Saturday, January 7, 2012

fate/ZERO s.1

I have the pleasure of being a Type Moon fan. Wether it be Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners) or anything Fate related, you can bet your buiscuits that Akia will be watching those shows and playing the games. This past Winter 2011 season Fate's light novel prequel fate/ZERO recieved an anime... sad part it was only the first season. Well, this coudl be sad or a happy moment depending on how you look at it. I personally found this a bit sad because the first season ended on... well you'll have to read on to find out ;)

image copyright goes out to i have no idea
[[english site for the limited blu-ray here]]

Original Novels by Gen Urobuchi
w/ illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi

Animation Studio- ufotable
Director- Ei Aoki

:series info:
Year- 2011
Season- Winter
# of eps- 13
Genre(s)- action, fantasy
fate/ZERO takes place 10 years prior to the events of fate/ stay night.
This is the 4th Holy Grail War.

It's always difficult to review a show that has such a niche fan base as the Fate series has; you're either a fan or not- there is no middle ground. Amongst my friends this stands very true. I myself am a HUGE fan of the Fate series where as my good friend Elijah thinks the series itself is full of generic characters and the story is too "emo bull shit" to be considered any good. There's also my friend Jimmy who's just a fan (not to the level that I am) and there's also my other friend Ty who's fan level could possibly be bigger than mine simply because he's actually finished the visual novel while I'm struggling to do just that (it's very long). Needless to say, more of my friends like the Fate series than not. BUT I do have some friends who were interested in checking out the series but when Elijah told them King Arthur was portrayed as a girl any interest they had vanished, which is a shame considering I find this gender change was an appropriate move for a series in Japan.

I'm going to do my best and make this an unbiased overview... well more than likely this will be difficult because it's hard to overview an anime I love without being biased about the reasons I love said anime. For example this time around I had two fairly solid favorite characters rather than a few I kind of liked or called "favorite". This season my favorites were Archer (Gilgamesh) and Rider [pictured below]. Without Rider this anime would have very well lacked any good comic relief. Rider was a very well rounded character this season but revealing who he is and why he was the comedic relief would be somewhat of a major spoiler so I'll just leave this at he was a great character who didn't have to have some big plans for the holy grail to be a legit servant. In the case of Archer (Gilgamesh) he was so pompous and full of himself that the few moments he was in the show made my day- especially this one episode where Archer, Rider and Saber were drinking to show who was a true king. You'll know the episode when you see it.

Anyways, besides having some really enjoyable characters this time around fate/ZERO also had heaps of action and lots more talking. If there's one flaw this anime has it's that I sometimes wished there was more interaction between characters than just heaps of talking. I wanted much more action. MUCH! MORE! Alas, this was only the first season so I guess I can let the lack of more action slide. There was still a good amount though; possibly more than the original anime and even the Unlimited Blade Works movie. Since this is an anime based on a light novel series that's a prequel to a visual novel it's expected for there to be heavy dialogue. Other than that I can't say I found anything wrong with the anime... but my good friend Elijah would argue I'm wrong.

Elijah likes to tell me the characters are too generic and the story is too "emo". Where I can agree with the characters being too generic, I can't really agree 100% with the whole emo thing. Type Moon has a habit of making their characters look way too similar to each other. This is very evident in their work on Tsukihime and Kara no Koykai... but as far as Fate is concerned this isn't so much the case. Yes a lot of the characters have similar features but isn't that how humans are in general? We all have eyes, noses, mouths, hair and more in common. Fate even does a good job of making families look like each other which is rarely found in anime these days. Rin looks like her dad and Illya looks like her mom. Now on the note of being emo... well Fate is meant to be a dark series; fate/ZERO is no exception to this rule. In fact, it goes into some material that fate/Stay Night did not touch in the anime (the visual novel is a much different story, especially the Heaven's Feel arc) such as rape. Now don't let this scare you away from the anime- the first 2 or 3 episodes has some really heavy material that I wish more of the show dealt with . I understand there's a second season though so some if not all of what was visited in the first few episodes just may be revisited and solved. Overall if fate/ZERO didn't have some of this material it would just be another generic "fighting" anime.

By far my favorite part of fate/ZERO has to be the music.

fate/ZERO is an anime for those that are fans of visual novels and flashy animation and characters. The characters of fate/ZERO (the servants) almost require reading up on who their based on to get a full grasp of the story. Each of the servants are based on a particular legendary hero from history. Saber has been King Arthur for as long as I remember, and Archer is usually Gilgamesh. Other than these giving away who the servant is would spoil the anime so you'll just have to watch to figure it out. Part of the fun is trying to discover who the servant really is before the anime itself reveals just that. After figuring out who is who I recommend reading up on that hero if you have the chance. This really does bring more light to why the character is the way they are and it gives you the opportunity to be smart and learn something new. This also makes fate/ZERO somewhat of a smart anime in comparison to others that don't use outside material to make a story.

After finishing up this season of fate/ZERO (the second season doesn't come out till April so you're going to need something to do) try out Fate/Stay Night and then the movie Unlimited Blade Works. Both are worth watching if you enjoyed Fate/ZERO ^_^

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