Fate/Zero II – 01 – 03 Review

Episode 01 (14) -03 (16)

I have been slowly making my way back to the blog and this is my first review in months. Hopefully I haven’t lost too many braincells over the last few months. But honestly, I can hardly tell which way is up.

Since I am feeling all old and rusty, I’ll probably end up making this review a speedy one covering a few points from each episode.

Review

Episode 01 (14)

Hello hello hello… It’s been awhile since we last saw these folks on screen and it had honestly taken me a couple of minutes to mentally recap what the last season was about.

I am not sure if I should be rejoicing or frowning over the fact that we were not showered by flashbacks of the previous season. It was definitely nice having been thrown straight into the mix of the battle, and as with a high tension and high action scene, one can expect that it wouldn’t be too hard to get into the mood of things. Sadly, that tension didn’t last long before the OP kicked in and we were graced by our typical Fate/Zero wordy dialogues.

On the the note of this season’s OP, it was definitely not as exciting nor captivating as the first season’s OP but it was still alright.

The animation started off with a nice balance of CGI thrown into the mix again, and for a moment I had thought that I could let down my guard and enjoy the animation as the textures applied during those CGI scenes were really pretty spot on and in tie with the overall look of the series. That is until we got into that damn cat and mouse chasing scene. (Honestly, what a waste of screen time. Plus, all those overly dynamic shots had manage to lose me along the way and I had no clue what the heck I was seeing except for it being a nice light display.)

The gang is all back and Ryunosuke is awesome as usual with his maniacal tendencies. (What would you do if you had a friend who was a interested in biology as he was?) Sadly, he got sniped by the anti-climatic Kiritsugu and thats the end of him. Which brings me to Kiritsugu. Similar to last season, this guy hasn’t evolved too much in the first episode, he continues to lurk in the shadows and I am shocked he hadn’t sniped both Matou and Tokiomi while they were standing around getting nothing done through their “fight”. At the very least one could have hoped that Berserker would have put up a better battle against Archer, but we had mostly gotten more of a light show than a blood-pumping fight.

Overall: It was a decent episode. But as usual, due to the amount of characters in the series, the show suffers from having to cover too many angles and thus delaying the “timeline”. Think of it as “days of our lives”, but better. (I feel like I am going to be cursed for saying that.) Honestly though, this was definitely a good episode to get myself back into blogging. God knows, Kimi to Boku‘s new season made me all lethargic instead of excited.

Note for the epiosde: May Ryu and Caster’s love for one another RIP.

Episode Rating: 7.5/10

Episode 02 (15)

The show continues with it’s airplane tag and ends in it’s usual anti-climatic manner. Do I spot a trend? Then again, one should have realised by now that the series is less focused on battles and more focused on the character development aspect, so who am I to complain when all these anti-climatic moments are done to add to some form of character development.

The star of the episode for me was definitely Lancer. Why? Cos I love the dude. Heck, I have his image as my screen saver on my iphone just so that I remember to blog about the series. (Yes, it was a mental game to persuade myself to get off my ass and blog.) Apart of his obvious charm, the whole Chivalry thing just warmed my heart. Although it is sad to see that Lancer is now at a disadvantage, the same goes with everyone else as other characters had managed to sacrifice something in this episode. Saber had shown her ultimate energy consuming move, Lancer had removed the curse off of Saber, Rider was worn down from having to hold his reality marble, and Archer got injured during his fight with Berserker who is also injured.

On the up side, Kiritsugu has finally sort of emerged from the shadows. I am still unhappy with the man’s manipulation, but credit has to be given when credit is due. He had manage to get Saber back to being 100% whilst secretly taunting the code of honor that the knights seem to share amongst themselves. I would say that he and Kirei are probably the only ones who had gotten the slightly longer end of the stick out of this battle as both of them had benefited in some way.

Kirei had also obviously taken Lord Archer’s words into consideration and we are starting to see the cracks form in the alliance between Tokiomi and Kirei. Kirei is finally growing a mind of his own and it is a manner of little time before he returns and fully turns his back on Tokiomi.

What I had enjoyed in this episode was how the knights had manage to come together to defeat the common enemy without it turning into some cheesy and out of character situation. The story had manage to keep the balance and the believability of the situation by giving each character a reason to act the way they did. And this is really one of the reason’s why I like this series. Apart from the lack of weight magic plays in this series (with the exception of this big battle), the Holy Grail War boils down to being a psychological warfare as oppose to an actual “Neanderthal Clubbing Match”.

