Fate/Apocrypha Episode 15: All your dreams

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For some reason, this episode seemed entirely devoted to revealing the characters’ wishes. To be fair, we eventually had to find out, but this seems like a weird time to do it. I guess we finally have a break or something. While it certainly made for decent explanations of character motivations, the reactions to each wish seemed overly exaggerated. At a certain point, you’re overdoing the “that’s your wish??” response.

The explanation of the Grail in this episode felt like it could have used a little more attention. It sounded like they were trying to demystify the Grail and make its power more digestible. However, all I got was that the Grail would grant any wish as long as the user could visualize a realistic fulfillment of that wish.

Am I the only person who really wants Caules to die? He’s just asking for it.

Wow, I can’t wait for Sieg to consistently disobey this command.

Morded and Sisigo probably had my favorite interaction in this episode. Other than maybe Sieg and Rider, these two have the best Master and Servant relationship in the cast.

Hmm…I wonder if maybe Shirou’s plan isn’t the salvation that keeps promising.

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Fate/Apocrypha Episode 14: Team up

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I don’t know if there’s something going on with the second half, but I’m still having issues with this series. I’m starting to wonder if I gave the series too much leeway in the first half because I recognized that it was still ramping up. I was so surprised that Caster went down in a single episode that I was really expecting the golem to get back up at the end.

If Caster was willing to sacrifice everything just to get his golem operational, even his own life, what the heck was holding him back? It doesn’t even seem like he needed to betray the Black Faction. His original plan was to use Gordes after all, and it’s not like he cared if the Black Faction killed him in retaliation. Why not just finish the golem?

I’m also not really losing much sleep over Caster’s Master, who ended up as the golem core in the end. He had basically no introduction or screen time, after all. I was curious about his final question about why Caster was trying to create a human too, but I guess that’s not going anywhere with both dead.

I will admit that this scene with the hippogriff refusing to join the fight was a surprising laugh in this episode. It might have been my favorite moment in the episode.

On the other hand, the scene between Mordred and Jeanne seemed to be going for the same comedic effect, but felt much less effective. It felt extraneous and took too much time just to negotiate a Command Spell.

So does Sieg have to use a Command Spell every time he transforms? That seems incredibly inconvenient for something that only lasts a few minutes.

Finally, what exactly happened to Chiron’s Noble Phantasm? Was it the heat vision thing that he used to see Adam’s weak point? It felt like he was supposed to make a final strike, but it never came.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 13: Did I miss something?

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I don’t know whether it’s just the new season or this episode in particular, but I found myself really frustrated while watching this episode. Maybe I’m just missing explanations that exist in the light novel, but too many parts in this episode felt too random and undeveloped. To give a quick example, I’m perfectly willing to accept that Sieg is the protagonist and therefore should be a Master, but his noticing the Command Spells in this episode felt like a pretty sudden development.

Can someone explain this part of the conversation between Shirou and Jeanne? They talked a lot about salvation and some sort of prayer. When did a particular religious belief become relevant to this Grail War?

Also, Shirou is basically taking control of the game because…reasons? Caster of Black in particular probably had the most casual betrayal I’ve ever seen. His only concern other than the safety of his Master was that Shirou wouldn’t interfere with his own plans. What kind of logic is that? Karna at least had the excuse that Shirou had just become his Master.

The death of Rider’s Master was surprisingly satisfying, but that’s mostly because she felt pretty lackluster as a character. It seemed like she only existed to be some generic crazy chick with no real motivation or background. While it’s very dramatic to have her force Rider to kill Sieg, it doesn’t really mean much…we have no sense of why she even cares. Mordred really did us a favor.

One last side comment: I happened to notice this scene from the opening animation. It looks a lot like Irisviel, so I’m assuming this shot is an indication of Shirou’s end game. It’s not shocking, but that seems pretty blatant.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 12: Bullying Lancer as always

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Well, this episode seems to be setting up a completely different battle for the second half of this series. As always, being Lancer is suffering. I wasn’t expecting Darnic to fully invest by taking over Lancer in his Dracula form. What exactly was his plan if he managed to kill everyone? It’s not like every Servant of Red was participating in that fight, after all.

