quinta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2013

[Anime Review] Fate/Zero

Well, since this a website that deals not only with anime reviews, I believe that are many who are not anime fans and that have a misconception of it being entirely devoted to children. While I take that animation often is, not all anime - and not every bit o it - is aimed at children or young adults. Case in point: Fate/Zero. 

While at first sight, anime haters can look at the title with a bit of misprize, naming it to be childish for having such things as magicians, girls with swords, and all that - there is little in this title that is not aimed to full grown adults. Trust me on this one. 

Now for some introduction.

Summary (from Wikipedia): 
Fate/Zero is a light novel by Gen Urobuchi, illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi, and is a prequel to Type-Moon's visual novel, Fate/stay night. [...] The story of Fate/Zero takes place ten years prior to the events of Fate/stay night, detailing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City.[2] The War of the Holy Grail is a contest in which seven mages summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete to obtain the power of the "Holy Grail," which grants a miracle. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.  Founded by the Einzbern, Makiri, and Tōsaka families centuries ago, the Einzbern family is determined to achieve success after three consecutive failures, no matter the cost. As a result, they have elected to bring the hated magus killer, Kiritsugu Emiya, into their ranks, despite his methods and reputation as a skilled mercenary and a hitman who employs whatever he can use to accomplish his goals. Though Kiritsugu had once wanted to become a hero who could save everyone, he has long since abandoned this ideal upon realizing that saving one person comes at the cost of another's life. For the sake of humanity, he will ruthlessly destroy anything and anyone who threatens the peace of others. However, Kiritsugu finds himself deeply torn between the love he has found for his new family - his wife Irisviel and their daughter Illya - and what he must do to obtain the Holy Grail. Meanwhile, Kiritsugu's greatest opponent appears in the form of Kirei Kotomine, a priest who cannot find any sense of fulfillment in his life and sets his sights on Kiritsugu as the possible answer to the emptiness he feels. 
Opinion: There´s an eligibility criteria to match for any piece of art to be reviewed by this blog,  the first of which says that said work of art has to be grim. Not only that, but it should deal with the supernatural, also. This series has this, and boy, does it have. This series is harsh, harsh I tell ya! From episode one, nothing we can see starts well (let alone end well), all characters are troubled and nutcases, and almost all that are not, are sad. There´s a deep sadness in the look of the character Irisviel, for instance, a woman who should be normally - considering anime standards - full of joy and smiles, since episode one. Not here, though. She has that look on her face that says that, while things are alright for the moment, she knows they are going to get bad, and soon. That is incredible art, right there. Moments of sadness abound here, but not only. We also have a fair deal of downright horror. 

Now, granted, we have horror in more ways than one here. The very lives of the characters - some, more than others - are horrific by consequence of them living in a world in which magic is another type of possible suffering that can befall upon someone. A crapsack world, if you will. I could quote many, but the life of Kariya Matou is such example. He has a piece of sh*t father who is a control freak - like many other magicians - and wants to enslave a girl for her to learn the secrets of magic of his lineage since his son - Kariya - abandoned his family years before (granted, he had many reasons to do so). Zouken (the piece of sh*t father) throws a girl in a pit full of disgusting magical bugs, only to watch her cry and yell while they crawl upon her - if you are disgusted by now, believe me when I say that this is only the beginning. Kariya asks to be traded in her place to try and save her, but let´s just say, it does not end well for him. He becomes a vessel for the bugs while he loses the vision of his left eye - and it´s all downhill from there. You think he earned some sort of respect for that from his piece of shit father? Not at all, in fact the old f*ck even tortures him, by hitting his leg with a wooden cane while he is on the ground. 

The very premise of the anime - also, the light novel - is sad: that heroes have to be called upon to fight for the right of winning a wish to grant to their masters is an absurd - it´s a sacrifice, really, of them all, like is correctly explained by another character in one of the latter episodes.

We also have the presence of veritable psychopathic characters, complete with hysterical laughter and the yearn to kill, even going as far as - I shit you not - calling upon Cthulhu itself with the purpose of killing a child. The yell of terror of the little one while under the attack of the eldritch abomination is something I haven´t heard, in anime or other media, in a long time. Creepy to the bone. 

Anyway, do you know all those titles that treat magic like a wondrous, marvelous thing, that fills the world with wonders? Yeah, nothing of the like here, with the exception of maybe one scene in which one of the characters is teaching his daughter some moves in said magic; not that this is any good sign of ethics, though, because said character is the one who also traded his another daughter for the mad Zouken to throw into a pit with worms and bugs. Magic is just another ground in which conflicts arise for human beings, and the coldness of all people involved with this is astonishing. Pretty much all the people in the screen are downright flawed and most of the time evil (or in the popular, assh*les), with the exception of maybe 1 or 2. Few of them survive, some of them have horrible fates.

Now, to the anime hater, can you really say, after reading this, that anime is aimed for children? What children could even bear to watch this much despair and hopelessness? 

Anyway, we do have some good moments, here and there, but they are few and far between, and they only makes the viewer even sadder. It does have what can be called action extravaganzas, but they are justified (for the most part) in-universe by the existence of such technology as magic. 

On the other hand: It´s not perfect. For one thing, they trash the whole city with battles, and no one says a thing? Who´s covering this all up? One other thing, there are families there, whole families though none of them do anything or even appear for a moment in the series. What, they are just all in vacation, on Hawaii or something while there are 7 people fighting for a supposedly omnipotent instrument that can change history? Whole families, no one appears, no peeking, no nothing. They aren´t even mentioned. Full blown war, taking place, kids being kidnapped, nothing is discussed. People killing each other by the dozens, no one interferes, no police, not even the magic police or something. By the way - they say all the time "he is an Executor", or something. Where are all the so called Executors? Priests (there´s a Church in the series) are killed, one of them is in the battle for the Holy Grail (again, another representation on the series) and no one gives a hand, no one, nothing. The amount of "schizophrenia" (what I call when nothing seems to interfere with no one but the 10 or 20 people in the screen) is incredible on this title.

Other than that, yeah, we have a lot of talking. Lots and lots and lots of talking. And when you are finally tired, they keep talking, and then some more. Lots. Of. This. 

Other good points: The soundtrack is amazing. Plus, the animation in itself is one of the best I have seen in an anime series. Kudos to all who worked on this, really great. The writer responsible for it, Gen Urobochi, is said to be one that deals with hard topics, such as nihilism, hopelessness and such. All his works deal with this, and I can only commend him for doing that. There are good topics and rants about war, about humanity and existence, so for that, it is amazing. Though it is painful to watch (given all I have pointed out), it has made the criteria to be reviewed here, as a great work of art. 

Well, this was my review from the Fate/Zero series, hope you liked it. 
Leave me a comment. 

2 comentários:

  1. Haven't visited this site in a while (And I rediscovered it because of your new post). Anyway, I'm glad Gen Urobuchi is gaining credit here. He is one of my favorite writers in anime. The music of Fate Zero is done by Yuki Kajiura. She is also pretty consistent in delivering good music in her anime projects.

    I also reviewed this in my blog! If you want to read it, you can find it here.

    By the way, the studio behind Fate Zero is actually making a new Fate title. I think it's coming out some time this year.

    1. Hey Arvin,

      Thanks for the visit. Check back here more often and I should check yours more as well.

      Many cheers


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