Published: Dec 29, 2006 to Dec 29, 2007
Score: 8.761 (scored by 2604 users)
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SynopsisWar of the Holy Grail—Pursuing the power of the "Holy Grail" which grants a miracle, this is a contest in which seven magi summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete for it. In that battle whose conclusion was postponed three times, now, the fourth war commenced again. Entrusting their dearest wish of victory, the magi joined the battleground called "Fuyuki," but amongst them, there was a man who was always alone, and could not find out the meaning behind his fights. His name was Kotomine Kirei. Not comprehending the guidance of fate, Kirei was lost, and had kept questioning. Why someone like his was given the Command Seals. However, the fate of his fights crossed Kirei's path with a nemesis by chance. That person is—Emiya Kiritsugu. A man who was sterner than anyone else, more merciless than anyone else, and who sought the miracle of the Holy Grail.
Merely recited in fragments in Fate/stay night, this is the Fourth War of the Holy Grail 10 years ago. The truth which unfolded behind the battle between Shirou's foster father, Rin's father, and the younger Kotomine Kirei, is finally revealed...
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Read, or at least watch, Fate/Stay Night before getting into this novel. It should make the reading experience much smoother and way more enjoyable.
I find the anime adaptation of the novel to be superior in virtually every way. I’d suggest reading the novel only if you want to learn more about the Fate universe, or if you are interested in checking out the writing style of this story.
Fate/Zero by Gen Urobuchi is a prequel to the highly acclaimed, overly popular and endlessly adapted visual novel: Fate/Stay Night. The story sheds light on the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War, the contents of which were only briefly explored in the original visual novel.
As a big fan of Fate and as a good friend of its original creator, Gen Urobuchi gladly accepted the offer to be the author of this prequel.
Those familiar with Urobuchi’s works can most certainly already imagine the following: Characters suffering, characters dying, characters being mentally broken and... guns. Lots of guns.
Staying true to pretty much every trope that earned him the nickname “Butcher”, Urobuchi yet again delivers a story in which he maniacally enjoys dismembering the very characters he crafted.
“Maybe Urobuchi’s Holy Grail War is indeed the true Hell.” - Nasu Kinoko, the creator of Fate/Stay Nigh.
The plot revolves around the Fourth Holy Grail War, a ritualistic deathmatch between seven magi. Whoever wins the war will earn the right to obtain the Holy Grail and to grant any wish.
Every participating magi is granted a powerful Servant, a being whose might will transcend logic and the very laws of physics. Servants are Heroic Spirits: renowned warriors of legends, summoned to our modern times through sorcery; Alexander the Great and King Arthur are examples of such.
Unlike Fate/Stay Night, the story of Fate/Zero follows the actions of all Masters and all Servants who participate in the war. The perspective changes with almost every chapter, cycling through the big array of characters. This is both a strong and weak point in the novel.
The story begins in a very slow pace, as the first two volumes focus mostly on building the many characters. The scarce action that happens in-between leads to relatively few developments.
For those not familiar with the Fate/Stay Night universe, the prolonged introduction may seem needlessly stretched and ultimately rather... boring. It’s highly advised to read (or at least watch) Fate/Stay Night before challenging this novel.
From the third volume onward the pace of the story continously escalates, as battles become more frequent and more fatal. If you successfully bear through the slow beginning which mostly builds characters, you’ll then be rewarded with seeing these familiar characters clash against each other in creative, fast-paced death matches.
The fast pace is not without faults, however. At times, the developments feel rushed and the story fails to fully explore the many characters it spent two whole volumes to establish.
Thus, the story both benefits and suffers from having so many characters.
Luckily, over the course of the story you’ll eventually grasp which characters are meant to have a more dominant role than others. At the very least for these characters, the road and the eventual conclusion would be greatly satisfying.
The story follows the seven Masters and seven Servants who participate in the Holy Grail War. Every chapter shifts its point of view toward a different character, allowing you to explore the full scope of the Fourth Holy Grail War.
The first two volumes will focus almost entirely on familiarizing you with these many characters, all of different origins and with different circumstances. Once you feel comfortable about these characters, the story will mercilessly remind you that they are enemies in a cruel deathmatch.
There can only be one winner.
A cold fact that might seem ironically cruel for a novel with so many characters. But it’s precisely because of this clash, between “many characters” and “only one winner”, that you can experience such a brutal, cruel tale that builds and breaks its characters.
Sadly, not all the characters receive equal love from their creator. There might be times when you’ll be mildly disappointed by how poorly a certain character was handled, without being granted the chance to realize its full potential and without being explored to the depth you desired.
