The setting is a parallel world to Fate/stay night where the Greater Grail mysteriously disappeared from Fuyuki after the Third Holy Grail War. After many years of silence, around the same time as the Fifth Holy Grail War would have happened, the Yggdmillennia, a family of magi, openly declares their secession from the Mage's Association, and that they are in possession of the Grail. The Association dispatches fifty magi to retrieve it, and all but one are instantly slaughtered by a mysterious Servant. The one remaining manages to activate the reserve system of the Greater Grail, allowing for the summoning of fourteen Servants in total.
In the city of Trifas, two factions will fight for the control of the sacred relic, each of them possessing their own team of seven Servants: the Black Faction whose members are part of Yggdmillennia, protecting the Grail, and the Red Faction whose members were sent by the Mage's Association, trying to take the Grail back. For an event of this scale, the Grail itself summons its own Servant, the holy Ruler, to oversee the conflict.
Move over Re:Creators, Fate/Apocrypha is here to show you how a real TRAINWRECK is made.
The worst anime of the year so far, and I say that both as an incredibly mad fanboy of fate who hates this mockery of a series he loves, but also as a man who finds shows this utterly poor in every way to be outright offensive. There are obviously some mixed opinions on this show in this review section, but unlike the other reviews I will now proceed to explain to you what the ACTUAL problem with this show is.
Let’s get started with the most contentious point, the animation. No,
this is not good animation, I’m sorry, but if you think its good animation I suggest you go watch a show with actually good animation. This show came out in 2017 you guys, and it’s using all the same tricks and tactics to avoid animating as much as possible as the original Fate anime from Studio Deen back in 2006.
Are there a large amount of frames in this animation at times? Sure, sometimes. But every. Single. Frame. Is drawn horribly. Characters in fights manage to be off model almost the entire time. “B-But Rahk, those are just in-between frames of fast moving action scenes!” No, they’re not, they all stay on screen far too long, showing how badly drawn they are in full view. Also, here’s a secret, in-between frames have to be… in between something! A fight scene of all inbetween frames ends up looking like a mess where the characters are literally melting, which is what we get here.
Outside of the animation quality itself, the directing in the animation is also terrible. Shots cut too fast, too slow, angles change at complete random with no flow. For god’s sake, in an early episode a shot starts at an isometric angle from behind characters walking from behind them on the left, only to cut five times and end up behind them on the right facing up. That might not sound like a problem to you, but it breaks… let’s see, all the rules of visual storytelling? In fight scenes, the camera never stops moving in A-1 pictures patented “give the viewer a headache” style of fight choreography, as seen in such shows as Aldnoah Zero and Birdy the Mighty Decode. Never giving the viewer a chance to orientate themselves to the scene in a hope you can’t see how bad everything looks. Characters won’t stop spinning, why won’t they stop spinning in fights the other Fate anime don’t do this why is this one doing it?! It doesn’t look cool or make them more badass it makes them look like stupid cosplayers making a fan film.
But you must be thinking “surely at least they can draw still shots of characters talking well?”, ha, hahahahahahaa, ahahahahahahahaha! You fools, did you think they wasted any of their precious effort on scenes of characters not moving? Think again. An entire scene goes by with an entire FOUR frames of animation, characters faces not even drawn on so they didn’t have to animate mouth flaps. I’ve seen defense of that scene as not having faces give it a horror atmosphere, but such a naive defense shows a complete lack of understanding of the show they’re watching, there wasn’t anything remotely creepy or scary about that scene except the horror of watching a 25 second scene made out of 4 still frames.
Three paragraphs on the animation? Time to expose the truth about the SOUND DESIGN. I was, honestly, shocked to learn the sound director of this show also worked on Unlimited Blade Works, as that show suffers none of the following issues. Was he drunk when he came into work for this show, what went wrong? In short, the sound design was crap, but let’s get into why.
It’s so LOUD, the sound effects are tuned for max headphone blowout. In an attempt to make everything more epic and impactful, they made all the sound effects sound like your speakers are breaking. Sounds are over compressed with far too much bass, so they all sound like somebody taking a wet fart into a recording microphone from walmart. I’m not sure about you but the majestic, epic image of a fight between two legendary heroes doesn’t sound like this. When sounds aren’t doing this they have less impact than a wet tissue does when thrown by a small child. The music is all horrible, hardly ever fitting the scene. Songs start too soon, end too soon, and just don’t work. And good god, who greenlit that opening song? It was possibly one of the worst songs I’ve ever head in my life, I shudder just thinking about it.
