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  • Accidental Innuendo - Lancer: "You are as good as naked before my spear."
  • Adaptation Decay: Averted with the anime for the most part. It's almost 100% faithful to the source material, and while it quite a few scene-specific changes which could be seen as both good and bad, it leaves out a great deal of Kiritsugu's characterization in the novel-- as an example, just compare the anime and novel's versions of the prologue. Episodes 16 and 17 are generally considered by the novel readers to be straight examples of this, however.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Tokiomi's smugness, alien worldview and ineffectual scheming rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way, but his death at the hands of Kirei, his trusted disciple shortly after a Pet the Dog moment with his daughter and wife redeemed him in the eyes of some fans. The betrayed, terrified look on his face which his former Servant goes on to describe as "pathetic" helps.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Ryuunosuke's death in the anime is very different from his quick and brief one in the novel for this reason. Kayneth's death could count based on your definition of "villain" but he did kill Risei.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: Fate/zero anime? That's not by DEEN?? And to be made by ufotable???
    • Yuki Kajiura is doing the soundtrack. There are no words for how awesome this is.
    • In short, it's getting the Kara no Kyoukai treatment. There's no word for describing how awesome that sounds.
  • Base Breaker: Kiritsugu is quite the controversial character among the fandom. On one hand, you have those who hate his guts for employing what they see as needlessly cruel and ruthless methods, all while being completely uncaring to how they affect those around him. The episode 'The End of Honour' is what crossed the line for a lot of people, where he denies Saber an honourable duel with Lancer and blackmails Kayneth into making Lancer kill himself only to have him and Sol-Ui murdered anyway, simply because it was the most efficient method he had at his disposal, and some even claim he deserved his ultimate fate of losing his wife, never being able to see his daughter again and getting cursed by the Grail. Others, however, love him for being a Badass Anti-Hero who's willing to go to such lengths to achieve his dreams of peace and feel that he makes a damn good point when he says that War Is Hell regardless of how it's fought. The fact that his Freudian Excuse does a good job of explaining why he is the way he is helps too.
    • Tokiomi Tohsaka. His perceived blandness (actually referenced in-universe as the reason Gilgamesh hates him!) and the wild popularity of his Arch Enemy Kariya might have something to do with it. Not to mention the controversy regarding Tokiomi's decision to give Sakura to the Matou family, causing the girl years of physical torment. But it seems that he didn't know what would happen to Sakura and truly thought it'd keep her from losing her magical potential due to family rules, had quite a few Pet the Dog moments with his family and genuinely trusted his disciple Kotomine, only to be literally backstabbed by him.
  • Crazy Awesome: Rider, who uses his Noble Phantasm to pop over to Saber's place for a drink. When they are surrounded by Assassins, he calmly invites them to sit down and drink with them.
  • Complete Monster: Ryuunosuke Uryuu is the master of the equally sadistic and twisted Caster, Gilles de Rais, but lacks the latter's care for Jean de Arc, making him worse by comparison. He introduces himself by sacrificing a child to summon a demon and becomes ecstatic when he watches Caster kills said child. It is soon revealed that Ryuunosuke is a Serial Killer of women, children and whole families, whose MO involves luring his victims to Caster, which then proceeds to torture and mutilate them before slowly killing them. When their hideout was discovered and destroyed by Weaver and Rider, Ryuunosuke convinces Caster to summon a demon in Fuyuki City River in an attempt to kill even more innocents. Despite forming a bond with Caster, this is simply a reflection of Ryuunosuke's own murderous traits rather than any genuine care, which he loudly states on using it to cause death on a grand scale, while he won't have to worry about dirtying his own hand. Taking joy in murder, suffering and death, Ryuunosuke is one of the most depraved Masters in the history of Holy Grail War.
  • Crack is Cheaper: The Blu-Ray box set for season one, SEASON ONE is a whopping $369.98. Good luck explaining that expense to your credit service.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: “The King is never lonesome! For his wishes are our wishes!”
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Yuki Kajiura is doing the score for the anime. Nothing more needs be said.
  • Double Standard: Sola-Ui's actions of being a Stalker with a Crush towards Lancer and coercing Kayneth into giving her the Command Spells earn her a lot of hatred and titles such as "whore" and "slut", and while not harmless they're incredibly tame compared to those of many other male characters, such as Gilgamesh, Caster and Ryuunosuke, and Kirei, all of whom get little to no flack over their own actions and are very quick to be shrugged off.
  • Draco in Leather Pants
    • Gilgamesh, unsurprising since this also applies to his original incarnation.