By the end of this episode, I had honestly wanted to hold Archer down and give him a few good slaps as the amount of eye-rolling that I was doing whilst he was speaking had started to turn into a health risk for me. Then again, I really do love his cocky attitude. (As you can tell, I can’t seem to make up my mind if I love the show or have an issue with it).

Overall: It was a decent episode that had manage to finally eliminate a pair and we are seeing a shift in the approach the masters are starting to take towards the competition in this war. The animation of the whole airplane scene was pretty much a blur to me and it had definitely lacked the “oomph”/punch that the first season’s battle scenes had. The series is definitely an interesting watch as things are nowhere near getting stale and I am expecting a lot of shifts to happen over the remainder of the season.

Note for the epiosde: My heart melts for Lancer, and I am glad that Caster and Ryu had manage to get a “happy ending” of sorts.

Episode Rating: 8/10 – Saber finally shows us that her sword is more than a baseball bat. No more hiding being her curse.

Episode 03 (16)

The series takes on a more serious note in this episode with an escalation in the gore and battles of beliefs and attitudes taken towards war.

Kenneth’s return was short-lived but had managed to facilitate the obvious rift present in this war – those who believe in Chilvary VS those who see war as being hell itself. Although I am sad that Lancer is now dead and had turned into a somewhat weird zombie right before dying, I was definitely glad to see Kiritsugu step in and play a part in the war.

Despite the cold-blooded manner in which Kiri had mapped his strategy around defeating Team Lancer, I couldn’t help but enjoy watching the situation play out. It was a nice contrast to the whole “knight’s code of honor” that Lancer and Saber had been going on about, and that was the main reason behind why their fights were constantly never-ending and failed to come to a conclusion. It had always appeared to be more of a play-date than an actual battle to the death.

Another thing to note is the amount of gore in this episode. I honestly felt like puking while we were watching Sola’s hand dangling from the fence. It was bad having known that she was missing an arm, but her constant search for her arm was making me cringe.

Lancer’s cursed mole also came into play for a final time (since they are all dead now) with how Sola had tied the importance of her arm to Lancer. Rather than it seeming like her wanting to call for help, it had honestly felt like she wanted to call for his love. (This is my own view on the situation) Of course when talking about the mole in this episode, how could one forget the annoying and whiny Kenneth? If he hadn’t died in this episode, I would have thrown gone into the show and killed him myself. God, he was getting on my nerves. For someone with a lot of pride, he sure as hell doesn’t elude that aura.

The animation of the battle scene in this episode was also another let down. The clashing of swords could have been a clashing of clubs for all I know but as I had said above, the show doesn’t really focus on the “action” but instead focuses on the underlying pyschological warfare that is constantly playing out.

I could go on and wrote a whole lot more about the episode and my thoughts on it, but that would require its own post and this is meant to be a post with 3 short reviews. 😉

Overall: The moral of the episode is that guns do a much better job at moving the plot forward than magic will ever do. The priest is dead, no one got the seals, team Lancer is out, and Saber is starting to understand Kiri better. Oh, and Kirei is turning into less of a drone.

Odd thing to note: That was some speedy first-aid that Maiya had executed on Sola. One minute she is bloody and holding her hand, and next it’s all wrapped up and tended to.

Episode Rating: 8.5/10 – The darker side of the series coupled with the consistent flow of tension in the episode had definitely captured my attention.

Till the next episode!

-ra

Question of the Week:

Which side are you leaning towards in the case of Chivalry VS Kiri’s version of war being hell?

Personally, as much as I enjoy the heroic actions that we see the Servants engage in, I am leaning towards Kiri’s idea of war.

This point of view comes across as being more realistic and much more honest (what an oxymoron to use the word honest when talking about Kiri’s style). He simply does everything that is needed to win, and I can’t see how that isn’t what people would do when their lives are at risk. Even a character like Kenneth would rather throw his pride away and save his life than to hold onto it. But I guess that’s the whole point of Lancer’s screaming blood murder at the end.

About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on April 25, 2012, in Anime, Fate/Zero II and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. “(Honestly, what a waste of screen time. Plus, all those overly dynamic shots had manage to lose me along the way and I had no clue what the heck I was seeing except for it being a nice light display.)”

