Welcome to Rockmandash Reviews, and today on the Type Moon Marathon, we have the 2012 anime known as Fate/Zero. Fate/Zero was created by a group of people with unbelievable talent and heralded as one of the best anime of the year....but can the clash of ideals replace actual character development?
What do you get when you let Gen Urobuchi have a slice of the Nasuverse? You get Fate/Zero of course! Fate Zero was written by Gen Urobuchi, and Gen takes a very interesting approach to the Nasuverse, but one that blends in with the rest of the Nasuverse very well. Fate/Zero is the predecessor to Fate/stay night, and takes place during the 4th Holy grail war (which isn’t really a war....) where people known as Masters fight with Heroes throughout history, known as servants, for a chance to get the Holy Grail, which grants their wishes. Each servant is one of the 7 classes, Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin, and Caster. If you didn’t get that, well, Fate/Zero includes an extremely long 45 minute first episode that’s almost nothing but exposition, and exposition on pretty much every topic. It’s a well written, polished plot, with interesting themes, great ideas, and amazing premise. One issue I came into is that Fate/Zero has some pacing issues. Fate/Zero tries to be both an action show yet have a dark, and conversational plot, and these interfere with each other. The pacing is much better than KnK (having a plot in order helps a lot), but still it’s still slow at the beginning.
Plot - 9/10
Normally when I review, I usually clump plot and characters into one category known as Writing. I decided to change it up, because I have a pretty polarized view on the characters. This is because in my eyes, a good majority of characters represent ideals and all conflicts are those characters fighting because of the difference between ideals, and they are lacking in development. This is possible because Fate/Zero has an ensemble cast which focuses on all the characters, yet focuses on none. They all have interesting ideals, but due to the ensemble cast, they don’t develop them enough, and to me, it feels like wasted potential. They run with the conflict, but they never go deeper into what these ideals stand for like in F/SN, and because the character pretty much represent the ideals, they feel hollow.
Due to the ensemble cast and focus on ideals, there are only a few characters I was attached to, and truly enjoyed. The only original characters that get any development are Rider and Waiver. Rider is epic, always brings up the mood and is so charismatic that every time he’s on the screen, you cannot help but look at him. Waiver is Rider’s master, and is a dynamic character with amazing development as he grows from a spineless wimp to one who you can relate to, yet admire for his actions. Depending on who you are, You might like this approach with ensemble characters to focus on the action, but I wish it had more time to flesh in the characters, and more focus.
Characters - 7.5/10
Ufotable does it once again. Fate/Zero has some of the best visuals in anime, with absolutely beautiful visuals: Visuals that are so good, that people still debate that they haven’t been surpassed yet. In my eyes, what Fate/Zero does really well in the visuals is the is the fight scenes, with fluid animation and excellent consistency. Fate/Zero has some of the best fight scenes in anime, in my opinion, and as a Fate fan, it’s great to see characters I love animated so beautifully. It’s one of the best looking anime I’ve seen, and it’ll hold up for years.
Visuals - 9.5/10
One name can sum up what I think about the soundtrack, and that’s Yuki Kajiura. Just like Kara no Kyoukai, this series is full of epic music that is pleasing to the ear and absolutely beautiful, once again made by Yuki Kajiura. It’s truly excellent music, this time with a nice orchestral sound. They use it extremely well, with each track sounding awesome and supporting the show at the same time. The superb voice acting helps make up for that a bit though as all the characters had great voices and they all did a great job. As for the eternal Dub vs Sub debate, I’m going to have to give this to Dub, but the voice work is fantastic no matter what language you’re watching this in. While the sub has the returning characters from other Fate works, I felt like the dub cast did a better job in representing the characters. (Especially the servants, who are mostly foreign to Japan anyways.)
Sound - 9.5/10
While I did enjoy Fate/Zero, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the rest of the Type-Moon universe. and I blame that to hype backlash, and a lack of personality, which I talk about in my revisited article.
About the hype backlash; I heard so much coming into this that I was expecting something amazing, and what I saw was pretty good; but not as good as I was expecting. I heard so many saying it’s the best show ever, but that never clicked with me. I gave it plenty of chances, but it really didn’t engage me. My biggest gripe is the lack of character development throughout the series. I really don’t care for a good majority of the characters, because how they are embodiments of ideals instead of fleshed out characters with personalities. Because of this distinct lack of character development, episodes with it like Rin’s Big Adventure (Rin, EP 10), Distant Memories (EP 18) & Where Justice Swells (EP 19) are the peaks for me, if the show was like this the whole time, I’d love it. If you are looking for something that grips you , you aren’t going to find that here.
Enjoyment - 7.5/10
Fate/Zero is a fantastic show, as it’s polished as all hell and is a good watch. The show is epic and has some really good points, and many fans will love it, but I have a few gripes with it and I just can’t love it as much as you guys do.
Overall - 8.75/10, Polarization +1,-.5
Copyright Disclaimer: Under Title 17, Section 107 of United States Copyright law, reviews are protected under fair use. This is a review, and as such, all media used in this review is used for the sole purpose of review and commentary under the terms of fair use. All footage, music and images belong to the respective companies.
Note: This review was edited on 9/22 to reflect my current thoughts, to pretty it up, and in preparation for Fate/stay night.
This show is available on Crunchyroll for Free & Legal streaming.