Cover of Fate/Zero Volume 1
|Genre||Action, drama, horror, contemporary fantasy, thriller, tragedy|
|Written by||Gen Urobuchi|
|Illustrated by||Takashi Takeuchi|
|Original run||December 29, 2006 – December 29, 2007|
|Written by||Gen Urobuchi|
|Published by||Kadokawa Shoten|
|Original run||February 2011 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Ei Aoki|
|Produced by||Atsuhiro Iwakami|
|Written by||Akira Hiyama
|Music by||Yuki Kajiura|
|Network||Tokyo MX, GYT, GTV, TVS, TVA, MBS, CTC, tvk, TVh, TVQ, BS11, Kids Station|
|Original run||October 1, 2011 – June 23, 2012|
Fate/Zero (Japanese: フェイト/ゼロ Hepburn: Feito/Zero?) is a light novel by Gen Urobuchi, illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi, and is a prequel to Type-Moon's visual novel, Fate/stay night. The first volume was released on December 29, 2006, and is a collaboration between Type-Moon and fellow developer Nitroplus. The second volume was released on March 31, 2007. The third volume was released on July 27, 2007. The fourth and final volume was released on December 29, 2007, along with the Fate/Zero Original Image Soundtrack "Return to Zero". Four sets of Drama CDs were released from 2008 to 2010. An anime adaptation has been produced by Ufotable, the first season of which aired from October 1 to December 24, 2011 and the second season of which aired from April 7 to June 23, 2012.
The story of Fate/Zero takes place ten years prior to the events of Fate/stay night, detailing the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The Holy Grail War is a contest, founded by the Einzbern, Matou, and Tōsaka families centuries ago, in which seven mages summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete to obtain the power of the "Holy Grail", which grants a wish to each member of the winning duo. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.
The Einzbern family is determined to achieve success after three consecutive failures, no matter the cost. As a result, they have elected to bring the hated magus killer, Kiritsugu Emiya, into their ranks, despite his methods and reputation as a skilled mercenary and a hitman who employs whatever he can use to accomplish his goals. Though Kiritsugu had once wanted to become a hero who could save everyone, he has long since abandoned this ideal upon realizing that saving one person comes at the cost of another's life. Thus, this is the source of conflict, which he once sought to eliminate, due to finite resources/abilities. For the sake of humanity, he will ruthlessly destroy anything and anyone who threatens the peace of others.
However, Kiritsugu finds himself deeply torn between the love he has found for his new family - his wife Irisviel and their daughter Illya - and what he must do to obtain the Holy Grail. Meanwhile, Kiritsugu's greatest opponent appears in the form of Kirei Kotomine, a priest who cannot find any sense of fulfillment in his life and sets his sights on Kiritsugu as the possible answer to the emptiness he feels.
Towards the conclusion, the limitations of the "Holy Grail" are found to be in the fact that, while omnipotent in its wish-granting abilities, it is not omniscient, and therefore depends on the victor's knowledge and methods to determine the way by which the wish is carried out.
- Kiritsugu Emiya (衛宮 切嗣 Emiya Kiritsugu?)
- Voiced by: Rikiya Koyama (Japanese), Miyu Irino (Japanese, young), Matt Mercer (English), Marianne Miller (English, young)
- Kiritsugu is the main protagonist of the story. He is the Master of Saber, summoning her using Avalon, the holy sheath of Excalibur, as a catalyst. While a cynical and practical man, he wishes to find a way to end all conflict. Infamously known as the "Magus Killer" for his skills, he was hired by the Einzbern family to be their representative in the Fourth Holy Grail War. Believing that the Holy Grail could grant his wish for world peace, he decided to accept. An unconventional magus, Kiritsugu adopts a strategy of exploiting enemy magus' weak points using technology. His cynical views on life bring him into direct conflict with his Servant, and he has Irisviel appear in Fuyuki City as Saber's master in order to allow him to move more freely and to avoid contact with Saber as much as possible. He is the adoptive father of Shirou Emiya and the biological father of Illyasviel von Einzbern.
- Irisviel von Einzbern (アイリスフィール・フォン・アインツベルン Airisufīru fon Aintsuberun?)
