Fate/Zero (フェイト／ゼロ, Feito/Zero?) is a novel written by Gen Urobuchi as a prequel to Fate/stay night, with illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi. The project was supervised by Kinoko Nasu, who looked over the draft for the new characters and the plot. The first volume was released on December 12, 2006, and is a collaboration between TYPE-MOON and fellow developer Nitro+. 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". Four sets of Drama CDs were released from 2008 to 2010. From 2011 to 2012, an anime adaption of the series was produced by ufotable.
Because of certain minor details such as whether Gilgamesh had seen Excalibur or not during the 4th Holy Grail War, Fate/Zero is treated as being in an extremely similar parallel world to Fate/stay night. Fate/Zero takes place 10 years prior to the events of Fate/stay night in the year 1994, detailing the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. Originally founded by the Einzbern, Tohsaka, and Matou families, the war involves seven Masters and seven Servants under seven classes: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin and Berserker.
After being defeated in three successive wars for the Holy Grail, the Einzbern family is determined to win the next one at any cost and elects to hire the notorious Magus Killer, Kiritsugu Emiya, to become their representative in spite of his reputation as an unconventional and ruthless hitman. For the next eight years, he prepares the war in the Einzbern stronghold while unexpectedly forming a family with Irisviel von Einzbern, who is to become the vessel for the Grail, and their daughter, Illyasviel. However, Kiritsugu must contend with six formidable opponents, all participating in the war for their own reasons.
From one of the three founding families, the magus Tokiomi Tohsaka wants to achieve Akasha through the Holy Grail, receiving support from the priest Risei Kotomine and his son, Kirei Kotomine, who is also unexpectedly a master in the war. Unlike Tokiomi, Kirei has no direction in life and soon sets his sights on Kiritsugu as an answer to the frustrating lack of meaning in his life.
Meanwhile, Kariya Matou becomes a Master after learning Tokiomi's younger daughter, Sakura, was adopted into the Matou family. In hopes of saving her from suffering at the hands of Zouken Matou, he agrees to win the Holy Grail in exchange for her freedom to return to her family.
After learning of the war and taken by arrogance, Clock Tower magus and lecturer Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald decides to join the battle to increase his own prominence within the Mage's Association. However, his dismissive attitude towards the radical theories of his student, Waver Velvet, drives the young man to steal Lord El-Melloi's artifact and participate in the war in order to force the Mage's Association to recognize his genius.
When a seventh magus fails to answer the Grail's call, a serial killer named Ryuunosuke Uryuu is chosen to become the final Master in the war. Seeking exciting new ways of killing people, he winds up summoning a Servant from an occult book and proceeds to commit as many unusual murders as he can with the help of his Servant.
As the war begins, only one will emerge victorious.
- Kiritsugu Emiya (衛宮切嗣, Emiya Kiritsugu?)
- Master of Saber. A ruthless assassin skilled in hunting heretic magicians, Kiritsugu adopts a strategy of exploiting a magus' weak point using technology. The Einzbern family adopted Kiritsugu as their Master in the Grail War in a desperate attempt to overcome their family's lack of battle-oriented magic.
- Irisviel von Einzbern
- Mother of Illyasviel von Einzbern and Kiritsugu's wife, Irisviel, or Iris, is one of the heroines of the story. A homunculus prototype created by the Einzbern family with the idea to give birth to an ultimate homunculus, Iris was designed to absorb the energies released by the Servants upon their deaths in order to summon forth the Holy Grail. Like many of the Einzberns, she is skilled in alchemy. Irisviel serves as Saber's proxy Master, since Kiritsugu believes that he and Saber are incompatible. Because of this strategy, Kiritsugu is free throughout most of the war to act independently of Saber's signature, stealthily waging war on the other Masters.
- Kirei Kotomine (言峰綺礼, Kotomine Kirei?)
