Type-Moon have made a habit of finding success with their dark blend of magic and supernatural elements in modern day settings, but with the release of the Fate/Stay Night visual novel on the PC in 2004, the developer seemed to have found its flagship title. Unfortunately things never really work out the way people expect, and while Studio Deen's 2006 anime adaptation of the "Fate" storyline was well received by fans, many who were unfamiliar with the source material found it all a bit ... juvenile.
At the end of 2006 the developer began collaborating with Nitroplus in order to create a prequel light novel series,
but this time the story was penned by the relatively unknown Urobuchi Gen (with Type-Moon co-founder Takeuchi Takashi providing illustrations). Set ten years before the events in the visual novel, Fate/Zero chronicles the events leading up to and during the fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City, Japan - the same place where the battle will be held in Fate/Stay Night. After three successive failures in the contest, the Einzbern family recruits the notorious mercenary Emiya Kiritsugu, also known as the "Mage Killer" - a man who is willing to use whatever means are necessary to realise his goals.
Meanwhile, the other principal magic families - Matou and Tohsaka - are preparing for the coming conflict, and although the church is taking part as well, they have also sent someone to assist the Tohsaka family - Kotomine Kirei.
At first glance it may seem as though Fate/Zero is just another action anime, but nothing could be further from the truth. The series has a very different tone than either Fate/Stay Night or Unlimited Blade Works, and in many ways it has more in common with the dark, brooding atmosphere of the Kara no Kyoukai movies. That said, the series does assume that the viewer has some familiarity with the franchise, but this is balanced by a much tighter plot than that of either of its predecessors, and more focus on preparation, planning, and even dialogue between the different parties. The result is that the narrative has far more depth and structure than one might expect in a supernatural action anime, and there are layers of subtext that are gradually added as the series progresses.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Fate/Zero is that it's a far more mature story than the original visual novel or its adaptations, and unlike many other shows, there are very few occasions where the characters engage in pointless conflicts or endeavours. The series carefully tries to avoid insulting the viewer's intelligence by adopting a patient, methodical build-up to the action set pieces, and on many occasions the story focuses on information gathering and planning. In addition to this, the battle lines shift constantly as the combatants form short-term alliances in order to counter the moves of other opponents, but there's always the understanding that the foundation of these is nothing more than "the enemy of my enemy".
In truth, this anime has far better examples of tactics and strategy than anything found in Code Geass, and certain plots are Machiavellian enough to give Death Note a run for its money.
When it comes to production values, Fate/Zero could be considered the final evolution of everything Type-Moon and Ufotable have learned from each other during their long collaboration on the Kara no Kyoukai franchise. The series looks every bit as good as one might expect, and the darker colour palette is offset by the high standard of animation. That said, although the action sequences are fluid and very well choreographed, the real testament to the quality of Ufotable's work are the subtle differences in the way the characters move.
While there are plenty of new faces in this prequel, it's actually the design of recurring characters like Sabre that really sets the standard. Fate/Stay Night's popularity turned her into one of the most iconic female leads in anime, but while she may appear to be exactly the same in Fate/Zero, there's an edge to her features and a preciseness to her movements that was missing in the original series. This fact is also true for the characters that are unique to this show, and even Tohsaka Rin's "adventure" has been given the same level of care and attention to detail.
The series opens with a well choreographed sequence that blends action with a montage of the main participants in the Holy Grail War, all set to the rather pacey rock song "Oath Sign" by LiSA. Each episode closes with "Memoria" by Eir Aoi, a bittersweet rock ballad that fits well with the images of the heroic spirits as pieces on a game board and at moments in their own history. Fate/Zero also has one of the most diverse scores in a 13 episode anime, with martial themes, operatic pieces, strange little tunes with drums or pianos as the major instrument, and more besides. The audio effects or of a very high quality, and the clash of steel on steel is as sharp and clear as the sound of the lightning whenever Rider makes a dramatic appearance.
One of the areas where Fate/Zero excels is the dialogue, and while there are occasions where conversations go on a bit too long, the script is intelligently written, rational, and insightful. One of the best examples of this is Rider's discourse on the true nature of kingship and Saber's reaction to it, but even that is nothing more than words on paper as everything lies in the delivery - so it's a good thing that the acting is of a high standard.
Kawasumi Ayako reprises her role as the King of Knights (Saber/Arturia) from Fate/Stay Night and Unlimited Blade Works, but her performance here is markedly different. Her portrayal of Saber is colder, deadlier, and far more focused than before, while Tomokazu Seki's performance as the King of Heroes (Archer/Gilgamesh), is more arrogant, more proud. That said, it's Ootsuka Akio in the role of the King of Conquerors (Rider/Iskander), who really steals the show, and his testosterone-fuelled proclamations and battle-born wisdom are one of the pillars that support the series.
When it comes to development, a large group of characters often means that some will undoubtedly fall by the wayside. Fate/Zero neatly sidesteps the entire issue of development because it's first and foremost a prequel of an existing story, but in addition to this the series has created a set of individuals who leave extremely strong impressions on the viewer, and much like Baccano!, there is a distinct lack of a true main character. Because of these factors the series can focus on showing how each of the combatants became what they are, and this plays a major part in one's enjoyment of the anime.
The emphasis on characterisation rather than development allows for a remarkable degree of definition, and although it's ultimately the personalities of each individual that captures the viewer's attention, standing at the top of them all is the King of Conquerors - Rider. His addition to the franchise has been nothing short of a revelation, and while die-hard fans will continue to worship the ground that Saber and Archer (not Gilgamesh, the other one), walk on, Rider's enjoyment of life, his exuberance and almost boyish eagerness for battle and glory, have captured the imaginations of many fans.
In many respects he, more than any other character, is the epitome of the heroes of old, but simply having a bunch of overzealous combat junkies beating each other to a pulp isn't really entertainment (unless you have an IQ equal to your shoe size), so there has to be something to balance it - and there is. Each of the mages taking part in the Holy Grail War is more like a chessmaster, planning as many moves ahead as possible, whilst preparing themselves for anything their opponents may try.
The simple fact is that Fate/Zero wouldn't work as either a story or entertainment if it was just the mages or the heroes, and it's this aspect of the series that separates it from not just its predecessors, but also many other action anime out there.
Unfortunately it's not all sweetness and light.
One of the main criticisms of this series is the episode about the young Tohsaka Rin, which many people found unnecessary. Now although there's some truth to that perception, one could also have the opinion that Rin's actions tie-in to an event in the previous episode, and together they lead up to the end of the series. Both are fair arguments, but in all honesty the whole thing doesn't really fit with the rest of the anime, and it seems like nothing more than an attempt to allow Matou Kariya some long overdue screen-time.
Fate/Zero isn't a perfect show, but while it does have several minor issues (and one "filler" episode), it does exactly what it sets out to do - capture the attention of the audience and make them want more. The story is intelligent, and while conversations and discussions can sometimes feel a little tedious, the dialogue is often quite interesting - moreso than the show's predecessor's anyway. Although the series can boast stylish, fast-aced action set-pieces, it also studiously avoids combat for the sake of gratuitous violence.
That said, Fate/Zero is still a prequel series, and at this point only half of the story has been told. Unfortunately the anime industry has a habit of messing things up, but given the quality of this show, the fact that the original story was written by Urobuchi Gen, and the knowledge that the series is being produced by Type-Moon's long time collaborators - Ufotable, fans can be cautiously optimistic about the second installment.
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that Emiya
used to make me smile.
And I knew if it had a chance
Fate/Zero could make those haters dance
and maybe, we'd all be happy, for a while...
But Studio DEEN made me shiver
As Blade Works was delivered
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more ep
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about ufo (in all it's pride)
But something touched me deep inside
So bye, bye crappy CGI
Urobuchi writing this stuff (I could really just die)
TYPE-MOON fanboys jerking left and right
Singing this'll be the day that I cry!
be the day that I cry!
Did you read the tale of Bluebeard?
And do you have faith in all that's weird?
(Sakura could tell you so!)
And do you believe in Hassan's code?
Can the grail save your mortal soul?
And... Can you teach me how to lance... r~eal slo~w?
Well I know that Ilya's in love with him,
so's her mom, Saber, and even Rin.
Lancer kicks off his shoes
because he's gruff and cannot choo~se!
Waver's a lonely teenage angsty fuck,
with no parents, no magic, he just sucks
But he knew he was in luck
He started singing
"WHY WHY OH AH WHY
BRING THIS CHARIOT DOWN AH
OH NO WHY
RIDER STOP OR I MIGHT JUST DIE!"
Singing this'll be the day that he dies,
Singing this'll be the day that he dies...
Now for ten years, we've gone back in time
To a prequel that is far well rhymed
But that's not how it used to be
When ufo animated the kings and queens
that everyone thought would get picked up by DEEN
In a way that delighted you and me~
Oh and while the DEEN was looking 'round
For another show they could just drown...
It was just absurd
ufotable had returned!
And while they read a book of Gen
The masters started animatin'
The prequel to a decent shonen
We were singing bye, bye, cheesy old lines
About people getting killed right when they die
And I saw tons of reviews delicately try
To explain why Fate/Zero must be tried!
Explain why Fate/Zero must be tried!
Animation, pacing, my blood is racing
when I think about Saber's graces
10/10 and growing fa~st!
