Anime Review: Fate/Zero (2011)
Director: El Aoki
Studio: Aniplex USA
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray
In 1994 in the city of Fuyuki, Japan, Seven Mages battle each other for the Holy Grail, a wish granting cup. Each Master wants the Grail for their own reasons and must summmon seven historical figures known as Servants so that the Servants can fight each other to the death, and the winner claims the Grail and has their wish granted.
Even though there are many Masters, the audience primariily follows Kiritsugu Emiya and his wife Irisviel Von Einzbern and their Servant Saber, known as King Arthur, who is actually a woman named Arturia Pendragon, but she hid her gender from her subjects. Kiritsugu wishes to use the grail to save the world.
There are many other Masters, such as Priest Kirei Kotomine, and his Servant Assassin. Kirei is a fascinating chracter as he's searcching for his purpose and meaning in life, and he hopes that the Holy Grail will help him find it.
Tokiome Tohsaka wants the Grail to reclaim the Root of magic and his arrogant Servant Archer, Gilgamesh, just wants to rule everything and ease his boredom.
Waver Velvet wants to prove himself to the Mages Association, while Rider, Alexander the Great, Iskander, wants to conquer the world again.
Ryūnosuke Uryū is an insane child killer, who summons Bluebeard, Gilles de Rais, and all they want to do is kill everyone.
Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald,and his fiancé Sola-Ui want the Grail for thier family. Their Servant is Lancer, Diarmuid Ua . Diarmuid wantsto livve an honorable life as a Heroic Spirit.
Kariya Matou wants the Holy Grail to give to his Father Souken Matou to save his neice Sakura Tohsaka from being adopted into the Matou family
Each pair of Master and Servant are fascinating and have a differnet view of the same war they're participating in, and that' what makes Fate/Zero so interesting as a story.
Audio and Subtitles:
English (Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll)
Spanish (Netflix and Crunchyroll)
Portugues (Brasil, on Crunchyroll)
An Amazing Engliish Dub!
WHen I first watched the first episode in the original Japanese, I couldn't reallty get into it, I did like the idea of the story, but I just coudln't get into it because of how much reading there was, and the Japanese voice track wasn't bad at all. It's just that Fate/Zero is very exposition heavy, everywhere and the dub helps me keep track of what's going on, And in this anime, paying attention is extremely important..
But the Fate franchise has had a rocky history when it's been dubbed in English, mainly because many chracterrs have been recast in English, but I love the dub for Fate/Zero in English.
Kari Wahlgren is absolutely fantastic as Saber. Now I haven't seen the original Fate/Stay Night (2006) dub to compare her with Saber's original voice actress, Kate Higgins, but I love her tone of voice and how diginified she sounds and her line delivery is perfect, and I've seen her in quite a few roles that I've really enjoyed her in, but Fate/Zero is one of my favorites for her voice acting.
, Matthew Mercer is aslo excellent as Kiritsugu Emiya. He portrays Kiritsugu's cold demeanor with some hints of genuine emoton around his family, Irisiviel and Illyasviel von Einzbern perfectly. He did a fantstic job and he's my favorite human chracter in Fate/Zero.
Bridget Hoffman is also terrific as Irisviel von Einzbern. She portrays a hommunculous that tries to behave like a human and she does a very good job, and I enjoyed her in this role a lot.
Grant George is fantastic as Lancer, also known as Diarmuid Ua Duibhne. I loved him in his role and he was utterly believable as a noble, chivalrous knight. His dynamic with Saber is fun to watch, and he gives a great performance in all his scenes.
There are way too many wonderful cast members, form Crispen Freeman as Kirei Kotomine to Johnny Yong Bosch as Ryunosuke Uryu. I could gush about this cast, but this review is long enough as it is! In short, the English dub is one of my favorites!
Stunning Animation, one of the best animated TV Series I've Ever Seen!
Ufotable's animation looks amazing, and I've seen a lot of anime that look really good and have fluid animation, but nothing quite as fluid and bright as Fate/Zero. The fight scense are very fluid and lok fantastic, even the CG looks pretty good, it didn't stand out to make me think, "Oh look, CGI" in the episodes of the anime where they used it.
I love the coloring of this anime and it's very well done. I like the art style of Type Moon and Ufotable makes it look fantastic, and as someone who is playing through Fate/Stay Night: Realta Nua, I will say, Ufotable did a great job with the character designs in the anime.
