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Fate/Zero TV |OT| Now 100% mollusk free!

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InsaneZero

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You can extrapolate sense from Saber's actions, but yeah, the way they presented it here was pretty odd. Ah, so it was Saber's armor that changed its appearance. Was the Kotomine/Zouken scene significantly condensed from the novel, because that scene felt like it could have been longer to me.
The conversation with Zouken wasn't significantly condensed, but it was indeed shortened. The removed scene contains a lot of foreshadowing for the finale so it's important, but it might have been a bit too long for the television broadcast. He also mentions how he has basically zero hopes of Kariya winning the war since the very beginning, and threw him out there just to enjoy his misery.
 

RyougaSaotome

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Dear god that was intense.

I'm glad I was right last week when it came to Rider's involvement with Iris' kidnapping. It would have been really disappointing to see him and Waver stoop to those kinds of tactics when they've always been very forward about their actions.

As for Kariya, =(. He came into the Grail War with what seemed to be legitimately noble goals, so seeing him fall this hard hurts. The murder sequence in particular was hard to watch and I immediately thought he was going to rape her. The imagery is certainly intentional.

Next episode is going to be a rough one if the title is any indication. v_v
 

Basileus777

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Future speculation based on FSN Spoilers.
Going by the title, I suppose next week is the time for the grail and Angra Mainyu to make their appearance. I wonder how much detail they will give about all of that in this show. They probably don't need to give out all the backstory.
 
Nov 16, 2007
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As for Kariya, =(. He came into the Grail War with what seemed to be legitimately noble goals, so seeing him fall this hard hurts. The murder sequence in particular was hard to watch and I immediately thought he was going to rape her. The imagery is certainly intentional.
Indeed.
Seeing Kariya fall so low is pretty shocking. They've rather effectively subverted the typical hero story with Kariya, and seeing the depths that he's sunk to is pretty unsettling. That scene was intense, and there was definitely a thought in my mind that he might rape her. He's become completely unhinged, and I guess Kirei got what he wanted in terms of seeing what would happen with Kariya.
 

Brazil

Living in the shadow of Amaz
May 27, 2009
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FSN stuff, I guess:
So, the boat that appears destroyed in FSN was a casualty from Saber's Excalibur against Caster, right? I thought they'd put a little focus on that in the show, considering how it's one of the few details from the previous Holy Grail War mentioned in the original FSN VN.
 

zerokoolpsx

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Got chills at the end.
Like the transformation on the motorcycle. Didn't know Saber can do that or did the director just add it in last minute? Saber didn't even ask Rider where is Irisviel at? She uses her noble phantasm to wreck his carriage and that it? Walks away without saying anything. Huh? Doesn't make sense.
Kariya has really fallen pretty low. It almost seemed like a rape scene too. Kirei had it all setup from the start. That bastard!
 

duckroll

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There's a new 15 page huge interview series with many of the more junior Ufotable staff who got promoted to expanded roles during Fate/Zero's production: http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/index.html

It's really a fantastic read, and I've only skimmed it so far. I'll be busy for the next few hours, so I probably won't be able to post translated details for a while, but for those who can read it, it's totally worthwhile. It really shows how dedicated Ufotable is to building up their internal talent and giving everyone a good progressive working environment. Lots of chicks working there too, so it's not a sausage factory!
 
Oct 18, 2008
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I'm so conflicted over that last scene.

On one hand, it was so well done and Kariya's breakdown was perfect. On the other, I feel that Aoi's behavior was utterly contrived. Why would she automatically assume that Kariya was responsible for Tokiomi's death when someone else had to have told her to go there and there were no signs of conflict or violence. Second: blaming Kariya for Sakura when she knew full well that Tokiomi was 100% responsible.

There had to have been a better way to set it up. The direction definitely deserved as much.
 

duckroll

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Takashi Suhara (Direction): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/001.html



- Suhara joined Ufotable in April 2006. He was looking for a job in the animation industry after graduation, and a year later he heard that Yuichi Terao was at Ufotable, a studio he never heard of. Since he knew him from his university days, he decided to try applying there.

- At first Suhara worked as an in-between animator and second-pass key animator on various Ufotable shows. His first actual key animation job at the studio was Chapter 7 in Garden of Sinners.

- Fate/Zero is his debut as an episode director, and he was in charge of storyboarding and directing episodes 4, 9, 16, and 18.

- He also mentions that in the first opening, he drew the scene with Saber on Camlann Hill. Even though there isn't much animation at all, it was a very detailed piece of art and took quite a while to draw. He's glad it looks great on the blu-ray.

- He describes the job of of an episode director as overall supervision of the entire episode. First he creates the storyboards from the script, and then he gives instructions to animators and the art staff on what he wants each cut to express.

- He also approves each cut personally, which means having to work closely with all the animators and artists for the given episode. If he does not approve of a certain cut, it will have to be redrawn with corrections, or occasionally he will draw the cut himself to correct it. The average TV episode has about 300-350 cuts.

- He says that while the episode director has a heavy responsibility for the given episode though, the series director Ei Aoki is the one who holds the entire producion together. Aoki's job is to supervise the entire series, and to control the tone and flow of each individual episode.

