Hi I’m Simon and today I have a review of Fate/Zero for you. Originally a Light Novel by Gen Urobuchi, the prequel to Type-Moon’s Fate/Stay Night was adapted into an anime in 2011. The anime had two seasons for a total of 25 episodes, it was produced by ufotable and directed by Ei Aoki.
PLOT: The holy grail war comes again. Only this time, before the first one. 7 masters and their 7 servant fight in a magical battle in Fuyuki city over who will be the last man standing and consequently receive the holy grail to have his single wish granted. Grand boneheads and grand schemers alike participate in this epic, each for their own reasons and motivations. Who will win?
This sounded more like a teaser trailer then a plot description, sorry for that
Characters: If you know anything at all about the Fate-series, then you know that I can’t possibly go over all the characters here. Rather, I’ll pick out the most interesting ones and the most disappointing ones. Since there is a lack of a main character, I’ll start with the closest thing: Emiya Kiritsugu. He is both interesting and disappointing. He seems torn in every decision he makes but when it comes to executing it he becomes cold as ice. He has a kind of anti-hero characteristic in that what he wants to achieve is pure and noble and stuff, but he doesn’t mind dirtying his hands in the process. Kiristugu is built up to be an extremely complicated and good character and a big part of this are his inner conflicts. Those inner conflicts are apparent throughout the show but only sparsely touched upon. The only parts of his character that are elaborated on are important parts of his past as well as what made him arrive at his rather cruel mindset and stance on saving lives. In the end he is a very good character and his emotional distress is done really well, but with all that could’ve been done with him I can’t help but feel disappointed. So let’s go on to a character that is pure charisma – Rider. Not nearly as complex a character as Kiritsugu or even any other servant, he still steals the spotlight in every scene he is in. He and his master Waver Velvet-kun (hehe) are the closest thing we get to comic relief in this series. And that’s desperately needed. Aside from Waver having his little complexes and Rider having a wish they are by no means deep or elaborate characters. But they fit their roles perfectly. As such, both their characters are nearly perfect. That does not mean they are exciting or interesting, but what is there more important for a character to be one with the role he has in the play? I want to at least touch upon one more Master-Servant pair, that being the “inofficial” pairing of Kotomine Kirei and Archer, Gilgamesh. First, Kotomine Kirei. He is, without a doubt, the most cruel and twisted of all characters anywhere. He toys with people in such an elaborate way, shattering their psyche completely and utterly while never once making it apparent to the other characters that he is the cause of it. In short, he’s a dick. But! A good character and probably the one with the most development throughout the series. He is believable in the way he behaves and ultimately arrives at evil overlord. That change is almost completely due to and encouraged by Gilgamesh. His character is, although extremely inconsistent and win-by-default-powerlevel probably the most exciting to watch. I don’t know what more to say about him, you need to experience it by yourself. He ranges from “oh Saber, become my wife!” to “Those puny ants are touching my shit I’ll erase them all from existence!” I think his character is best defined by giving you the reason he even partakes in the holy grail war. Not because he has a wish, no no, he just wants his possession back. Cause he’s sure the holy grail was in his treasury at some point and as the awesome king he is he can’t permit thievery. Well there you have it folks.
Just because you can’t follow the dialogue doesn’t mean it’s good. The same holds true for long as fuck dialogue. Neither the length nor the complexity define it’s quality. Glad I got that out of the way.
Story: The story is rather straight forward without really going anywhere. The story seems to be focused on the characters and how they will behave rather than actually trying to go towards their goal of obtaining the holy grail, which, if done correctly, is just as entertaining as another kind of story. My biggest problem with how the anime progresses is how everyone seems to try their own strategies and ruses and whatnot, but aside from the one or the other taking the first step when a fight is imminent, they don’t affect the way the story progresses. The main characters and the servants who get more focus stay alive and we see one fight after the other without conclusion, or the underdeveloped, sidecharacter and servant roles are killed off in their first major battle. This becomes apparent at the latest during the climax of the show. What was established all throughout the show, that is only one master-servant pair is alive when the grail shows itself, is thrown completely out of the window. Even in what is supposed to be a grand and epic final battle, only one servant dies and other than his real identity that doesn’t give you more than the shabby bits you already know about him. Although staying interesting and more or less suspenseful to watch, it feels like too much is going on and it doesn’t know where it wants to go and because of that unnecessary dialogue is thrown around at all times. The good news is that despite being a prequel, it is in no way spoiled by knowing how it will end at all.
Boring suspense and some character backgrounds. Yay.
Animation: This is by far the best about this show. Produced by ufotable, the animation is among the best out there. If you have seen Kara no Kyoukai or the ongoing Fate/Stay Night UBW you know what to expect. To be honest, with a normal/mediocre animation I probably wouldn’t have sat through this. But even the dialogues are amazing to watch, and that doesn’t even compare to the fight scenes. In short, you probably won’t find much better animation in any series. You can probably judge by the pictures I put in this post. Those are actual screenshots.
My Recommendation: You will probably enjoy this one way or another. However, it should not be your first encounter with the Fate-series, because it gives you much more of an experience if you know what some of these characters will become. Also, some minor knowledge is good to have, but not necessary. If you want to get into the series, start with Fate/Stay Night. If you have already seen Fate/Zero and liked it, the obvious recommendations would be the other parts of the series. Other than that i recommend K for an anime series that looks almost equally stunning. Other than that the Bakemonogatari-series for witty dialogue.
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