Posted by psgels on 25 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Fate/Zero



First of all, for those who are wondering: Fate/Zero is a prequel of Fate/Stay Night. You don’t need to have seen Fate/Stay Night in order to enjoy this, although it would be wise to first read up on a bit of the terminology, because that is pretty much the only thing that this series assumes its audience to be familiar with.

Now that that’s out of the way: this definitely was a unique and interesting series to watch. It has a few flaws here and there, but on the other side of the coin we have a very original and well researched setting here. This series grabs many classic references and figures from all over history, ranging from Alexander the Great to King Arthur, and puts them all together. Chivalry is a huge theme in this series that gets looked upon from all sorts of different angles.

What’s also great here is that it’s really hard to pinpoint the actual main character in this series. Of course, in theory this should be Saber and all, but you’d be surprised at how little airtime and attention she gets in this series. The character development of some of the other characters is far more interesting, and she’s very often outclassed by the rest of the cast here. In particular Rider is just one of a kind. He’s without a doubt the best character of the bunch and his monologues are incredibly well written. But really: nearly all of the characters here are interesting and colourful, perhaps with the only exception of the rather one-sided Caster-duo.

The main flaw of this series is the pacing. Very often this show just doesn’t flow well. The first episode for example is 50 minutes of random people talking without giving the viewer any reason to care for them, and the battles in this series are often a bit understated because the characters keep interrupting them to talk to each other about their strategies and powers. Fate/Zero spends a lot of its time on building up for the second season. At times this goes at the sacrifice of its pacing.

Still, this is a show that definitely gets better over time, as you get to know more and more of its characters. The characters slowly reveal more about themselves and their backgrounds and motivations. It’s here where the dialogues in this series really shine, to the point where they become the thing to recommend this series for. Make no mistake, the script in this show is very well written here and when this script combines itself with the character development, it’s when this show is at its best.

So yeah, the pacing has issues but really: in a time when anime diverts more and more into teenagers, it’s great to see a series that fully focuses on adults, and actually delivers a really solid storyline here. Seriously, this was one of the most solid series of the past three months.

Storytelling: 8/10 – A few pacing issues, but excellent dialogue.
Characters: 8/10 – A rich and diverse cast that will take a bit of time to fully blossom. Also a lot of the development seems to be saved for the second season.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Yuki Kajiura perhaps doesn’t bring in her A-game for this series, but still pretty solid all around. The animation is very good too, with especially the combination between 2d and CG being very good..
Setting: 9/10 – Well researched, imaginative and quite unconventional.

Suggestions:
Le Chevalier d’Eon
Rose of Versailles
Amatsuki

17 Responses

  1. Chrono says:

    I don’t really watch much anime now but I think Fate/Zero really gave a breath of fresh air into the industry.

    Caster is very much the big bad guy where everyone works to defeat first. However, I find his conversations with Ryuunosuke in the final episode quite interesting, from an atheist’s point of view.

    Can’t wait for the second season! (or more aptly, second half?)

  2. gandalf8 says:

    I for one quite like these sort of series that don’t really have a main character but instead has an equally fleshed out main cast. I never really liked Saber very much, so the move to not focus on a main character was the right choice in my opinion. As for the pacing, I’ve never had any qualms with it. In fact, I even find the way they fought whilst pausing now and then completely natural and not jarring at all like in most shounen series. For example in Saber and Lancer’s first fight, the reason they paused every now and then was so they could feel out and analyze each others strengths and weaknesses. Besides that, as knights, they both relished the opportunity to fight and test their strength against a worthy opponent, so it was really understandable that they wanted to relish their battle.

    Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to wait for the second part to really kick things into a higher gear. These 3 months will probably feel very long indeed..

  3. Starry says:

    Why are you reviewing this show when it hasn’t finished yet…?

    The second half of the show isn’t a second season. It’s just a three month break in between episodes. It’s the same as scoring the other two cour series as one whole.

