Fate/Zero is finally back!! Continuing where it left off, ufotable continues to do an impressive job in making this anime fun and enjoyable to watch. The artwork is still beautifully consistent from first season, and I must say I do miss the stellar artwork ufotable manages to deliver. Not only is the artwork practically eye-candy for the viewers, its dialogue is also well written and does not bore the viewers. I am really expecting great things from this anime, and I am really curious as to how ufotable will bring a conclusion to this, dare I must say, epic anime (I did not read the novel so I am in full anticipation).
The series begin from where it left off first season where Caster summons a monster in the middle of the river, which causes panic to all the servants and masters for the fear of the normal humans witnessing their holy grail battle and the ugly monster in general that plans to eat the people to be able to sustain life on its own. Saber and Rider both work together to fight the monster, although it is fruitless effort put forth by them as the monster regenerates as fast as they slice it up. Archer (the baws) comes in and witnesses the pitiful Saber and Rider having a hard time fighting the monster (although his four weapons also didn’t manage to do much). Then all of a sudden… Berserker is back! and he steals a fighter jet and makes it his own noble phantasm to fight with Archer in an aerial combat. During that time, Tokiomi goes to meet with Kariya, and they have an important dialogue about Sakura’s fate and the fate of mages in general (according to Tokiomi). Obviously they both have different view points and the only conclusion they came up with is to kill each other. As Ryuunosuke becomes excited about the monster wrecking havoc, he gets shot and killed by Kiritsugu. The series end with Kiritsugu testing the trust of the valiant warriors as Saber can only release her spell (which is probably Excalibur) to beat the monster only if Lancer is defeated.
I do not want anyone to misunderstand that I believe fate/zero is a masterpiece and one of the best animes on earth. Like every anime, it has its own flaws and elements that makes it so you can not enjoy the anime to the maximum potential (or things that makes you feel like it could have been better). However, I believe what makes an anime good is the ability to minimize those flaws and put in elements to help recuperate the show from its flaws. Fate/zero is one of those animes that people have high expectations for, and I am one of those viewers who have high expectations. Like I mentioned earlier, I love the dialogue for the show. It is interesting and actually adds to the plot and character development for some. It is concrete, exquisite and informative. It is definitely one of the major positives this show has aside from the art and sound. However, the action scenes definitely need work. The action needs to be smoother and flow better. As still frames, the action scenes are definitely interesting, but this is an anime and how they animate the scenes are key to making the anime a success. One slash and slo-mo on the facial expressions don’t count as action. I really hope it gets better in terms of the action.
Talking a little bit on the art, I definitely do not notice a lot of the CG effects from Berserker as opposed to his first appearance. I think they cut down on it quite a bit (although that can just be me getting used to it). I didn’t mind it all…but the amount of people who complained because of the CG was quite numerous, and I hoped this decrease in CG will shush the audience. I mean CG is being used everywhere and well, people should start getting used to it. Of course the red and green trails from the aerial fight between Berserker and Gilgamesh wasn’t that enjoyable for me, but I will never get tired of seeing Gilgamesh using his Gate of Babylon. I thought the interaction between Berserker and Gilgamesh was good overall. Of course other than that, the art was consistent throughout the anime.
I also have to mention the opening and ending of the anime. I will miss “Oath Sign” and “Memoria” from season 1. The “music video”, if you will, are better in animation quality and the soundtrack is better. The soundtrack for “to the beginning” is definitely nice to listen to, but the animation for it is definitely inferior to “Oath Sign”. I actually disliked the ending a lot, in terms of soundtrack and animation. The focus on Kiritsugu and Irisviel definitely didn’t attract my attention since I don’t like the pairing that much. I will probably watch the opening every episode, but I will definitely skip the ending.
So my thoughts on the episode overall? I liked it. I was in agony when the first season ended and the release of this episode definitely released me of my misery. Like I said, I am really looking forward to the conclusion of the anime, and I am also looking forward to the fight between Kariya and Tokiomi. The idea of Saber using Excalibur is definitely interesting, but I definitely hope that Lancer will not become the sacrifice of this fight. I must say I was very upset when Ryuunosuke died. He was interesting and entertaining as a character, and I really had a nice laugh with his distorted mindset and thinking process. It was definitely interesting how he can phrase things so perfectly to justify his cause. Although he died, he will always be in my heart.
Episode 1 Screencaps
Opening Sequence (“to the beginning” by Kalafina)
Ending Sequence (“Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau” by Luna Haruna)