- So while the episode directors each control the overview in their episodes, the series director has to manage these contributions and control them such that the entire series is cohesive in tone. Not only does he have the final say on anything in the series, but he also approves all the storyboard drafts, and personally sits in on voice recording sessions and gives direction to everything including the audio dubbing and sound production.

- For episode 4, Suhara tried hard to pay attention to the positioning of the two characters in the fight and the flow of the battle. He took into consideration the distance between the characters and the various possible attacks they might make throughout the battle.

- Storyboarding the flashback sequence for Lancer in episode 9 gave Suhara a lot of difficulty because he found the material very interesting but had to fit it all in less than 2 minutes of the episode.

- He was very happy to be able to handle episode 16, because having handled two episodes which developed Team Lancer the most, he was glad to be able to conclude their story arc himself.

- He says that episode 18 was his most challenging task in the series, because it had many cuts, and all the characters in the episode were unique from the rest of the series. He took the feedback given on his initial storyboard draft seriously, and earnestly worked on improving on it. He worked the hardest on this episode.

- His role model for direction in Ufotable is Takayuki Hirao. He likes how he approaches both comedy and tradegy as a fine line. For example if tragedy is taken to the extreme, it can seem expressed as comedy as well.
 

duckroll

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Shizuka Fujisaki and Miki Yamazaki (Key Animators): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/003.html



- They both joined Ufotable in April 2009. During that particular admission period, a total of nine new staff joined the company - all of them were female.

- Fujisaki says that while job hunting, some of her friends who also wanted to work in the anime industry suggested applying at Ufotable. She didn't know much about the studio at the time, but she did some research and realized they worked on some stuff she enjoyed in the past, so she gave it a shot.

- Yamazaki visited Ufotable on a field trip with friends when she was in vocational school, and she liked the atmosphere there, so she eventually applied for an entrance test.

- When you apply to join Ufotable, there is an entrance test as part of the application. They put you in a room and give you enough paper, and then you pick from two topics, and within the time limit you can draw as many layouts as you want for that subject. Yamazaki picked the slice-of-life topic, while Fujisaki picked the action topic.

- After joining the company, they both worked on in-between animation for various projects. Yamazaki's first project was Garden of Sinners Chapter 7, while Fujisaki worked on the Tales of Symphonia OVA.

- Before in-between animators can be promoted to key animators in Ufotable, they have to pass an internal test to show they are capable. Once they pass, they will be allowed to work on key animation after that.

- Assigning key animators to individual cuts for a given episode is up to the animation directors, episode directors, and production runners for each episode. They will be assigned based on their field of speciality, as well as manpower requirements with regards to schedules and so on.

- Aside from animation work, key animators are also expected to occasionally work on promotional illustrations for magazines and merchandising linked with the studio's projects.

- Yamazaki's first key animation role was in episode 9 of F/Z. She handled the sequence of scenes where Iri is talking to Kiritsugu in the castle, with her opening the door to enter the scene. She also animated the scene in episode 16 where Lancer and Kayneth are having their conversation.

- Fujisaki animated the cut in episode 4 where the protective cloth from the spear unravels. She also animated the scene between Kirei and Kariya in episode 15 (she was emoting major fangirl vibes for the scene in the interview). Her biggest role in the series is when she was made an animation director for episode 20. She got to work with Atsushi Ikariya on the episode, and took a lot of advice from him while helping to supervise and correct the keyframes.

- Their comments on Ufotable's internal structure is pretty fascinating. The studio feels like a second home, and it is very inclusive. There's a cafe on the first floor for staff to just unwind and chill out, and the president (Mr.Kondo) is can often be found moving from floor to floor just talking to staff about stuff. There are no barriers between departments, and they feel that the staff are able to openly express and contribute comments either casually or professionally.

- Another point brought up is that there is a strong sense of passion and committment in the company culture, with everyone wanting to do their best and improvement themselves, especially when watching the senior staff work. When everyone puts in their best effort, it motivates the junior staff to want to improve themselves and give their all too.

- A final point of interest: Due to the steady influx of more female staff in the studio, the main staffers are also motivated to actively make their projects appeal to a female audience as well.
 
Nov 16, 2007
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Pretty interesting stuff. I always enjoy getting behind the scenes looks at the production of something, and it's especially nice to see interviews with the kinds of people who you don't hear of very often.

I'm so conflicted over that last scene.

On one hand, it was so well done and Kariya's breakdown was perfect. On the other, I feel that Aoi's behavior was utterly contrived. Why would she automatically assume that Kariya was responsible for Tokiomi's death when someone else had to have told her to go there and there were no signs of conflict or violence. Second: blaming Kariya for Sakura when she knew full well that Tokiomi was 100% responsible.

There had to have been a better way to set it up. The direction definitely deserved as much.
Well, because Kariya has been talking about killing Tokiomi for awhile, and he was standing over his dead body. I believe that Tokiomi's body had just fallen over Aoi showed up, too. Beyond that, it's likely that Kirei may have told her something that set her in the frame of mind that Kariya was going to try and kill him, or that he believed Tokiomi's life was in danger. It was contrived, but it was contrived by Kirei in order to set things up the way they happened (Gilgamesh even referred to it as a play).

