Fate/Zero finally comes to its conclusion. From the first episode in October, to its half-season finale on Christmas, to its resumption this spring season, it finally concludes. It’s been a long journey personally, it essentially encapsulated the majority of my school year. Let’s see how it ends.
On-going Thoughts: Episode
The destruction of the Grail causes destruction throughout Fuyuki City. Kiritsugu’s incredulous at the sight; he destroyed the Grail to save people, yet with the explosion of the Grail, the city’s being engulfed. It’s quite rare to see Kiritsugu emotional outside of his childhood horrors, this would be one of the occasions. It needs to be understood that Kiritsugu doesn’t hate people, nor does he disregard human life; he treasures it, that’s why he killed Natalia, his father, and the situational visages of Irisviel and Ilya. Right now, he’s in a spot of pure helplessness; he has to watch the destruction of the city, without being able to do anything about it [something he wanted to avoid; he got stronger for a reason, he wanted to prevent this feeling of helplessness from occurring; it’s like he’s a kid again.].
Fate/Zero’s best described not as an action series, but rather as a show driven by dialogue, but more specifically in this case, a tragedy. It’s remarkable to see how hard Kiritsugu tried, and how much he failed; but it’s even more remarkable to see how reminiscent he is of Shirou, from Fate/stay night. They’re antithetical in their approaches, but they’re analogous when taking into considerations their aspirations [they both want to be “heroes.”]. Kiritsugu failed, so Shirou has to take over; Irisviel didn’t succeed, so Ilya has to take over. It’s ironic, it’ll later be revealed that Kiritsugu wanted Shirou to stay away from magic, due to its nature; yet, he’ll serve as his successor.
The Grail granted Gilgamesh a true incarnation, not bounded by the rules of the Holy Grail War. In doing so, Kirei was resurrected along with him due to them being linked. Ironic how a Grail that sought to took away numerous lives, granted one. It’s insinuated that Kirei’s wish was granted, instead of Kiritsugu’s. In this case, the wish of pure destruction to satiate his sadistic wants. The majority of characters in Fate/Zero are well developed, deep, and great; but I never exactly liked Kirei’s character. Not because of what his character contains, but due to the origin of his character: there really wasn’t one. Each master fought for a reason, something that made them who they were; Kirei fought for shits and giggles, to discover that he really liked killing people and seeing suffering among the masses. Kirei seems to have discovered the key to floating his boat; yet, he still wishes for more. He spots Kiritsugu yonder, yet Kiritsugu makes no attempt to engage, he seems to be fully destroyed. His fighting spirit, nonexistent, seemingly dead. And he has good reason to do so, he endured a multitude of shitty events for the serendipitous occasion of him actually saving the world. Yet, since the occasion proved to be an abysmal failure, everything he’s gone through, every atrocity he committed was for nil.
After searching through the rubble, Kiritsugu finds Shirou. Elated at the discovery, he gives repeated thanks. Yet, his actions aren’t due to benevolence, they’re due to a selffish reassurance that not everything he did, was utterly catastrophic, It’s similar to finding a rose on a desolate battlefield; it’s a sign of life, or hope, among the destruction.
I’m really glad that Waver survived. It would have been a shitty development if he did die, after Rider’s intentions, and his actions. It would make Fate/Zero a melodramatic tragedy in a sense; there wouldn’t have been a reason to kill him off, after the incessant monologues by Rider that foreshadowed Waver’s surviving. Waver announces his wishes to travel, a trait reminiscent of the diseased son of the elderly couple; he asks to stay while he gets things sorted out; they unanimously agree. He searches through the remnants of Rider’s belongings in his room; he finds a new shirt, a memento of Rider in other words.
At Tokiomi’s funeral, Kirei gives some final words, in English [it wasn’t that bad yo.]. He congratulates Rin as her debut as the new family head. Aoi seems to have survived, albeit with brain damage, possibly due to the asphyxiation [or out of psychological trauma; I’m really not sure.]. Rin seems to be distrustful of Kirei, but Kirei gives her the Azoth dagger that was given to him, as a gift for his loyalty. Oh the characterization of Kirei. He’s essentially the living incarnation of the devil. Pure evil, without a heartbeat; I still dislike his origins. He smiles at Rin’s crying, and her suffering.
Saber falls victim to the Grail too. She laments her decisions against Berserker; her forgiving nature, her refusal to seek recompense caused his insanity. A knight’s most central virtue is that of honor; since Lancelot’s honor was forsaken when he sought an affair with Guinevere, he never reattained it since he was never punished for it. In other words, he didn’t die a knight, he died a scoundrel [or at least in his eyes].
Time passes by. Kiritsugu never saw Ilya again because he did not win the Holy Grail. He converses with Shirou; he shares his recollections, on his wanting to become a hero. It’s similar to Rider, who realized that his dream was but naught; Kiritsugu shares about how he realized the impossibility of becoming a hero as he matured. Kiritsugu comments on how beautiful the moon looks tonight, he’s seemingly close to death. Shirou, not taking his own advice, and encapsulated by his naivete, offers to redeem him for his failed efforts. He then finally attains peace.
On-going Thoughts: Concluding Thoughts
That was an extremely fulfilling ending. I laud Fate/Zero for its status as the epitome of great storytelling. The ending was just so great. The instrumental of the main theme, in unison with Shirou’s words empowered the feeling so much more. It’s something that you cannot quite construct into words. Regardless of how well I write, or how convincingly I write, nothing sways, or allows you to live vicariously, think vicariously, or experience vicariously as well as music. Music as a medium, with the animation bolstered the ending, it intensified it to such an extent where it’s inexplicably difficult to define through words, so I won’t attempt to butcher the feelings with an explanation.
Fate/Zero is a tragedy, the failings of the adults of Fate/Zero go on to haunt the children in Fate/stay night. Tokiomi’s position as head of the family passes onto his daughter, Rin. Zouken’s lost pawn, Kariya, transmits the responsibilities to Sakura for the next war. Irisviel’s position as a medium for the Holy Grail is being passed onto Ilya. And Kiritsugu’s naive wish is passed onto his successor, Shirou. It truly is the epitome of great storytelling. Each character is given life, although often to the extremes, the story is told so fluidly. It’s to be incessantly lauded.
Yet, as much as I appreciate the greatness that is Fate/Zero. I suppose the maturity, or the darker aspects of it prevented me from relating closely to the characters. It’s one I enjoyed immensely as a critic, an objective mind. But I prefer to wholly enjoy anime subjectively, through a mindless watching-to-enjoy mindset. Fate/Zero did provide that to an extent, yet, I couldn’t help but wish for more. Perhaps it’s my age [kinda 16], or perhaps it’s something that I have yet to experience. But Fate does not become a favorite of mine. It is one that I will examine, and point out as a great series, the epitome of great storytelling. One that I will ardently defend with a fervor of an adamant fan boy, but it’s not a series that I’ll reflect on. It’s not a series that changes my point of view, that makes me wish for more. It doesn’t make me want to enjoy the small trivialities in life, it doesn’t make me do that. Yet, I suppose that that wasn’t the intentions of Fate. But nevertheless, it was an enjoyable show, and a great one to write on. For those who actually read this blog, it’s greatly appreciated. I do write primarily for myself, but it doesn’t hurt to have an active audience.
Oh, and right. Hopefully ufotable animates Heaven Feel’s arc for Fate, the sequel truly deserves an adaptation that Deen could not offer. Fate/stay night’s visual novel is just as great as the light novel of Fate/Zero; the only difference is the current animation [ufotable against Studio Deen].