Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Tag Archives: Fate/Zero

Anime of the Week (6/24 – 6/30)

Anime of the Week – Accel World
This series is really making a reputation for itself as a top-notch shounen / action anime. A generous dose of science fiction, a dash of the supernatural, some hints of romance, a sprinking of philosophy and just enough comedy have created a winning formula.
June 24 Fate/Zero Ep. 25 What an utter, inane, pointless, rubbish ending. Easily one of the most disappointing anime I’ve ever watched.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 11 The jokes were really hitting their marks this time. I love it that the topics are usually things I can relate to.
June 26 Hyouka Ep. 11 Just when I thought this mystery was sewn up, it goes and gets torn open again. I feel I’m loosing some of the pieces, too.
June 27 Eureka AO Ep. 10 I like these kinds of twists where the older leadership gets turned on its head in favor of younger, more creative minds.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 12 I was worried this serious ending would feel weird compared to the rest of the series. But my fears were unfounded.
June 28 Jormungand Ep. 12 This season finale was in too much of a hurry to wrap things up. That’s a shame because there’s another season coming.
June 29 Accel World Ep. 12 Those who seek power must be careful. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it rocks absolutely, too.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 12 I feel like this series was a profound lesson about innocent romance coated in a sweet shell of delicious moe comedy.
Sankarea Ep. 12 Since this series is presumably going to get wrapped up in its OVAs, this season finale seems to be building up to that end.
June 30 Eureka AO Ep. 11 I really like these complicated spy vs counter spy entanglements that leave you wondering whose side everyone is on.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Fate/Zero (review)

Impression – a gilded clod (4/10)

Fall 2011 and spring 2012 (25 episodes)

I think by now I’ve started to solidify my status as the alternative opinion among anime bloggers, but this review of Fate/Zero may be my most controversial so far.  Voicing my opinion at critical times like this is a big part of the reason I started this blog in the first place. I’ve prepared for this by writing at length and in detail the points of contention I have with this series.   Here we go.

Kiritsugu Emiya is a magus who has seen far too much suffering and injustice in the world.  He dreams of being the hero who can rid the world of war and violence and he believes he has found a way to do it.  By entering the Holy Grail War he can pit his skills as a modern assassin against six other magi who are also pursuing the holy relic that can grant the wish of the person who obtains it.  To do this, he must ally himself with a heroic spirit that will fight by his side and share his victory (as must the other participants in this survival game).  With the intention of summoning the spirit of the greatest avatar of justice, King Arthur, Kiritsugu throws his hat into the ring.  But the person who heeds his summons isn’t what he expected.

Inevitably, Fate/Zero has to be compared to Fate/Stay Night since this is a canonical prequel to that story.  And I’m going to be very clear and say that I did not have the same experience with Zero as many other people seem to have had.  The only thing I can see that Zero has going for it is its production values.  Everything else was done much better in Stay Night.

One of my biggest complaints is that the battles are poorly conceived.  Nearly every fight always comes down to some sort of matching of wills pushing towards whoever can level up more, meaning every battle was always a forgone conclusion, possessing nothing dynamic.  Let me compare the action in Fate/Zero to two other recent action series that actually know how to make a fight scene exciting—Shakugan no Shana III and Accel World.  Both of these series understand how to deliver suspense by including strategy that is accomplished either via exploiting weaknesses in the enemy’s plans, or psychological attacks to demoralize the opponent into just giving up.  This kind of intellectual action sequence doesn’t need flashy spectacle to keep your attention because you’re too caught up in the twists of the progression of events to get bored.

There’s two points in this series that solidified for me that the majority of this anime does nothing more than pander to the fans.  The first is in the episode devoted entirely to young Rin that feels completely out of place and ultimately goes absolutely nowhere.  I know Rin is well-liked, but that’s not a good enough reason to just toss her into a filler episode because you know it’ll make people happy.  If you absolutely must do something like that, put it in a bonus episode tucked away on the DVD where it won’t clutter up the main story.

