Years after the Fourth Holy Grail War, Waver Velvet becomes the head of the Modern Magecraft Theories department at the Clock Tower, succeeding the title of Lord El-Melloi II. Waver and his apprentice Gray set out to find the truth behind a mysterious shadow that stalks them, while trouble brews among the mages of the Association.
Fate/Zero has got to have a spot on many people's favorite anime list, and I am no exception to that. Needless to say, when I saw that a sequel/spin-off OVA to the series was announced, and produced by studio TROYCA no less, I was excited to check it out. I decided to see what it had to offer, and I have to say, I had fun with this episode.
Bad stuff first: its story is not really anything to write home about, and it can be summed up in one sentence. Waver Velvet is disliked by his co-workers, superiors, and successor to the point where
they are actively conspiring to murder him. And that's pretty much it. Nothing special, but a decent enough introduction for the real first episode. I get the feeling that this was ultimately for people like myself who had never read the light novel, and was simply a means to an end, that end being to show us the good guys and the bad guys, as well as getting us caught up on Waver's current situation. I will say this, though: perhaps having a prequel akin to Un-Go's prequel, showing the audience how the main hero got to where he's at would have been a bit better. Oh well. At least this episode will likely feel more consistent in pacing than Un-Go's OVA did with its series, as much as I still love it.
Now onto the parts that are good: the artwork is absolutely fantastic.
Re:Creators looked good, like, really good, but its backgrounds were nowhere near the level of this episode. Clearly, and the end credits, I think, will back me up on this, TROYCA got some help from ufotable to do those backgrounds. The character designs were on point here, a definite step up from the train-wreck that was Unlimited Blade Works. I mean, my God, why is everyone's head an actual balloon in that show? And how do you screw up Rin's hair like that!?!?! Anyway, Waver's design, uber-long hair aside, was rather striking: the lines on his face were quite reminiscent of Kayneth's design in Fate/Zero, and I really appreciated this subtle expression of how far Waver has fallen since his youth. Not sure why Gray needs to where a hood constantly, but her design is competent enough. As for the single action scene in this episode, man did they go whole hog on it. From the backgrounds to the character movements, to the CGI cars, everything looks incredibly detailed and makes for quite the exhilarating spectacle. Maybe it doesn't quite rival the Lancer vs Assassin fight from Heaven's Feel, but that was a feature-length movie, so I say "apples to oranges".
The music is also pretty good. I didn't find it too compelling or Fate-like for the first 10 minutes because there was quite a bit of comedy, but once the 10 and a half minute mark hits, the OVA becomes way more serious, leading to a fantastically executed scene with a genuinely great track to it. I found that one track to be one of the most memorable parts of the episode. Expect a number of string instruments (primarily piano).
Ultimately, this episode is meant to sell you this series: am I going to watch it this summer when it airs? That's... a bit difficult to answer. The problem I have with this is that I didn't really find anything profoundly meaningful about the whole thing. I didn't see any real kind of message for the audience to receive, and I am apprehensive to hold out hope that the show, even with its greater number of episodes, will do anything differently. But you know what, even if it doesn't become a profound, thematically grossing series, that doesn't mean I, or any Fate fan, can't enjoy this for what it is. I don't know if I'll complete it, but I will definitely give it a shot.
The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II, Episode 0: A Grave Keeper, a Cat, and a Mage. Let's just call it the Case Files Special. This is an introduction to the upcoming Case Files anime, which is scheduled to premiere in July of this year.
The story itself is relatively self-contained, and there is not much to comment on. It is a singular special episode meant to introduce the series, after all. Which it does exceptionally well.
TROYCA have knocked this animation out of the park. Ufotable are the long-standing vanguard of Fate adaptations (just check out the latest Heavens' Feel movie), but Troyca has
done a fantastic job replicating the atmosphere both of London as a city and the Clock Tower/Mages' Association as a chaotic organization of nobles tugging and pulling and not much actual stuff getting done. Also, glorious animation of Waver getting (repeatedly) pissed off. An angry, overworked professor is something to behold. Trust me, I know all too well. Sorry, Prof. Mitchell.
This special has several main characters, and several side characters that people may recognize depending on how far they've fallen down the Fate well. Rocco Belfeban, for one. For the purposes of this review, I'll just focus on the main Dynamic Duo and their (upcoming) superior.
Ah, Lord El-Melloi II. Don't drop the II, it's grating. Or Waver Velvet. Or 'that one support who never, ever gets a damn break' from Fate/Grand Order. It doesn't matter where you saw him; Waver's the same everywhere. An irritable scholar with absolutely no tolerances and the worst luck this side of an FGO player or a Lancer-class Servant-
I'm getting sidetracked.
Gray is Waver's apprentice/secretary/assistant. She's cute, and later events will shine a light on why she might look a little familiar. Stop bullying Gray, Waver.
Reines El-Melloi Archibald is Kayneth's daughter. Yes, Fate/zero's Kayneth. The one who was too prideful to realize that Kiritsugu was a man who took the term 'playing dirty' and dragged it through the mud then shot it in the head for good measure. Therefore, Reines is just as prideful and arrogant as her father. They grow up so fast.
Overall, this special serves as a very good introduction to what I expect (and hope) will be an excellent series. The El-Melloi Case Files are one of the most entertaining Fate spinoffs, and not just because it's not another variation on the Grail Wars, but rather because explores one of the most important factions within the Type-Moon universe that also happens to be rather under-represented.
Don't bully Waver. He's a good boy who does his best to try to give a shit.
Fate/Zero is my all-time favorite anime and Iskandar (Rider) is one of my most favorite characters. He greatly influenced his weak-willed master Waver Velvet and taught him how to live freely with head held high. This anime features the adult version of Velvet in a kind of detective setting. So I was naturally intrigued and gave it a try.
Artwork is mind-blowing. Both character design and the background art are awesome.
The action sequences are well-animated.
As a prologue of the upcoming TV series, it didn't do that well to pique my interest.
So far, I am not sure what to expect from the following TV series.
So, here's my review, before writing this, i've watched Fate/Zero, i've played fate grand order(here i'm talking reading his servant profile and playing through Fate/accel zero order) so i know additional background story about MC and his relations to referenced characters so you know- i can give a pretty decent evaluation of the story.
i'm giving it a 6 because although Fate tends to be pretty well set with story and lore etc, this show seems to not show that much continuity yet, as a standalone episode it had a pretty nice plot and it's nice to see our boi Waver do his thing in
the clock tower for once, but i fear it'll become repetitive later on.
it's alright, i wouldn't call it foolproof but i liked how gray looked a lot and Waver, well he looks like waver... the people doesn't look completely dead inside and specifically the shadow shown later in the episode looked believable enough. the cars looked acceptable.
nothing wrong here tbh, i would rate it higher if there was anything completely outstanding in regards to the sound, in fact it was just what i expected and i'm completely fine with that.
the characters really require you to have watched at least enough of fate/zero to know who Lord El-Melloi or Waver is because most of their backstory comes from there. but if you have watched that and knows how great a character he is you will understand how much i love waver as a character. I personally was a little disappointed that we didn't see more of him than we did back then.
gray is cool as hell imo i really look forward to seeing her character pan out, and why she is there etc.
those two kids, i really hated them during the first half of the episode but later on, when i saw their determination i grew to look past that as well.
this is a little biased like the other ratings actually but then again as a fate fan i really always loves to get a laugh out of an anime, and i got a laugh every time i saw waver be his usual "trying to be good at his thing but still fails" self.
it's decent, i'll say this now, the story doesn't seem so compelling as of now which i fear might actually be this series downfall because as my animu knowledge goes this has the potential to end in a repetitive format towards the middle of the series. but i think just because of the characters i'll end up seeing past that and enjoying the characters instead.