- Master of Assassin, Kotomine studied magic under Tokiomi and initially does everything he is asked to do to further Tokiomi's goals in the war. Kotomine lacks fulfillment, which he sees mirrored in Kiritsugu, for whom he feels a compulsive hatred. He eventually seeks out the Holy Grail for his own reasons, to better understand why his life has been wholly unfulfilling.
- Tokiomi Tohsaka (遠坂時臣, Tōsaka Tokiomi?)
- Father of Rin Tohsaka and Sakura Matou, Tohsaka Tokiomi is the Master of Archer, who shares his penchant for being arrogant and manipulative. Tokiomi arranges for Kotomine Kirei to be his "pupil" in order to further his own ambitions within the war.
- Aoi Tohsaka (遠坂葵, Tōsaka Aoi?)
- Mother of Rin Tohsaka and Sakura Matou, Aoi is the childhood friend of the Matou Master, Kariya Matou. Though she is devastated by Tokiomi's decision to adopt away Sakura, she quietly accepts the decision as the wife of a mage.
- Waver Velvet
- Master of Rider, and the future Lord El-Melloi II. Waver steals his teacher's artifact and uses it to summon Rider in a plan to use the Grail to force the Magus Association to recognize his genius. Despite his difficulties with Rider's overbearing nature, Waver and his Servant form a strong and sincere relationship.
- Maiya Hisau (久宇舞弥, Hisau Maiya?)
- Loyal assistant to Kiritsugu Emiya, although Hisau Maiya is not her real name. She is cold and professional, though she does harbor a soft spot for Kiritsugu. Maiya is rarely seen without her Steyr AUG.
- Kariya Matou (間桐雁夜, Matō Kariya?)
- Uncle of Shinji Matou, Master of Berserker, Kariya makes a deal with his father Zouken Matou that he will win the Grail War in exchange for Sakura Matou's freedom. He originally refused to learn the Matou magic as the oldest son, which meant becoming a Master in the war would be life-threatening in the best case. He is the only member of Matou family who truly loves Sakura, and is upset that Tokiomi allowed his younger daughter to be adopted by Zouken.
- Ryuunosuke Uryuu (雨生龍之介, Uryū Ryūnosuke?)
- Master of Caster, Ryuunosuke is a psychotic killer who summons Caster after murdering a family and using their blood as a component in the summoning ritual. He does not seek the Holy Grail, but follows Caster in order to find new thrilling ways to murder people and relieve his boredom. He was not officially trained as a magus and was a last-minute addition to the war by the Holy Grail.
- Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald
- Master of Lancer and a fifth-generation nobleman from the Magus Association. His artifact is stolen by Waver Velvet, but he manages to summon Lancer using a second catalyst. He is a genius in the art of convocation, which allows him to alter his contract with Lancer to have two Masters. Because of this, he holds the command spells for Lancer, while the energy to materialize the Servant is maintained by his fiancee Sola-Ui. He is confident in his abilities and takes pride in his heritage, and finds the extent of Kiritsugu's unorthodox and underhanded tactics both offensive and unexpectedly challenging to overcome.
- Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri
- The daughter of the head of the spiritual evocation division, Sola-Ui is engaged to Kayneth as a result of a strategic marriage arrangement and the decision of her family to entrust their crest to her brother instead. However, she is coldhearted and does not reciprocate Kayneth's love for her; instead, she becomes infatuated with Lancer, who in turn does not reciprocate her feelings and regards her only as his Master's wife.
- Risei Kotomine (言峰璃正, Kotomine Risei?)
- Kirei Kotomine's 80 year old father, a priest in the Church, and the regulator of the 4th Holy Grail War. He is a friend of Tohsaka Tokiomi and actively supports him, to the extent of offering his son Kirei as Tokiomi's pupil and puppet in the war. While he is proud of his son, who has demonstrated himself to be a perfect heir, Risei fails to understand Kirei in any sense.