    • Disturbingly Caster and Uryuu also get some of this, with some people even declaring the latter to be a Yandere, which misses the part where there needs to be at least a bit of dere to balance the yan.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Lancer appears to be this way, given his appearance in Fate/Unlimited Codes. Rider is also well loved for his boisterous manliness.
    • Kayneth has also received an unexpected fandom from /a/. And Pixiv.
    • Kariya is absolutely adored in both Japan and the West. But especially Japan.
    • Ryuunosuke is impressively popular for a homicidal sadist. Apparently, he is loved by the female staff members of Ufotable.
  • Fan Dumb: The influx of new fans that the anime has ushered in have the unfortunate habit of bashing Fate/stay night in the midst of their praises of this work. Some of these people have never even played the visual novel, leading this into Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch territory.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: If Pixiv is any indication, Saber x Lancer is fairly popular.
    • Saber x Gilgamesh is also rather common.
    • Fate/Zero's anime release has created a veritable Love Boat in its wake, to the point where nearly every character is shipped with at least one non-canon love-interest. As a corollary to the Saber x Lancer ship, Lancer x Kayneth is equally widespread on Pixiv, often drawn by the same people drawing the Saber x Lancer and complete with Doujinshi. Other popular non-canon couples are Caster x Uryuu, Kotomine x Kiritsugu, Kotomine x Gilgamesh, Kotomine x Kariya, Gilgamesh x Tokiomi, Rider x Waver, Waver x Lancer, and Saber x Irisviel. You may have noticed a trend. Given the ratio of male characters to female, it was probably inevitable.
  • Fan Yay: Rider. He's quickly becoming the Asuma of Video games. Similarly, he and Waver are a Fan-Preferred Couple.
  • Foe Yay: Kiritsugu and Kotomine, Saber and Lancer.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Iskander's death scene mirrors his life as explained in the flashback. Carrying on towards a goal he fails to reach, endlessly pushing forward, while everyone behind him lies dying.
    • The episode featuring his death will air on June 10th, the date of his historical death
  • Harsher in Hindsight@ Kiritsugu Emiya: "Even if I am to carry ‘all the evils of this world’ – it won’t matter. If that can save the world, then I’d gladly accept it.” Fate/stay night has already revealed (and Fate/Zero will reveal later) that, having been immersed in the mud of Angra Mainyu, he bore, and after five years died from, the curse of All the Evils of This World.
    • On a similar note, the narration for Kiritsugu's death, seen from Shirou's point of view in the sequel, reveals that Kiritsugu allowed Shirou to take on his dream because he died fully believing that he won't turn out the same as him, and that's why he was able to die peacefully. Not only is Archer more or less Kiritsugu with swords and bows instead of guns, Shirou quite explicitly becomes Kiritsugu in one of the Bad Ends of Heaven's Feel.
    • Also, the episode where Kiritsugu was forced to kill Natalia, whom he considered a surrogate mother, aired just a few days before Mother's Day.
    • Kiritsugu and Irisviel's final meeting manages to do this thrice in rapid succession. Irisviel wishes for Ilya to come see Japan someday (she does...as another Einzbern tool of war doomed to die), for her to see the cherry blossoms (which can be seen as a reference to the Tragic Dream in Heaven's Feel route) and the summer clouds (Shirou staring at the summer clouds while thinking about his loss and about how his life changed is a scene people might remember from the epilogue of Fate route).
      • Even worse, later on, when Irisviel talks with Maiya, she hopes for the Fourth War to be the final one... so that Ilya won't have to take her place in the next one should they fail. Her asking Kiritsugu to bring Ilya to Japan is doubly effective because after the end of the war, Kiritsugu spends several of the last years of his life trying to do that and failed because the Einzberns won't let him, and due to the curse he was too weak to break through their defenses.
  • Ho Yay: Kirei and Gilgamesh, Caster and Uryuu (Takeuchi even says that they "should get married already"), and Rider and Waver (who get an official 4koma implying they restored mana that way). Especially since both Rider and Caster are canonically bisexual, not to mention Gilgamesh's relationship with his friend Enkidu was brimming with homoeroticism in the original epic. And that Gilgamesh's image song is basically him mourning Enkidu. Berserker and Kariya also have a bit with the brief blood-sucking scene they get.
  • I Knew It!: The fan theory that Berserker, the "Black Knight", is Lancelot.
  • Iron Woobie: Irisviel. The matter-of-fact, almost cheerful way in which she explains that her body has degraded too much for her to use magic alone, engage in her favourite hobbies, or even dress herself without considerable effort is downright heartbreaking.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe example: Saber thinks Kiritsugu crossed it and calls him out on it when he forces Kayneth to have his own Servant commit suicide. Kiritsugu justifies it by invoking Necessarily Evil and War Is Hell.
