Anime Review: Fate/Zero Episode 2

Anime Review:
Fate/Zero Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Fate/Zero is a 13-episode televised anime series starting between October and December 2011, a prequel to the popular Fate/Stay Night franchise from Type Moon. The story is set ten years before the events of the Fate/Stay Night series, during the fourth Holy Grail War. Seven different warriors are chosen to be teamed up with legendary Heroes to obtain the greatest prize: The Holy Grai, where they battle until one victor remains.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Waver talks with his servant, Rider (Alexander the Great), who is less interested in the upcoming battle than with his place in history and conquering the modern world. Saber reconsiders her opinion of her master, Kiritsugu. A serial killer summons a demon, who turns out to be Bluebeard, the final contestant. With all the players in place, the battle begins.

My Impressions: I came into this episode fully prepared to dismiss it completely and give it a definitive thumbs-down. After all, I have been less than kind (to put it charitably) with everything else related to this series in the past.

And yet, this second episode (which was really an extension of the hour-long snoozefest introductory episode)…I did not hate. Not that there was anything special; it was nothing more than filling out the cast.

Perhaps because between now and when I watched the first episode, I actually listened to someone accurately describe what the whole grand storyline was about. Hence, I was not immediately lost in the complicated, unexplained storyline anymore. This was not something that was done when I watched the Unlimited Blade Works movie. This was not something that was done when I watched the first part of the Fate/Stay Night TV Reproduction (as a recap/compilation series, it certainly was a failure at what it was supposed to do). And it was not something that was done in the first episode of Fate/Zero — or, if it was, then I was so achingly bored out of my gourd that I couldn’t tell and didn’t care.

My lack of understand of the series may be a product of my bass-ackwards way of sampling it (first the movie, then the Reproduction, then the Fate/Zero series). If instead I had picked up Fate/Stay Night with the first episode like everyone else, I might not be in this sorry state. Or perhaps the writers are just awful at their job of explaining the big picture, and get so lost in the details that they don’t allow for an entry point for new viewers. It says something about the ability of the writers and producers of this series that I am much more able to get a handle of the big picture after a ten minute fan review from some minor podcast blog, than I am from watching over four hours (so far) of Fate-related shows.

The verdict:

Either way, I am thinking that I may not have given the series a fair shake, and really should give it a few episodes to see how it works out. Now that I understand the whole back-story of the Grail Wars, who the warriors are (in terms of resurrected heroes from the past), and all that. Mind you, at this point nothing has really happened, they’ve only really put the chess pieces on the board and made the first move. I’m not so much as giving the series a thumbs-up at this point, rather keeping my mind open. Hopefully something interesting will happen to maintain my interest, because if they just keep with the long-winded expositional scenes, I’ll just get bored fast.

For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “I can’t knock anything about the series so far – production-wise it’s flawless, with great visuals and a terrific cast. The sense is that Urobuchi has created a pretty powerful and epic story here, somewhat reminding me of a modern dark fantasy with a sort of “Game of Thrones” feel to it. With GoT, it was also mostly admiration for me in the first few episodes – and then the emotional buy-in kicked in once all the facts were established, and the show became something great. Hopefully Fate/Zero will follow that same path for me.” – Lost in America
    • “Fate/Zero doesn’t miss a beat as the build-up and exposition continues on in this second episode. It maintained the same pacing as the hour-long premiere and was just as epic too. Compared to Fate/stay night, there’s been a lot less emphasis on Saber and it sometimes feels like there’s no “main” protagonist at all, which as unusual as it may sound, is actually one of the reasons why I’m enjoying this prequel as much as I am.” – Random Curiosity
    • “Most was much better than the first episode. Waver was one of the few parts in the first hour-long tedious affair that wasn’t terrible, and the first 10 minutes were all spent on him and Iskander arguing between conquering the world or fighting the Grail War. UFOTable did a decent job actually giving Kiritsugu a bit of personality besides “standing there stoically” with his interactions with Ilya too. Assassin dodging Adobe After-Effects at the end was rather corny looking, but hey… actual movement showing his agility and skill instead of just telling us about it. It’s a bloody Christmas miracle.” – Tenka Seiha
    • “This was a really cool episode, and even better than the first, now that most of the explanation is out of the way. But man, does this show really like horror stuff; first the worms, now the kid? I won’t complain though, at least something’s taking itself seriously these days.” – The Notaku Blog
    • “To wrap things up quickly, Fate/Zero is proceeding along at a good pace, and the dynamic between Uryuu and Caster is one of many interesting devices presented to the audience. As long as it isn’t pushed aside and left to fester until it’s needed for the plot, I have a feeling their relationship will be one of the highpoints in anime for the year, regardless of how much they’re actually developed.” – Shinde Iie

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate/Zero

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain

      Coming up next: Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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