Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 9, 2014 by Dennis Amith
Much darker, more violent and an all-out action-packed anime series! “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II” is a must-see for those who enjoyed “Fate/stay night” and are fans of the “Fate” anime/video gameseries! Better animation, better and much darker storyline. Highly recommended!
Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Nitroplus/TYPE-MOON, ufotable, FZPC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II
SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2011
DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (330 minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Linear PMC Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English, Spanish
COMPANY: Aniplex, Inc.
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: December 26, 2013
Directed by Ei Aoki
Screenplay by Akihiro Yoshida, Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato, Takumi Miyajima
Music by Yuki Kajiura
Original Creator: Gen Urobuchi
Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi
Character Design by Atsushi Ikariya, Tomonori Sudou
Art Director: Koji Eto
Anime Production by ufotable
Featuring the following voice talent:
Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren as Saber
Rikiya Koyama/Matthew Mercer as Kiritsugu Emiya
Akina Abe/Karen Strassman as Assassin
Akio Ohtsuka/Jamieson Price as Rider
Akira Ishida/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ryūnosuke Uryū
Ayumi Tsunematsu/Carrie Keranen as Maiya Hisau
Daisuke Namikawa/Lucien Dodge as Waver Velvet
Hikaru Midorikawa/Grant George as Lancer
Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman as Kirei Kotomine
Megumi Toyoguchi/Karen Strassman as Sola-Ui
Ryotaro Okiayu/Kyle Hebert as Berserker
Sachie Abe/Patrick Seitz as Assassin
Satoshi Tsuruoka/Dan Woren as Caster
Sayaka Ohara/Bridget Hoffman as Irisviel von Einzbern
Sho Hayami/Marc Diraison as Tokiomi Tohsaka
Takumi Yamazaki as Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald
Tarusuke Shingaki/Liam O’Brien as Kariya Matō
Tomokazu Seki/David Earnest as Archer
The story starts from zero: the beginning…
The Holy Grail War – in this ultimate battle field, in order to obtain the power of the “Holy Grail” that grants any unattainable wish, seven “masters” summon “servants” and fight against each other until the last one survives.
As the 4th Holy Grail War becomes more furious, one by one the masters and their servants are being eliminated from the war by losing in a battle or falling into an opponents’ plot. What will Saber and Kiritsugu find out at the end of the war? And which team will win the war and the Holy Grail?
The war continues but mages must join forces temporarily as they must join forces in order to defeat a greater evil.
Meanwhile the history of Kiritsugu is revealed and who will be come the victor in winning the Grail?
Find out in episodes 13-25 in the Blu-ray box set release of “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II”!
What is “Fate/Zero”?
When it comes to video games and its its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON.
This series has captivated people from all over the world and merchandise from video games, nendoroids, PVC figures, you name it, there are many “Fate” fans all over the world.
And of course, the “Fate” series has led to manga, anime series and animated films.
“Fate/stay night” was the first game that was released in 2004 and would lead to a 20-volume manga series from 2006-2012 and an anime TV series created in 2006 and would be condensed to an animated film titled “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works” in 2010.
Meanwhile, back in 2006, Gen Urobuchi (best known for his work on “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Psycho-Pass”, “Blassreiter”, “Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom”) would create a light novel series “Fate/Zero” and feature illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi and the four-volume light novel series would last through 2007. The series would serve as a prequel to “Fate/stay night” and was a collaboration between Type-Moon and Nitroplus.
The light novel series would feature a manga adaptation and an anime adaptation which would last two seasons from 2011-2012.
The series was directed by Ei Aoki (“Ga-Rei-Zero”, “Hourou Musuko”, “Coyote Ragtime Show”), screenplay shared by Akihiro Yoshida, Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato and Takumi Miyajima, music composition by Yuki Kajiura (“Sword Art Online”, “.hack/” series, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”), character designs by Atsushi Ikariya (“Harmonie”, “The Devil is a PArt-Timer!”) and Tomonori Sudou (“Coyote Ragtime Show”, “Garden of Sinners”) and art direction by Koji Eto (“AKB0048”, “Steins;Gate”, “IDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA”).
