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REVIEW: Fate/Apocrypha (Episodes 13-25)


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pachy_boy



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:04 pm Reply with quote
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Fate/Apocrypha may be regarded as a weaker entry in the Fate series after all is said and done,

In my case, I was left feeling so pleasantly surprised and satisfied, I'm actually tempted to call this my favorite entry.

I totally waited until the 2nd cour debuted before watching the 1st, and am glad I did! The only major nitpick I had against Apocrypha (aside from Jack the Ripper's getup) was for all of Mordred taking offense of being seen as a woman, it makes amusingly little sense why she dresses the way she does. Aside from that, this Fate story created compelling/charming characters that stood all on their own, the awesome Astolfo notwithstanding. I can understand the criticisms against Seig, but I'm used to plain-guy protagonists at the center of Type-Moon(-inspired) stories, and considering his origins I was still rooting for him the whole way through, especially as he lead the other homunculi to follow his example. And everything rounded out on such a cathartic note (with spoiler[Astolfo's] survival being a perfect representation of this), that despite whatever flaws it had I ultimately had nothing but praise when all was said and done. Here's genuine hope for a future domestic (or at least UK) blu-ray release!
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getumbuck



Joined: 15 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:01 pm Reply with quote
Truly my least favorite entry into the Fate series. I mean the animation in the final few episodes was all over the place. I literally was getting sick as styles started changing left and right. I read the first two books, but found the story beyond confusing in anime form. I'm shocked people could even understand what was happening, considering so much was cut out of the story. Vlad's transformation though hurt, the anime really did bastardize one of my favorite moments from the novel and made Dracula look so dam stupid. I mean if you like crap just blowing up, I suppose this is the show for you, but I really got little more than that out of this story, at least in anime form.
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Zeino



Joined: 19 May 2017
Posts: 422
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:41 pm Reply with quote
pachy_boy wrote:
Quote:
Fate/Apocrypha may be regarded as a weaker entry in the Fate series after all is said and done,

In my case, I was left feeling so pleasantly surprised and satisfied, I'm actually tempted to call this my favorite entry.

I totally waited until the 2nd cour debuted before watching the 1st, and am glad I did! The only major nitpick I had against Apocrypha (aside from Jack the Ripper's getup) was for all of Mordred taking offense of being seen as a woman, it makes amusingly little sense why she dresses the way she does. Aside from that, this Fate story created compelling/charming characters that stood all on their own, the awesome Astolfo notwithstanding. I can understand the criticisms against Seig, but I'm used to plain-guy protagonists at the center of Type-Moon(-inspired) stories, and considering his origins I was still rooting for him the whole way through, especially as he lead the other homunculi to follow his example. And everything rounded out on such a cathartic note (with spoiler[Astolfo's] survival being a perfect representation of this), that despite whatever flaws it had I ultimately had nothing but praise when all was said and done. Here's genuine hope for a future domestic (or at least UK) blu-ray release!


This is more or less also my position on Apocrypha. Though I still consider Fate/Zero to be the best entry as it had both style and real substance, F/A is currently in second place. (Though Fate/Extra is shaping up nicely so far to maybe displace it in the near future) It may be the simplest and most spectacle based Fate story but when delivered it's action, it really delivered and I'd gladly take Seig over Shirou as a "bland" protagonist. (or least Deen Fate and UBW versions of Shirou)

In the end despite making it's own stabs at being faux-philosophical, Fate/Apocrypha was mostly aware that it was mainly here to be a good time and so I can forgive it's flaws more then I can say of Unlimted Blade Works with it's unbearably sincere belief that it was really saying something profound that it utterly failed at.
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Flü



Joined: 04 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:52 pm Reply with quote
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Fate/Apocrypha may be regarded as a weaker entry in the Fate series after all is said and done,

Will it really though?

Of course it's worse than Fate/Zero (and I guess Carnival Phantasm and Food/Stay; not counting the upcomic Heaven's Feel trilogy yet) but what other Fate-adaptations are there that are better?
Surely not the rambling UnlimitedBladeworks, Deen/Stay Night or Prisma Illya. Are there any other animated adaptations that I am forgetting and that can be legitimately called "good"? Extra doesn't look very promising so far...
I think one should keep in mind with what kind of franchise we are dealing with here when doing such comparisons.

