The Beauty of Nasuverse
You know the best thing about having an universe so exceptionally large you can make a dozens of anime based on it? It is another way to improve fandom engagement and one of the many reasons why Type-Moon has been so popular even to this day. Yes, I am talking about the infamous “Nasuverse”.
Sometimes I noticed while I was at type-moon wikia reading random crap for shits and giggles, I ended spending hours on it when it should have been just a few brief minutes of killing time. All Type-Moon anime have really extensive settings — they are like bottomless ravines where you can always find some fun new trivia no matter how deep you dig into them. Reading type-moon wikia pages is like an adventure, a treasure-seeking quest.
It helps that the franchise is always very concept-driven, and a lot of the things that drive the series forward is it’s own lore. And instead of creating a completely new universe, new Type-Moon works reuse the universe for their stories — resulting in countless fun references, trivia sometimes even cameo appearances. Whether or not it’s official information, or fan-made logic that piece together theories as to how the elements are tied together across multiple titles, fandom engagement is particularly strong in Type-Moon, mostly due to the fact that the entire franchise is like one big family.
In general, the writing of Type-Moon itself resembles an ambitious fanfic writer, or an ambitious forum-based roleplaying. A set of rules and laws were created to govern the settings and foundation of the story (Holy Grail War, etc…) and characters are later on designed, their details spiced up to then fill in the roles (the seven servants/heroic spirits, the seven masters, etc…). But exactly because of this, it is ridiculously easy to expand on the universe, and produce newer titles based on them. I suppose you can say, the universe of Type-Moon is accessible, exploitable even.
This act of tying one another titles in one universe is also the reason why Type-Moon has so many sequels, prequels, spin-offs and whatnot of recurring series, but almost rarely a new series. Just from Tsukihime alone, we had Tsukihime itself, Kagetsu Tohya, Melty Blood and so on. Fate/Stay Night as a series is also so huge it puts most old franchises to shame — on the top of my mind we had the original Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero, Fate/Hollow Ataraxia, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Strange Fake and the Fate/Extra series and I still feel like I am missing a few. Even series away from the “Big Two” of Type-Moon like Kara no Kyoukai and Mahoutsukai no Yoru still somehow find it’s way back to the universe.
Indeed, it is as if Type-Moon themselves are joining the fandom along with the fun of stringing ideas to tie their works together in the Nasuverse. Because of that, we get gems like Carnival Phantasm, a fun crossover between Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime. And Fate/Grand Order needs no introduction. Although I never play the game myself, I suppose this is why Fate/Grand Order is so popular, because it must have been satisfying to experience something where characters of past titles of the franchise that already spanned a decade come together in one game. Since the entire franchise is already tied in one huge universe, making these crossovers is a breeze for Type-Moon — Nasuverse makes producing new titles, even crossovers look effortlessly easy.
Furthermore, for me, it has been a particularly joyful ride to follow the franchise from it’s infancy. I still remember the day when I watched “Deen/Stay Night” and was only mildly entertained at best. I decided to jump to the visual novel sometime later and had been with Type-Moon since (well except for Fate/Grand Order, y’all know how much I hate mobage). Having been with the series since the first Fate/Stay Night anime, it feels satisfying that a series I was initially only mildly entertained with at best, has grown by leaps and bounds — in due part to it’s inclination to tie everything in one universe, in due part to the beauty of Nasuverse.
P.S: I swear I’m not writing this post just to put up all those cool af Type-Moon crossover pics.
*sees post about Nasuverse* Ah. The counter force compels me.
I think you summed it up rather nicely really. The Nasuverse is a grand multi-verse that’s so compelling in its (almost absurd) vastness that once you start gazing into its depths you can’t help but get sucked in. Kinoko Nasu, and the rest of the guys over at Type-Moon, have done an excellent job creating worlds for their different franchises — all the while holding them together by its lore.