So land right down on your ass!
Go download this show, it's got a ton class!
It's a show that you will be able to love... a~t last!
But there's a halftime, I must quick presume
You know about, I know it too!
But you should all get up and dance,
before you never get the chance!
Cuz by Spring 2012 the show will be revealed
You'll be behind and unable to feel,
I'm telling you now, I always squeal
that Fate/Zero blo~ws
O ALEXANDER, RIDE!
DRIVE YOUR CHARIOT TO THE BATTLE
AND WIN EVERY TIME!
THIS SHOW IS JUST GREAT!
I COULD NOT EXPLAIN WHY
IN ANYTHING BUT RHYME
NO ANYTHING, NOT ANYTHING!
Being the prequel of the well known franchise Fate/Stay Night, Fate/zero certainly captured the attention of many very easily. What is immediately clear about this production though is not only does it match its predecessor, it far surpasses it in every way imaginable. Whether it be the directing, visuals, character exposition, or anything you can possibly think of, Fate/zero manages to move into a class of its own. In the end, this all adds up to a much more complex and interesting tale, which one will certainly not be soon to forget.
The very base of Fate/Zero is no different from Fate/Stay Night. It revolves around
something called the Holy Grail War, a war between 7 magus or masters (Magic users) who through the power of the grail summon heroic spirits who are people of legend, historical fame, or myth to do battle with each other to claim ownership of the grail which is said to be able to grant the owner any wish. But while the base of this story is pretty much the same as Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero is decidedly more dark, gritty, and violent. Any viewer who has taken care to watch the predecessor may initially be disoriented by tonal shifts in the universe, but if one is willing to move past this, there is undoubtedly a rewarding experience awaiting.
There are several things that Fate/Zero does impeccably well, but perhaps one of the most easily enjoyable aspects of the show is the chess like manner in which the war is carried out. The conflicts are enthralling in many ways, but what adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the show is how each move made by the characters is a well thought out, planned action. The masters constantly balance every decision with pros and cons and tries to maneuver through the war in the best manner possible. The war does not consist of mindless brawling and action and it is usually the best prepared individuals that benefit the most throughout the story. As a result, the action in this show is much more layered and hence captivating than that of your standard action show.
Of course though, this show is about much more than seeing entertaining action, and cool magical powers. What the show really is at its heart is a very engrossing spiritual journey. The cast, particularly the masters and servants, are all engaged in a battle that defines their goals, wishes, and motivations in life. They all engage in a conflict for which their fate is solely in their own hands. Each character is forced to understand themselves and their foes as they continue on their quest. Indeed, Fate/Zero is very much so a character study, and a very captivating one at that. This is primarily owed to its excellent cast that surely will manage to intrigue just about anybody willing to look beyond the on the surface elements of the Fate universe.
An interesting note about the cast in Fate/Zero though is that it mostly consists of older men. This is particularly noteworthy because so few anime today dare to make a cast of older men. It showcases just how a story with older cast members, even if they are men, can be quite entertaining and that perhaps the same old tired formulas do not always need to be employed to reach certain audiences. A story does not always have to be about high school kids, and hopefully this show can set an example of that.
One thing that most certainly not be forgotten though in this story is just how much it excels at the simple things. Of course as always, studio Ufotable provides excellent visuals (Though perhaps a bit stagnant at times in animation), the show has very solid direction, a very nice OST as displayed again by the talented Yuiji Kaijura, and excellent writing as expected of the now famed Urobuchi Gen. Perhaps most of all though is that Fate/Zero manages to capture the essence of its source material supremely well. This is made apparent by even the littlest of details such as the way they truly make the servants seem super human in their abilities compared to their masters or the way they frame the dialogues between the characters as they quibble over their philosophies, hopes and goals. Little touches like these just add so much more to the experience and really display how much care and effort are put into the production. This is something I felt was sorely missing in Fate/Stay Night, much to its detriment.
Ultimately Fate/Zero is a high class production. It is something that can be both thrilling, and intellectually satisfying at the same time. It displays a level of care and detail that anyone should be able to appreciate. But most of all, Fate/Zero is a quality piece of entertainment that one will certainly not be soon to forget.
Fate/Zero is a prequel of Fate/Stay Night. Some of the differences between the two can be quite shocking since really, the Fate/Stay anime was an extremely poor adaption by Studio DEEN. For newcomers into the Fate universe I highly suggest if you can to instead play the Fate/Stay Night game in preparation for watching Fate/Zero if you are interested enough. It is an extremely enjoyable story, that I think is every bit as good as Fate/Zero and I think should really be experienced the way it was meant to be experienced. This means none of DEEN's budget cutting, anime original arc injections, poor scripting, etc. If there is one thing that was made extremely obvious during Fate/Zero it's that Ufotable gets Fate, and DEEN does not. The level of difference between the two studios in their renditions of the Fate universe is truly incomparable as Ufotable's adaption leaves DEEN's adaption in the dust.
I’m fairly confident this review is going to get near as damn 0% helpful marks simply because of my ratings. If anyone feels what I said wasn’t helpful in this review, drop me a message, if you disagree with something I said, drop me a message, thanks.
Story – 3
Firstly, I think it is a bit of a cheat essentially splitting fate zero into two separate series, so that all the good bits can be condensed into ‘one’ of those series. Nonetheless, I will still assess this as a single series, in terms of setting the stage for the second season.
has a great set up. A survival game with some interesting aspects (such as the wish granting prize and the involvement of the church) as well as 7 moderately even teams (in terms of likeability and development). At its earliest points, it is unclear who is going to win this survival game, but, rather disappointingly, this quickly deteriorates into having a clear ultimate winner. This can still be equally as successful however, as long as this group has a stronger underlying connection with the story. Which is more or less covered in the second season.
Fate Zero suffers with a great depravation of detail. Although I’m sure the manga and novels cover this, it can’t be an excuse to not cover anything at all. I am at a loss as to why the church is involved (was Jesus a hero?), why absolutely none of the world gives a single flying shit about entire cities getting threatened with destruction. The same is true with the history of the Holy Grail wars; did they have a single impact on anything we are currently watching? Do the writers have a single bloody clue about the heroes in Fate Zero? (I think not, ie, don’t try and make yourself look clever by saying this is a historical figure, then change their name, characteristics, life story and even gender) Etc. This lack of detail also seems to be confusing the participants of the game, half of them don’t know what is going on. Nor why they are even involved. Lazy.
Lastly, and this is what really grinded my gears, Fate zero (season one) has absolutely no balls. It is never willing to dramatically change the course of the survival game. All we ever see is a series of straight forward fight scenes with no conclusions and loads of conversations on who is the most noble champion. I accept that this is the first season, but with literally no progress and a very basic set up in terms of detail, it raises the question whether the first season was even needed.
Characters – 7
Ideal for this genre. Entertaining and one dimensional.
There is an interesting relationship between the heroes and their respective masters. Each hero is their own individual with their own ambitions, which often conflict with their masters. Three command spells that demand absolute obedience are all the masters have to keep their servants in check. The relationship between the master and servant is crucial in this survival game and is well covered in this anime.
Every character offers a different attitude on the battlefield and character interactions can be quite intense. This is well embodied by the fact that, in the most cases, the servant is nearly a complete opposite of their master. These conflicts make for some interesting interactions seeing that they have to work together to achieve the same goal.
Having such a large cast of characters, and having each character’s attitudes exaggerated (for entertainment purposes) tends to strip the realism of the show. The cliché characters in Fate Zero are largely responsible for the overall childish atmosphere (as well as the fight scenes themselves). Which could well be what you are after, but this is something to keep in mind.
Art and music- 9
The art and animation was phenomenal. The fight scenes were choreographed very well and they were truly a sight to behold. If only the scenery was something more stunning than a dockyard. The soundtrack, as you may know was composed by Yuki Kajiura (composer of Sword art online and mahou shoujo madoka magica for example). She has her own distinct style and if you liked any of her other works, I’m sure you will also like this soundtrack.
Personal Enjoyment – 2
If my personal disdain hasn’t already been evident, here is my chance to make it clear. Firstly, I’ve never been a fan of an action based anime. It always gets out of hand and fate zero isn’t an exception. Unfortunately, Fate Zero doesn’t have much else to offer besides the action. This thus limits how intelligent the anime can be. The best it can do is detail certain moves or powers of the heroes, and it tries to do this with the idea of a noble phantasm. This said power is essentially a secret and extremely powerful move that each hero has, that supposedly stems from their history. These end up having such vague connections and meanings and are all RIDICULOUSLY convenient to the situation. Poor effort. Lastly, Fate zero needs to grow some balls. 13 episodes of literally no advancements in the survival game was so frustrating and it felt like a huge waste of time. The fights were nice though.
Fortunately, Fate Zero 2nd Season advances almost immediately and thus is instantly more enjoyable. Just to be clear, this review isn’t a response to an irrational hatred of the fate zero universe. Far from it, I liked the second season a great deal, and I can see that with the detail that the manga could possibly offer, it can be really great. But as it stands, Fate Zero the anime is a rather pointless and is not needed for the second season.
As this is such a highly rated anime, I would love to hear from those that do think this is amazing, because I need some convincing.
