After a span of forever, Fate/Zero has finally finished – and the ending is powerful, make no mistake, yet there’s a reason it disappoints, albeit one which Ufotable couldn’t do anything about even if they so desired.
Rather than make progress or development, this conclusion is more so a summary – an overview of the end-result of much brutal fighting, showing it to have all essentially been in vain for some, an adventure for a few, and some sort of twisted respite for another. Ufotable didn’t attempt to take this series out with any explosions – rather, they landed a colossal airliner, and showed us the characters as they prepare to embark into this new city awaiting them, the future, which as most of us know is Fate/Stay Night.
The Future Is Not So Bright…
The issue with Fate/Zero’s finale is that it truly isn’t much more than a stepping stone to the start of Fate/Stay Night – and Fate/Stay Night is nowhere near the caliber of Fate/Zero. Fate/Stay Night was devised by Studio Deen, a production unit which stands leagues beneath the sea in comparison to Ufotable – as well as in general.
Their product is not even a hint as rewarding as Ufotable’s Fate/Zero – and as result of this, Fate/Zero’s ending is weak since it simply leads up to a lacking sequel. Yet with that in mind, there’s not much else Ufotable could have done – Fate/Stay Night is not their responsibility, they told their portion of the story as appropriate, and one can truly understand the arrangement and direction of it all as they’ve so chosen.
The fact that Fate/Stay Night is unfortunately a sub-par series is sad indeed – although that’s nothing which Ufotable can answer, unless they’re ever put in charge of a remake or alter route, however as it stands, they’ve done all which they can in respect to finalizing the series, applying the brakes and parking it indefinitely. Put in perspective, Fate/Zero’s ending is a beautiful flower – yet it’s overcast by nasty weeds, not that such a thing tarnishes the flower physically in any way whatsoever, but the future is not so bright.
“The Show Is Over” Literally
Now in respect to what’s worth of mention with regards to this last episode – Sakura’s already become tainted, and dead men can’t save anyone anyways. Disappointing as it is to say, Kariya withers away without any notable achievement – though it’s not as anything otherwise was anticipated.
After using her Noble Phantasms on the grail, Saber finds herself simply puddling in a delusional state within a realm of corpses stacked high – in other words, she’s left to go mad with depression till the next war, now burning with desire for the grail as she believes she can use it to fulfill her wish of stepping down from a position of which she’s not worthy, according to herself. There’s not much to be said about these last few Fate/Zero scenes of Saber other than she looks quite pitiable and ill-fated.
Onto Kirei, he and Gilgamesh both are surprised to see they’ve somehow managed to live – yet they treat the grace arrogantly. Kirei begins laughing hysterically as he sees a devastated city surrounding him and hears Gilgamesh state that this must have been the wish which Kirei longed so sincerely and without awareness. Kirei realizes that such an aspiration of vile horror upon the population is entirely sick – and that’s why he’s having a seizure of laughter, if such had been his ultimate goal, he’d been a twisted individual all along without knowing it.
Cognizant now of his believed true self, Kirei embraces it – and this essentially foreshadows the events to follow in Fate/Stay Night.
More foreshadowing follows through deeds which are vomit inductive in the extent to which they are grotesque – it’s the funeral of Tokiomi, a death which Kirei caused, and he’s simply acting as if it were all some poor catastrophe of which he’s uninvolved. Rin’s mother is there as well – and she’s basically become dependent on Rin for survival as she’s gone legitimately senile with the loss of a daughter, and the death of a husband.
Rin is drowned in an ironic dismay, one which she seems already acquainted with the fact that Kirei is the culprit behind it all – without even needing it to be said, and being aware that she can’t do much to combat him at this very instance in time. The man who ruined her family is standing there, right in front of her – and to add insult to injury, he gives her the blade which he used to kill her father, though of course, it’s doubtful Rin knows it was utilized for such specifically.
And last comes Kiritsugu, the calamity on the city turned him practically insane – yet then we hear and see the tale which most of us are sure to be already familiar with. Kiritsugu saves the kid who goes on to be the protagonist of Fate/Stay Night – and Kiritsugu revels in this, he takes salvation in that he at least managed to save one individual.