The second point is near the end of the series when Saber chases Rider while riding a motorcycle that she magically enhances to catch up with him.   All I could do during that scene was shake my head and say, “isn’t that something that should have been Rider’s domain?”  There are way too many liberties with what constitutes flavorful powers that needed to be unique to each class.  Otherwise why bother even having them if you’re just going to make the characters’ skills ultimately all up for grabs depending on whatever will tickle the fans?  These beautiful, but empty shenanigans and complete lack of pace that dominate much of the second half could have easily been substituted with watching Saber jump hurtles and taking breaks every once in a while to shoot her sword lasers and miss.

In the absence of Ryuunosuke and Caster, the only two good episodes in Zero are the flashbacks to when Kiritsugu was a child.  Here we are treated to a spectacularly dramatic…or maybe traumatic…procession of unfortunate dilemmas where Kiritsugu must choose between those he loves and respects, or protecting innocent strangers who could never comprehend the danger that he averted or the sacrifice he made to keep them safe.

And as hard as it is to accept (I actually caught myself getting a little choked up) there’s really no room for debate that given the circumstances he made the best decision he possibly could, which serves to only sharpen the pain.  To have Kiritsugu back away from this investment at the final moment, feels completely out of character and devalues everything he had worked for.  Not to mention that you don’t have to watch more than two episodes of Stay Night to see that several key events in the last episode of Zero don’t match.  There’s just no excuse for this kind of oversight from a company that’s in the business of writing stories.  Swiss cheese that’s been blasted with a shotgun has fewer holes in it than Fate/Zero’s conclusion.  Frankly, it’s just disgusting.

To think that Gen Urobachi wrote both the incredible, gritty epic that is Madoka Magica and the teaspoon shallow, sparkling flop that is Fate/Zero is a sad state of affairs. I would never have guessed these two series to have been written by the same person.  I’m going to throw at least some of the blame on Type-Moon for probably restricting his creativity to follow whatever happened in the visual novel this series took its source from.

All things considered, the heavily weighted majority of Fate/Zero is nothing more than a string of uninvested deepities punctuated by some very nice-looking, substanceless spectacle. Unless you’re the kind of person who gets easily distracted by shiny objects, stick with Fate/Stay Night and don’t ruin your experience with this spoiled, vacuous prequel.  Probably the most I’ve ever been disappointed by an anime.

Anime of the Week (6/10 – 6/16)

Anime of the Week – Jormungand
Koko’s foresight and ability to read people adds terrific depth to her character and is a complement to some well-thought action scenes and perfectly-timed comedic moments.                                
June 11 Fate/Zero Ep. 23 Between characters with inconsistent personalities and stupid one-upmanship fights there’s no shortage of bad writing.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 10 It’s a little unseasonal to have a Christmas episode this time of year. But that doesn’t detract from the charm.
Kore wa Zombie 2 Ep. 4 The first season had a wacky story, but it was definitely going someplace. This is completely aimless and boring.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 10 The first-person POV animation style of this episode really sells the effect of experiencing someone else’s memories.
Medaka Box Ep. 5 I’m impressed by how well many anime from this season are finding good twists to put on stereotypical fanservice themes.
June 12 Hyouka Ep. 8 It seems the classics club is gaining a reputation for solving mysteries. I can sympathize with Oreki’s dislike of summer.
June 13 Jormungand Ep. 10 I love how Koko can request a huge piece of artillery with the same tone of voice as a child asking for an ice cream cone.
June 15 Sankarea Ep. 0 The cryptic tone of fate that fills this simple prequel has a naturalness to it that epitomizes everyone’s personality.
Sankarea Ep. 9 This break from the action of the main story feels misplaced. But it was a nice bit of insight into Mero’s dry personality.
June 16 Accel World Ep. 10 Seeing the full game world of Brain Burst is a real eye-opener. Aging mentally but not physically must be incredible.
Sankarea Ep. 10 Danichirou is the overprotective father of daughters’ nightmares. His blind devotion has even broken his neglected wife.
Eureka AO Ep. 9 Ao’s chivalrous attitude is a good character trait, but I’m inclined to think it doesn’t get him into trouble often enough.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (6/3 – 6/9)

