Fate/Zero – It was epic but ultimately flawed

Fate/Zero was a fascinating series, and in some respects one of the best to look at for the season, however, it is a deeply flawed series, one that was supposed to push boundaries and restart a franchise, but ultimately ended up simply continuing where Fate/Stay Night left off, only worse. In a sense Fate/Zero was a glorious train wreck, it looked spectacular while it was happening, but once it had finished and you begin to sift through the rubble and twisted metal you have to ask yourself what it was all about. It was a series that aimed high, one that had a fascinating, and potentially great concept, and yet, it ended with more of a whimper than a bang, despite the ending being on such apparently epic proportions.

There are series that often use action in place of much needed dialogue, having a fight sequence that goes on for far too, and with very little narration. Such series can be entertaining in their own right, but the lack of dialogue and narration can leave the plot and overall characterisations somewhat lacking. Fate/Zero does not suffer from this, but instead it has gone too far the other way, having longwinded speeches, monologues and exposition in the space of action. In terms of action, this does not necessarily mean fights, but rather character movement, of any kind. The dialogue can take up so much time and space that the movement is simulated through continuously changing camera angles and distances, making it look as if there is movement in the frame. It is a series that lacks certain important elements of narrative story telling, turning what could be a potentially very interesting idea into something dull and quite boring.

A narrative framework with interesting and informative dialogue is useful in any form of visual media, and anime is no exception. Without good dialogue a series can quickly become a collection of action set pieces with little in-between in the form of characterisation and development. To take an extreme example, a series could become something akin to Dragonball Z, where the majority of an episode, or even an arc is taken up with one single battle. The amount of dialogue and explanation in Dragonball Z means that we never truly see the battle itself; instead we see elements of it, with particular flashy moves. The editing involved often means that halfway through a move, or in more extreme cases, only part of the way, we cut to a deep and in-depth explanation of what is going on by other characters who are sitting on the sidelines.

This explanation can become so deep or more accurately long-winded, that the move itself loses all context, becoming something like a diagram explaining the movements of the planet. It is nothing more than an explanation without anything physically showing us what is actually happening. Now, the explanation itself can be useful, adding a context and perhaps a back-story or other useful information to the battle or the fight. But, when taken too far, the fight itself loses all meaning; instead becoming a series of set pieces with each character merely glares at each other while simultaneously charging up their next big move. The absurdity of such a situation becomes apparent when you begin to think that in the time these characters charge up their super move and then use it (in Dragonball Z, this could go on for over ten episodes), an entire series of fights could have taken place with multiple victors and losers.

Now, while Fate/Zero does not suffer from these incredibly long battle arcs, the core problems with Dragonball Z are still present. There are times when the amount of talking and dialogue take up the majority of the episode, with fights seemingly taking a backseat. We have seen on several occasions a fight between two heroic spirits start, only to be interrupted, with both characters jumping back to glare or glower at each other. What follows are often internal, or perhaps external monologues, along with exposition of other characters who are either a part of, or are following the fight from afar. It becomes a series of speeches, a match of who is the best orator, be it internal, or external.

The battles themselves can occasionally lose all meaning, and while there may be a conclusion, it takes so long to happen that often all tension is lost. We have seen fights where heroic spirits charge in and exchange a few blows, only to back of to glare at each other for 5 minutes, then to either jump back in, or retreat. Regardless of these characters beliefs, the idea that a fighter will simply stand there thinking or working out their next moves seems a little silly, as if they are unwilling to truly fight. In a sense, Fate/Zero is less about the battle of the heroic spirits, fighting each other over control of the grail a mysterious object with the ability to grant a single wish, and more about the battle of the masters. Now, this is not a physical battle, and neither is it a battle of wits, but more it is a battle of oratory, of monologues and of stout faces and fierce glares.

The series itself quickly degenerated into a middle-aged melodrama, with these various stout faced characters in dull clothes all attempting to out-cool each other. There are numerous occasions where characters such as Kiritsugu and even Kirie are seen standing on roof-tops or other high places with their coats billowing out behind them in the breeze. They are placed in places to look cool, with no real context or reason for the placement, but simply a stylistic decision without weight or reason. These characters all have their large speeches, full of philosophy, rhetoric and ideals, or in some cases, the lack of them. There is a distinct lack of characterisation within Fate/Zero; the characters you get at the end of the series are largely the same as you got at the beginning of the series. In its attempt to become a more grown up Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero appears to have wandered into the realm of mid-life crises.

