So hey guys! A friend of mine is now kindly gathering images for me. That certainly makes my life a bit easier, so thanks! Maybe these posts will start to look a bit better now.
So, lets get the ball rolling. I saw Fate/Zero fairly recently, and it was a pretty good show. Since the story of this show leads on directly from Fate/Zero, there will obviously be spoilers in this and subsequent posts. It may also be worth knowing that I’ve never played the Fate/Stay Night visual novel, nor have I seen DEEN’s original adaption, so I’ll be talking about this show as if its a sequel to Fate/Zero even though Fate/Stay Night came first. My knowledge is limited, but I’m not completely ignorant. Lets dive in. Also, I will block any comment that tries to spoil Fate/Stay Night. I’ll be making plenty of speculation, but I want the show to answer my questions, not its fans.
Right off the bat, the show makes a good choice by choosing to center on the character of Rin Tohsaka, a minor character in Fate/Zero. While not a hugely interesting character back when she was but a young child, she garners immediate sympathy from me. For those not in the know, she’s ignorant to a whole lot of horrible events that took place in Fate/Zero, centering around her father. Her current guardian appears to be Kirei Kotomine- He doesn’t appear to be living with Rin, but she talks to him on the phone, and he doesn’t seem to appear in the episode, but he seems to be the person running her life. In Fate/Zero, as part of the Holy Grail war fought every 60 or so years, (Strangely, this new one seems to be taking place only a decade or so after Fate/Zero for some reason.) Kirei betrayed and killed Rin’s father, Tohsaka, in order to claim the grail and Tohsaka’s father for himself, as they were both participants. At the end of Fate/Zero, Kirei even had the audacity to gift Rin with the knife he had used to kill her father with. She has it pretty rough, even though she seems fairly well adjusted in her teenage years. What I find interesting in this regard is how much familial baggage she’s carrying, family being a major theme in the Fate series. I feel as though the themes fit much better in a sequel, where all the parents are characters we’ve gotten to know over the course of an entire series. Servants, too, combatants used in the battle for the Holy Grail which can supposedly grant any wish, carry over in class if not always in personality- like her father, she summons the Archer. Emiya also summons Saber, who served his father in Fate/Zero. Funny that.
Animation is still top notch, there’s several scenes which simply feel like a collection of urban screensavers- this scene is also contrasted later on, using the same shot in a busy street rather than an empty one.
In terms of personality, Rin is pretty likable, but she boarders on Mary Sue at times. Her occasional tsundere outbursts don’t help either. Her day begins as she heads to school, she coldly shoots down male suitors, catches out gossiping female classmates, and generally just radiates an aura of beauty and popularity. In some respects however, her persona at school feels somewhat different to how she acts when alone, or with Archer later on. It’s an act hiding a greater fear of incompetence and weight, not to mention the impending Grail war which, being the most eligible Tohsaka, she basically has to enter.
She seems to fudge up her summoning of Archer, not only was she trying to get Saber, the most powerful servant, Archer was summoned above the basement, almost destroying her living room. Regardless of whatever Tsundere qualities she may exhibit, I have no quarrels with her being the main protagionist- so far, she doesn’t exist for the sole reason of being one male protagonist’s romantic interest (after all, she’ll have to fight Emiya or Saber to the death as part of the war) and her banter with Archer is generally well written- they have a fairly strong chemistry together as they try to figure out each other’s quirks and desires as combatants. It’s an organic building of trust that I rather enjoyed. The lack of exposition dumps also helped with this, but even for someone who had watched Fate/Zero, I occasionally found myself asking for some more context as time wore on. Her conversations with Archer come to a close as she explains that she doesn’t really have any specific wish for the Holy Grail.
Is she fighting because of her family legacy, or to prove her own competence as a mage? I would guess both. The grail only ever seems to make things worse anyway.
The theme of family carries over to the next scene, too. The Tohsaka’s are one of the most prestigious mage families, and according to Rin, the only other nearby mage family is “a shadow of its former self.” However she fails to account for smaller families or individuals. Saber belongs to the adopted son of Kiritsugu in this war, and to my knowledge Emiya was the main protagonist of the original Fate/Stay Night adaption. The Emiya’s aren’t a hugely prestigious family, and Saber’s new master isn’t even related to his father by blood. Despite this however, he’s the master of Saber, the strongest servant. I question if the point of this is to demonstrate the meaninglessness of blood ties, a point argued by Rider’s master in Fate/Zero.
That wraps up all I really have to say, bar some speculation. By the end of Fate/Zero Archer became corporeal, so the Archer we see here who has lost his memory isn’t Gilgamesh despite the visual similarities.
On top of that we do see a suspicious blonde hair man talking to Sakura. I would be surprised if this person isn’t Gilgamesh performing some undercover work for Kirei. So how involved will Sakura be in the story? She seems fairly normal now despite how screwed up she was in Fate/Zero. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up being Berserker’s master, in carrying with the theme of children inheriting the wars of their parents. I just hope she doesn’t end up using insect magic like Kariya did. But coming back to Archer, with his amnesia, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t in some way linked to Gilgamesh. Perhaps a replacement clone or someone related to him from when he was alive. He certainly seems to be a lot more humble than Gilgamesh, which makes him more pleasant to listen to.
Here’s some animation-
Man, watching a Ufotable production is like watching Scrooge MC Duck dive into his huge pile of money, and it’s pretty glorious. They need to lay off the blue though.