Anime of the Week – Hyouka
This continues week after week to be one of the best thinking person’s anime that’s been able to scratch my puzzle itch for quite a while. Probably the most important thing it displays is mastery of pacing out its clues between dialogue, setting and visual hints.                                
June 4 Acchi Kocchi Ep. 9 Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple. But other times it’s better to stick with what you know how to do well.
Fate/Zero Ep. 22 Maybe I could appreciate all this philosophical talk if I didn’t know it was all for naught. But it feels so empty to me.
Accel World Ep. 9 Yuniko’s methods may have been underhanded, but with a boss character looming over everything it’s understandable.
Eureka AO Ep. 8 I get that Generation Bleu’s mission isn’t to save Naru, but deviating from her predicament doesn’t feel right to me.
Hyouka Ep. 7 Onsen episodes often aren’t done correctly, but there’s nothing inherently bad about them. Just make sure there’s a story.
June 6 Tasogare Otome Ep. 9 Seeing Yuuko’s shadow develop a personality with Teiichi between them is like living in someone’s mental disorder.
June 7 Jormungand Ep. 9 I wonder why this anime is so hung up on using euphemisms for the names of all the warring countries Koko works for.
Medaka Box Ep. 4 This series has no pressure to finish an ongoing story arc and will let it spill partway into the next episode if needed.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (5/27 – 6/2)

Anime of the Week – Hyouka
Chitanda’s radiance is addictive and contrasts so well with Oreki’s energy-conserving personality. The coupling of thought-provoking puzzles and a prismatic palate of colors gives this anime beauty and brains.                                
May 27 Eureka AO Ep. 6 I’m sad to see the trope of the indecisive boy pilot. But I’m pleased to finally have the main villain get introduced.
Fate/Zero Ep. 21 Stay Night actually got its viewers invested in the characters. Zero is detached and simply going through the motions.
Eureka AO Ep. 7 The pace of this series is something else. It’s hard to follow sometimes, but I can see it making the circuit complete.
May 29 Hyouka Ep. 6 I was worried after Chitanda’s big mystery got solved that this anime’s puzzles would disappear. I’m so happy I was wrong.
Another Ep. 0 Now this is what an OVA should be—something that enhances the plot established in the main series without intruding too much.
May 30 Jormungand Ep. 8 The full opening for Jormungand came out earlier this week. I love Mami Kawada’s voice—and her English is pretty good, too.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 8 “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” seems the most appropriate phrase to describe the current situation.
May 31 Sankarea Ep. 8 This series meshes zombie tropes and being alive but with a dead body to present some very intuitive, creative problems.
Medaka Box Ep. 3 If you’re going to fill an anime with tropes, Medaka’s style of loving them to death is at least an entertaining choice.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (5/20 – 5/26)

Anime of the Week – Acchi Kocchi

Everyone loves Io—even goldfish.
(Click to see animation)

Ridiculously silly and fun. This is one of the most endearing anime I’ve had the blood-rushing pleasure of experiencing.

(If someone can help me with the interlacing problem I’m having with the animated gif I made for this post, I’d be very appreciative. I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro.)

May 20 Fate/Zero Ep. 20 Rider always seemed to be a much more honorable character, so this turn of events surprises me. What is his justification?
May 21 Tasogare Otome Ep. 5 I can’t imagine how creepy it would be to meet the young ghost of a family member who looks almost exactly like me.
Hyouka Ep. 5 I wasn’t given many hints to solve this particular mystery on my own, but the reveal was epic enough for me to excuse it.
May 23 Tasogare Otome Ep. 6 The power of belief is not something to be taken lightly. Playing with people’s sensibilities is a dangerous game.
Kore wa Zombie 2 Ep. 3 I wish this series could focus better. I’m not hating it, but I know there’s a story to be told so get on with it.
May 24 Jormungand Ep. 7 Great character design! Between disturbed Valmet, quirky Dr. Miami and conniving Koko there’s no shortage of good writing.
May 25 Tasogare Otome Ep. 7 Does Karma work in reverse? If you are too kind and cheerful, does misfortune and sadness come to restore balance?
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 8 Io’s animal magnetism is frighteningly powerful. He is definitely one of the most likeable characters I’ve ever seen.
May 26 Accel World Ep. 8 Haru is progressing nicely as the story moves into the next phase. But Snow Black’s past seems to be catching up with her.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (5/13 – 5/19)