Its no real secret that TM is in love with its own mythology (they even have their own encyclopedia!). Its precisely because they went ahead and expanded their little universe time and time again that they were able to weave together stories about mages figting for the Holy Grail and that of vampire-hunting families from Japan. I mean, what’s the overlap there right? But the beauty of Nasuverse is that it disregards the need of having an overlap altogether, but not without reason (however convoluted of a reason it may be, “exploitable”). As such, and as you said as well, crossovers are just a matter of course for TM.
An interesting thing to point out here is that Kara no Kyoukai is widely considered (and Nasu himself has adressed) the prototype for Tsukihime. Conversely, the Fate/Stay Night that we know was also derived from an earlier work of Nasu’s dubbed now as Fate/Prototype (that /also/ used concepts from KnK). From there we’ve seen Tsukihime and F/SN (the big “two” as you put it) give birth to newer works. And those newer works spawn some more — and so on. With each new work, the universe expands; new lore is added, and old lore reinforced.
You mention fandom engagement as being particularly strong in TM works; and, as one of the more recent TM ventures, I’d honestly attribute Fate/Grand Order’s current sucesses to that. I look at FGO as a portal for the existing fanbase to be that much closer to the Fate franchise. At the very least, as a player myself I feel as if I keep up with the expanding universe with every story or mission I come across — at the extremes I feel, even if only barely, that I contribute to this world that I’ve been a fan of for the longest time.
I get how you feel satisfied with how the entire thing has taken up a storm in recent years (and will still probably continue to do so in a couple more years). I might even feel a little bit hipster-ish about it even. But that’s besides the point. More Nasuverse love is always nice :D
“I get how you feel satisfied with how the entire thing has taken up a storm in recent years (and will still probably continue to do so in a couple more years). I might even feel a little bit hipster-ish about it even. But that’s besides the point. More Nasuverse love is always nice :D”
I think one point that I forgot to put in the post (but still probably obvious from the way I wrote them) is that unlike most other huge franchises where I marathoned every title they have like a madman, Fate/Stay Night is one among very few series that I had the opportunity to watch them grow. When I got into the series, there was only the original Fate/Stay Night anime and the VN (and probably a myriad of untranslated works). There wasn’t any Ufotable-adapted Type-Moon shows — there wasn’t any Fate/Zero, wasn’t any Unlimted Blade Works anime and I believe the visual novel wasn’t even fully translated at the time. As these became more accessible though, I slowly turned into a Type-Moon fan. Fate/Stay Night as a series is special, because it’s one series I gradually grow to like over the years as their other works became more accessible. The fact that I got into the series in such perfect timing makes it that much more satisfactory.
Unfortunately it’s getting harder for me to keep up, especially with the games, though that’s par for the course as with most huge franchises, and also the fact that I could barely keep up with new games in general anyway.
I think you managed to get that point across when you said you started with Deen/Stay Night (lol), and yeah, I’m pretty much the same. That was my entry point to Type-Moon too (which is funny considering the Tsukihime anime came out two-three years ealier). More than that it was my entry point to watching anime as a whole — so I do hold the franchise very near and dear to my heart as well.
Yeah, I suppose there is some difference in satisfaction with having the opportunity able to “grow” alongside F/SN (and Type-Moon) and with seeing it succeed now when before it was very much a niche set of titles (just the anime and the VN, as you point out). It /is/ really neat considering the first F/SN came out more than a decade ago now; and being able to witness it all unfold goes back to your point.
Where before I’d try out the games just because they were Nasuverse-related (wthout regard to story at all), now I can’t bring myself to do so. Even playing FGO now I feel moments where I miss out just because it’s not a translated work, and I have to wait for people to work on it first (but hey, an English version is coming out soon)
I mean, the Tsukihime doesn’t exist so there’s no way for me to know :p Fate/Stay Night wasn’t my entry point to watching anime but it was definitely one of my first shows when I finally started watching anime actively.
Well F/GO aside (I might try out the English version if I somehow manage to replace my ancient phone), I really want Fate/Extella, lol.