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This Week in Anime - Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files Bring Whodunnit Fun to the World of Fate


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MiloTheFirst



Joined: 10 Dec 2014
Posts: 375
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:21 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The two biggest roadblocks to Fate stuff for me have always been its ponderous insistence that it's about Important Philosophical Dilemmas when it isn't, and the convoluted nonsense of its worldbuilding.


freaking thank you!, Glad to see I am not the only one. although tbh, convoluted magic mumbo jumbo can be enjoyable in its own way, fate is just not that good at selling it.
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KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 218
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:54 pm Reply with quote
This entire article is way too accurate
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 595
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:41 pm Reply with quote
I'm very appreciative of the fact that the sequel (or, I guess one of them?) to Fate/Zero, the epitome of all of Fate's absolute worst traits and including none of what makes the franchise enjoyable, is arguably the one Fate anime most willing to embrace all of the goofy nonsense without neglecting the opportunity for sincere and thoughtful drama and characterization. As I recall, Apocrypha was the only other entry I've seen to truly accomplish this balance. UBW came close but it got way too caught up in tedious debates about ideals that dragged on far longer than it needed to and it barely recovered, plus it being one-third of a full VN meant it was kind of screwed from the get-go.

This obviously does nothing but reaffirm the widely accepted belief that Waver is a top tier boy who does not have sex because he has better things to do, such as agonizing over the fact that it is a universal law that Waver Velvet is not allowed to have sex. But he will not beg for coochie because he's far too respectful. Good boy, I knew my faith in him wasn't misplaced.


Last edited by ThatGuyWhoLikesThings on Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jl07045



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 1463
Location: Riga, Latvia
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:04 pm Reply with quote
Fate (at least old Fate) is about people who are screwed up enough to ponder about Important Philosophical Dilemmas. But of course distinguishing between what author says and what characters talk about is hard.
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ThatMoonGuy



Joined: 13 Oct 2017
Posts: 119
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:16 pm Reply with quote
You know, when you're making a series about magic and mysticism it is expected that the mysteries will revolve around magical theory. And I don't mean just Type-Moon magical theory but the real, actual thing.

The whole third episode case was based on actual astrological facts, or at least as close to 'facts' as mysticism can get. The discussion between the seven celestial bodies model and the nine is actually real because the model used in mystical texts during medieval europe was based on the five planets known then plus the sun and moon. You can pick any magical text, like the Lesser Key or the Magus, and you'll see how their whole system is based on this system. The division of the body in seven parts is also real and is one of the representation's of the hermetic maxim of "as above, so below" which represents the idea that whatever happens in the macrocosm (the universe) also happens in the microcosm (which can be, among many other things, the human body). The last two episodes with the fairy case are an even better demonstration of that with every concept used there fitting very well and being established in the first episode. It's so well done that that when the explanation was given you could actually look back at everything that happened in the end and see how it was foreshadowed which make it a good detective show unlike BBC's Sherlock. Complaining that a magical mystery is based on magical concepts is silly just like complaining that a medical mystery being based on medicine would be.

I also deeply disagree that the 'philosophial dillemmas' are not there but I feel like arguing this is kind of pointless specially since people sell Fate/Zero like some genius show when it isn't that complex and all good ideas it has are actually taken from the original Fate/Stay Night. People like to act like 'whew, Shirou is such a dumb character' while ignoring that this is part of the point and is actually addressed at several points. I still remember that one review that tried to frame the conflict between Shirou and Archer as some sort of conflict between models of masculinity (and which was, I believe, from the same person that tried to frame the theme of Fate/Apocrypha as being 'fakes'). That is to say, people in this site really don't get Type-Moon.