Every once in awhile there will be an epic masterpiece that appears which is truly outstanding and fascinating. Fate/Zero is one of them, and i believe it has the potential to be one of the best anime of the year.
Story wise, it's been following the light novel consistently with great precision, picking up almost every single finest detail that are required to elaborate the story into a fine piece. The battle scenes are just simply amazing, you could never get enough of the fighting scenes, some of the episodes filled with action just make your blood boiled when you watch them. The way how they
assemble the servants together and the relationship in between the servants are also being depicted clearly. I have to say ufotable is doing a great job thus far, their ability to illustrate the art of fate series are second to none. Sound wise, the OP and the ED are just simply amazing. Watching the ED especially brings you into the story, making you wanting to know which era and where does every single servant comes from, and the story behind them in their respective era.
I've watched up to 5 episodes thus far and i only have but one line to say - oh my god its so just damn amazing i almost jizzed my pants off.
Ufotable probably used the Holy Grail and granted the fan's wish.most of the fans turned their attention to fate/zero the moment they heard about the involvement of ufotable since they knew they could expect great things with other works they had seen from them.as we all know just having a good story won't make an anime good.how to adapt it and include the parts of the story,the good use of music and art and many other things are playing a big role in an anime.this anime didn't disappoint and tried hard to bring out the awesomeness.
Starting with the story the anime made a good use
of the rich materials it had and the story can be considered one of the great parts.the Events of the story and the dialogues are not cliche or random and most of them happens for a reason and should be taken seriously since fate/zero is not just about battles.Fate/zero happened 10 years before Fate/stay night and the wars of the Holy Grail are about to begin once again.(those that are familiar with the wars can skip this part.the grail first appeared when three great Magus family decided to share their knowledge with each other to summon the holy grail in order to achive the roots of all knowledges.but they realized that the grail can only grant one wish and since they originally had different wishes the wars for the holy grail got started.in each war some masters with the desire for the grail gets chosen and will be granted a servant and three command seals.these masters will have to fight with each other under the control of a judge to win the grail that can grant them their wish.the servants are heroic spirits from our past or future or our legends and the masters are mostly magus with great power or desire for the grail.
now the 4th war is beginning and the Tohsaka family had a good history with the church and got help from them.the Einzbern family hired the famous Magus killer Kiritgusu Emiya and Zouken from the Matou family is using any mean possible to attend this war or getting prepared for the next one.there are other masters as well like Kayneth from the Archibald family or even masters without any famous magus family that got their chance to participate in this war by luck or their hidden desires.)
even though there are some unexplained things in the anime it is still very enjoyable because of the unexpected events and good character design .a good example of character design can be seen in the combination of Masters and Servants.you can almost be interested in all master and servant combinations.for example even if you find Velvet character uninteresting his servant will make up for it big time.as for a bad example i can name assassin since in my opinion the fate universe doesn't like this class.another good thing about it is the protagonist Kiritsugu Emiya which although has a cliche emo attitude he is still enjoyable more than Shirou Emiya in Fate/stay night Route at least but then again this is a matter of opinion.most of the characters are complicated and this makes them interesting and force the audience to think about them.although one things that may bother you is how they survive most of their battles several times even though their death flag is up but still it is enjoyable.one of the great things about F/z is that you can understand F/sn character's background which left unexplained in f/sn anime Specially Sakura and Kotomine.(which is a good thing for those that are not familiar with the VN or LN).speaking about Kotomine he is one of the best examples of character development and the audience can see how he became what he is with the temptations of Gilgamesh with his snake-like eyes at the end of episode 12(tokiomi used the first skin of snake that got shed to summon him ironically)
the art looks very good at first glance considering this is a TV-series anime since it reminded me of another work of Ufotable named Garden of Sinners which was an OVA(and another work by TypeMoon).while the enviroment is dark the battles are flashy and when the art is weird you should expect something big since they are saving the budget for the real deal like the 10th episode with Alexander's Noble Phantasm.they also did the Berserker design in CGI which was weird at first but it fits him and makes him special.the art is clean,shiny and devilishly mysterious that fits the story well.
the Soundtracks may not get your attention until the very end of episode 1 when the summoning begins.and after that there is the next episode OP(counts as the first episode ED)which i think Lisa did a great job.after that there is the real ED from Aoi Air named Memoria that can be seen in the next episode which also gives us a little peak to the servant's legends which is cool.after all of these the battles finally got started and here in my opinion they did a great job on each character's theme specially Berserker which you can here the enchant of Berserker in it like the Sephiroth soundtrack(One-Winged Angel)in FFVII Series.as for voice acting they used some real talented people and most of the people from the VN or f/sn anime got their roles back.they have the sweet voice of Sayaka Ohara for Irisviel(although i think she could do better),and for the protagonist we have the voice of Rikiya Koyama which is the best choice for these kind of characters.for Zouken they got Masane Tsukayama and he did a great job in Kaiji as Hyoudou and both characters resemble each other(and most of the people can recognize him since the second season of Kaiji aired recently).although there are characters that are not talking yet like berserker since he will only make noises for this season but the awesome soundtrack makes up for it.overall they did a good job in this part and used an epic-dark theme in their songs that fits the fate universe.
I tried and recommended the show to some of my friends.some liked it for its historical references or the art and some for its story even though some of em didn't even like animes before.this cannot be considered for everyone and i can't say that this show is for every kind of taste but since it didn't just count on one aspect like story,while it can have its own flaws it can satisfy a vast range of audiences.
combination of a good story and character design,good soundtracks and good art makes this one of the good animes of 2011 that is recommended for those that needs some adrenaline rush.
This anime so far has been absolutely mind blowing. The first 3 episodes has done an outstanding job of following the original Light Novel's story, as well as capturing Gen Urobuchi's writing. An absolute MUST SEE for everyone this season. Filled with fluid consistent animation, gorgeous art, 3 dimensional characters, and an amazing sound track from Yuki Kajiura. This will be a show to be remembered.
I wrote a review for Fate/Zero before but it got deleted because it only talked about the fight scenes. So I'm including the story in this review as well. Enjoy.
The story can be summed up in two words: Forced Grimdark. Characters suffer and die for no apparent reason other than to make the show darker and edgier. [spoiler]Why was Kariya even in there? Most of these characters don't even become relevant until FSN. That Rin episode was fucking awful, it had no relevance to the plot whatsoever. As was the Kiritsugu backstory which I thought was two long episodes of nothing but
forced drama. Kiritsugu keeps being put into implausible situations where he has to kill his own parents. He killed father because "he might accidentally turn everyone into zombies". Natalia forgets to bring a parachute on a mission where she's on a plane containing wasps that turn people into zombies because MUH FEELS. Kiritsugu could have put Avalon into Maiya healing her wounds instantly instead of letting her die, but didn't, because MUH FEELS. Lancer died like a bitch because MUH FEELS. Totally didn't steal "lancer kill yourself" from the original FSN. Kariya strangles Aoi even though we're told earlier on that he loves her because MUH FEELS. Why are there so many irrelevant characters and why do they all have to die in the most pathetic way possible? Example: Iskander. Big hearted and funny guy right? Better kill him off in the most retarded way possible to increase MUH FEELS. And yes, it is retarded because Iskander had absolutely no reason to gallop 5 miles away from Gilgamesh when he could have put Gilgamesh slap bang into the middle of Ionian Hetairoi giving him no chance to pull out Ea. It's funny because the historical Alexander the Great was a shrewd and cunning general, the polar opposite of the F/Z Iskander. Was the serial killer couple put in there for any reason other than to make the anime darker and edgier? This is what I call forced grimdark - having characters suffer and kill each other for no reason other than to make the viewer sad. [/spoiler]
Fight scenes are badly directed. I could pick out so many things wrong with Fate/Zero fights. In all Lancer vs Saber fights, all they do is talk talk talk and compliment each other on their skills. They're not even trying to kill each other. The Kariya vs Tohsaka fight was fucking dumb. It was just Kariya throwing wasps at Tohsaka. "Huh, wasps all getting burned to crisp? Throw more wasps!". The Berserker vs Gilgamesh "fight" was just Gilgamesh is throwing weapons at Berserker. The "dogfight" was just Berserker going pew pew at Archer. All of Berserker scenes are painful to watch because of the terrible CG. The Kiritsugu vs Kirei battle was fucking dumb. Why was it set in the fucking batcave? There's no lead-up whatsoever. The entire fight consisted of Kirei punching Kiritsugu in the chest, Kiritsugu shooting Kirei in the hand, and then the retarded knife blocking scene. Kiritsugu managed to get hit with the most telegraphed punch to the chest in the history of the universe. He had like 10 minutes to react. A 1 year old could have dodged it. I don't understand why they wasted the animation budget on slow-motioning this scene with single framing when it was just Kiritsugu getting punched in the chest, whilst really fast scenes like Kirei throwing his black keys only got double framed, which made it difficult to see what happened. He didn't even try to dodge or block it, he was just standing there not doing anything. Fucking dumb. The next scene was even dumber. Kirei getting shot in the hand was just stupid. Not to mention the massive anticlimax with the black mud crashing through the batcave ceiling JUST AS Kirei and Kiritsugu are about to kill each other.