You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about the story or characters yet, to which I will respond with: Apocrypha has a story? We’re seven episodes in and there has been a lot of setup, a lot of setup for events. You might think I’m crazy for saying this, but events happening is not a story. The story you see, connects the events together and makes you care about the events. Without a story to make you care, you’re basically watching a bunch of character designs fight for reasons that don’t concern you.
The story should be a struggle of two factions trying to best the other while the members of each fight within their own ranks for the right to win the holy grail war. But somewhere along the line everybody in this war forgot to bring their motivations with them and the majority of the cast is here entirely to look ‘cool’ and die later.
In Fate/Zero, the FIRST thing you learn about each Master is what they want out of fighting in the holy grail war. In apocrypha after 7 episodes we’ve learned… the characters names? Sure that one girl wants to fix her legs, but that’s literally the only one. In a plot that should have 14 characters on each faction at LEAST, we know the motivation of one character. And don’t even say Darnic’s motivation is known, he has the default “win cause that’s what magi do” motivation, it literally doesn’t count.
Characters… let’s see, is there anything to say about these bland, soggy crackers that make up the cast?
I’m actually struggling to come up with things to even complain about here, because every character is such a big nothing in terms of characterization. They’re one note at best, and zero note at worst (sieg)
Sieg… Sieg, Sieg, Sieg Sieg SiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSiegSieg SIEG!
I hate Sieg like Shiki Tohno hates chairs, every aspect wrong with Apocrypha’s character writing is personified in Sieg. He is a character with the most uninteresting character design, no personality, zero motivation for anything… he is awful. His existence actively makes the show worse, every scene with him is automatically ruined because of how terrible he is. So I’m sure glad he was the secret main character of the series who slowly takes over the plot! Thanks!
Just… just stop. There are so many great anime out there, this show is like a cheap drive-through hamburger, you think you want it but after eating it you regret it. I’m so extremely angry that this show is even remotely popular, just the same as I get mad when I hear somebody say how great The Big Bang Theory is. The more you support shows like this, the more the industry thinks that they can get away with this utterly subpar garbage.
Is Fate/Apocrypha the worst anime I’ve ever watched? No, not really. But it is the show that’s made me the most angry, even more than Psycho-Pass 2. In a time where such highly refined productions as Bones’s Boku no Hero Academia and Madhouse’s One Punch Man, Apocrypha manages to feel utterly devoid of passion, of soul.
It doesn’t feel like a production the staff loves, but just another job, like most all of A-1’s shows really.
You deserve better, Fate deserves better, than this cheap cash in that harbors none of the original spirit of the series because it knows it’ll sell if they put a new Saber on the cover.
I'm not an Ufotable fan but A-1 is doing a lot of things wrong. By the way, I'm a "secondary" of the Fate universe and not a true fan of the series. I won't spoil anything, but there was actually a mistake with Jeanne that you can point out during Jeanne's death. (It's not a spoiler, you can clearly see it and almost everybody knows how she died.) Now after this little introduction let's move on the main problem and flaws of this shows!
There is actually a quite huge problem with the plot which makes me feel bad when watching it. It's an alternative
route from Fate/Zero but it clearly shows that a lot of things went wrong. There is 14 servants and a lot of characters to the point that some of them are there just for filling the gap and have no development at all. The only character development you have is with Jeanne, but they're missing Shirou and other great characters and I really mean despite the fact the show did only air 7 ep. With the first episode that is airing each week, the anime feel already too SLOW, and the battles are resulting in a sort of "random" chains because of this aspect.
Also, this anime contained character like Kuro no Assassin (No spoiler) which is a servant I especially don't like because of its idiotic design. It's just a loli without cloth and even if we don't know the true gender of the character I don't think that a little girl would be fit for the role. There was at least an explanation for it to happen but for me, the reason is clearly not enough to considerate the character itself. There are some genderbend servants in this show to the point it becomes almost like a comedy and it doesn't make sense apart from the fact "People like genderbend, let add more of them inside the series without any senses!" The story of F/Apocrypha makes me cringe because of it.
