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Cover of Fate/Zero Volume 1
Genre Adventure,[1] dark fantasy[2]
Light novel
Written by Gen Urobuchi
Illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi
Published by Type-Moon
Original run December 29, 2005December 29, 2007
Volumes 4
Written by Gen Urobuchi
Illustrated by Shinjirou
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Young Ace
Original run December 29, 2010June 2, 2017
Volumes 14
Anime television series
Directed by Ei Aoki
Produced by Atsuhiro Iwakami
Written by Akira Hiyama
Akihiro Yoshida
Music by Yuki Kajiura
Studio Ufotable
Licensed by
Original network Tokyo MX, GYT, GTV, TV Saitama, TV Aichi, MBS, CTC, tvk, TVh, TVQ, BS11, Kids Station
Original run October 1, 2011 June 23, 2012
Episodes 25 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Fate/Zero (Japanese: フェイト/ゼロ, Hepburn: Feito/Zero) is a Japanese light novel written by Gen Urobuchi, illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi, and is a prequel to all routes in Type-Moon's visual novel, Fate/stay night. Fate/Zero is set ten years before the events of Fate/stay night, and tells the story of the Fourth Holy Grail War, a secret magical tournament held in Fuyuki City, Japan where seven magicians known as Masters summon Servants, reincarnations of legendary souls and heroes from all across time, where they fight in a deadly battle royale where the winner obtains the Holy Grail, a magical legendary chalice capable of granting wishes. The main protagonist, Kiritsugu Emiya, the foster father of Fate/stay night's protagonist, Shirou Emiya, is known as a merciless mage killer who joins the tournament on behalf of his wife's family, the Einzberns.

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 music was composed by Yuki Kajiura, who also composed the music for Puella Magi Madoka Magica. A manga adaptation was published by Kadokawa Shoten between 2011 and 2017. Dark Horse Comics licensed the manga and released it in English in North America.[3]

Upon its release, Fate/Zero was acclaimed by many reviewers, with praise directed at the animation, themes, characters, soundtrack and story. The series has also been a commercial success, selling over 40,000 BD box-set and won several awards at the Newtype anime awards including "Title of the Year".


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.[4] 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 victory in the Fourth War after three consecutive failures, no matter the cost. As a result, they have elected to bring the notorious "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 often 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 resolves to 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 is trying to discover his true nature in his quest to find the Holy Grail, which is revealed to be monstrous and full of hate. He sets his sights on Kiritsugu as a kindred spirit and 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. And, to make things worse, the last war fought over the Grail has left it corrupted, causing any wish granted by the Grail to be a Monkey's Paw.

Production and publication

Urobuchi was pitched a prequel of Fate/stay Night by Takashi Takeuchi. He believes that despite how tragic is the ending, the actual ending of the good ending of Fate/stay Night would not be affected thanks to the fact that Kiritsugi's life is a prequel. Already by writing the first volume, Urobuchi planned the series to end by its fourth volume.[5] Nasu was amazed by Urobuchi and had already expected that, during 2002, he would write an interesting story. In 2002 when writing the first visual novel route of Fate/stay Night, Nasu fell ill. During this illness, Nasu became impressed by Urobuchi's writing in the novel. Ideas like Saber being lectured by Gilgamesh and Alexander gave him a bigger impact. When starting the project for Fate/Zero, Nasu decided to give Urobuchi complete freedom about Kiritsugu's characterization.[6]

The idea of Fate/Zero was proposed by writer Gen Urobuchi who wanted to write a new series under Nasu's guide. Urobuchi explained that of 90% proposals were accepted by Nasu. During the original visual novel, Fate/Stay Night, Saber explains she made brief interactions with Kiritsugu Emiya which lead to the creation of the character of Irisviel. As Kiritsugu's wife, Irisviel plays the role of facilitating communication between these two, who do not talk to each other. The distanced and ultimately dark relationship between Kiritsugu and Saber caused by the former's actions in the story led to Urobuchi and Nasu change some early drafts in the story. This was in order to create a more coherent relationship between Saber and Shiro Emiya in the original visual novel as during the finale Kiritsugu adopts the child. Nasu was in charge of the use of magic rather than attempting to use real occultism. The ending of the novels brought Urobuchi difficulties to write as he wanted it to distance it from typical stories but in the end decided to follow his own type of writing.[7] During the characterization of the main characters, Urobuchi had no issues writing their ideologies, to the point of finding them as their own individuals.[8]