Among the dozen characters, the following are arguably the MAIN main characters. The Holy Grail War will test not only their mettle, but also their ideals and beliefs.
An irregular magi who was hired to participate in the Holy Grail War as a Master.
He is dubbed a “Magi Killer”, a ruthless expert who combines magecraft with modern technology to assassinate magi. Always cold and calculated, he doesn’t care what means he must use to achieve his goal... at least, that’s how he tries to appear on the surface.
In truth, the Kiritsugu of the present struggles with internal conflicts after founding a purpose for his life: his homunculus wife Irisviel and their daughter Illyasviel. With the knowledge that he’ll have to sacrifice his beloved wife to win the Holy Grail War, the once heartless assassin must now reinforce his conflicted heart and make a difficult choice:
Should he flee the battlefield and protect his beloved at any cost?
Or should he kill his emotions and sacrifice anybody and everything, for a chance to realize his idealistic wish of saving the world?
The gender-bender version of King Arthur, summoned as a Servant of the Saber class. She is the very same Servant who plays a key role in the original Fate/Stay Night.
Much to her disdain, the noble King of Knights is summoned under the command of Kiritsugu - a Master whose methodology couldn’t be farther removed from her own. She desires to claim victory through fair, noble duels with other Servants, whereas Kiritsugu prefers to assassinate other Masters from the shadows.
Behind her gallant figure and sharp blade, the small-framed knight hides many regrets and many doubts. Throughout the story, you’ll see Gen Urobuchi doing his absolute utmost to exploit every weakness the King of Knights could possibly have.
The author will deliciously break and rip apart one of Fate’s most popular characters, diving into her ideology and her faults way beyond what the original Fate/Stay Night ever dared.
“This book of mine, that wasted the entirety of more than one thousand and four hundred pages of paper for the sake of shouting out ‘I love Fate’, is now respectfully set before you.”
Gen Urobuchi has summarized his own novel as such.
As a big fan of Fate/Stay Night, Urobuchi poured his soul into a novel with a great story, deep characters and he stayed faithful to the Fate universe. Yet, his fanboyism also ended up getting in his way at times, making parts of the novel feel like poorly written fanfic.
While the plot and characters are well structured, the actual narrative that delivers them feels sloppy at times, especially in the first two volumes.
There are many times when Urobuchi needlessly forces his fascinations with guns onto the reader, making you read walls over walls of information about gun models, gun sizes, gun bullet types and so forth.
On other occasions, the narrative will become side tracked by going in length about the history of locations and traditions. Though the information might be interesting at times, by the end of the day you’ll realize that nothing important was learned and your time was wasted on empty scrolls.
Urobuchi’s inner fanboy is felt the most when you suddenly come across terms such as [Gáe Dearg: Crimson Rose of Exorcism]. Or even worse: [Invisible Air: Bounded Field of the Wind King].
The author’s habit to drop the full, overly lengthy name of every skill will no doubt make you feel overly nerdy as you read this novel.
Is Urobuchi's writing so horrible that it makes the novel unbearable? Not at all.
With all the faults aside, the writing shines when it depicts fast paced action scenes. The narrative is quick, minimal and easy to digest. Combat, in particular, is very immersive thanks to the fast pace of the developments.
While the minimalism might at times feel underwhelming, especially when compared to epic moments from the anime adaptation, the action sequences are overall more than satisfying. When the pace of the story picks up and battles start happening one after another, the narrative does an excellent job in delivering the experience.
Watch the anime.
With all due respect to Urobuchi’s efforts to craft this novel, I can’t help but feel that this novel was born for the sole purpose of being adapted into an amazing anime.
The anime adapts the light novel faithfully and doesn’t leave out any critical detail. In fact, there are more than a couple of scenes which are depicted way better in the anime, while the novel hardly does them justice.
If you insist to read the novel, for one reason or another, prepare yourself for a slow start and some sloppy writing on occasions. The first two volumes will offer little thrill, as you’ll be introduced to the big array of characters and will learn about every gun model in existence.
When you finish the second volume, you will be able to breathe in relief as the plot will finally return to the main event of the story: the deadly Holy Grail War. Characters will clash with each other to death in fast paced, immersive combat.
Near the end, at its peak, the novel becomes enjoyable enough to become completely absorbed in it. However, whether or not you’ll find any meaning in going through the novel when you have the superior anime adaptation - is up to you. read more
After hearing that Fate/Zero will be made into anime. I decided to read its novel and in the end I was very impressed with the storyline and the characters in here.
The storyline of Fate/Zero takes place 10 years prior to the events of Fate/stay night. You don't have to play or watch Fate Stay Night first to understand its story but it would be better if you do so because it will give you much more understanding about this novel.