Also, most people will not act 100% rationally when they see their husband's dead body on the ground and someone they know hates him standing over it. It would have been less realistic if she acted 'rationally' and listened to what Kariya had to say.
 
Dec 5, 2009
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Thanks for translating these, duckroll. They're a fascinating read. It's good to hear that there's a studio besides KyoAni dedicated to fostering a positive internal culture for their animators.
 

Dresden

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That's really cool, thanks for the translation.

Suhara definitely succeeded with that flashback in episode nine. Good stuff all around.
 

Pachael

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Great to see the interview translations - they seem quite happy and passionate about their work; the staff there deserve all the success they're getting and hopefully we'll see them taking expanded roles either at ufotable or elsewhere. :)
 

Grzi

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Thanks for the interview translations duckroll, very interesting stuff. Hopefully you'll do some more.
 

duckroll

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Kayo Onizawa and Kasumi Kametani (Animation Check): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/005.html



- Onizawa joined Ufotable in April 2009 in the same batch as Fujisaki and Yamazaki in the previous interview. Kametani joined in April 2010. They're both fans of the Tales Of series, and Ufotable's involvement in producing the OVAs attracted them to the studio.

- Kamitani actually contacted Ufotable to ask for an interview, and brought along a file containing her art portfolio. During the interview, Kondo was pretty harsh with his critique of her work, and she thought she was finished. But a few days later she got accepted into the studio.

- The role of an animation checker is to supervise each and every in-between frame and to check for inconsistency and possible errors. To create a smooth animation, lots of in-between frames are required to fill the gaps between keyframes. Each one of these frames have to match the exact style and quality of the keyframes they are filling.

- In Ufotable, when animation checkers get promoted into key animators, new animation checkers are selected from the group of in-between animators who were supervised by them. Onizawa thinks that they tend to pick those who have good communication skills and aren't afraid to speak up when they see that something looks wrong during rough video checks.

- Kamitani's first chance at animation checking was in episode 10. She says that even though there were many cuts, she was motivated because Rin's cuteness is largely expressed by how pretty the movement of her hair is, so checking to ensure they get it right was very important.

- She also had conversations with the director of episode 10 with regards to his direction intentions with regards to the later scenes, so she could check the frames with that in mind. She says to pay special attention to the scenes where Rin is running in all directions, and how the colors intentionally change.

- Onizawa comments that she likes the environment in Ufotable because it is very comfortable and the employees are all nice people. There are quite a number of female staff in the compared to other companies, but she mentions that usually when there are many female staff in a company, there tend to be cliques which form. That isn't the case at this studio, and everyone is nice to each other.

- Kamitani says that she likes how there are always refreshments and stuff in the studio because various staff will always be buying food to share with others. Stuff like Christmas cakes, cookies, etc. Lol.

- Asked how they would like to progress in the near future, Onizawa clearly wants to improve her skills to be able to do key animation, while Kamitani says that because she is still rather inexperienced in the studio, she'll like to learn more about her current role first, and plans to continue working on animation check for now.
 

duckroll

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Mika Matsuoka and Hikari Komiya (Finishing): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/007.html



- Matsuoka joined in Feb 2008, while Komiya joined in April 2010. Matsuoka applied because she's a big Tales Of fan (another one?!) and Ufotable worked on the Tales Of OVAs. Komiya applied because when she saw that they had vacancies because she heard they worked on Garden of Sinners as well as Tales Of anime. She wanted to work in a studio where she could work on a variety of different genres, and it seemed like the right place.

- Finishing is the process of scanning completed sheets of animation (both key frames and in-between frames) into a computer, then cleaning up the line art, polishing the frames up, and finally coloring them.

- Another task for the finishing department is color design. The person credited with color design in the credits is the person who is responsible for the overall coloring scheme. This includes creating the color models for everything from the characters to various props and so on in each frame.

- Matsuoka was responsible for the color design in episodes 4, 9, 13, and 16. For episode 9, She felt that it would be inappropriate to use modern color references for the Lancer flashback, so she did her own research on Celtic mythology and used trial and error to determine what would look good.

- Komiya worked as a finishing check assistant for episodes 3, 11, 15, and 20. She points out that checking the finishing for the army scene in episode 11 was pretty troublesome, because you have large pans showing many different characters in the same frame.

- The finishing department is located close to the photography department in the studio, and the two teams communicate a lot during the production process. They have great rapport, and work closely together towards the end of productions, because the most important thing is to get the photography (compositing) right and to produce the best looking images within the time they have.

- Komiya says she doesn't have experience working in other companies, but she thinks that it would be rare to have a work environment with such smooth communication and production processes.

- What Matsuoka appreciates most about the studio is how determined everyone is at doing their best. She says that this isn't just limited to the Fate/Zero production, but it is something that has always existed in the studio. When she first joined, she was impressed by the motivated environment in the production of Garden of Sinner Chapter 3, and even now she is still impressed because they're just as motivated.

