Fate/Zero - Great or Faulty Heroes?

Contains minor spoilers for Psycho-Pass

Gen Urobuchi is fairly well known as a consensous "good writer." From his work, I had only watched Psycho-Pass and Madoka Magica. I was really into season one of Psycho-Pass, the premise itself sounded awesome to me: a procedural police drama in a cyberpunk/dystopian society. The show itself was really good, I wholeheartedly reccomend it. Sadly, the later installments in the franchise didn't engross me nearly as much. Madoka is highly regarded by many, but honestly? It wasn't really for me. I do plan on rewatching both of these though, so my opinon on them might change. However, these two shows are in fact not what I'm going to be discussing today. Instead, I'll be taking a look at a show that one of my Twitter mutuals reccomended I check out, and what he considered to be Urobutchi's best work: Fate/Zero. The Fate franchise itself is notoriously complicated in terms of timelines and such, and I won't even begin to start explaining that, because I don't even know myself! But fret not, you can watch Fate/Zero with absolutely no previous knowledge of the franchise, which is what I did myself.

The plot of the series (or rather, this installment in particular) is actually fairly simple, in contrast to what you'd believe by taking a glance at a watch order. Sometime during the presidency of George Bush, a great battle is taking place, completely unbeknownst to everyone in the world except for a select few. This great battle is known as The Holy Grail War, and whoever wins gets the Holy Grail, which can grant any wish. This has happened three times before, but the fourth one is about to begin. But the Holy Grail War is not fought in a traditional way, instead, a person must summon a powerful historical figure to fight for them, called a servant. Each and everyone of the participants have their own reasons and goals in mind, but only one victor will remain. Fate/Zero is produced by the studio ufotable, and the series was directed by Aoki Ei. The series itself is based upon a light novel written by Gen Urobuchi, and the series functions as a prequel to the visual novel Fate Stay/Night. It consists of two seasons, the first is thirteen episodes, with the first episode being a fourtyeight minute special, and the second season being twelve episodes.

So, is it good? I would definitely say so. The series is very well renowned, and while I woudn't agree with it being a masterpiece, I do see why others would think so. The series has a lot of great character moments and memorable dialouge, not to mention some frankly awesome production, at least in comparison to the average TV anime production. Every fight involving the character Saber in particular is very awesome, as the way her sword swings are animated is just so swift and satisfying. While the fact that a lot of fights happen at a fast pace does take away from the strikes having a lot of impact, it's just so cool to see a sword being swung around quickly, and the sparks that come from clashing weapons is awesome as well. To bring it back to why it's so well renowned, the character writing. Urobuchi is well known for having done scriptwriting on Psyco-Pass, which had many great character dynamics and set pieces. And thankfully, there is lots of that in this work as well, i'm particularly fond of the way Urobuchu uses contrasts in his writing. In Psycho-Pass you had Akane against the system, and Kougami against Makishima as the strongest contrasts at play. Here you have Waver, a weak student who manages to get tangled into the war summoning Rider, who is a great king, as well as a large and gruff man. There's also Saber, who contrasts greatly to what the historical interpretation of who she was is.

There is one more thing I have to touch on before I conclude this, and that is the character of Uryuu Ryuunosuke who I quite dislike. He appears a lot in season one, however his screentime is radically reduced in season two. I'm just not that into gore or stuff like that. If you've read/watched Naruto or Kingdom, an apt comparison would be a combination of Deidara and Kanki. Gen Urobuchi is a big fan of including gore in his series for no reason other than that it looks cool. While this was most egregious in Psycho-Pass, with the dominators, which, while fitting the plot and making sense in the narrative with their function, cause enormous amounts of gore for literally no reason. Great if you love gore, and hey, if you do, I don't want to be negative, it's just not for me. While not as excessive as the dominators in Psycho-Pass, there is a gun with a unique ability in this show. It's very interesting to compare series from the same creator like that, you really get a feel for not only what they think, but also their aesthethic sense.

In conclusion, I quite enjoyed Fate/Zero, and i would recccomend it. I assume most people are going to enjoy it a lot more, considering just how popular it is, but you know, subjectivity and all. In more general terms the show is great too, animation, (most) character designs, only thing I would say I greatly disliked, apart from the gore, is some of the voice acting at certain points, but it's mostly great. If you're in the market for an awesome action show with some rather solid writing, this is one of the shows I would definitely reccomend.