The main characters were lackluster, but Mordred&Sisigou alone were enjoyable enough to carry the series through most parts and the action was great. Things were kept more shallow, yes, but to me it was extremely enjoyable and so I'll count it as a huge success.

Overall review and rating is fair, though. Smile
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zrnzle500
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Joined: 04 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:58 pm Reply with quote
Put me down among those who really enjoyed Apocrypha. I don't think it's the best entry in the franchise or the smartest or most substantial, but it is very entertaining. I do put a fair amount of weight on how well a show ends, so that does help it. I was anticipating the 22nd episode from all the buzz I'd heard about it among the sakuga community, and it did not disappoint. Nor did the highlights end there, as the final stretch of fights was some of the best of the show. I had no qualms with voting Apocrypha for Best Action after seeing the second half. I would have liked more Mordred (and Shishigou) but overall, I think it is a worthy entry in the franchise.

Between the first and second halves streaming on Netflix, I started watching Card Captor Sakura, and once I heard Jack again, I realized that Jack and the titular Sakura are voiced by the same VA (Sakura Tange, who also voices Extra's Saber) which made the character even more disturbing. Don't know how much overlap there is between the fanbases of those two series though.
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killjoy_the



Joined: 30 May 2015
Posts: 1658
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:34 pm Reply with quote
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The animation in Fate/Apocrypha is a case of “love it or hate it.”


I had no real issues with it except for episode 22. The shift was too abrupt, but I think the episode also simply failed me in that I didn't care about the fights it had in it, spectacle or not. Especially disappointing after 21 was my favorite episode.
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encrypted12345



Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 446
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:12 pm Reply with quote
Shirou Kotomine's proposition of salvation and Jeanne's issues with it is... interesting from a Christian perspective. Whether or not this is actually intentional from the authors is questionable, but I'll give them some credit.

Contrary to what many people may think, in Christianity, going to heaven means getting a new body rather than just being a spirit that floats around. Shirou's plan was essentially bringing heaven down to Earth by giving every soul its own immortal body through the third magic of "materialization of the soul". Jeanne's problem with this seems to be twofold. One is that it's not the job of those who have passed away to lead the living, and two is that eliminating the struggles of humanity would cause humanity to stagnate and even lose free will and the capacity to do either good or evil.

Christians (or at least the Catholic and Orthodox and various other Protestant branches) believe that even after Christians die, they can interfere in the world through miracles. Hence, saints (technically anyone who gets to heaven is a saint, but you have to have two miracles attached to your name to be confirmed a saint by the Church itself). A saint causing a miracle to save some people? Makes sense. A saint leading a country from heaven? Absolutely ridiculous.

Jeanne's second issue is pretty justified from a Christian point of view, since tribulations from God are said to test the human spirit. Not every bad thing that happens to a person is this; sometimes it's just the logical consequence of free will and sometimes it's just inexplicable. Nevertheless, there is meaning in suffering.

It's pretty unfair to expect a viewer to get all this just from the anime, but I think the writers had something interesting going on, and I have to give them some props for making a conflict that is sort of relevant to Christian theology.
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ThatMoonGuy



Joined: 13 Oct 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:54 pm Reply with quote
WARNING: Spoilers and complaints abound. Read the following rant at you own peril.


Call me a hater but I disliked this show from a conceptual to a narrative to a technical degree. Say what you want of Nasu as a writer but one thing he does better than anyone else is illustrate his ideais through his depiction of a characters abilities and through the operation of Magic in his world. Fate is called Fate because its about... Fate. In the original series' it was mainly about Shirou's Fate as both a survivor of the Fuyuki fire and as a continuation of Kiritsugu's dream, Saber's fate as the one who pulled Excalibur, Rin's fate as the child of a Master and Sakura's fate as the bearer to the Makiri legacy. This is something which is fundamental to the whole Servant system since their desires are ultimately tied to their deaths and, thus, to their Fates within their original stories. And beyond that, Shirou's one spell, UBW, was a deep manifestation of his nature, something which truly shows in his fight with Archer, specially in the difference between their versions of UBW (or of their dreams, if you'd say so). In the same sense, the battle between Shirou and Archer, as well as most fights in the long of both Fate Stay Night and Zero, are thematically charged. Most of the major fights in all Fate stories are. So, why am I saying that? Because that is the one thing Apocrypha screws up the most.