I also think that selling this as a Fate show is very, very misleading. Yes, it has Fate characters and uses Fate concepts and references and could even be technically considered a sequel to Fate/Zero BUT in concept and in practice it's much more akin to every other Type-Moon work, like Tsukihime, Kara no Kyoukai or Mahou Tsukai no Yoru. I don't blame people for not knowing those since Tsukihime only has a very old and not exactly superb anime and Mahoyo doesn't even have fan translations but it's still a bit grating to see people speaking like all of Type-Moon was Fate.[/i]
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jdnation



Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 1153
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:09 pm Reply with quote
I've always enjoyed the Fate franchise for the action spectacle that it is, and it really helps when you've got ufotable behind you.

That said, while I agree that Lord el melloi is too arcane for its own good, if episode 0 was any indication, along with the mansion body parts mystery, I'm always in for something crazy intriguing with some badass action spectacle. So if the show is more like episodes 0 & 2, then I'm all in. Just needs to be clever with what it establishes and does and we can forgive a little convenient occult knowledge dropping in on you to problem solve.
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gpanthony



Joined: 18 Dec 2013
Posts: 147
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:41 pm Reply with quote
I don't really feel like Fate is that hard to get in to. Prior to this show, the only Fate anime I've finished is UBW and the first half of Apocrypha. The rest of my exposure to series comes from FGO, and I think its filled in any gaps pretty well. Following even just Wolverine's backstory isis way more convoluted.
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Tanteikingdomkey
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Joined: 03 Sep 2008
Posts: 1860
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:15 pm Reply with quote
....When did everyone turn on BBC Sherlock seriously good lord.

I really appreciate all the magic discussion in this show, it is the only fate anime to actually bother to explain properly how magic is used in fate universe and actually then use that information in the show, while not making the audience want to fall asleep (everyone hates the first episode and some of 2 for fate zero admit it)
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Izanagi009



Joined: 20 Oct 2014
Posts: 366
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:41 am Reply with quote
Since I’m seeing Fate Zero pop up, I feel I should comment

1. Worst aspects? While I get Fate Zero was heavy in philosophizing, I find it far more tolerable compared to F/SN due to execution and stronger characters and thematic content.

2.while the themes are taken from Stay Night, I actually felt more strongly with Kiritsugu due to seeing more of the ideological consequences
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Vent



Joined: 22 Aug 2009
Posts: 248
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:14 pm Reply with quote
Izanagi009 wrote:
Since I’m seeing Fate Zero pop up, I feel I should comment

1. Worst aspects? While I get Fate Zero was heavy in philosophizing, I find it far more tolerable compared to F/SN due to execution and stronger characters and thematic content.

2.while the themes are taken from Stay Night, I actually felt more strongly with Kiritsugu due to seeing more of the ideological consequences


Kiritsugu is impossible to empathize with or care about because the entire arc depends on him literally never thinking even the most basic questions about his life situation and being Sad over a stack of dead women because oh boy Urobuchi just can't have enough dead women in his shows!
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XerneasYveltal



Joined: 09 Jun 2015
Posts: 551
Location: Philippines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:10 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
When we look back on the 2010s, Fate is going to be the anime equivalent of the MCU in terms of sheer volume.


Hell, if one takes a look at the glossary of concepts and terminology featured in the numerous works of Kinoko Nasu as well as the fact that some characters from one work make cameo appearances in another (like Fate/Grand Order's Olga Marie Animusphere showing up in Case Files), the Nasu-verse can be described as being quite like the MCU in multimedia form.
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ThatMoonGuy



Joined: 13 Oct 2017
Posts: 119
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:16 pm Reply with quote
Izanagi009 wrote:
Since I’m seeing Fate Zero pop up, I feel I should comment

1. Worst aspects? While I get Fate Zero was heavy in philosophizing, I find it far more tolerable compared to F/SN due to execution and stronger characters and thematic content.

2.while the themes are taken from Stay Night, I actually felt more strongly with Kiritsugu due to seeing more of the ideological consequences


I really don't think Zero had better characters than FSN. A lot of them are terribly monotone and quite easy to grasp and the actually good ones (Kirei, Waver, Iskandar and Gil) were really just Urobuchi using ideas that Nasu already has established. Other characters like Tokiomi, Gilles, Ryuunosuke and so forth just do one thing for the whole series and barely see an arc or any sort of development. And that's not even getting into how much Urobutcher butchered Saber's character in Zero. He made she seem like a lawful stupid idiot when it was established that she was deeply logical and outright merciless even when alive. FSN is held back a lot for having to nearly always follow Shirou's POV but between the three routes it still gives more depth to nearly everyone.

