Review: Fate / Zero (Seasons one and two)
Season Aired: Fall 2011 - 25 episodes
I watched it at: Crunchyroll
An Introduction To "Fate":
Fate requires an introduction as it is somewhat complicated.
The source material for Fate is an epic Japanese visual novel which may be as lengthy as Lord of the Rings. There are three paths or routes that a reader may take in the visual novel which leads to alternate events unfolding.
These routes are Fate, Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel. They are captured in the Anime series:
- Fate/Stay Night (series)
- Unlimited Blade Works (series)
- Heaven's Feel (unfinished trilogy of movies)
Besides the core Fate story-line with its three routes, there are various side stories and spin-offs such as Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya which is an alternate version of Fate totally re-imagined using magical girls. But I digress.
Fate/Zero is a two season prequel series to the Fate story with it's three paths, listed above.
Now, I myself have not yet seen the core series.
I started with the Fate/Zero prequel. I will skip the Fate/Stay Night series (released in 2006) as my understanding is that it has not aged well. Instead I will go to Unlimited Blade Works which was made by the same animation studio which made Fate/Zero. Heaven's Feel hasn't been completed, but that is where I would go after UBW.
Chronologically, Fate/Zero can be a good entry point. The downside is that it kind of expects you to come equipped with some knowledge of how things work as gathered from the main series.
On the other hand, if you started with the main series it may ruin the tension of Fate/Zero. It's kind of a no-win situation so I started with Fate/Zero.
"Then you swear that, once I defeat an enemy, you will buy me pants?"
Ah, Anime. I just can't quit you. It's lines like this that keep me coming back.
Fate/Zero invites the viewer into a world of epic battle, where heroes and legends of bygone ages are summoned to the present to compete for an amazing prize. Alexander the Great (with super powers) vs. Arthur Pendragon (with super powers) ... sure, why not?
The concept might sound contrived to you, or it might sound cool to you. I personally fall on the "it's cool" side of that scale so I was ready to soak in some great fight scenes. I got that and a lot more besides. It's a huge cast of interesting characters all vying for the prize - sometimes through treachery and sometimes through alliances of convenience. But, in the end, there can only be one winner.
The Plot in a Nutshell:
Every 60 years the Holy Grail appears - a powerful and seemingly sentient artifact that can grant any wish. It will select participants who may participate in the "Grail War" and try to claim the prize. These participants will summon a great historical warrior to fight on their side in the Grail War.
That's the gist of it, but the twists and turns you will follow as they all try to assassinate one another is an entertainment goldmine.
Fate/Zero (seasons one and two) was one hell of a ride. An entertainment gold mine filled with rich and thick veins of ore. I had the luxury of binging the whole thing in one weekend and was deeply satisfied with my viewing choice.
The storytelling, pacing, character development and, of course, the battles were epic. From the most brave and virtuous heroes to the most dark and depraved villains - they all have an agenda and they are all chess pieces in the ultimate game of life and death.
Great animation, great sound, great story. It was glorious.
Score: 5 out of 5
Review Rating Scale:
5 Brain wildly entertained. Neurons saturated with entertainment.
4.5 Brain extremely entertained. Neurons firing regularly. Outside world forgotten.
4 Brain entertained. Neurons well stimulated. Brain wants to look for the blu-ray.
3.5 Brain in Neutral. Neurons a little stimulated. Brain generally pleased.
3 Brain in neutral. Neurons flat lined. Meh, brain pleased just enough.
2.5 Brain in neutral but occasionally displeased.
2 Brain displeased and not entertained. Brain thinking about doing something else.
1.5 or less - Brain suffered through the show so it could tell you not to.