And now the second Blu-ray box set is available in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.
“Fate/Zero” takes place ten years before the events of “Fate/stay night”.
With the War of the Holy Grail being inconclusive, the Fourth Holy Grail War begins once again in which seven mages summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete in a battle of last person standing in order to gain the power of the “Holy Grail”. For the pair that wins, a miracle will be granted.
Chosen to take part in the war are:
- Kiritsugu Emiya/Saber and Irisviel von Einzbern – Kiritsugu is the main protagonist of this series who wants to end all conflict. Known as the “Magus Killer” who is a master of firearms, he represents the Einzbern family in the Fourth Holy Grail War. He is also married to Irisviel von Einzbern, a homunculus prototype created by the Einzbern family who are trying to create an ultimate homunculus. When six or more servants are killed, she will manifest the Grail and lose her humanity which saddens Kiritsugu. While Kiritsugu is the master of Saber, the King of England, he has no interested in the Holy Grail, while Saber wants to be granted the miracle of preventing the destruction of her homeland while she was a leader many years ago.
- Kirei Kotomine/Assassin – Kirei is a priest who doesn’t seem happy when he does good deeds and commits many sins. He works for Tokiomi and is the master of Assassin. When he has great hatred towards Kiritsugu and despite being a priest, like Kiritsugu, he is a master of weapons. He has no true goal if he wins the Holy Grail aside from trying to find the meaning of life. But his methods make him an antagonist of the series. As for Assassin, trained at stealth and assassination and there may be more than one of them.
- Waver Velvet/Rider – Waver wants to be a great mage by working hard, rather than one who is a mage by bloodline. Waver steals an artifact meant for his teacher Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi and summons Rider, also known as Alexander the Great, The King of Conquerors, a huge, muscular man who has pride in battle.
- Ryunosuke Uryu/Caster – Ryunosuke is a teenage serial killer who entices young children to his hideout place and kills them. He also kills families of the children and summons Caster (Bluebeard), who also enjoys torturing children and is just as sadistic.
- Tokiomi/Archer – The father of Rin Tosaka and Sakura Mato and the Master of Archer. He is an arrogant mage and chooses Kirei Kotomine to be his understudy. Archer is Gilgameshu, the first hero to set foot on Earth and has a dislike towards Saber and Rider who are also kings.
- Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald/Lancer and Sola-Ui Nuaba-Re Sophia-Ri – Kayneth is a nobleman of the Magus Association, Lord of the house of El-Melloi and a prodigy of magecraft. He is engaged to Sola-Ui as part of a strategic arrangement but she is coldhearted and is infatuated with Lancer. Lancer is a Knight who is loyal to his master and has an agreement with Saber that the two would save each others in final battle. And so they often help each other out to make sure no one spoils their agreement. His birthmark is magical and attracts women.
- Kariya Mato/Berserker – A member of the Mato family and looks at Sakura Mato as a daughter but is upset that Tokiomi allowed his child to be adopted by Zoken. Despite having left the Mato Family out of disgust, he returns to make a deal with his father Zoken that if he wins the Grail War, Sakura will be free. The more magic Kariya uses, the more his life will be eaten and the nerves in his body will die. He is the master of Berserker, a servant who has the ability to use any object as a Noble Phantasm. But because Berserker requires so much magic which Kariya is unable to match, it has caused Berseker to be in constant pain.
“Fate/Zero” is presented in 1080p High Definition and because the series was created in HD, it looks much better than its older counterpart “Fate/stay night”. Colors are vibrant, line detail is strong, I didn’t see any major banding or artifact issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Fate/Zero” is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. I felt that the Japanese version had a bit of clarity with its lossless LPCM track with a slightly better dynamic range. Both featuring good voice acting on both soundtracks, but for the most part, people have a chance to choose which soundtrack they want to listen to, which is a plus. But dialogue and music sound crystal clear from the front channels.
