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.
Ahhh. A-1 Pictures. The studio who have time and time again, blessed us with their heavenly touch. Once again delivering the seasonal train-wreck that they have been doing so effectively since the creation of time itself. Being one of the most popular studios for both Western and Japanese fans; A-1 have made some of the most popular shows to come out of the medium. Many battle shounen such as Magi, Blue Exorcist, Fairy Tail and The seven deadly sins have all been met with a warm embrace from anime fans. Last year’s big hit Erased, two of the most popular
melodramas in Anohana and Your Lie in April, and the most important one of all: Sword Art Online. They have a lengthy list of popular shows but most of which are not met with the warmest of critical receptions and many usually have a split amongst watchers. Many casual watchers who are not very invested into the anime medium praise their works for their accessibility and good production values. On the other hand, more demanding viewers have scrutinized their shows for poor writing quality, needless otaku pandering, needless fanservice and in some cases; being an absolute train-wreck. I do believe that there is a lot of truth to what many say. Most shows I have encountered from A-1 are weak and only fill a criteria in order to make the maximum amount of profit they can. To cut a long story short; they are a mainstream magnet. While some of their shows are a little excessively over hated their latest title deserves all of the hate it has gotten and has reminded me why I ultimately dislike A-1.
Fate/Apocrypha is the latest title to come fresh off the conveyor belt and put another popular A-1 show in the limelight once again. This particular fate title follows the same basic formula you would expect from the franchise, but it does have its own unique twist in the plot. Instead of seven masters with seven servants fighting amongst each other for the Holy Grail, two factions fight over the grail each with their own set of seven servants and seven masters. Fate/Apocrypha is an alternate universe that branches off the fate/stay night universe where the Holy Grail has disappeared after the third Holy Grail war and has landed in the possession of a mage family that declared that they are in ownership of the grail and secede from the association.
As cool as its premise might sound on paper, Fate/Apocrypha is absolute trash. It’s a downright train-wreck no matter which angle I approach it from. Its first mistake was starting off with a draining info-dump. A fantastic way to immerse the viewers! But that is far from the worst problem. The show tries to make the audience in some way, shape or form care for over fifteen named characters all of which either look like generic waifus or characters out of a final fantasy game. When you have Jack the ripper being portrayed as a loli, that really says a lot about what kind of show this is doesn’t it?
Let’s also not forget about a certain trap that took the anime world by storm. I wouldn’t blame guys for pulling their dicks out to Astolfo since he resembles a female more than actual females do. Apart from blatant fetishizing, enabling those who want him as their waifbando to better self-insert and fulfill their deviant wishes. Astolfo's backstory was never really dug into enough to make him a distinguishable character with his own vision and ideals which further fuels the point that the only purpose he served in this calamity of a story is otaku fuel.
The fate franchise has always used sympathetic backstories to draw attention from the viewer. This worked far more efficiently in previous fate titles because they were about a much smaller group of characters who were a lot more distinctive from each other. Despite my problems with other fate incarnations, their characters were easier to care for because of tighter focus and a more well-structured surrounding plot. In this catastrophe, the show will very loosely reveal glimpses of a character's past while immediately transitioning to another character in a completely different scenario. This is not only immersion breaking for the viewer, but trying to split attention between a huge group of characters all of which look similar and are mostly generic anime archetypes is a huge step in achieving train-wreck status. Most characters lack any sort of meaningful characterization and most are too cookie-cutter which ultimately drags them down to the dirt. In addition to the characters being poor, the relationships between them are equally as dull with barely any engaging character chemistry or dialogue due to the dry atmosphere, dull presentation and lack of charisma from any of the cast bar Ruler who unlike everyone else, has some style and charm embedded in her. The rest are not worth mentioning individually as they generally share the same problems, a perfect example of lackluster script writing and the overall stupidity of most A-1 shows.
