Anime Review: 'Lord El-Melloi's II Case Files Rail Zeppelin {Grace Note}' (2019)

Updated on October 10, 2019
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

The El Melloi II Case Files Rail Zeppelin {Grace Note} promotional art.
The El Melloi II Case Files Rail Zeppelin {Grace Note} promotional art. | Source

Quick Info

Director: Makoto Katō
Distributor: AniplexUSA
Released: July 6, 2019
Availability: Streaming on Crunchyroll and FunimationNow

Story Summary

Waver Velvet, one of the survivors of the Fourth Holy Grail War, must deal with the politics of the Mages Association when he decides to buy a title and become a “Lord” in the Mages Association, taking over his late teacher Kayneth Archibald, the previous El Melloi. He becomes a Mage detective, solving cases that involve magecraft as he seeks a way to participate in the Fifth Holy Grail War.

The Story Doesn’t Make Sense Unless You Have Watched Fate/Zero or Have Knowledge of Fate in General

You are required to have watched at least Fate/Zero (2011), in order to understand Waver’s character. If you have seen the series, you’ll enjoy the story more than if you go in blind.

You do need prior experience with this franchise, and while you can go in without prior knowledge, it will still be confusing.

This anime is still good despite not being a straightforward adaptation, but a lot of diehard fans dismiss it and newer fans are missing out on one-third of the story.

The other adaptations expect you to know the source material already. This is the main problem the Fate franchise. You have to be a fan of the franchise already and this anime is not meant to bring new people into the fandom. The original Fate/Stay Night (2006) is the only Fate anime that is accessible to newcomers because it’s not bogged down by excessive info-dumping and only exposits when it needs to. It is very old and the animation has not aged well and that has turned off many newcomers.

Lord El Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note Trailer 2

The Animation Looks Good

The animation is by TROYCA. While I haven’t watched a lot of anime made by them, I did like the artwork and character designs. The animation itself is fluid and it does look good.

The fight scenes are good, but they are not the most amazing aspects of the anime. I know some people were disappointed by the lack of fights, but because this is neither a battle royale nor a mystery series, fights are not the main draw of this anime.

The animation is fluid and it is nicely animated. While it does look good most of the time, it does have some issues with the animation.

The CGI does stand out and not necessarily in a good way since I feel the obvious CGI used in some scenes does look kind of ugly.

The animation is good, but some of the CGI isn’t. It still looks decent overall.

Waver freaking out like in the old days.
Waver freaking out like in the old days. | Source

Audio and Subtitles

Audio:
Subtitles:
Japanese (Reviwed) (Crunchyroll and FunimationNow)
Egnlish (Crucnhyroll and FunimationNow)
English (Coming soon)
 

The Japanese Dub Is Good

Daisuke Namikawa did a great job voicing Waver Velvet, Lord El Melloi II. It’s nice to see the character again after Fate/Zero (2011). I did not watch Fate/Zero in Japanese, so I don’t know how much his voice acting has improved, but I did like his vocal performance in this anime.

Reina Ueda voiced Gray, a young lady who is Waver’s apprentice and assistant. I like the character and I liked her voice acting and she was great in this role.

Daisuke Ono voiced Ad, and he’s funny and entertaining as this unique character. The character is fun and I like him. He is entertaining to me.

Inori Minase voiced Reines El-Melloi Archisorte. She’s fun and entertaining. Her personality is interesting and I enjoyed her character. She gave a great performance in this role.

Seichiro Yamashita voiced Svin Glascheit and he’s a loony but entertaining character. His performance is fun and he entertained me. He did a good job in this anime.

Shizuka Ito voiced Luviagelita Edelfelt and she did a great job in her role. I enjoyed her and she was fun and her voice acting is great.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Japanese dub of this anime. It might not be the most amazing Japanese dub ever, but I liked it a lot.

Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files -Rail Zeppelin- Grace note Original Soundtrack 「OST」

I Love Yuki Kajura’s Music!

Yuki Kajura’s soundtrack is very well done. I enjoy her work on the Fate franchise, with my favorite being the Heaven’s Feel movie trilogy. The music is very nice to listen to.

The music is very well done and I like it a lot. "starting the case: Rail Zeppelin" by Yuki Kajiura is the first time an instrumental song has been used as the opening for a Fate spin-off and it does sound very nice and makes the anime stand out musically.

The opening is actually an instrumental, which is a first for a Fate spinoff. The ending is "Hibari" (雲雀) by ASCA. It’s a very lovely ending theme and I enjoyed it.

The music is great and does make the series enjoyable. The anime does have problems but the music isn’t one of them.

