Text Interviews » Fate/Zero Interview

This interview was released in the Fate/Zero Blu-ray box.


“Music” props up the show’s world in the form of “sound” that can’t be seen. Here, we talk to the famous composer who has worked on the music of many anime titles and live-action films, and constructed her own musical world, called “the Kajiura sound” and ask her about his involvement in “Fate/Zero.”

Interviewer: Tetsuya Hoshi

Yuki Kajiura: Music
A multi-sound creator active in all genres who, in addition to creating music for anime, movies, and games, has provided lyrics and composition, and has even acted as producer (Kalafina, etc.). Following on the heels of ufotable’s “the Garden of sinners” and the Gen Urobuchi-penned “Madoka Magica,” she worked on the music for this title.

Ei Aoki: Director

Hikaru Kondo: Producer

“Weighty sound appropriate to a weighty story”

ーーFirst of all, please tell us how Ms. Kajiura came to be put in charge of music for “Fate/Zero.”

Kondo: “Fate/Zero” is basically a reunion of the staff from “the Garden of sinners,” so we had Ms. Kajiura in mind from the start. For both Dir. Aoki and me, Ms. Kajiura was our first choice all along. If I had to describe it, I’d say the music in “the Garden of sinners” was very “feminine,” but on “Fate/Zero,” we wanted to hear Ms. Kajiura’s masculine side. Also, our method of making anime is unique. It’s pretty labor-intensive, with us doing a temporary cut at the very beginning, and then another cut after the ADR sessions. It’s also a lot of trouble for our editor, Mr. Kamino, but he said, “Sure I’ll do it” and took the job, which I really appreciate. We also asked the impossible of Ms. Kajiura on “the Garden of sinners.” I had her write all new songs for all seven chapters and the 8th finale chapter. No repeats. Ms. Kajiura delivers, even when we make crazy requests.

Kajiura: Oh, so that was why (laughs).

Kondo: This is something I’ve felt during the time we spent making “the Garden of sinners” together – Ms. Kajiura has great gut instincts. Well, I suppose saying it in that way is a little rude, but she’s very perceptive. She picks up on the subtlest nuances, which is an enormous help in the studio. When we’re in the middle of a time crunch and we say, “We’d like you to add such and such a song here,” and poof, she’d deliver a song that was exactly what we’d envisioned. Plus, we would rudely ask for retakes. And she would do as we asked. She confronts the project with all earnestness. That’s why we never had a choice from the very beginning. Dir. Aoki and I made the decision right away, saying, “We’re going with Ms. Kajiura, right?”

ーーDir. Aoki, in chapter 1 of “the Garden of sinners,” you and Ms. Kajiura essentially did the work of creating the show’s world. What were your impressions of Ms. Kajiura’s vision and her music?

Aoki: First of all, I’m not all that well versed in music. So when I asked her to do the music, I told her in words what sort of concept we were going for and had her put that into music. From our words, she guessed what kind of music we were looking for, and fleshed that out. That’s how it worked. Mr. Kondo mentioned this already, but Ms. Kajiura has great instincts. She would give us something that was even better than what we had described. She was incredibly easy to work with on “the Garden of sinners,” too.

ーーMs. Kajiura, what were your impressions of “Fate/Zero” when you were first introduced to it?

Kajiura: From the start, I knew that the game “Fate/stay night” was famous. I knew that “Fate/Zero” was its prequel, but that was it. When I told a friend that I was going to read “Fate/Zero” because of a job I had gotten, it turns out that that friend was a serious “Fate” freak. Over the course of the next three hours, my friend explained the story of “stay night” to me. I gradually learned that since “Fate/Zero” is the run-up to that, it’s one of those “stories that marches inexorably towards despair,” and even the general outline of what happens. I realized again just how strong the love is that fans have for “Fate.” I’d heard about it before I read it, so I was prepared for what was coming when I started reading. I was apprehensive, thinking, “I bet this is going to build up to some heartbreaking ending…” You know, I got the same feeling when I read the screenplay for “Madoka Magica,” that Mr. Urobuchi’s works are highly entertaining. Even in the course of marching towards despair, it’s set up so that the audience isn’t overwhelmed by that despair. He doesn’t make the audience suffer needlessly, I guess you could say. Even with characters who meet a tragic end, he makes sure that they are calm and collected, and even as they go to their destruction, they remain true to the way they lived their lives. It’s not a “tale of despair” that’s devoid of salvation. I got the strong sense that it was pure entertainment. It was really interesting, and I powered through it.

