First Impressions: (A+)

Fate Zero kicks with a fantastic 1 hour premier that introduces to all the master in great detail, melds detailed links to the original Fate/Stay Night series and it even goes the extra distance with some new and interesting twists on previously known characters. If Fate Zero’s first episode is anything to go by, this is going to be an AMAZING series!

Before anything else, I will say that this is definitely a series for those of us who are extremely familiar with the Fate/Stay Night franchise. You have at least had to have watched the original series. Having watched the amazing Unlimited Blade Works movie and having played the Visual Novel game only enhances the experience. As a fan of the Fate/Stay Night franchise, I’ve seen and experienced everything except the Fate Zero novels. I can already see why animating them was such a darn good idea.

This first episode served as sort of a mini-movie as sorts. It introduced all the major masters, and established why they’re fighting in the Holy Grail war. I must say, I love Fate/Stay Night, but the reasons and ideologies of all the people fighting this Holy Grail war are a lot more deep and realistic than that of Tohsaka and Shirou’s. If anything, I can see that this war was really the main one, and one that left such ripples in reality that the second Holy Grail war was more of a low key aftermath battle.

Now… if you’ve played the original Visual Novel (which I’m guessing not a lot of people have), you really got to see just how dark the franchise can actually be. The third path of the game in particular (one of three routes you can choose in the game to reach one of its three endings) was the darkest with really scary stuff in there. Fate Zero seems to be following along those lines, and this is probably the darkest we’ve seen the franchise yet.

The series develops its known characters and adds new ones!


The real major thing that I got out of this episode was that it actually added some depth and history to some of Fate/Stay Night’s characters. Sakura for example, was actually Rin’s biological sister (Which is mentioned in the game’s third path). This was something, I had not paid particular attention to at the time.. It was a real eye opener though, and the way Sakura was twisted and mutilated by the Motou family from a young age was just horrific. Its no wonder she appreciates and eventually falls in love with Shirou, who’s the kindest, nicest guy you can ever see.

We also got to see more Rin and Shirou’s parents, namely Emiya Kiritsugu and Tohsaka Tokiomi. Wow were these two characters a  far cry from what they were shown to be or hinted at in the first series/game. Emiya Kiritsugu was not the guy that Shirou had looked up to and loved and idealized. In the series, Kiritsugu is a dark, cold hearted man with a mission. He’s confused, he’s hardly even remotely close to kind. Its kind of interesting to see just how much the Holy Grail war will change this man and how he’ll end up being a sort of hero in the eyes of his future adopted son.

Illya is actually Kiritsugu’s daughter!

What also was shocking for me, was that Iliya was actually the daughter of Emiya Kiritsugu. So technically, Shirou is indeed her brother, if only because his adopted father is the biological father of the girl:

Again, a really nice little nugget of information for fans of the franchise. You really get to see some clear origins and understand why Illya turns out the way she does in Fate/Stay Night. She pretty much loses her parents and becomes another pawn for a magus family to achieve their goals. Its really twisted and kind of sad, but its a running theme in the series I assume. The Magus families really are all types of fucked up, and this war can only lead to the head on collision of some really twisted people.

Rin’s papa-san… A far cry from Noble and Kind.

Speaking of twisted people…. Rin’s father Tohsaka Tokiomi. Wow… does that guy just  oooze pure evil. You’d think that because the  guy was related to Rin  Tohsaka he’d be at least semi noble. The guy seems like an evil twisted mastermind whose only goal is to get what he wants. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t seem to care much for his wife or daughters. Yes, again, he willingly gave his daughter Sakura away to the Mutou family. That’s just all types of twisted waiting to happen. If anything, the series again shows that Rin really knew nothing of what her father was…

Kariya horrified at what had been done to young Sakura!

Now directly related to Sakura and her adoptment is Matou Kariya. Kariya is definitely one of the more tragic characters of this story. Its obvious he loved Rin’s mother, but because he decided to go against a life of magic, he pretty much lost a chance to be with the woman he loves. Instead, the kind guy ends up caring for her and her daughters. Its kind of sad that when Kariya finds out about Sakura and how the Mutou family took her, its he who ends up stepping up to protect Sakura. I guess it might be because Sakura’s mother Aoi had no idea about how twisted the Mutou family’s magic is, but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that she just gave away her daughter like that.