The most annoying thing about the fight scenes is that the movements look wooden and robotic. Characters standing still just moving their arms. There is distinct lack of whole body movement. You can see in the Kirei vs Kiritsugu fight that all Kirei does is move his arm when blocking Kiritsugu's attacks. The rest of his body is completely still, not showing any changes at all, not even redrawn for like 20 frames. This is just laziness.
I might mention again the level of disjointedness in the fight scenes. I've said before that the Saber vs Berserker fight scenes were completely disjointed, as in consecutive scenes did not even match each other. If you look at any of the fight scenes closely you'll see that disjointedness permeates from the highest to the lowest level. The Maiya vs Kirei fight scene was disjointed in that one scene shows Maiya's knife hand being deflected by Kirei's right hand, and the next frame shows Kirei's left hand grabbing Maiya's wrist, with no intermediate scene that shows how we got from here to there. The scenes don't match each other at all. The animation is not smooth, as in one second it speeds up and another second it slows down again randomly. This is a prime example of bad directing.
Summary: All of the Fate Zero fight scenes were underwhelming due to the stiff, awkward and wooden movements and disjointed action sequences.
The main flaws with this anime are that it's dialogue heavy and the fights are ultimately pointless.
The "Holy Grail War" is a battle royale with 7 sets of Masters/Servants partnering together to take out the other 6, winner gets the Holy Grail, which grants a miracle. Masters can use magic or guns to fight, or are completely useless in battle, some staying far away from the action. The servants all have a fighting style unique to their "class", Lancer uses spears, Saber uses a sword, Assassin is an assassin...you get the point. A few more people are thrown in to the war to make
things more interesting. Sounds good right? Of course it does.
I love me some good planned out fights with logical strategies, thinking about the end game. Unfortunately, that is only the way a few of the masters think. The rest of the cast either does no planning at all or has a plan but then gets pissed and lashes out in anger. With nearly every fight ending anticlimactically with one character (often an enemy) jumping in and saving another at the last second, or retreating after a defeat, the plot has barely moved at all in 13 episodes. Episode 10 served almost no purpose, as it revolves around a daughter of a master, Rin, a side character, with only a couple minor plot points.
In the beginning the animation was some of the worst I've seen in the past decade, but after it gets its head on straight it does a fine job. Fight scenes are well animated. Facial expressions are pretty hit or miss. Backgrounds are well done. The fog/lighting also stood out. Be aware that they use CG to animate Berserker.
The Opening song is decent, the ending song is nothing special. Background music goes for a minimalist approach and succeeds, nothing special about it, nothing bad, it sets the tone for the most part. Voice acting and sound effects are average/slightly above average.
With over a dozen "main" characters, it's hard to make them all unique and memorable. About a third of the characters are, a third are generic and can quite accurately be described in one word, and the other third have basically the same personality.
Berserker gets so little screen time it's criminal. Assassin was downright disappointing. Rider easily has the most appealing personality out of the servants. Caster and his master are serial killing psychopaths who would rather kill random people then participate in the war. Very few characters have any development.
The main reason I couldn't fully enjoy this anime is that almost all the characters are still around, with only 1, maybe 2 of the characters dying or otherwise no longer being able to participate in the war. With characters saving enemies from certain demise for no reason other than honor, when they are trying to eliminate each other, it leads me to the conclusion that honor is just another way to say ass-pull.
Would I recommend this anime? Yes. Do you absolutely have to watch it? No.
If you can get past the long conversations and anticlimactic fights, give it a shot. It is an above average anime.
“Mature, innovative, fun and mesmerizing. A journey of epic proportions in a well-grounded mythological world based on reality, a masterpiece”
REVIEW FREE OF SPOILERS!
As I have stated before in my reviews I’ve been watching anime shows for a short period of time -3 years-. And as I’ve said before, thanks to the help/aid of some of my friends, I’ve had one of the best beginnings/introductions to the anime world, and here’s where “FATE/…” comes in, more specifically FATE/STAY NIGHT. [I know this is a “FATE/ ZERO” review]
FATE/S. N. Was the third anime that I watched. I’ve been a fan of magic stories since I can remember,
and when you connect: Magic, the modern world and a “dark” “mysterious” mood in the story you have my whole attention –as long as the story is interesting of course-.
So naturally after watching –and loving it- FATE/S.N. I heard that the prequel of FATE/ S.N. was going to be broadcast, so obviously, I was ecstatic.
Back in the day I didn’t really knew about the previous story of “FATE/…” except for the things that where told on STAY NIGHT. So I knew was going to be on an amazing journey on this new chapters/episodes.
Let’s begin…! :D
To put it bluntly it’s a masterpiece. From the first seconds of the first episode, I could see that the story/idea had matured, it wasn’t a show focused –mainly- for a younger audience, now it was darker, more mature story. It revealed more, the preparations that the main characters/fighters had. Comparing S.N. with ZERO, ZERO immerses you -from the start- in the lives of those who were about to compete for the “Holy Grail”, revealing not just characters and situations but the mythology behind it all, AND the magic in it, giving it –the show- a well-grounded myth and not just a plain story that will unfold in the next episodes.
If you’re interested in the occult, or the mysteries, or simply if you like well-founded or good ”epic” stories this IS the anime for you.
Colorful. Probably the first thing that catches everyone’s eyes from F/Zero is the Art. The animation IS flawless, perfect, an “eye-candy” to call it somehow. The surrounding ambient is perfectly detailed and believable and the characters are mesmerizing to the point in which you ask yourself what will come on the near future.
If you’re interested in art design, by all means this is for you.
Personally I’m a guy that places the “sound/music” of a show as one of the most important things of all. And I must say the ambient sounds and music of this show are hypnotizing. Leaving aside the “ambient” sound which are breathtaking and perfect I will “talk” mainly of the music behind the anime.
The soundtrack/score of this anime was composed by Yuki Kajiura (Sword Art Online I & II, Pandora Hearts and Noir)
Yuki Kajiura’s work in this anime is as usual –for her- a work beyond words. To put it bluntly the first song of the score “Fate to Zero” resumes her work perfectly. Its dark, it’s sad, it makes your skin crawl reaching deep in your bones, it’s a soundtrack filled with emotions, and it’s a work of epic proportions, a journey into the dark world of “FATE”. A very memorable soundtrack.
If you like/love or you’re just interested in not great but amazing music arrangements, this is the show for you.
FATE/ZERO shines for its uniqueness and most importantly for the uniqueness of its characters. This is one of those shows that have a very high amount of MC’s. Usually I avoid this kind of shows/movies for they fail amazingly in one important aspect: the focus, and this –the focus- is one of the most remarkable things in this anime, each character or correctly put each “group” of characters is given a very important place/moment. Each one has their own goal and believes which makes each and every one of these characters believable and most importantly, you can get “close” to them.
Another incredible aspect of the characters within “FATE/ ZERO” is the “character development” department in which many shows fail –which is not the case of FATE- Each character changes, matures during the whole season/show. Some change ideologies, some find a new way to fulfill their beliefs, revealing things of themselves to the audience.
If you’re interested in character development THIS IS your show.
-ENJOYMENT & OVERALL: 10-
FATE/ ZERO is one of those shows that leaves you wanting more, and not because they fail to answer things, it leaves you wanting more because of the superb way the show is made.
When I first started this anime, I thought it was very good, but then it took a turn for the worse and became piss poor. Why you say? Maybe because every character falls into a generic archetype, such as, Irisvile (weak defenseless female), Saber ( strong female), and a boring protagonist who hardly ever shows up, and is apparently cheating on his wife. Now getting to the story, for the most part, it consists of Irisvile clinging to Saber's underwear while acting as a defenseless female who has no where better to be but involved in this Grail War which the shows speaks of a
lot. The pacing is absolutely horrendous, constantly wasting episodes upon episodes on fights that don't result in a servant getting defeated; basically, people just show up and leave, not progressing the story at all in any way or form. However, despite all these negatives, the only positive aspect is the graphics/ art, they are incredible, but this does not excuse a show of as poor quality as Fate/ Zero.
Fate/Zero is a show as confident in its storytelling as it is confused in its aims. After many tries, I've filed it away still unable to describe what point Urobuchi is trying to make with this. The closest I've come is that it's a condemnation of idealism, but this is only weakly supported by the text, and I suspect that impression is more a function of it being a prequel to a visual novel that thoroughly affirms the great moral significance of ideals. In that light, Fate/Zero's grim, cynical ending merely serves a narrative purpose. This doesn't make it unwatchable or even bad, but it
does make it a fairly predictable addition to the Fate continuity—if you've read Fate/stay night, this will be exactly what you expect it to be and not much more than that.
Still, that isn't to say that Fate/Zero is boring. The art and animation are sharp and precise, Urobuchi's excellent storytelling makes Fate/Zero as thrilling as anything Code Geass has to offer. The characters, themes, and mood of Fate/stay night are flawlessly transferred to this show; Kotomine remains among the best antagonists I've ever seen in a genre show, and Kiritsugu's backstory does him justice, bringing to life that strange, cold silhouette hanging over Shirou's every action in the VN. Urobuchi's Saber is somewhat one-dimensional—though there are certainly less attractive sides to the character than the whole honorable knight routine—but then it isn't really her story. It's also tough to complain when she receives such a heartbreaking character moment at the end of the show, dragging her down to the nadir she needs to be mired in to set up her for Fate/stay night. Without giving away too much, it's a deeply affecting portrayal of Saber's lowest ebb, anticipating the sequel in which she is finally rewarded for her martyrdom, for all the years that she shouldered the shame and sin of her people in the name of justice and honor. Nonetheless, you'd be forgiven for thinking that she's little more than a gender-swapped Lancer after watching this.
