And thus, Fate/Zero comes to an end. By now, it should have been obvious it wasn’t going to be a flashy ending but this episode did a great job in tying up loose ends and even surprising some of the LN readers at the same time. Now, it wasn’t the best ending and I was expecting much more, but I feel that Fate/Zero delivered on a solid but mighty depressing end. This is where I say: Go read the Fate/stay night visual novel, because it directly continues from this series and may answer your questions. I’ll miss this show dearly, I’ll definitely miss Yuki Kajiura’s wonderful music but I’ll remember Rider the most out of them all.
I think Saber had it worse than most people think: She finally admitted she wasn’t fit to be a king, echoing Rider’s statements about her. Indeed, her indecisiveness cost her dearly and not punishing Lancelot for his affair ended up turning him into Berserker, but even then he still acknowledged her to be the best king there ever was. I feel these last two episodes really helped Saber’s character showing her how her ideals are horribly flawed and the aftermath of her destroying the grail, against her will. Because Kiritsugu used all three of his command spells, he and Saber lost the war so our winners ended up being Kirei and Gilgamesh.
First of all, this may or may not be explained in the Blu-ray release but what happened to Gilgamesh was that he was supposed to be tainted by the black mud, the corrupted grail, and supposed to have gone berserk. But Gilgamesh’s high level of arrogance and confidence was much stronger than the mud, thus he was able to repel the effects. Gil also tells Kirei that the destruction caused by the grail was his dream – but Kirei refutes this, and wants to witness this calamity again “to the very end”. I also feel really bad for Kariya: I thought the reunion with Sakura and Rin was real until Aoi stepped in and then I knew the truth, but damn having spent everything on saving one person and said person mocking you for being a foolish man and deserved to die…I think Kariya deserves the title of “Most Suffering in an Anime”.
And of course our oh-so loveable red head protagonist makes his first of many appearances to come. It’s hard to talk about Shiro’s role other than he’s the protagonist of Fate/Zero’s sequel and he fully intends on becoming the hero that Kiritsugu couldn’t. Basically, just go and read the novel: it doesn’t live up to Urobuchi’s standard of depressing, but it does have its moments that do qualify as pure despair. That leads me to Rin: now that she’s the new head of the Tohsaka family, she’ll be trained on being a mage. I found Kirei’s “gift” to be pure irony and pure evil: Hey, let’s give the daughter of the man I killed the weapon I used to kill him! Let’s just say that dagger plays a role in the sequel and leave it at that. Kirei is a pure bastard, plain and simple but there’s worse characters beside him (like Zouken…). But damn, that was some sexy engrish from Kirei. Kiritsugu realized too late how childish his wish was but it was more of the fact that the grail was tainted and no one knew how horrible the outcome was. I think it’s a common thread, but suffering tends to plague everyone in this series in different ways. Perhaps the ultimate goal of Fate/Zero was to show us how horribly wrong the world could become if a couple of cogs came undone in the big scheme of things. If some of you watched Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, you’d be very familiar with this type of despair and characters who may seem evil, but their real status is a mystery.
So in the end, not much really happened except for tying up loose ends with our main character’s conflicts, I definitely liked how Waver wanted to go on his own journey, you’ll make Iskandar proud. Ufotable did a great job, though there were some dips in quality along the way and some questionable pacing issues, but I couldn’t have asked for a more faithful adaptation for a very complex novel. I’m planning on going to Anime Expo and attending the finale screening with the staff members, and hopefully try to get to attend the Yuki Kajiura concert (though it’s almost sold out…), and their going to have command seals to wear..ahem. I’m glad to have stumbled across the Fate/series with reading Fate/stay night and I’m really glad that Fate/Zero more than lived up to its predecessor’s reputation. This is a series I’m proud to say that I’m a fan (boy) of.
Ending Theme: To the Beginning by Kalafina
Animation – 9/10: It’s beautiful even when it doesn’t have to be. Some dips, like the episode with Rider’s Ionian Hetairoi reveal had to sacrifice Saber’s beautiful face to give us a very nicely animated noble phantasm. Still, one or two dips in a show that’s consistently amazing is nothing too noticeable.
Story – 11/15: Everyone had a great resolution to their conflicts, but there’s quite a few number of skipped scenes that I assume will be in the blu-ray release: These are a bit important, especially this episode: Where did Gilgamesh come from?
Sound – 9/10: Yuki Kajiura’s mythical style of music really works well for this series (and her own made up language, apparently). The voice acting was amazing, particularly for Saber, Waver, Rider, Kiritsugu and Irisviel. Not to say that the others weren’t great, but these characters showed completely different sides at points of the series and their voice actors did an excellent job transitioning to these key scenes. On to the OP/ED: I find myself more attached to this season’s OP/ED rather than season 1’s, but both are very solid in their own right.
Characters – 17/20: Everyone got solid character development, but Kiritsugu’s was a double edged sword. While we definitely benefited from knowing more about the mysterious magus killer, it came at the wrong time when this show was building up for something great it was interrupted by Kerry’s two backstory episodes. Not the best way to have handled that.
Enjoyment – 40/45: Fate/Zero stumbled a bit in the second half, but it was a really amazing series that featured a mostly adult cast and handled its situations and problems as such. The dialogues were intense and filled with suspense and even during the non battle episodes, there was still so much to look forward to. Nothing ever felt wasted, no episode was meaningless and everyone had real, deep reasons for seeking the grail. A wonderful story using folktale characters, indeed.
Overall – 86/100 (B+) – Temporary because there’s confirmation that some skipped scenes will be in the Blu-ray and I’ll hold my final judgment until then.