Well Hello Anime Vice, it’s me M to again bring you my opinions on anime. While my match with the Clannad franchise isn’t over I’ve had the opportunity to finish Fate Zero during a break from Clannad. Fate Zero is the famous and infamous prequel to Fate Stay Night. Hailed for supposedly outshining the original in every way, Fate Zero, was something I took personal interest in it since its lead writer and director is Gen Urobuchi the same one as from the hit Madoka Magica that, while not exactly the best anime ever, is one of my favorites. Thanks to Crunchy Roll I sat down with friend of the site, Homer, and took a crack at it.
Type-Moon’s Fate Zero is the prequel to widely successful VN and anime Fate Stay Night, I never watched the anime, but I have the VN and know far more about Fate Stay Night then honestly what I wanted to know so going in to the prequel. Fate Zero basically takes place during the 4 Holy Grail war and pretty much set up why things are so completely f’d up for the 5 war in Fate Stay Night. Just like in Stay Night, seven masters are chosen to hold seven servants, specifically heroes of myth and history, in the form of for lack of a better way RPG classes. They are locked into a survival game over the Holy Grail, a mythic artifact of which supposedly is able to grant any wish to the winner of the war. The story loosely centers on Saber and her master, but it jumps perspectives so much that designating an MC is pointless. Instead it focuses on all their efforts and wishes to get the grail.
I’ll be honest here it’s not hard to come up with positive things to say about Fate Zero. Gifted with fantastic directing and production value, fluid and enjoyable fight scenes as well as meaningful and well written story; even if a bit dark to the point of being unpleasant to watch play out. Fate Zero has a sense of being a perfectly produced entity having all of its parts polished, well oiled and operating excellently. Characters all seem either likeable to the point of earning your admiration or so vilified that it drives you to personally wish them misfortune; all while not playing the Marry Sue card for anyone (except Gilgamesh that f@#king fairy) . Whether it’s Rider who is impossible to dislike or Berserker who is so Savage and glorious in battle, each character plays their specific role to practiced perfection.
Fate Zero while crisp and perfectly produced has a few flaws that are big enough to weaken its overall feel despite its near perfect parts. The Servants, while immeasurably cleverer then the original seven in who they are set up for some very interesting points, however almost none of them actually do much with how interesting the combinations are; I.E. The relationship between Saber and Berserker really doesn’t have much in a way of pay off nor does her connection with caster. This reeks of lost opportunity on the part of the writing where some clever usage would have made it shine a bit more. In smaller complaints its Soundtrack is unremarkable as is the character of Lancer, but as carnival phantasm the type moon parody of this franchise pretty much admits…no one give a damn about Lancer.
My biggest complaint with Fate Zero is easily the amount of wasted time in the beginning season. Most of Season one is a series of battles where nothing is achieved for either side and long winded conversation about topics that in more natural conversation would have ended in a hand full of sentences. Even when the fight scenes look great and the conversations are well directed the lack of point and direction simply feel like wasted time and energy simply for the sake of artificially increasing the length of the story. Considering the amount of opportunity wasted as I mentioned in the previous paragraph just makes it more frustrating to see time wasted discussing exactly why Gilgamesh is bored today….oh by the way did I mention that Gilgamesh is a god damn fairy and I hate him?
My second biggest issue is also probably a bit of what impresses me a bit about Fate Zero. The ending is very confusing and very unpleasant in exactly the dark way that it is intending. By the End of Fate Zero things are not pleasant for much of anyone and it has no intention of pulling its punch so that you can have your nice little happy ending. It’s an ending that drained a little bit of the life out of me, but I definitely applauded Fate Zeros uncompromised dark story even if it’s just the fault of it being a prequel more than creative integrity. This being true on the other side of that coin Fate Zeros ending is a bit nonsensical. While very cool it just filled with ridiculousness, so much so one of the characters even takes note, mentioning “by some absurdity” the final events somehow occurred. This again mostly is in service of Fate Stay Nights set up, but is simply not pulled off well.
End of the night I say Fate Zero is good, and if you don’t mind an ending that isn’t exactly meant to be so happy go lucky you’d be hard pressed to find something as good. Not quite as good as its parts separately make it look, but still damn good. I give Fate Zero 4 Noble Phantasms out of 5,
P.S. to VN fans out there I recently finished AoiShiro and if you’re a fan of VN’s I can’t recommend it enough.