Characters such as Waver and Rider are colour to a grey series that is so caught up in its own greatness and pretentious philosophy that it has yet to realise its own absurdity. Waver is a fascinating a character; one with a wish that is considered so silly that Rider mocks him for it. He wants to gain recognition as a person, be seen and taken seriously as a magician and a human being, but as Iskander (Rider) notes, such a wish is too small in scale to mean anything. In fact, the series itself, or at least the excellent parts follow the progression and growth of Waver, and his relationship with Rider, showing us how a weak and frightened Waver can gain the trust and perhaps love of the pompous and bombastic Rider. The little moments between them become the central thread of the series, something that not only adds humour and comedy, but also a sense of humanity and progression, breaking up the dull, melodramatic angst that we see from the other characters.

Rider is particularly interesting as a heroic spirit, not only is he loud and pompous, but he also dreams of something so big that it could never be realised. Whereas other heroic spirits appear to be infected with the same dull melodrama and angst of their masters; getting involved in sophistry and debates about their true power and worth. Rider is someone who becomes a parody of what a heroic spirit should be like, dressing in casual clothes and becoming this loud father figure that Waver lacks. We see characters like Gilgamesh, the most arrogant and pretentious of all, always making grand speeches rather than fighting. While there is a certain element here that makes sense, with Gilgamesh feeling that he is above fighting, and that it is not worth his effort to attack or kill others. The speeches themselves become boring, overly long and lacking any real content or reason to exist.

We have other heroes such as Saber and Lancer who are equally as dull, so caught up in their own sense of honour and justice that they seem incapable of attacking anyone. Again, there is an element of reason in their actions, but such things are taken too far, with these characters becoming caricatures, unable to truly fight, and thus showing that they lack the necessary skills to truly win this war. The heroic spirits, along with their masters make up a group of dull characters that are prone to melodramatic outbursts and angst. The heroic spirits themselves are two-dimensional, with little-to-no character progression outside of Iskander, instead we have characters who never change. In the case of Saber this is likely deliberate since it is supposed to be Shirou who ultimately changes her view of the world.

The series itself had some interesting ideas, with the notion that this Grail is not the Holy Grail, but more of a demonic force that only brings pain and misery. That the Grail War takes place every 10 years creates this ever-lasting circle of pain and repression, with numerous powerful mages attempting to gain their one true desire through the destruction of others. It is a dark story, and one that has an atmospheric, and very interesting take on the idea of the Grail as a holy cup that gives ever-lasting life. And yet, Fate/Zero manages to turn this atmospheric tale into one of endless monologues, melodrama, angst and cool poses on rooftops. While many may have suggested that Fate/Stay Night was too light-hearted and that having a cast of adults meant that Fate/Zero had a certain element of gravitas to it, it feels like the opposite has happened.

Fate/Stay Night for all its faults at least understood how absurd some elements of the story were, and by injecting humour and sartorial, self-referential nods at itself, along with the progression of Saber as a character managed to make a series that was enjoyable, and did not take itself too seriously. Fate/Zero as a series is dull, lacking any of the essential flare that could have helped to create something great and entertaining, while also helping to explore the darker side of the grail quest. It gets so caught up in the dialogue that it forgets essential elements such as fighting or simple action. If the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is accurate, as indeed it is, then having an action sequence in such a series can take the place of these endless lines of dialogue.

It is as if Fate/Zero forgets that it is after all a story about the fight for this demonic grail, and instead becomes a lesson on middle-ages melodrama and angst. The characters (other than Waver and Rider) become so caught up in their own self-importance and self-worth that the effectively forget their original goal. While the Type-Moon universe is a very dark one, there should still be room for lighter material, with comedic elements hat help to break up what is an overly dark and gloomy world. Fate/Zero in a sense takes this dark and destructive world to the extreme, almost forcing out humour and joy, and instead replacing it with pain and suffering.