I get it when people say the Zero was executed better and to a certain extent I agree. From a purely narrative standpoint, it has a generally better storyline but that comes a lot from it being a linear narrative while FSN requires the three routes to make sense both in a character arc level and as a narrative. Many of the themes introduced in Fate will only be concluded in Heaven's Feel. Besides, Zero is a prequel so all it had to do is show how things got where they are by the beginning of FSN without really needing to give closure to many of its plot points.

As for the consequences and themes... yeah, again, I cannot agree. Heavy spoilers ahead.

spoiler[Each route of FSN is a different take on the same core concepts, the most important of which are Shirou's heroic ideals. Fate is them being played literally and affirmed by Shirou's relationship with Saber. There, his dream is put into question at the same time that Saber puts into question her rule as king. Saber's choice of foregoing her individuality and emotions to become an ideal king is exactly the same thing Shirou wants to do by giving up his own individuality to become a 'hero of justice'. Saber's regret of her past is, thus, symbolically of a rejection of Shirou's ideals. Thus, in the end, when she accepts her past as a king as not being a mistake, she validates Shirou's dream and he goes on to become a hero of justice.

In UBW, Shirou's ideals are again confronted, but this time not by the past but by the future. His own future. In this case, both Shirou and Rin carry the dreams of their parents as they enter the war and must try to live them. Both are faced with realities that put those dreams in question, Shirou more literally as he faces Archer. This time, Shirou is forced to see the conclusion of his desires and how it will doom him to pursue it. Yet, he still insists on it because even if it takes his life and makes him miserable, that was a dream born from hope and not despair. It's an imitation of Kiritsugu's drema but just because it is so, doesn't mean it doesn't have value. Thus, Archer is defeated and Shirou reaffirms his ideal, this time understading its costs and having gained an ally in Rin, someone who also knows that this is a dangerous one and that accepts to take it together with him.

Finally, HF is the deconstruction episode where the very ideal of 'hero' is put into question. If Fate is affirmation and UBW is reaffirmation, HF is rejection. Here, Shirou is faced with the fact that he too has desires as a human being and chooses those selfish desires instead of his dream. Because to pursue his dream he'd have to murder someone who not only he loves but is just an innocent victim of a very screwed situation. Being a hero hurts and is unfair, so he rejects it and decides that he'll just do what he can for the people he loves, even if it costs him everything.]


Each one of those arcs has better closure and better realization than Zero which literally just presented the trolley dilemma to Kiritsugu and said 'ha ha!'. The whole scene with the grail putting his dream into question is silly and makes it look like Kiritsugu never put a second of thought into what he desired. I mean, the guy spent his whole life trying to become the king of utilitarianism and never once thought that recursive killing can lead to more people being sacrificed than being saved? And even if that's the case, isn't the alternative just letting everyone die? Even if the final decision is Kiritsugu choosing to abide to his principles the very fact that he had to think about this is ridiculous. He's a man in his thirties who's been into wars and not a mentally devastated, ego depleted teenager with a severe case of survivor's guilty and an origin that literally makes him a tool. As for consequences, we see less of them because, again, FSN is structured around Shirou's vision in part due to constraints of the genre and in part because we see the consequences of one route's conclusion in the following route spoiler[(Archer is the consequence of Fate Shirou and the sacrifice of Sakura is the consequence of UBW Shirou)].