    I am assuming that this is because you are not used to dynamic shounen anime (as Fate/Zero is one). Those scenes were the most amazing part of the first episode. Also as shown in the next two episodes, that was not a waste of time. Berserker was introduced to allow for Kirei to betray his master while Gilgamesh was distracted.

    Like

    • Hi Prongs,

      Well, what I had meant wasn’t that Berserker’s scene wasn’t important, but what I was getting at was the fact that the whole fighting in the air scene could have been executed better and the only impression that it had left on me was the fact that it had happened. =)

      I had a hard time understanding whether there was a meaning behind each move or was it just simply a fight scene just for the sake of being there. And it had felt like the latter as it was merely there to introduce Berserker and set things up to follow as oppose to the fight having a choreography of sorts.

      I am sorry if it had read in a different manner. =)

      Like

  2. I think a weakness of Fate/Zero is characters having personal philosophies that are just too extreme to function properly/morally. Saber’s unwavering sense of pride and “honor” frequently endanger her own life and that of others by intentionally handicapping herself. Like when they are fighting the Clthulu monster Saber is too proud to use Excaliber even though that was literally the only thing that could stop it. It’s like Saber thinks the point of the war is to have honorable battles instead of getting the grail. On the other side of it Kiritsugu is cold and ruthless to the point that you would forget he’s actually trying to save the world (something Saber comments on). I think there is a problem when the villains and “heroes” are indistinguishable beyond what their final goal is. The way he wiped out Team Lancer was pointlessly cruel.

    If you recall in the last season of Fate/Zero they had this same thing of opposite philosophies that are too extreme to fully agree with. Saber believed she should always shoulder the burden of protecting everything and being as distant as possible. Protecting people is nice but people will never grow and become dependent on you. Rider believed that kings should live big to inspire others and it’s the duty of subjects to sacrifice for him. Being inspirational is nice, being a dictator isn’t.

    Back on the subject of Kiritsugu and Saber, both of them had valid points to make about battlefield conduct. Kiritsugu thinks that there is nothing glorious about war and that you should be as ruthless as possible to end it sooner. It’s a sin to feel proud about killing others. Saber on the other hand believes that as honor is a virtue in the other domains of life and warfare is part of the human condition, you should be honorable on the battlefield. There needs to be a balance between these two ideals.

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    • “It’s like Saber thinks the point of the war is to have honorable battles instead of getting the grail. ”

      I totally agree with you on that point. Her actions almost mocks the weight of the situation. I have a hard time accepting Saber’s character in this series for that reason.

      “The way he wiped out Team Lancer was pointlessly cruel. “

      Hmmm, I would see it as being effective rather than cruel. It was the way that probably presented the highest success rate with the least amount of risk to himself and his party.

      “If you recall in the last season of Fate/Zero they had this same thing of opposite philosophies that are too extreme to fully agree with.”

      Definitely, and I think this is a big reason behind what makes this series so intriguing to watch. As oppose to watching a series for the fight scenes played out in a typical “tournament” like manner, the focus of the series is on the characters and their beliefs and mindset/approach towards how they execute their plans to attain their final goal.

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  3. Welcome back Saranaufogus!

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    • To your question, chivalry comes in play only if it is observed by all parties. I think chivalry was never a reality once in the history of warfare. It is mostly composed of a revisionist retelling of a historical King Arthur to a romantic audience.

      I mean, if you study the wisdom of the great strategists, (from Sun-Tzu to Musashi to Clausewitz to Picq to Lawrence to Boyd) you’ll come to the conclusion that the ideal is to manage difficult situations or people through deft and intelligent maneuvers. We need practical knowledge on how to deal with conflict, not some impossible or inhuman ideals of peace & cooperation to live up to & end up in the attendant confusion.

      If Saber was truly a strategist, she would realize the advantage of the righteous strategy: demonstrate her cause as more just than her enemies. However, Saber would have to expose her opponents’ motives and make them look petty in order to erode their base and take away any room to maneuver.

      Kuritsugu is the superior strategist, given the 3rd episode: instead of fighting an endless battle, exhausting himself in a costly and unimaginative way, he chose to maneuver before the battle started: he found out Archibald’s weakness and maneuvered him into a position of weakness that made the end easy and quick. Kuritsugu gave Archibald a dilemma: a choice to make, and neither choice was good.

