On December 7th this year, TYPE-MOON released the remastered visual novel Witch on the Holy Night for Nintendo Switch and PS4, complete with an official English translation for the first time ever in TYPE-MOON’s history.
For fans of the interconnected “Nasuverse” created by the series’ creator, Nasu Kinoko, there are plenty of significant connections between Witch on the Holy Night—also known by its Japanese shorthand, “Mahoyo”—and Nasu’s hugely popular Fate/stay night universe.
If you want to know how Witch on the Holy Night connects to Fate/stay night, then you’ve come to the right place! Prepare yourself as Honey’s Anime takes a deep dive into the Nasuverse!
SPOILER WARNING: (Obviously) We’ll be spoiling large parts of Witch on the Holy Night and Fate/stay night itself, particularly the ending of Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel. You’ve been warned!
Now let’s get started!
When Is Mahoyo Set Compared to Fate/stay night?
Let’s get our timelines straightened out. Even though TYPE-MOON released Mahoyo in 2012 in Japan, the script was first penned in 1996 by Nasu during a feverish winter writing session inspired by the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
To orient ourselves in the overall timeline, let’s figure out where (and when!) we are in the Nasuverse timeline.
The main events of Witch on the Holy Night occur from November to December of 1989. For reference, the Fourth Holy Grail War of Fate/Zero will take place in November 1994, five years later. The Fifth Holy Grail War—the events of Fate/stay night—begins in February 2004.
For the curious, that makes Rin Tohsaka and Shirou Emiya just two years old, with Sakura Matou barely a year old. Meanwhile, the protagonists of Mahoyo, Aoko Aozaki, and Alice Kuonji are seventeen in 1989, and Sizuki Soujyuro is implied to be the same age.
Now let’s talk about the all-important connections between our series—starting with the “Red Ghost” that haunts Aoko Aozaki.
What Is the Red Ghost in Witch on the Holy Night?
Throughout Mahoyo, Aoko frequently feels or sees a “ghost” garbed in tattered red robes. The Red Ghost approaches Aoko whenever she comes particularly close to unleashing the hidden secret of the Aozaki family—the “Fifth Magic,” which allows Time Travel and governs the concepts of consumption and extinction (more on that later).
The Red Ghost is a member of the Counter Force—individuals empowered by Alaya, which is interchangeably referred to as “the World.” In reality, Alaya is one-half of the planet’s consciousness, and of particular importance to mages, since Alaya fiercely protects the Root and the all-powerful Magics available there, including the Fifth Magic the Aozaki clan wields.
Some fans speculate that the Red Ghost is actually Counter Force “EMIYA”—the version of Shirou Emiya that sacrificed his humanity to become a “hero of justice,” as shown in the flashbacks of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. That seems unlikely, though, given that EMIYA was deployed for larger-scale wars to balance humanity and prevent its extinction.
The Red Ghost is likely just another member of the Counter Force, monitoring the users of Magic, prepared to intervene if Magicians use the Root’s Magic in a way that could damage the future of humanity.
Does Touko Aozaki Appear in Fate/stay night?
Aoko’s big sister, Touko Aozaki, is obsessed with obtaining the Fifth Magic that should have been her birthright but was instead handed to her younger sister. She becomes a powerful mage in her own right, with a particular knack for puppet-making.
Touko mainly appears in The Garden of Sinners, set during the 1990s, where she runs “Hollow Shrine,” a contract company providing many services including detective work and puppet-making.
Touko’s biggest and most important role occurs at the very end of Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel III. Spring Song in a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment.
After Shirou Emiya loses his body, his soul needs a new home. Despite Touko being on the run from the Mage’s Association by 2004, Rin Tohsaka and Sakura Matou manage to track her down and acquire a new puppet to house Shirou’s soul. They also get a pair of Touko’s “Mystic Eye Killer” glasses, which allow Rider (Medusa) to live a normal life without accidentally activating her Mystic Eyes.
Is Sizuki Soujyuro In Fate/stay night?
Throughout the entirety of Mahoyo, Sizuki Soujyuro remains an enigma. At first, he appears to be incredibly passive and meek; but later, Father Eiri of the Holy Church describes Soujyuro as a “blank canvas,” deliberately created to be almost entirely emotionless.
In the final chapter of Witch on the Holy Night, we learn that Soujyuro was raised in the mountains in a secluded environment, training daily in techniques to disable opponents, block out pain, and override his body’s protective systems to willingly damage his own limbs.
What does this mean? Simply put, Sizuki Soujyuro is an assassin, raised in the same manner as Kuzuki Souichirou, Caster’s Master in Fuyuki’s Fifth Holy Grail War.
Souichirou and Soujyuro fight in an identical manner, willingly sacrificing their body parts to deliver precise damage to the enemy’s vital organs. They can both “harden” their body parts to deliver powerful blows, although Souichirou is far more skilled in this technique.
Soujyuro left the nameless “organization” after questioning his role and purpose in the mountains. He was dismissed and allowed to integrate into human society—which forms the beginning of Witch on the Holy Night. Soujyuro struggles to adapt to modern conveniences, but is eventually able to settle into a normal life, and leave behind his killer past.
Ultimately, we don’t know too much about this mysterious assassin organization—but it appears that the Church and the Mage’s Association are both unaware of their existence.
Is The Fifth Magic The Same As Heaven’s Feel?
The last question we’re answering today is the nature of the “Magic” that a mage can possess.
Upon finding a Magic, a mage is properly called a Magician and permanently watched by the Counter Force. Discovering a Magic requires finding a path to the “Root”—a metaphysical location that stores souls, and archives information about all possibilities and events (past, present, and future) of the world.
Aoko Aozaki’s grandfather discovered the Fifth Magic, which she uses to bring Sizuki Soujyuro back to life after Touko slices his body in half. Aoko does this by literally removing five minutes of time, restoring Soujyuro to his fully intact state.
Aoko then casts those five minutes of entropy into the far future, where they will undoubtedly cause immense destruction due to the contradiction the Fifth Magic incurs.
But is the Fifth Magic related to Heaven’s Feel? The short answer is “yes and no”; each Magic governs a very particular mechanic, and the more Magics are discovered, the less are available for future mages to find. As humanity progresses with technology, both magecraft and Magic will gradually weaken, as “miracles” are replaced by “science.”
The Third Magic governs the materialization of the soul; the Path to the Third Magic is called “Heaven’s Feel” and was discovered by the Einzbern family but was lost a thousand years ago. The Greater Grail that powers the Fuyuki Grail Wars uses an incomplete form of Heaven’s Feel to manifest Servants for the Grail War. The Einzberns hope that the Lesser Grail can provide a miracle and lead the victorious mage to the Root.
Illya von Einzbern uses the Heaven’s Feel Path in Heaven’s Feel III. Spring Song to save Shirou Emiya’s soul after his body is destroyed, preventing his soul from returning to Akasha (the Swirl of the Root) and being lost forever. That soul is then placed inside one of Touko Aozaki’s puppets, as we mentioned earlier.
See? It all connects!
This article barely covers a tiny fraction of the immense lore that surrounds the Nasuverse. The nature of the soul, fate, magic, and more are all spread across the many visual novels and projects created by Nasu Kinoko in the past 30-odd years (and counting!).
Hopefully, we’ve answered some of your questions regarding Witch on the Holy Night and how it connects to Fate/stay night! If you’d like more in-depth examinations of the Nasuverse, let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!