Even if you talk about the anime only, I'd still say that UBW does a better job than Fate/Zero since it interwines the themes better within the narrative (the fight between Shirou and Gilgamesh is basically Shirou trying to prove that even if his ideals are a copy of Kiritsugu's, much like his swords are, they still have value and can achieve great things) and actually confronts them in a way that makes sense for the characters involved and in a philosophical level. And that's only with the "hero of justice" aspect. If you go into the other themes of FSN (how we cope with the past and the more general idea of 'fate') you actually see just how much more it does in every route while Zero severely lacks any kind of cohesive theme beyond being a series of tragedies.
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Izanagi009



Joined: 20 Oct 2014
Posts: 366
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:24 am Reply with quote
ThatMoonGuy wrote:
snip


I agree with the points about FSN being structured in a way that follows up on the previous route but I find that that also hinders the story as, when i tried to play FSN, i found Fate route Shirou to be insufferable even with the knowledge of his mental damage.

Regardless, I will take the points presented in the post in order:
-While the characters are monotone in the sense that they don't grow, that allows them to serve both the tragic side of the story as well as be thematic actors in the story in the case of characters like Iri and Tokiomi.

-a change in Saber's character was present but it wasn't a thing about lawful stupid, in fact it kept closer to the logical and merciless side with the change being shown at the Banquet of Kings: she is tied to the ideals of cold leadership and not the passionate leadership of Iskandar. To use a line from the show, She saved the people but never led them.

-Zero's Closure for Kiritsugu wasn't the trolley dilemma presented by the grail, at least to me. In my mind, the trolley dilemma is a point of realization, the destruction of the grail and the fire a falling action with closure coming in from him choosing the different route he's been looking for, Saving individuals rather than his numbers game. In addition, this closure is more potent to me as we have seen more of what led Kiritsugu to his state and to his resolution compared to FSN which is to me quite bloated (will save my thoughts on FSN later in the post).

-The idea that he's just "a man in his thirties who been into wars" is rather reductive. He has a lot of truama and damage coming from his life to the point I argue that Kiritsugu is just as damaged as Shirou but in a different way.

-While FSN showed the consequences of one route in the next, Zero, contained all of the consequences (his father, Natalia, Kayneth, the fire, the abandonment of his family) within the scope of the work, making the end more impactful.

-While I agree that Zero is more focused on the hero of justice thing compared to other things, i find that helps keep the story tighter. As for the series of tragedies thing, that's sort of the point; Fate Zero is a Greek Tragedy through and through.
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jl07045



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 1463
Location: Riga, Latvia
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:06 am Reply with quote
Izanagi009 wrote:
I agree with the points about FSN being structured in a way that follows up on the previous route but I find that that also hinders the story as, when i tried to play FSN, i found Fate route Shirou to be insufferable even with the knowledge of his mental damage.


So... you're saying that the story is badly structured... because the main character starts out unlikable?
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ThatMoonGuy



Joined: 13 Oct 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:25 am Reply with quote
Izanagi009 wrote:


-While the characters are monotone in the sense that they don't grow, that allows them to serve both the tragic side of the story as well as be thematic actors in the story in the case of characters like Iri and Tokiomi.


That's fair. But that makes them less interesting and more unidimensional and thus more boring as characters. That's an issue in many of Urobuchi's works and reached its peak on his Godzilla trilogy but you can see it here, too.

Izanagi009 wrote:
-a change in Saber's character was present but it wasn't a thing about lawful stupid, in fact it kept closer to the logical and merciless side with the change being shown at the Banquet of Kings: she is tied to the ideals of cold leadership and not the passionate leadership of Iskandar. To use a line from the show, She saved the people but never led them.


I don't think that's the case at all. Saber's whole deal with her chivalric rivalry with Diarmuid is plain lawful stupid. Saber as King Arthur would've had absolutely no issue murdering that guy in a dishonorable way or just cutting him down. As long as its effective, she'd do it. There's one point in FSN where its mentioned that she sacrificed a whole village of people to win a battle and, honestly, that's about right. The whole thing with Lancelot and Guinevere shows that well as she didn't care about the cheating but once it got revealed she sentenced them to death because not doing so would've weakened her rule. It was, literally, "nothing personel". That's Saber. So seeing her act like Kiritsugu's way of doing things was anathema to her felt very out of character.

