by Erin Burnett, Author of Liza’s Avenger, coming soon to the Amazon Kindle Store!
Disclaimer: All logos, characters, artwork, stories, information, names, and other Fate/Stay Night (Unlimited Blade Works) elements included or referenced in this blog are the sole and exclusive property of Aniplex, Notes, and Ufotable studios. The author’s views are her own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the creators of this show or franchise.
Since its initial release in 2004, the Fate series has enthralled viewers around the world and it is not difficult to see why. After all, where else do King Arthur, Alexander the Great, Cú Chulainn and Hercules fight it out in a present day setting? The 2014 television remake follows the ‘Unlimited Blade Works’ plotline from the original visual novel and quickly became the most popular anime of this season. It boasted remarkable animation, a stellar soundtrack and an engrossing plot. The recurring theme of salvation naturally caused me to think about my own salvation in Jesus Christ.
Unlimited Blade Works is essentially a conflict of worldviews. The majority of characters are hedonists who place their own happiness above anything else as they fight for the ‘Holy Grail’ which they believe has the power to grant its owner a single wish. Each person that partakes in the war are referred to as masters and they are granted a servant that is pulled from the past, present or future. Some fight simply to give meaning to lives they feel are otherwise meaningless.
Enter into this scene the protagonist, Shirou Emiya, who is roped into this conflict because of his father’s legacy. He is different to the others and wishes to save everyone from the bloodshed that will ensue. He decides that if he can obtain the grail he will use it to end all suffering. To quote, “Is it greedy of me to wish for an outcome where everyone was saved and are happy and can share a laugh about it in the end?”
However, Shirou is initially immature and naïve. He doesn’t realise the effort that is required to achieve his goal. As Christians we can often fall into this trap and I am guilty as any. Of course we want people to be saved but we are too lazy or afraid to witness to those we love. We want the results without effort. As the war progresses he suffers attacks from all sides, both violent and verbal. Even his allies believe he should give up his ideals and face up to the kill or be killed reality.
Shirou didn’t just want to save others from the war: he wanted to create a utopia where there was no sadness at all. A line said to him that really stood out while I was watching was, “In the end, you can save neither others nor yourself. A life of a lie.” This is true. Perhaps the main reason why he failed to achieve his goal was that he tried to fulfill a role that only Christ is able to perform. Men cannot save themselves, be it through good works or any other means.
The conclusion is sobering: the grail they were struggling for turns out to be nothing more than a demonic deception that has to be destroyed. This is a good picture of sin in our lives. We chase after it, thinking that it will bring us happiness and fulfillment when all it does is widen the gap between us and God. We have to stamp it out before it consumes us. Ultimately Shirou is forced to accept reality: “I know that no-one can be saved without sacrifice.” Even in the realm of fiction salvation never comes easily.
In light of all this we must look at what the Bible tells us about salvation. Salvation is when our sins are acquitted by the death of Jesus Christ, allowing us to spend eternity with him. He saves us from our deserved ‘fate’ as sinners. No-one is deserving of this – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) Salvation is not found in people, denominations or good works. A favourite verse of mine is Romans 5:8 – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Some can point to an exact moment that they came to trust in the Lord, and for others it is a more gradual process. But regardless of how it happens, getting saved lifts a huge burden from you and fills you with joy and the assurance that you will spend eternity with Christ.
Don’t be like the characters of Fate/Stay Night, fruitlessly trying to solve the world’s problems by themselves. Place your trust in Christ today!
Erin Burnett is a first time author from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her debut novel, Liza’s Avenger, is projected for digital release later this summer. Follow this blog to learn more about Erin and her fellow Flagship Fiction authors!