Fate/Zero has been the biggest and most popular show that has graced us this season and last fall. And with good reason too, since this was ufotable’s comeback to the TV screen after the success of Kara no Kyoukai in the movies. Everything was laid out to us: Amazing execution, Movie-like animation, and a point that the Fate franchise can actually be adapted decently (though Fate/Zero is a Light Novel and doesn’t have 30+ hours of game time). In all honesty, I just wanted to watch this to see Saber in a much, MUCH more justified form.
The question with all the hype of this series is definitely this: Did it deliver? Yes. YES IT DID WITH FLYING COLORS. Fate/Zero gave us a much darker tale than Fate/Stay Night with amazing character analysis, kudos to the writer Gen Urobuchi. It tackles different philosophies like what does it really mean to be a hero or how does someone actually rule. It gave us different opinions and ideologies while never actually adhering or favoring one or the other.
I think the turning point of this series was definitely the meeting of kings, halfway through Fate/Zero. I have to admit, even my concept of a what a ruler is was shaken because of Rider’s speech to Saber. I’ve always thought of a king as someone who serves but Rider showed us a different opinion on what a king is and made all of those who watched this, be convinced. Saber then was portrayed in a completely different light afterwards. From someone that has the skies shining on her armor, she became someone to be pitied. It became pure despair to her even up until the end where she herself accepted that she was wrong. I love how one of the last shots of her in the last episode was her standing in a pile of bodies, in the land that she could not save.
My favorite Servent-Master in this series is undoubtedly Rider and Waver. Many times in this series, I just wished that these two were the main characters and for a very good reason. These two were the light and hope in the dark atmosphere of this anime. Rider and Waver showed a contrast in the Servant-Master relationship and how it doesn’t have to be one controlling the other. Both showed respect to each other and treated each other as friends. I particularly liked how Rider’s ending, though very sad and depressing, was very honourable and true to what these two embodied in the series.
Kiritsugu is also another character I liked. His ideologies are twisted and we all knew that he was gonna break down his facade towards the end because of how human he is despite being so cold in the entirety of this series. He was someone who tried to be a hero but failed drastically even towards the end, with how the grail ended up killing a whole lot of people.
If I had a complaint in this series, it would be the lack of a catharsis. I guess in however awesome Fate/Zero is, it’s still a prequel to Fate/Stay Night. If you take the series as its own, characters like Saber never really got the proper end that she deserved. She’s still foolish on how hopeful she still is on having the grail while never really realizing while Kiritsugu ended up ordering her to destroy it. But of course all the loose ends of this series are answered in Fate/Stay Night but the thing is, I hated Fate/Stay Night and I will definitely never watch that crap again. Fate/Zero is amazing but it could have been much much more if it wasn’t a prequel (not that I’m hoping that they ended it differently).
This will definitely end as one of my favorites this year but to what extent, I still don’t know. For now this is how I’ll rate this series:
Execution: 37/40 (Damn fine amazing storytelling; almost in the sense as how Madoka did it.)
Engagement: 27/30 (While the first few episodes were very slow and wavered my patience, this ended up as one of the series I looked forward to each week and that 3 month hiatus almost killed me)
Characters: 18/20 (Very rich and diverse cast of adults with so much different philosophies, beliefs and ideologies. I definitely preferred some over others but that’s because those character’s way of thinking hitted my way of thinking. This is how Fate/Zero works. Also Rider is awesome.
Production: 10/10 (Movie-like quality.)
Overall: 92/100 (One of 2012′s best anime)