Servants participating in the Fourth Holy Grail War and their true identities include the following:
- Artoria Pendragon, the same character from Fate/Stay Night. Known as the King of Knights, she maintains a high code of honor. Though she and Kiritsugu are Servant and Master seeking the same ultimate goal of peace, their differing ideological perspectives result in a strained relationship where Kiritsugu does not directly acknowledge Saber. Kiritsugu allows Saber to accompany Irisviel as a decoy to allow him stealth tactics within the war, and she becomes good friends with Iris as a result.
- Gilgamesh, a rogue Servant in Fate/Stay Night and the King of Heroes. Gilgamesh is arrogant and superior in his attitude and actions towards both Masters and Servants, including his own Master Tokiomi. He respects the kingships of Saber and Rider and sees them as "rebels" that are worthy of his attention. Much to Tokiomi's displeasure, Gilgamesh has difficulty acting covertly, especially when his considerable pride is wounded.
- Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, a Servant with two Noble Phantasms: Gae Buidhe - Golden Rose of Mortality and Gae Dearg - Crimson Rose of Exorcism, which can counter Saber and Berserker's abilities. As a knight, he holds a strong sense of honour in battle and loyalty to his master. He and Saber develop a mutual respect for one another, which is not mirrored by their Masters. As when he was alive, a cursed beauty mark bewitches Sola-Ui, creating a fissure between her and Lancer's Master.
- Iskander (Alexander the Great), the King of Conquerors, who desires to defeat Saber and Lancer in particular. Has several Noble Phantasms, the first of which is Gordius Wheel - Wheel of Heaven's Authority, which summons an ox-drawn chariot when Iskander slices the air with his sword. His eccentric and overbearing personality along with his incredible abilities creates difficulties for his Master and their opponents. His attitude as a king is dramatically different from Saber's which generates great conflict between them.
- Bluebeard (Gilles de Rais), a Servant who derives pleasure from first providing his victims a moment of relief before terrorizing them and then killing them. Bluebeard expresses an interest in Saber because he has mistaken her for Jeanne d'Arc, with whom Bluebeard has an infatuation. He bonds with his Master Ryuunosuke through over-extravagant and unorthodox methods of murder.
- Lancelot du Lac (previously known as the Black Knight), a Servant who possesses the ability to use practically any object as a Noble Phantasm, allowing him to match Gilgamesh in combat. To make up for Matou Kariya's inexperience as a magus, he was intentionally given Mad Enhancement to enhance his battle parameters. His madness has reduced him to a mindless, though dangerously skilled, fighter. Despite his insanity, he is still able to instinctively recognize Saber due to his familiarity with King Arthur in life.
- The Assassins related to True Assassin from Fate/Stay Night; Assassin is actually composed of different personalities of one Heroic Spirit manifested into different bodies. They act as reconnaissance agents for Tokiomi and Kirei after Gilgamesh "kills" one of them, operating while the other Masters believe Assassin to have been completely removed from the war.
- Rin Tohsaka (遠坂凛, Tōsaka Rin?)
- The daughter of Tokiomi and Aoi Tōsaka. Despite her young age, she is capable of using elementary magic. Like her older version in Fate/Stay Night, Rin is confident and admirable in the public face, while being determined and critical of herself as a mage.
- Sakura Matou (間桐桜, Matō Sakura?)
- Rin's younger sister, who was adopted by the Matou family one year prior to the start of Fourth Holy Grail War. Her physical appearance has already changed considerably since her adoption because of the influence of Zouken Matou's teaching methods.
- Illyasviel von Einzbern
- The daughter of Irisviel von Einzbern and Kiritsugu Emiya, born eight years before the Fourth Holy Grail War begins. She awaits the return of her father at the Einzbern castle in Germany.
- Jubstacheit von Einzbern
- The eighth head of the von Einzbern family, known as "Acht". Nearly two centuries old, he has led the von Einzbern family since they changed their course of action from seeking the Holy Grail to attempting to obtain it through the Holy Grail Wars. He presents Kiritsugu Emiya with Avalon as the catalyst to summon Saber.
- Zouken Matou (間桐 臓硯, Matō Zōken?)
