The awesomeness of Fall is finally here. IS YOUR BODY READY?!
|Hoo boy! It feels like I have been waiting for this since the beginning of the year and the only reason for me to watch it live simulcasted for the first time. Usually I shirk away from live streaming because the quality is shit and when we talk about ufotable, their animation is something that one has to enjoy with HD/Bluray quality. Still, it was worth it and I can’t wait to go all out in sharing my experience but before that, let me welcome my other teammates tagging this first impressions with me.|
MY BODY IS READY. Fate/Stay wasn’t the greatest (anime wise), but I watched/played it so long ago that it doesn’t really matter now because I forget pretty much everything that happened. Plus I’ve seen the previews and that animation is SO PRETTEH. To say that I’m excited for this is an understatement.
I have been really excited for Fate/Zero ever since I saw the first promo released about like 15 weeks ago or w/e it was. Saturdays are now the day of the 4th Holy Grail War, and I’m sure it’s going to be awesome to watch. MY BODY IS READY too, Karakuri!
|As you should know, Kyokai is a big Type-Moon fangirl, it is my duty to enlighten you about the world you are delving into so that you don’t feel lost. From how the episode panned up, rather than wasting my time in going minute by minute breakup; I’d rather summarize the character bios and what they are all about as there are many and it will take you time to grasp it unless you are already a fan. A caution for the type of readers though:
Like Waver researched, the war started 200 years ago by three families: Einzbern, Tohsaka and Makiri (Matou). Their ultimate goal was to open a gate to Akasha (Akashik record is a recurring term in nasuverse) and gain miracles. However, this seeking the Holy Grail actually ended up making one of them victorious. This started the discord between these old magi families, not to mention when the Church and Magi Association heard of this miracle making machine they wanted in as well. So, now every 60 years at Fuyuki, seven mages gather with their summoned servants (heroes from every age and nation) to battle it out for the opportunity to power. The last one standing takes it all.
The Mage Killer, infamous rogue mage, who was a freelance assassin using unforgivable methods, unlike a mage; sniping, poisoning, bomb blasts in public areas. He played mercenary in warzones where combat was fiercest. It was as if he was chasing after his own death. His feats almost suicidal until he encountered the Einzbern. That is where his killing spree ends with a lull of nine years but he’s still seeking for something true and ideal.
He meets his life partner, Irisviel and they have a daughter together named Illyasviel. Though, he’s wary of these bonds because he knows that everything would end. He’s even afraid of holding his own daughter due to his burdens. However, Iri’s with him in his search for the true ideal; a reality that will save the humanity. Is he looking for utopia? But as the cards are set, it seems he will lose his most prized possession Iri in the process. But there’s definitely something more to just the glory of Holy Grail here because his motives are still unclear as there’s a limit sacrificing oneself for money. Though, he’s all srs bsn for collecting all tools to win this battle.
It literally seems he’s running for a campaign because he’s gathering intel on all other masters along with status checks on relics acquired. The Elder Einzbern manages to acquire the 1,500 year old Excalibur’s scabbard, which is to be used in tandem with a sword wielding summoned hero. Saber-class or not a servant to him is a tool and he will hone it to sprawl a brilliant strategy to overcome all.
A forlorn looking priest from whom the meaning of life still escapes. He was one of the unlikely choices of Holy Grail War and even an earlier one (compared to others), selected to compete. Having no direct magical connection, he’s taken as a pupil by Tokiomi Tohsaka, three years prior to the Holy Grail War commencement. Though, it’s all a conspiracy by Tokiomi to one up on others to get the grail for himself and use his influence over the Church.
Before all of this though, he was an Executioner (heretic hunter), a trait of killing that he shares with Kiritsugu, who he recognizes as a worthy opponent. He studied so many magecraft fields but never went to mastering any one. He throws away everything he learns, abandoning it just before mastering it. Passion seems to be missing in his life and he supposedly believes in nothing. He lost his wife just a few days ago from his command seal appearing. He has no wish to be granted so why was he chosen in the first place? He’s clueless of the why, but he’s foreboding for an answer.
The time before and after his training is still to be revealed. Same goes for when he summoned his servant Assasin. To be revealed later along with some information on the relic he used.