- Everyone in the finishing department has great respect for Emi Chiba, who is the lead color designer at the studio. Her ability to work on different productions at the same time with totally different styles and color tones is supposedly very impressive, and it's something they all want to learn from.
 

duckroll

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You're all very welcome. I find stuff like this pretty interesting, and it's been a while since I've been really impressed by the actual production of a show, so I'm really happy to share! There are 3 more of these interviews: Background Art, Photography, and Production. I probably won't do them today, because...
Aitakatta... YES!
 

M_Night

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thanks for translating. really insightful stuff.

i think having a flat business structure is key to having the employee harmony and satisfaction they mentioned.

fate/zero 21

just to add... suck it kariya haters!

still clinging on to precious life! he's entering extra time and i'm confident he will reach the knock out round!
 

3Kaze

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Now I remember an interview with Baba saying some of the ufotable staff were Tales fans, and that they were honored to work on Xillia. And I guess Namco likes ufotable too, seeing how they let them handle the God Eater/Burst OP (Takayuki Hirao also directing GE2's op, iirc) and the Tales of Xillia OP/FMV (which were better than most of the IG Tales stuff). Maybe Go Shiina working on Gyo counts too?
 
Nov 16, 2007
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- Matsuoka was responsible for the color design in episodes 4, 9, 13, and 16. For episode 9, She felt that it would be inappropriate to use modern color references for the Lancer flashback, so she did her own research on Celtic mythology and used trial and error to determine what would look good.
Wow, that's really impressive. I think it's great that this show has people working on it that would go to those lengths to make sure things look their best. That's the kind of minor detail that most people would never even think about.
 
Oct 18, 2008
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Awesome stuff, Duckroll. It's much appreciated.

Well, because Kariya has been talking about killing Tokiomi for awhile, and he was standing over his dead body. I believe that Tokiomi's body had just fallen over Aoi showed up, too. Beyond that, it's likely that Kirei may have told her something that set her in the frame of mind that Kariya was going to try and kill him, or that he believed Tokiomi's life was in danger. It was contrived, but it was contrived by Kirei in order to set things up the way they happened (Gilgamesh even referred to it as a play).

Also, most people will not act 100% rationally when they see their husband's dead body on the ground and someone they know hates him standing over it. It would have been less realistic if she acted 'rationally' and listened to what Kariya had to say.
Sure, Kariya had been itching to kill Tokiomi for quite awhile and Aoi knew that Kariya didn't like Tokiomi, but did Kariya ever say anything about killing or hurting him to Aoi? Tokiomi's body had just fallen over, but Kariya was completely unarmed, in a nonthreatening pose, and there was no blood or any sign of violence. Aoi's entrance had no sense of urgency and she seemed surprised to find Kariya there, so it seems unlikely that she had reason to believe Tokiomi was in danger.

It was totally natural that she freaked out -- she obviously wasn't going to sit down and have a chat with Kariya -- but how she freaked out made little sense to me. I mean, if she grabbed Kariya and screamed at him to tell her why things had to happen the way they did(Sakura being taken away, Tokiomi drifting away from her and then dying, etc) and asked him why he didn't protect Tokiomi, that would have made sense to me. Instead, she blames Kariya for everything, including Sakura being taken away even though she knew full well that Tokiomi voluntarily sent her to the Matou.
 
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Found a random video of this on youtube (Caster summoning
WTF!
) so I'm going to finally get started on this. I was supposed to start watching this when it first started airing but I completely forgot about it for some reason.
 

Dresden

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- Kamitani's first chance at animation checking was in episode 10. She says that even though there were many cuts, she was motivated because Rin's cuteness is largely expressed by how pretty the movement of her hair is, so checking to ensure they get it right was very important.

- She also had conversations with the director of episode 10 with regards to his direction intentions with regards to the later scenes, so she could check the frames with that in mind. She says to pay special attention to the scenes where Rin is running in all directions, and how the colors intentionally change.
I need to get back on this episode soon.

Episode 21 was good.

-Mixed feelings about the chase scene, as mentioned in the animegaf OT. On one hand I thought the camerawork was top-notch and there was a great sense of speed for the most part--which is the important stuff I suppose--but the cars . . .

-Kirei
and his shift into a totally amoral sadist is absolutely glorious.

-I really don't think Zouken works at all in f/z. He's either hilariously over the top (see: ep20/"This worm has fed on her purity for the last year") or just annoying like in this episode. It was a scene that was there mainly to build up for the sequel, and I thought they could have cut out the encounter between he and Kirei completely.

-Kariya's scene
was just great.
 

duckroll

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Kim Min-Ji and Yuichi Terao (Backgrounds): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/009.html



- Kim joined Ufotable in April 2009. She's originally from South Korea, and being a fan of anime and manga, she decided to study abroad in Japan. At first she thought of becoming an animator or illustrator, but after studying more she became attracted to background art. While looking for work, she found the vacancy ad on Ufotable's website interesting and unique, and decided to give it a go.

- Terao joined Ufotable in Dec 2003. At the time he was hoping to apply for a job in production, but he was instead put into the newly formed Photography Department (Digital Compositing). He knew almost nothing about animation photography back then, but now he is the head of the department and the director of photography for Fate/Zero.

- In terms of creating backgrounds, first there must be a layout for each animation cut, which the animators create based on the storyboard plans. The layouts are then used to create background designs. Based on the finalized designs, the backgrounds for each cut are then drawn. While the work is mostly digital these days, if the situation calls for it they will still draw backgrounds by hand. The goal is always to create a good end product, regardless of the means.

- Terao is not a background artist, but he was asked by Kondo to take part in this interview anyway. The reason is because for Ufotable, there is hardly a barrier between background art and digital compositing. Especially in terms of lighting, and how important it is to the overall expression of the art form, to explain the background work without also talking about compositing work is impossible.

- The background work for episode 4 was extremely exhausting for Kim, but she said it was also very satisfying. The nature of the episode was such that the consistency of the backgrounds became very important, and a lot of attention had to be paid to the level of damage on the battlefield as well as the timing of the deformation in each scene. She had to bring a sleeping bag into the office while working on all the corrections.

- For Terao, one of the most important aspects of the show is the sky. He uses a "Type-Moon Blue" to characterize the sky in the show because it is a color that works well with Type-Moon characters, and serves as a motif in all their original artwork. He tries to bring this out in the sky backgrounds as much as possible.

- To illustrate an example of the type of sky he is talking about, he shared a reference photo he took for Garden of Sinners on the studio roof. Incidentally, the studio roof is also the reference setting for the stand off between Tokiomi and Kariya in episodes 14 and 15.



- The issue of the sky color became a bit of a problem with episode 18, when the director Suhara was adament on not using the same deep blue shade for that episode. Backgrounds had to be redone to match the image the he had in mind. But in the end, for the date scene with Shirley, Terao used digital compositing techniques to bring out that deep blue shade instead. Suhara approved of it, and that became a new technique they discovered to present scenes, having an impact on how they approached future scenes.

- Terao also worked on the Berserker dogfight scenes in episodes 14 and 15, creating cloud simulations for the backgrounds and imagining himself flying through the air.

- The V-MAX scenes in episode 21 contained a substantial mix of both 2D art as well as CG elements, which made sequence extremely heavy on resources. It was all thanks to the solid management by Yoshida, the production runner on the episode, that they managed to complete it before it aired.

- The final thing Terao mentions is a slight climax spoiler:
He says that the final "Ionioi Hetairoi" sequence in the big climax scene is something that features their finest line-up of both background art and digital compositing, and that everyone should look forward to it.

- With regards to how they feel about Ufotable as a studio, Kim says that she is impressed with the way the studio is run, where as long as you have the passion and talent, even new staff are given the chance to contribute significantly. As an example of this, she says that even though she has been with the studio for barely three years, she is allowed to take part in this sort of interview for a major production. She appreciates the freedom she is given.

- Terao expands on the philosophy of Ufotable, and says what is most important for all the studio staff is that they have to think of the audience and the products they work on first and foremost. Keeping the expectations of the audience in mind is the studio's mandate for all staff. Freedom is only what each person makes of it, because as a large production studio, complete creative freedom can be rather hard to come by.

- But even so, he feels that as long as they realize why isolation between departments and teams tend to form as companies expand, they can overcome these potential pitfalls. He emphasizes the importance of everyone being on the same page, with a common goal of making the best work with their customers in mind. If a large team of over 100 staff can all work with that mindset and drive, even though the actual day to day work might not change, the actual work environment will improve greatly.

- The short term goals for the background staff in the near future is to further explore new ways of synthesizing backgrounds with 3D graphics. There is still a lot of room for improvement, and only through on-going experience can they continue to discover new ways of applying the skills they have to creating even better presentation of backgrounds.
 

duckroll

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Sae Yoshikawa and Masato Takizawa (Photography): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/011.html



(Note: While the standard Japanese term is photography, I will be using digital compositing whenever they talk about the actual discipline because that is the correct industry term in English. I will retain the photography term when it is used as part of role like Director of Photography, or when it refers to the department in the studio.)

- Yoshikawa has been with Ufotable since Dec 2006. She studied in an anime specialized vocational school, and was interested in digital compositing. When she saw a recruitment ad from Ufotable in the job postings at the school, she decided to contact them since she was a fan of Futakoi Alternative at the time. Terao talked to her over the phone and she got a tour of the studio the next day.

- Takizawa joined Ufotable in June 2010. He was majoring at CG production in university, and while job hunting he went drinking with schoolmates in the same field. That's when he met Yoshikawa and Terao in person. He already knew Terao from Twitter, but this was the first time he met him in person. While chatting he was convinced to join Ufotable.

- Even though they are both in the same department, their job scopes differ significantly. Yoshikawa handles actual digital compositing, while Tanizawa specializes in 3DCG work.

- Digital compositing is the process of combining the character cels and the background cels for animation, and occasionally 3DCG data, into an animated end product. Animation no longer uses physical cels, but the layers are still called that for familiarity. During this process, various effects and lighting adjustments are also applied for each animation cut. Things like reflections, beams of light, or weather elements like rain and snow are often all part of the digital compositing.