I was hoping for a bit more out of this truce than what we saw. While it’s true that everyone contributed, it still looked like an extension of the fight between Dracula and Karna in the end. It really doesn’t take too long before the Red Servants are taken out of the fight.

And on that note, what exactly was the reasoning for that? Was it just because Ruler had used the Command Spell to gain the allegiance of the Red Servants? It also looked like Shiro took the Command Spells from the masters as well…or at least forced them to use them up. I’m not sure I fully understand that part.

I don’t know why I didn’t guess that the character literally named “Shiro” was secretly a Servant. I really should have known better. I guess they did set up his vendetta, but Darnic really didn’t feel too “present” in the first half of the series. Is he really just dead now?

I suppose this development is meant to set up a new type of Grail War for the future, one in which the two Rulers fight for control over the war or something. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, so I guess we’ll see. With Darnic dead, I’m not sure how much is left of Shiro’s motivation to make him an interesting villain.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 11: Spartacus really let himself go

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I understand that every Servant needs to get their chance to fight and all, but I almost want to say that this fight has dragged on too far. I get the sense that the series has too many characters to show off. I’d be more okay with it if I could actually enjoy watching the fights.

Complaints aside, the main fight of the episode between Vlad and Karna seemed pretty interesting. They’re both pretty self-confident fighters with different personalities, which makes them a pretty good match for each other. Karna tends to be reserved and Vlad is pretty bombastic in contrast.

I don’t even know what to say about Spartacus. I don’t even understand how a hero who stands up for the oppressed translates into a masochist who gains energy through pain. The fact that he defends those that are constantly downtrodden doesn’t necessarily mean that he was also beaten down.

Sieg’s power sure ran out quickly…

I don’t really get this scene overall. Vlad is unaware that he’s been weakened, but Darnic understands? This might be related to my next point, but it seems pretty strange for a Servant to know less about his limitations than his master.

Vlad’s backstory actually ends up being interesting. Are Servant abilities determined by their legends? That makes Vlad a cool case since he rejects the stories that people created about him. So the very thing that makes him most famous is the part of him that disgusts him the most. It certainly explains a lot.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 10: Back to the beginning

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Well, I checked the logs and it seems we’re right back to the beginning of this series. I would be more skeptical, but many of the scenes at the end are completely reused. And I know the Saber class is supposed to be the strongest class and all, but Mordred is obscenely strong.

Poor Fran got the Chaozu treatment in this episode, a full sacrifice for virtually no gain. It was nice that she got to go out in a blaze of glory, but that was still a pretty sad end for her. I was going to be much harsher on this scene if she hadn’t come back after being initially stabbed. Getting Siegfried back in her place just seems like such a bad deal…

This week’s brought up the idea of using Command Spells to increase Servant strength a couple of times. Outside of Fate/Grand Order, I wasn’t even aware that Command Spells could be used in that way…not that I claim to be an expert on Fate or anything. I guess I’m too used to seeing them used literally for the “command” part in other series.

I don’t have too much to say about Sieg’s “awakening”. The whole “this is my choice” thing makes sense given how much it’s been beaten into our heads that this guy is the poster boy for free will. Heck, the scene almost felt like a cheap way to insert an Arthur-style “sword in stone” reference.

Uhh, I think Ruler would like to have a word with you on that, Shirou. Isn’t she possessing a human right now?

In fact, many of Shirou’s lines in this episode really hurt to see. This guy obviously has no idea that Sieg is the protagonist.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 9: More scattered fights

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Okay, I take back what I said about last week’s episode. This episode was the one with all of the action. Actually, I’d argue that some of the transitions between the fights seemed a bit random. We flipped between pretty much every fight, but only Rider’s fight and Fran’s fight really amounted to anything.

Am I supposed to understand what’s going on with Ruler? Based on my understanding, she’s only really pursuing the red faction because they tried to attack her. I guess she states this week that it’s strange that they would do that, but it feels odd to watch her fervently pursuing Shirou without know what’s going on.

Also, this scene made me suspect that Ruler would run into Sisigo when I first watched it because of the vague nature of her quest.

I still can’t take Atalanta seriously, and her battle with Spartacus really didn’t help. I can’t help but feel like she’s just supposed to be the nameless support character. But at least she got a big attack off, right?

