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.|