After four months of waiting, Fate/Zero finally returns! The first season delivered fairly well on everything one can ask for a piece of animated literature, it doesn’t skimp on the budget, it has great music, and it evokes an engaging feel overall. So, does the next season of Fate/Zero live up to the hype?
Yes and no.
Yes, because this is still the same Fate/Zero we all know and love, and no because of the general lack of power that one would expect from an anime that left a relatively high bar in terms of expectations they gave the viewers after the last episode of the first season. To make a point, the series starts off with a rather dull fight scene between an invincible monster and two obviously disadvantaged heroes. Add some random fighter planes to the mix, and you have something that will surely not sit well with some viewers.
As this is an anime returning from a previous season, I think the first few minutes are the most crucial when attempting to entertain an audience who has arguably stagnated from the long wait, and it seems that director Ei Aoki did not take note of this fact. As I said, I found the fight between Saber, Rider and the Cthulhu monstrosity boring simply because it’s just your run-off-the-mill fight scene and there was nothing special about it. They may have been able to pull it off if they hadn’t gone on a long break, but they did, so yeah. There’s also that dogfight between Gilgamesh and Berserker looking like someone flashing two glowsticks of different colors in random directions, but I guess there are some people who appreciate this kind of stuff.
The next thing that bothered me is that despite getting a long break, they did not take it into consideration that instantly starting arguments about proper parenting and honor codes without so much as a reintroduction to the whole affair is not something that would be welcomed by all, especially elitists like me.
However, all these are minor issues that arose from the fact that the anime took a four-month break, rather than a direct screw-up on the part of the source material or the direction of the anime. For me, the long break just made things a little unsavory.
But as I’ve said, this is still the same old Fate/Zero. It looks good, and it sounds good. The themes presented are still all cynical and jaded (“I just shot the person we believe to be Caster’s Master. It seems we were right.” -Win), just the way I like it. I just wish that they returned with a bang rather than a whimper.
As an aside, the ED made me feel guilty that I ever shipped Iri and Saber together. My yuri ship admits defeat.