Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note (2019)
    • Fate/stay night (2006)
    • Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014)
    • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] Ⅰ.presage flower (2017)
    • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] Ⅱ.lost butterfly (2019)
    • Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] Ⅲ.spring song (2020)
    • Fate/strange Fake -Whispers of Dawn- (2023)*
    • *Might not take place in the stay night univerese.

    Carnival Phantasm - First anime from 2011

    • Carnival Phantasm (2011)
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Prisma☆Phantasm (2019)
    • Fate/Grand Carnival (2020)

    Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya - First anime from 2013

    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA (2013)
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei! (2014)
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei! Herz (2015)
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 3rei!! (2016)
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Vow in the Snow (2017)
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Licht - The Nameless Girl (2021)

    Grand Order - First anime from 2016

    • Fate/Grand Order: First Order (2016)
    • Fate/Grand Order: Moonlight/Lostroom (2017)
    • Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia - Initium Iter (2019)
    • Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE - Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot - Wandering; Agateram (2020)
    • Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE - Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot - Paladin; Agateram (2021)
    • Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia (2019)
    • Fate/Grand Order Final Singularity Grand Temple of Time: Solomon (2021)
    • Fate/Grand Order: Fujimaru Ritsuka Doesn't Get It (2023)

    Apocrypha - First anime from 2017

    • Fate/Apocrypha (2017)

    EXTRA - First anime from 2018

    • Fate/EXTRA Last Encore (2018)

    Today's Menu for Emiya Family - First anime from 2018

    • Today's Menu for Emiya Family (2018)

    Where do I stream Fate anime?

    Artwork for Fate/stay night showing anime characters pulling serious and focused poses.
    Image credit: Popverse/Ufotable

    If you want to watch every single Fate series you will need access to a few subscription services. Crunchyroll has a number of Fate boxsets in its library, including Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Fate/Zero, and a number of Fate/Grand Order titles. To watch these boxsets, you will need to sign up to a Crunchyroll Premium plan.

    Fate/EXTRA and Fate/Apocrypha are available on Netflix. If you want to watch these Series you can sign-up to Netflix today. If you want to watch Fate Grand/Order, the First Order movie is available on Crunchyroll along with other titles like Babylonia. But part 1 and part 2 of the Camelot movies have to be rented or purchased from Prime Video.

    Is the Fate anime inappropriate for kids?

    Image credit: Crunchyroll

    If you're a parent and want to get into this sprawling anime saga, chances are you're going to have to watch at least an episode or two with kids in the room. But just how advisable is that?

    Obviously, that's up to you, but we will point out that, according to the MPAA, the Fate animes lean on the young adult/adult side. Fate/stay night, Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], and Fate/Apocrypha, plus the Fate/Grand Order and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya movies, are all rated TV-14. Fate/Zero, Fate/Apocrypha, and the Fate/stay night [Heaven's feel] movies are all TV-MA.

    Will there be more Fate anime series/movies?

    Image credit: Crunchyroll

    The Fate saga shows no signs of slowing down at the moment and, currently, there is at least one upcoming anime series in development. That's Fate/strange Fake, a story that began as an April Fool's Day joke, became a visual novel, and was adapted into an anime film, -Whispers of Dawn- in 2023.

    This latest anime entry into the saga is a bit tricky to place, because it appears to be set in the stay night universe and even act as a sequel to Unlimited Blade Works. However, fans are unclear exactly where it fits.

    What is for sure, however, is that there is an upcoming anime series based on the strange Fake visual novel, though no release date has been announced.


    Wow! You made it to the end of Popverse's Fate anime watch order. But don't think that's all the anime we have to share. Check out Popverse's Demon Slayer watch order, Dragon Ball watch order, One Piece watch order and Sailor Moon watch order for even more action.

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    About the Author
    Grant DeArmitt avatar

    Grant DeArmitt

    Contributing writer

    Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.
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