Like I said before, these magus families are all types of twisted fucked up. Kariya, being the one sane and kind person, decides to literally sacrifice himself so Sakura can be freed from the horrible stuff that the Mutou family is putting her through. We all know and realize that he doesn’t really succeed, as Sakura is still with the Mutous in Fate/Stay Night. We do know though, that he is able to sheild her to some degree. Either way, its a sad story, and I think if its one character that I like and am rooting for, its Kariya.

Cocky prideful kid trying to prove himself? CHECK!

The other master we saw was some kid (Waver) from the Magus Association academy that grabs one of his teacher’s relics and books and ends up becoming a master. I’ll say this now, this guy, may have the coolest, most friggin awesome Servant out of all em. I’m not exactly sure who it is yet, but that King just looks all types of bad ass.

A very different Kirei to the one we all get know!


One person of particular note is Kirei. We all know Kirei, he’s the eventual villain of Fate/Stay Night that Shirou ends up facing and defeating with Tohsaka. I’m really curious to see how his character is built up. He’s far from the scheming, twisted Kirie we know in the second series. Right now, it seems like the guy is kind of confused and searching for answers. I can already see that he and Kiritsugu will end up forming a sort of friendship or rivalary. Their whole relationship and dynamic is probably going to be one of the big things in Fate Zero, and one that I’m really excited to see.

We also get to see a small Rin, as she interacts with Kirie. I doubt we’ll see more Rin in this series, as she’s kind of the main heroine of the Fate/Stay Night storyline. It was nice to see her as a kid, and what she kind of had to go through.

All in all, it was just awesome seeing the masters finally summon their servants.

Kiritsugu obviously got Saber or King Aurthur

Tokiomi managed to summon none other than Gilgamesh, another big player in the Fate/Stay Night storyline:

We really can’t see what Kariya got, but it seems like something really dark and twisted.

I’m assuming the Hassan (hey that’s actually my real name!) guy who’s the Assasin is probably Kirie’s servant.

And of course, the kid with his King servant dude:

Before I close this review/first impressions up, I’ve got to say… Wow @ Animation. This is one pretty looking, jaw dropping series. I mean, I know ufotable has done a smashing job with the Garden of Sinners movies, but I was not expecting this level of quality in a TV production. Not only is the story super awesome, but the visuals are just breath taking!

That said, this was a great first episode. As mentioned earlier, I don’t think this a series for anyone except those who are very familiar with the Fate/Stay Night franchise. For those of us fans that are though, this series is such a friggin treat already. I cannot wait to see what happens next!


OP [Oath Sign] by Lisa: (A)

Pretty darn sweet OP! This is all we got to see at the end, but I think it really did show us everything about the series without spoiling anything. We got to see who the masters are, and possibly the servants. The animation was amazing, as expected of Ufotable. Finally, the song itself, sung by LISA was pretty darn awesome. While note as memorable as the Fate/Stay Night OP theme, its still pretty darn awesome. Very very nice!


Seems like we’ll get some seriously cool interaction between the newly summoned servants and their masters. See you next week!

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The Owner, webmaster, designer, coder and writer for the site. Anime Evo is Setsuken’s (Hassan's) proclamation of love for Anime, which he can’t seem to get enough of. He’s a 26 year old male, and current resides in the USA . A writer for a number of years Hassan is also a 3D Artist, a Game Designer, a Web Designer and a Huge Anime Obsessed Enthusiast.

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  • HurdyHurr

    Studio DEEN did the UBW movie and Fate/Stay Night. ufotable did Fate/Zero, they never did UBW.

    • Setsuken

      Aye you are correct sir. I meant to say the Garden of Sinners movies. My mistake and bad, it has been fixed =D

  • Decolgen

    uhh, so you’ve played all three routes of F/SN visual novel yet didn’t know about rin-sakura or ilya-kiritsugu relationship?