    • Caster also crosses this line in record time, by killing a child after giving him a brief moment of hope one minute after summoning.
      • Kirei is highly complex, and whether or when he crossed it in Fate/Zero can be debated, but his murder of Tokiomi (though some see him as an Asshole Victim) who deeply trusted him, could count... however, where he really seals the deal is when he uses Tokiomi's corpse to drive a wedge between Aoi and Kariya For the Evulz, which ends up in the latter strangling the former.
  • Les Yay: Saber and Irisviel.
  • Love to Hate: Bluebeard. In fact, even himself and his Master Uryuu discuss how they are exactly this, being the villains in the great act that God writes. Then just to make their point, they summon Cthulhu-esque Eldritch Abomination to spite God while "remaining aware" of their "role". Goddammit, Bluebeard.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Kiritsugu's guile and pragmatism leads to some stunningly vicious planning, with himself and Saber as the most powerful pieces. Kirei becomes this near the end.
  • Memetic Mutation
  • Memetic Molester: Kotomine's obsession with Kiritsugu (and to a lesser but no more insignificant degree, Kariya) gets milked for all it's worth on Pixiv.
  • Moe: WAVER.
    • There is no way your Mommy can be this cute, can she Illya?
  • Narm: Berserker's battle cries in the anime sound more like the mooing of a cow as opposed to a menacing scream one would expect.
  • Nausea Fuel: The animated version gives us a long, hard look at what Zouken did to Sakura in the first episode. Insects, Bugs, Worms, oh my.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ryuunosuke is somewhat similar to François Prelati, Gilles de Rais' historical partner in crime and possible lover. Much like Ryuunosuke, Prelati was young, good-looking and deeply amoral. What makes them different is the fact that Prelati was a liar who manipulated Gilles for his own benefit, whereas Ryuunosuke's affection for Caster appears to be completely sincere.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Caster-related censoring would be more effective if it wasn't for the squishing sounds.
  • Special Effects Failure: The integration of the CG and Hand-Drawn animation can be... Spotty sometimes. The opening minute of episode six and Berserker in particular.
  • Too Cool to Live: Rider.
    • Berserker may also count, just based on the incredibly awesome shit he pulls off despite being supposedly too screwed up in the head to fucking THINK STRAIGHT, never mind fighting tactically the way he does. The fact that he makes a weapon out of a jet alone despite his mental handicap practically makes him a shoo-in for this.
  • The Woobie: Subverted by Kayneth. After his moment of Break the Haughty by Kiritsugu, he finds his body crippled and his spirit broken, desperately dreaming of still winning the War, while his Servant causes him trouble and his fiancee is obviously madly in love with said Servant and probably planning to run away with him. In that situation, it's not all that hard too feel kinda sorry for the guy, but he ruins it shortly thereafter by showing us that people apparently don't change that easily, since he kicks the dog by murdering Kotomine's father just to get at the extra Command Spell and stay in the Grail War.
    • Technically, Kayneth was getting the Command Seal because he was claiming the bounty for Caster. He killed Risei specifically with a gun to implicate Kiritsugu, though it doesn't work out.
    • Kariya Matou. Severely contaminated with the same worms which permeate Sakura's body, constantly forced to undergo Body Horror to participate in the Grail War, and in the end, he was barely acknowledged as a participant of the war and as an opponent to Tokiomi. And Sakura, whose freedom was his reason for joining the war, stays in Zouken Matou's clutches.
    • Kiritsugu is a mix of Stoic Woobie and Jerkass Woobie.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: It is by Ufotable. The Next episode preview sequence also is worth a mention; showcasing work that almost looks like something from ILM or Pixar.

Notes

  1. Lancer consistently refers to Kayneth with "waga aruji", or "milord".
  2. There is a perception in the fandom that Lancers tend to meet terrible ends.
  3. A Fan Nickname for team Kayneth, referring to how Sola-ui falls in love with Lancer.
  4. Started by a thread on /a/ where Kayneth's face is photoshopped on the KFC logo.
  5. Iskandar's Ionion Hetairoi.
  6. After she defeated Ryuunosuke in her day in the limelight episode, people decided that The Rin was also The Rock.
  7. The Fate Zero Episode that aired on Mother's Day was a Flashback Episode that ended with Kiritsugu shooting down the plane his adoptive mother was on.
  8. Ryuunosuke's Gratuitous English Catch Phrase; see below under Narm.
  9. The Japanese word for "pleasure", alternatively translated as "joy" or "entertainment"; one of the plotlines involves Gilgamesh making Kirei realize what exactly the source of these things is for him. It's probably a result of the frequent use and the Ho Yay that comes with it that made it into a memetic word among the fandom.
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