Furthermore, Fate/Apocrypha takes the extra step of killing off a character that seemed to be important to the overarching plot in just the 4th episode. All while desperately leeching for the audience’s sympathy with a half-baked and ham-fisted flashback right before his death. And you think that’s bad? What is even worse than that scenario is that he gave his life for a self-insert protagonist whom he’d just met by giving him his heart. Fate/Apocrypha cannot only handle its cast properly but it exceeded my expectations by handing me one of the most contrived scenarios in anime I have seen in awhile. Yet again, another perfect example of incompetent script writing.
Additionally, the bland self-insert protagonist whom had his life saved in the most contrived manner possible, makes one of the most ridiculous decisions he could ever have made. Being a homunculus made for war he escaped his captives under the protection of his trap-bait waifu and finally had the chance to live a free life. A sane human being would pick that option right? Well think again. This piece of shit character decides to jump straight back into the battlefield to save the other homunculus being held captive all of which he doesn’t even know personally on top of going to fight for a brainless reason just after being held in a container all his life.
As bad as the characters and script are in Apocrypha, what ultimately makes this show horrendously disengaging is that nothing in this anime feels important. It’s almost completely devoid of personality and energy making it an absolute snooze-fest nine times out of ten. Energy stems primarily from the characters. A charismatic cast is what gives a show charm and in effect, makes it more immersive. But I feel none of that from apocrypha. Its plot doesn’t have a single shred of significance. What was the final straw for making me realize this is when a character attempted to sacrifice themselves in an attempt to take a formidable enemy with them. At that point in time I gave more fucks about cutting my nails than an artificial character with an artificial flashback that was thrown into an artificial scenario. And to put the icing on the cake, our bland self-insert was revived from almost certain death without any logical explanation. I call a bullshit asspull! If that isn’t the perfect sign of a train-wreck, then what is?
Even some minor thematic significance does not stop a train-wreck from being a train-wreck. In the second half the anime started to explore some ideas relating to the nature of humanity and its salvation, ultimately ending in failure. Furthermore, Fate/Apocrypha never showed any illustrations, actions or consequences to serve its themes. Instead it presented them through bland characters who served as mouthpieces telling the audience about the themes instead of showing them through the plot to. It shows glimpses of events through some character flashbacks that support its themes but none of them are developed enough to leave an impression. With poor presentation and underdeveloped theme exploration, Fate/Apocrypha’s story proved to be arguably one of the most boring rides in anime i have had the displeasure of participating in this year, further highlighting why this anime is probably the biggest failure of its airing season.
The one thing I hoped could pull through so I could keep my attention on this show was the action scenes. After all, Fate titles are well known for having some breathtaking action sequences. And yet even they are for the most part were only average and do nothing to get me hyped in the slightest. A-1 Pictures usually have good production values for all the shows they adapt from a popular source material. The character designs range from generic light novel designs to designs that look like they came out of a JRPG. The technical artwork on the characters and backgrounds are nothing to write home about and are too plain to breathe any life into the story but nonetheless the technical artwork was acceptable. The animation is what ultimately let me down. During most of the show’s action scenes the art simplifies and there is clearly a lack of attention to detail. Furthermore, the action directing is very messy and the “camera” panning is too quick and shoddy, making the sequences difficult to follow and only adds to the laziness noticeably evident. Clearly A-1 don’t give a donkey’s ass because the name of the franchise alone will make money for the production committee. Its highlight was episode 22 which featured some brilliant sakuga sequences that stretched all the way till the end of the episode, unquestionably making it the best episode in the show and the only action sequences that are praiseworthy, but one episode full of breathtaking animation does not excuse all of its technical shortcomings littered all over the show.
Similarly, the OST is typical for the kind of show this is. There are two tracks in particular that work well with the action sequences and serve to add some tension. It’s a shame those tracks weren’t used on an action anime that has far more passion put into it. Both the opening and ending are very forgettable and can easily be skipped every episode. While the voice acting works well enough for most characters, some over-exaggerated screaming scenes full of over-bloated drama were unnecessarily magnified to the point of borderline cringe. It could be due to inexperience and it’s not a relatively damaging issue in the grand scheme of things but nonetheless it was distasteful.
