Figuring out the Fate series watch order can be tricky. Fortunately, we can help.

First of all, the fantasy franchise started with an eroge (adult-themed) visual novel, Fate/ stay night. This was adapted out — and generally toned down to be more appropriate for a teen/ young adult audience. 

Since the visual novel allowed for multiple storylines (i.e. “routes”), the main story contains a couple of alternate timelines. 

In addition, Fate has a prequel, and several spin-offs. The spin-offs include gag comedies, and even a magical girl series.

For simplicity’s sake, we won’t look at the many manga, video games, or light novels. Instead, we will concentrate on the main TV anime series, and anime movies. 

Fate Plot

Fate/ stay night at Sling Freeform - Type-Moon, Fate Project

Fate features mages known as Masters. These Masters control summoned familiars, or Servants, who fight for their Masters. 

Typically, the Servants are based upon famous historical or legendary, mythical warriors. There are seven types of Servants. Masters and Servants have strong bonds, which can extend beyond the battlefield.

The Fate franchise begins with Fate/ stay night, a 2004 visual novel. The game has three main routes — Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven’s Feel. These routes were adapted into separate anime.

Fate/ stay night features a magical battle competition known as a Holy Grail War.  The ultimate goal of this battle is to obtain a Holy Grail. (In the Fate multiverse, there is more than one grail, which probably aren’t related to the Cup of Christ.) In Fate/ stay night, the grail is a key element for granting wishes.

Fate Watch Order

Fate/ stay night at Sling Freeform - Type-Moon, Fate Project

The main Fate story has a fairly straightforward watch order. The only real question is whether to watch the Unlimited Blade Works movie, or the anime series. 

In addition, numerous Fate-based spin-off video games and light novels have also been adapted to either TV anime or movies.

The main story consists of Fate/ stay night, its sequels, and a prequel. Everything else has its own alternate universe continuity.

Release Date Order

  • Fate/ stay night, 2006 anime series
  • Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, 2010 anime film
  • Fate/ Zero, 2011 anime prequel series
  • Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, 2014-2015 anime series
  • Fate/ stay night: Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower, 2017 anime film
  • Fate/ stay night: Heaven’s Feel II. lost butterfly, 2019 anime film
  • Fate/ stay night: Heaven’s Feel III. spring song, 2020 anime film

Fate Spin-off Release Order

Fate/ Grand Carnival at Crunchyroll - Type-Moon, FGC Project

The above list does not include the various spin-offs. They include:

  • Carnival Phantasm, 2011-2012 anime OVA series —  A gag comedy series filled with cute parodies of the main characters  
  • Fate/ kaleid liner Prisma Illya, 2013 anime series — Combines the Master/ Servant concept with a magical girl series. Naturally, it’s mostly a parody. The series had sequel seasons in 2014, 2015, and 2016; and anime films in 2017 and 2021.
  • Fate/ Grand Order: First Order, 2016 anime TV film — Based on the turn-based RPG mobile game Fate/ Grand Order
  • Fate/ Apocrypha, 2017 anime series — Based on a light novel series. Known for being dark, and having adult, mature themes
  • Fate/ Extra: Last Encore, 2018 anime series — Based on an RPG video game
  • Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note, 2019 anime series – Based on a light novel spin-off series set between Fate/ Zero and Fate/ stay night 
  • Fate/ Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia,  a 2019-2020 anime series, based on Fate/ Grand Order. 
  • Fate/ Grand Order the Movie: Divine Realm of the Round Table — a pair of Grand Order movies from 2020 and 2021
  • Fate/ Grand Carnival, a 2021 gag anime OVA — Sort of a sequel to Carnival Phantasm, but based on Fate/ Grand Order
  • Fate/ strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn, 2021 anime TV film — A somewhat chaotic anime, based on a light novel series. A full series was announced at Anime Expo 2023.

