For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided on what to think of it, some will claim it’s overhyped garbage, others will think it’s the greatest thing on the face of the planet and few such as myself will see it as good but short of what it could have been. Let me give two pointers on things which could help your enjoyment. One, do not walk into this expecting Fate/Zero 2, many did and naturally they were disappointed. Basically what you should expect here is not a mature thriller but rather a shounen action. This isn’t Fate/Zero and it isn’t trying to be. Second, marathon it. The pacing of this series is dead slow and it’s better experienced in binge sessions rather than sporadically. For those who have no idea on wherther to start from here or watch Fate/Zero first you can start from either and there is no real proper order to watch these shows.
The characters and their interactions are enjoyable though some characters basically disappear in it’s second half. Shirou and Rin make a enjoyable partnership thats a joy to watch and the charisma of Lancer and Archer makes it just impossible to dislike them. The plot has interesting themes though at times they can feel forced down your throat but overall the presentation of a selfless hero’s flaws is interesting. Your enjoyment of the series may depend on your knowledge of the source material as the anime does a poor job of conveying some things which can make certain parts of the story seem like deus ex machina or cheap developments. That aside there are also weaknesses in the original text that carry over to the anime such as excessive monologuing and exposition which becomes tedious in the second half of the series when the fights become much shorter due to either a waning budget or poor decision making.
Regardless of whether people love it or hate it, this anime has set a new standard in animation and art for anime to strive for. The fight scenes only are the kind of thing that action anime dream of. I mean just look at the screenshots for these reviews, this anime is beautifully drawn and beautifully animated. This kind of quality is unimaginable for anime years before and if studios each strive for it we could be seeing an upsurge of truly visually stunning anime. Perhaps then the best animated fights in action anime will not be in the opening of the series. Music for the series is excellent but sadly not quite as noticeable, while scenes are enhanced by it there are a bit too many points of silence in episodes. The pacing of the series is it’s biggest flaw, ranging from hot and cold periods before entering into a snail’s pace for it’s second half. The second half of the series is were the main problems come in as the amount of material left in the game was not enough for a full one cour season. Things begin to get dragged out as dialogues stretch on and less and less happens each episode but if you can get through it you will receive an excellent climax with a resolute satisfying ending.
Despite it having many flaws I do believe this is an anime that anime fans should make a must watch even if only for the visuals. The first half of the series truly is excellent and for all the problems of the second half there are still standout moments such as internal visualization of Shirou coming to terms with his answer to the battle of berserker and Gilgamesh. There is definitely things to love in this adaption and hopefully for new fans it can birth an interest in the series as a whole. Now there’s only the hope that maybe the blu-rays will add more action scenes to the second half and that the upcoming Heaven’s feel movie can be as great as it can be.