Thursday, March 06, 2014

Fate/Zero - Media Review

After last week's mammoth post on the Anthropic principle, quantum measurement and the nature of consciousness, let us turn to a lighter topic, media commentary. Yesterday I finished watching this anime called Fate/Zero. It behooves me to have a short discussion.
The heroic spirits are pretty cool... you almost want to see more.
Plot Overview
I will try to summarize the series in short without spoiling anything. Fate/Zero is set in modern day Japan, 10 years before the events of Fate/StayNight. But coexisting with the Japan we expect is another world, one with mages who all seem to accept the jurisdiction of the Church. (The series doesn't try to sell Christianity in a any way, it is not religious, the church only serves to put the story in context.) Magic is a tradition that seems to have been passed down through centuries of powerful magi families. What has also survived centuries is a war between these families for Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is a miraculous entity that chooses 7 masters who then fight to attain the one wish that the grail would grant the victor. Each master is allowed to summon servant, who is essentially a Heroic spirit from the past with supernatural powers. The main protagonist is Kiritsugo Emiya, one of the 7 masters, whose Batmanesque faith in the future is contrasted by his Punisheresque unscrupulous methods.

Why you should watch this show

The Heroic spirits are their personalities are the most enjoyable part of the series. Most notably, you have Alexander the Great, King Arthur and Gilgamesh amongst others. Their powers are cool, each is a superlative warrior and has a special unique superpower called the ultimate Noble Phantasm. With so much "superpowery" and vastly unique styles, I was curious to see how the fight scenes are treated. And they did not disappoint. The tension is built very well and the fight scenes are more about strategy and the larger picture rather than fast 1-on-1 combat. 
The character development is not that deep, and only a few characters are explored at all. This can be a little frustrating and I wish the other characters were developed more. But the main characters have enough depth to keep even the stagnant character study engaging through the short series. Artistically the show is top notch... great graphics, excellent soundtrack and the english dub has a great voiceover cast. It might disappoint a lot of the meta crowd, who are looking for something to stand out weird. The soundtrack is great, but not something radical like bebop... the art is good but not something unique... the story is interesting all the way, yet its not going to win any awards. But nothing dilutes the fact that Fate/Zero delivers a good looking story with very few sore points. So if you are looking for 25 entertaining episodes with some interesting characters, I recommend Fate/Zero.

My Rating : 8.0 out of 10.

PS : Though I don't really mind the manga style art and fan service in most other anime, it was a nice refreshing break to see a series without either. It is a more Hollywood style anime in that sense. I have heard/read that Fate/StayNight is not as good, Fate/Zero is good enough to stand alone.

PPS : Every now and then, I want to mention interesting books/movies/shows/anime... anything really. It wont be a deep knowledgeable review, this is just a cheap way to post regularly.

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