Fate/Zero Collection 1 (2011)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 19-Feb-2014

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime More…-Textless Opening Song
More…-Textless Closing Song
Trailer-x 4 for other anime releases
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 337:56 (Case: 350)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ei Aoki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Rikiya Koyama
Matthew Mercer
Ayako Kawasumi
Kari Wahlgren
Jouji Nakata
Crispin Freeman
Tomokazu Seki
David Earnest
Hikaru Midorikawa
Grant George
Akio Ohtuka
Jamieson Price
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Yuki Kajiura


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Fate/Zero is the prequel to the anime series Fate/Stay Night which aired on Japanese TV for 24 episodes in 2005-2006 and was released on DVD in Australia by Madman in 2008. You do not need to have watched Fate/Stay Night to understand this prequel as Fate/Zero commences with a longer 45 minute episode which includes character introduction and an explanation of the powers of masters (mages) to summon servants to fight in the war to possess the Holy Grail. Fans of the earlier series could be a bit bored with this episode, as it contains no action, but it does provide some background of characters who appear in Fate/Stay Night such as Illya, Rin and Sakura, who are only children at this time, while others will appreciate the opportunity to get into the Fate/Zero world and work out who is who.

     Every sixty years the Holy Grail appears in Fuyuki City and identifies seven masters / mages who are given the opportunity to fight each other to gain possession of the Grail, which will then grant any wish. The mages can summon a servant from history or legend to fight as familiars. There are seven types of servant, Archer, Saber, Lancer, Rider, Assassin, Caster and Berserker and each master summons one. The participants then do battle against each other until only one mage remains who gains the Grail.

     Mage hunter and killer Kiritsugu Emiya (voiced by Rikiya Koyama/Matthew Mercer) has been brought into the mage family of the von Einzberns with the express purpose of gaining the Grail for that family. He has married Irisviel von Einzbern (Sayaka Ohara/Bridget Hoffman) who, as the series commences, gives birth to a daughter Illya. Mage Tokiomi Toksaka (Sho Hayami/Marc Diraison) has formed an alliance with another master Kirei Kotomine (Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman), who also has a background as a mage killer, and Tokiomi has, as well, given his daughter Sakura to another mage family, the Matous, to be trained while he trains his remaining daughter Rin.

     The servants in Fate/Zero can be given a limited number of commands by their master, but some are quite independent with minds and agendas of their own. Some seem to be very much of the same mind as their masters, such as Arthur / Saber (Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren) and Kiritsugu, and the evil Gilles / Caster (Satoshi Tsuruoka/Dan Woren) and Ryunosuke (Akira Ishida/Johnny Yong Bosch), while Gilgamesh / Archer (Tomokazu Seki/David Earnest) finds Tokiomi boring and Diarmuid / Lancer (Hikaru Midorikawa/Grant George) is far more honourable than his master Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald (Takumi Yamazake/Doug Erholtz). But the most interesting master /servant relationship, and one which is an absolute hoot, is that of Alexander the Great / Rider (Akio Ohtuka/Jamieson Price), who gets all the best lines in the series, and his wimpy master Waver Velvet (Daisuke Namikawa/Lucien Dodge).

     Fate/Zero is nothing if not epic. The music by Yuki Kajiura sets the tone; it is stirring, orchestral and choral, with a solo piano in the quieter sections. Fate/Zero is quite dialogue heavy in parts but any series that examines, for example, ambition, the meaning of the soul, God, good and evil, honour, joy and sin and the meaning of kingship and brings in heroes from throughout myth and history has got to have ambition! One cannot help but enjoy a series that pits Alexander the Great against Gilgamesh, the Irish hero Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, King Arthur, the cult of Assassins and throws in serial killer of children and companion of Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais. Not that Fate/Zero is too accurate to history: Alexander is a huge bearded man (contrary to all known representations) while King Arthur is a woman and the servants have magical powers and attributes that help them in the battles, but the writers do know their myth and legend and the series blends in seamlessly generally accepted events and myths about the various servants.

     Fate/Zero also develops its plotlines fairly slowly, allowing the servants to have individual motivation and backstories, whether you know much about their legends or not. The masters are less individualised, with Kiritsugu, Kirei and Tokiomi quite similar as plotters and manipulators, but the dialogue and philosophy scenes are interspersed by spectacular and colourful battles, often one against one combat using a variety of magic spells and different weapons, that are well animated, loud and exciting. Some of the episodes are also quite bleak, dealing with the abduction of murder of children, others are tense and scary and series 1 ends in an absolute cliff-hanger.

     Fate/Zero is fabulous, epic anime. It is ambitious, complex, thoughtful and very colourful; it may have some sections with more talk than action but the issues raised are interesting and the world it creates, and the characters that populate this world, never less than intriguing.

     Fate/Zero Collection 1 contains the first season of 13 episodes that aired from October 2011; episodes 1-6 are on Disc 1, episodes 7-13, plus minor extras, are on Disc 2. The Blu-ray of Fate/Zero Collection 2, containing episodes 14-25 has been released by Madman and is reviewed on this site here.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Fate/Zero Collection 1 is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is stunning. The lines are clean and the detail good. Colours are beautiful to look at: deep and rich with a vibrant range of blues, reds, golds and yellows during combat sequences. Backgrounds have that lovely muted pastel watercolour look and interiors inside the church and rooms are rich with colour. Blacks and shadow detail are fine.

     I did not notice any marks or issues.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is very approximate in either audio track.

     The layer change on disc 1 was not noticeable. The change on disc 2 at 95:04 resulted in a slight pause.

     The English subtitles are in American English in a yellow font which did look a bit blocky in the early episodes, but are easy to read. I did not see any obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of Japanese or English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded, at 224Kbps. Both audio dubs are recorded at around the same level. The English dub is not too bad but although I did listen to a few episodes in English I much preferred the Japanese which felt to have more depth.

     The audio track is front oriented. Both the Japanese and English dialogue is clear and centred with most action and effects in stereo from the front and only some ambient noise and music from the rears. The subwoofer did have occasional rumbles directed its way by my system. The score by Yuki Kajiura is epic and orchestral, and is an integral part of the show.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The limited extras are on disc 2.

Textless Opening Song (1:27)

     Opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song (1:27)

     Closing song without the credits.

Trailers

     Trailers for Fate/Stay Night (1:09), Sword Art Online Vol. 1 (2:32), Azumanga Daioh Series Collection (1:44) and Is this a Zombie? Season 1 Collection (1:36).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local release of Fate/Zero Collection 1 is identical to the Region 2 UK version. The Region 1 US DVD is a three disc set, which may help video quality, but there is nothing wrong with our Region 4 version.

Summary

     One has to love any series that includes Alexander the Great, Gilgamesh, the Irish hero Diarmuid, King Arthur, the cult of Assassins and serial killer of children and companion of Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais. Fate/Zero is ambitious, complex, colourful and very entertaining. It is a fabulous, epic anime, a must for fans of Fate/Stay Night or fans of anime in general.

     The video is very good, the audio reasonable; the extras are only textless opening and closing songs plus some trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, May 26, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE