In this modern day of making a franchise more diverse with ethnicities and gender (and most sadly coming off as very forced and suffering for it, not Black Panther though that film rocked) one series made the most famous fictional character in these isles a woman (no not Sherlock Holmes, that was a completely different anime all together) So let’s Look into the prequel to that series and learn why Saber is Best Girl (Saber is King Arthur by the way, this series doesn’t hide that)
Fate/Zero is a prequel to the visual novel and anime series Fate/Stay Night that then spun off into a meta franchise with spin offs like Fate/Apocrypha and Fate/Extra. Fate/Stay Night features the 5th Holy Grail war so this one is about the 4th. Unlike some prequels it’s not really about the growth of any of those characters though and features mostly a brand new cast (so yeah most of them die).
There are basically two sets of main characters but a lot of important ones as well. These characters are all in a small war where mage and summoned heroic spirit must kill the other summoned heroic spirits to get the Holy Grail (which right in episode one points out is NOT the biblical one so no need to get angry religious people… except maybe the Buddhists if they paid attention to Fate Extra). This grail apparently is some uber wish granting reality changing magical device. Now normally it was just the spirits fighting but then someone got the idea hey if I kill the mage that works too, so everyone’s life is on the line.
The two sets of leads are the duo of Saber (Artoria Pendragon, yes King Arthur) and Irisviel von Einzbern who is standing in for the real mage Kiritsugu Emiya. The other most prominent figures are the young mage Waver Velvet and his servant the incredibly optimistic and jovial rider Alexander the Great. It must be mentioned however the story is very much showing the personal growth of future villains Kirei Kotomine and Archer Gilgamesh as Kirei has a strange urge pushing the priest to find out what he really is having had his own interests repressed all these years.
There 8 servants and 8 mages and around the half way point, people start to die. Yes this one is not for kids, as there is what is essentially a filler episode featuring original series character Rin as a child encountering the master of Caster, who is a child killing psychopath (and he isn’t even the biggest asshole in the series!). This series gets dark, and watching it you often get a feeling of knowing how dark certain things must get if you watched or knew of the first series. Sadly as this is a prequel it doesn’t really have a conclusive ending. It ends but stories haven’t finished yet, though unlike a famous prequel series it doesn’t mess up the characters in that one (MR LUCAS)
Both the animation and music are amazing, this leads to some truly breath taking fights, like when berserker Lancelot takes over a fighter jet to attack Gilgamesh’s flying ship all the while there is a giant monster down below summoned by Caster that the rest are all trying to kill. As a prequel it is probably one of the better ones and I didn’t feel I needed to see the first series (or its other versions, yes Fate/Stay Night has 3 version because of the branching plot of the visual novel/game) though that would impact on twists in the first series, as mentioned this one doesn’t cover up Saber being King Arthur while the main series hides it for a decent amount of time.
This is a fairly more serious series but for those that ever wanted to see a female King Arthur in a business suit, or driving an armoured motor bike while facing off against Alexander the Great driving Zeus’ chariot the series doesn’t disappoint, just maybe not binge watch it as yeah… gets dark.