Fate/Zero Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Fate/Zero is a weekly televised anime series starting in October 2011, a prequel to the popular Fate/Stay Night franchise from Type Moon. The story is set ten years before the events of Fate/Stay Night during the fourth Holy Grail War. Seven different warriors are chosen to be teamed up with legendary Heroes, where they battle until one victor remains.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
Spoiler-free set-up: Various factions prepare for the upcoming Fourth Holy Grail War, where seven warriors are chosen to be teamed up with magical Heroes in an all-out battle that will result in only one victor. Kirei Kotomine becomes the chosen warrior on behalf of the Catholic Church. Kariya Tokiomi sacrifices himself to be consumed by…uh…magical worms (no, seriously, I’m not making this shit up) in place of the young Sakura. Upstart magical student Waver Velvet (again, I’m not making this shit up) intercepts an artifact and intended for his professor, and uses it to summon his own servant for the upcoming battle. Kiritsugu Emiya fears the Holy War will result the in the death of his wife. As the entangled web of relationships between the participants grows more complicated, the first servants are summoned to start the battle.
My Impressions: The “Fate” franchise is one of those shows in the anime community that has a very large and loyal fanbase…one that does not include me. My exposure, so far, includes watching the first half of the “Fate/Stay Night TV Reproduction” compilation special, as well as the “Unlimited Blade Works” movie. While neither was terrible, I was also not particularly impressed by either one. So, unlike all the squealing fanboys, I was not especially looking forward to Fate/Zero.
On the other hand, my attempts to get into the series before was “backwards”, and this would provide me with an opportunity to start fresh and new, starting from the beginning. I’m already familiar with the basic concept, so unlike before when I was left scratching my head attempting to figure out the “why” of it all, I can focus on the story itself.
But for a series that prides itself on its battles and action sequences, the first episode of Fate/Zero was an unexpected snoozefest. Not only that, but a double-length snoozefest at that. It was 45 minutes of dense introductions and exposition with long periods of nothing but yakkity-yakking as the characters talked my ears off. It’s all quite complicated and they explain it all in excruciating detail, and if I gave so much as a single fuck I could probably fully understand why various people are doing what they are doing. But part of the way through I just started glossing over it all as my interest waned, and it all devolved in a tangled twist of plotlines and unnecessarily comically named characters.
If I were to judge Fate/Zero based on this first episode alone, I’d drop it in a heartbeat. It was exceptionally boring, exceptionally convoluted and completely uninteresting. But with my knowledge of what is to come later (seven warriors in control of seven servants facing off in epic battles), I’m willing to give it another chance and see if the second episode will salvage this abortion of a beginning. But it’s going to have to “wow” me to continue any further.
Probably the most disappointing (compared to expectations) first episode of the season. Yeah, I know I’m going against the majority opinion of the otaku community in not praising this unreservedly. This ain’t the first time that has happened. So sue me.
The verdict: – and I’m being charitable.
- Totally unhelpful preview trailer on Youtube.
- Info resources:
- If you like this, you might also like: Kara no Kyoukai or Tsukihime: Lunar Legend.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “The first episode does a superb job of building up a foundation for the series by explaining the background and introducing all the characters. I like how it includes the stories of all the masters that are participating in the war. The part where it jumps around showing them summoning their servants was awesome.” – Project Saber
- “My initial reaction to one of the Fall 2011 season’s most anticipated titles is about on-par par with Emiya Kiritsugu’s reaction to finding out that his Servant is actually a female rendition of King Arthur – dumbfounded yet disappointed. Did we really need to take up two episodes’ time to go into one of the most lengthy introductions I’ve ever witnessed in an anime, much less a show in general?” – Jranafan
- “After the first half I was getting bored, everything was long scenes of people talking about the politics concerned in the Holy Grail War, the families and organizations involved, on top of attempting to balance all of the character introductions. It’s overwhelming and lacks excitement.” – Otaku in Review
- “This dialogue heavy episode wasn’t exactly amazing, but rather, showed off the potential to this series. There was a ton of explanation that really gets you thinking, but it’s still all just chatter. Nothing worth noting has actually happened yet, but based on the occurences in this episode, there will be a lot more after this episode. Grade: 8.5/10.” – Emory Anime Club
- “My overall thoughts on this episode was that it was great: it explained everything that needed to be explained for new-comers and it wasn’t boring at all for the old-timers. Fate Zero has the making of a great anime and it’s certainly been showing off its potential so far.” – Sekijitsu
- “I’m a Type Moon fanboy, so I thoroughly enjoyed this episode just for the sake of going back to the Fate / Stay Night universe. But this episode was pretty disappointing for a double length episode. The entire thing was just setup. This could be forgiven in a single episode, but for a double whammy? Get to the meat of the story already.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “My concern, quite frankly, was that the premiere was going to be lost in an avalanche of names and faces it would take me weeks to get straight. And make no mistake, it was a very dialogue-heavy episode full of exposition – but then, I don’t suppose it could be otherwise if the hope was to give noobs like me any long-term chance. But because the editing was tight and the dialogue sharp, most of what I saw made sense and most of the characters were distinct enough to stand out in my memory.” – Lost in America
- “I won’t say I didn’t like this because it did nothing but explain stuff… for an hour. I will say I didn’t like it that much because I never really cared for Fate/stay night, because it really bored me, as this show did, though definitely not as much.” – The Notaku Blog
- “Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. I’m so glad I decided to ignore the fact that I’m not familiar with F/SN at all and give F/Z a go, because it was totally worth it. Grade: 8.5/10.” – Astrialite
- “This episode gave a solid start, introduced some interesting concepts…It’ll probably take a while for this one to get going, but the script will probably continue to be interesting until that happens. Potential: 85%.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
ROUND ONE RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero
Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Coming up next: Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Shakugan no Shana III, Hunter x Hunter, Mashiro-iro Symphony, Tamayura Hitotose, Persona 4, Maken-ki, Cross Fight Bedaman, Digimon Xros Wars II