ーーMs. Kajiura, you once said in an interview that you prefer stories with a happy ending, but when you’re composing, it’s easier to write music that is dark and downbeat. That’s very similar to Mr. Urobuchi, who said that he agonizes over the fact that even while he hopes for a happy ending, all he knows how to depict is gruesome endings.

Kajiura: When I read in my free time, I prefer something with a happy ending where no one dies, but when I’m working, I don’t have any problem with stories where people die. It’s when a story has some drama that I get psyched up as I’m composing music.

ーーSo, rather than “heartbreaking,” it would be more accurate to say that you prefer a story with “huge ups and downs”?

Kajiura: I suppose so. I’m the type who likes to write grandiose music, and stories that can really move the human heart are the ones that are most worth writing music for. That’s why I like them. It’s not that I want people to die, but when I’m working, I just prefer it when there are dramatic developments. So when I read something in a work mindset and get to a scene where someone dies. I get a little excited and wonder what sort of music would be good there. But when I read in my off time, I’m like, “No, don’t die!” So in that regard, it totally changes depending on what mode I’m in when I’m reading it.

ーーDid composing for “Fate/Zero” seem like it would be easy?

Kajiura: No, I thought it looked like it was going to be pretty difficult. The cast of characters is all cool and composed. They’re all adults, so it will take a lot of dissuade them from something. They’re the type who will march down the path that they believe in, come hell or high water. As I read it, I thought to myself that putting that sort of personality to music was going to present some challenges.

ーーWhat themes were you hoping to represent musically in this show?

Kajiura: When I read the book, the first thing I sensed was “weight.” Since it’s a weighty show, the cast of characters is all mature adults with a distinct sense of weight, and with concrete backgrounds and status. That’s why I thought that musically, this “weight” had to be front and center, as well. I thought it would be good to have sound with weight to it, something lurking in the background behind the cast, not sounds that blare out of the screen. I thought what it needed as the main sound wasn’t something in the foreground, but a sound in the background that would build up a clear weight. That main sound formed the core, and it sort of expands out into the lighthearted songs and battle songs. The basic position of the music is the areas that are the ufotable-style shadowy areas that can be found somewhere onscreen at all times. The concept is that it’s a weighty basso continuo that’s coming from the shadows somewhere. I think that’s the most fundamental thing.

“Film scoring,” in which the world of the show factors into the music

ーーNow, tell us about actually creating the music for “Fate/Zero.” First, Dir. Aoiki, did you make up a request list of the kind of music that you wanted?

Aoki: To be precise, it wasn’t me, it was Yoshikazu Iwanami, the sound director. First, I had Mr. Iwanami work up a base musical composition list, and then held meetings with everyone based off of that. He met with both Ms. Kajiura and myself, where I could tell him, “I want to add a song like this,” or “I want this kind of vibe.” It worked like that.

ーーMr. Iwanami also worked as audio director on “the Garden of sinners,” didn’t he?

Aoki: That’s right. The process for placing an order was a little different on “the Garden of sinners.” Essentially, we used “film scoring” to create the music and match each scene. The way we would place an order was, we would look at actual footage or storyboards, and say, “Starting here, I want this kind of music to go with the scene.” We would work closely together in meetings, going, “I want a song that starts here and ends here,” or, “This is such-and-such kind of scene, so make this kind of song.” But we could only get away with that because they were theatrical releases. It would be extremely difficult to do it that way with TV anime. In terms of quality, it adds up to a lot of songs, so in the end, we went with making our orders based off a music composition list.

Kajiura: I received the composition-ordering menu, and when there was something I could visualize just from the song titles and keywords, I said, “Okay, I get it.” When there were things that could be done in multiple ways, I consulted with them to ask how they wanted me to do it. I got explanations of the concepts of the songs, asked questions about points I was unsure about… Exchanges like that.

ーーAnd at the time you received the orders, you never get any clear images in your head that say, “Hey, I want to use this song in this scene”?

Kajiura: That’s right. There’s hardly ever a time when all the songs are used exactly as they were envisioned when they were ordered. On TV, there are a lot of times when they’re even used in completely different scenes from the titles they had when they were ordered. When you’re composing, you’re creating based off a clear image of the song that you have in your head, but no matter what you do, there are always a few vague songs left over at the end. When that happens, instead of writing them according to the titles that have been attached to them, you take a look at the overall balance and write a song that will provide some variation. Instead of slavishly sticking to the titles and making songs that all sound roughly the same, it’s better to increase the amount of variety even if it clashes a bit with the title.

Kondo: The exception to the composing method was episode 1’s opening scene and the summoning scene at the end, right?

Aoki: Right. Those were done using film scoring.

ーーWho proposed that?

Kajiura: I said I would do it.

Kondo: There are many scenes where you have to do it. And when you try it out, it’s fantastic. And then you talk about wanting to do it again. Then it’s just a matter of cost and scheduling.

Kajiura: It’s very close to the way it’s done in live-action film. I got this sense when I read the screenplay, but when I saw the episode 1’s storyboard rushes (note: visual reference material where storyboards are photographed and turned into video in order to get a feel for the tempo and running time), I thought, “Wow, this is a lot like live-action.” Episode 1 doesn’t have any flashy battles, and the structure, which methodically introduces the characters that comprise the various teams bits by bit, is like a film, too. So I wanted to give that opening scene a filmic opening with a weighty atmosphere that would run through the whole story.

ーーI see.

Kajiura: It would start with strings, and then the music would swell when the title card comes up. Very theatrical scene-matching composition would then steadily build the story to a climax, and in the summoning scene, music would again be used to neatly wrap everything up. I wanted to spell out in no uncertain terms what “Fate/Zero’s” musical direction would be in episode 1. I think I may have managed to clearly convey that to the viewers.

ーーSo episode 1 was spent introducing the various teams, but it also introduced the music and what direction it would take.

Kondo: When production started on “Fate/Zero,” there was constant talk of showing what we could do. So Dir. Aoki didn’t rush in and wouldn’t stop watching with episode 1. I think that Ms. Kajiura understood that, too.

Kajiura: When I saw the finished footage myself, I got really psyched, too.

Kondo: In the storyboard rushes, that last shot of Saber stopped on a frontal view of Saber. And then, all she did was open her eyes. But in the end, we rotated the angle. After the music reached a crescendo.

Aoki: Ms. Kajiura was using storyboard rushes as she was composing, but when she switched over to the finalized cuts after that, there are always cases where the running times have changed. She went to all that trouble to match the music up to the visuals, but a few places cropped up where it was no longer in sync. There were song places where it’s no big deal if it isn’t, but those places where we went, “You know, it would really work better if it was in sync here,” and we tweaked the timing again.

Kondo: With the timing for Saber opening her eyes, we spent a long time frame-matching that.

Aoki: Revising the time sheet, offsetting it a few frames…

Kondo: That isn’t done at the editing level anymore, it’s sent back to the photography unit to have it redone there.

Kajiura: With “picture matching,” it’s not just rough on the person writing the music, but also the people creating the visuals, isn’t it?

ーーThe title card pops up after the close-up on Saber at the very end of episode 1. The “pause” from there until the ending credit sequence started gave me goosebumps.

Aoki: That scene actually wasn’t revised all that much. When we insterted the song, it ended up with that rhythm, so we just said, “Let’s just leave it like this.”