Ufotable's animation loks better than Stuido Bones, and many of my favorite shows are from Studio Bones. The anime is worth watching just for the animation alone! And this was before they earned the fan nickname "Unlimited Budget Works" for their work on the second Fate/Stay Night adapation of the second route in Fate/STay Night, Unlimited Blade Works.
An Amaing Sountrack by Yuki Kajiura!
The soundtrack is a wonderful feast for your ears! I just love all the music in Fate/Zero. Now iff you've heard a lot of Yuki Kajiura's work, it all starts to sound very similar to each other, but it's still wonderful musix to listen too, and I love all the songs in the soundtrack.
The openings "Oath Sign" by LiSA and "To The Beginning" by Kalafina. They're both wonderful opening songs, but I love Oath Sign more and bought it from Amazon so I could listen to it whenever I want.
The Endings are "MEMORIA" (メモリア) by Aoi Eir (eps 1-13), "Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau" (空は高く風は歌う; "Up on the Sky, the Wind Sings") by Luna Haruna (eps 13-17, 20-24), "Manten (満天; The Whole Sky)" by Kalafina (eps 18-19) and "To The Beginning" by Kalafina.
The music is amazing and you will definitely enjoy it!
Will You Watch Fate/Zero?
It's Very Detailed and a lot of Information Dumping:
Now that I've gushed at how amazing this is, I'll talk about what holds the anime back. The first four episodes are very exposition heavy with lots of "info dumping" because they are based on a light novel that lets you read at your own pace, an anime doesn't, so they must verbally explain everything to you the viewer. That can make it very hard for people to get into Fate/Zero, but it is totally worth it for the story, it's just a very slow start.
I showed Fate/Zero to my cousin and I helped her get through the first episode of exposition and she's really enjoying it, but it's hard for a first time watcher to slog through all the dialogue and exposition.
This is Expensive to Buy!
When I say this is expensive to buy, I'm comparing it to anime releases by other companies, and yes, it's much more expensive than Funimation Entertainment, Viz Media, Sentai Filmworks, Section 23 and many other companies that usually $60.00 sets, then rerelease a full series for $60.00. Fate/Zero costs $69.99 for each half of Fate/Zero, as much as I would love to buy this series, I have too many other things I need to buy at the moment, and compared to other comapies, it's very expensive to collect, luckily there are many legal streaming options such as Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Netflix.
It's a Grim, Dark Tale, not for the Faint of Heart!
The Nasuverse is a very dark, grim place, tragedy is a staple of this universe, and good intentions are often subverted in the story. The characters that you'd think you'd root for turn out to be utterly differehant than what you'd think they would be. Even though I love this universe immensely, the dark tone and setting of the story can be a lot for newcomers, but if you sitck with it to the end, you'll see an amazing story that will make you want to see more of this universe in it's sequel, the original Fate/Stay Night visual novel, or the Fate/Stay Night (2006) adaptation or the adaptation of the second visual novel route Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014).
The dark story may not be worth it for some, but you should decide that for yourself.
A Dark Urban Fantasy Worth Your Time, but Expensive on the Wallet!
Fate/Zero is an amazing show with excelent animation, an intriguing, mature storyline. Great writing and characterization. It sets up the original story that came before it and makes you want to see what will happen in this universe.
It's bogged down by info dumping and it's dark tone and themes can weigh on the viewer sometimes too much. It's also expesnive for the colectors and priced much higher than anime of the same length.
It's very well done and worth watching, but the price tag may keep it off anime fans' shelves, but there are plenty of legal streaming sites to view it first to see if you want to add it to your anime collection.
What Doesn't Work:
Compelling story and setting
Too much info dumping in early episodes
Excellent characters and intriguing motivations
Dark themes and settings may be too much for some viewers
Terrfiic voice actors in both languages
One of My Favorite Franchises!
I love this series to pieces, it gave me one of my favorite female characters and has a compelling story and got me interested in Arthurian lore and I enjoyed everything about it. I love that it deconstructs anti-heroes, and I love anti-heroes in fiction. So to see them deconstructed is very interesting and intriguing to me.
It may not be for everyone, but it is certainly one of my favorite animes and if you've never watched it before, you definitely should.
It was very hard for me to get into Fate/Stay Night (2006) at first, but seeing the Prequel first defintiely helped a lot, I love this universe and I hoope you will too. Not to miss for the action fan, and deffintely worth your time and money, even as expensive as those DVDs are. I'll be adding it to my collection soon, but a new computer is taking higher priority first before I can pick up one of my favorite shows for my collection.
Counting down to 2017 and the beginning of the Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel movie trilogy!
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