Welcome to Anime VS, where I take two anime series that are similar in plot, style or genre and compare them to decide which is worth your time!
The competitors in this edition of Anime Vs! are:
Fate/stay night VS Mirai Nikki
Looking for a survival game anime? Both Fate/stay night and Mirai Nikki (also known as The Future Diary) exhibit this theme, and neither are for the faint of heart. The main characters of each show are two teenagers who form an alliance in order to survive against the other players. In both series, each player is granted an asset that will help advance through the game – but with new power come new challenges.
The main characters of Fate/stay night are a girl and boy who go to school together. The girl, Rin Tōsaka, has been preparing for the “Holy Grail War,” and is determined to win. The boy, Shirou Emiya, has no clue what the “Holy Grail War” is; nor did he intend to participate. Each player gets to summon a spirit of a fallen warrior, and Shirou unintentionally summons the same spirit that Rin had her eyes on. Reluctantly, Rin decides it would be beneficial to team up with Shirou, and in doing so gains a powerful ally in his spirit, Saber. The further they progress through the game, the closer they get to winning the Holy Grail, which grants immense power to whomever is victorious. Unfortunately for the pair, they’re not the only ones with powerful spirits on their side.
Mirai Nikki provides a similar situation for Yukiteru Amano, or Yukki for short. His “imaginary friend” places him in a survival game where twelve players are granted cell phones that feed them information about the future. In his struggle to figure out what he is supposed to do, Yukki meets a girl, Yuno Gasai, who is so obsessed with him that she stalks him. Unfortunately, Yukki’s cell phone diary only informs him of the future around him; he has no idea what will actually happen to him. Yuno, on the other hand, has a diary that updates her about only Yukki. He decides to team up with Yuno even though she’s a possessive sociopath, because together their diaries tell him everything he needs to know about his own future. The winner of the survival game gets to become the god of the universe – and while Yukki has no initial interest in becoming a god, he plays the game because the only other option is death.
Fate/stay night is more on the fantasy side. The warriors summoned have different strengths and magical abilities, and because each warrior is his or her own person, the show allows for a variety of characters and relationships. Mirai Nikki also contains fantastic minor characters: several have complex backstories and touching character arcs, and I found myself attached to many of them. Unfortunately, Rin and Shirou are less interesting than Yuno and Yukki. Shirou is the cliché hero who fights to save others, and works well teamed up with Rin, a skilled mage. Yukki, on the other hand, is a coward who’s constantly troubled by his own anxiety and fear, and relies completely on Yuno, who can kill a man with horrifying ease. While Yukki and Yuno are both easy to dislike, their dynamic is unpredictable, making the audience uneasy and intrigued.
The Winner is: Mirai Nikki
Overall, Mirai Nikki is more interesting than Fate/stay night. Both offer plenty of fighting and suspense, but Mirai Nikki separates itself from conventional anime. While Fate/stay night succeeds in blending fantasy and magic into the real world, Mirai Nikki contains elements of mystery and psychological horror that augment the emotions of the viewer, and increase the intensity of the story.
Mirai Nikki is a 26-episode anime, and an extra episode (Mirai Nikki: Redial) was released after the main series as an epilogue. Fate/stay night is one of the many Fate series, each one about a different Holy Grail War.