    • Setsuken

      Edit: Oh yes… I forgot that Rin off handedly mentions this in third path… Right as she plans to kill Sakura. My bad on that… Its been years since I played the novel XD

      I really don’t remember the Illya Kirtsugu thing being revealed though. I didn’t really play the last path all that attentively I think. Sakura was my least favorite girl out of all the three, and her path was the one I didn’t get both the normal and True Endings for. Seems like I missed out on some stuff though. Thanks for catching that! =D

      • Decolgen

        IIRC, ilya mentioned her being Kiritsugu’s daughter (and a kind of older sister to shirou) is a major plot driver in heaven’s feel. that’s why she sacrificed herself to save shirou “soul”.

        yeah i know how you feel about sakura, she’s not my favourite character either, but sakura and kariya scene in this episode was so heartbreaking.

        • Setsuken

          Oooh Good to know. I think that was in the true ending, where she sacrifices herself. (Which I never got XD)

          The Sakura and Kariya scene from the episode was beyond awesome. I think I feel like I’m starting to like Sakura a lot more cause of how this series is giving her some background story =D

  • Dracus

    He’s Kirei, not Kirie. And yes, what an awesome episode!

    • Setsuken

      First a plot mistake, then a fact mistake now a typo XD… I am seriously going all out on the mistakes XD

      And yes, It was quite amazingly awesome! I kinda wish all the episodes would be an hour long, It’d be nice to see this length of an episode every week XD

  • Sweety8587

    Other show premiers, move over bitches, Fate/Zero is here and it just knocked all show starters out of the fucking ball park!

    First, yeah I think that the best way to watch FZ is only AFTER watching FSN and UBW. Otherwise, if I was a new fan to the series, a lot of things just wouldnt be as amazing. I havent played the games so the Illya Emiya link made my jaw drop to the floor! That was one big ‘my mind is full of fuck’ moment right there. And I gotta agree, after this series I think I may end up seeing FSN as the smaller key battle and just…this will be way better! MOSTLY cause it’ll be darker and FUCK I HAD FORGOTTEN how dark the story actually was y’ know? The Sakura part just made me physically ill! (That poor girl really got the worst draw of the deck in the story)

    The truth about Emiya just …. rocked me. I mean, holy FUCK. NEVER did I think that Emiya was actually that kinda guy! A magnus killer WHAT THE HELL WUT WUT WUT WUT! Another ‘my mind is full of fuck’ moment! Rin’s dad….less ‘oozes evil’ as much as comes off as a skeezy sleaze ball type character in my head. I mean….ugh sneaky little rat bastard. Sakura and Kariya are definetly the tragic characters of the series. I mean…that poor man ;_; I get the feeling that the addition of those two lines to the summoning is just gonna be the ‘trigger’ for him and hes gonna go mad and then just….there’ll be nothing but tragedy in his path and he’ll wind up dying for nothing in the end ;_;

    Waver, i think he drew Berserker. Alexander I think? I accidentally got spoiled(?) for that on tumblr and had a minor spazz attack XD Kirei… FSN i was curious how he got to be the way he is and with this premiere, I think I get why he turned out the way he was y’ know? But lets see how much of my guess work is actually gonna hit the mark. In any case, i think it might be too soon for me to start guessing.

    YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THE GIANT GROAN AND HEADSMACK I HAD WHEN I SAW GILGAMESH! I just … asudghaoshda >_< Emiya drew Saber, Kirei has Assassin, Tohsaka drew Gilgamesh, Waver drew Berserker so that leaves....Caster, Rider and Lancer right?I'm gonna take a guess that Kariya drew Rider. And if the Archibald guy is still gonna take part in the War, maybe he draws Caster.....dunno who gets Lancer in that case.... GUUUUUUUUUU WANT EPISODE 2 ALREADY

    • Setsuken

      Haha yeah! After this show premier I doubt any show this season can compare. Definitely the best first episode of the season!

      I had definitely played the games, but that was ages ago, so I forgot little details like The Sakura Rin connection or the Illya connection. Part of me was very glad, as you said, those things were super friggin impressive! =D

      Emiya was a far cry from the hero that Shirou looked up to, and I think that’s what makes prequel stories so interesting. They tell you of something in the past that you hardly knew or thought was possible.