Kiritsugu hasn’t been the most likable of characters for a variety of reasons throughout Fate/Zero – yet his stance on this event is quite admirable as one could view it as he’s indeed saved all of mankind in a certain sense.
Little shota Shirou hears a bit of his father’s story – and decides from there on that he will become a hero. Again, as Fate/Zero ends, it sets the stage for the less than spectacular, yet certainly worthwhile, Fate/Stay Night anime series.
Organization Of The Inevitable
Overlooking Fate/Zero as a whole, contrary to the imagined, there were hardly any scenes of battle action – rather than be a nonstop spectacle of fight, Ufotable still did sustain a constant conflict, yet they did so through developing emotions and intentions. A face-off in Fate/Zero wasn’t simply a random occurrence of opposing encounter – it was the result of so many centered efforts to achieve victory. There were no meaningless actions, and the risks were felt weighing atop every character as they moved forward – no one would want to simply test their luck.
Ufotable kept a strict balance on what they did – and that aided greatly in another matter, the outcome of it all. Each character was met with an ultimate conclusion which varied heavily based on what they personally sought. There wasn’t necessarily “bad” or “good” endings – rather, only “different” endings, each ordained in accordance with what the character in question brought about upon themselves, as well as what their surroundings have treated them to in response, a dynamic world with multiple degrees of judgement, i.e. Fate.
No one randomly found themselves in any situations, they brought themselves there – either knowingly or unknowingly, and one would both feel and see the progression as it occurs. Events in this series proved easy to foretell not in that they were bland, but in that they were built up and foreshadowed so well – as if the series had sucked the viewer into a captivating hole, and of course, there’s only a single exit route at the end of it.
And while falling through that chasm leading to a fate foreseen, either favorable or not, the walls of it surrounding are the extensive sentiments which would engulf the viewer, and character alike, along the way.
This series isn’t exactly subtle – instead, it’s organized. Every aspect of Fate/Zero is precisely considered, all the way down to how the story of the original medium could be most effectively fit into a limited space of animation. And this is all done through astonishing visuals obviously – though more specifically, graphic imagery which excels through fluent and natural consistency.
Ufotable didn’t target an abstract or overly artistic style – rather, they sought, and commendably succeeded, in delivering a more common-ground cinematic outlook, which means fine-lined illustrations for a very distinctive atmosphere of expression, within a world which feels realistic. For instance, magic is present in Fate/Zero – yet we don’t feel like the series is taking place in Zanarkand or something, but simply the series’ own spin on their modern day Japan.
To evoke emotion, colors flood the screen accordingly at exact moments – look below through the imagery to the sight of Kiritsugu screaming and crying with child in hand, the setting is entirely drenched in red, as are the several images proceeding, all of which have a woeful mood and abominations raging. Yet then look to the scenes of the lolis in the park – a gentle blue to match the smiling and tears of joy is dominant, giving a feeling of relaxation, however, notice that it’s night. The darkness makes it clear that this isn’t anything more than mere imagination.
Not stopping there, further move attention to the image of Sakura standing in the scene doused green – the ceiling is completely black, the atmosphere is made heavy through this effect. There’s no blue sky of hope, there’s nothing to look forward to – everything is compressed within the single space of the basement, and we already know that’s filled with swarms of insects so inciting of a cringe.
Aside from those atmospheric traits, Ufotable also has a mastery of the basic components such as shadow and shape – which made it possible for them to devise immensely detailed and stunning settings, scenes, characters, and fully breathing environments. Tears would flow believably – and facial expressions would implode with emotions not any different than those seen in our own world. The visages of the characters do not respond per any conventional anime face formula – they have true physics, something which one will have no trouble seeing with Saber’s distress.
Everything hits the right frequency in Fate/Zero so that while the concept of it from a faraway standpoint may give the impression of a fantasy action show which wouldn’t appeal to everyone – it in fact is made in such a manner that many can confidently say it indeed can strike a tune with any given individual. Life turns, and Fate/Zero embodies this for a group of characters from a point in that life of theirs, till they meet their inescapable, yet self-driven, Fate.