The gorgeous animation by ufotable appears out of place, and sometimes wasted due to the lack of movement or motion, instead providing beautiful backgrounds and set pieces for the inevitable match of words. Ultimately it feels as if Fate/Zero did not go far enough, and rather than attempting to re-launch or recreate the franchise, contented itself with creating what has become a simple prequel. We know that all the masters will ultimately fail simply because if they didn’t then Shirou, Rin, Sakura, Archer and Saber would have no role to play in Fate/Stay Night. The final ending sequence of the series showing the connections between Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night sums it up, it is a series that could never really become something new, but was instead constrained by the need to tie it neatly into the story line of Fate/Stay Night. I wanted to like this series, having rather enjoyed Fate/Stay Night, but ultimately it became somewhat dull, often appearing to exist in order to sate the hunger of Type-Moon fans. While there are flashes of brilliance, they are inevitably swallowed up in the grey mess of pretentious dialogue spoken by dull, overly melodramatic characters.

On a final note, the sheer horror at finding out what this series had done to the Arthurian legend is worth a mention. This is more of a separate complaint or annoyance at this series. Having Saber as Arthur is one thing that can be easily ignored, since in part her character fits (at least partly) the character of Arthur in the legend. However, casting Lancelot as the Berserker is something altogether different. This is what we find when we look at Lancelot’s characterisation in the Light Novels:

Though he wanted to take her away, Lancelot’s loyalty to Arturia and his sense of duty to serve the kingdom prevented him from doing so. When political enemies of the king exposed Lancelot and the queen’s affair, the queen was ordered to be executed. Left with little choice, Lancelot rebelled in order to try and save her. The knight, the queen, who had made her beloved betray his duty, and the king, who felt responsible for the despair her most loyal servant endured, all suffered.

Though Lancelot suffered greatly, he found that he could not hate Arturia, who had never blamed Lancelot for anything regarding the state of affairs they had become entangled in. In his despair, Lancelot desired to become a beast who had no worries; thus, when he became a Heroic Spirit, he became a Berserker-class spirit (taken from a description from the light novels).

Normally, such a description would not trouble me, and luckily this does not appear to make it into the anime. However, this description shows a profound lack of understanding when it comes to the Arthurian Legend, with central important elements being completely re-written in order to fit the story that Light Novel author wishes to tell. While Lancelot did go mad after being banished, it was partly because of his own guilt – the central tragedy of Lancelot is that he is the purest of knights, too pure in fact. By falling in love with Guinevere, Lancelot feels that he has betrayed not only Arthur, but also himself and the kingdom; his madness is therefore self-inflicted. Furthermore, his affair with Guinevere does ultimately lead to the destruction of Arthur’s kingdom; along with Arthur’s death at the hands of Mordred is son. But he never rebels against Arthur, and Guinevere is never sentenced to death but ultimately dies as a nun.

By re-writing one of the most longstanding legends of the British Isles, the Light Novel authors are showing an astounding ignorance in this area, or are perhaps ignoring the legend in order to tie it neatly into their narrative. There is such a thing as ‘Artistic Licence’, and changing minor details of stories to fit in with your setting is usually fine (such as different time, possible name changes and tweaking of details). However, here we have one of the central elements of this legend being entirely re-written in order to fit into the Type-Moon universe. This in itself did not necessarily make me find the series boring, and is more of an added extra, but it demonstrates a profound lack of understanding when it comes to this particular legend. If nothing else, this little revelation did somewhat take away from my overall enjoyment of what was a ridiculous, and at times frustrating finale. Fate/Zero was in the end a truly epic experience in places and a series that I did quite enjoy, however, it was also ultimately flawed and will be a series that I will remember for all the wrong reasons.

About illogicalzen
An Illogical anime fan in a very Zen-like way.

38 Responses to Fate/Zero – It was epic but ultimately flawed

  1. flawfinder says:

    I’ll still take this over Fate/Stay Night for two reasons: One, Rider and Waver are that good (for me). Two, the directing is nowhere near as bad.

    • illogicalzen says:

      Yes Waver and Rider are great characters, but for me they dont make up for the rest who are simply boring. Directing wise you are probably right, but I preferred the characters in Fate/Stay Night in general. Admittedly I wouldn’t put either this or Fate/Stay Night in my top series.

  2. TPAB~ says:

    I wouldn’t call it a trainwreck. It was a prequel to FSN so the ending was decent. FSN was one sided and lacked explanation on crucial parts like the holy grail war, the classes and other things. FZ was actually done much better imo, not including the visual presentation.

    besides, Rider is awesome. XD

    • illogicalzen says:

      The idea of a train wreck is merely to describe something that is full of energy, but ultimately leads you wondering what happened. While you are correct in terms of the lack of explanation in Fate/Stay Night, I think that is one of the flaws of Fate/Zero, it spends far too long explaining things rather than doing things. Fate/Zero looked good, but I just prefer Fate/Stay Night in terms of characters, Waver and Rider aside.

