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EP. REVIEW: Fate/Zero


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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 835
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 3:06 pm Reply with quote
...2011. I both can and cannot believe it was that long ago...

Garden of Sinners/Kara no Kyoukai felt like a glimpse into the future during a time when things seemed especially dire to me, when interesting new titles thinned out and economic turmoil hastened. So needless to say, my expectations for Fate/Zero were quite high, in spite of my general coolness towards Fate as compared to Tsukihime (the VN, cough) or KnK.

It is still my favorite Fate anime - which feels like it has been the default answer for a long time, but not without good reason. I do appreciate the context of the year being added, because it really was a decade defining time, and Zero earned its place as a decade defining title.
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 3:28 pm Reply with quote
Speaking as a Moderator, one general note of caution for this thread (and this applies to all of of the other Classic Streams as well):

Please do NOT assume that everyone following these reviews has already seen the series in its entirety; part of the point of these is to draw in newcomers and/or those who might have started the series in the past but never got around to finishing it. As such, anything about content beyond the currently-reviewed episodes should be appropriately spoiler-tagged. Especially don't reveal the identities of as-yet-unidentified Servants unless they could reasonably be deduced from what has been shown up to the current point in the episodes reviews.

Basically, use what I (or other reviewers) do and don't detail in the reviews as a guideline about what you do and don't need to spoiler-tag.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 6:16 pm Reply with quote
True, I only made it to episode four of Fate/Zero, partly because I already knew how it ended as I was already spoiled by the fact it was a prequel.

But mostly because the series didn't give me anyone to root for, only characters to root against because it's a "kill/defeat them them all" prequel to a well established "defeat them all" multimedia monster so I keep thinking more "so that character [BLANKED].... and then that character [BLANKED].. so why should I care what happens here?" then actually "enjoying" the story. It's almost as if it was written by Gen "You're a butcher" Urobuchi himself. I know the irony that it was SOME other series that earned him that title rather than this series is due to the fact that it's expected of a "kill/defeat them all" story... which itself is a spoiler?

I find the idea of where do spoilers begin for such a "prequel" work to be a lot more interesting that the story itself. It's a Fate work, it will be a combination of mind numbing exposition, "shocking" plot reveals and action. Also, I never liked Saber as a character so I'm pretty biased against the entire franchise who worships her because... some reason.

It's pretty funny that I was interested in the "classic anime watching" idea until I saw which titles ended up being selected. Kill la Kill, 12 Kingdoms and this one and this is the one I object to the least.... probably because I only saw 1/6 of it.
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getumbuck



Joined: 15 Feb 2008
Posts: 137
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 7:35 pm Reply with quote
Fate Zero was a fun series for me, it sort of helped get me back into anime.

I had two friends recommend me the show, who almost never agree on shows to watch together. We had a blast talking about each new episode.
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Kisuke525



Joined: 05 Nov 2019
Posts: 132
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 7:52 pm Reply with quote
Animegomaniac wrote:
True, I only made it to episode four of Fate/Zero, partly because I already knew how it ended as I was already spoiled by the fact it was a prequel.

But mostly because the series didn't give me anyone to root for, only characters to root against because it's a "kill/defeat them them all" prequel to a well established "defeat them all" multimedia monster so I keep thinking more "so that character [BLANKED].... and then that character [BLANKED].. so why should I care what happens here?" then actually "enjoying" the story. It's almost as if it was written by Gen "You're a butcher" Urobuchi himself. I know the irony that it was SOME other series that earned him that title rather than this series is due to the fact that it's expected of a "kill/defeat them all" story... which itself is a spoiler?

I find the idea of where do spoilers begin for such a "prequel" work to be a lot more interesting that the story itself. It's a Fate work, it will be a combination of mind numbing exposition, "shocking" plot reveals and action. Also, I never liked Saber as a character so I'm pretty biased against the entire franchise who worships her because... some reason.

It's pretty funny that I was interested in the "classic anime watching" idea until I saw which titles ended up being selected. Kill la Kill, 12 Kingdoms and this one and this is the one I object to the least.... probably because I only saw 1/6 of it.