Chronological Order

Fate/ Zero at Crunchyroll - Nitroplus/Type-Moon, ufotable, FZPC

Although Fate/ Zero is a prequel to Fate/ stay night, many websites recommend watching Fate/ stay night before watching Fate/ Zero. For one thing, Fate/ Zero contains spoilers for later episodes.

However, if you must watch in chronological order, Fate/ Zero would come first.

Fate/ Zero — The prequel series deals with the Fourth Holy Grail War. It features Shiro Emiya’s adoptive father.

Fate/ stay night (2006) — Shiro Emiya takes part in the Fifth Holy Grail War. Although Shiro is a newcomer, he somehow summons a powerful Servant, Saber.

Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade WorksUnlimited Blade Works covers one of the alternate routes to Fate/ stay night. Although Shiro is still the main male protagonist, Rin Tohsaka gets a lot of attention as his love interest.

You should watch either the 2010 film, or the 2014 series. But you don’t need to watch both. The series gets better reviews.

Fate/ stay night: Heaven’s Feel — This trio of films covers the third route in Fate/ stay night. In this version, Sakura Matou becomes Shiro’s love interest.

Best Places to Watch The Fate Series

Unfortunately, the Fate franchise is spread out over a lot of different streaming platforms. Some of these platforms will require a VPN, such as Nord VPN.

1. Crunchyroll

Fate/ Grand Carnival at Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll has the 2014 Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works series, the prequel Fate/ Zero, the spin-off Fate/ strange Fake – Whispers of Dawn, and the gag comedy Fate/ Grand Carnival.

Grand Carnival features the cat-like chibi “neco spirits.” Although it’s non-canon, it can be a fun way to introduce newcomers to the franchise.

Price: Free, limited viewing for some shows. $7.99 for “fan” level; $9.99 for “mega fan”; and $14.99 for “ultimate fan.”

2. Netflix

Fate/Extra Last Encore at Netflix (Japan)

Netflix has a couple of spin-offs — Fate/ Extra: Last Encore, and Fate/ Apocrypha. 

In the United States, Netflix had Fate/ Grand Order: First Order, but only through Aug. 31, 2023. 

Price: Basic with ads, $6.99/ month. Basic: $9.99/ month. Standard: $15.49/ month. Premium: $19.99.

How to Watch Fate/ Extra: Last Encore on Netflix Anywhere in the World

This method works on both desktop PCs and mobile phones or tablets.

  1. Purchase (or start a free trial) of a VPN. I can confirm that NordVPN works for this purpose.
  2. In the settings, choose United States as your location.
  3. Fire up the VPN and wait for it to do its magic
  4. Once you’re connected, navigate to Netflix (browser or app)
  5. Search “Fate” in the Netflix search bar and you should see the anime pop up.

NordVPN banner (Nord VPN)

Enjoy! Please note that if your Netflix library doesn’t update to reflect the country you selected in your VPN, you may have to clear the Netflix cache first and try again.

To do this on mobile, go to settings -> apps -> Netflix -> clear cache. To do this on PC, you have to clear the cache in your web browser.

I’ve had no trouble using this method and I still use NordVPN to watch anime from various Netflix country libraries daily.

3. Sling Freestream

Fate/ stay night at Sling Freestream

Sling, a subsidiary of U.S. satellite TV provider Dish Network, has the 2006 Fate/ stay night anime series. This is apparently in conjunction with HIDIVE. Episodes rotate, so not every episode is available at once.

Price: Free, with ads. 


Fate/ kaleid liner Prisma Illya at HIDIVE

HIDIVE offers the 2006 Fate/ stay night anime, as well as parts of the Fate/ kaleid liner Prisma Illya magical girl series. 

Price: $4.99/ month

5. Apple TV

Fate/ stay night: Heaven's Feel at Apple TV

Apple TV has several Fate movies, including:

Price: $3.99 to $4.99 to rent; $12.99 to $14.99 to buy.

I hope you now have a better understanding of this epic, confusing franchise.

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