Unless ye have been living under a rock (or, perhaps, a turtle shell), the latest buzz on the internet has been the simply fantastic Fate/stay night Anime by Studio Deen. Episodes started airing in January, and as of 04 March 2006, nine episodes have been shown of a possible twenty four. I started this discussion because even though fate/stay night was licensed by Geneon before it even aired (Geneon also sponsored it), the Anime has three different paths to follow (more on this later), so no one knows exactly what's going to happen! It's a work in process, and that makes discussing it ever so much jucier.
Fate/stay night originally started out as an "H" game from the gaming studio TYPE-MOON, of which some of you may recognize as the doujin group that did "Tsukihime". Though Fate/stay night is set in the same universe as Tsukihime, it's definately not a doujin!
The original "H" game has three different branching scenarios; Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven's Feel. The initial scenario, however, remains the same; here is the synopsis.
! Fate/stay night takes place in Fuyuki City, a site deemed by mages to be the battleground for a "Holy Grail" war that occurs roughly every ten years. In the most recent war, a massive fire broke out, killing hundreds of individuals. Only a young boy, the protagonist, survived the blaze; he had been rescued by an enigmatic man named Emiya Kiritsugu, whom adopted the boy as his son, "Shirou". Shirou would learn that his father was a well-meaning sorcerer, whom sought to help and protect people from the harsh living of the world; though Shirou had no real talent for sorcery, he admired and wanted to fufill his foster father's dream.
! Now, ten years later, Kiritsugu passed away from a mysterious disease, leaving Shirou in sole possession of his father's estate. He lives with his eccentric instructor/pesudo-guardian Fujimura Taiga Sensei (TIGER!!), and he is visisted everyday by Matou Sakura, the younger sister of one of his friends whom has a not-so-hidden crush on him (note: the whole introduction scene made me laugh out loud, because Shirou is voiced by the same actor who does Sasuke on Naruto and his first speaking lines are "Sakura?"). Since his father's death, Shirou has made a name for himself as a hard-working, good natured repairman; he enjoys cooking and cleaning, and has trained the one sorcery he can perform (tracing) which allows him to fix and strengthen many machines or objects. He frequently uses this ability to help his friend and the student body president, Ryudo Issei, get out of tight spots.
! One day, Shirou hears from his friend Mitsuzuri Ayako, head of his school's Archery Club (Shirou was a former member), that his friend, Matou Shinji (Sakura's brother) has been bullying the rookie archers. Apparently, Shinji was rejected by the school's top girl, Tohsaka Rin, and Shinji was looking for a way to vent some steam. Shirou has a talk with Shinji, though the discussion leads off into Shirou offering his services in case Shinji needs help with repairing arrows or bows.
! Later that day, Shinji takes up Shirou's offer, and has him set to work cleaning the Archery Dojo. Shirou spends several hours at work; it's nighttime when he leaves. Unfortunetly, on his way back, he witnesses a climatic battle between two powerful warriors; they're spiritual servants summoned in the most recent Holy Grail war. One of the servants, Lancer, notices Shirou and gives chase; outside humans are not supposed to know of the internal battles of mages! Shirou runs far into his high school, but Lancer catches up and stabs through Shirou's heart, killing him.
! Tohsaka Rin, whom is actually the daughter of a powerful mage and the master of Lancer's opponent Archer, find's Shirou's dead body. For an unknown reason (at the time), she uses the magic pendant that she used as a catalyst for summoning Archer to heal Shirou's damaged organs. Now a worthless gem, Rin drops the pendant.
! Shirou awakens some time later, dazed and confused; as he walks home, he realizes he was killed and that Lancer might detect that he is alive again. Sure enough, Lancer appears at Shirou's home and gives battle; Shirou manages to use his tracing ability to strengthen a rolled up paper poster, but he's no match for Lancer. Just as Lancer is about to kill him again, Shirou somehow manages to summon Saber, the most outstanding of servants, to protect him. After battling back Lancer, Saber asks "Servant Saber, at your command. Are you my master?"
Man, this story kicks arse.