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.
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!
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.