      • TPAB~ says:

        ah. but the ending wasn’t all that bad. it leads back to FSN, right? Kiritsugu’s defeat, Saber’s ideals, Gilgamesh’s appearance. It all connected. well to me at least.

        so FSN was better because it doesn’t explain a lot? i do agree, FZ took too long to explain some things. XD

        and yes, waver/rider = awesome!!!!!

        • illogicalzen says:

          To me Fate/Stay Night explains enough for the story in the series. I dont need to know the significance of the classes because that does not appear to have any bearing on the series itself. The classes of ‘Archer’, ‘Saber’, ‘Rider’ etc are essentially arbitrary names used to disguise their true identities and thus the identity of their special attacks, for the series they seem to have no further significance, Fate/Zero on the other hand attempts to explain everything in the minutest detail. I dont need to know all the special abilities of Lancers spears since I can already guess after hearing their names, the series itself does not allow the audience to think for itself, which is one of its many flaws.

          I dont really need to know the full history of the grail war either since you can guess from the information that you are given in Fate/Stay Night, and can use your imagination as a viewer. In a sense the prequel is not needed and all the information that you get doesn’t really add to the original series. Furthermore, the characters in the original series are more interesting, and more importantly the grow and change as the series progresses, something that does not happen in Fate/Zero. Yes Waver and Rider are great, but therein lies the flaw, they are side characters, and by stealing the limelight from everyone else they show up how two-dimensional all the other characters are in this series. The ending was epic, but for me ultimately hollow and in places quite dull and plodding.

          • TPAB~ says:

            i dunno, i mean the lack of explanation in FSN brought the anime down a bit. how can you connect pieces together when here isn’t that much presented. its all about Saber and Shiro. for a war fo magi, it wasn’t even brought up. All FSN did was make Shiro/Saber look good. the lack of explanation on the war made the show plain. yeah, lets just get Saber to beat up other people. everything else doesn’t matter. The lack of explanation on why hercules is berserker was something FSN needed to explain. everything was muddled except for Shiro and Saber.

            so a prequel isn’t needed, you say. is it safe to say FZ would be better appreciated if it wasn’t realted to FSN?

            FSN’s ending wasn’t that great too, imo. And i like side characters having more purpose than something to elevate Saber and her awesomeness. its no longer just about Saber. 7 pairs are given detail. doesn’t it bother you that in FSN, Archer was never given a chance to be more than a secondary character to Saber?

            • illogicalzen says:

              Fate/Stay Night is flawed as well there is no question of that, and yes some more explanation is needed for specific areas, but to me I am not overly bothered with the lack of explanation when it came to certain characters. Perhaps this is because I have never played any of the games and am essentially new to the Type-Moon universe in this respect, so such explanations and focusing on Saber and Shirou aren’t such a big deal. I can make up my own mind about the battle of the magi, and in particular since Fate/Stay Night appears to be based on a specific game route, the focus on Shirou and Saber seems adequate.

              But I stand by my comment that the characters in Fate/Zero add less to the series than many in Fate/Stay Night, and are essentially two-dimensional, although Fate/Stay Night does have its fair share of two-dimensional characters as well. Yes there are more characters involved in the battle, but they are all quite dull and do not change over the course of the series, staying as essentially the same character from the beginning.

              Fate/Stay Night is not a favourite series of mine, but in terms of story telling it does a better job of it than Fate/Zero, at least for me.

  3. SaiyaGin says:

    The folks behind Fate/Zero were trying too hard to create a really deep and thought-inspiring, philosophical story, but in the end, they forgot something crucial: it’s good if a story is dark and edgy, but it also needs to be entertaining, and F/Z wasn’t completely succesful in this (at least for me). Long-winded speeches, bad pacing (the first season was so preoccupied with Kotomine’s character-building, that not many things of importance happened, while characters were dropping like flies in the second season – balance was clearly not the main strength of F/Z.

    • illogicalzen says:

      Fate/Zero was entertaining at times, with several very good fight sequences and of course the wonderful animation, but that does not make up for the real lack of any sort of story or character development. I dont mind having a dark or edgy story, but Fate/Zero took itself far too seriously so the point where it became pretentious. the dialogue was frequently dull and I felt that I could walk away to make a cup of tea and come back knowing that I could work out what had happened, it was simply not engaging and not needed. I would also agree with you on the pacing, there was too much time in the first season where the focus was on Kotomine, and then the pace suddenly picked up with other characters dying every episode. The problem is that none of the characters other than Waver and Rider were ever really developed, so in a way their deaths meant nothing since they didn’t seem important to begin with. Fate/Zero just seems to exist because Type-Moon fans wanted it, in terms of overal story I dont see a need for it, and in many ways it explains almost nothing that you couldn’t already work out for yourself when it comes to the Grail war.

      • SaiyaGin says:

        “Fate/Zero was entertaining at times, with several very good fight sequences and of course the wonderful animation”
        Exactly. The animation of the battles were really beautiful, so it’s a shame that there weren’t many long battles. I felt particularly at the last Saber-Lancer battle that it could have been a bit longer before Lancer’s demise – but of course I know that the focus of that episode wasn’t really about the clash of Saber and Lancer, but rather about clash of Saber’s and Kiritsugu’s opinions.

        • illogicalzen says:

          I suppose thats one of my major problems with the series, it is meant to be about the battle over this thing known as the grail, but we see very little fighting throughout both the first half and the second. Instead we have far more talking and monologues than any real action, I wouldn’t have minded some of the dialogue, specifically looking at the difference in Sabers and Kiritsugu’s opinions, if only it didn’t take up the majority of the episode. I did enjoy elements, but ultimately those parts were few and far between, so in a way I feel that the wonderful animation was a little wasted when all you often got were extended discussions and debates rather than real movement or action.

        • chengsta says:

          too much fighting turns it into dragon ball z battles, quick realistic fights become too short. Anime just can’t win.

          • illogicalzen says:

            I would hardly call the fights in Fate/Zero realistic, apart from a select few involving Kiritsugu they were generally long and drawn out with endless monologue and exposition taking up the majority of the series.

  4. Muse says:

    Wow, I had no idea that they’d changed the original legend that much. I just assumed that they were going with the “Lancelot was too pure and went crazy” angle, but… just wow. There was no need to change that, it still works with the original interpretation.

    • illogicalzen says:

      It is not just the Arthurian Legend that has been changed, but this one in particular stood out to me. The whole point of the Arthurian Legend is that it is a story of christian values and piety, so Lancelot feeling guilty is because of his good and pure christian nature. All the complexity has been taken out, and in some respects this is a good thing because the last thing we need is more explanation and dialogue. The writers appear to have completely changed this legend in particular, as well as others to fit into the narrative that they want to tell. In a sense none of them are accurate and they are merely convenient names to give the series some sort of gravitas. It is basically Type-Moon and the writers involved with its projects trying to write their own version of the grail quest, and doing quite a bad job of it.

  5. Pingback: Disappointing Anime of 2012 « illogicalzen

  6. Winkyface345 says:

    Fate zero is flawed, but the long dialogue never bothered me. I thought it was amazing, but I’m a sucker for fantasy and epic battles.

    • illogicalzen says:

      I like fantasy and big battles as well, but Fate/Zero is not a series of big battles, it is a series of incredibly small fights interspersed amongst too much meaningless dialogue. The animation was nice, as was the soundtrack and the action when we got some, but I just cant escape the hideous dialogue unfortunately.

      • Riley W. says:

        Could you specify what of their dialogue was meaningless? For example, you say Gilgamesh’s dialogue was meaningless, but his conversations with Kirei were meaningful, fascinating and directly contributed to the latter’s embracing of his psychopathic nature. The way he got Kirei to realize his sadism, by pointing out his subconscious interest in Kariya’s misery as opposed to a passion that you’re actively aware of (which is just obsession), was well-written and clever. As for Kiritsugu, take, for example, his conversation with Saber after he had Lancer commit suicide. It was not overly philosophical; in fact, he says there’s no point in arguing with someone so delusional about honor and gets straight to the point about how war is an over-glorified hell. Iskand, Gilgamesh, and Saber’s discussion about the meaning of kingship was also not meaningless. It fleshed out the Servants, which is rare in fantasy epics where the focus is usually on the Masters and not their “tools”. In fact, I found Fate/Zero to be great mainly because the Servants were more than just weapons; they had strengths and weaknesses like every human being, and they often disobeyed their Masters.