The heir to the Tohsaka name, husband of Aoi (Kariya’s friend) and father of Rin and Sakura. He uses his close acquaintance with the Church to gain an early pawn for the Holy Grail War. He conspires with Risei to possess the all powerful, omnipotent wish granting device. According to him, it’s a mere saved from not letting it fall into the wrong hands. He wants to one up on Einzbern and Matou and readies his victory, playing pretend enemies with Kirie while in shadows working together to defeat the other five masters to get victory in the end.
He keeps close tabs on other masters as well and identifies Kiritsugu as a big threat. Even if it would kill him to lose the Grail, he accepts Zouken’s offer to adopt his daughter Sakura because of no potential found in Byakuya (Kariya’s brother and Shinji’s father from Fate/stay night). He acquires a rare first skin shed by a snake as a relic to summon his servant. He seems to be a manipulative character to the core.
True heir to Matou legacy and one of the only ones to whom sorcery came naturally; however, he left it all in disgust not wanting to be a part of it. But, after he returns from a long business trip and went to see his beloved Aoi (who he eternally loves even if she didn’t marry him), he finds out that her younger daughter Sakura has been adopted by his own family to continue the thinning bloodline. In rage and revulsion, he returns to his father Zouken to trade himself instead of Sakura. He would train and participate in the Holy Grail War to win it even if his life depended upon it, which eventually does happen as Zouken happily infuses him with his creepy crest worms to enhance his mage powers.
By the end, he’s totally deformed by hosting the worms in his body. But Sakura is still not saved as Zouken would continue training her until he won the Grail (one year from war commencement), if he doesn’t she can always replace him in the next one. However bad things are, it’s heartwarming to see that he’s pretty friendly with both Rin and Sakura. Zouken instructs him to add the ‘Berserk’ line into his incantation as he would require such a hero to balance out his lacking skills of sorcery.
|Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald
An important nobleman, who stands as a golden rooster over the Mage’s Association. Being an elite lecturer, his goal is to become even more famous. He revels at his nine generations worth of magi blood and doesn’t seem to pay any heed to talent or skill. According to him, Waver is but a bouncing baby as his family came into magecraft only three generations ago. To him bloodline is everything and he uses all his connections and knowledge to acquire not just one but two relics. One of which is actually kidnapped by Waver without his notice, so you can say it was better for him to be cautionary. Expect lots of swiping his hair and pretence from this character. In one word, wishy-washy.
The youngest master in the running and he’s pretty funny too. According to him, unlike Archibald, bloodline is not everything. A wizard should be known in the new century for his knowledge, delicate control on the skills and how he uses them. He’s provoked by Archibald for thinking up wild and juvenile fantasies and he ends up quitting the class. However, after examining a package that arrived for the said sensei, he researches about the Holy Grail War and decides to participate in it. He travels to Japan with his prized possession (a relic from Macedonia) and ends up at Fuyuki. He uses his abilities to make an elderly couple think that he’s their grandson. His ambition of becoming something invokes the command seal, which he appraisingly owns to prove that he can do all of this and more without any bloodline influence.
(Inserted from episode 2 review). A heartless serial killer, who revels in the act as if it gives him energy because nothing else interests him. He’s amused by the many names given to him from demon to animal and in his own words, “Unemployed. Favourite hobby is to murder, murder and stabbing people; especially, kids and little girls.” In short, killing is highly amusing to him and he’s always on the lookout for doing it in unique ways. In finding more such ‘ways’, he finds an old book from his ancestors at his parents’ house (confirms them as participants of a previous war). As Ryuunosuke doesn’t know anything about magic or even the war, his only goal is to summon a demon following the instructions.
After some failed attempts and still on his usual killing spree, he kills an entire family saving a kid. He uses their blood to etch the summoning circle and while he idiotically makes terror jokes to the kid, his command seal appears, which activates the summoning circle and the last servant Caster makes his entry.