Well if you haven't read the Fate route of the visual novel you don't really get much about sabers character. Saber doesn't really get a whole lot to do in the other routes since she isn't the focus and Zero doesn't really handle her well either imo. So idk what other people will say, but I completely understand not being a fan of her if you haven't read it.

She's a good character and quite likable imo, but I really think you need the Fate route to enjoy her character in a way that's more than just thinking she's cool and/or cute.
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KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 11:32 pm Reply with quote
I've gone back and re-watched Fate/Zero a few times and I still often forget just how dense and even info-dump-y the premiere is, now that I'm officially Too Deep to be that blissfully unaware of Fate-related story/lore in general. I'm pretty sure the first time I watched episode one I was at least a little confused, but its been so long I don't remember which aspects/character introductions specifically had that impact. Probably the scene with Kirei in the church where the other two men are circling him like sharks - its been joked about to death for a reason after all. But even then I knew I was going to keep watching after that ending scene, even if I wasn't completely sure of everything happening on-screen.

Regarding the dub, Fate/Zero is definitely an interesting one. I think some of the casting is absolutely spot-on perfect, with probably the weakest link being Grant George (his performance is just a little too unnatural at times, and his character's attitude and lines don't make that part of his job any easier). The script is pretty stilted to a fault, especially in the first few episodes. There are a lot of random mid-sentence pauses that should have been reworded to flow more naturally. I think part of it was the ADR writers/director being faithful to a fault in fear of not getting certain points/subtext across since it is such a word-y series with a bit of a "dive in headfirst" beginning. That being said, it definitely improves as it goes on and nails certain emotional beats down the line.
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Izanagi009



Joined: 20 Oct 2014
Posts: 423
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 11:22 am Reply with quote
Ah Fate Zero, one of the best series i have found in my anime viewing history and one of the pivotal ones for me personally.

I admit, seeing a review of it this decade feels surreal but I will have some fun with it as someone who watched the sub version twice.

But yeah, to me, this is the epitome of Fate animated series in terms of themes and characters. The animated FSN series don't compare as much as that might infuriate some people.

Regardless, next episode should be a more intense, less exposition heavy one. A showcase of the more technical side of the show.

Edit: I'm curious to see how people coming in from FGO Babylonia think of Fate Zero or F/Z as some shorten it to
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:43 pm Reply with quote
Animegomaniac wrote:
But mostly because the series didn't give me anyone to root for, only characters to root against because it's a "kill/defeat them them all" prequel to a well established "defeat them all" multimedia monster so I keep thinking more "so that character [BLANKED].... and then that character [BLANKED].. so why should I care what happens here?" then actually "enjoying" the story. It's almost as if it was written by Gen "You're a butcher" Urobuchi himself. I know the irony that it was SOME other series that earned him that title rather than this series is due to the fact that it's expected of a "kill/defeat them all" story... which itself is a spoiler?


To be fair, Urobuchi is known for killing his characters off, but it sells him short quite a bit. Where he fails at deviating from his favorite twists (ie. "The monsters were people all along!"), he excels at giving meaning and weight to character actions and even (especially?) deaths. Most readers of Fate/Zero's novels were originally already fans of Fate/Stay Night and would've already known how the story was going to end, yet Fate/Zero is a fan favorite in the franchise, even today, because the ride to reach that ending is so memorable.

Also, though it's true that Urobuchi isn't afraid to kill off important characters, if you're going into a series he wrote expecting everyone to die, you're going to be quite disappointed. I honestly think he's known as the "butcher", not so much for his body count, but for how impactful so many of his character deaths are. I distinctly remember many series he wrote where I had a pretty good inkling a character was going to die, yet I had an unusual desire to hold onto hope they would live, right to the point they died.
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OtherSideofSky



Joined: 19 May 2016
Posts: 79
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:57 pm Reply with quote
Fate/Zero is the only Fate novel adaptation that I like better than its source material (largely because Urobuchi's fight scenes are overburdened with purple prose and drag as a result).
I generally like the English dub, but it bothers me that Waver doesn't have a British accent, given that he's from the UK and canonically never learns to speak Japanese. (I also think that dubs should do more with accents in general.)
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Stelman257



Joined: 26 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:45 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Finally, the English dub is being provided by Bang Zoom! Entertainment. Through two episodes it is far from being one of the company's stronger efforts. Some roles – especially Jamieson K. Price as Rider/Iksander – sound fine, but slightly stilted deliveries and struggles with some pronunciations are a bit too common. Hopefully this will smooth out as the series progresses.

I don't know about it being "far from their stronger efforts". The casting was insanely good, everyone from Matthew Mercer, Marc Diraison, Kari Wahlgren, and of course Crispin Freeman sounding absolutely pitch perfect in their roles. And of course you already mentioned Jamieson Price as Rider.
I think dubbing the show was an absolutely herculean task with how wordy i is, and how dense everything lore wise and character wise is. So it just sounds strange to me to hear someone call it "Far from their stronger efforts", when that just seems like a very shortsighted way to describe it. It is based only on the first two episodes but even still.
I think this post was a more accurate summary of the early dub:
KitKat1721 wrote:
Regarding the dub, Fate/Zero is definitely an interesting one. The script is pretty stilted to a fault, especially in the first few episodes. There are a lot of random mid-sentence pauses that should have been reworded to flow more naturally. I think part of it was the ADR writers/director being faithful to a fault in fear of not getting certain points/subtext across since it is such a word-y series with a bit of a "dive in headfirst" beginning. That being said, it definitely improves as it goes on and nails certain emotional beats down the line.

Yeah I'd more or less agree here, I think some of the scripting could've definitely been more natural, but it was the first Fate dub in a loooong time and really, with a show like Fate, you can only play it so loose, because as you said, there's a very genuine fear that certain subtext and points will get lost.
While their approach may have been somewhat stilted early on, it absolutely pays off in spades and I ultimately think it was the correct decision to make when handling a show like this. Everything in early Fate/Zero was a sort of clunky and business first, fun second sort of ordeal, even more so that it was the first Fate anime in a long time, and ufotables first crack at the franchise.
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Key
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:39 am Reply with quote
^
The awkward pauses are probably my main complaint, and whether it's because of direction or the script, that's still a dubbing problem. I am also less than impressed with Bridget Hoffman as Irisviel, which is one of the larger vocal roles so far. Although I have liked her (under various names) in roles such as Mizuho in Please Teacher!, Mima in Perfect Blue, or especially Mahoro in Mahoromatic over the years, I don't feel like her distinctive vocal style is as good a fit here.
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Stelman257



Joined: 26 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:49 am Reply with quote
I thought she was one of the best by the end of it honestly! See how she pans out for you but yeah I genuinely loved her as Irisviel.
And yeah the script pauses are a fair criticism like I said, but I do honestly believe they were, I suppose, a necessarily evil of sorts to give the show the kind of proper and faithful dub it really needed given how dense and rooted in its franchise it is. It's strange to say I know, but hey it's one of my favourite dubs and shows of all time for a reason. It all comes together so beautifully.
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zrdb



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:55 pm Reply with quote
Who cares about awkward pauses? I sure don't, Fate/Zero kicks ass and takes no prisoners and ufotable's animation is fantastic.
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myskaros



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:36 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Some of the credit for this goes to Yuki Kajiura for kicking up the musical score a few notches (and finally distancing the series some from SAO comparisons)

Er, all of Fate/Zero aired before the first season of Sword Art Online.
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SilverTalon01



Joined: 02 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:38 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
(This is actually similar to what Irisviel and Kiritsugu seem to be doing, so it's not as unique as they think.)


That isn't quite accurate. Iri is pretending to be the master because the Einsberns are one of the 3 founding families so everyone will just assume she is the master if she puts up a front. Both sides are trying to pull a fast one, but the tricks are completely different.

spoiler[Saber is more powering Iri through Avalon than the other way around.]
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