(Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

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(Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby switch » July 14th, 2009, 9:54 pm

Hi everyone !
I read the FAQ, and it says there is no particular meaning to this name and it is because of Nasu's bad english skills. I must say that I kind of disagree with that ...
First of all, as for the english skills, I don't really think he's that bad since he was able to do quite well with Archer and Shirou's UBW english chant, and besides this ...well..."Fate/Stay Night" is supposed to be the title of the game ! This title is written in big letters on the box of the game :D So I think he put a least a little effort to come up with something meaningful... :p
Now I will try to explain what seems to me right meaning. I looked up on several websites, but no signification really convinced me, it sounded either too complicated or just wrong...

"Fate / Stay Night"

I think the key here is the "/". The slash is usually used to express a choice between what is before and after the slash (for example : "she/he"), to make explicit the alternatives. Now whose choice is it ? I'd say Saber's obviously : Fate is the name of Saber's route (this route seems to be the most important one since it is the first one of the game and the one they took to make the anime...hence the title of the whole game).
The choice Saber is facing is whether to accept her actions she did as a king and die, or keep on fighting to obtain the Holy Grail. And I think it is exactly what the title means.
The first alternative is then "Fate" : Saber gives up her will to redo the selection of the king, and so she accepts her fate (which is, on the one hand, she had to be the king of England, and, on the other hand , she has to die now). Accepting her fate means in a way accepting the past and its consequences, and so doing she dies.
The second alternative is "Stay Night" : It means to go on fighting for the Holy Grail and therefore keeping the status of a Servant. And at the end when she returns to her time to die, what does she say? She was dreaming. She refers to her time spent being a Servant as a dream. So if she stays as a Servant, her body in her time keeps on "dreaming". So "Stay Night" means she remains asleep, while her soul -removed from the time axis- fights for the Holy Grail. "Night" metaphorically refers to her sleep (because you dream at night. XD ).

I hope my explanation was clear ( I apologize in advance for my grammar as I am not a english native speaker ;) ).Please tell me what you think !
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Kid-Wolf » July 15th, 2009, 2:09 am

May I ask how you came up with that theory at all since I'm kind of curious on how you got there.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby switch » July 15th, 2009, 9:18 am

Well I was convinced from the start that it had to mean something... and I thought about it for a while... I had already an idea about the signification of "Fate"and the "/", and it all cleared up when I watched the end of the anime a second time (after completing the game): when Saber wakes up, she tells Bedevere about her dream, and so the connection between "staying in this dream" and "Stay Night" seemed obvious to me then. ;)
On the other hand I felt it was simple enough to be the right meaning ( well except for the "Stay Night" metaphor which I think is here to avoid spoilers in the title, and it's not that complex though :p)
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Vhailor » July 15th, 2009, 10:55 am

Interesting :D. I can only make a supposition but, following what you said, maybe we can also understand Stay night as Stay Knight or Stay a Knight :'D . English is not my nativ language so i don't know if this is totally outrageous!
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby SolarAdept » July 15th, 2009, 11:53 am

I actually think Nasu simply meant it as a meaningless, mystifying title and used his engrish(not english -these are two different languages) to have it. Your guess is more like a psychologist finding a problem where it never existed.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Oolinthu » July 15th, 2009, 12:56 pm

I'd have to agree with Solar Adept. While I don't deny that it's possible, the far simpler and likelier explanation is that it's just Engrish. Keep in mind that Engrish is meant for a Japanese audience, and is just meant to sound a certain way, in this case, ominous or portentous. It doesn't make sense because it doesn't have to, it's not meant for English-speakers.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Keeper of Gil's Vault » July 15th, 2009, 4:03 pm

I used to think that Fate/Stay Night is just Engrish and carries little to no meaning when I watched the anime, but it changed after I read through this one scene in the VN. I forgot where exactly this scene is, but in it, Rin talked about how Heaven's Feel is fought between magi in secret, and night time is when the true battles occur between teams of Masters and Servants. If you think about it, many key battles in Fate/Stay Night were fought under the cover of darkness.

The finales of all three routes occurred at night and finished at dawn, so "day time" or "dawn" in Fate/Stay night carries a sense of parting and separation, particularly between the Servants and Masters. Following this train of thought, you can interpret "Stay Night" as the sincere wish of the Servants and Masters in the Grail War: how they hoped that the night remains and the fateful dawn never arrives, so they can be with their respective Masters and Servants just a little bit longer. Think about Shirou and Sabre, Caster and Kuzuki, Archer and Rin, you will realize that this interpretation is not that far-fetched. Given Nasu's meticulousness and attention to details, I doubt he would just let the title slide without implanting some sort of hidden meaning.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby SolarAdept » July 15th, 2009, 4:23 pm

There is one big fault in that theory - Masters were with their Servants 24/7(except Sakura for the obvious reasons)
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Keeper of Gil's Vault » July 15th, 2009, 4:35 pm

My interpretation is based on symbolic rather than literal meaning. The point I am trying to make with Rin's statement is that, Heaven's Feel is a battle royale fought at night (typically) with magics and illusions. "Stay Night" expresses the wish for this mirage-like 14-day experience to last just a bit longer for the Masters and Servants.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Oolinthu » July 15th, 2009, 5:26 pm

The problem with that is:

Even if you attach symbolic meaning to each individual word (which Nasu may very well have intended within the context of a clearly limited grasp of English), it still doesn't come close to making sense in English. It's "Fate/Stay Night", not "Fate of the Transient Night", or "Fateful, Parting Night", or "Night of Fated Illusions", or anything like that.

