Fate/Zero is the anticipated prequel of Fate/Stay Night which takes place 10 years before the original story. 7 magicians must fight in the 4th Holy Grail War in order to acquire the Holy Grail that will grant the winner one wish. You don’t have to watch Fate/Stay Night to understand the show, but some characters in their younger age are pitched in to link a connection between Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night.
Even though I hated Fate/Stay Night, I have high hopes for this show because of 4 reasons: Ufotable (the studio that animated Kara no Kyoukai), Yuki Kajiura, 100% tragedy and very little teenagers. Those 4 reasons are better than having MOE as a justification to watch a show.
Ufotable decided make its first episode 47 minutes long which is a smart decision since there is A LOT of characters to introduce and not everyone has appeared yet.
You’ll find a few distinctions in Fate/Zero from Fate/Stay Night. In Fate/Zero, a magus chosen by the Holy Grail must use a hero relic as a catalyst to summon a servant under one of the 7 classes (Saber, Berserker, Archer, Assassin, Caster, Rider and Lancer). Those servants, in the Fate Universe, represent historical and mythological figures such as King Arthur, Hercules, Alexander the Great and Medusa. Fate/Stay Night never really clarified the procedure of summoning a servant until the Unlimited Blade Works Movie gave us some hints.
Ufotable decided make its first episode 47 minute long which is a good decision since there is A LOT of characters to introduce and not all gets to appear yet. I believe there is only one master who hasn’t physically appeared (if you exclude the OP) as he’s only been hinted in a certain segment that I won’t reveal…yet.
The show starts off, 8 years before the 4th Holy Grail War, with the birth of Illyasviel von Einzbern, the loli character who would later on Fate/Stay Night become the master of Berserker. Her father is none other than Kiritsugu Emiya, the guy who will, in the future, adopt Shirou (Main character of Fate/Stay Night). Kiritsugu is also master of Saber aka King Arthur (same as Fate/Stay Night). Throughout the episode, he is described as a magus killer who uses methods furthest away from magic such as sniping, poison, public bombing. Perfect CV for someone tasked by the Einzbern family to kill the other 6 masters. “LEAVE NO PRISONERS!” is a concept I certainly love.
We see that his personality is way different from Shirou. Kiritsugu perceives his servant simply as a tool while Shirou treats Saber like a regular girl. An ass versus an idealist prick… I’ll pick Kiritsugu over Shirou anytime since I don’t have to listen to the “No sacrifice, no murder, no whatever” speech every 5 minutes. Kiritsugu also comes off as a very gloomy individual as he rarely puts up a smile. His wife, Iri, balances things out with her cheerful personality. Though, I will say that she’s pretty much the obedient wife.
We are then introduced to characters that are involved Rin Touhsaka and Sakura “ex-Touhsaka” Matou’s background story. Of course, there is Rin and Sakura’s father, Tokiomi, who seems to be schemer in the 4th holy grail war. He’s allying himself with the Judge of the Grail War and makes Judge’s son, Kotomine Risei (real antagonist of F/SN anime) who’s also a master, into his ally. Kotomine is also feared by Kiritsugu to be the most dangerous individual after he reads the spy reports. He is somewhat described as a genius lacking of any passion or goals who abandons the magical arts he learns when reaching near-mastery. I like how Kotomine and Kiritsugu are analysing each other. This is very interesting because it is hyping a rivalry or a final battle between those two. Kotomine got a seemingly lame servant in Assassin while Tokiomi got a very badass Archer class called Gigalmesh (also an antagonist in F/SN).
On a funny note, Tokiomi’s wife, Aoi, also comes off as a very obedient wife especially when she accepts that Tokiomi disowned Sakura to the Matou family.
This leads us to the ONLY master, who doesn’t have any BAD intentions in the holy grail war, Kariya Matou. He seems to have a crush of Aoi and likes to play with Sakura and Rin. When he learns that Sakura is adopted to his crazy old father (Zouken Matou), he decides to become a master for her freedom. I actually liked Zouken Matou’s disturbing training methods for Sakura. With his ability to control insects, he trains a naked Sakura in a room full of deadly WORMS! I guess this actually develops her defensive magic.
Kariya takes on a deadly training course to reach the level of Master which results in worms inhabiting and eating away his body. His left arm and leg are almost unusable and his hair turned gray. In addition, he uses a special summoning spell to call upon a special Berserker which damages his body even more. And he’s the ONLY good guy in the show! Yup, he’s fucked…
This leaves us to 2 masters left: Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald (Geez, that name is too complicated) and Waver Velvet. The anime doesn’t hide the fact that El-Melloi is an arrogant teacher who thinks that magical power comes the bloodline… He even mocks his student Waver’s thesis about unlocking the magical potential of regular people. This leads to Waver stealing Kayneth’s Hero artefact that would serve to summon a big tough Rider class… Payback’s a bitch. Waver and Rider… Put those names together and you get “Ride the Wave” lol.
Waver isn’t an honorable guy either. He’s pretty cocky about his skills and he resorts to methods like brainwashing the eldery to reside in a house. He’s an annoying brat that you’d wish to see dead. He’s a bit like Shinji Matou but with a brain.
Sadly, there is a lot of talk and NO action in Fate/Zero, but this is quite normal as the war has not started yet. However, there is certainly not a lot of movements either. There’s also tons of portrait shots that zoom the characters from very far away. There are times I feel this is closer to a Visual Novel than an anime which is sad because the animation is georgous and the background is very detailed. It’s most likely to reduce the production cost. Moetron Fall list does say that the show will air for 25 episodes.
Music-wise, there is really nothing to complain about. Yuki Kajiura keeps doing a great job like ALWAYS. You also can’t go wrong with LiSA singing the opening song.
What Fate/Zero did with its first episode was to show us how much potential this show has. If we take an overview of the cast, we won’t have to worry about the show having a happy ending and having a teenage cast shove down in our throat. The majority of the human cast are assholes. The main character is a killer with very little emotion. This is something that makes you think that people will die! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I couldn’t ask for more from an anime.
There is a chance I’ll blog this anime weekly, at least until I get bored with it…. I’m not too sure yet because of Mirai Nikki’s schedule. I’m likely to choose between those 2 series.