Fate/Zero 2 is the concluding half to the Fate/Zero saga and one of the most entertaining seasons of any action anime ever. With a cast of fun characters, amazing animation, and some great fight scenes sprinkled throughout, as well as some of the most intense drama you could ask for, Fate/Zero 2 doesn’t screw around with conventions of the genre and instead carves out its own private niche from which many action anime would do good to analylze.
Fate/Zero 2 continues where the last season left off with the big battle between everyone and Caster raging in the river. It’s a visual spectacle, but doesn’t set the perfect tone for the rest of the series. Now, I am not going to detract anything from the tone of the show changing dramatically (the big action scene is the biggest of the series, it mellows out and becomes one on one battles the rest of the show) because this second season was supposed to be part of a single, full season. But the animation department wanted to beef Fate/Zero’s second half up so released it later because of that.
Despite that, the show is not as action heavy as it is made out to be. The series has some excellent action sequences, but hits its stride more so during moments of intense drama than fighting. None of the fight scenes are particularly memorable but for the final one between Kiritsugu and Kirei which I found to be very well done. The rest are good, but never anything you’ll talk about later. Meanwhile, the sequences of intense drama are so much more involving and, especially in later episodes, they leave you at the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. These scenes are very brutal both emotionally and violence-wise. Anybody who has seen episode twenty-four concerning Kiritsugu, his wife, and his daughter know exactly what I am talking about and probably had their mouths agape, as did I, during that scene.
This season expands on Kiritsugu’s past through two episodes that don’t really fit in at all. While I appreciate the thought of adding that extra layer to Kiritsugu’s already badass character, the placement in the middle of the season was not particularly smart and broke things up too much. On top of that, the two episodes were probably the weakest of the twelve of the season. They weren’t bad, but they were average. I could see them as OVA’s more so than part of the series proper.
One thing I can appreciate about Fate/Zero as a whole is the fact it is brutal and unapologetic about it. It is a series with a fairly adult tone and kills characters you grow to like without giving us a long drawn out monologue or something of the like to see him/her go. Probably the one episode that will always come to me when I think Fate/Zero is the one where Kayneth is in a wheelchair and has given his command spells to Sola. This was an episode that had the drama down, it had brutal execution, and it reminded me that I was watching a no-nonsense anime. And that is truly what I appreciate from this series is the fact it doesn’t treat me like a child and announce everything going on, it doesn’t slow down to have characters talk about their pasts and teach lessons. While it does have these elements, they aren’t the slow going you expect from action series. The clip is fast enough to keep you interested.
As I said in my previous review of Fate/Zero, I love the wide array of very distinct personalities the series provides and the way they play off each other. That is one of the strong suits of Fate/Zero, if not the greatest strength of the show. No two characters are alike and none are just cookie-cutter or cardboard. While some are weaker than others, they are distinct, and those distinctions are what drives the series forward.
For those looking for a huge finale, you will be sorely disappointed. The final two episodes are very, very good but, other than a maybe five minute fight between Kirei and Kiritsugu, there is no real physical combat. As far as wrapping everything up goes, the series does a great job and, as this is the prequel to Fate/StayNight, it does lead into that series quite nicely.
Overall I find it hard to mention anything new that I did not mention in my previous review. This series is distinct, and that is something that I like. It is not moe, it is not a high school drama. It is something different with a lot of adult tones that gives it that edge that many fans of anime want. While it is not in any way perfect, it--to me--recalls my time watching Ghost in the Shell when I was surrounded by intelligent characters, an interesting world, and a lot of good drama with the occasional sprinkling of action sequences. That’s just me though.
Dark, haunting, dramatic, and brutal, Fate/Zero is an excellent anime that I’m sure will be popular for many years to come.
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