Let's talk about fakes fighting originals. Whether they're bootlegs or epigones, once their value starts to differ from that of their originals, questions of real and fake disappear. The same goes for pseudepigrapha. If the creator's beliefs are contained in the stories they tell, then that is someone's truth and not a mistake.
Etcetera. I thought I'd expound on taboos by way of a preface, knowing full well that plunging into these topics in this industry just reeks of danger.
Pleased to meet you, Dengeki Bunko readers. This is Nasu Kinoko, writer of Fate/Stay Night.
First of all, congratulations on Fate/Strange Fake beginning publication.
95 percent of this story is Narita Ryōgo's creation, but about five percent is in the story that forms its basic setting a novel-game called Fate/Stay Night. Fate/Stay Night is a long game with three routes in a single world. One of those routes, "Unlimited Blade Works," takes up the theme of "real and fake." 14 years later, in 2015, this book, Fate/Strange Fake, by Narita Ryōgo tackles that theme head on.
To be precise, it actually began on April 1st, 2008. On April Fool's, the annual day of brinkmanship between creators I mean horseplay when Narita Ryōgo casually published "a Holy Grail War [he] thought up" on his homepage.
The density of material in that short work, called "Fake," as well as its intriguing choice of setting and the impossibility of predicting where its plot was going to go, led to continuous cries that it was "too good to end as a joke." Now, Takeuchi Takashi, representing TYPE-MOON, has made Narita Ryōgo an official offer. He casually invited Mr. Narita onto our home turf with something like:
"I have something to discuss about 'Fake.' Would you mind coming in to our office?"
We were sizing up how to explain the situation, when Narita Ryōgo, with stars in his eyes, unleashed the following counter:
"I was ready to get raked over the coals for doing it without permission, but I get to write a sequel? Yes! ...By the way, I've got enough plot for five books. That's not a problem, is it?"
I seem to recall the author of Zero countering in a similar fashion, but that's a story for another time.
With a sidelong glance at the speechless Takeuchi Takashi, Mr. Narita unveiled the sprawling ("The short version was sprawling enough? But that was just the introduction. Ha ha ha.") overall plot. As an author who loves ensemble pieces, he was in his element. His level of commitment convinced us that a simple project wouldn't suffice, so we rolled up our sleeves and officially reached out to Dengeki Bunko for cooperation which they willingly agreed to. Before we knew it, the project was underway. We ultimately ended up sending this series into the world as a simultaneous publication with its comic version.
That brings us to the present. Just now.
This volume is a prologue, the first bars of the real thrill of the Holy Grail War that its author, Narita Ryōgo, has been saving up for years. The fact that a prologue can be this engaging genuinely frightens me. So far, most of it is just a "ghost story" that's been whispered about for the past six years, and which will already be familiar to many readers. What comes next, however, is unknown. This is where the true Fake Holy Grail War begins.
How will the Narita Holy Grail War that got its start on April 1st play out? As a reader myself, I can hardly contain my excitement. I can also hardly contain my nervousness, because, really, Narita... do you honestly believe that plot will take just five volumes?
The basic rules of Fate/Stay Night are simple. There's a Grail that can grant wishes; there are seven mages (Masters) who have gathered to obtain it; and to represent them in battle, there are Heroic Spirits from the past Servants. Up to seven Servants can be summoned in a single Holy Grail War. Servants are divided into classes and assigned to Master's by the Holy Grail. Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, Berserker. Servants fight and kill each other while concealing their own identities until only one pair remains.
If thou desire the truth if thou desire the Grail prove thyself the mightiest.
As the tagline for the first release of Fate/Stay Night says, it's the start of a merry battle royal. Ten years have gone by since the original story, and it's made fertile soil. Anything that follows these rules can be called Fate, and Fate has had the good fortune to receive new life in the hands of numerous authors.
To date, we have had Fate/Zero, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Prototype, and others. Fake, however, differs conceptually from all of these. It's right there in the title. Fake is a future that should have been impossible given form; a parallel world for Narita Ryōgo to go wild with TYPE-MOON's fantastic setting.
Take Enkidu and Gil's relationship. The end they came to in myth is the same in both Stay Night and Fake, but the process is subtly different.
If I were to force myself to categorize each work, Zero is a world with the same terms as Stay Night, but which is subtly different; Apocrypha is a world that was the same up to a point, but which is now completely different; The El-Melloi Case Files is a dense story of magecraft in exactly the same world, but with a slightly different atmospheric density due to Sanda Makoto spice; and Strange Fake is a world that is somehow completely different despite having the same terms and reaching the same conclusion. As for why it is that way, half of it is that the theme of Fake is falsehood, so it's better to put the differences with Stay Night up front.
The other half is, well... I can only say that it's because Narita Ryōgo is the Narita Ryōgo we know. After all, he says things like, "I'd like to include setting details from Tsukihime and other things, not just Fate. I want to play in Nasu Kinoko's garden. Actually, I want to become a Zen priest and depict the universe in the garden of Kinoko Temple. In fact, I want to merge with you. No, I already have. Anyway, I want to use absolutely everything in this world, so I'd like you to show me setting details for the Association and the Church and that sort of thing to start. If they're company secrets, I'll just dream them up on my own. I'd like you to give me a sign if I get it wrong."
And, annoyingly, he's incredibly good at using a preexisting setting like that. I knew that from his other novelizations, but I never imagined that I'd be on the receiving end of it. I see... So, this is Narita Ryōgo...
So, Fake doesn't follow the rails that Stay Night laid down. Instead, it became a parallel "fake" that uses those rails to get airborne. I hope that users familiar with TYPE-MOON will enjoy a modest resemblance over strict conformity. Making Gil and Enkidu, Jeanne and _______ match previous works exactly would detract from the greatness of Fake and Narita Ryōgo. That would be a tragedy. It would also defeat the purpose of publishing it as a "fake."
This is a story created from a different story, using the same materials and creative principles. For that reason, I would like everyone to look forward to an unknown Holy Grail War with fresh feelings. This story will not betray your expectations. This first volume has already proven that.
Exceptions summoned one after another.
A way of choosing and using each piece that will shock and astonish you more the better you know the world of the story.
A miraculous outside pitch thrown by the routine world of F.
This is one talented author's ultimate revenge on the original work.
"How dare you do something that cool! I'll pay you back double!"
I'm grateful for my good fortune to have encountered an author who sublimates such clichιs into a work and lovingly delivers it head-on.
Will that cursed blade cleave Nasu kinoko's flesh and bone?
Now... welcome to the intrigue and trouble-filled fictional city of Snowfield.