My Biggest Problem with Fate/Zero

Fate/Zero is a good(?) show, and I’m sure it’ll get better now that adrenaline is pumped back into the Urobuchi machine. However, that doesn’t change the fact the Fate/Zero can be incredibly monotonous.

Now, the anime is adapted from Gen Urobuchi’s novel, with absolutely zero intentions of it being turned into an anime, unlike most other light novels that deliberately set up to have an anime adaptation in mind. As a novel, Fate/Zero is pretty good, much like, say, Game of Thrones. But in a visual medium, I have to say that it doesn’t really work very well.

The closest the show came to being visually inventive.

The only real problem I have with Fate/Zero is that it doesn’t know how to show and not tell. While the writing is still very good by itself, the show virtually lives on exposition and dialogue, not relying on the strengths of animation as a medium. You know how Bake/Nisemonogatari or Madoka Magica are also dialogue-heavy? Well, I had absolutely no complaints about the dialogue-heaviness because Shaft uses animation to its advantage. They don’t just make you watch talking heads or look at uninteresting backgrounds, but they use quirks and other tricks to keep the viewer interested.

Fate/Zero, by the nature of the universe it is set in, does not have the liberty to be visually creative when it comes to dialogue, and it is it’s biggest flaw. Great animation is very much welcomed, but if you only use it in flashy fight scenes, I’d much rather watch the fight scenes themselves than listen to boring people throwing their ideals at one another.

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11 Responses to My Biggest Problem with Fate/Zero

  1. Smiley says:

    The way I see it, it works like a sort of trade-off; perhaps literally too, when you consider the budget. Arguably, Fate/Zero’s action scenes are much more visually appealing than those of _monogatari. On the other hand, the dialogue scenes in _monogatari are more engaging compared to those of Fate/Zero.

    Personally, I don’t mind the focus on animation being directed at the action scenes, while the dialogue scenes are “neglected”. Sure, it’s a nice bonus for two people talking to look interesting, but I tend to focus more on the dialogue itself in such a scene.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Fate/Zero relies more on dialogue than it does on action, so putting more effort into the directing of the dialogue-heavy scenes would be the best. It doesn’t have to be flashy, it just has to be more spontaneous: example would be adding some gestures and other forms of body language, or a simple change of camera angles, like what Shaft usually does when they’re not being insane.

  2. Nopy says:

    I think it’s a matter of preference. I liken what’s happening to Fate/Zero with the sci-fi drama series Battlestar Galactica. Both are dialogue-heavy and their strengths lie in the story, but they both lacked flashy scenes to make viewers go “ohhh” and “ahhh”. My view on this is that it’s deliberate – a magician makes your eyes wander so your mind forgets about a certain object, a story-based series does not want to have that effect. And it’s not like Fate/Zero looks bad, it has some of the highest-quality animation I’ve ever seen.

    • @fkeroge says:

      The viewer does not necessarily forget the story if it’s told in a grandiose manner. In fact, I think that it actually helps the story if you get visually inventive, much like how visual aids can spice up an ordinary Powerpoint presentation. Fate/Zero looks good, not doubt about that, but it looks “business good”, and not “artisitically good”, if you know what I mean.

  3. lvlln says:

    “Fate/Zero, by the nature of the universe it is set in, does not have the liberty to be visually creative when it comes to dialogue.”

    Actually, I don’t think the universe necessarily limits it, it’s Ufotable’s choice of how to adapt it. Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari weren’t particularly insane in novel form, and Shaft injected their brand of insanity into the anime adaptations. And look at what KyoAni is doing right now with Hyouka, another very dialogue-heavy light novel.

    • @fkeroge says:

      I’d like to think of it this way: given the nature of the dialogue in Fate/Zero, would it be appropriate if they went for an artsy adaptation? F/Z is a very bleak anime, and I understand that they want to give the viewers a similar experience. Considering how dialogue-heavy Fate/Zero is, a standard adaptation like what we see right now is probably the best option for ufotable. Hyouka could afford to be a bit Shafty because the feel of the novel allows for that option. Fate/Zero’s atmosphere, on the other hand, doesn’t.

  4. kiddtic says:

    Hmm I still appreciate the heavy use of dialogue maybe because its so different having grown men speak to each other in a very formal manner. Some of the animation during the dialogue scenes isnt too bad either. I do get where you are coming from though.

  5. shumbapumba says:

    ”the show virtually lives on exposition and dialogue, not relying on the strengths of animation as a medium” – a problem all too common in anime. A result of lazy, rushed production.

  6. Pingback: Fate/Zero – Final Impressions | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

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