The first volume was released on December 29, 2006, and is a collaboration between Type-Moon and fellow developer Nitroplus.[4] 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". Fate/Zero began as a light novel series written by 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,[9] and the fourth and final volume was released on December 29, 2007.[10]

Related media

Drama CD

Four sets of drama CDs were released from 2008 to 2010.[11][12] A soundtrack entitled Return to Zero was released on December 31, 2007.[13]

Following the airing of the anime adaption, drama CDs written by Urobuchi were bundled with the series' Blu-Ray box sets released from 2011 to 2012.[14][15]


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.[16] 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.[17]

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[18] whilst the ending theme is Memoria by Aoi Eir.[19] For the second half, the opening theme is "to the beginning" by Kalafina[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]


Along with the anime production, a manga adaptation of Fate/Zero illustrated by Shinjirō was serialized in Young Ace magazine between December 29, 2010 and June 2, 2017 and compiled in fourteen volumes. On September 1, 2014, during their Kumoricon panel, Dark Horse Comics announced that they had licensed the manga.[23]


An art book entitled Fate/Zero material was released on August 8, 2008.[24] 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.[25][26] In 2016, A special event entitled Fate/Accel Zero Order was held from 27 April to 11 May. The scenario was written by Gen Urobuchi and the animation was produced by ufotable.[27]


Critical reception

Fate/Zero received positive reviews. Jacob Chapman of Anime News Network highly praised the series, describing it as "a treasure worth unearthing to its end" and concluded by writing: "Ambitious, brilliant, heartbreaking and masterfully crafted narrative, complex characters with powerful ideals, visually stunning, gorgeous score and strong cast in both languages."[28] Japanator was impressed by its pilot episode despite serving as an exposition for the master who felt were more appealing than the ones from the original series thanks to Ufotable's work.[29]

UK Anime Network's Martin gave the first part a score 9 out of 10, and the second part a perfect score of 10 out of 10. Martin characterized the story as very dark and demanding and "a dramatic and satisfying conclusion to a solidly entertaining series."[30][31] T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews gave the entire series a score of 4 out of 5 stars, with reviewer Aiden Foote believing Fate/Zero as "one of the most visually impressive TV series to date" and praised the "smooth animation and consistent artwork coming together to make crisp, evocative action scenes to get the heart racing." Aiden also stated "the main reason why I really like the show is the time and effort that Urobuchi puts into the majority of the characters." However, Aiden also criticizes the pacing stating that series biggest problems were the "plot pacing".[32]

Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku praised the animation, themes and the characters backstories especially Kiritsugu's. Richard started the review by writing "Gen Urobuchi has written some of the most psychologically dark anime in recent memory. He is a master at subverting anime tropes to breathe new life into stale genres." His final thoughts being "Fate/Zero is an excellent anime. It has dynamic, multifaceted characters, explores great philosophies and themes, and tops it off with large helpings of action. It also has the will to go deep into dark, psychological territory to improve both its characters and story."[33]

Sales and accolades

The first season's BD box set sold 43,000 copies in its first week, making it the highest-selling anime television Blu-ray box in first week-sales, breaking the record previously held by Haruhi Suzumiya.[34] The second season's BD box set also topped Oricon's weekly sales, selling over 40,000 copies.[35]

Fate/Zero won multiple top prizes during the 2nd Newtype Anime Awards, including Title of the Year, Best Studio (for ufotable), Best Soundtrack, and Best CM. It placed second for Best Theme Song ("to the beginning"), Best Director, Best Character Design and Script. In the Best Male Character category, Rider placed first, Kiritsugu placed third and Gilgamesh placed eight. In Best Character for Female, Saber placed second.[36] It received 2 nomination at the 2014 UK Anime Network Awards in Best action category and best dramatic anime category.[37] It was also the runner-up for "UK Anime Awards - The Reader's Choice 2014".[38] The light novel took sixth place in its respective category in the 2015 Sugoi Japan Awards.[39]