- Yoshikawa compares digital compositing to a woman putting on make up. the characters and backgrounds in various different cuts are like different natural faces which people have. So each situation calls for a different approach. Some people look good with heavier make up, while others are best with a lighter touch.

- Depending on the requirements of a scene, a single cut can be finished and processed in just a few minutes, or it can even take a whole day to finish. Sometimes she works on something in the morning, and before she knows it, it can be nightfall. For episode 4, the scenes with Lancer using his spear to cancel Saber's Invisible Air required quite a lot of work.

- Tanizawa's 3DCG work has almost exclusively been on Berserker. Since May 2011 until they completed work on episode 5, he spent every single day working on Berserker. That includes the testing phase as well.

- For Berserker, the reason they went with 3DCG is because of the nature of the character. Ufotable does not discriminate between using animation and CG. They consider everything when making a decision, and try stuff out to see what works best. In this case, they ultimately decided they can deliver the best presentation of the character in 3DCG, taking into consideration how the entire character is fully armored and the sort of movement and expression they were going for was similar to a robot.

- Once they decided to go with CG, they first created the full CG model for Berserker. This CG model for Berserker also serves the same purpose as a finalized character design sheet for a normal animated charater. Tanizawa's work consisted of taking this CG model and applying it into the anime itself. This includes the character rigging, which is a CG animation process where a skeletal structure of the model is created for a model, so it can be animated smoothly and in detail. The process of animating the model right went through many phases of trial and error to get the right result.

- For the battle between Archer and Berserker in episode 5, the animators made a rough key animation for Berserker's motion (Note: Masayuki Kunihiro is the rough key animator for Berserker) and using that as a guide the final CG animation is applied. Then from there they further add the various weapons flying into the scene to match Berserker's motion. After this the entire scene is composited with the background and other effects to create the final scene. There were countless rounds of rendering for this sequence.

- Yoshikawa mentions that during compositing, the work isn't just about very obvious visual effects, but also touching up the entire scene. For episode 4 there were many weapon effects in the fight, especially those which are meant to show how fast the weapons were moving. In episode 11, they also worked on touching up all the scenes with Archer, helping his golden armor stand out more. In such a gathering of kings, making his armor more reflective and perfect was something which would truly characterize the King of Heroes well.

- The scenes in the second season which she's also very proud of include the Excalibur scene in episode 15, as well as the sky effects at the end of episode 19, with the dawn approaching as the fog clears.

- For the dogfight sequence in episodes 14 and 15, Tanizawa says that even though the entire scene (vehicles, background, etc) was fully CG, and even though both vehicles involved had no regards for real aerial physics, it was still very important to be able to present the scene in a coherent way for viewers. With the director of photography Terao at the helm, this scene had the entire digital team giving it their all.

- For the V-MAX scenes in episode 21, their biggest hurdle was making sure that the CG looked just right as it moves, with accurate reflections of the environment, as well as good light sourcing. It took various attempts before they found the right look for the scenes.

- When asked what makes Ufotable special, Yoshikawa says it is in how all the various departments work together and communicate freely. When she talks to people working in other studios, it is very common that the digital compositing is handled by a contractor instead. At Ufotable, animators are able to walk into the photography department and ask for a scene to be altered a certain way, alternatively they can always approach animation staff directly to ask for specific artwork requests. This level of communication between staff raises efficiency significantly.

- Tanizawa likes the flexibility in Ufotable most of all. He appreciates how open the studio is in mutual exchange of ideas. Unlike other places where animators and CG staff sometimes don't get along, at Ufotable everyone looks at the larger picture. There is mutual respect between the staff, and they combine their skills to achieve the best looking result possible.
 

duckroll

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Akihiro Yoshida and Yuu Takanaka (Production): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/013.html



- Yoshida joined Ufotable in April 2007. He was originally working in another anime studio, but his dream was to one day be able to do scenario writing as well. It didn't look likely that he would be able to achieve this at the studio though. He saw a recruitment ad on Ufotable's website which caught his interest, and contacted Kondo for an interview, expressing his interest in working on screenplays. Instead Kondo offered him a position in production first, because they were starting up work on Garden of Sinners and had vacancies. He joined the company because he felt there would be a chance he could realize his dream there.

- Takanaka joined Ufotable in Dec 2006. He graduated from a film school that Spring, but couldn't find a job for a while. He wanted to be a film editor for anime, but he had no idea how he could get into such a position for a studio. After watching the first episode of Coyote Rag Time, he thought it was pretty interesting and checked out Ufotable's website after seeing their name in the credits. At the time the studio was claiming to be a place where you can tackle "various challenges" if you join. Thinking that it would be a possible stepping stone, he applied

- Takanaka joined the studio just as Manabi Straight was about to go on air. There was a lack of production staff helping Ryu Suzuki (line producer for Fate/Zero) at the time, so he assisted in various office duties like copying storyboards and collecting animation sheets. Yoshida joined just as the production finished airing, and he had to help clean up the office with the other staff who joined at that time, since there was a bit of a mess after the production wrapped up.