Bad for the kid, this specific pair of master and servant turn out to be peas in a pod. On Ryuunosuke’s itching for sacrifice, Caster shows him that some forms of terrors are more potent than others and as terror is not static but dynamic, fear’s intensity can be played around with and that is what happens with the kid who was set free just for few moments before he’s horribly killed by Caster’s spell. Even if Ryuu can’t care less about the Holy Grail War, he partners up with Caster happily just to get an understanding he hasn’t gotten from anybody earlier. And of course, seeing more murders in innovative ways.
|Coming to servants, every Holy Grail War, heroes of past and future are summoned. The major magical assistance is provided by the Holy Grail itself; however, it’s the duty of a master to provide sufficient mana to keep them materialized. The servants can save a lot of mana by reverting to their spirit form (you can say, this is an energy saver mode). Strictly speaking, there are seven types of servants that are summoned (leaving out Avenger for now):
What really happened?! Well… A LOT. Being the first episode, it set the stage for all the characters, catching them on different time frames, spanning from eight years previously to present day (in terms of the fourth Holy Grain War timeline), and showed their progress on how seriously everyone has been working towards their goal. However, there are contrasts like Kirei, who supposedly doesn’t have a reason for a command seal as he would go wherever directed by the church even if it’s a burning building. But that’s popular opinion by his father; he definitely has reason of his own and even if he has to find it in the process, he will.
For everyone else who has been introduced, they have more than a reason to take part in this war. Kiritsugu seems to be the most ‘driven’, gathering intel on everyone to being under the tutelage of the Einzbern family and their prized skill: alchemy. He seemingly loves Iri but is still unable to free her from the chains of destiny that is set out by her Mage blood. Something like Aoi, who couldn’t do much but to give up on her daughter Sakura to the Matous because they so desired.
The strongest contenders are definitely the top three, the ones who started it all. Kariya has played right into the hands of Zouken, sacrificing himself for Sakura’s case just because he still loves her mother and is dreaming about a better tomorrow with them later even if it’s looking fleeting to him with the parasite worms eating him from the inside. Tohsaka Tokiomi is using his influence with the church to sway not only the judge but his son in siding with him to conspire and win. Einzbern has taken in a Mage killer to assassinate all masters just to reach the Heaven’s feel (door to Akasha/miracles).
Though, I’m pretty sure things would not go as they planned because some new and old Mages have entered the fray as well. Big examples are Waver and Archibald, having new and old connections to the mage blood. Not to mention Kirei who had no connection except his family serving as observer to the wars. We’ll find out more about the last and still to be introduced Ryuunusuke in the next episode. Leaving him, every master has a servant now and I can bet you can’t wait for the next episode to air.
And of course, I have to add in the EPIC awesome summoning spam, whatever the post length maybe. :3
Oh lord, it’s going to take me at least 3 weeks until I start learning all of their names. BUT AFHKLDSAFSDLKHFA!!!!!!! Kajiura Yuki was most definitely the right choice for music. Also, that opening! I haven’t seen anything from LiSA since her collab with (my favourite vocaloid composerEVER) hachi and then her whole thing in Angel Beats. Not only is the music great, but the animation is as spectacular as I thought it would be, if not more. WHERE WAS THIS IN THE ORIGINAL?! But yeah, great job by ufotable. I quite liked the seiyuu they have here too (I recognized Namikawa Daisuke right away~!).
This served as a pretty good introduction. There were probably a lot of things that were revealed back in Fate/Stay that were casually mentioned here, but hell if I recognized any of them. I had no freaking clue that Illya was Emiya’s daughter. Same goes for Sakura and Rin being sisters. In any case, now I know. As always, seeing the servants was awesome and I’m probably most excited about learning who each one is. Also, Gilgamesh is awesome. While it was a bit tedious to watch them shift from character to character when I had no idea who was who half the time, they got the introductory stuff over with right away. This leaves the rest of the 20 whatever episodes open for more action and less dialogue (and judging from this, the action will be amazing provided that the animation level doesn’t drastically drop). An hour episode was a pretty smart move on the production staff’s part if you think about it that way. So yeah, this went above and beyond my expectations and I’ll be sticking with this for a while.