I suspect the problem with Fate/Zero is that Urobuchi does not write characters in the same way that Nasu does and there's an odd disconnect there. This wasn't an issue in Madoka because it was purely an Urobuchi creation, but it hurts Fate/Zero simply because Fate/stay night, for all its many faults, had some extremely distinctive character writing. Whenever Kotomine or Kiritsugu are onscreen, this show comes to life. Kotomine is a devilish twist on the fairly played-out some-men-just-want-to-watch-the-world-burn Joker-type villain in that he's wracked with confusion and contradiction—a man who became a priest just to avoid confronting his darkest impulses. Watching him come to terms with himself over the course of Fate/Zero is absolutely thrilling. Some of his dialogue with Gilgamesh might be a little on-the-nose, but the tendency to tell rather than show is a trait Urobuchi shares with Nasu, and it doesn't detract from the intrigue. Unfortunately, the new characters, as well as those without any backstory established for them in Fate/stay night, are all exceptionally dull and predictable by comparison. Kariya is a character with plenty of potential that was entirely squandered; the same goes for Tokiomi and Aoi, whose stories only affected me because of my familiarity with Rin and Sakura and the legacy left for them. Kayneth and Sola-Ui are indescribably bland villains—so bland that Urobuchi apparently didn't even bother to resolve their storyline with Lancer.
I'm darting around the main point here, though; these plot devices masquerading as characters are nothing compared to this show's attempt to introduce a pair of legitimately developed characters in Rider and Waver. These two are almost entirely superfluous besides their involvement in plot development—especially Waver—and are by turns irritating, predictable, or both. Urobuchi is not a very funny writer, and though there's nothing on the level of Madoka's "girls shouldn't like girls" gag, Rider and Waver's painful attempts at lightening the mood in the early episodes of the show come off as dull and obvious. The show starts taking them more seriously later on, but this doesn't improve things, as I'm fairly sure that they have the same conversation about twenty times—Waver's inferiority complex acts up, Rider makes some gruff, paternal gesture to stop his navel-gazing and cheer him up, and they ride off on their chariot. The principal problem is that Waver's arc is damnably obvious. The first time you see him, you just know that he's going to end up finding the respect he wants by entering the Grail War and stepping up to the challenges it presents. That's exactly what happens, and though that might be forgivable if that story was told in a way that you don't expect, it just isn't. The ponderous tone of the Fate universe means that we spend a painstakingly long time listening to these two repeat themselves, so if you hadn't figured out where Waver's character was headed after the first few scenes with him and Rider, don't worry—you'll get a hundred more opportunities to witness this shallow development again and again. Waver's story has no particular thematic congruence with the rest of Fate, nor a deep connection with the other characters. At this stage, he's just some kid, and the focus on him dilutes Fate/Zero far too much.
Rider is significantly better, though he still comes off as a little superfluous thanks to his interactions with Waver, and never really ascends beyond the level of archetype despite some interesting backstory. He's an obvious foil to Saber, a Nietzschean font of vitality living selflessly by living selfishly, indulging in his passions and laughing all the way to Valhalla. In other words, he's Gilgamesh, Saber's preexisting foil, without the potent streak of nihilism that made Gilgamesh that much more unpredictable. Rider justifies his behaviour through a belief in master morality and rational self-interest; Gilgamesh doesn't even think such things are worth justifying, and that's what makes him the more interesting character. To give Rider his due, the idea of a journey to seek out an impossible ideal—his principal motivation—has some thematic weight in the broader context of the Fate universe, but there's no real point to him as he relates to the other characters. There is one thing that he contributes to the dialogue: his beliefs mean that he can challenge Saber on her principles, while Gilgamesh is devoid of principles in the first place. It would simply be out-of-character for Gilgamesh to question Saber. Gilgamesh sees the tragic beauty of Saber's condition without necessarily endorsing or dismissing it—he merely beholds it as it is, caring only if it serves his own interests. Still, with the emergence of plot developments at the end of Fate/Zero that throw Saber into despair and self-doubt, it's questionable whether Rider even needed to challenge her, especially when she already has Kiritsugu's cold utilitarianism to contend with. The overarching problem remains that the dialogue about idealism was already set up by Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero largely just mimics it. The addition of Rider to that dialogue seems like an afterthought.
There's also the matter of Caster and Ryuunosuke, who are either deployed to meet Fate/Zero's edgy grimdark quota or played for laughs; it might not surprise you that I didn't partake in any. That said, they are far more interesting antagonists than Kayneth and his phoned-in villainous arrogance, and I appreciated Caster mistaking Saber for Joan of Arc—quite a clever and appropriate little touch—but in many scenes, they're merely buffoonish and pad out the show even further. In a universe so concerned with little details and thematic cohesion, characters ought not to be playing such shallow roles.
The best episodes of Fate/Zero are the ones that cut out the fluff; Kiritsugu's backstory, told over the course of two episodes, is particularly good—revealing any of it would spoil it, even if you've read Fate/stay night. It's baffling that Urobuchi is so very good when he's dealing with someone else's characters, but is incapable of introducing any new character here whose purpose and relevance I can fully describe beyond their role in the plot—Rider is the lone exception, and even with him, it's pretty shaky. There is, however, one episode of Fate/Zero that is definitely superfluous, and yet I can't help but enjoy it. That episode is Rin's Adventure, a sweet little diversion around midway through the show that focuses on one of Fate/stay night's best characters, Tohsaka Rin. In Fate/Zero, she's still an elementary schooler, and it's a real treat to see here the beginnings of the sharp-tongued, reluctant heroine she would become.
Ideally, one would read Fate/stay night before watching this, but for those unwilling to slog through a visual novel, this is better directed and more accessible than Studio DEEN's Fate/stay night. It's good rather than great, but it's entertaining above all. If you like tight plotting, high production values, and men talking in dark, earnest tones, this is worth a watch.
I have been waiting for this for so long, my wish finally granted by the Golden studios ufotable! It’s not every day that a Type-Moon fangirl like me (who has to yearn for VN & light novel translations to keep her company) gets such a treat. After finally getting a closure on Kara no Kyoukai after reading the light novels, Carnival Phantasm and Fate/Zero were the beacons I wanted to grasp. I say, forget the Fate/stay night anime right now, srsly right now! DEEN simply raped it badly and the VN’s epicness was never captured but if you’ve seen it, at least it gives you
enough information about the characters that you are seeing in a new light in this two-cour series.
This comes from a God studio ufotable, who had done such a brilliant job on Kara no Kyoukai. If you've read the novels and seen the movies, you already know they really worked on being faithful to the original material. In this case Urobuchi's words and nasuverse character come alive on screen and complimented by not only production quality but hours and hours of work done on it. Even if you have not seen Fate/stay night or played the VNs, don't fret, this is a brilliant series to get into nasuverse and Type-Moon goodness. Being an expert, I guarantee you that you'll never regret it.
I'm writing this review just after episode one but seriously THIS is what you call an awesome start or as Chaos Neco Arc would say, Hajimari, yo~ The around 48minute run of this episode was ideal for introducing all the Holy Grail jargon along with the first take on all the masters. Sure, not everyone was given the limelight as Caster’s master Ryuunosuke is still MIA but that would come in the next episode for sure. The finished product in terms of first episode was nothing short of brilliant. It’s not every day that you see HD quality animation on a series. In movies, sure! But in a two-cour series like this; is definitely one of the firsts. It’s a treat for the sore eyes and looks brilliant even on low quality stream. BGM by Yuki Kajiura is spine tingling sometimes and I recommend to use quality headphones for this one because while the scenes play; from the sound of wind blowing to even flicker of candles, dialogue quality and BGM placement all enhances the viewing experience.
Every character is voiced perfectly and from being an arrogant bastards to cute lolis, this has everything that you might be looking forward to. Also, there are so many badass men! Sure, Saber rocks and including her delivery of “Anata ga watashi o Master ka?” but man! Kiritsugu and Kirei are something else; especially Kiritsugu and his guns and his smoke. Yep, lots of gun and smoke porn on this one…
Anyways, from the looks of things and the summoned servants, this series is going to be full of schemes, conspiracies and back stabbing with the right dash of drama and romance. Kirei and Kirutsugu are going to play very strong roles in shaping up the plot and even if they are opposites in terms of values, they share more similarities than any other master. So, keep watching this for awesome development and even bet calls on who dies first because after all, this will be a cutthroat deluxe with winner taking all the glory and supremacy.
Story - scheming, conspiracies, war and spine-tingling action. What more can a watcher ask for?
Art - Simply beautiful, just look at those detailed backgrounds!
Sound - Yuki Kajiura, do I have to say anything else?
Characters - Many and far between, yet you will end up remembering everyone and even side with some to their twisted motives to glory.
Enjoyment - Brilliant. I want my fill of mystery and action, shaken and stirred.
Overall - 9/10 and this might actually increase while the series continues. I'm blogging this series on Metanorn so you can drop by to fangirl/boy anytime.