It'd be like if I wrote a story about characters helping each other overcome emotional scars or psychological barriers and forming meaningful relationships with one another, and named it "Genkai/Kokoro Kekkai". Sure, the three words loosely translate to "limit", "heart"/"soul", and "barrier", and you can correlate each with a thematic element in my story - but the main driving force behind my title is clearly a desire to have a title in Japanese, while having an extremely limited grasp of the actual language.

It's Engrish. The simplest and likeliest explanation is that Nasu threw together a few English words whose meaning he more or less understood so he could have an ominous-sounding English title to mystify his Japanese audience.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby SolarAdept » July 15th, 2009, 5:41 pm

Of course, that doesn't prevent you from generating WMG if you want to so much. Just don't claim them to be the "right" explanations or even explanations - say it's just a guess, otherwise it just gets pretentious.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby switch » July 15th, 2009, 6:48 pm

Vhailor : Interesting :D. I can only make a supposition but, following what you said, maybe we can also understand Stay night as Stay Knight or Stay a Knight :'D . English is not my nativ language so i don't know if this is totally outrageous!


Yes, it was one of the first things that came to my mind at first when I couldn't understand it, and I think it isn't impossible that this play on words is intended. It could sound like a wierd pun, but if you consider the "Engrish" possibility... XD

SolarAdept : I actually think Nasu simply meant it as a meaningless, mystifying title and used his engrish(not english -these are two different languages) to have it. Your guess is more like a psychologist finding a problem where it never existed.

Oolinthu : I'd have to agree with Solar Adept. While I don't deny that it's possible, the far simpler and likelier explanation is that it's just Engrish. Keep in mind that Engrish is meant for a Japanese audience, and is just meant to sound a certain way, in this case, ominous or portentous. It doesn't make sense because it doesn't have to, it's not meant for English-speakers.


I can see the point you are making here, while I agree there is a possibility that there isn't a clear meaning behind this title, I find it hard to believe that it makes no sense at all ... You said that because it is aimed at a non-English country, it doesn't have to make sense, but I think most Japanase people have a grasp of English like in any other country in the world. So I find it wierd to write some random words on the box ... But I must admit I hadn't thought about the mysticism part.

SolarAdept : Of course, that doesn't prevent you from generating WMG if you want to so much. Just don't claim them to be the "right" explanations or even explanations - say it's just a guess, otherwise it just gets pretentious.

I am sorry if I gave you this impression, I never intended to sound pretentious or to claim that I'm right. I wanted to share my opinion and I wanted to know what you all think about it.My apologies if it didn't sounded as a guess.

More importantly, has anyone actually asked Nasu himself about it ?
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby Keeper of Gil's Vault » July 15th, 2009, 8:19 pm

Oolinthu wrote:The problem with that is:

Even if you attach symbolic meaning to each individual word (which Nasu may very well have intended within the context of a clearly limited grasp of English), it still doesn't come close to making sense in English. It's "Fate/Stay Night", not "Fate of the Transient Night", or "Fateful, Parting Night", or "Night of Fated Illusions", or anything like that.

It'd be like if I wrote a story about characters helping each other overcome emotional scars or psychological barriers and forming meaningful relationships with one another, and named it "Genkai/Kokoro Kekkai". Sure, the three words loosely translate to "limit", "heart"/"soul", and "barrier", and you can correlate each with a thematic element in my story - but the main driving force behind my title is clearly a desire to have a title in Japanese, while having an extremely limited grasp of the actual language.

It's Engrish. The simplest and likeliest explanation is that Nasu threw together a few English words whose meaning he more or less understood so he could have an ominous-sounding English title to mystify his Japanese audience.


I can see your logic here, but dismissing the possibility of an underlying meaning here is not entirely convincing. It is quite possible that Nasu had a good title in mind and wished to put it in English to add an exotic flare. However, due to his limit English skills, some of the originally intended complexities got lost in translation. Take for example the phrase "unlimited blade works", the Japanese translation is "the forging of unlimited blades", I suspect Nasu simply shoved the Japanese phrase in a translating program and just took whatever came out and put it in the VN. There is a possibility that "Fate/Stay Night" is a mangled translation of a more meaningful Japanese title Nasu had in mind.
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Re: (Spoilers) The signification of "Fate/Stay Night"

Unread postby SolarAdept » July 15th, 2009, 8:50 pm

UBW is simply following the Rule of Cool. It's in Engrish cuz it's cooler this way.
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