DVD Review: Fate/Zero – Part 2

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The first part of Fate/Zero left us on a clif-hanger and a bit bewildered at the storyline, so what can we expect from Part 2 and the DVD release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our DVD Review of Fate/Zero – Part 2.

Synopsis:

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?

Our View:

The war for the Holy Grail continues as the heroic spirits continuously battle one another for honour and supremacy, but while everyone else is distracted by Caster’s rampage, Kirei Kotomine and Gilgamesh formulate their own plan to take the grail for themselves. However with Kiritsugu Emiya hot on Kotomine’s trail things start to heat up and as such a final battle to the death, with the victory awarded the spoils of war, takes place or at least that’s what you assume.

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This second half of Fate/Zero is what I initially expected from the first half, a constant battle between rival factions as they each fight for the holy grail, it’s bloody, it’s beautiful and it provides one hell of an entertaining ride. This instalment starts off right where the first half left off, namely with Saber, Lancer and Rider attempting to take down Caster’s demonic beast in the middle of the city, however elsewhere Gilgamesh and his master Tokiomi Tōsaka overseen the battle, that is until an enraged berserk appears to take them out and as such two battles take place at once.

It’s just not the battles that are entertaining, but it’s the way they are represented on screen as each battle feels distinctive and unique, for instance while Saber, Lancer and Rider are attacking Caster’s demonic creature (which is like a giant squid) Berserker and Gilgamesh are having their own aerial battle using jet fighters. It’s not just the heroic spirits that battle it out either, as when Tōsaka confronts Berserkers master a mage battle between fire magic and locusts ensures, with interesting results. Like I said each battle offers variety, but thats not all as a detailed mixture of CGI and 2D animation styles create a rather superb display of animation, something which would look mighty impressive in High Definition.

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With Caster out of the way the story takes a more distinctive turn, whereby Kirei Kotomine decides to heed Gilgamesh’s advice and become another ‘active’ role within the Holy Grail war, and as such formulates a plan to not only become a player within the war, but to also win it. I don’t want to give away the storyline, as it is more entertaining to witness the events unfold for yourself, but it’s a plan which involves everyone within the series and more importantly sees the remaining masters and their servants lured out of hiding for one final showdown.

While I found this second half to be ‘highly enjoyable’ compared to the first half there is still some disappointing moments, namely certain scenes taking slihgtly longer than possibly expect (you’ll know when you see them) and then the inclusion of several flashback episodes. These ‘flashback’ styled episodes do not detail events which have happened in the series, but instead detail Kiritsugu Emiya childhood and how he became to be a mercenary as well as his real reason for hating mages.

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It’s an interesting series of episodes, as it sees Emiya trained to be an assassin and taken on various missions, but I found this mini-story to ‘distance’ itself from the main storyline of the Holy Grail War, mainly because it has vampires. It’s nice to have a break from the main storyline, but having vampires in the middle of a magic-orientated storyline seems slightly farfetched. Personally I would have preferred a closer look at Irisviel von Einzbern and her origin story, such as how she became to be a vessel for the grail and how she came to become acquainted with Emiya.

Extras:

While the series offers a mixed variety of bloody entertainment and confusing disappointment it is clear that the extra features aren’t much to brag about, as the only additional content is the text less opening and closing songs for the series.

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Fortunately both of these songs are different to those used within the first half of the series, so at least there is some variety to be had, but it would have been nice for some trailers or additional Fate content to be included.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:17:32 (Disc 1) 2:19:25 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Fate/Zero – Part 2 picks up from where the first season ended, however unlike the first season which focused heavily on the character development and threw in a common enemy, namely Caster’s master abducting and killing children, the episodes portrayed in this release tend to focus on the topic at hand, the Holy Grail war, and the bloody battles that ensue.

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Every episode can be considered a battle, or in some instances a prelude to battle, whereby our main characters Kirei Kotomine and Kiritsugu Emiya are attempting to outsmart each other by using any means nesscary, and that includes their friends and family. It’s a relatively dark series that leaves no time for mourning, but interestingly where the series ends is exactly where Fate/Stay Night begins, and as such the series never really has a conclusive ending.

In terms of this DVD release by MVM Entertainment it’s business as usual, as picture and audio quality remain consistent with previous releases as does the lack of any additional materials. While some additional material is included (textless songs) I can’t see people re-viewing the discs just to watch them, as they aren’t as engaging or interactive as other opening sequences. The only quarrels I have is with some of the English Dub actors, namely the voice actor for Irisviel, I just feel that a better voice actor for her character could have been found. You could say It’s more of a personal preference but in certain scenes the voice didn’t seem to fit the current mood.

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Fate/Zero is a series best off watching in High Definition, a feat which can be accomplished thanks to MVM Entertaining releasing the series on Blu-ray, however seeing as we are watching this DVD edition I will share my opinions. Like I said Part 2 is highly entertaining and provides a constant stream of developing story and plot-twists, however its bare-bones content and ‘odd’ approach to introducing vampires does leave a slight disappointment, it’s one of those “it was going so well” kind of moments. Fortunately the pros of the series out-weigh the cons, but do yourself a favour and watch it in High Definition, as I assume the extra detail has gone un-noticed in this Standard Definition release.

Score: review-stars-4

Fate/Zero – Part 2 will be available on DVD from the 26th May 2014 and Blu-ray from the 16th June 2014.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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