In almost all forms of media, spinoffs, sequels, and prequels all have one thing in common. They are a crap shoot. Most of the time these spinoffs suck. Fortunately in anime, that is not always the case. In fact there are several times where I find myself enjoy the sequel/ prequel better than the original. However this anime is true rarity, in which the prequel just about outdoes the original in virtually every aspect. This review focuses solely on the first season of fate/zero. I'll write a separate review for season 2.
O.K. here is the actual review with my IADb rating system:
Zero takes place ten years before the events of Fate/stay night, and Chronicles the 4th Holy Grail War. The whole grail war consists of seven teams, with each team consisting of a master and a servant. These servants are heroic spirits that fight each other to the death, with the last servant standing winning the power for him and his master to make any type of wish on the holy grail. After failing to win the grail three times in a row, The Einzbern family have elected to bring the hated magus murderer, Kiritsugu Emiya (who is also the father of the main protagonist in Fate/ Stay Night), into their ranks and compete for the grail. When Emiya ultimately summons Saber as his servant, the two form one of the most unique relationships that I have ever seen. One of the primary things you watched fate/ stay night for was the battles, and while the battles are great here, it is the unforgettable dialogue that drives the anime home.
The Battles: While the dialogue is amazing, fate zero is part of the fate franchise, and hence the battles are a must see. What makes these fights so interesting though is the dialogue that goes on in them. Unlike fate/ stay night, where to many extents you were presented with a typical shounen fight, you get so much more here. You really do learn the back story of every combat tent and are forced to pick sides.
The Characters: There are over 7000 animes on this website. I have seen almost 500 of them and will be reviewing all of them this year. Out of those 500 animes, the cast in this anime ranks 4th, with the only 3 having a better cast being Steins Gate, rainbow nisha rokubou no shichinin, and full metal alchemist brotherhood. Virtually every master and every servant here plays its part perfectly. You have rider, the fan favorite who is just epic. (yes i just said "epic"). You have caster, the child murdering servant who couldn't give two sh*ts about the grail war. Than there is saber, one of the greatest female characters of all time. Archer is a great villain, but slightly over powered. Lancer proved himself to be a formidable opponent for Saber.
Art: When i review the 2nd season this section will pretty much be a carbon copy. Fate/ Zero quite simply has the best animation that I have ever scene. It is just mind blowing how beautiful and life like everything looks. Ufotable knows how to produce a beautiful anime.
Sound: All of the voice actors sound their age. All of the background music is perfectly used. The opening is great and the ending is one of the best in anime.
Enjoyment: While the first episode is a complete info dump, and while there is technically no climax to this season as the finale is a regular episode that ends with "to be continued in April," every other episode in this series left me baffled with amazement. Yes there are some flaws, and yes I can safely say that in the three month span between season1 and season 2, those flaws are seemingly eliminated, Fate/ Zero Season one is definitely an anime to watch.
The IADb official scoring:
Plot, Sequence, Flow: 2.6/3 Points
Overall Characters: 1.6/2 Points
Visual Effects: 2/2 Points
Soundtrack: 0.8/1 Point
Enjoyment/ Lust to watch the next episode: 1.6/2 Point
Final Rating: 8.6
NY Grade: B+
I honestly don't understand the appeal of Fate/Zero at all. It's been praised by so many and it has a really high rating, however, I just can't stomach it. Mind you, there are some minor spoilers of first four episodes just to be able to shed light on why I rated the show so low without being automatically reported. Not that it won't happen regardless.
First episode has to be the most boring, pointless episode I ever watched. Absolutely no effort was made to spark the interest of the viewer or to summarize the story properly. It threw at
you an enormous amount of information about many miscellaneous things in an incredibly monotonous voice and without any proper order. Throughout the entire episode there was nothing that kept me engaged whatsoever. As if I'm supposed to be intrigued and eagerly listen to ominous, rambling, mumbling old men in robes telling us something of great importance is coming.
Second episode had some seriously annoying and edgy characters introduced. Waver Velvet - incredibly annoying character who all he does is whine in a super annoying voice. Waver Velvet's familiar or whatever it's called, the summoned guy, the 'i'm the strongest'. *googles* Rider, right. Awful character. And he has over 5000 favorites?
Then we got the edgy scene where they brutally kill a kid with apparently some straight out of hentai tentacles to appear to be dark and serious. Then I realized, this show must have been made for fourteen year olds, and reading through the comments nothing was more obvious than that. "This got so dark!" or "Giglamesh is so cool!" were some of the comments I encountered.
Ah, yes, you dear naive teen, just wait five years when you realize how bad one-dimensional characters Ryuunosuke Uryuu (literally read his description) and Caster (I'm evil cuz I'm evil! Fear me!) are.
At this point I was already exhausted from nauseating boredom and cringing from awfully designed characters, but I decided not to give up yet, because I believed there had to be something interesting about the show. The fight scenes must be beyond interesting, should be absolutely ecstatic, I'm sure, because that's the reason so many people praise the series. I was deeply disappointed.
To be honest, I didn't even remember the third episode even though I just watched it so I went to skip through it again just to remind myself what was happening in it. Ah, yes, we were following the life of aforementioned Waver and Rider, more old men in robes mumbling and towards end apparently some affair got revealed, at which point I couldn't care less about. I watched it three times and haven't remembered a thing, that's how much of an intriguing episode it was.
Final episode I watched before deciding to throw this back into abyss, was FINALLY some actual action. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, and dear slaughtered children. Something was actually happening in this episode, besides idle chat or boring monotonous speeches. Unfortunately, sixty seconds in I realized I'm not going to have fun watching it nor I am planning on continuing the anime past this point. The first fight was turned into a series of inner and outer monologues and made my immersion completely impossible and I couldn't keep bearing it.
I tried to like this anime, I tried watching it three times, but I cease here. This anime is simply not for me. If I were to summarize it in one word, I'd have to use the word 'childish'.
I am one of the many who walked into Fate/Zero with no prior knowledge of the Fate franchise, so when I watched the super long exposition/info dump that was this show's first episode a couple years ago, I was skeptical of whether or not I should have continued. I'm very, very glad that I chose to continue.
Fate/Zero is the prequel to Fate/Stay Night, written by Gen Urobuchi who is well known for his use of dark and mature atmosphere in his writing. This darkness and maturity is in full swing in Fate/Zero. This series is chock-full of plot twists, engaging dialogues, moral ambiguity, and
many other elements of a serious story. The recurring themes of morality, honor and chivalry on the battlefield, along with the constant clashing of ideologies between the show's fairly large cast make for a story with a lot of depth and drive.
It isn't perfect, though. No story is, unfortunately. I felt that the plot dragged on or felt slow at times. There were dialogues that I think, while engaging, had gone on too long, but this isn't a huge problem when you look at the big picture. Lots of people say that the ending was anticlimactic, and they're kind of right, but I think these people forget that Fate/Zero is a prequel. No matter how much you may want a grand and epic finale to a grand and epic show, if that show is only the precursor to another show, it's got to find a way to set up for what comes up next.
The characters are arguably both the best and worst things in the show.
I don't think I have ever come by a show where every single character receives proper attention and has depth. Does this show accomplish that? No, but I think it puts in a good effort. All fourteen of the main characters are unique, and each come with their own ideologies, motivations, and reasons for participating in the Holy Grail War. The viewer, rather than being treated to the usual good versus evil setup where a hero fights a villain in order to save the world like we've seen a million times before, gets a glimpse at each of the characters' motivations and their ideological outlooks. The characters all have a place on the good-evil scale, but none are truly righteous, and none are truly malevolent. This bit of moral ambiguity serves to make the characters a lot more realistic and less like fairy tale heroes--which ironically a lot of the characters happen to be.
This show isn't afraid to kill off its characters. There is no such thing as plot armor in Fate/Zero, and this is perhaps because Fate/Zero is devoid of any one true "main" character, at least not until the end. That's kind of the beauty of this series, though. You can have a perfectly created character with motivations, ethics, a good backstory, and all that other good stuff a character needs, but Fate/Zero doesn't give a hoot about that. If it means the plot will progress, then that character will die. If you're used to shows where characters are saved by writers pulling deus ex machina events out of their asses with contrived reasons like "the power of friendship" or "the power of love," then Fate/Zero isn't the story for you.
Now for the criticisms. I love the cast of Fate/Zero. I love the uniqueness and maturity of the characters. It's great, really. My gripe with the characters is that we can see quite obviously that they have depth, but we don't get to delve into said depths with the exception of maybe one or two characters. Here we are presented fourteen potentially amazing characters. They all have backstories, and half of them are ancient heroes (or villains) of legend. I sure as hell would have been a lot more invested in the characters if the show had gone deeper into some of their mythologies. It would have made certain aspects of the show feel much more meaningful, and I think it would have given some events more impact.
The characters are great, don't get me wrong, but even having said that, they could have been so much more.
My words aren't adequate for the task of describing how PERFECT this show's art is. Watch it yourself.
Just kidding. I'll try to the best of my ability to capture the art in words.
The color palette is very dark, grey and unsaturated, which is fitting for the show. The animation is fluent, from the movements of fighting characters, to smoke coming out of an exhaust pipe. Speaking of the movements of characters, I'd like to point out that every character has their own way of carrying themselves, and I don't just mean in the way that they pose when they stand. They all have their own distinct way of moving, which shows how much the artists want to emphasize that these characters are unique. The use of gradients in coloration was a smart move by Ufotable, as it gives off a great effect of shading. Objects look almost three dimensional.
