Fate/Zero OP Single – to the beginning – Review

Album Title: to the beginning
Anime Title: Fate/Zero
Artist: Kalafina, Yuki Kajiura
Catalog Number: SECL-1092
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
01. to the beginning Kalafina 4:14
02. the whole sky Kalafina 5:12
03. to the beginning (instrumental) 4:14

The new Fate/Zero opening theme is in every sense an authentic Kalafina song. It radiates the same energy as “Magia“, “oblivious”, or any of the myriad anime songs they’ve sung over the past few years. “to the beginning” starts with a pseudo-Gregorian Dog Latin chant, a feature found in many of Kajiura Yuki’s compositions, before diving into an energetic violin and drum intro. The drumwork is subtle, but effective, keeping the song upbeat and giving it a pop feel. It’s what makes Kalafina stand out — their songs are catchy and rhythmic despite their neo-gothic motif. The chorus is a fantastic release of energy that I enjoyed greatly. Kalafina are so talented in putting tension into lyrics and getting the most out of every note in the song. This isn’t a seiyuupop opening theme, that’s for sure.

“to the beginning” ferries the adventurous and whimsical nature of the struggle for the Holy Grail. The conflict that pits mage against mage, hero against hero is the most apparent, easily noticeable part of the anime, but Fate/Zero is as much about about inner conflict as it is about outer conflict. “to the beginning” is a fast-paced and bold track that emulates the pulsating action found in the anime, but the reflective lyrics and tense delivery hint at its more emotional aspects, making it a beautiful song that functions perfectly as an opening theme. I believe the best parts of the song are left out of the OP itself; you can only fit so much in 90 seconds, after all. The refrain near the end of the full song (around 2:15) is a great variation on the melody and builds into a spectacularly energetic final stanza.

“the whole sky” is the B-side to this single, and it’s not actually featured in the anime. The opening is really cool, transitioning into the guitar and violin breakdown we love so much. The song has a very distinct instrumental presence — a few orchestral bars serve as the transitions between different phases of the song. “the whole sky” is very bold and decently creative, fitting the Kalafina mold like a glove.

Overall, this single is sure to please any Kalafina fan out there. Both tracks are comprehensive demonstrations of everything we love about them, and very representative of the Kalafina style as a whole.

Rating: Very Good

Opening — to the beginning

About the author

kevo kevo' is a contributor for the Anime Instrumentality Blog. I usually post when I am randomly compelled to review an anime album or soundtrack, or some other special topics. Besides anime music, I like classical, pop, and electronica. kevo's blog

7 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. chikorita157 says:

    Being a fan of Kalafina, I never expect anything less from what they have done in the past in giving us great music and Fate/zero OP is no exception (although I have yet listen to the full version). Yeah, it’s mostly because of Kajiura Yuki. What I like a lot about their songs is this unique feeling that isn’t seen that gives a great feeling. You can’t see this in most Japanese pop music.

  2. SuzushinaYuriko says:

    Honestly, I don’t understand people who say “Oath Sign” is better than “to the beginning”. They’re comparing a mainly generic J-pop song with a beautiful Kajiura Yuki composition that was written to fit the series. I liked LiSA’s work on Angel Beats, but her voice seems very out of place for a dark show such as fate/zero.

    I also love how the second track, “the whole sky”, is an extension of “let the stars fall down” on fate/zero’s soundtrack. It plays in the scene where Irisviel summons her eagle in a stand against Kirei. I love “let the stars fall down”, so hearing a full Kalafina song based off of that was a nice surprise.

    • kevo says:

      Now that’s cool! I did not know that, but I vaguely remember that scene having kickass battle music. Thanks for pointing it out, and great track if I must say so myself. :)

    • @SuzushinaYuriko
      Maaaan, I’m certainly no fan of LiSA’s work and never was able to figure out what people saw in “Oath Sign,” especially when we compare it to “to the beginning.” Was quite pleased to find that Kalafina’s back once more for a Kajiura-scored anime and somehow, no other artist seems to fit the haunting atmosphere nearly as well as they do.

      Also, good catch on that second bit!

  3. ornit says:

    The chorus in “to the beginning” is a variation on the same in “a song of storm and fire”

  4. fx says:

    @ornit : That didn’t struck me as obvious, really…
    And, if I had to choose between the ED and OP, I would choose the ED, I love the chorus “Sora wa Takaku, Kaze wa Utau”!

    • SuzushinaYuriko says:

      I would say my preference of fate/zero’s OP/ED songs is:

      to the beginning = MEMORIA > Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau >> Oath Sign

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