I don't blame the genderbend of Saber during Fate/Zero or Stay Night because of the fact that the genderbend surprise was quite entertaining and also surprising which made it quite good. However, the more the fate series is introducing genderbend and trap less great this feeling of surprise is becoming to the point when you see a girl servant you started thinking "Is it genderbend?"
Only one of the great point of the anime even if it's not that great. The animations are somewhat acceptable but honestly, the sounds don't match well with each impact which makes it quite laughable sometime along the huge colorful flash they're putting everywhere which make the understatement of a fight almost impossible. For example, I can take the fight between the two Sabers at the beginning even if it's for the future: A total mess! It's like both servants we're teleporting and using magical powers instead of a great swordfight... I don't say I didn't understand what did happen but my sights were clearly hesitating!
The opening and the ending aren't that exceptional which could have been something extremely powerful. Why? The opening doesn't match the visuals at all. The further we go toward the opening less great it becomes until the end of it is just plain boring to watch because of the matching that went away. The music becomes much faster at the end but the visuals are just showing a lot of servants walking through stairs and others slow scenes... Wow. They could have made it way better because the music was great which is extremely sad. Skipping is the only way for me.
The sound in many fights is a mess but the OP and ED music are great which save the score of it. Also, the ambience theme is surprinsingly nicely and entertaining to listen.
Like I said, character development is poor and for me, it's a pillar to follow no matter what is the anime. I need to make bonds with the character that are on screen otherwise I won't remember them and don't care about their feelings. If I can receive hate or love toward a character it means the development was successful. But when I'm watching Apocrypha and a character, I'm like "Oh, it's him..." No reaction from me which shows my disappointment.
I will also talk about Astolfo which is the perfect representation of TRAP fan service. It's just a plain boring and act likes a stupid character which is made to look and act like a lady while looking cute, and here go the viewers saying "It's a boy guy !" which makes the watchers desperate to love him. This character is just boring to watch for me. I can't understand why people are hyped from a trap which is just a boy cross-dressing like a girl and have no character development at all. When I'm searching on why people like him, it's mostly because of his true gender and his way of acting.
The licking scene with Astolfo's master was also just a pure fan service moment without any need.
I can also talk about the MC, Sieg... Wait, the MC? Maybe the side characters would fit more for him. He is just boring to watch and don't give the vibes of the main character! Saber of Red's duo is even more interesting, to be honest.
Well, despite my hate there is still some great moment to watch and some music worth to be heard like the OP and some ambient theme that happened during some flashbacks and the music at the episode 1 which gave me... Hope. it won't be a lie to say that I was highly disappointed soon after. But not that great nor extremely interesting. Just average but my dissapointment is growing more and more...
And here I go, I was almost sure about that. This Fate adaptation, FOR NOW, is mediocre and I would have preferred another Fate route to be animated like Strange/Fake, Extra or something else. Fate/Apocrypha wasn't my taste to start with but A-1 shouldn't have worked on a Fate route that is considered one or maybe the worst of the whole Fate series which result in something bad unless they would have totally change the story from its original source. Why I'm putting a 1 on it? Because of its flaws. Maybe I'm just being extremely harsh toward it but the numbers of flaws and mistakes that i pointed out before made this overall note and I don't need to explain it further. Just because I have noted some others categories like the art and sound more than 5 doesn't mean I find the anime a disaster overall.
Putting a 1 on an anime is harsh but that what it deserves, at least for me. A mistake that is just driving the anime industry deeper down which makes me sad.
But still, you can still watch if you're a true fate fan and you will probably enjoy it. But for me, that's just a huge NO.
Fate/Apocrypha has taught me two important things:
1) Gender is a confusing issue in the Fate universe (and in the real world as of late)
2) Astolfo is best girl...I mean guy...I mean trap!
I cannot but say that I was absolutely enamored with the Fate franchise after watching Zero, and continued to feel so (to some degree) with Unlimited Bladeworks. Although, when I first heard that a fate show was going to be animated by a studio other than Ufotable I was a bit skeptical because I wasn't really sure what to expect, and to add to that I hadn't
heard the best of things from Apocrypha to begin with from "veteran" fans of the series (people who actually played the visual novels) as they told me that it happened to be the worst adaptation of the series. So was it really that bad? I don't think so.
Plot and characters:
The setting occurs in a parallel world to the Fate/stay night series where a "Great" holy grail war is occurring, after the grail itself had been stolen for some years. So what we have are two factions (red and black) fighting to gain control over an omnipotent device that grants wish(s), then that war will be followed by a "civil war" between the members of the faction that actually wins. The masters and servants of that side will tough it out so that 1 pair (master and servant) ends up winning. Well, that is what was have been told in the first episode anyway. The story itself is not really "heavy" thus far and has yet to really develop, and I think it will take some time to do so because of the sheer number of characters and events which are occurring simultaneously, and is the reason why I opted to merge the sections regarding the plot and the characters, because from what has been implied so far is that, similar to the other Fate series the story will revolve around the characters rather than the events themselves. It was interesting to see for the first time a composition of 14 pairs of masters and servants rather than a typical seven because it meant that I get to some more "cool" powers and noble phantasms. However, the issue of having too much of a good thing actually became perhaps somewhat "bad", and that is seen by most of the people who review the series; as the aspect of having a massive cast being presented involves actually keeping up with all of them, or so I thought. Now I sorta am used to exploring a large cast from previous Fate adaptations (not as big as this of course but big nonetheless), which is why I am "digesting" it so far. Though I must admit, even though I am not really feeling any empathy towards any of the characters thus far because none have been "Fleshed out" just yet and a big question mark remains over the motives of most; especially that many of the servants and masters seem to be acting in a rather illogical way. But nonetheless, the large cast has not really bothered me too much, though it has given me a rather clear message; which is that many "are just there". Meaning that a lot of the characters will either not be explored, are there just for fan service perhaps ( the loli assassin seems to fit that part) or will end up dying soon down the road, which is fine but I do hope they begin the "culling" soon.
The animations are pretty good for the series. Yes, I know that they are not as good as what Ufotable presents, but good either way. I did not expect another unlimited budget works anyways. Although I must admit the fan service did catch me by surprise, I do realize that the Fate novels were (or are) an "adult game", but Ufotable managed to downplay any implications that it actually is. I am not saying I am against fanservice, but it seems attad "forced" here.
The overall music playing in the background when the series is running is fine I guess since I did not really notice it much, which rather means that it was not too bad or good. However, I did not like the opening for the show, I listened to it the first two times then began skipping it, but the ending is fine.
I think that this category is all that matters when watching a show really. An anime could be the most brilliant piece of art out there, but if I didn't like it, it wouldn't mean anything to me. So am I enjoying the series? Hell yea. I mean sure I know I am not watching a masterpiece, but then again I just came for the action and so far it has delivered.
I will update this review as the series progresses, though as it stands I can recommend this anime for people who just want to some "popcorn" time, because I think most would say that it is rather enjoyable and entertaining.
Fate/Apocrypha is an alternate world line for the Fate/Stay Night series, the difference being the aftermath of the Third Holy Grail War. There are now 15 Servants total, one neutral and Seven on two sides fighting over the holy grail. What I really like about Fate Apocrypha is that for newcomers to the Fate series, you don't really have to know the entirety of Stay Night to understand the premise and the story. Personally, I think this story is not very well done but definitely an interesting watch: Generic MC(Sieg, but has a pretty
interesting power) is a pretty big factor in the story that made me less appreciative of it. If you are interested in seeing a Great Holy Grail War(More than 7 servants) done right, go read Fate/Strange Fake. Gil makes an appearance in that too. Story = 4
Although I do miss UFOTABLE doing Fate Adaptations, I do think A-1 Pictures is doing a decent/great job. The Art isn't as crisp as Zero and UBW, but good as a whole still. Art = 7
Having a show with many different important characters have downsides, including the ability to develop them all equally and well. This is clear in the Apocrypha Adaptation, although I think with time they'll be able to improve this part. As of episode 10, only "main" characters are well developed in personalities, and I feel like the rest haven't received much attention and just a mere meat shield in the war. Characters=6
Personally I really like the music, especially Egoist's OP. To further demonstrate my love for the OP I even bought the Eiyuu Unmei no Uta Album. Some may not agree with me on this matter, and I understand as this OP was one of Egoist's not very good songs.
Enjoyment? Definitely a ten for me. I have been a follower in the Fate series for a long time now, and being able to see something other than skirmishes(like Stay Night and UBW) has got me really excited and made the show really enjoyable.