Kondo: We also hadn’t decided where the title cards were going to go as we were working. At the opening? The end? We didn’t know.

Kajiura: The great thing that came about as a result of the frame matching I did in episode 1 was that I managed to grasp the “tempo” of the show. Before that, I would write songs just based on what I’d read in the scenario. but when I tried composing long, 4 or 5 minute pieces that were in sync with the visuals, the tempo was completely off. I went, “Oh, this is what “Fate/Zero’s” tempo is.” The songs I’d initially written had a faster tempo. Sort of fidgety. I thought to myself, “That’s all wrong!” and threw out half of what I’d written, and dropped the tempo of the remainder considerably. Thanks to that picture matching, the sense of the show’s tempo I had in my head was rewritten. In that sense, doing picture matching for that scene at the opening of episode 1 right at the beginning was a godsend as far as writing the music was concerned.

ーーThe song that you’re talking about is the track “the beginning of the end,” isn’t it?

Kajiura: Right. It was originally a scene-matched piece, but the music I wrote for this scene ended up becoming a melody that was sort of a main theme. I would use the same melody to change the mood of a scene, or even incorporate it into another piece.

Kondo: You do a lot of things that way, Ms. Kajiura. You were the same on “the Garden of sinners.”

Kajiura: I suppose so. But on this project, the melody lines are a little more subdued than they were on “the Garden of sinners.” I think that maybe melodies that aren’t as assertive are better. In “the Garden of sinners,” I established a structure so that if a melody played, I would make sure that it was noticed, but the melodies in “Fate/Zero” are made to be rather subdued. I wanted to keep them from coming too far into the foreground. There’s a sense of pathos or sadness, but since I thought that melodies that were overly assertive might be a bit irritating in the case of “Fate/Zero,” they’re fairly subdued. I could get a sense of pathos or sadness with a swelling of strings or whatever. They’re not melodies that fly into your ear and stay there. It might be a bad way of saying it, but I think they’re melodies that go in one ear and out the other. There are plenty of sad or mournful songs, but I doubt that everyone will remember them.

The “unified feel” of the story, created by the music

ーーIs it the job of Mr. Iwanami, the sound director, to insert the music into each scene?

Aoki: That’s right. Mr. Iwanami works ahead and inserts the music, and we get that as a movie file and check it here on our end. If there are places that don’t match what we had in mind, we have the music changed. I sometimes suggest new music candidates, too.

Kajiura: In the case of TV anime, I leave that in the hands of the director and audio director. Except for pieces that I wrote to fit a specific scene, I have no idea where they’ll be played, either, so I get pretty excited about seeing the finished product. “Oh, so this is where they put it!” That sort of thing (laughs). But in the end, I think it’s best for the music of TV anime when it’s done that way. You can’t compose the music while watching the finished product, so more often than not, I’m composing the music to what I imagine inside my head. So when a piece is played in a scene that isn’t the one I intended for it, I have to say that I welcome it. I mean, the people who see the visuals in their completed form are ultimately going to know better than I do which piece fits best.

Kondo: If you look at individual scenes, a piece might work with a given scene, but when you look at the overall flow, there are instances when something else might work better.

Kajiura: That’s true.

ーーLooking back on 1st season so far, please tell us about the scenes that left an impression on you in terms of how music was used.

Kajiura: Each scene definitely left an impression, but I would have to say the final scene of episode 1. I’m really glad that I was able to write the music the way I did. What was unexpected is that the same piece (“the beginning of the end”) was used in the battle scene in episode 8 with Saber, Lancer, and Caster, and to my surprise, it works just as well in a battle scene. It’s a slow piece, but the pulsing rhythm fits it perfectly. I wrote it to be one of those pieces that builds up bit by bit, but it reminded me how even a slow build-up like that could work in “Fate/Zero.” I’m thinking about writing a battle piece for the 2nd season that’s just a plodding. Also, speaking of episode 8, one of the few female vocal pieces in “Fate/Zero,” (“let the stars fall down”), was finally used in the battle scene with Iri and Kirei. It’s a lovely kind of piece that’s rare in “Fate/Zero.”

Kondo: Speaking of the way in which music is used, the part near the end of episode 3 is interesting, too. There’s the scene with Saber and Iri on the beach, which leads to the scene on the bridge with Rider and Waver, and finally to the confrontation between Saber and Lancer. The must makes use of that flow (“rule the battlefield”).

ーーIn what way?

Kondo: The music starts at the end of the calm scene on the beach, expressing the building sense of impending battle. Rider and Waver’s exchange on the bridge would be a simple calming scene without the music. By overlaying a piece of music with tension to it onto this scene, it gives it the air of, “Something terrible is about to happen.” That’s musical direction.

Aoki: There’s a change in music passages when the setting switches from the bridge to the warehouse area. And then Saber and Lancer meet for the first time.

Kondo: That worked great, didn’t it? Part of the sound director’s job is to continually make adjustments to make that timing work perfectly. He’d work with the mixer, asking him, “Can you push that back a little later? A little more.” Again and again, gradually working out where to make the loop.

Aoki: The music starts to swell again when Saber dons her armor.

Kondo: I thought that Ms. Kajiura was finding her film legs. She always knew exactly how many musical passage changes something would need to get it to fit perfectly, and her sense of a unified feel and timing are terrific. I think that’s why it’s so easy to insert them into the visuals.

Kajiura: That scene was really great. Frankly, I can’t create the timing by myself, so I’m glad that someone can work on them and insert them so smoothly. It was worth the effort. You guys treat music with respect, so this work is a real honor and pleasure for a composer.

Aoki: The part where Assassin infiltrates Tohsaka Manor is great, too. The music (“back to the wall”) comes in very faintly when Kirei gives his order to Assassin, and it picks up steam during the sequence where Assassin is rushing down the forest. That passage change is awesome.

Kondo: Essentially, it’s the same with all those three episodes. The action starts when the music changes. With things like that, the instant the music shift gears, it feels so good. I think everyone – the people drawing the storyboards, the people doing the episode direction – works while listening to the music, and they probably all have a good grasp of the melodies of the theatrical accompaniment by this point.

Kajiura: I’m touched that you all listen to everything, in spite of the fact that there are quite a few pieces. There are dozens, so I think it must be incredibly hard to listen to them all and then use them effectively once you have a solid grasp on them. I must have written hundreds of pieces on past jobs, but there were times when only one ended up being used at a time. But that really can’t be helped. With theatrical accompaniment for TV, that comes with the territory. I think that once you try it yourself, you’ll find that there are naturally going to be some pieces that don’t quite match the image you had in your head.

The role played by soundtrack

ーーAnd now, the next question. What role do you believe “anime soundtrack” has to play?

Kajiura: I think it varies from title to title, but I’d say “atmosphere.” I think part of what anime soundtrack does is create atmospheric depth. Anime isn’t live-action, no matter how beautiful the visuals may be, so I think it makes a certain kind of imagination necessary on the part of the viewer. In the case of live-action, let’s say that it’s showing part of a huge, sweeping vista. Everyone has a mental image of what a huge, sweeping vista looks like, so even if you don’t show an overall establishing shot of the whole thing, they can imagine that it’s real. But with animation, it’s not the real world, so if you can engage the viewer’s imagination, you can depict a world that seems more real than even live-action. For that reason, I feel like animation leans more heavily on music to create atmosphere than live-action does. It helps express the “world” that an anime’s visuals want to create, I guess. With live-action, it’s okay to play a narrow piece in a large space. It’s okay to play a piano piece that’s devoid of reverb in a huge, sweeping vista. But with anime, playing a narrow piece in a large space just doesn’t fit, to my ears. Somehow or other, it sucks away the music’s ability to fire up the imagination. Music is a scary thing. It misdirects the human heart. With live-ation, even if the music misdirects them, it’s a world that the viewers know firsthand, so they aren’t fooled. But animation is something that can get the viewer’s imagination to fire on all cylinders, so if you play music that doesn’t fit, there’s a change that the audience will simply be mislead. In the case of animation, comparatively speaking, the impression I’ve always had has been that you should write music whose “atmosphere” fits the scope of the anime. You can tell what sort of scope a piece needs from looking at things like the background artwork, so whenever I get stuck, I go back to the background art and reference material to re-check things like, “Okay that’s what the scope is like,” or “It needs to be dark like this” in the course of my work. Of course, it can make for an interesting show when you do things that run counter to the visuals, like playing a cheery song in a gloomy place or whatever, but with “Fate/Zero,” I think the music shouldn’t stand out. In a great show where the background art and music blend together seamlessly, I think music that isn’t too dark or too oppressive, or runs counter to the scope of the background art, is the way to go.

ーーSetting aside the issue of live-action versus anime, when you consider soundtrack in general, what role do you think it plays?

Kajiura: I think that really depends on what the title in question is looking for. I get orders saying, “Please make the music stand out,” as well as ones that say, “Please make BGM.” But I think that an ideal soundtrack is something whose presence amplifies a scene’s buildup or emotions, regardless of whether that music is overt or subtle. It’s okay if the viewer doesn’t even realize the music is there. The important thing is that those scenes where the creators go, “I want to surprise them here,” or, “I want to move them emotionally here” are ramped up by adding music to them. I think it’s the role of the soundtrack to amplify whatever it is that’s being conveyed to the viewers, be it deep emotion, shock, or sadness. That’s why I think it’s better for ambient music to be easy to understand. The instant it starts, you need to be able to tell if it’s cool or scary or sad. The emotions that music engenders, its results… Music has a sort of sound effect aspect to it. I think it has to be extremely clear. If it’s a cool piece, it has to make you think it’s cool as soon as it starts, and if it’s a rousing piece, it has to get you excited the instant you hear the music. A piece that gets you stirred up just by listening to the music, rousing dialogue, and rousing visuals – if you have those three things, it has to get you stirred up. I pay close attention to music’s role as an emotional helper.

ーーThank you. Mr. Aoki, what do you believe soundtrack’s role is in anime?

Aoki: I want it to be something that complements the scene. With things that can be conveyed by looking at the visuals, you can express it visually, but there are things that can’t be expressed through visuals alone. We work hard on the visuals on our end, so we gladly take any help her music can provide in filling in any gaps.

Kondo: Speaking of which, episode 8 had an unusually complex, nested structure. The clever use of music tidied it up nicely. I thought it was clever how it matched up the music and the scoreboards so well.

Aoki: The part that game us the most trouble was the scene with Natalia in Kiritsugu’s flashback. From a direction standpoint, we didn’t want to show too much of Natalia’s face or confuse the viewers with a sudden flashback. We had a lot of concerns, but we put the power of music to good use.

Kondo: The flashback scene didn’t have any music at first. If we had put it in right off the bat, Natalia wouldn’t stand out. Since we show Natalia first and then start the music afterwards, Natalia leaves a strong impression with the viewers.

Aoki: We put the music in right at the point where the viewers go, “What the heck is this?” at this sudden flashback scene. That music continues into the scene where Kayneth is suffering, and the cartridge rolling across the floor makes them realize that the previous scene was Kiritsugu having a flashback. We use the music (“nervous”) to create the flow of that sequence. We could never have presented this scene with visuals alone.

Kondo: Even though the flow of one scene into the other creates a steady stream of emotions, there really are a lot of areas that are helped along by the music. I thought that Dir. Aoki was well aware of that while he worked. For example, the scene in episode 3 that was mentioned earlier. Even though it’s a scene where Rider and Waver are simply talking on top of a bridge, because that music is playing, it conveys to the viewer that the battle has already begun.

Kajiura: Even in the same scene with the same visuals and same dialogue, the impression of the scene will change drastically just by changing the music that’s playing. There’s something about music that lets it directly control human emotion, so although that can be used effectively, there’s a danger that it can mislead viewers. It’s kind of scary.