Achilles and Chiron probably used up their screen time last week, but we didn’t get much more than banter from them.

I guess this stuff with Rider is meant to set up the rivalry between Sieg and Mordred that we saw in the first episode. Sieg will likely unlock Siegfried’s power to save Rider next week.

Using Shakespeare to show us Fran’s background was pretty nice. The flashback also had the aspects of a Western horror film, which made sense given the source material. Though, Fran’s reactions looked pretty strange…was I the only one who thought that?

Yeah, I’m with you, Ruler. This Grail War seems to be breaking all of the rules.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 8: Fights on all sides

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I still have my reservations about the fights in this series, but I won’t complain about an episode devoted to an extended battle. Something about the battle just doesn’t sit right with me, though. I get that the homunculi are there to give Sieg something to do, but something about giving both sides a disposable army makes the battle seem…cheap?

I was never too familiar with Chiron, so the interaction between him and Achilles surprised me this week. I ended up doing some research, though, and apparently there is a depiction of the Achilles showing Chiron as an instructor. I was wondering if this scene was distorting history as Fate often does. However, the story of the sacred flames is actually an alternate version of the story explaining Achilles’s mythical invulnerability.

I really want Vlad to die early. He seems to be the de facto leader of the black faction, so it seems unlikely, but I felt like he was asking for it in this episode. There was too much praise for him as a Servant. I felt like he needed to be taken down a peg.

Shiro’s speech in this episode seemed pretty…creepy. It fits with his character, though, since we kinda expect him to be evil. I’m not sure how I feel about the actual content, though. It felt like a pretty standard villain line of “I was meant for this”.

I see Mordred inherited the driving skills of her father.

This scene felt like a death flag for Fran. I’ll be annoyed if she ends up dying alone. Her master has been asking for it much more than she has, so I feel like he should be the one to die.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 7: The final battle approaches

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Overall, this episode didn’t really feel like much, but it built up a lot near the end. I’m pretty annoyed at the beginning of the episode for fizzling a very obviously overblown cliffhanger instantly. The end of the episode seems to be moving towards a large-scale battle, though, which is something I always like to see. I’m curious whether this battle is related to the battle from the beginning of the series, but Siegfried, Jack, and Mordred are missing.

I guess the episode was meant to show Sieg resolving himself and rejoining the fight, but his scenes felt more like distractions than anything else. I suppose it was better than the time wasted on Shakespeare’s speech…

I’m not sure what to make of this flashback(?) scene. Was that a burning Fuyuki? Some memory from Shirou?

You’re one to talk about “cowardice”, Assassin. Didn’t you open that battle with poison fog? I guess I can’t complain since the Assassin of Red just summoned a floating fortress.

I’ll be really surprised if we don’t lose some Servants in this upcoming battle. Hopefully, we’re in for some epic fighting next week. Though, I admit I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a decent number of flashbacks and memory sequences to flesh out some characters before they die.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 6: Back to the Servants

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Alright, looks like we’re back to Mordred…I suppose it’s hard to be the main character in a seven vs. seven deathmatch. I’m gonna stop commenting on fight animation in this series because I feel like I say the same things every week. I think there’s plenty more to say in this episode anyway.

Let’s start with Mordred. From her perspective, I think her past wasn’t particularly interesting. She’s really easy to boil down to “Daddy didn’t notice me”. On the other hand, Arturia’s motivations might be a bit more interesting. We’ve seen her vulnerabilities in other Fate series, so her reaction to a father-worshipping son is probably justified. Also, I’m not even gonna try with genders.

I didn’t mind this, though…

I can’t say I have an issue with sacrificing Gordes either.

This scene was just hilarious. Making Fran hate electricity is just a really nice touch.

I can’t tell whether they’re being serious with this character. She’s literally Dr. Octopus right now. But all of that aside, the cliffhanger at the end of the episode feels a bit cheap. I get the sense that her brother (the glasses guy) will show up to save her and potentially die himself. His comment about summoning Fran with a Command Spell if he gets in trouble seems very much like a death flag. Surely, they wouldn’t just make Fran disappear so early, right?