  4. meow says:

    @Starry

    No, the 2nd half is considered a 2nd season. It even says so in japanese text in the next episode eyecatch. I was expecting 13 episodes though. I thought this series had something like 26 episodes?

  5. takashid says:

    meow: While they may be calling it a second season, in terms of the story, Fate Zero cant be split like this. The first half that just finished was just that: half of a full story. Originally the show was going to continue past this point into January, and it was only after episode 1 aired that ufotable announced the decision to split it and pause till April.

    • meow says:

      The first half that just finished was just that: half of a full story.
      Yep. Quite a cliffhanger. I was hoping to at least resolve the current conflict. I wonder how it will go from here on out. On the other hand, it does build up some nice tension. Reminds me of the recent Unicorn Gundam 4th OVA.

      it was only after episode 1 aired that ufotable announced the decision to split it and pause till April.
      That’s weird. Was any reason given?

      • rawr says:

        They split it to keep up the amazing quality. Remember episode 11’s derp faces? They are splitting it so that doesn’t become the norm for the series later on.

  6. psgels psgels says:

    The reasons why I’m treating this as a single season is simple: consistency. So what if it ends in the middle of a story. There are tons of other serise who also do that.

    There was a time in which I used to wait for a story to become fully finished, but that became just way too problematic. There were shows which delayed their final episodes by months, and there were also tons of other series who had an announced second season, but cancelled it somewhere along the middle. Because of this there is no review of Red Garden, Tsubasa Chronicle or Mushiuta on this site. Fate/Zero isn’t a special construction in any way. It simply announced its episode count beforehand.

    Junjo Romantica also split up its series in two halves after it was first annuonced that it would have 24 episodes, and I also treated both of those as separate seasons.

  7. Aidanak47 says:

    “It has a few flaws here and there”

    ….for example?

    “Chivalry is a huge theme in this series ”

    Not really…

    “The main flaw of this series is the pacing. Very often this show just doesn’t flow well. The first episode for example is 50 minutes of random people talking without giving the viewer any reason to care for them, and the battles in this series are often a bit understated because the characters keep interrupting them to talk to each other about their strategies and powers. Fate/Zero spends a lot of its time on building up for the second season. At times this goes at the sacrifice of its pacing.”

    It seems the only flaw you seem to find is the pacing and it’s very subjective. You didn’t find talking interesting (Which is odd because I believe you praised this fact before)because you didn’t have the background info which would be natural when watching it. After all most people would be inclined to watch the first series before driving into prequels and sequels. (Though to be honest it’s more beneficial to play the game instead)
    If I recall clearly most of your “pacing issues” where because lacking information.

    Come on psgels, this is just bias talking. (Ok, I am probably the bias one as Type moon is my god…)

    • Cholisose says:

      All opinions are biased. Sometimes people will feel a story is really good, while for others it just “won’t click”.
      (For example, I saw the movie Hugo recently, and thought it was one of the most boring films I’ve ever seen–and yet the critics are showering it with praise and confetti. That’s just how it goes. Or for an anime example, there’s Penguindrum, which just felt random and bizarre to me, rather than fascinating and brilliant as it was for most people.)

      Personally I’ve felt Fate/Zero has had excellent pacing, but I’ve also found all the dialogue in this series very well-written, so I’ve never been bored by the long conversations and philosophical musings. In my opinion, all of this have been a big help in keeping Fate/Zero from becoming a mindless action series. The characters seem particularly well thought-out in Fate/Zero, compared to most anime series, which makes it very easy to get invested in its plot.

  8. Kuroichi says:

    One thing you seem to grossly misunderstand, psgels : while this is a chronological prequel, it is in reality the second story of that universe, with F/SN being the first (like it or not). The random characters talking are characters the creators (rightly) expect you to know about already!