- As production advancement staff, their jobs are similar to tour guides. The completion of the episode they are assigned is the final destination, and all the staff involved are the tourists. It is their duty to plan the schedules and work flow, informating every staff what their deadlines and duties are, and checking on everyone to make sure things are moving smoothly as they all travel towards the end goal.

- The directors and animation directors for each episode are assigned by the line producer Suzuki and the production producer Kondo. So by the time they are assigned to an episode, the main staff are already in place. What they do from there is to manage the production of the episode, but they also help in assigning or recommending individual staff to work on specific animation cuts or promotional illustrations. To do this they have consider various things like what else the person is working on, whether they are suitable for the content, and various things like experience and so on.

- Yoshida recalls that one of the things he had to do for episode 1 was to gather information for the photography department to add English details to certain on-screen props. For Waver's thesis, they needed an English title for the report's cover, and when Kiritsugu was researching the other Masters, they needed data like the birth dates of the characters, as well as various magic terms in English.

- Takanaka worked on episode 4, and he felt there was quite a bit of pressure to deliver. Te episode was the first one with lots of action, and there were high expectations. At the same time, he was also aware that the episode was the directorial debut for Suhara, and so he tried very hard to support him with whatever he needed so they could pull the episode off well.

- A lot of what both of them say about production advancement boils down to managing the balance between realistic schedules and also keeping in mind the expectations of the audience and delivering a solid end product which is well received.

- As for what makes Ufotable special to them, Takanaka says that the passion everyone has to making a good product is a great feeling, while Yoshida says what is really different about the company is how many younger staff there are taking on active roles. The studio also makes everyone feel at home by having a cafe on the first floor, and holding various company events like welcome parties for new staff, and year end parties to celebrate.

- Both guys seem very happy to be in production, even though they had different ambitions joining the studio. They feel that as long as someone continues to harbor their dreams, they can be fulfilled at Ufotable is you're motivated and show interest.

- Even though they both work on the production team, Takanaka was given a chance to do some editing when they worked on certain movie scenes for videogames. The interview itself doesn't mention this, but Yoshida has also been given the chance to take part in writing screenplays. He assisted with the Gyo screenplay and is part of the writing team for Fate/Zero.
 

SteveO409

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Really appreciate these translations duckroll! I love reading anything behind the scenes related.
 

/XX/

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There's a new 15 page huge interview series with many of the more junior Ufotable staff who got promoted to expanded roles during Fate/Zero's production: http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/index.html
Shizuka Fujisaki and Miki Yamazaki (Key Animators): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/003.html
Kayo Onizawa and Kasumi Kametani (Animation Check): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/005.html
Work completed! Thank you for these, duckroll... this dedication really shows how much you like this series!
 

kayos90

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Takashi Suhara (Direction): http://news.mynavi.jp/special/2012/fatezero/001.html



- Suhara joined Ufotable in April 2006. He was looking for a job in the animation industry after graduation, and a year later he heard that Yuichi Terao was at Ufotable, a studio he never heard of. Since he knew him from his university days, he decided to try applying there.

- At first Suhara worked as an in-between animator and second-pass key animator on various Ufotable shows. His first actual key animation job at the studio was Chapter 7 in Garden of Sinners.

- Fate/Zero is his debut as an episode director, and he was in charge of storyboarding and directing episodes 4, 9, 16, and 18.

- He also mentions that in the first opening, he drew the scene with Saber on Camlann Hill. Even though there isn't much animation at all, it was a very detailed piece of art and took quite a while to draw. He's glad it looks great on the blu-ray.

- He describes the job of of an episode director as overall supervision of the entire episode. First he creates the storyboards from the script, and then he gives instructions to animators and the art staff on what he wants each cut to express.

- He also approves each cut personally, which means having to work closely with all the animators and artists for the given episode. If he does not approve of a certain cut, it will have to be redrawn with corrections, or occasionally he will draw the cut himself to correct it. The average TV episode has about 300-350 cuts.

- He says that while the episode director has a heavy responsibility for the given episode though, the series director Ei Aoki is the one who holds the entire producion together. Aoki's job is to supervise the entire series, and to control the tone and flow of each individual episode.

- So while the episode directors each control the overview in their episodes, the series director has to manage these contributions and control them such that the entire series is cohesive in tone. Not only does he have the final say on anything in the series, but he also approves all the storyboard drafts, and personally sits in on voice recording sessions and gives direction to everything including the audio dubbing and sound production.

- For episode 4, Suhara tried hard to pay attention to the positioning of the two characters in the fight and the flow of the battle. He took into consideration the distance between the characters and the various possible attacks they might make throughout the battle.

- Storyboarding the flashback sequence for Lancer in episode 9 gave Suhara a lot of difficulty because he found the material very interesting but had to fit it all in less than 2 minutes of the episode.

- He was very happy to be able to handle episode 16, because having handled two episodes which developed Team Lancer the most, he was glad to be able to conclude their story arc himself.

- He says that episode 18 was his most challenging task in the series, because it had many cuts, and all the characters in the episode were unique from the rest of the series. He took the feedback given on his initial storyboard draft seriously, and earnestly worked on improving on it. He worked the hardest on this episode.