It’s important to note that Aniplex Inc.’s “Fate/Zero” does not use the same English voice actors that were featured on Sentai Filmworks “Fate/stay night”. While the Japanese voice talent featured on “Fate/stay night” are the same on “Fate/Zero”.
Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
“Fate/Zero” comes with the following special features:
- Collection of CM, PV’s and trailers for “Fate/Zero”.
- “Fate/Zero” English Staff Interviews – (58:39) English staff interviews for Team Saber, Team Lancer, Team Archer, Team Rider, Team Berserker, Team Caster, Team Assassin and with Tony Oliver/Director
- Extra Bonus – Deleted Scenes from the English staff Interviews – (3:00) Discussion about the fun that the English dub staff had during recording.
“Fate/Zero” comes with the following extras:
- Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack II – Featuring music by Kajiura Yuki (duration: 71 minutes)
- fate to zero 3:03
- for him 0:40
- army of the king 2:13
- curse 2:25
- dogfight 3:14
- the sword of promised victory ～Fate/Zero ver. 2:06
- Babylonia 1:55
- on the battlefield 2:21
- betrayer 1:42
- you are my king 2:38
- at peace 1:35
- little star 2:42
- in a nightmare 1:53
- a man in black 2:44
- painful #2 1:35
- dogfight #2 1:36
- the battle to come 2:51
- on an island 2:22
- burning village 1:53
- I will 1:33
- in a foreign town 1:23
- she’s just in time 0:49
- days gone by 4:21
- mission 2:46
- mission #2 2:57
- the dream fades before dawn 1:28
- the dream fades before dawn #2 0:48
- tender moment 1:18
- this day, and never again 3:33
- the dream fades before dawn #3 3:34
- the world is tumbling down 2:47
- silver moon 2:15
- 16-Page “Fate/Zero” art booklet
- Bushiroad WeiB Schwarz English Edition card – Featuring “Noble Phantasm Unleashed, Saber”
- Rigid Slipcase box with illustration by Takashi Takeuchi
As a fan of the “Fate” video game series and also “Fate/stay night”, I have been captivated by the storyline of the mages who battle each other in order to capture the grail to make them or their master’s wish come true.
But as “Fate/stay night” was intriguing because it focused on one young master’s willingness to not fight but wants to end the game, “Fate/Zero” is the prequel to “Fate/stay night” about how life was for the mages prior.
And what the creators of the prequel managed to do much better than “Fate/stay night” was to create a more darker, violent atmosphere that tends to work well with the storyline. The series is less about humor and focused on the backgrounds of the mages. We get to see the relationships of the mages and also the backgrounds of a few masters of “Fate/stay night” and both series tie well with one another.
With the release of “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II”, the storyline focuses on the battle against the sadistic mage, Caster but also concludes the storyline of who will get the grail and whether or not a wish is made. But also the character Kiritsugu, his history and how this character ties into “Fate/stay night”.
Suffice to say, it’s another violent conclusion as mages take each other down and as expected from the fourth war, there must be a victor.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is much better than “Fate/stay night” as it was made in HD and features vibrant visuals. As much as I would have loved a 5.1 lossless track, you do get both stereo Japanese and English soundtracks. Hardcore English dub fans may be upset that the voice talent on “Fate/Zero” is different from the voice talent on “Fate/stay night”, while the Japanese voice talent are the same on both series.
And like all amazing limited edition box sets released from Aniplex Inc., there is a great amount of swag included such as the “Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack II”, bonus interview DVD, a booklet, a Bushiroad card and more!
Overall, “Fate/Zero” has turned out to be a fantastic anime series which I enjoyed much more over “Fate/stay night”. The storyline draws you in because of the better storytelling but also has a bit of creepiness due to how much darker this series is in terms of violence is featured. And once again, Aniplex Inc. has delivered when it comes to releasing a fantastic limited edition Blu-ray release with a good amount of swag!
“Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II” is a must-see for those who enjoyed “Fate/stay night” and are fans of the “Fate” anime/video gameseries! Better animation, better and much darker storyline. Highly recommended!
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