Okay, so this will be a review for both seasons 1 and 2 of Fate Zero without much regard to Fate Stay/Night. I’ll try to be objective, since that is my goal, and I’ll admit I wanted to like this series. Cue bashing.
So the story starts out with the masters being chosen and masters summoning their servants, sounds good so far. Not going too into the details for the story, since this is a prequel and very straightforward so I’m just going through all the things I thought were well or poorly done. The whole first season, 13 episodes, was really slow. It was also basically just an introduction to the characters and the story, because nothing actually happens until the last episode. The was some political intrigue that didn’t make sense: Tokiomi working with the Church, which is supposed to be neutral (and wasn’t explained). The first “real” fight was extremely anti-climatic, as were all of the other fights. When they introduce Caster, who is a messed up individual, they show him derping around for the whole first season doing what he pleases and gets himself targeted for no obvious reason. The church sets a bounty on him, the reward being a command spell, because apparently Caster was dangerous. Okay, so he broke a few rules.
The Grail is supposed to grant a single wish for the winner of this battle royale which is pretty cool, but nothing about how the grail was fight discovered or why it grants a wish is ever explained. It’s just said that the original three families summoned the grail and had to fight for it because it only granted one wish. OKAY TYPE MOON. This only creates a contradiction. If the grail chooses the masters, how come the three families are always in it and get to summon it? Great.
The role of Caster and his Master was unclear in the story. They existed only to stir things up and they had no reason to participate in the Holy Grail War. Also Caster’s Obsession with Saber, besides looking like his lost long love, was entirely unneeded. He basically has no connection to Saber. Why would the Grail choose those guys… Cue picture of Caster’s equally insane master:
We also find out that Saber’s and Kiritsugu’s ideologies don’t match up so they argue. Since they have the same goal the argument was completely pointless. Also, the reason why Irisviel is a “dummy” master for Kiritsugu is not clearly explained. Besides the fact that Kiritsugu refuses to use magic, he still has enough mana to supply to Saber. If he wanted to hide himself he could have just done the same exact thing Lancer’s master did; stay in the shadows. But of course, Kiritsugu does that anyway so using Irisviel as a tool didn’t appeal to me.
Although Illya is a fucking awesome character. HNNNNNNNNNGH. I’d pick acorns all day with her. /end fangasm. Saber is pretty much how she is in Stay/Night; very chivalrous and outspoken, not a bad character. And despite being almost worthless with regard to the plot, Irisviel was a good character. Actually, everyone was a decent character except for Archibald and Maiya. And if I were a woman, I would bear Rider’s children. He is the biggest BAMF in the series. I mean, come on, look at that smile.
So, more characters. Kariya, Berserker’s master, was probably one of the better characters, even though all of them were pretty average. He was the only one that actually underwent decent character development. Turns out he never wanted to be a master for the Matou family but changed his mind to protect Sakura, who was his only link to happiness and sanity. Sola-Ui and Maiya were just bitches for Archibald and Kiritsugu respectively and aren’t important. Lancer is a cool guy who upholds knightly honor but seems too naive and useless. Except for that one time when he could have done something and waits until the last minute to do it. Bullshit. Berserker’s role, other than being a “rival” for Saber was completely unnecessary because he didn’t do anything meaningful. He showed up, derped up a bit then left. The characters in Kiritsugu’s back-story are irrelevant.
The plot needs a serious rework. Whoever wrote this script was too eager to make it “deep” and “cool” that it just seemed over-complicated and ridiculous. I just wanted a nice story that was simple to understand and straightforward. It’s supposed to be a story about 7 Masters and Servants fighting for their rights to the Holy Grail but it just turned into a random fight to protect their ideals. Everything was more philosophical than it should have been and it seemed extremely forced.
Sort of related to the above paragraph, the character interactions were OMGWTFROFLCOPTERSKATES. I mean seriously, besides Waver and Rider, all of the other conversations turned into a philosophical discussion. The script would have been much better if it were more simple and not everyone trying to outwit everyone else. In some cases, you can’t even tell what some characters are thinking because they are either being too vague or change their mind every episode.
Can’t blame these two though. Aren’t they just so cute and innocent. Loli Rin isn’t bad :3
In the second half of Fate Zero, it seems like things are starting to pick up. But I thought wrong. At the start of the second half, none of the Servants have died, so I assumed there would be a shitsickle of action. But no. They spent 1/4 to 1/3 of the second half on background story for Kiritsugu which was completely unnecessary. That whole arc was just a sob story for Kiritsugu and was just bad writing on Type Moon’s part. Though to be fair, Type Moon isn’t known for their award-winning writing.
There isn’t much to say about the rest of season 2 either; more ridiculous political intrigue, pointless dialogue, anti-climatic battles and inconsistency. Saber beats a guy in one hit with her Noble Phantasm right at the start of the match and doesn’t blink an eye, but never does that in Fate Stay/Night. Archer/Gilgamesh had a close fight, but when his opponent uses his Noble Phantasm, Gilgamesh was like TROLLOLOL and uses his anti-Noble Phantasm weapon and neutralizes it. Umm, can you say broken as shit? At least Rider was the best. Such a BAMF. His last moments were clearly epic. I cried man tears for him.
See you in my next review. This gets a 6/10 for me. Very average and I won’t recommend it unless you liked Stay/Night.