The soundtrack is done by Yuki Kajiura, and her orchestrations fit this show perfectly. There are tracks that get you hyped for a fight, and there are tracks that make you feel a character's sadness. The voice acting is great as well, at least for the Japanese dub. I haven't heard the English dub. The OPs for both seasons are good. I regret to say that I never really sat through the end of an episode to listen to the EDs, with the exception of a few episodes where the ED was different.
Does the plot lag at times? Yes. Do I see what they did to save animation budget? Yes. Could we have gotten more elaborate with the characters? Yes. Does that make Fate/Zero any less of an epic experience? Hell no. Fate/Zero is part of a dying breed of anime. The industry is slowly turning into a money grabbing competition, and there are fewer and fewer shows that are willing to give viewers an amazing experience, and there are more and more shows appearing that are selling tons because of a pair of tits flopping around on screen. I'm not saying that shows that pander to otakus are bad, I'm saying that I don't want them to be the only thing available. Fate/Zero didn't fail to deliver anything to its viewers. It's a personal favorite of mine, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
+Moral ambiguity makes for a less black and white experience
+Soundtrack is great
+Engaging and thought-provoking dialogues
+Heavy themes are explored well
(+/-)Would have been better as a standalone series
-Plot lags at times
-Characters could have been explored more
-Ending might be seen as anticlimactic
-First episode is an info dump that could have been handled a lot better
-Little to no world building
Fate/Zero is the prequel to the well known and successfully debatable Fate/Stay Night series. As one might assume that Fate/Zero is your generic shounen or action anime, this is indeed very far from being true. As the series tells the experiences of the participants in the Holy Grail War, the differences between Fate/Stay and Fate/Zero are very prevalent right from the word go as the anime starts. Depicting a much darker setting and tone as well as its far more mature story than its predecessors, Fate/Zero hits on many elements which make a great anime.
Through a variety of different plot features such as the lore
of the Holy Grail Wars and the descriptive character development of each participant the story is able to convey its entity. Expressive language is shown through the communications between characters and the endeavours which they encounter in their survival quest. Emotive story techniques such as the continuous backbone of drama and emotional strain on the characters are put in effect as the director Aoki, Ei was wanting to develop these features of the anime, through identification of these key ideas the story is enhanced and is able to engage the viewer into the anime's plot and world.
The anime Fate/Zero features contemporary modern anime art styles which are commonly seen in newer anime. As Fate/Zero is a 2011 production, one might assume that it has a lower quality of art to any of the newer 2013 anime, this is far from true. As the art is able to express the surroundings of the anime and is used as a tool to convince the viewer of a situation or characters identity, it makes it likeable and relate-able. The dark and colourful features help the viewer to feel a sense of connection to the characters as they are aesthetically pleasing to see when shown in their fantasy action battle scenes and calm intellectual conversations. The land scape and settings of the anime are also able to bring forth the same connections the viewer has.
Sound plays a large role in Fate/Zero and is also executed exceptionally well. Through the use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound the characters are brought to life as the soundtrack features many western style music tracks which help the viewer identify with the anime as well as once again, form connections to the characters, world and assist in the viewer feel engaged while watching.
The main characters and specifically the protagonists in Fate/Zero are metaphorically crossing into a 'new world' as they advance through the story. They are able to break 'barriers' which determine whether they are capable of having a sense of belonging to their world and with each other as well as being able to stay alive in the anime's game-like survival environment and setting. It is worth mentioning that the characters are of a video-game type as they are classed into "Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Berserker and Assassin." This may create a reminiscent feeling for many viewers as they could relate to these roles as like in some MMORPGs.
This anime is able to ad-hear to many aspects of what would make an enjoyable anime for its own genres. Fate/Zero successfully is able to make the viewer develop a sense of attachment and connection with the characters, plot and world as you are pulled through an adventure of survival and heroism. This anime is enjoyable if you are seeking an intelligent 'action, supernatural, fantasy, drama' with a developed story driven plot, likeable interesting characters and intellectual language techniques and engaging supernatural battles.
Where do I begin with Fate/Zero? The first time I watched this series (roughly two years ago) I, admittedly, adored it. However, I recently rewatched it after reading the Fate/Stay Night light novel. It was then that my opinion of the seriess dropped substantially. Don't worry! This won't be a review where I bitch about how Fate/Zero messed up the characters that had been lovingly crafted in Fate/Stay Night! Indeed, I will try my best not to mention that wonderful novel (and godawful fanbase) and will instead focus on analyzing the content at hand. There will, however, be MILD SPOILERS. Consider yourself warned.
The key problem with Fate/Zero is, in my mind, its characters, if you can call them that. When it comes to Urobuchi (the writer behind Psycho Pass, Madoka Magica, this, and some other stuff that nobody cares about), the main thing most critics complain about is the lack of good characterization. Urobuchi himself has admitted that when it comes to writing characters, the only way he knows how to develop them is to make them go insane. As a result, most of Urobuchi's characters have a tendency to come across as just tools of the writer rather than actual people. And yet, when it comes to Fate/Zero, the characters are often times given a free pass. The reason behind this is obvious, many of the characters that are present in Fate/Zero were also present Fate/Stay Night (don't worry, I'll talk about Rider and Waver later) and because of this, older watchers have a very positive knee-jerk reaction despte the fact that the characters in question aren't being written very well.
Let's start with the inexplicably popular protagonist of the series, Kiritsugu. Everyone's favorite edgelord. And that's exactly what he is, an edgelord. Kiritsugu is the gritty, badass, nigh-immoral hero who believes that the ends (saving as many people as possible) always justify the means (killing, backstabbinig, etc.). But he has a tragic backstory, is truly a nice person on the inside, and in the end he fully realizes the error of his ways and that by saving one person, he can save himself. And... thats about it. Thats all there is to the hero of this story. He has no funny quirks, no interesting personality traits that make him unique, no sideplots that make him seem more human (unless if you count the robotic and mildly creepy romance that he had going on with Irisviel or the wasted, near meaningless, and still somewhat creepy romance with Maiya). He isn't even a particularly well-developed character. All of his character development happens within the final two episodes of the series, and his entire backstory gets dropped over the course of two episodes 2/3 of the way through the series. Other than his typical stoic badass attitude and capabilities, nothing about Kiritsugu makes him likeable or unique. He's literally Homura.
But what about the side characters? Kariya and Kirei are both good (they fall under Urobuchi's strong point: characters who develop via falling into darkness), but thats about it. Nobody gives a crap about Kayneth or Tokiomi, so I won't mention them. They're completely forgettable. Saber and Gilgamesh are both bland caricatures of what they were in Fate/Stay Night. In this, Gilgamesh's ego seems more like a funny quirk than a defining character trait established by a lifetime of unchallenged supremacy (Fate/Stay Night Gil would never have lost his shit over something as petty as being forced to stand on the same ground as somebody else, nor would he have literally rode Iskander's dick the way he did after Iskander failed. Shirou and Broserker both did one hundred times better than Iskander, and barely got acknowledged). And of course, Urobuchi makes sure to punish Saber for being an honorable person at every possible oppurtunity, even if it means changing the character in order to do so. A good example of this would be the King's Banquet scene, where Saber practically shits herself after Iskander says that she isn't a king because she didn't rule over her people like a tyrant. Now I'm no Seiba-fanboy (I now hate myself for having used that spelling) but the girl's never struck me as stupid. She should have been more than capable of defending herself against Iskander's reasoning, which was quite honestly retarded.
And now we come to Iskander and Waver, the most popular yaoi couple in the anime. Waver isn't much to talk about, pretty much just your standard little-bitch-comes-of-age story. Iskander, on the other hand, is a selfish, two-dimensional Gary Stu prick who recieves hardly any development throughout the series, yet gets praised for his charisma and manliness. The problem with Iskander is that he is essentially the pet of Urobuchi in the story. He's always in the right (even when he's not), and is given lip-service by characters who would normally never do so (did I mention that Gilgamesh, who was originially one of the characterically egotistical characters in the history of anime, rides his dick to the moon?). It should be noted that Iskander's policy for kingship is essentially "REAL LEADERS KNOW THAT LETTING YOUR PEOPLE KILL EACHOTHER IS OKAY BECAUSE IT MEANS YOU HAVE RESPECT FOR INDIVIDUALITY! FUCK THE PEOPLE, KINGS DO WHAT THEY WANT! THAT'S WHAT REAL LEADERSHIP IS!!", and yet all the edgelords and sheep watching (and Urobuchi if the plot is any indicator) praise him for how badass and manly he is. What a joke of a character.
As for the story? Its fine, though it suffers from the same problems that all stories with wish granting magical plot devices suffer from (if you've seen Madoka Magica, you know what I'm talking about). The beginning sort of sucks, as the first two episodes are essentially a massive infodump. Obviously, it would have been better if that info had been dropped at a steadier rate throughout the series. And then there is the jarring two-episode flashback that I mentioned before, but other than that the plot is pretty good.
Art? Sound? Its Ufotable. Next?
