Fate/Grand Order and its core Fate franchise are well-known for having a varied and expansive multiverse, but the puppetry-based dimension of Thunderbolt Fantasy might be a new one for the brand. That’s exactly what happened, thanks to a collaboration film released for April Fools’ Day 2021 in Japan.
The short, simply titled the Fate/Grand Order x Thunderbolt Fantasy Collaboration Film, features the main characters of Thunderbolt Fantasy, the swordsman Shāng Bù Huàn and the scholar Lǐn Xuě Yā having it out with a masked villain. The villain uses his mystic eyes to take control of Shāng Bù Huàn’s body, and Lǐn Xuě Yā opts to summon assistance from across the dimensions. Help comes in the form of Fate poster girl Altria Pendragon, who unleashes her Noble Phantasm to dispatch the villain.
Thunderbolt Fantasy is a TV series co-produced between the Japanese companies Nitroplus and Good Smile and Taiwan-based Pili International. The show is notable for its use of puppetry and wuxia-style action cinematography alongside CG special effects. Written by Fate/Zero author Gen Urobuchi, two seasons aired in Japan and there are two theatrical films.
NOW Games’ Youtube channel also released a brief behind-the-scenes reel showing off the work that went into producing this short. It featured the puppeteers manipulating the figures, setting up effects shots and destructible props, and even the crew physically throwing puppets across the set for “stunts.”
The Thunderbolt Fantasy characters are voiced in Japanese by their respective voice actors. Shāng Bù Huàn is voiced by Junichi Suwabe, who also voices Archer/Emiya in the Fate franchise), and Lǐn Xuě Yā is voiced by Kohsuke Toriumi, who appears in FGO as Robin Hood. Toriumi is also the Japanese voice of Genshin Impact‘s Kaeya. Fate/Grand Order‘s Altria is voiced by Ayako Kawasumi.
Fate/Grand Order is immediately available on Android and iOS, and is currently running its Ooku event. Thunderbolt Fantasy can be streamed on Crunchyroll in various territories. Its third season will premiere on April 4, 2021 in Japan, following a delay in production due to COVID-19.