Fate/Zero is about war between 7 magi in the event named Holy Grail War, in this war each of the magi summon their own servant(the heroic spirits) and each servant has his/her own class(saber class, archer class, lancer class, etc). They all have one goal, to obtain the holy grail, a legendary item capable of granting wishes. I will talk more about the story in the enjoyment sector.
As this is a novel I can't write much about the art, but the picture that was provided in the novel is successful enough to describe the characters or some events that happened in the stories.
The characters in here is one of the strongest point of this novel, there are many characters appeared in here and each of them has their own agenda/goal. I will only make description about some of the characters that appeared in this series. Well, let's begin :
Emiya Kiritsugu without a doubt is one of the sell point of this novel, his personality is completely different compare to his son Shirou(protagonist from F/SN), he never hesitate to use any methods as long as his objective achieved, but although it seems he has cold personality, he has a noble goal, he is participating in this war because he believe Holy Grail could grant his wish for world peace.
Another interesting character is Kotomine Kirei, a man who end up participating in this war even though he is a magi killer, he keep questioning about the reason why he participate in this war, and about his goal in life. And last but not least, Saber, one of the icons of this franchise, heroic spirit Arturia, a noble, loyal, and brave heroic spirit with goal to redo her life where someone more suitable and effective would lead Britain in her stead.
For the enjoyment section, I would say that Fate/Zero has high enjoyment value. Reading novel can be a little bit tricky because after all the story will be affected by how you imagine the story that was told. But with some good ways of storytelling this kind of weakness can be overcome and Urobuchi Gen managed to wrap and tell the story in Fate/Zero really well. When you're reading this I could say that you will imagine the scene that happened in here, the character's thought as if you’re watching the anime/manga version of it. The story was told in a really detail manner so you can easily imagine the scene that happened in here.
You can also expect a good story in this novel along with some betrayals, bloody moments, and plot twist in it. Fate/Zero is a story about battle between 7 magi so it's natural if you expect some of good battle moments in here. And I can safely guarantee that Fate/Zero has it. You can check it if you don't believe it ^_-. Overall, for action, fantasy, and supernatural genre Fate/Zero has exceeded my expectations. This is a really good novel and fans of these genres should check out this novel. read more
Fate/zero Is the prequel of Fate/Stay Night. I only watched the anime series , but there's a manga and a few eletronic games named Fate/Stay Night.
Fate/Zero has a different mood compared to FSN, it's more dark, and more dramatic. Also it's more mature , with many intelligent quotes around the history.
History:in short, the history is about 7 mages that become masters of 7 heroic spirits summoned to fight for a artefact called Holy Grail, that can realize 1 wish. while FSN is about the 5th grail war, this one is the 4th, with many characters of the FSN present, but at the same time, left aside.
Characters: Different from Fate Stay Night, Most of the Masters are adults, with their own personality and objetives. The protagonist of the history, Kiritsugu isn't the perfect example of a "hero" which appears in random series. Here he is a man with a heroic ideal, but actions that make him a human. In fact, all the characters have their good and evil sides. No one is entirely good or bad, and this is what make the characters more interesting. Also the Servants or Heroic Spirits, are not necessary servants that do all their master's orders without questions.
They also have their reasons for fighting for the grail, and their own way of thinking, which rule their actions. So even if you dont like one specific master, you may like the servant and vice versa.
Throughout history, the characters were who made me laugh or cry. they are simply perfect ,the complexity of the personalities and their backstory that i can only give 10.
Narrative: The story is told by all the perspectives, it's what i called Multi-dimensional.
Basically before the fight begin , you will know all the names of the masters, and their journey before they even become masters. The relationship of all the servants with the masters are showed as well .
So you will care about their destinies, and not just the future of the protagonists. I found myself worried about 4 or 5 characters around the story, even when they were enemies of each other.
I hope that the television adaptation of the Light Novel keep this nice feature, because it's what make the story unique, and enjoyable to the end. The first episode will be 1 hour long, and i think it's enough to show all the characters, I'm really optimistic about it, but who knows?
End: the closure of the history is something debatable, some will find it pleasent
others will hate it. The history has a good ending in my point of view, of course i will not give any spoiler here.
Like Baccano ,you won't see one ending, but many through the history. because the history is divided, all the characters have to meet their end, or find peace somehow, and that is the beauty of the ending. This is a story that show the sacrifices of all the characters, and their fates, i hope you guys like it.
Both have fantasy battles centred around a protagonist with a burdened past. SAO is lighter in tone and has romance, whereas F/Z is undoubtedly darker and focuses on character motives. In each series, you will find a good mix of battles and mechanics, with amazing character interactions.
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