Fate/Zero turned out to be surprisingly good. Yes, it’s very dark and bloody. But if you’re willing to watch it anyway with a suitably detached mood it can be extremely entertaining. The black, black villains, the deluded anti-heroes, the over-the-top Heroic Sprits, the Very Special Mother’s Day Episode…they all come together to make rousing entertainment.
The ending is quite proper for a classical tragedy: strict justice and no mercy. (Well, maybe just a little bit of mercy.)
If you’re wondering who Angra Mainyu is, the answer is here.
After this I’m almost tempted to go back and try to watch Fate/Stay Night, which I gave up on after two episodes. But I think not. If I’m going to watch something this dark it had better be really well done. That show was by a different studio and it just wasn’t good enough.
I guess Fate/Zero (Crunchyroll link) has been aiming for tragedy all along. (I certainly hope that nobody has been watching this and hoping for a happy ending!) But it wasn’t clear whether they fully understood the difference between “tragedy” and “bloody farce.”
The 16th episode lays these doubts to rest. This is tragedy, as the spoiler-laden excerpt below should make clear.
I think this illustrates the true power of hand-drawn animation as an art form. Imagine trying to do this scene with computer-generated animation. The idea is revolting. It would be obscene.
Could it be done with live actors? Yes, but they would have to be very good indeed for it to be as effective. And if you did the bloodier scenes as live action the result would be unbroadcastable. You probably couldn’t even show it in a movie theater.
(It would have to be the sort of theater that would show Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein. But that was pure farce. This would be much more disturbing.)
Hand-drawn animation at its best can convey the characters’ feelings more effectively than live action while preserving enough emotional distance to allow the audience to bear the unbearable.
(And no, I’m not going to show anything really bloody below. I’m not going for cheap thrills here.) Continue reading →
I’m going to go about this in my usual biased way, ignoring anything that didn’t interest me and selecting the shows that were great, the shows that were good, and the shows that might have been good were it not for some serious flaw. Ongoing series that have not completed a single season will have judgement deferred until next year. (Too often a promising show is ruined by a bad or missing ending.) Continue reading →