Monday, March 9, 2009

Fate/stay night Manga vol. 1 & 2 Impression

Fate/stay night; first a game then anime and now a manga from Tokyopop. The battle for the Holy Grail, known as the Holy Grail Wars, gets into full swing with Masters and Servants ready to fight to the death. That is all but one; Shirou Emiya. Penned by Dat Nishiwaki with story by Type-Moon the manga is not some throw in for the anime, it’s a very well told, drawn adventure new and old fans will enjoy.

Fate/stay night manga volume 1
Fate/stay night manga volume 1
Shirou Emiya has a secret. On the surface he looks like an average high school student. Emiya is a magi, a magic user although not a very adept one. He can utilize trace to enhance the basic structure of an object, making paper like steel, but he does not approach the level of his adopted deceased father, also a magi. After school Emiya witness a fight between two unbelievable adversaries and thus must be eliminated for these are two of the seven legendary warriors tied to their masters in the Holy Grail Wars. Chased down by Lancer, one of the fighters, Emiya’s fate is death but he wakes to find he’s alive, after being stabbed, with a pendant next to him. Emiya was saved by another magi and fellow student, Tosaka, but even as he heals he’s attacked again and summons his own servant Saber. After defending himself Tosaka teaches Emiya about the Holy Grail Wars and warns him that when next they meet it will be as foes. Thrust into the was with a desire to protect innocents how will Emiya cope … that is the story to unfold.

First the story. It moves along a much faster clip than the anime with all the action intact. The rules of the war are explained easily and the action is appropriate for the down times. A good action story that is not too deep right now. There is more to this story than what I’ve outlined above. The art on the other hand is very, very close to the anime but there are a few tweaks. First, for fan-boys, Tosaka’s skirt is much longer, sorry. All of the characters look as they should, sharply drawn with great action and I was glad to see Emiya not looking as wimpy as in the anime. Sadly he is still a sap at times, but that goes with the territory. The introduction of Illyasviel von Einzbern and her servant Berserker not to mention the hell they wreak (told you more story) is also well drawn and just plain cool.

Fate/stay night manga volume 2Fate/stay night manga volume 2
Healed from his protection of Saber at the hands of Berserker, Emiya now must face the reality he is a participant in a war that could very well end his life and will endanger the innocents he wishes to save. Two of these innocents, childhood friend Sakura and free loading teacher Fuji, make an appearance while Saber hides. A brief break from the action sees the telling of Tosaka’s history and how she summons her servant. As Tosaka follows up on her promise to fight Emiya she encounters yet another assassin type servant and the fight continues.

The art continues to be excellent and the story is actually better than the anime. The telling of Tosaka’s background is more fleshed out than in the anime and she seems more human. This volume also sees some downtime to flesh out the human side of our combatant’s right before getting into more action. It’s nice not to have to hear so much about Emiya and his bleeding heart and the secondary characters are given enough face time without taking away from true story. A good second volume to a really good action manga.

Overall these first two volumes of Fate/stay night offer up the same story and action found in the anime without all of the fluff in between, which is odd. Usually the manga will take more time to tell story but not so here. The story is good, hell if you like the anime or just fighting manga then this is indeed for you, but the art is what I really like as it steps up a notch from the anime and is poster worthy. Good times indeed and a good manga.

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