        • Riley W. says:

          Plus, there’s no sexual fan service or any unnecessary nonsense like that. Even the female characters on the show have their own motivations, desires, ideals, powers, and most importantly… flaws.

  7. brononymous says:

    For your info
    Arthurian legend is not a single book. One book told about arthur and mordred is his cousin. One later book added lancelot character into arthur’s legend (by a france author if i’m not wrong). There are many version of arthur but wheter arthur purely fictional or historical figure is stil debatable. So i think is not wrong that gen urobuchi makes his own version of romance between lancelot arthuria n the her (ahem) wife guinevere (sorry for my messy english)

  8. Jens-Christian Jensen says:

    “But he never rebels against Arthur, and Guinevere is never sentenced to death but ultimately dies as a nun.”

    Like brononymous says, there were many versions of the Auturian legend and not any one of these is considered “canon”. One popular version WAS that Guenevere was set to be executed for the affair and that Lancelot saved her but killed some knights in the process, pressuring Arthur to go to France to exact revenge. During which time Morded took over. This appears to be the darkes one, so it’s not surpising that they chose this one considering their track record.

  9. Anonymous says:

    the dialogue’s never bothered me,i never even know how long it took.for my opinion FZ is far better than FSN,from story,action to soundtrack.and i suck at analyzing anime,i just rate then from the feeling i get from watching.

  10. Buck Wade says:

    I was sick of everyone constantly talking about honor, chivalry. I mean I wanted scenes where there’s EMOTION. Like, dude asks other dude why he did this, dude answers, both get pissed, but nearly all the dialouge involves finding a way to kill or capture the other dude, or dumb ideals! I wanted to hit the servants whenever they started talking about honor and all that, and cut to the chase rather than sounding like a bunch of people who are all happy about killing each other. Most of the time kiritsugu doesn’t really do anything on screen other than get a gun or something

    • Riley W. says:

      “Most of the time kiritsugu doesn’t really do anything on screen other than get a gun or something”

      That’s for a reason. It seems you missed the entire point of Kiritsugu’s character.

  11. Buck Wade says:

    The servant characters really were boring, only talking about their ‘ideals’. That was pretty much the conversation for nearly all the characters. The serial killer’s dialouge only involved torturing and stuff. Actually nearly all of the servant characters have the same ideal, but the problem is that the dialouge involves ideals WAY too much to the point where it takes up nearly all the conversation

  12. I’d like to point out, none of you seem to understand fate/zero. Idealism is the key behind the differences in the characters, this is why we get to see almost every character in a light where we want to hate them, but in another light where they seem rather relatable. A good example is Kayneth being a pretentious prick, but then you see him cry, then giving up the holy grail war to save his wife. Which brings me to Kiritsugu, who we get to see be a heartless bastard, but then you see how much he loves Iri and Ilya and you see his past suffering and he seems more acceptable. Kariya, you see him being a kind hearted and friendly person to Sakura and Rin, risking his life to win the grail so Sakura doesn’t have to suffer. Lancer represents the soul of servitude, wanting to prove his loyalty to his lord and master which according to the legend of Diamuid that they used (not sure how accurate), he could not accomplish. Saber wants to save her country, which I admit is a little cliche, but that’s been the case since Fate/Stay Night so it’d be foolish to even change that. Tohsaka represents family traditions, you see him being a great teacher and father to Rin, teaching her the dangers of magic along with how to control it, and he even sends his family to a different place because he knows how dangerous the grail war will be. This author seems to like saying things like “Melodramatic”, but I’d like to point out that their drama wasn’t melodramatic, if you really connect with the characters and listen to what they’re saying it’s not at all confusing, and best of all, the story is so well structured and well paced that frankly it’d be wrong to have this any other way. And you may say “But the author also said this and this!” But I got fed up with the author when they called most of the characters “Dull” other than Iskandar, who, according to the author “was the only one with any character progression”, what about Archer? Who, while he is arrogant throughout the whole series, proves that he’s more than just an arrogant dick, but also shows that it’s also the people around him that makes him view things one way or another? Like how with Kirei he’s a scheming and rather intelligent mentor for Kirei, or when he’s with Iskandar, and you see that there are times when he can view respect someone for their ideals? It’s not “Dull” to follow a code of honour, it’s not “melodramatic” to wanna kill the mages that you despise so much due to their lack of humane morals and their lack of respect towards things that aren’t magic related, it’s simply ideaology. I mean, we have people in this world who beat people up just for being a different ethnicity, I don’t think it’s “melodramatic” to have characters that despise people who don’t fit in their views or their morals. So yeah, I agree the ending could have been better, but there is very little wrong with this series. If you hate dialogue so much then you won’t like Bakemonogatari either, since that series is 80% talking, 5% action and 15% sexual references and camera angles. Best thing about Fate/zero by the way: NO SEXUAL FAN SERVICE! Could it get much better?

