Fate/Zero Goes “To The Beginning”

I’m still savoring the feeling of enjoying the ride to the end. When the credit scroll hit in episode 25 I was like, that was nice.

Oh, spoiler warning for Fate/Zero, obvious. I’ll break this into a few different parts demarcated by bold titles.

Episode 24-25

But never can the destination outweight the journey, or could it? This is all just a roundabout way to talk about how we feel about Fate/Zero being a prequel to a series that is, at best, lackluster.

But to Fate/stay nerds like us it is not really the problem; rather I should say, it is not the Fate/stay night anime in which Fate/Zero preludes, but the entire morass of mix-media crap that sprawls from that Fate/prototype junk from Nasu’s wastebasket to the nth video game since Tsukihime that pairs random couples from Nasuverse to death-matches.

But I suppose that is okay in terms of how one of the main features of Fate/Zero, anime or otherwise, is to satisfy Fate/stay nerds. How else can you giggle with anticipation seeing Avalon lying inside a wooden box? In Fate/Zero we don’t see the damage Kiritsugu took during his first hunt against Kayneth, and thus we only know Kiritsugu can go “OMG IS THIS FREEZING” in his final showdown with Kotomine.

I’ll give Butch the credit to go “Square,” though. Sure beats “Quadruple.”

Rather than talk about story, plot, music, production value, digital composition (which is probably the highlight of this production), storyboards, or anything else typically gets reviewed, let’s talk about how ufotable is probably overrun with women as animators? I wish I could, because that might explain the glorious Gilgamesh fanservice in the last episode. I think the equal-opportunity fanservice is a great touch to this show; the novels are generally speaking fanservice neutral in the sense that all its fanservice energy is focused on the plot/character details (cue the Rin x Sakura scene in episode 25 for a great example). I appreciate the spin in the anime as it was regardless tastefully done for the most part. It certainly is one of those little things that further distinguished Fate/Zero from its peers.

Yep, the difference is that some looks at the dialog with Shiro with chagrin and dread, others with excitement, and some are like, “I just want more plz.”

We can spin a lot of different threads about the different character motivations. I think Iri’s got some of the best; after all, this android can dream. I’ll save it maybe later/someone else.

Remember OP animation that spoils everything? The OP song is kind of like that, but for reviewers.

I’m going to point out the true value add: Kalafina. Of course, it’s not the only value-add, but let’s stick with this for now. Regardless of your opinion on Kajiura nonsense and what not, or the music project born from Kara no Kyoukai, I think Japanese animation is the only sort of mass-market production engine of animation that could spend real money on artists and musicians to soundtrack and a pretty decent trio to vocalize your themes, to the degree of making a separate entity. To that end, the lyrics to “To the Beginning” summarizes basically how 80% of us feel about Fate/Zero. And I quote [just the translation; click on the link to get the rest]:

[Emphasis, kanji and romanji removed]
A miracle will surely occur just once more
In a gentle voice you imagine a warped future

In order to create a world where no one will cry again
Without reaching anyone your screams and prayers
disappear into the tainted crimson sky
and you’re able to go on having abandoned all hope of comfort

The beautiful light of the moon
sinks to the beginning
Towards that distance
which is yet so far away
I hold out my hands
with closing eyes,
believing in your lamentation

The truth is you want someone to save you
Your lost heart bores a hole in the sky

If I could choose you
and search for happiness for the two of us alone
No matter what cold flames burned my body
Your smile would be close by

This writhing dream is my reason for living
I wish to return this world of fear
into the clearness of the water

Sadness is the only thing one can never erase
As I cut through even the logic
of such a person’s heart
down to zero we go

The beautiful light of the moon
simply erodes quietly to the beginning
My locked away desire
is still far away
within the darkness
All the days in which
I lived together with you
are a gentle song

Now imagine the lyrics, phrase by phrase, as a Type-Moon fan who isn’t happy with the way Fate/stay night anime turned out. I think it actually makes sense hoping that Fate/Zero is going to be the bomb? And indeed, the lyricist must’ve written it having read the novel (because it actually describes Kiritsugu’s internal struggles) and has not seen the anime (duh).

The “beautiful light of the moon” is kind of the prerequisite identifier for Type-Moon, a bit like that Type-Moon Blue [someone should make paint color and market it as such for otaku bucks]. Indeed, Fate/zero is the prayers we Fate nerds make yet again to create an anime that is worthy of the weight of its collective nerd-ness. The essence of goodness of Type-Moon does boil down cleanly to what enables Fate/Zero to exist, thus “The beautiful light of the moon/simply erodes quietly to the beginning.”

The prequel is suppose to be our salvation; not the divisive point. Unfortunately, Fate/zero is anything but gentle. It does not unite but it only shows us how much more beautiful it could have been. It’s the hole in the sky; the false wishing machine. Rather than hope, it is a deluge of death.

Does it sell?

Fate/Zero Blu-ray box 1 sold really well. I can only imagine similar (if not better) numbers for box 2. I ask this question only because I remember when ufotable created Rakkyo as 7 films rather than a TV series. It’s a very interesting experiment that I’m going to assume they will not try again.

I have my fair share of complaints as I watched the anime. I think largely it has to do with pacing. A lot of the stuff in the first half was stretched out a little too much for my liking, and it did result in more compression in the second half, where they could’ve milked out some of the more dramatic moments. We didn’t really seek Kiritsugu’s true face until Lancer died, and that didn’t happen until a third of the way in the second half.

Yes, I’m saying if Fate/Zero was 3 films instead of 25 episodes long, it may or may not have been better; or rather, at the end of it, I am left to wonder about that. Maybe they went the theatrical route for Rakkyo because it wouldn’t work for TV? I suppose it would more likely because they would have made way more money if they went to TV, when they could.

Well, hopefully we’ll see some quality dumpster divers for Nasu’s wastebasket, because you know it’s going to happen.


2 Responses to “Fate/Zero Goes “To The Beginning””

  • vendredi

    “Maybe they went the theatrical route for Rakkyo because it wouldn’t work for TV?”

    I think there might be a technological/expertise angle to it. The first Kara no Kyoukai film came out in 2007, after all.

    It’s possible that ufotable might not have had the resources and/or expertise in 2007 that they did for Fate/Zero in 2012, 5 years and 7 movies later; the experience gained doing the Kara no Kyoukai films could easily have made the decision to do Fate/Zero as a TV series easier.

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