      Kariya is definitely turning out to be the true hero of the series. I feel so sad for him and Sakura ;_;

      Waver drawing Berserker is interesting. in Fate/Stay Night berserker is actually Hercules, so If its the same guy, this will definitely help flesh out that guy’s character as well.

      Gotta have Gilgamesh, otherwise you won’t feel that horrible cringe inside XD

      I so cannot wait for episode 2!

  • As a fan who has read the Fate/Zero novels, words cannot describe how ecstatic I was when they first decided to green-lit this series and now the first episode is HERE! WOO HOO!! And I gotta agree. While viewers can get by with watching Fate/Zero without having watched Fate/stay night or played any of the visual novels, this perhaps only goes so far as the story. The experience wouldn’t feel the same with regards to the characters, their backgrounds and their relationship dynamics for example (Though saying that, I admit I’ve forgotten a large chunk of the visual novels’ stories except for the key events. It’s been years since I last touched the games and it’s like starting all over again ^^;;;). So far, so good. Absolutely no gripes whatsoever when it comes to the execution. It’s definitely too soon to be calling this a masterpiece but it has great potential to become one if the Anime production team keeps up with the story and animation standards. 🙂

    • Setsuken

      This is very interesting to know! I know of nearly no people who’ve actually read the novels. I’m glad to hear that the adaption is good enough that it pleases the novel readers as well. They really did a good job.

      I totally totally get you in terms of the game, I forgot some real key stuff, and its only because the game is super old, and its been YEARS since I played it XD

      I think given its ufotable, and TypeMoon and given their success with the Garden of Sinners/Kara no Kyoukai movies, I’m confident this is just the start of a new brand of awesome!

      Thanks for the comment too btw! I’m definitely curious about comparisons to the original novels!

  • Arandur

    Okay, how shall I start…? Hm…

    It’s Matou, M-A-T-O-(U or other variations of the O like in Tohsaka etc.), or you could say Makiri, both are the same. Oh and you really seem to have forgotten the VN. (a bit of FSN Spoiler)Kirei was always searching for answers as you get to know in Heaven’s Feel. His wife committed suicide to show him he knows sympathy and he really started to cry when she died, but what does he think? “Damn, I(!) should have killed her!” His only pleasure is the suffering of other people and fans of the game who played HF will know that, so background information is great(or will spoil the fun on the other hand), but fortunately isn’t needed.

    Back to topic. I was really pleased to see a 45min special of Zero to be the opening. All important characters in the story were introduced in this episode, giving them 45min to introduce themselves without a one week cut was the right choice. The animations and music are on par with KnK(guess that was to expected of the same team) and although it might be a bit complicated for newcomers, they still don’t HAVE to watch or play FSN first, so I guess it’s a good way to introduce them to a great series. Could be one of, if not, THE best series of this year.

    Yes, Zero will be a lot more darker than FSN and I like it(read the novels already). These Masters aren’t kids who want to play, they are all adults and this war will be (at the least) as dark as HF. Oh, and I like Oath Sign. It’s a good opening song and the more I hear it, the more I like it(imo it lightens the mood in Zero a bit).

    And just so you know(well, you actually see it at the end of the episode), these are the Masters and their Servants in this Holy Grail War.

    Emiya Kiritsugu/Irisviel von Einzbern – Saber(Arturia Pendragon)
    Kotomine Kirei – Assassin(Hassan-I-Sabbah, fyi, actually ALL the Assassins are Hassan-I-Sabbah, Sasaki Kojirou wasn’t a real Servant, so he wasn’t a real Assassin)
    Tohsaka Tokiomi – uh… Archer(Gilgamesh)
    Waver Velvet – Rider(see next episode to find out his identity iirc)
    Matou Kariya – Berserker(won’t tell his identity. Since he’s wearing a black armor, let’s just call him The Dark Knight :>)
    Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald – Hm… a good-looking guy with two lances 😮 …
    ***** **********(okay, you know his name if you have read the credits, but whatever :-/) – Caster

    Yeah, Saber is the only female Servant in this war and gosh, she’s wearing a suit. >.<