Izanagi009 wrote:
-Zero's Closure for Kiritsugu wasn't the trolley dilemma presented by the grail, at least to me. In my mind, the trolley dilemma is a point of realization, the destruction of the grail and the fire a falling action with closure coming in from him choosing the different route he's been looking for, Saving individuals rather than his numbers game. In addition, this closure is more potent to me as we have seen more of what led Kiritsugu to his state and to his resolution compared to FSN which is to me quite bloated (will save my thoughts on FSN later in the post).


But that's not what he did. He choose to save the highest number of people possible which, in that case, meant destroying the grail and causing the Fuyuki Fire. Again, he choose to sacrifice the few to save the many, just like he always did. That's the whole point of him saying "two for six billion" before shooting Illya. He destroying the grail was still following utilitarianism. The moment he actually got salvation was when he found Shirou and finally managed to save one life, something he had never managed before but that's not a plot point from Fate/Zero but from Fate/Stay Night. As far as Zero is concerned, Kiritsugu's resolution never changed.

Izanagi009 wrote:
-The idea that he's just "a man in his thirties who been into wars" is rather reductive. He has a lot of truama and damage coming from his life to the point I argue that Kiritsugu is just as damaged as Shirou but in a different way.


I can see where this comes from but while Kiritsugu did go through a lot of bad things Shirou is literally incapable of functioning as a human being. He puts absolutely no value in his life outside of it serving as a way to save other people. That's a level of screwed up that Kiritsugu never reaches because he actually has people that understand and support him through all his life (Natalia, Maya, Irisviel and, later, Shirou)

Izanagi009 wrote:
-While FSN showed the consequences of one route in the next, Zero, contained all of the consequences (his father, Natalia, Kayneth, the fire, the abandonment of his family) within the scope of the work, making the end more impactful.


That's only true if you consider each route a different work which is not the case. That's kinda like saying that each route from Nier Automata is a different work. You need the three routes to make full sense of Fate as a narrative. That is why it's a visual novel. Given, this model of storytelling has its own flaws and translating it to anime is very hard and lends to situations like this so I agree that Zero does have the upper hand in that aspect.

Izanagi009 wrote:
-While I agree that Zero is more focused on the hero of justice thing compared to other things, i find that helps keep the story tighter. As for the series of tragedies thing, that's sort of the point; Fate Zero is a Greek Tragedy through and through.


I completely agree that being a tragedy is the point. Fate/Zero is structured in a very operatic way that plays into that aspect. I do think its pretty good as a tragedy specially since it follows the Aristotelic principles to a T. But that's where the linear model of storytelling fails since where Zero is only able to show one interpretation of the whole chain of events and thus only one vision of the 'idea of hero', FSN can show three different conclusions to the same idea and slowly deconstruct them. While each route builds on the previous each route also has a conclusion of its own - and a conclusion that I'd say is valid. I do not believe Saber's resolution in Fate to be bad or incomplete and the addition of Last Episode validates that by giving a hope of salvation for Shirou and Saber (which Apocrypha went on to bastardize in its own ending). So even if you read each route as a separate work (which I don't think is the best way to approach a visual novel) they still offer a valid conclusion.

Just to be clear, I don't think Fate/Zero sucks or anyhting like that. I just think that the people who talk like it's some work of genius and Urobuchi is some grand philosophical writer and that FSN and Nasu are worse are wrong in a way that feels baffling to me. Fate/Zero's whole approach to the question of utilitarianism is nothing but a riff on themes that Nasu had worked on before in things like Kara no Kyoukai, Melty Blood and Fate/Stay Night itself. Most of its characters play little to no thematic role in the whole thing beyond being tragic figures unlike Fate/Stay Night where all characters tie in the themes of the work. Hell, when Urobuchi actually goes do his own thing and try to write philosophical works we end up with things like as Psychopass (which is pretty much Minority Report meets Equilibrium) and his Godzilla trilogy which has good ideas executed in terrible, terrible ways.
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