Graphic Novel Spotlight – Fate/Zero Volume 1


The Fate series has been going strong since 2004. Originally starting as a visual novel game, Fate/Stay Night was adapted into a hit anime series in 2006 which gave the series greater exposure in the English-speaking anime/manga fandom. There has since been a sequel series, two films and two spin-off series: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya and the subject of this post – Fate/Zero.

The fourth Holy Grail War has begun, and seven magi must summon heroes from history to battle each other to the death. Only one magi and hero pair will remain to claim the grail and have their wishes granted! Kiritsugu Emiya was once an assassin but now fights in this war to save the world from those who would destroy it with the grail’s power.

Acting as prequel to the Fate/Stay Night series, the original Fate/Zero novel comes from the mind of acclaimed novelist and anime writer Gen Urobuchi (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Psycho Pass). For newcomers, while it would do you no harm to familiarise yourself with the original series as the main purpose of this series is to fill in details hinted at in Fate/Stay Night (it goes right to the beginning of the fourth Holy Grail War), it is easy to use Fate/Zero as a jumping on point for the Fate franchise. Obviously a great aid in this is the presence of several iconic characters from the original series, most importantly being Fate mainstay Saber whose background is covered in great detail. As an action series, it is a great success as Urobuchi’s plot presents unique battles with varying characters with different traits and abilities whilst also keeping things at an even pace which is not always easy in this type of manga. Credit must also be given to illustrator Shinjiro who is not only faithful to the visuals already established in the franchise, but also manages to create both action packed battles and character moments (aided by his great usage of shadow) along with some creative page placements and layouts.

As part of a big franchise, Fate/Zero may seem intimidating, but it stands by itself quite successfully making it perfect either for a standalone action series or as a gateway for newbies to the Fate universe.

Fate/Zero Volume 1 is published 3 March by Dark Horse

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Post by Leo Sutherland

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