Anime of the Week – Acchi Kocchi
I don’t know that I’ve ever applied this word to an anime before, but I think the best way to describe Acchi Kocchi is “precious.”                                
May 13 Accel World Ep. 6 For all of Haruyuki’s talent, it’s a terrific character flaw to see that he still has the shortsightedness of a newbie.
Black Lagoon Ep. 4 Some of the story ideas for this anime are really off the wall, but at least they manage to keep things interesting.
Black Lagoon Ep. 5 You don’t have to explain everything, but some details can’t be overlooked—like why there is air in a sunken ship.
Fate/Zero Ep. 19 This is the kind of story I was hoping to see more of in this series. Not the predictable stuff that hogs so much time.
May 14 Eureka AO Ep. 4 I think the strength of this series is how it’s honest and doesn’t put up any pretenses. The story is all it needs.
C3 OVA While delightfully off-canon as most OVAs are, it also fails to recapture the series’ spirit. At least it manages to be lighthearted.
May 15 Black Lagoon Ep. 6 I can’t tell if this was just an unlucky job or the start of some larger plot arc that is slowly revealing itself.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 6 This anime succeeds again at putting charming twists on some stereotypical school drama scenes. It’s an adorable romance.
May 16 Sankarea Ep. 6 “Give me freedom or give me death,” is a simple enough theme and associating death with freedom is a really cool concept.
Jormungand Ep. 6 After the opening battle I had a funny thought that all cargo ships rounding the southern end of Africa should hire Koko.
May 17 Hyouka Ep. 4 I like mysteries, but this was a little too information heavy. The hesitation at the end also indicates this isn’t over.
Ladies vs Butlers Ep. 1 Somewhere I’d heard good things about this anime, but it’s a poster-child for what happens when ecchi goes too far.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 3 This anime’s playfulness combined with the way it makes light of its darkness makes it both fun and insightful.
May 18 Sankarea Ep. 7 This review of Chihiro’s history with Ranko would have been a lot less interesting if it wasn’t for his zombie mania.
Eureka AO Ep. 5 It’s pretty clear that Ao is in the process of finding himself. But what intrigues me most is Generation Blue’s motives.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 4 I’m impressed by how well this anime transitions from playful to serious without skipping a beat. It’s beautiful.
May 19 Accel World Ep. 7 Is this episode about camaraderie or about learning to forgive yourself? Either way, it was a little too sentimental.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 7 Well-scripted timing of romantic humor is definitely this series’ best asset. If you like moe this is a must watch.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (5/6 – 5/12)

Anime of the Week – Hyouka
This series is a terrific example of how to write a good mystery story. The key is to reveal just enough information to allow the viewers to piece some of the puzzle together on their own while not revealing so much that it becomes too easy.                                
May7 Fate/Zero Ep. 18 This is the kind of enlightening prequel material that I wanted to see more of in this series.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 5 I really like the pace of this show so far. Changing the season from winter to spring seemed like appropriate timing.
Sankarea Ep. 5 This series started out with such a serious tone, but it’s been indulging in an unnecessary amount of fanservice recently.
Black Lagoon Ep. 1 I was told this series was like Jormungand so I decided to finally give it a watch, but I’m not seeing the similarities.
Black Lagoon Ep. 2 I’m starting to see the similarities to Jormungand in the action sequences that are often daringly over the top.
May 9 Jormungand Ep. 5 Jonah’s hate really is a tangible thing, but after what he’s been through I’m pleased to see it hasn’t consumed him.
Hyouka Ep. 3 I’m enjoying Oreki’s analytical perspective that gives me enough to figure out half of the mystery before the rest is revealed.
May 10 Black Lagoon Ep. 3 I’m not sure what to make of the tone of this series. They get ambushed but don’t miss a single beat. It’s too relaxed.
May 12 Accel World Ep. 6 For all of Haruyuki’s talent, it’s a terrific character flaw to see that he still has the shortsightedness of a newbie.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (4/29 – 5/5)

