The Fate franchise turns historical figures into anime characters, giving them new stories and often changed their backgrounds. In some cases, for example, King Arthur, even their gender. The franchise has proven to be one of the most popular in the history of Japanese anime, and rightfully so. And with the release of the Fate/Grand Order smartphone game, the Fate franchise has gotten more popular than ever.
However, some Fate fans have shown that they’ve already blurred the line between the actual historical figures and their Fate counterparts. Recently, the History Channel commemorated the death of Saint Joan of Arc with an “On This Day” post on Facebook. And with the popularity of the real-life-saint’s Fate version, fans have completely taken over the post.
While the post talked about Joan of Arc’s achievements, as well as her execution, the comments section mostly talked about how she is as a servant. Some of the commenters didn’t even care about the real J’eanne D’Arc and said they preferred the Fate version. Of course, this angered a few history buffs, but the number of Fate-related posts drowned them out.
The real historical Joan of Arc is considered one of the most important figures in France’s history. Officially canonized by Pope Benedict XV, France even made her as one of their Patron Saints. Her prowess in the Hundred Years’ War between England and France made her a legend. This holds especially true during the Siege of Orleans. Her daring actions in retaking the city from English hands gave her the nickname “The Maid of Orleans”. However, because of her popularity among the French masses, as well as her men, several French lords from Burgundy betrayed her to the English. They even held a trial and accused her of heresy and witchcraft, which they found her guilty of. They then burned her at the stake on 30 May 1431.
But her trial at the hands of the Burgundians and Englishmen seemed a bit to dubious that Pope Callixtus III called a posthumous retrial. Of course, they found her innocent this time, and the Catholic Church would later beatify her. Her life would then go full circle in 1909, when Pope Benedict XV finally canonized her as a saint.
However, her contributions in liberating much of French territory from the English don’t seem to interest many of the commenters. Nor does her contributions to the Catholic church, or even the success of her retrial. Most of them just talked about how great of a waifu she is. While the anime/FGO version, is great and all, the real-life historical figure still holds much more value.
The same can be said for other anime as well. Kamehameha, the Polynesian king of Hawaii who unified the islands into the Kingdom of Hawaii. But when a few anime fans discovered an avenue from the US state named after him, well, you guys get the idea.
The meme seems to have pissed off a few local history buffs from Hawaii, as well as some the state’s Polynesian populace. For them, King Kamehameha holds much more importance than Goku’s signature move. Akira Toriyama actually named the move after the Hawaiian monarch after his wife suggested the name to him.
While loving your favorite anime or game characters is nice, it’s often better to reflect on the people that inspired them. Whether she’s a Catholic saint like J’eanne D’Arc, or a Sengoku-era warlord like Oda Nobunaga. And while many fans love the characters and still hold reverence to the historical figures, a lot of them still blur the lines. This is unfortunate, as many disregard the creators’ actual inspirations for beloved characters.