- The ancient head of the Matou family, Kariya's "uncle" and Sakura's adoptive "grandfather". He intends to use Sakura to obtain the Holy Grail in the next war, but agrees to return her to the Tohsaka family should Kariya manage to acquire the Grail in the fourth war.
- Glen and Martha Mackenzie
- An elderly Canadian couple who live in Japan; their son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were unable to adapt to Japan and have returned to Canada. They provide lodgings for Waver Velvet and Rider after Waver enchants them to believe that he is their grandson.
- Norikata Emiya (衛宮 矩賢, Emiya Norikata?)
- Kiritsugu's father, a fourth-generation magus and researcher on a Pacific island. His work involved developing a medicine to become a Dead Apostle and when a war breaks out between the Church and the Mage's Association, Noritaka attempts to flee with his son. Unable to forgive his father for his actions, a young Kiritsugu shoots him, spiraling the child into a life of mercenary work.
- Norikata's assistant, who admired Noritaka's work and looked forward to succeeding him. When she drank a potion under development out of curiosity, she unfortunately transformed into a vampire and dies. Kiritsugu later reflects that Taiga Fujimura reminds him of Shirley.
- Natalia Kaminski
- A freelance mercenary who sold information concerning Noritaka and his research on vampires. She rescues a young Kiritsugu and takes him as her apprentice. During her last mission, she is able to successfully kill a magus that could create Ghouls through the use of ghoul bees, but dies when Kiritsugu shoots down the plane she is on to prevent the infected passengers from killing others when the plane landed. Kiritsugu's last words to her reveal that he viewed her as his mother.
- Shirou Emiya (衛宮 士郎, Emiya Shirō?)
- The main protagonist of Fate/Stay Night, Kiritsugu rescued Shirou after the Fourth Heaven's Feel and later adopted him. Shirou admired Kiritsugu's dream of saving the world, and takes on his adopted father's dreams as his own after his death.
The project began when Nitro+ writer, Gen Urobuchi, met with Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi. Takeuchi suggested a prequel proposal to Urobuchi, who had been experiencing writer's block while attempting to write a happy story. Urobuchi, who was known for his tragic stories, agreed to become the writer for the project. Though Urobuchi is the writer for the series, the project was supervised by Kinoko Nasu, who looked over the draft for the new characters and the plot.
In Fate/hollow ataraxia, there was teaser poster of Fate/Zero in one of the background images. It is unknown if the novels were in development at the time.
The 4-volume novel serves as the prequel to Fate/stay night, with the story written by Nitro+'s Urobuchi Gen, and the art drawn by TYPE-MOON’s Takeuchi. Due to its success, the novel series was later adapted into an anime by ufotable.
Volume 1 of Fate/Zero was released during the 2006 winter Comiket (C71), and came with a material book called material/Zero.
- Fate/Zero Vol.1 - The Untold Story of the Fourth Holy Grail War / 第四次聖杯戦争秘話
- Fate/Zero Vol.2 - The Mad Feast of Kings / 王たちの狂宴
- Fate/Zero Vol.3 - The Scattered Ones / 散りゆく者たち
- Fate/Zero Vol.4 - Flames of Purgatory / 煉獄の炎
In November 2010, TYPE-MOON announced that bunkoban editions of Fate/Zero will be published by Seikaisha Bunko, and that the entire series will be split into 6 volumes and be released in 6 months starting January 2011. The bunkoban versions, each featuring a new cover, are printed in smaller, higher quality paper.
Sound Drama Fate/Zero
Drama album for the Fate/Zero novel series produced by ZIZZ. Four sets of Drama CDs were released from 2008 to 2010. While Takeuchi Takashi draws the Drama CD covers, Shidzuki Morii provides several illustrations of the Sound Drama.