See also


  1. ^ "Fate/Zero Volume 1 TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Josh A. Stevens (April 1, 2019). "Puella Magi Madoka Magica & Fate/Zero Added to Netflix". Anime UK News. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "Fate/Zero Manga Ends in 14th Volume in 2017". Anime News Network. December 31, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Official Fate/Zero Website" (in Japanese). Nitroplus/Type-Moon. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  5. ^ Urobuchi, Gen; Takeuchi, Takashi (2005). Fate/Zero. 1. Type-Moon. pp. 234–236.
  6. ^ Urobuchi, Gen; Takeuchi, Takashi (2005). Fate/Zero. 1. Type-Moon. pp. 237–241.
  7. ^ "Interview: Fate/Zero Screenwriter Gen Urobuchi". Anime News Network. October 21, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  8. ^ "Interview: Gen Urobuchi". Anime News Network. September 17, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "vol1" (in Japanese). Type-Moon. Archived from the original on December 20, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  10. ^ "vol4" (in Japanese). Type-Moon. Archived from the original on August 24, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  11. ^ "SOUND DRAMA Fate/Zero vol.1" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  12. ^ "SOUND DRAMA Fate/Zero vol.4" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  13. ^ "RETURN TO ZERO Fate/Zero Original Image Soundtrack" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  14. ^ "Gen Urobuchi Confirms He Is Writing Fate/Zero Drama CD". Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  15. ^ "Aniplex USA Confirms Release of Fate/Zero 2 BD Boxset". Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  16. ^ "Fate/Zero Novel Gets Ufotable Anime Along With Manga". Anime News Network. December 21, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  17. ^ "Aniplex to Stream Fate/Zero Worldwide in 8 Subbed Languages". Anime News Network. September 20, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  18. ^ "Fate/Zero Opening Theme 'oath sign' Sung by LiSA". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  19. ^ "Fate/Zero Ending Theme 'Memoria' by Eir Aoi Previewed". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  20. ^ "Fate/Zero's 2nd Opening 'to the beginning' Sung by Kalafina". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  21. ^ "Sword Art Online's 2nd Season Ending Sung by Luna Haruna". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "Fate/Zero Anime to Get English Dub, Will Stream on Neon Alley". Anime News Network. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  23. ^ Cardine, Kyle (September 1, 2014). "Dark Horse Licenses Fate/Zero Manga by Shinjirō". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  24. ^ "Fate/Zero material" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  25. ^ "Fate/Zero The Adventure Coming To iPhone This Spring". Siliconera. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Servants Gather For Fate/Zero: Next Encounter". Siliconera. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  27. ^ "Fate/Grand Order Smartphone Game to Run Fate/Zero Special Event". Anime News Network. April 20, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  28. ^ Chapman, Jacob (March 6, 2014). "Fate/Zero Blu-Ray - Box Set 2 [Limited Edition]". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  29. ^ "First Impressions: Fate/Zero". Japanator. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  30. ^ "ANIME REVIEW: Fate/Zero - Part 1". UK Anime Network. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  31. ^ "ANIME REVIEW: Fate/Zero - Part 2". UK Anime Network. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  32. ^ "Fate/Zero". T.H.E.M Anime Reviews. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  33. ^ "Fate/Zero Sets a High Bar for All Other Fighting Anime". Kotaku. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  34. ^ "Fate/Zero Tops Haruhi as #1 TV Anime BD Box in 1st-Week Sales". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  35. ^ "Japan's Animation Blu-ray Disc Ranking, September 17–23". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  36. ^ "Fate/Zero, K-ON Win Top Prizes in Newtype Anime Awards (Updated)". Anime News Network. October 7, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  37. ^ "The 2014 UK Anime Network Awards". UK Anime Network. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  38. ^ "The 2014 UK Anime Network Awards - Page 6". UK Anime Network. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  39. ^ "SUGOI JAPAN voting results". Sugoi Japan Award. Archived from the original on August 6, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2017.

External links

  • Type-Moon's Official Homepage for the Fate/stay night Game (in Japanese)
  • Type-Moon's and Nitroplus' Official Homepage for Fate/Zero (in Japanese)
  • Official Anime Website (in Japanese)
  • Official US Website
  • Fate/Zero (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
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