Anime of the Week – Accel World
This week showed some really good shounen action with a proper balance of natural character growth and decisive vision to set up events to come.

(Obviously Black Lotus is a reference to the famously poweful Magic card of the same name but kudos to you if you know what real card Silver Crow is referencing without looking it up.)                               

April 29 Fate/Zero Ep. 17 My suspicions continue to be confirmed. This series continues to be as unsurprising as ever. I can predict everything.
Accel World Ep. 4 It seems unfair that just because you’re in a coma you can be attacked by another burst linker and completely defenseless.
April 30 Eureka AO Ep. 2 This series continues to emulate its parent while being true to itself—an ironic coincidence considering the main character.
May 1 Zombie 2 Ep. 2 A weird blend of deviant social discourse and slice of life. I don’t see what the merger of these two themes will accomplish.
May 2 Eureka AO Ep. 3 Is it when you’re young and simply don’t know better that you’re willing to take risks? Ao may be lost, but he has guts.
Hyouka Ep. 1 Initial impression – cleverly imaginative and well composed http://wp.me/p1Gaby-m8
Jormungand Ep. 4 Koko’s compassion towards her enemies is surprisingly gracious even for her, but I’m glad to see she’s not naive.
May 3 Kids on the Slope Ep. 3 I like Shinichiro Watanabe when he tells a more organized story and I prefer Yoko Kanno to play more powerful music.
What is there to like about Kids on the Slope? http://wp.me/p1Gaby-mz
Hyouka Ep. 2 When I watch this show time seems to mysteriously slow to a leisurely pace making the enjoyment feel longer than 25 minutes.
May 5 Accel World Ep. 5 Haruyuki is on a roll. Between revealing a new, unique power and reconciling with his friends his potential is growing.
Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan Ep. 1 Initial impression – aimless and silly (3/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-mG

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (4/22 – 4/28)

Anime of the Week – Jormungand
Coupled with superbly cast voice acting and a premise that gets you cheering for the upstart underdog, I’ve been swept up by this anime’s whirlwind pace.                                
April 22 Fate/Zero Ep. 16 It’s like these last few episodes have been rushing to bring up the death toll to compensate for the first season’s lack.
Kids on the Slope Ep. 2 Everything about this show is so disappointingly ordinary and unbefitting of the great names behind its creation.
April 24 Medaka Box Ep. 2 As messed up as this anime is at times, I’m starting to discover it has a charming side that’s urging me to stick with it.
April 25 Accel World Ep. 2 Haruyuki’s cleverness and background knowledge made him a winner. It’s a kind of smart that any gamer could appreciate.
Accel World Ep. 3 I thought this episode had great character development, but I wonder how many people got lost on all the computer terms.
April 27 Sankarea Ep. 4 This series defies all my expectations. I was worried it would turn into a quirky romance but it’s still deeply intellectual.
March 28 Jormungand Ep. 1 Initial impression – risky, clever and auspicious http://wp.me/p1Gaby-lS
Sengoku Collection Ep. 1 Initial impression – unoriginal, but not entirely mind-numbing (4/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-m0
Jormungand Ep. 2 I like how this series juxtaposes Koko’s unsavory occupation with her likeable personality and brilliant intellect.
Jormungand Ep. 3 Bringing in some determined rivals for Koko and her team helps show she’s not as wildly unprincipled as she appears.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 4 This episode was less moe compared to the last few, but it makes up for it nicely with some smart sociological discourse.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

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