(Genres: Action, Drama, Contemporary, Fantasy, Thriller, Tragedy)
Fate/Zero. This has become one of my all time favorite animes. For a long time, my sister was telling me I needed to watch this one. Granted, she was referring to Fate/Stay Night. But I like to see these things in chronological order (other reviewers might disagree). And, "according to my research", Fate/Zero is the kind of "prequel" for all of this like The Hobbit is for The Lord of the Rings.
So, why do I love this anime? I've got a list of four good reasons plus two hotties.
The story is that there is this holy grail that, once won by some mage and his "heroic servant", will grant a wish. So, a bunch of mages of different practices will find relics and summon heroes from the past.
They have to battle one another. Destroying spirits and sending them back to wherever they've been before being summoned is the name of the game. And all that to knock out the competition.
Mages will kill each other too. If one loses his hero, he can summon another. If a hero's mage is killed, then they can get a new mage. It creates a lot of backstabbing and sneaky stuff. All of which keeps you on the edge of your seat while waiting for things to get downright nasty. But it's a kind of nasty that makes you invest in the characters and the story. So, it's an okay nasty.
And when you get to the end, you realize that this holy grail his holy evil. But that doesn't stop anyone from wanting it.
I love the art for this anime. The character designs are stunning. The battles are awesome. The glowy-sparkly-magic is cool. And the whole thing has an overall appeal with the color and glossiness that helped set the mood.
Action. Ation. Action. Boy does this anime pack in the action. And because you're seeing heroes from different mythologies and time periods, you're getting all sorts of abilities. Add that with your modern mages who don't only use magic but also modern weaponry, and you get a bunch of cool fights. Plus, with each hero's special ability called noble phantasms, there are some freaking fantastic magic and things blowing up.
Teehee. Characters. I love a lot of these characters. Some of them I hate. But most I love. If I went over them all, this would be a ridiculously long article. So, I'll only give you brief intros to my three favorite main characters... And one who you can't really ignore.
Putting them aside, I didn't like Sabre's master all too well. He was pretty much the main character of the anime. In the end, though, I did feel sorry for him and kind of did end up liking him. The trauma he went through and the development he has throughout the series makes you get on his side. But I have this thing where I really hate men who have more than one woman when they're genuinely in love with one of them.
The best thing about this anime, I think, are the characters and how well developed they are. Their background stories are what drive them, and they push the plot along. It's really powerful when you have amazing characters who help move the plot. It's their decisions that make an already great story even better. And these guys really make it good. Besides that, the connection and feels you get for most of these people totally gets you invested. And that's when I actually fall in love with an anime.
These are in the order of my favorite to... that one guy you can't ignore.
I freaking adore this arrogant bastard. I don't know why. Maybe it's because he's blonde, smart, and overpowered. I have a strange attraction to all these things. He's pretty manipulative and conniving. But he's good at getting his way because of it and because he understands human nature. He's also really intuitive. He not only is able to get one of the mages to kill his master so that he can make that mage his new master, but he senses Sabre's tragic past. And he respects her for it while Rider can't see past the surface.
But then, when Archer discovers just how powerful and awesome Sabre is, he goes a little nuts. He wants to make her his. Guy's pretty possessive of things that don't even belong to him. But his relaxed and chilled attitude at the end when things are all settled really makes you swoon. Who doesn't want a confident man who can take things as they are without sweating the details... Or wearing clothes. And from what I've seen in snippets on Pinterest, he may actually have a tear-jerking past. I already want to cuddle him for it.
LANCER: Diarmuid Ua Duibhne
Lancer is one of the many characters with a tragic past. He was a knight, honorable and the like. But just as Lancelot fell because of Guinevere, Lancer (ha ha, I just noticed that), fell because of a woman. He fell in love with the woman of his master and was killed for it. He has a thing about betrayal because of it, so when he dies again, it's heartbreaking. You just can't help but feel bad for this charming, really sad guy who can't catch a break. And I'm not going to lie. I ship him with Sabre pretty hardcore. They are just too perfect together. Even if Gilgamesh develops a thing for her by the end.
Too bad Lancer only gets along with her and protects her because he feels it's his duty as a fellow knight to be the one to kill her. But hey. She's actually already dead so this could be some kind of... really odd courtship? I'm a knight, you're a knight. As fellow knights, it is our duty to be the one's who end one another. Yeah?
Not going to lie, though. I didn't think spear/lances and the like were cool until him.
SABRE: King Arthur
When Sabre's master summons her, he's expecting a king or man. But in this version of the Arthurian Legend, King Arthur is a woman who had to pose as a man because of the nature of her duty to the kingdom and having to do battle. She's full of chivalry, which helps her get along with Lancer who is also full of chivalry. She's all about the etiquette of combat and the knight's code. And her wish is to make up for her mistakes while still alive. The mistakes that ruined her country and got everyone she cared about dead.
The tragedy of her story is completely changed here too. In a conversation with the three kings: Archer, her and Rider, we learn through some really sad imagery that her heartache comes not from dying in battle, but being the only one left alive. At least, that was my interpretation. So let me know if I got that wrong.
Note: Because knowing a hero's identity will give away their abilities, Sabre hides Excalibur. It's such a famous sword, seeing it will give away who she is.
Also, I'm really proud of the fact I could figure out who berserker was because of his obsession with Sabre. That felt good and added a lot of depth that I was excited for.
Not going to lie though. I think she's the only one who made me cry. Her end in this anime is the most tragic part of this story. And the only one who got her sorrow was the guy who tried to make her marry him by stabbing her in the legs so she couldn't run away from him.
Oh Gilgamesh. If I could get away with it, I'd be that violent too.
Oh my lands. Watching this guy and his master is like watching an episode of Criminal Minds. The dude loves to kill. Bloody terrible deaths that take up a lot of the anime. So when he's matched with a psychopath serial killer, the two get along really well. This character and his master are the only reason why my brother won't watch this particular Fate. He can't stand the idea of kids being murdered. And murder children is what these two do. But it gives you a pretty cool introduction to one of the characters who will show up in Fate/Stay Night.
Castor is pretty much the main thorn in everyone's side. Despite there being no real antagonist, this guy is a pretty good messing pot. Not only is he demented, he has a thing for Sabre because he mistakes her for Jeanne Alter (Joan of Arc). Though it's never explained in Fate/Zero why he loved or was obsessed with her or what happened there. So I was left scratching my head and really curious of how all of that worked.
Like I said. I loved this anime. It was a great mishmash of mythology, fantasy, action, tragedy, and with a dash of Criminal Minds -esque thrill that kept me glued to the screen. I'm really excited and looking forward to watching the other Fate series. I want to see and get to know the characters I've yet to meet and keep following the ones that I already love.
Pretty sure I'm going to be doing a Gilgamesh cosplay sometime in the future. Can't help it. I really love the dude. It may be because I have the same god complex he's got and can understand him on a spiritual level. I'm a bit of a weird jerk too. And he's sexy. Yup. Sexy is good too.
P.S. CAN SOME ARTIST PLEASE GIVE ME A PRETTY PIECE OF GILGAMESH TO BUY AT ANIME EXPO'S ARTIST ALLEY NEXT YEAR? I LOOKED EVERYWHERE FOR SOMETHING AND DIDN'T FIND ANYTHING TO APPEASE MY OBSESSION!
MY ANIME WALL NEEDS GILGAMESH!