Going the 40+ minute premiere route certainly allowed Fate/Zero time to get everybody introduced along with their motivations (or in the case of Kirei and Kiritsugu, unknown motivations) for being a part of the 4th Holy Grail War. There’s a whole lot of information to take in, so it can be a little tough to digest all of it in one straight run. It maybe could’ve been done in two episodes to space things out, but the 40+ minutes does a good job in setting the table for the 4th Holy Grail War, which will surely look amazing just looking at how the animation is in the OP.
Kiritsugu seems awesome and Kirei is as well, but the character I’m really interested in Waver. Every other character has a “badass” quality to them and are very dark and secretive about their motivations, but Waver comes off as sort of an underdog and I actually really liked watching the exposition of his character the most. Seeing 3 of the F/SN characters (Ilya, Sakura and Rin) brought me back to the days of watching Fate/Stay Night, and seeing how they are involved was a really interesting tidbit for someone like me who’s only watched the F/SN anime series.
Production of this series comes with very high expectations, and Fate/Zero gets very high marks. The summoning scene was beyond exhilarating to watch with superb animation and music by Yuki Kajiura (you’ve probably read her name multiple times in this post already). The only scene that was a bit awkward was Tokiomi and Risei circling around Kirei as they were explaining what his role would be; the information was important and interesting, it’s just that the method it was presented in came off as very pretentious to me.
Now, THIS is what you call an awesome start or as Chaos Neco Arc would say, Hajimari, yo~ The around 48minute run of this episode was ideal for introducing all the Holy Grail jargon along with the first take on all the masters. Sure, not everyone was given the limelight as Caster’s master is still MIA but that would come in the next episode for sure. Let me take this opportunity to declare that I haven’t read the light novels by Urobuchi but I know enough about Type-Moon and nasuverse, including Fate/stay night. But I will make good use of my nasuverse knowledge in unveiling the layered mysteries and motives of the characters that you will come to know. This is going to be a journey of discovering for the both of us, you and me, readers.
I think relevant Meta team and I have fangirled enough about the cast, crew and producers of this nonstop not only on our Fall review but at different times on twitter as well for being extraordinarily awesome. The finished product in terms of first episode was nothing short of brilliant. It’s not every day that you see HD quality animation on a series. In movies, sure! But in a two-cour series like this; is definitely one of the firsts. It’s a treat for the sore eyes and looks brilliant even on low quality stream. BGM is spine tingling sometimes and I recommend to use quality headphones for this one because while the scenes play; from the sound of wind blowing to even flicker of candles, dialogue quality and BGM placement all enhances the viewing experience.
Every character is voiced perfectly and from being arrogant bastards to cute lolis, this has everything that you might be looking forward to. To all Fate/stay watchers/players, wasn’t Rin and Illaysviel kawaii?! I was highly amused by the beating down of Kirei by the tsundere Rin. And who screamed and wanted to gouge their eyes out when Sakura was shown with those detestable worms?! The CG creeped me out. Also, there are so many badass men! Sure, Saber rocks and including her delivery of “Anata ga watashi o Master ka?” but man! Kiritsugu and Kirei are something else; especially Kiritsugu and his guns and his smoke. HHHNNGGG, I don’t think I ever liked a smoking man but he makes smoking look good; oh my fangirl heart can’t take the awesomeness of all these characters. You can already see it from the post length of …
Anyways, from the looks of things and the summoned servants, this series is going to be full of schemes, conspiracies and back stabbing with the right dash of drama and romance. Kirei and Kirutsugu are going to play very strong roles in shaping up the plot and even if they are opposites in terms of values, they share more similarities than any other master. So, keep watching this space for awesome development and even bet calls on who dies first because after all, this will be a cutthroat deluxe with winner taking all the glory and supremacy. So readers, I’ll need your continuous support while reviewing this long series. I can bet we’ll have lots of fun in discussing the motives, rife conspiracies and kill count. I leave you with the opening sequence “Oath Sign” by LiSA. Ja ne~
If you have been keeping track of Fate/Zero CMs then, you’ve already seen a glimpse of Caster/Ryuunosuke. They seem to be pretty interesting as I dubbed them a wilder version of Light and Ryuk. Also, it seems along with the introduction of some servants in preview, Kirei will soon be turning against Tohsaka?! There goes the supposed promise with Aoi and Rin.