    As such, It’s rather ridiculous to say on one hand ” You don’t need to have seen Fate/Stay Night in order to enjoy this”, and then in the next paragraph complain about random characters that you would have known about if you had simply done what you are telling others they don’t need to do (i.e. read the FIRST story).

    From that perspective, I personally saw virtually no pacing issues (with the exception of the Rin episode, which could have taken less than 1 full episode to cover).

    • Anca says:

      I’ve seen FS/N, but I don’t remember anything beyond the whole “Remember that rule? Well, everything that happens in an exception to it” thing the series pulled every second episode. I don’t even remember the anime outright saying that Saber is King Arthur (I didn’t know until someone pointed it out for me later). Well, I remember that the main character is “Emiya Shiro”, that he was a wimp, what happened to Archer, Shiro’s harem and something about Sakura being chained in the finale?

      Still, after Penguindrum this was my favorite series this season. I didn’t see any pacing problems either XD the talk at the beginning was excellent setup.

      • Mike says:

        …I dunno, I’d say Excalibur is a pretty blatant giveaway as to who its wielder is, you might as well have been saying you had no clue the fat old man in the red suit riding the reindeer sleight is santa claus because he wasn’t carrying a neon sign with his name on it over his head.

        and no, Shiro didn’t have a harem, and that was Illya chained up in the end, not Sakura, and what happened to Archer was also pretty obvious…

        It sounds more like you didn’t really pay attention to the show rather than just couldn’t remember :P

  9. hikari says:

    I also didn’t have any pacing issues, it’s probably my bias since i love this series so much(one of my fav TM works aside Rakyou), so i very much enjoy all the talk/long dialog among the charas, even the 1st ep didn’t feel long to me. If there’s any pacing problems, if it’s me probably sometimes it feels short, like suddenly it was over since i already read the whole novel&i know there’s few things they cut here&there(probably cuz i don’t want anything to be cut, especially riderxwaver talks since it’s a whole lot more funny in the novel, but that’s definetely impossible), and so far ufotable has done excellent job in it despite few flaws/dropping here&there. Heck, they already did an excellent job compared to deen fsn adaptation few years ago.

    But, yeah i guess this is just me, since i already familiar with the charas, the theme&the story, especially since all the dialog is well written in here, thanks to Urobuchi, it never become something that to much of techno-buble stuff like index or horizon, so i never get bored. Plus, all of that is important for the second half anyway which is going to be awesome&full of tearjerker(if ufotable play’s it right), but i have faith in them that they’ll do a good job&hopefully with this break they really stock up a whole lot of budget cuz they’ll be needing it for the second half anyway.

    Oh, although it’s already pretty late but Merry Christmas everyone and i hope you have a fantastic holiday.

  10. I’m having an anime marathon right now to Fate/Zero and Everything is doing great for me. I’m quite dissapointed to Saber’s personality and I think it needs to be altered/changed good thing she’s just too cute and her looks compensate for it!

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 04:11 AM)
    @Kaiser: earlier you said it’s almost hard nowadays to dislike popular stuff cuz they just immediately accuse you of being a hipster contrarian- well albeit true, the difference is in how well you can justify your stance.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:59 AM)
    @Aidan: exactly! Henry Selick. I lightweight hated Burton for a while for hogging all the credit. But that was partly due to people already being familiar with Tim Burton’s name. Burton just stamped his name on it, since he funded it. I guess money also makes you a great visionary.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:57 AM)
    He has my respect for naming his daughter Zelda.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:55 AM)
    @Aidan: That’s the great late Robin Williams to you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:55 AM)
    And I swore I put this up earlier but it’s disapeared but Burton ain’t exactly what made Nightmare great. That goes more to the dude who made Coraline.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:54 AM)
    You forgot Robin Williams.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:49 AM)
    what? oh shit! the tablet failed to upload so I typed on pc, but I guess it was still attempting it lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:48 AM)
    no no no … me, psgels, VN godhead Kinoko Nasu, world renowned anthropologist Dr. Patrick Galbraith, professor of classical studies Alex Sheremet, Ph.D of Mathematical Sociology Shinji Miyadai, Mike Hale of New York Times, and acclaimed anime directors Shin Ōnuma, Watanabe and Makoto Shinkai among an ocean of others, all suffer from some bacteria that causes great love and appreciation for Neon Genesis Evangelion. Unfortunately there is no cure in sight.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:45 AM)
    @Bam: People are saying the directors cut of Batman vs superman improves on it. But I’ll not be watching a Snyder film again anytime soon.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 02:43 AM)
    I wish stop motion and puppet animation was more of a thing.
    And while on the subject of odd animation techniques, I saw I SAND animation short somewhere.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 13 1