You see, Apocrypha had a good thing going at its core. It had the whole "Fate" idea nailed with Sieg's fate as an homunculus, Jeanne's fate as a saint and, most notably, Shirou's fate as a saint as well. Most other characters also had other thematic points and even the ones I hated for one reason or another I still could appreciate for their role in the narrative. Despite having a lot of characters, the show had some good ideas about what to do with them.
Which then were either dropped or spoiled by the presence of cardboard-kun, or like the show likes calling him "Sieg". You see, most people say that Sieg is a problem because he's too bland. But that's not all. He has another issue, which I see as even more troublesome. He robs other characters of their narrative momentum. Specially one character: Jeanne.

Jeanne's role in this narrative is critical because she is the foil to the main villain, Shirou. They're both Saints who tried to save their people and were ultimately betrayed and killed. But while Jeanne saw her death as inevitable and as ultimately good (France was saved from the English in the end) Shirou does not. He sees his death as one that cut short his desire and his mission. Not only that but he began to believe that mankind could not save itself and thus that he, as a priest, must guide them to salvation by any means necessary. This is the same issue which Araya Souren has in Kara no Kyoukai (and that won't be the last this will borrow from other Type-Moon works) and they both come to somewhat similar solutions. But the point is, through similar lifes, Jeanne and Shirou came to different conclusions. Their conflict, thus, was an ideological one and in that sense Jeanne's doubts about him were ultimately doubts about herself and her choices and also a major discussion on wether or not mankind deserves fighting for. They set this up in the end of the first season, tease along the way and even have the fight. Jeanne goes as far as using her Noble Phantasm, the crystallization of her whole life and choices, the moment of her sacrifice and the one that validated her sainthood. Then she loses and Sieg defeats Shirou through Frankenstein power up.
JUST. WHY.

This nulls the powerful narrative that was being built by having the final fight being not between two individuals putting all the weight of their lifes and choices in the line but between a boy who's sad becasue the girl he somewhy liked died and a guy who actually invested a lot on this. It's a complete waste of what could've been an excellent setup. Sieg already had a fight that validated his narrative when he had the second bout with Karna so why make him fight Shirou as well? There are many other moments like this, like the whole part about Aviccebron and his desire for Eden which could also be thematically strong but ends up being just a monster of the week. Jeanne seeing her whole life thrown in front of her by Shakespeare? No effect. Seeing a boy she knew for a few days being sacrificed, however, breaks her. Sure, you could say that it was Gilles that hit her but the show doesn't goes that way. So much about Jeanne revolves around Sieg that her character ultimately doesn't come sounding as a saint as much as a girl in love. Their attempts at contrast (their "date" and later the exorcision of Jack) all fall flat due to how heavyhanded it all is.

There are so many wasted ideas and so much focus on bombast, all sound and fury signifying nothing as one of the most wasted characters in the show could say, that I cannot appreciate this show at any level other than that of dumb entertainment. And that's not what I go to a Type-Moon work for (except things like Carnival Phantasm but that's a whole other thing). I go to Type-Moon works to see how Nasu turns the fifth magic in a rumination about consumerism or how he turns a vampire story in a huge discussion about immortality and death. I know that's not a Nasu story and most importantly it's just an adaptation of a light novel I did not read but it still feels so less than other Fate productions both in terms of worldbuilding and actual intellectual matterial that I just can't help but feel like it's all wasted potential.
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Stelman257



Joined: 26 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:04 am Reply with quote
Couldn't have summed up my general thoughts any better, good rant! Spot on with Jeanne/Shirou, Avicebron, and so on. I still wanted to share a bit of my thoughts on why the show disappointed me overall.
While Fate/Zero is my favourite entry in this franchise I genuinely loved ufotable's Unlimited Blade Works as well. While some may call the main conflict in the second half repetitive, I really enjoyed ufotable's full no holds barred exploration of that character and that conflict. Not to mention the episodes were wonderfully directed, and the payoff for it all was earned and significant.

As said in the earlier rant, a lot of Apocrypha feels like ideas being disappointingly wasted and characters not being fully fleshed out at all. Mind you, the whole concept was bound to lead to this, main Fate series struggle to give 7 servants and 7 masters good screentime and development, increasing that number to 22 total or thereabouts was bound to fail, but it's because Apo does succeed at some things and at the setup of the Jeanne/Shirou conflict that makes the disappointment hurt even more at the end.

Also bar episodes 21 and 22 which had fantastic direction for their scenes (the Karna vs Siegfried fight was incredible and I'll genuinely give praise to the animators for that, fantastic work) this series was so boringly directed, something none of the ufotable works suffer from. The two biggest examples are when Jeanne/Seig and Shirou/Achilles are having their talks about ideals in an earlier episode in the second half. Two different conversations both discussing the same matters, and we get different views on them. However the episode simply plays out one conversation in full then boringly transitions too and plays out the second in full. If this was a ufotable show you can bet those two conversations would've absolutely been inter-cut with one another and the episode directed in a much more interestingly way to show the differences and perspectives between Jeanne and Shirou, and setup the inevitable conflict better. Hell this can even be seen in their shows, Fate/Zero with Kiritsugu and Kirei monologuing about each other, or even the way Archer and Shirou's scenes are portrayed in UBW.

The show does it again later on, the Shakespeare and Jeanne scene was disappointing for reasons already talked about, but it's the earlier Mordred & Sisigou (the two characters that arguably ended up being my favourite) scene that disappointed me the most. The whole fight scene plays out in one shot without a single transition away, then rather than end the episode on that pivotal emotional moment for them, we get it midway, and then go to the Jeanne and Shakespeare scene to end the episode on. It just feels like basic stuff ufotable has spoiled me on that A1 didn't bother with for Apocrypha.
Also while I enjoyed Astolfo in the first half and wanted to see the guy continue being fun in the second, I really was sick of him by the end of it. It didn't help that it really didn't feel like he'd earned any of what the ending gave him. Then again that's true of basically all the characters still alive by the end of it. None of their disappointing resolutions felt earned in any way at all. Except maybe Shakespeare.

In the end, I'll definitely agree with part of the review, the show is definitely easy enough to watch and switch off to enjoy some of the action scenes and catharsis. But I definitely wouldn't compare it, as a whole, favourably to Fate/Zero or ufotables Unlimited Blade Works at all. Fate/Extra Last Encore is showing some interesting promise, we'll see where it goes haha~

Oh, and props to the english dub for this show. Once again a Fate show gets another stand out english dub that mixed some great anime newcomers with some wonderful veterans as well. I don't know how they got Cam Clarke for the show, but he adds some much needed presence to Avicebron.

PS. Seriously the Chrion/Achilles and Karna/Seigfried fights were so good, why did the show have to be so disappointing.
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Wyvern



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:47 am Reply with quote
I literally just finished this series ten minutes ago so now I'm going to yammer on about it.

One thing I like about the Fate franchise is how each series so far feels like it occupies its own little subgenre niche. The two Stay Night shows are essentially good old fashioned "Japanese high school student gets powers" stories (the original show falls into this conventionality much more than the superior remake though) Fate Zero is a tragedy structured like a Game of Thrones season (a big ensemble cast of powerful people who all want the same thing) and now Apocrypha stands as the most action-focused series. It had some great characters (and some so-so ones) but it also focused on big long battles more than any prior series, with the two major clashes between the servant armies each taking up multiple episodes.

So it's a good thing that the show does action really well. I personally was fine with the occasional art shifts during the big final fights, since those brought with them some amazing feats of animation, and art shifts don't feel out of place to me in a show where characters can literally rewrite reality on a whim.

Sieg works fine for me as a lead, because he's never forced to carry the stage alone. He's always part of a unit, usually teamed with Ruler or Astalfo. If the show were just about Sieg as a master on his own (a la Shiro in the original FSN anime) it might get dull, but what makes Sieg interesting is how others react to him, so the writers wisely make sure he's hardly ever by himself.

I'd say Apocrypha's last few episodes managed to earn it a place as my 2nd favorite show in the franchise. It's not close to being better than Zero, but it edges out Unlimited Blade Works. UBL has a better ending, but Apocrypha is much more consistently entertaining.

Scattered thoughts:

>Asalfo is the best servant in the entire franchise. I love how incredibly comfortable he is in his own skin. He knows he's one of the weaker servants spoiler[(but he's the last one left alive at the end so who's really the weak one, huh?)] but he treats it as a point of pride. He celebrates his own flaws and strengths equally, being happy with who he is and encouraging others to do the same. Plus he's loyal as hell. spoiler[And now he gets to travel the world on a giant bird teaching everyone that friendship is magic. GIVE HIM A SPINOFF RIGHT NOW.]

>Did anyone else notice how insanely powerful the servants on this show were compared to the ones in previous series? Was that a side effect of this being the "Great" Holy Grail War? It really felt like any one of the servants in Apocrypha could wipe the floor with like half the servants in Stay Night all by themselves. I remember Noble Phantasms being something that every Servant only has one of in the other shows, but here everyone seems to have like three of them and they just keep pulling out new ones. This isn't a complaint, it's just interesting how Fate has escalated things to DBZ levels so quickly.

>Shakespeare Caster was kind of goofy but I liked how spoiler[in the end, he got to finish his play and didn't even care that it was flying out the window and no one would ever get to read it and also he was about to die. All that mattered to him was that he completed the work. A true artist! Also a douchebag.]

>THAT RED CLOTH IN THAT BOX THOUGH.
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jr240483



Joined: 24 Dec 2005
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Location: New York City,New York,USA
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:57 am Reply with quote
getumbuck wrote:
Truly my least favorite entry into the Fate series. I mean the animation in the final few episodes was all over the place. I literally was getting sick as styles started changing left and right. I read the first two books, but found the story beyond confusing in anime form. I'm shocked people could even understand what was happening, considering so much was cut out of the story. Vlad's transformation though hurt, the anime really did bastardize one of my favorite moments from the novel and made Dracula look so dam stupid. I mean if you like crap just blowing up, I suppose this is the show for you, but I really got little more than that out of this story, at least in anime form.


i dont think they had a choice in that. if they had really tried to make vlad's transformation exactly like the novel, it more or less would have backfired on them big time.

also i had a feeling despite his last name, they weren't going to have him or his ambitions as dark as kirei. basically they have both of them as carbon copies of shiro emiya. though at least persona wise cause basically both of their personalities are the exact same as emiya. especially in the visual novels. specifically during the unlimited blade works route and the beginning of hollow ataraxia.
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Catsplay



Joined: 24 Sep 2015
Posts: 234
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:48 am Reply with quote
Flü wrote:
Quote:
Fate/Apocrypha may be regarded as a weaker entry in the Fate series after all is said and done,

Will it really though?

Of course it's worse than Fate/Zero (and I guess Carnival Phantasm and Food/Stay; not counting the upcomic Heaven's Feel trilogy yet) but what other Fate-adaptations are there that are better?
Surely not the rambling UnlimitedBladeworks, Deen/Stay Night or Prisma Illya. Are there any other animated adaptations that I am forgetting and that can be legitimately called "good"? Extra doesn't look very promising so far...
I think one should keep in mind with what kind of franchise we are dealing with here when doing such comparisons.

The main characters were lackluster, but Mordred&Sisigou alone were enjoyable enough to carry the series through most parts and the action was great. Things were kept more shallow, yes, but to me it was extremely enjoyable and so I'll count it as a huge success.

Overall review and rating is fair, though. Smile


Whoa whoa whoa, Prisma Illya IS legitimately good. Have you seen/read 3rei!? It has some of the best spins on the classic Type Moon story telling I've seen in awhile, with the current arc being absolutely amazing.
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Zeino



Joined: 19 May 2017
Posts: 422
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:45 am Reply with quote
Catsplay wrote:
Whoa whoa whoa, Prisma Illya IS legitimately good. Have you seen/read 3rei!? It has some of the best spins on the classic Type Moon story telling I've seen in awhile, with the current arc being absolutely amazing.

Oh, is that how you would describe all the creepy and terrible lolicon fanservice?
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Stevangelion



Joined: 08 Feb 2017
Posts: 25
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:25 am Reply with quote
Since when did people start disliking UBW? It's incredible. Fate/Apocrypha was a fun watch as well. Do anime viewers need to be shaken to their core in order to say they kind of liked a series? Just sit back and enjoy it, not everything has to change your philosophy on life.
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killjoy_the



Joined: 30 May 2015
Posts: 1658
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:37 am Reply with quote
Stevangelion wrote:
Since when did people start disliking UBW?


From about when it started airing to the triple episodes about Shirou v Archer.
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