ーーIt was surprising to hear you describe it as “scary”.

Kajiura: Yes, scary. If you’re going to be ham-fisted in the way you insert it, you’re better off without music at all. Music does too much to explain to the viewer what we want them to feel. So if we want our intent for a scene to remain a mystery, I think that not using the music is a valid option.

Aoki: That’s exactly what happened with the dialogue scene in episode 11 with the three kings. I tried it with music first, but as a piece played, it attached to a specific person. That was a scene with three kings, where they were competing over who the scene’s main character was. That’s why that scene wouldn’t have worked if there was music playing. It’s not that there isn’t any at all, but it’s removed as much as possible. In the end, we decided to only use a piece during the rousing “Ionioi Hetairoi” part at the end.

Kondo: That scene is amazing. It’s unfortunate, but for running time reasons, the TV broadcast version was shortened considerably. The full version is on the Blu-ray box set, which runs five minutes longer than the TV version.

Aoki: We couldn’t fit everything in even after cutting five minutes from the broadcast version, so we cut the opening credit sequence, too.

“Passion” that reverberates among the creators

ーーPlease tell us how you feel when you see the 1st season being aired.

Kajiura: I get incredibly jazzed up when I see how the entire staff put everything they had into it. I think, “That’s so cool, that’s so amazing!” I’m a rank amateur when it comes to the visual side of things, so I have no idea how superior something really is, but when I’m shown something that makes even an amateur like me go, “Come on, you didn’t need to put that much work into it,” I’m genuinely fascinated by it. The performance of the voice actors are astonishing, too. Like the way Kiritsugu speaks incredibly tenderly to only his wife, Iri. It’s incredibly fun to watch the illustrations from the novel come to life and show me things that I can’t get just from reading the book.

ーーSo, the imagination of each staff member makes the world of “Fate/Zero” that much richer.

Kajiura: I think it does. When something is made into an animation, the characters can seem more familiar and appealing than in the original novel.

ーーPlease tell us what we should keep our ears peeled for, musically, in the upcoming 2nd season.

Kajiura: The songs used in the 1st season will continue to be used, of course, and I’m hard at work writing new pieces for the 2nd season, so please look forward to hearing them. Although things start building to a climax each week halfway through the 1st season, even more astonishing developments await in the 2nd. In keeping with the story, I think that there will be a lot more dramatic pieces. I also want to add more pieces that use picture matching in the 2nd season.

Aoki: In the 1st season, we only used it in the opening and closing of episode 1, but we’ve been talking about ordering a few more scene matching pieces in the 2nd season.

Kondo: Ms. Kajiura said yes. That’s why I hope to rush through the storyboards and get the work moving forward.

Kajiura: I begged him to let me at it. I’m very sorry for making them rush the work… I want to get right to work writing. I’m pretty psyched.

ーーIn an earlier interview, one thing that stood out is your comment that when you saw the completed footage, you said that ufotable was out of their minds.

Kajiura: Was it really necessary to draw those worms in such detail? I always wanted to speak up and ask them about that sometime.

Kondo: Some of the 3D staffers enjoy that sort of thing.

Aoki: It’s enthusiasm.

Kajiura: I’m just imagining this, but I wonder if there was someone who worked himself to death on it without even being asked. Friends and I used to talk about that a lot.

Kondo: As we speak, we’re working on the battle scene between jet fighters and Horrors. It’s like they’re having a blast making one of those “colossal battle between giant monsters and jet fighters” movies (laughs).

Aoki: I had them show me some work-in-progress footage earlier. It was unbelievably awesome.

Kajiura: The Horrors, too. I can’t go to the beach anymore now. How can they draw starfish in such detail? When I think of the scary scenes that had been cut being restored for the Blu-ray release… Go easy on me, please.

ーーIn closing, how about a message for the fans?

Kajiura: Just like you, I’m amazed at how incredible the visuals and direction are. I’m working really hard to create music that is just as incredible, so please continue to enjoy “Fate/Zero.” Thank you.