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 13

When I heard about this arc being hard to watch I readied myself for a number of things. I was prepared to see Subaru die gruesomely, to see him tortured and broken. However while I was ready to see him get destroyed by others; I didn’t expect him to be the architect of his own […]

Kiznaiver - 12 1

Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

Kiznaiver - 12 2

Kiznaiver -12

This was certainly pure narrative confusion at it’s zenith and in that regard I don’t mean that the events depicted were hard to understand but rather a general confusion on what mood it wants to go out on. In this episode we had comedic, drama and climatic showdown all hastily weaved together to try and […]

Bungou Stray Dogs 12c

Bungou Stray Dogs – 12 (end)

And we get to the end of Bungou Stray Dogs, but this last episode doesn’t offer any conclusive ending, instead feel more like a set up episode for the next season. This last episode functions like a typically Bungou Stray Dogs’ episode; there are many good things to say about it, mainly the technical triumphs […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

3

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 10

After the Horobi’s laser light show and having Biba-sama completely dominate the narrative with his super cool looking henchmen, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is back on track although it’s on different rails for here on out. Imprisoned by the Hunters and being caught in the middle of the impending final conflict between the Shogun and Biba, […]

mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game – 12

Upon finishing yet another rather uneventful episode of Joker Game, I began to wonder just what this series had planned for its finale. “How best to top off a rather mediocre series such as this?” I thought to myself. However when looking over general consensus over the episode I found out that I seen the […]

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 12 4

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 12

This looks to be the weakest episode of Re:Zero to date which does seem to be a trend when it comes to the arcs of the series. When looking over these twelve episodes I have come to find that the weakest episodes of the series are the first episode of an arc which does make […]

Latest Reviews

Kiznaiver - 12 1

Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]

akTwkhF

Stella Glow Game Review-60/100

I really should be getting Grand Kingdom or waiting for Mirage Sessions. My review of Stella Glow is way past relevancy being nearly 8 months late, but I finally completed this and it wouldn’t hurt to briefly wrap up my thoughts about the game created by the now-defunct Imageepoch. I somehow managed to get through Lord of […]

rs33

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Game Review – 87/100

Oh my. This game was just utterly, utterly incredible when it came out, so despite disliking the usual remasters (ahem, Valkyria Chronicles), I was pretty stoked when I learned I’d be able to play this again on better hardware. It came out really late into the PS2’s lifetime in 2007, so at the time, I […]

romance of 3 kingdoms

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 4: Chinese Traditional Animated shows

Welcome to the last part of our Chinese animated guide. This part will cover Chinese traditional art style, for me personally this is the most enjoyable group. The first thing you might notice in these shows are they were in different format ratio, lean more towards the Academy ratio format. I always find their traditional art […]

20160513001913_1

Lucid9: Inciting Incident Video Game Review – 85/100

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the […]

The Totem Warrior

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 3: Haoliners inputs

This part we explore one Chinese animation studio’s works. I choose Haoliners partly because they are independent studio, and their works are not hard to find. Just established in 2013, Haoliners is an indie studio but gathered more reputation in the last few years in their homeland. My experience with them through those titles below […]

Cover

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress OST Review

This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime […]