It’s the beginning of the fourth Holy Grail war and the masters are summoning their servants. Set ten years before the fifth Holy Grail war in Fate/Stay Night, this series delves into the backgrounds of the great mage families.
The Einzbern family desperate to win after three failed attempts has brought the hated mage killer, Kiritsugu Emiya into their ranks. His tactics and techniques are despised by the other mages. He is a skilled mercenary and a hitman willing to whatever he needs to in order to win.
All of the masters have one eye on Kiritsugu, which leaves them blind to another more sinister threat. There are others who seek to do far worse and are willing to stoop to unimaginable depths.
Surprisingly, I found this to be far more enjoyable than the original Fate/Stay Night series. It follows a similar premise with seven masters and seven servants fighting to the death to win the omnipotent wish granting Holy Grail.
Kiritsugu makes a compelling and ruthless master but maintains grounded thanks to his wife. His servant, Saber, is often appalled by his actions, but eventually comes around thanks to his beliefs and determination. This creates an interesting dynamic between the characters.
Another interesting duo is the young mage, Waver and his servant, Iskander. They create some nice moments of comic relief with plenty of warm feelings. These help to break up the dark and sinister mages that make up the rest of the group. I’m not sure why they’re all so upset about Kiritsugu. Some of the stuff they get up to is far worse.
It’s not often that a prequel outperforms the original, but that is definitely the case here. I have to keep watching. The cliffhanger for season one is a good one. Season two should have an explosive opening.