    • Joe says:

      I agree with you. The author threw around the word melodramatic far too often. Not to mention the word pretentious, which is a word I see used far too often. Gilgamesh isn’t really arrogant at all either. It’s natural that he behave that way. He’s not trying to rub people’s noses in how great he is out of some cocky sense of pride. He’s just used to that kind of royalty and reacts naturally as a result. He does grow to respect Rider and certain other members as the show goes on too.

      That being said, I do agree with much of what the author said in the first few paragraphs. There is too much dialogue interspersed with the fighting. I didn’t have a problem with most of the dialogue on its own but I wasn’t pleased with how fights were constantly broken up by it. It especially bothered me in the fights between Saber and Lancer. That being said, it’s nothing compared to what happens in a lot of shounen anime, so it wasn’t that big of a problem.

  13. Brandon Beall says:

    I can’t say I agree with your opinion that the dialogue was boring. I always found the dialogues and speeches to be very relevant and entertaining. Also, to say there was no character development is just a blatant lie. First, I don’t think character development is always a requirement for a good series anyways. A plot driven story doesn’t particularly need character development. Second, there are several characters who get development in Fate/Zero. Kiritsugu obviously comes to a major realization at the end of the show when he saves Shirou. Kariya has an amazing fall from grace. Waver, obviously one of the most developed characters of the show, gains more confidence after spending time with Waver. Kirei comes to the realization that he’s an asshole. This wasn’t your fault so I can’t hold it against you or the review, but Fate/Stay Night is being remade by the same studio. Therefore, the argument that Fate/Zero’s ending is trash because the only thing left was the older adaptation of fate/stay night becomes void. Relating back to my first point, I personally never found a dull or bland moment within the series. As someone who had never previously been exposed to the Fate franchise, every moment was an opportunity to learn and be immersed in the world. Fate/Zero, in my opinion, is a show with virtually no major flaws and definitely deserves a spot in my top ten list.

  14. Benjamin Ramey says:

    While I disagreed with a number of themes in your post, I wish to only highlight one thing. The legends of King Arthur while originating in Britain fell out of popularity and were ultimately created as a mythology by the French. The Knights, the Round Table, and the Court of King Arthur are all culturally French. So to criticize the series for not following the “longstanding legend of the British
    Isles” is ridiculous. Even the existence of a King Arthur in Britain is a fanciful legend at best, not to mention the mythos that was created (in France) is a work of fiction.

  15. Friedrich says:

    The point of Fate/Zero is not about action or fighting, it is about failures of ideals. Saber discovered that her altruistic ideal is ultimately flawed because of it lacks humaneness; Kiritsugu utilitarian philosophy was shown to be self-defeating by the Grail; Kariya’s love descended into madness as he discovered that’s precisely himself who were hurting the ones he loves; Rider’s dream and the dream which he inspired in his followers, ended up in disillusionment; Caster’s belief in a just God end up in the most Dostoevskyan despair: God was silent on both the unjust befallen on Joan of Arc and the most devilish acts. None of these themes are “pretentious” or “melodramatic”.

    Criticising Fate/Zero for its lack of intense action misses the point. The Holy Grail War is not simply a battle between physical power but also that of ideals. It resembles the real world. In the real world people don’t fight each other just because they can. People fight for their ideal. Let it be “freedom”, “justice”, “Nationalism”, “Socialism”, or “God”. Of course they don’t only fight for ideals, but ideology is important element in most modern wars and politics. The nihilistic point Fate/Zero has made is that all ideology ends up in disillusionment. All wars, all sufferings, all sacrifices, all victories, all hopes and all virtues are meaningless. None of them has the capacity to accomplish anything they purport to accomplish.

    As for character development.. Is it necessary that character must develop? What Fate/Zero does is precisely to mock the very belief of development. The characters of Fate/Zero entered the story with a well-developed set of beliefs which are only to be destroyed at the end of story.

  16. Yo mama says:

    This review is reatard. When you sad fate stay nigh is better i just stopped

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: