Heroism. A concept often taken for granted, with very clear lines between right and wrong. What ends up defining a person being a hero isn’t quite as simple in real life, and is largely defined or judged by a person’s moral standards. Some people would go so far to argue that heroism isn’t even a completely plausible concept, considering that no one fits the perfect image of a hero in real life.
Many of the simple goals that apply to such individuals are not easy to achieve. It’s not easy to accomplish something on a greater level, and it is only natural that once their life is forfeit, they carry their regrets, wishes and dreams with them to the grave.
This is the moral conflict centered around the Fate series in general and Fate/Zero in particular, and it works exceptionally well; we see many perspectives on such subjects, and there is an entire conflict whether the end justifies the means or the means justifies the end.
This works due to the fantastic character dynamics and interactions throughout the show, with a lot of amazing dialogue that fleshes out the characters and makes us understand their line of thinking in an extremely detailed manner.
Of course, as one would expect from a tournament where the winner can literally make any wish come true, the battles are beautifully animated and filled with adrenaline. This show is intense and makes absolutely certain to keep the suspense high by not knowing who is the main character and making every battle a potential life or death battle. Viewers will be rooting for different characters over the course of the show depending on their own moral dilemmas, and it is undeniably interesting to talk about this show and find out who was rooting for who.
The presentation is top notch, with some absolutely chilling scenes out of just the dialogue, surpassing some of the actual battles in the show (as astounding as that sounds). The exposition isn’t as well handled as one would expect, and this is especially apparent in the first episode which is literally 40 minutes of explaining everything about the Holy Grail War in every bit of detail possible as well as introduce us to the various participants. The first episode is undeniably better if you have more experience with the franchise, but comes off as rather lengthy and boring if this is your introduction to the franchise (though I’d personally argue it’s worth it).
The artwork is clean and distinct, with absolutely amazing character designs and amazing amount of detail in facial expressions and beautifully drawn movements. The animation is gorgeous, with CGI being used exeptionally well and the battles being easily among the best I’ve seen out of anime.
The soundtrack is no exception, with Yuki Kajura being as amazing as ever and delvering some absolutely amazing tracks in the show, my personal favorites being “Let the Stars fall down” and the ending theme, Memoria. The voice acting is just as amazing in both Japanese and English, with the voice actors fitting their respective roles extremely well.
Ultimately, the first season builds up very for the second season and acts as an introduction of sorts to all the characters before tragedy hits. This works extremely well, and patience will be rewarded in the second season.
Fate/Zero is ultimately an excellent show with amazing dialogue, great characters and gorgeous battles. It suffers from being too expository for its own good, and while that can be a turn off initially it becomes very rewarding as the show continues. I highly recommend it for its mature and morally ambiguous handling of various ideals and balancing so many different perspectives so well, and I believe there is something in this show for just about everyone.