- Fate/Zero Original Image Soundtrack "RETURN TO ZERO" - Image soundtrack to the Fate/Zero novel series
- Sound Drama Fate/Zero Vol. 1 -The Untold Story of the Fourth Holy Grail War-
- Sound Drama Fate/Zero Vol. 2 -The Mad Feast of Kings-
- Sound Drama Fate/Zero Vol. 3 -The Scattered Ones-
- Sound Drama Fate/Zero Vol. 4 -Flames of Purgatory-
- Fate/Zero Special Drama CD1: Dreaming Lady
- Fate/Zero Special Drama CD2: Unhesitating People
- Fate/Zero Special Drama CD3: Outsiders' Performance
- Fate/Zero Special Drama CD4: Eat in Taizan
- Fate/Zero Anthology Drama CD Vol.1 - Compilation of 4 drama CDs originally enclosed with the Comptiq/Compace magazines.
- Fate/Zero Anthology Drama CD: Artoria Romance - Enclosed with Comptiq July 2012 Issue.
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.
This is the third anime production in the Fate series, following the 24 episode Fate/stay night adaptation and the Unlimited Blade Works movie. Nico Nico Douga and Aniplex simulcasted Fate/Zero worldwide with eight different language subtitles (Korean, Chinese (Traditional & Simplified), English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish). Aniplex of America sells the Fate/Zero Blu-ray Boxset, with English subtitles in North America through Rightstuf.com.
The anime is jointly produced by Aniplex, Nitroplus, Notes, Seikaisha, and Ufotable. It is also directed by Ei Aoki; produced by Atsuhiro Iwakami; music by Yuki Kajiura; character design by Atsushi Ikariya and Tomonori Sudou; and art, 3D, and photography directions by Koji Eto, Kōjirō Shishido, and Yuichi Terao respectively. The anime premiered on Tokyo MX, Tochigi TV, and Gunma TV, with the first season airing from October 1 to December 24, 2011 and later dates on TVS, TVA, MBS, CTC, tvk, TVh, TVQ, BS11, and Kids Station.
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 to December 2011 and the second season ran from April to June 2012.
- Episode 1 - Summoning of the Heroic Spirits
- Episode 2 - False Opening
- Episode 3 - Land of Winter Trees
- Episode 4 - Blade of the Demonic Spear
- Episode 5 - Howl of a Mad Beast
- Episode 6 - Night of Stratagems
- Episode 7 - Forest of Demons
- Episode 8 - Mage Killer
- Episode 9 - Lord and Vassal
- Episode 10 - Rin's Adventure
- Episode 11 - Grail Dialogue
- Episode 12 - Grail's Invitation
- Episode 13 - Forbidden Banquet
- Episode 14 - Bloody Battle of Mion River
- Episode 15 - Golden Radiance
- Episode 16 - Terminus of Honor
- Episode 17 - Eighth Contract
- Episode 18 - Distance Memories
- Episode 19 - Where Justice is Found
- Episode 20 - Return of the Assassin
- Episode 21 - Knight on Two Wheels
- Episode 22 - All the World's Evil
- Episode 23 - The Sea at the World's Edge
- Episode 24 - The Last Command Spell
- Episode 25 - Fate/Zero
Einzbern Consultation Room
The Blu-ray Boxsets each featured three episodes of Please! Einzbern Consultation Room (お願い!アインツベルン相談室, Onegai! Aintsuberun Sōdanshitsu?) written by Kinoko Nasu, a prequel to Fate/stay night's Tiger Dojo. It features alternate versions of Irisviel von Einzbern and Taiga Fujimura, Student No. 0, explaining various details unable to be elaborated on within the anime, and they speak with the various defeated Servants left with regrets after having been killed.
Blu-Ray Box Trailers
- ↑ TYPE-MOON's and Nitroplus' Official Homepage for Fate/Zero
- ↑ See Story Section, Main Site located at .
- ↑ Gen Urobuchi Confirms He Is Writing Fate/Zero Drama CD
- ↑ Aniplex USA Confirms Release of Fate/Zero 2 BD 
- TYPE-MOON's and Nitroplus' Official Homepage for Fate/Zero
- Official Anime Website
- Official US Website
- TYPE-MOON's Official Homepage for the Fate/stay night Game
- Fate/Zero Director Aoki Ei One-on-One Interview