Ufotable are it again! The acclaimed anime studio has granted the wish what fans of the Fate franchise deeply desired, that being an anime adaptation of Fate/Stay Night’s third narrative route, Heaven’s Feel. At long last, fans have finally gotten to see Fate/Stay Night’s darkest route being brought to life in stunning animation by the studio.
From their past success adapting Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, there’s no doubt that Ufotable is the best studio for the job. Unlike Unlimited Blade Works, Heaven’s Feel has been adapted into three feature-length films, starting with Presage Flower. With a two-hour runtime, there are bound to be some things that flew under fans’ radars.
10 Rule Breaker
Don’t let this sword’s minuscule size fool you, its blade’s effect is far more dangerous than you could possibly imagine. Wielding a sharp weapon seems out of character for a proficient magic-user such as Caster—except, this oddly designed sword isn’t made for combat. The sword, aptly called Rule Breaker, is one of the most powerful items in the fate universe because it has the devastating ability to sever a servant’s pact with their master, though it comes with a caveat.
The sword first appeared when Caster, ironically, used it on herself when True Assassin threatened to kill her beloved master. Rule Breaker appears again in the fight between Caster, Saber, and Archer. Based on Caster’s fate, it’s unlikely Rule Breaker will be returning in the next two installments.
9 Souichiro and Caster’s Relationship
Speaking of Caster’s master. The sorceress and her master, Souichirou Kuzuki, share a special relationship that transcends beyond the standard master/servant alliance, one that’s evolved to the point of romance that resembles Shirou and Saber’s relationship in the first Fate/Stay Night anime by Studio Deen.
This relationship was expanded greatly in Unlimited Blade Works. It was hinted that Souichirou and Caster cared for one another when Caster stopped her magical attack when True Assassin used Souichirou as a human shield. Unfortunately, because of their limited screen time, there was no opportunity to explore their relationship any further.
8 Mapo Tofu
Supervising the 5th Holy Grail War can induce an understandable amount of stress for someone. Thus, when he’s not overseeing a magical death tournament, you can find Kirei Kotomine indulging in a piping hot plate of Mapo tofu. This delectable Chinese dish is composed of tofu, ground mince, green onion, and it’s widely infamous for its extreme spicy taste.
This particular meal holds more personal significance to Kotomine that merely satisfying his tastebuds. After Kiritsugu defeated him in their epic brawl, Kotomine’s body became absorbed by the black mud pouring from the grail. He awakened to find he couldn’t feel his heart beating. Kotomine consumes Mapo tofu because the meal’s overly spicy properties, oddly enough, help to simulate a beating heart’s sensation.
7 Protection From Arrows
Lancer confronts True Assassin over his involvement in the Holy Grail War. What begins as a simple exchange of words between the two servants inevitably escalates into a clash of spear and daggers. The two engage in undoubtedly the most epically choreographed, stunningly animated fight scene in Presage Flower! True Assassin tries evading Lancer across Fuyuki City, but Lancer is relentless in his pursuit.
At last, True Assassin is nearly victorious as several daggers fly towards Lancer… only to see the daggers being repelled by an unknown force. This was as a result of Lancer’s ability, Protection From Arrows, a unique ability with the handy power of protecting Lancer from all ranged attacks that aren’t a Noble Phantasm.
6 Saber Alter
“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” (Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight). You know it’s the darkest Fate story when one of the noblest characters has transitioned to the evil side. At long last fans, have witnessed the animated debut of Saber Alter. After being consumed by the malevolent Shadow, Saber finds herself staring into the eyes of her dark counterpart.
Saber Alter was born when Saber became corrupted by Angra Mainyu, the enigmatic being who is responsible for corrupting the Holy Grail itself. Saber Alter’s brief cameo in Presage Flower serves as a prelude to her larger role in the following installment, Heaven’s Feel II. lLost Butterfly.
5 Angra Mainyu
While on the topic of Angra Mainyu, here’s another reference thing some fans must have missed. Once Kiritsugu discovered the grail has been tainted by Angra Mainyu’s influence, he immediately orders Saber to destroy it. His attempts proved futile as Angra Mainyu retaliated by unleashing a massive fire that devastated Fuyuki City. Among the flames, Kiritsugu found and rescued Shirou.
Ten years later, Shirou still experiences flashbacks depicting that horrifying day. In one of his flashbacks, there’s a black construct with a shadowy sphere emanating from the top. It’s obvious this Sauron-looking thing is Angra Mainyu.
4 Shirou’s Healing Ability
Shirou’s abilities as a magus are, to put it bluntly, average at best. It’s clear his basic magus abilities won’t be much help to him in intense combat scenarios. During the fight between Saber and the gigantic Berserker Shirou heroically—and foolishly—pushes his servant out of the way only to bear the full force of Berserker’s strike. If it weren’t for his amazing healing ability, Shirou would’ve certainly died.
The healing ability was the work of Saber’s scabbard, Avalon, a powerful relic that grants the user extraordinary healing abilities. Kiritsugu transferred Avalon into Shirou ten years ago to save his life. If you look closely, you can see the glowing outline of the scabbard in the above image. Furthermore, since Avalon resides within Shirou, he inadvertently used it to summon Saber into the world.
3 The Pendant
During the opening credits, the audience sees a myriad of images. These images are there to condense the beginning minutes of the Holy Grail War. One of the images shows Shirou picking up a certain jewel pendant. This pendant is actually a replica of the original one belonging to Rin Tohsaka, a priceless heirloom passed down through the Tohsaka family.
Similar to Avalon, the real pendant has the ability to heal a severely injured person. This pendant isn’t just a family heirloom. Rin unknowingly used her pendant as a catalyst to summon Archer into the world. Since Heaven’s Feel focuses on Shirou and Sakura’s relationship, it’s understandable that Presage Flower would gloss over this small item.
2 The True and False Assassin
In the most gruesome scene in Presage Flower, True Assasin emerges, xenomorph style, out of False Assassin’s chest. This was the work of Zouken Matou when he decided to participate in the grail war. The reason why the servant on the left is called “True Assassin” is because he was the one that the grail intended on enlisting in the war. The False Assassin was an irregular servant summoned by Caster for additional combat support. After his summoning, True Assassin would go onto participant in the war as originally intended.
1 “Cross the Desert”
Before facing off against Saber, True Assassin utters three words: “Cross the desert.” These three words would evoke memories to anyone who’ve seen Fate/Zero. True Assassin’s words are a subtle reference back to the epic showdown between Rider and the Assassin from Fate/Zero. The Assassin in Fate/Zero possesses the power to separate itself into more than a dozen individual entities. Surrounded by Assassin clones, Rider resorts to using his Noble Phantasm, Ionian Hetairoi, a powerful ability that transports Rider and anyone else in proximity to a vast desert.
There, Rider is reunited with his endless army. Together, Rider and his army lay waste to the Assassins. Another reason why True Assassin’s words would bring back memories is his striking resemblance to Fate/Zero’s Assassin, both in class and appearance. Interestingly enough, Patrick Seitz plays both incarnations in the English dubs of Fate/Zero and Heaven’s Feel, respectively. So, it’s no wonder that Fate fans would mistake one for the other despite being entirely separate characters.
The story presented throughout Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel I can be tough to follow, leaving a ton of things on which fans may miss out.