All in all, Fate/Zero is a far more enjoyable series than I made it out to be in this review. I focused more on the negatives because practically everyone out there knows the positives. Its a well produced action anime with a good plot and an interesting fantasy element yet mostly boring or irritating characters (except for Kotomine-Goddamn-Badass-Get-Hyped-for-Heaven's-Feel-Greatness-Kirei). Overall, the series deserves 6.5-7. Oh, wait, Ilyasviel doesn't play a major role in this series? For that alone, I'm taking a point off!
**SPOILER FREE REVIEW OF BOTH SEASONS (NOT FATE/STAY NIGHT)**
"Say that humanity has been narrowed down to merely 500 people. 300 of them are packed onto one ship, 200 are on another, sailing toward an irrelevant destination. Suddenly, both ships suffer massive structural damage simultaneously and begin to sink; you are the only one who can repair them. However, there is only time to repair one ship: What do you do?"
"The answer is simple. Repair the ship with 300 people."
"Suppose that upon learning this, the ship of 200 people captures you and demands that you fix their ship first. Now what do you do?"
"...Kill all 200."
concept of sacrifice is something that anyone who has watched the masterpiece that is Fate/Zero is all too familiar with. From interesting, complex characters, to an intriguing story-line, to stellar animation, there are very few things to NOT like about this anime. For those of you unfamiliar with the Fate series, here is a short synopsis:
Fate/Stay Night is an anime that is part of the same series as Fate/Zero and was released years before Fate/Zero, but Fate/Zero (which was made by a completely different studio and has a completely different writer) is a prequel and chronologically comes 10 years before the events of Fate/Stay Night (BTW, DON'T watch Fate/Stay Night. It sucks, and the same studio that made Fate/Zero has announced it is remaking it, so wait for the remake).
Fate/Stay Night may be garbage in my opinion, but that only makes the fact that Fate/Zero is stunningly good all the more impressive. It likely would have gotten 10/10 if it didn't have to carry the dead weight of its retarded older brother.
A pretty straightforward story. It's another "death game" type show: 7 "masters" (who are highly skilled mages) summon 7 "servants" (who are legendary epic heroes or historical figures) and fight to the death for possession of the Holy Grail; the artifact that is said to grant any wish.
Not only does Fate/Zero have an excellent concept, but it has nearly flawless execution. While Fate/Stay Night spent time trying to develop their horribly written characters rather then focus on the plot , Fate/Zero shows them how it's done by creating a much darker, suspenseful, and convincing environment. Part of what makes it work so well is that (again) unlike Fate/Stay Night, there is no single protagonist, and therefore no clear winner to the war. The viewer is legitimately kept unsure of what is going to happen next, and more importantly: who is going to win. Essentially every character is major and you will develop some sort of emotional attachment to them. You will love the characters you are supposed to love, hate the characters you are supposed to hate, fear the characters you are supposed to fear, and be left to form your own opinions about the characters with controversial motives. There are loads of massively entertaining plot developments,fantastic writing decisions, and there are a couple epic plot twists.
The only real complaint I have about the story and the reason I can't give it 10/10 isn't really Fate/Zero's fault in the first place: it's Fate/Stay Night's. The first episode of Fate/Zero is an hour long as opposed to the normal 20-25 minute length, and it is NOTHING but exposition. Fate/Zero is forced to basically summarize everything relevant to the plot in it's first two or three episodes that Fate/Stay Night took 24 episodes to explain. If you watch Fate/Zero and didn't watch it's predecessor, you better pay attention to the first episodes pretty damn carefully, because you won't believe how fast they blow by backstory! Once they finish the exposition and get to the real plot though, it is absolutely fantastic.
Stellar, absolutely breathtaking animation. The style perfectly compliments both the dark and light portions of the anime. I don't give 10/10 art ratings lightly, but Fate/Zero knocked it out of the park.
Great openings (especially the 2nd one), good endings, and an EPIC soundtrack that goes along with the fast-paced action atmosphere excellently. Great voice acting in both the dub and sub. No complaints here.
I am still marveling at how masterfully these characters were written. There are WAY too many major and significant characters to bother trying to get to them all in a review. Nothing I say here will do these characters justice, but I'll do my best:
Nearly single character is complex, has his/her own specific morals and desires, and has a distinctive/recognizable personality. Saying that alone doesn't mean much to someone who hasn't seen the show, but consider that there are 7 masters, 7 servants, and several side characters on top of that! From the sympathy and despair you feel for Kirisugu Emiya, to the heart-warming, lovable Rider, to the sheer badassness of Kirei Kotomine, to the intoxicating pride of Archer, to the tragedy of Kariya Moto; I could go on forever. Masterful masterful masterful masterful MASTERFUL characters. I couldn't even hazard to pick my favorite one, because there are so many greats. You'll have to take my word on this one; best character development for such a huge cast of characters I've ever seen. Fate/Zero really did the impossible.
The over-saturation of exposition in the beginning is the only real reason Fate/Zero falls short of a 10/10, and because it's a prequel to an anime the studio had nothing to do with, even that isn't really its fault. Fate/Zero is a dark, compelling tragedy filled with constant suspense, unparalleled character development, fantastic writing, and top of the line animation. Fate/Zero is not only entertaining, it is a thought provoking masterpiece that really sets new standard for what a thriller anime should be like. If you are planning on watching the Fate series (which I highly recommend), my recommendation is to watch Fate/Zero and then wait for the remake of Fate/Stay Night (which has already been announced), because the current version of Fate/Stay Night is just humiliatingly bad, particularly if you watch Fate/Zero first and expect a decent continuation.
tired of ridiculous fan catering anime and manga with annoying wimpy protagonists and bad production values with terrible plot lines?
you've come to the right page. now please enjoy my first review.
fate/zero is the prequel for the extremely popular fate/stay night visual novel.
the fate/stay night anime received mixed reactions and if you ask me, its extremely overrated.
studio deen known for butchering adaptations did it again. and the result wasn't pretty.
fate/stay night was a pretty bad anime if you ask me, even if the animation was pretty good for its time.
all the story was presented in the most boring way possible. the fights werent exciting, the voice
actors did a much better job on the obviously superior visual novel.
and the unlimited blade works movie was a mixed bag of bad storytelling compared to the counterpart visual novel route. the only good things about the unlimited blade works movie were the animation and the fights.
and then, in 2011, ufotable who is known for the amazing kara no kyoukai movies decided to adapt the fate/zero novel to a full fledged anime, spanning 25 episodes (after that it was decided that one cour will air on october 2011 and the other cour will air in april 2012).
finally, the talented type moon visual novel staff gets an excellent adaptation to their amazing work. i already forgotten about the tsukihime anime adaptation and fate stay night adaptation.
story - 10
the story may be not that original, but even if its not original it doesnt mean its not good.
seven masters fight a deadly battle for winning the holy grail war to acquire the holy grail and to fulfill their biggest desires. accompanying each master is a servant, and each servant is a heroic spirit summoned by magic from the past.
the concept is the same as the fate stay night visual novel, but with mostly different characters and different setting (10 years prior to the events of the fate stay night visual novel).
the story is battle of wits and strength. each master has a unique personality and each servant has a different measure of strength and heroism/anti-heroism. the servants fight for their masters and the masters command the servants splendidly. each master is a magus skilled in the arts of magic and the spirit of the masters and servants are connected.
just from what im describing here you may already notice its not a silly generic romantic harem anime. it doesnt have any fanservice. it has a real story with believable characters and exciting setting and fights.
the story has no major flaws. its not presented in episodic fashion (a thing i really hate about anime). its like reading the novel, just animated. it doesn't stray from the original source material.
art - 10
i mentioned the kara no kyoukai movies. remember the animation in them? yes, the animation in fate/zero is movie-like, just in a tv series. ufotable did it again. and the result is very pretty.
the animation is extremely fluid. even the cg, that is usually bad in anime shows (gonzo, deen etc) is done extremely well. berserker is made from 100 percent cg. and he moves so good my eyes tear from the prettiness!
sound - 10
the voice actors do an amazing job.
the music is by kajiura yuki. i said enough.
character - 10
saber - the best character in the series. she is also mai waifu.
emiya kiritsugu - a magus that is an expert in firearms. this guy is a machine.
kotomine kirei - this motherfucker is back, and more badass than ever.
irisviel - adorable.
gilgamesh - mongrels!
rider - an extremely well written character. he and waver are one hell of a combo.
lancer - this guy shits heroism out of his ass. that's how heroic he is.
caster - janneeeeee~! a bit of a freak. but i like him.
assassins - not much to say, aside that i like their design.
kayneth - this dude is in my profile avatar. he's pretty cool.
kariya - being kariya is suffering.
ryuunosuke - a mass murderer. he and caster like to make people suffer in the most horrible ways.
waver - without rider this dude is invisible.
tokiomi - i like his voice.
loli sakura - oh god the suffering.
loli rin - hngg.
illyasviel - she doesn't have many appearances. she becomes much more important to the story in fate/stay night.
enjoyment - 10
i cant remember how i enjoyed a series to this extent. a winning formula for every anime lover.
overall - 10
if you want to watch anime, don't watch some moe slice of life that swarms the market these days. you better watch something good, something with meaning and depth. watch fate/zero. read the fate/stay night visual novel. play fate/extra. thank me later.