- Voiced by: Sayaka Ohara (Japanese), Bridget Hoffman (English)
- Irisviel is the main heroine of the story, the mother of Illyasviel von Einzbern and Kiritsugu's wife. She is a homunculus prototype created by the Einzbern family with the idea of giving birth to an ultimate homunculus. Like many of the Einzberns, she is skilled in alchemy. Irisviel serves as Saber's proxy Master, since Kiritsugu believes that he and Saber are incompatible. Her true purpose in the War is as the vessel of the Holy Grail itself. When six or more Servants are killed, she will manifest the Grail, losing her humanity and sense of self in the process. Despite this, she remains committed to Kiritsugu, believing that his goals are worth the sacrifice.
- Saber (セイバー Seibā?)
- Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese), Kari Wahlgren (English)
- Saber's identity in life is the King of Knights, Arturia Pendragon, who became King of Britain upon obtaining the magical "Sword in the Stone". Servants of the Saber class are often seen as being the strongest. She typically maintains a high code of honor, viewing honor as more important than victory. Though she and Kiritsugu are Servant and Master seeking the same ultimate goal of peace, their differing ideological perspectives result in a strained relationship where Kiritsugu does not directly acknowledge Saber. Saber wanted to use the Grail to help save her country; however, over the course of the war, her wish changes. Coming to believe that the cause of the downfall of Britain was her ineffective leadership, her reason for seeking the Grail becomes wanting to undo her country's misfortunes and wishing for someone else more suitable and effective to lead Britain in her stead.
- Kirei Kotomine (言峰 綺礼 Kotomine Kirei?)
- Voiced by: Joji Nakata (Japanese), Crispin Freeman (English)
- Kirei is the Master of Assassin, working for his mentor, Tokiomi, and doing everything he is asked to do to the best of his ability. He lives a pious life as a priest but lacks a sense of fulfilment, taking little joy in doing good deeds. He sees his own emptiness mirrored in Kiritsugu, for whom he feels a compulsive hatred. Kirei is the only Master that Kiritsugu fears, the latter seeing him as the biggest threat to his own victory. During the later stages of the War, he murders Tokiomi and becomes the Master of Archer, assuming the role of the main antagonist. He does not have a true wish for the Grail and fights only to discover his purpose in life.
Fate/Zero began as a light novel series written by Gen Urobuchi with illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi. It is set as a prequel to Type-Moon's visual novel Fate/stay night. The first volume was released on December 12, 2006, and the fourth and final volume was released on December 29, 2007.
The 2011 issue of Type-Moon Ace magazine reported that an anime adaption of Fate/Zero was green-lit for production. It is produced by studio Ufotable and began airing in October 2011. This is the third anime production in the Fate series, following the 24-episode 2006 adaptation and the 2010 Unlimited Blade Works film. Nico Nico Douga and Aniplex simulcasted Fate/Zero worldwide with eight different language subtitles, including Korean, Chinese (traditional and simplified), English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
The anime was originally slated to run continuously for all episodes, but was later given a season break between 13 and 14 to allow for better animation. The first season ran from October 1 to December 24, 2011 and the second season ran from April 7 to June 23, 2012. For the first half, the opening theme is "oath sign" by LiSA whilst the ending theme is Memoria by Aoi Eir. For the second half, the opening theme is "to the beginning" by Kalafina whilst the ending theme is "Up On the Sky, The Wind Sings" (空は高く風は歌う Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau?) by Luna Haruna. The ending theme for episodes 18-19 is "Perfect Sky" (満天 Manten?) by Kalafina. The series has been licensed in North America by Aniplex of America and features an English dub which runs on Viz Media's Neon Alley service since April 2013.
An art book entitled Fate/Zero material was released on August 8, 2008. Published by Type-Moon, the book contains a compilation of the published and promotional art from the novel, detailed character profiles and memo sections, and an overview of the novel's plot. Two videogame adaptations for smartphones, Fate/Zero The Adventure and Fate/Zero Next Encounter, were released in Japan.
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- "Fate/Zero Novel Gets Ufotable Anime Along With Manga". Anime News Network. December 21, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
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- Type-Moon's Official Homepage for the Fate/stay night Game (Japanese)
- Type-Moon's and Nitroplus' Official Homepage for Fate/Zero (Japanese)
- Official Anime Website (Japanese)
- Official US Website
- Fate/Zero (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia