Crimson Tear

Fate/Zero - Anime Review

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By: Tyler Olson

 

Fate/Zero may not be a new anime, but I was interest in its sequel Fate/Stay Night [Unlimited Blade Works], so I decided to start from the beginning and check it out.

The main story of Fate/Zero follows a present day war for an ancient relic between powerful mages (yeah, magic exists even now, apparently) with even more powerful ancient heroes fighting at their side. The war itself was great, but it is really only a base to tell an even grander story – the ever twisting views of what's good and evil.

This is certainly not a family-friendly series. In fact, this might be one of the most terrifyingly brutal series I have seen. It isn't the constant murders or battles that make it brutal (although they certainly help), but the vast breadth of opinions regarding what is right and wrong. Some of these opinions definitely take things a too far when they begin discussing when it is morally right to kill someone else, and which futures are more deserving than others. We are, after all, talking about a war that is full of murderers and psychopaths, with a few naive people along for the ride.

Yes, this is really what war is all about - who is right and who is wrong - and you will instinctively want to pick sides, which will likely disgust you as the story progresses. That's right, you will likely find yourself hating part of the series, only to find that it represents an ongoing conflict in yourself and the peaceful world around you. That, right there might be the most amazing thing about Fate/Zero – the way it so perfectly mirrors the conflicts within us all is utterly brilliant.


This, too, is horrifying, in a very beautiful way.

The characters who embody these strong opinions are also amazing. Everyone seems to have rich back-stories, including many of the characters with minor roles. Best of all, though, is the summoned servants, especially since they are people who have actual real history - although there may be a few that you will need to research in order to understand their roles, especially since they all have small twists that were apparently "incorrect" in the history books. Certainly, if some of these ancient heroes would exist in our world, entire countries would be cowering in fear right now.

Their abilities, especially their most powerful ones, were also very diverse. I would love to know how each of their abilities were chosen. Those legendary warriors must have been researched meticulously in order to imagine and create powers which matched their personalities so perfectly. Some certainly seemed a tad unbalanced compared to others, though. Yeah, I'm talking about you Mr. Shiny.


Nope, not amused.

I also loved the animation style of this series, which only seemed to get better as the episodes continued. While most of the animation was in standard 2D, 3D models were also used at times adding a depth of quality rarely seen in anime series. Don't misunderstand, even the 2D animations still looked fantastically detailed and at times looked very realistic. I'm surprised that after all these years, more western artists haven't learned how to match what anime artists have accomplished.

The musical scores are brilliant, too. So many series will have parts where the music doesn't match what's going on, or even the series as a whole, but Fate/Zero is near flawless. The music in the episodes were great, but the opening and closing songs were so memorable that I often found myself humming them while completing chores or working. That certainly doesn't happen very often anymore.

Sadly, watching Fate/Zero alone will definitely leave you looking for more. I know I was hoping for so much more from the progression of the story, but since this is a prequel to Fate/Stay Night [Unlimited Blade Works], it was inevitable that something was going to happen to open the story to continue. I only hope that everything that was so enjoyable about Zero will return for the next series.

Even with my mixed feelings toward the ending, I still would recommend any anime fan to watch this series. Just be prepared for plenty of mixed feelings, and to be drawn directly into the next Fate series. I know I can already hear it calling me, like some distant siren... Or maybe that's just Saber's battle cries. Only one way to find out...

Fate/Zero is available free with English subtitles on Crunchyroll, or English dubbed versions available on Blu-ray and DVD on it's official American website.

 

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