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      • Hi Zammael,

        It’s good to be back. =)

        I think chivalry was never a reality once in the history of warfare. It is mostly composed of a revisionist retelling of a historical King Arthur to a romantic audience.

        I am not surprised at all. I can honestly never see it working as chivalry seems more like something people would follow through with only if they can afford to do so, and war doesn’t seem like the right ground for such a situation.

        If Saber was truly a strategist, she would realize the advantage of the righteous strategy

        Well, we haven’t been shown any inkling of Saber’s strategic side so I shall not hold my breath. =p

        Either way, I can’t wait to see what the next episode brings. I am hoping the focus will be moved back onto Kirei and his mental “breakdown”/”enlightenment”.

        Like

  4. The first two episodes didn’t get my attention that much. But the third one left me speechless. There are too many things I’m still trying to process about that episode.

    They destroyed one of the best characters around in every possible way (Lancer). First Kenneth breaks his honor by insulting his past, his knighthood, and by making him commit suicide in the middle of a fight; and then his good character is corrupted by hate just before he dies in the least poetic way possible.
    It also shocked me how Lancer seemed to have misunderstood Saber’s actions, as if she had only arrived to keep him busy while Kiritsugu made all the nasty work. I could really feel Saber’s pain right there as she tumbled when Lancer looked at her to the eyes saying “Do none of you feel any shame” (Or something like that).

    Kiri’s way of killing also impressed me from start to finish. I wasn’t expecting Maiya to cut someone’s arm with a knife, it was way to brute for her. But I thought “At least she didn’t kill her”, and then it turns out the only reason she didn’t, was to use her as a pressure tool for Kiritsugu (Oh, and later she killed her). I also find remarkable that Kiritsugu didn’t even have to get his own hands dirty to get the job done.

    About Saber’s VS Kiri’s vision of war, I think it was a great touch to give this episode a meaning, instead of leaving it just as a slaughter-based plot. I really couldn’t believe how my opinion of Kiritsugu changed after just few seconds of him talking. I believe everything he said was true. War is just a device to get things done by force (almost by definition). The chivalry creed is respectable, but in the end it just gets in the way of the main objective. I mean, it’s nice that a soldier fights just for honor, but wars don’t start for that reason (with very few exceptions). I’d say Saber’s vision is that of a soldier, while Kiri’s vision is that of a general/tactician/whoever-is-not-involved-in-direct-fights. The funny thing is that those are exactly the roles they’re playing on the series. (It’s also interesting how both visions can co-exist in real wars)

    DAMN this episode was intense.

    Like

    • “They destroyed one of the best characters around in every possible way (Lancer).”

      They definitely did a number on the character. Although I do feel sad over that fact, the way his death had played out had definitely left an impact and was better than any other ending that I could imagine.

      As for his misunderstanding of Saber’s actions… that was a tad odd as well. But I can see how he may had thought that Saber was in on everything. After all, how well does Lancer actually know Saber. In the end, it was their over-confident attitude through their unwavering sense of honor that had led to their downfall.

      DAMN this episode was intense.

      That it is. =D

      Like

  5. I may have read over this in reading your blog, but is this a remake? I swear I’ve watched this before but there seem to be slight differences in what I remember, sort of Fullmetal-like differences. Just curious. I’ll watch it if its different, otherwise, I don’t think I’m ready to rewatch it.

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    • Fate/Zero II is a continuation from the Fate/Zero story as the series had ended in the middle of the Holy Grail War in the first season.

      Fate/Zero is like a prelude to the Fate/Stay Night series. The storyline is totally different and I honestly feel like the Fate/Stay Night series doesn’t spoil much at all.

      So in essence, the series is not a remake in the way FMA Brotherhood was. 😉

      Hope this helps.

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      • Definitely helps. Of course, I may still get pretty confused watching it since I only remember bits and pieces from the one I did watch. 😉

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      • I have a pretty bad memory too but it’s easy enough to get back into the whole battle. 😉

        (thus the reason why I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or upset that there wasn’t a bunch of flashbacks. I hate flashbacks and I mostly see little need for it, but I have a horrendous memory and it would have helped in this case. lol)

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  6. I lay on my bed and pretend I am a banana

    I missed you man :’)

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