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Manga Review: "Fate/Zero," Vol. 3

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Fate/Zero" manga volume 3 cover.

"Fate/Zero" manga volume 3 cover.

Quick Info

  • Author: Shinjiro
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
  • Page Count: 184
  • Published: November 1st, 2016
  • Availability: Download on Kindle or buy at Amazon or RightStufAnime, purchase on Dark Horse Digital

Story Summary

Master Waver Velvet and his Servant Rider interrupt Saber and Lancer’s fight, and after they reject his offer to join them they are startled by the arrival of Berserker. Archer is offended by Berserker and attempts to kill him. Will Berserker live or die? And who are Caster and his Master, Ryuunosuke Uryuu?

Kariya Matou's motivations for fighting in the Fourth Holy Grail are revealed as well. They have to do with Aoi's daughter, Sakura Matou.

This Is the Orign Story Volume

While this manga volume doesn’t show every character’s origin story, it does show enough of them that this volume is adapted in episodes 1 and 2 of the Fate/Zero (2011) anime.

They show the origins of Uryuu and Kariya and this volume is very heavy, and not just with explaining where these characters come from. This is a very dark manga and the 17+ rating isn’t just a recommendation. But I’ll go into that later.

This volume did a good job of showing the character’s origins like in the anime and while it didn’t move the plot forward too much story-wise, it is still very important to learn more about the characters.

Rider attacks Berserker.

Rider attacks Berserker.

The Art Is Very Well Done

When I say the art looks “good,” I mean it’s very well drawn, even if what it’s showing me is very disturbing content. The illustrations aren’t really about the fight scenes in this volume, even though we’re on the tail end of a big fight. The art in the manga doesn’t stand out because of the fight. It stands out because of the new scenes that were not in the anime, I can’t vouch for the light novel because it’s not licensed in the U.S.

The art is very detailed and the drawings are excellent but visually disturbing.

The Pacing of the Story Is Slow

Fate/Zero’s story pacing can be very slow and if you’re looking for a barrage of constant battles and fighting, this isn’t the story for you. Since it revolves around so many characters, we have to learn about them and that can detract from the story’s pacing and get bogged down in character details.

I can definitely see why readers could find this story boring if they feel the pacing is too slow. It’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself by either trying out the anime or borrowing the manga from a friend or from your local library if they have it.

This Story Is Dark

Fate/Zero is a dark story. Nice things don’t happen to anyone. That’s what the Fate route is for. This is not an optimistic story, and like Knights of Sidionia (2014) and Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy can set in if you don’t care about the story or the characters.

While I enjoy the story a lot I can definitely see why people complain about Gen Urobuchi constantly writing grim, dark stories, it seems it’s the only genre he likes to write, and since he rarely writes optimistic stories readers could get annoyed at just how dark everything is in his stories and could say he’s just writing dark stories to be an edge lord.

I don’t watch Fate/Zero a lot because I prefer the optimism of Kinoko Nasu over Gen Urobuchi’s nihilistic tendencies. The Nasuverse isn’t the happiest universe but there’s a reason that Fate/Grand Order is popular and it’s not because the story’s dark and grim just to be that way.

People say that Fate/Zero is more “mature” storytelling because it’s dark, gritty and grim, but I don’t see it as being a mature story outside of shock value content.

This Is Not a Manga for Kids!

I don’t usually do content warnings on a lot of Mature-rated anime because it’s usually just violent content, however, I will do a warning for anime that has more than just violent content if they’re rated TV-MA.

This manga is definitely a Mature-rated manga. While the violent content is just typical fighting violence and some blood you’ve seen in other manga Fate/Zero has an extra level of gore in the manga that wasn’t even in the anime.

With the new scenes with the serial killer, Ryuunosuke Uryuu Shinjiro, goes into explicit visual detail of how he murdered his victims and it wasn’t even things that were shown in the anime, and they would have really been seen as hyper-violence for the sake of having gore and violence.

They also show exactly what happened to Sakura Matou in the first episode of Fate/Zero (2011) and if you thought the anime disturbed you, the manga made it even worse!

Some fans feel that Gen Urobuchi loves making his stories dark and violent just so he can be edgy, and this manga does feel like it just threw in the blood and gore just to be edgy and readers could feel they’re just doing it for shock value.

This manga isn’t meant for a young audience, the amount of disturbing content might scare readers, it made me squeamish and I’ve read the entirety of the Hellsing manga by Kohta Hirano!

Keep this away from the kids and young teens and read at your own risk, don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance!

Lancer's Master, Kayneth, orders him to withdraw from the fight.

Lancer's Master, Kayneth, orders him to withdraw from the fight.

Reader Poll

The Manga Is Excellent, but Not for the Faint of Heart or Stomach!

Fate/Zero has always been a story that I’ve loved, because of the interesting characters and the plot. It is a dark story that can sometimes feel forced when it comes to the tone of the story. It isn’t for the squeamish or the faint of heart, because it goes into very disturbing territory when it comes to certain characters and their actions.

And there's also some disturbing imagery of what Sakura Matou's mage training entails.

Fate/Zero manga volume 3 by Shinjiro is an excellent story that is engaging but can get bogged down in giving us information about the characters and the pacing does drag because of the way the story is told in the manga.

The manga is also more gruesome than its amine counterpart so if you’re squeamish or don’t like disturbing imagery you shouldn’t buy this manga.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great story, plot, characters, and world-building

The pacing is slow

Great artwork

The artwork is disturbing and graphic and may make readers uncomfortable

Expands on the anime with new scenes

The tone of the story can feel dark for the sake of being dark

My Grade: A-

I highly recommend Fate/Zero manga volume 3 if you’re already a fan of the anime and if you’re a Fate/Stay Night fan in general. You’ll definitely enjoy it unless you can’t handle disturbing imagery. It’s worth your time and money, but you might want to keep it away from the kids and teens in your house as this is not for a younger audience.

You can purchase Fate/Zero on Amazon physically or digitally for Kindle devices, you can also buy it physically on Darkhorse Comic’s website physically or digitally through their Darkhorse Digital IOS or Android apps. I prefer a physical copy because physical copies tend to go on sale more than the digital copies do and the digital copies are about $11.99 and that’s a lot for digital manga.

I recommend buying a physical copy if you can because it’s much cheaper than a digital copy and you don’t ever have to worry about it being removed from your device.

Fate/Zero is one of my favorite stories and it’s one that I love a lot, even if the manga makes me feel squeamish.

My Rating

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