This Anime Is Purely Fanservice for Type-Moon Fans

This anime is not even a complete adaptation of the Lord El Melloi II Case Files light novel series, so it will be massively confusing whether you’re familiar with Type Moon’s Fate franchise or not. I have heard that the creators think it would be easier to adapt the earlier novels as movies rather than an anime, but nonetheless, this makes the adaptation problematic for fans that wanted a faithful adaptation of this series.

It also starts in the third volume of the novels, so it isn’t even the proper beginning of the light novels. It has character development that has progressed that we haven’t even seen yet.

Also, this is not a mystery anime, despite the anime’s title Lord El-Melloi's II Case Files Rail Zeppelin Grace Note (2019). The story does involve mysteries, but the “Whodunit” is not the main focus, it’s the “Whydunit.” The main focus is on using magecraft and risking it being seen by others. In the world of Fate/Stay Night, magic is to be kept a secret from the general public because it gives rise to conflict.

This is merely a lore dumping show for diehard Fate fans and it does affect the story because it starts in an odd place with half the anime being original content, not in the light novels.

This anime had a lot of potential and they didn’t execute it very well because of it trying to appeal to diehard fans that have access to all the original source material.

Gray, Waver's apprentice and the obligatory Saberface.
Gray, Waver's apprentice and the obligatory Saberface. | Source

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Parental Warning

This anime is rated TV-14 for some language, violence using magecraft, and some fanservice. It's mild when it comes to Fate content in terms of violence. It is recommended for teenagers.

The Anime Is Too Bogged Down in Its Own World Building

Lord El-Melloi's II Case Files Rail Zeppelin Grace Note (2019) is far too bogged down in its own world building. Like Fate/Zero (2011), it tends to exposit a lot in order to explain the world building. The problem is that the story becomes engrossed in its own technobabble and it isn’t always explained very well, even if you are paying attention to everything.

Because magecraft is usually the cause of everything in this series, it depends on the audience understanding the world building from both the Fate franchise and other Type-Moon works such as The Garden of Sinners and Tsukihime. It is only accessible to diehard fans who either read wikis or have read the Tsukihime visual novel or watched The Garden of Sinners movies. They expect you to understand everything so you can gush over the world building.

The story is too lost in its own lore and it comes off as wordy technobabble to anyone who isn’t deep into this series and even the other stories. It bogs down the story because it’s over-focused on over-explaining everything and yet it’s not easy to understand anyway!

It’s A Decent Anime, but Only for Fans

If you’re into this franchise, it will be enjoyable for you, but only if you have read previous material, mainly the light novels the anime is based on. This is for fans to gush about world building. It’s not one I can recommend to a newcomer because the story itself has not been adapted properly since they skipped the first two volumes and are adapting the most popular books, rather than trying to bring new fans to the franchise.

It’s because of this that I can only recommend Lord El-Melloi's II Case Files Rail Zeppelin Grace Note (2019) to diehard fans of the Fate series since this is a spin-off that made really nonsensical adaptation decisions in making half the story anime original because they didn’t want to adapt the first two books. Even Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family (2018) didn’t skip volumes, but that manga was shorter.

Still, this is not for newcomers to the franchise and it’s only for fans that want to learn about lore since the mystery is not the main focus of the story.

Quick Sumamary

What Works:
What Doens't Work:
Good story, character and a lot of world-building
Relies too heavily on previous knowledge of Fate and Type-Moon's works
Nice animation
Starts the story in the middle, so characters are missing development from previous novels
Great Japanese dub
It is not a newcomer freindly anime if your'e looking to get int othe Fate franchise
Great soundtrack
Some CGI looks ugly

My Rating: B-

I did enjoy Lord El-Melloi's II Case Files Rail Zeppelin Grace Note (2019), but it’s not one that I’m going to recommend buying. It’s too fragmented and made some bad decisions by not adapting this story from the beginning. That might change if TROYCA decides to adapt the first two light novels as movies to make the story more coherent but this anime is missing character development that is most likely found in the first two light novels.

This story isn’t really that great of a sequel to Fate/Zero (2011) because it only focuses on Waver and not anyone else. It is fun if you enjoyed Fate/Zero (2011) but it has the same pitfalls of the original Fate/Stay Night (2006) anime. Only the animation is much better looking, and unlike the first series, is not welcoming to newcomers.

This is not for newcomers, and even diehard fans were disappointed, mainly because it’s not Fate/Zero, but that doesn’t really matter. It is only a streaming recommendation for me since it’s only worth it if you’re already a fan of Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero (2011). It is worth your time, but only if you’re already a fan, and not really going to be worth the money unless you absolutely love it.

My Rating

4 stars for Anime Review: El Melloi II Case Files Rail Zelppelin

Questions & Answers

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      • Cheryl E Preston profile image

        Cheryl E Preston 

        2 months ago from Roanoke

        This is an excellent review and a lot of detail. My grandchildren love Anime but I’m not familiar with this one.

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