Fate/Zero was one of the big titles of the past Spring Season. It already had an incredibly solid first season, and this promised to only get better as it fired off. And yeah, the second season indeed ended up trumping the first and using its build-up. I have some qualms with it, but really: this was an incredibly well made series.
In a season with so many series that stood out with their visuals, Fate/Zero stands among the best: its consistency is amazing: characters stay amazingly on-model, even after 25 episodes and there is a ton of eye candy with brilliant use of CG. The director, Ei Aoki is a guy who started in Photography, and it shows: just about every frame in this show looks good. To put this into a perspective: in a season with three Satelight series airing at the same time, this second season alone the eye candy surpasses that of all three of them combined.
The plot continues off where the first season left off and contains a number of very satisfying climaxes that are surrounded by an interesting plot that just keeps taking turns. There are a few issues with this plot, though, most notably that you really need to be familiar with the Fate Franchise, otherwise some plot points won’t make any sense. This series may be just a prequel to Fate/Stay Night, but even then there were events that happened before this series that this series refuses to line out.
Like the first season, this series again does a wonderful job to melt the setting from the European middle ages and the ancient middle east together, putting Chivalry on one hand and conquests on the other. The two mesh greatly as they clash, on top with the Fate franchise’s interesting system of magi and mages.
Now, as for the characters. I do feel that I need to clarify myself a bit after claiming that the emotions feel empty, and things indeed are a bit more nuanced than that. The cast of Fate/Zero definitely has a number of characters that are developed really well throughout the series. The second season in particular contains some really heavy scenes that show many of them completely breaking down and there definitely are a lot of big emotions in this series. What I feel like the creators could have done better is flesh out these characters. This series puts a lot of time into battles and explaining the actions of its characters, but not so much on the touches that make their characters more human or show them in different emotions. Balancing these scenes out could have been done better: when this show builds up, it’s usually very slow (there in particular is an arc devoted to the background of just one character that takes up 2 whole episodes, but in the end is a bit too focused on explaining why he is involved in the story and a bit too little on creating a dynamic character). I feel that this could have been built up a bit better and because of that things don’t come together at the end as well as I hoped.
This series is a bit overhyped, but still, Fate/Zero remains an excellent series. Even though some plot twists come from nowhere if you’re not familiar with the Fate franchise like myself, it’s a big recommendation and there really is nothing like it around. This series pushed what can be done with animation further and the people of Ufo-Table have really grown into a powerhouse of a studio at this point.
|Storytelling:||8,5/10 – Great action-packed climaxes with many interesting plot twists that are best enjoyed when you’re familiar with the Fate franchise.|
|Characters:||8/10 – Excellent development and loves to make its characters break down.|
|Production-Values:||9.5/10 – The consistency of the amount of eye candy in this series is amazing. 25 episodes and it still manages to look amazing with very few weak points.|
|Setting:||8,5/10 – Great themes, blends different settings together really well. Make this a full 9/10 if you’ve seen Fate/Stay Night.|