- His role model for direction in Ufotable is Takayuki Hirao. He likes how he approaches both comedy and tradegy as a fine line. For example if tragedy is taken to the extreme, it can seem expressed as comedy as well.
I love this guy. So much.
 
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Fate/Zero 22

Typo in the episode? That sign said 21..

Anyway all my tears, the episode had the best interaction of the anime thus far,
Waver's scene with the grandfather and then the friendship scene with Rider, and how I thought he was actually going to send Rider on alone and we'd see no more Waver got me emotional. And then when he picked him up and put him on the hours and Waver was all agitated and conflicted with emotions of happiness, was so lovely. True friends.

Waver has consistently been my favorite.
 

duckroll

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^
Typo in the subs yeah, the Japanese title card says Episode 22.

Episode 22

So it has finally come down to this. The final battle. The last goodbyes. This is probably the final Fate/Zero episode which will feature the sort of leisurely character driven drama which many of the episodes in the series have. I really appreciate that sort of pace mixed with the more intensive action driven episodes. The Waver scenes were really well done here, and I really liked the
Grail dream sequences at the end of the episode. Everything about the Kirei scenes were just hammered home that this is the very end. He has played all his cards, and now the final call to battle has been made.

Waver going into the final battle without any Command Spells is probably dumb of him, but to be honest, he never seemed the sort who would have a good "order" to give Rider anyway. He knows Rider is smarter and wiser than him in all ways in terms of combat strategy, and he is always by his side, so there's no need for that. Still, I really hope they somehow pull through this. Please? ;_;

Nothing much else to say this week except... is it next week yet? :)
 

Soma

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Fate/Zero 22

Man, what an emotional episode.

Not much action this time but the interactions and conversations were great.

Kirei and Iri's conversation about Kiritsugu was unbelievably tense for me. I knew what was gonna go down but man. Kirei finding his resolve to crush Kiritsugu's ideals and him ending her life was shocking even still. Kirei... you're such a bastard.

Waver and Rider's scene was really nice and oddly heartwarming even in such a depressing show as this. Rider is such a bro. Their relationship through out the entire series has been really entertaining and it was nice to see it come to a head here. I love that they now see eye to eye even now that Ishkander will face his most difficult battle.

Even the brief interaction (or lack thereof) between Saber and Kiritsugu was interesting. Even now with everyone close to him gone, he still refuses to acknowledge her because of their conflicting ideals and he still continues to press on alone. It's an interesting contrast to Waver and Rider's relationship.

And then the final scene with Irisviel. Such a tragic life she's had to lead and the flashback between her and Ilya was particularly sad considering some events in F/SN. The Holy Grail transformation scene at the very end was pretty unsettling as well.

Next episode is gonna be so intense. The wait will be unbearable.
 

duckroll

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Yeah I found a lot of the episode pretty emotional. They really deliver with the character moments.
Even though nothing "happens" to Waver this week, you get a real sense that there's a chance in his conviction and his mindset. He takes everything that has happened into consideration, and I think he no longer wants to throw his life away. He also wants Rider to be free, but yet having staked so much on this battle, they both can't walk away now. There's really a sense of dread there, and a touch of finality to their relationship. Yet I'm so proud of Waver for growing just a little bit as a person! T_T
 

7Th

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This episode was actually really good; the animation was surprisingly nuanced and it conveyed the feelings of the characters very effectively.
 

Theonik

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Yeah I found a lot of the episode pretty emotional. They really deliver with the character moments.
Even though nothing "happens" to Waver this week, you get a real sense that there's a chance in his conviction and his mindset. He takes everything that has happened into consideration, and I think he no longer wants to throw his life away. He also wants Rider to be free, but yet having staked so much on this battle, they both can't walk away now. There's really a sense of dread there, and a touch of finality to their relationship. Yet I'm so proud of Waver for growing just a little bit as a person! T_T
Waver's development from a foolish boy trying to achieve fame into a man was really handled well in this show you can see Waver grow as the show progresses. This episode with Rider and Waver's departure and his fake grandfather revealing he knew for a while about that fact but didn't say anything because their real grandson was a douche was ;_; worthy.
 

Branduil

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Excellent Eriador
Episode 22

Is that you
Rei?

Well, the build-up to the final showdown continues to be handled masterfully, so that's a good sign. If the show is going to screw up it won't be until to the climax.
Iri's "death" was really anticlimactic, so I was glad that she's apparently not done yet. Being a homunculus is suffering.

Waver really has matured from being around Rider. Dynamic character development is so rare in anime that it's really pleasant to see here. Those two could carry their own show.
It's really going to suck when they die.
 

kayos90

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Great episode. Really enjoyed the conversations. It gets harder each week to wait for the next episode but the title is really fitting for
archer vs rider
. It'll truly be epic. That seen at the end with Ilya and Iri reminded me of Shutter Island a bit for some reason.
 

duckroll

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Episode 22

Waver really has matured from being around Rider. Dynamic character development is so rare in anime that it's really pleasant to see here. Those two could carry their own show.
It's really going to suck when they die.
You suck. Can't you have some faith in them? :(

I'm rooting for a Waver end!
 
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