Now I have surely made Fate/Apocrypha seem like the spawn of satan, and it’s bad enough to be placed borderline bottom of the barrel. When you look at how many problems this show has and how little qualities there are to be taken away, an individual has every right to label this anime as a failure. But to its credit, this anime somehow managed to improve about two thirds into its episode count. Of course, it’s not saying much when a show is extremely incompetent and all of a sudden decides to start doing a satisfactory job at the most basic of tasks. There was so much room for improvement that even someone with no professional writing experience like myself would be able to glue some paper over the cracks and steady the ship. In the middle of its run, the show killed off a multitude of characters in a huge battle, most of which were throw aways with either no characterization or minimal characterization and i did not care for them in the slightest. But as a result of its character clean up, the show stopped spreading itself so thin by concentrating on a smaller cast which were more vital to the plot and gave the audience some insight into their personality and goals. Furthermore, a clear antagonistic force was established with a concise objective that stabilized the plot, and for the first time, Fate/apocrypha showed some competency in juggling character focused episodes and action sequences. Everything in the show from this point on had more weight placed on it, a sense of importance that I got from nothing in the first half, which was simply an empty casket. Instead of simultaneously throwing together multiple random encounters that were more jarring than exciting, the plot became more focused on individual arcs and events which made it easier to sit through. Even the action sequences slightly improved, with more convincing directing in the latter half.
However by that point that damage was all but done. No matter how much you try to plug the holes on a sinking ship, eventually you will run out of paper for the cracks if the ship continues to come under fire. Its improvements were still vastly overshadowed by the poor characters, bland aesthetic, dry atmosphere and cookie cutter plot filled with holes. Any events that followed were still uninteresting and the execution was simply tasteless. By the time the show elevated its drama and plot with higher stakes, i couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters.
Like I said previously, Fate/Apocrypha is trash. A textbook example on how to make a train-wreck of a story with barely any redeeming factors. Just another anime that should be thrown into the dumpster just like 95% of seasonal anime that air. It spreads itself so thin that none of the characterization or major events have any semblance of importance and to top it all off its story is an atrocious mess with a lack of focus. At this point I have almost completely lost all faith in the fate franchise, and titles like these highlight why I ultimately dislike A-1 Pictures as a studio. Many in the anime community say that studios cannot be completely accountable for most anime they produce because most don’t hold the same staff in-house for every project. There is certainly truth in that statement, but it’s clear as daylight that A-1 have an identity and that is to be a completely mechanical workshop devoid of creativity, solely designed to pump out shows in the dozens that will make every otaku’s dick wet all while completely forgetting about the script. Don’t get me completely wrong, I do enjoy some shows from A-1, and I’m sure I’ll find some more of that nature in their extensive catalogue, but it’s shows like these that keep supporting my argument that A-1 are the circus of the anime industry and that won’t be changing anytime soon.
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.
So I'm making this review mostly for future watchers of the Fate/Series, mostly those that are entering on the Fate universe. Before going ahead with Apocrypha's Review I have a Question for you readers
1- Is this your first Fate? if the answer is Yes, I'd recommend you to go watch Stay Night and Zero first, then you'll have an Idea of how Fate works.
Also for those that are already into fate, I'd recommend you to do a certain investigation to Fate's deep lore. Remember Dark Souls? that game were you are given specific orders and there is almost no story telling? Dark Souls have an
in-game lore that is pretty deep and rewarding for those that dig into it, so for your sake, try to have some knowledge on the servants included on this anime, and also how their noble phantasm works, otherwise you will feel kinda lost.
So, before getting into the review, there might be spoilers, so you are warned.
Fate/Apocrypha starts as a 7 vs 7 servant battle between 2 factions, mostly known as "Red and Black". Another holy battle in order to get the holy grail that will fulfill the wish of the victor. This battle starts as a selfish war request just for the "fun of it", it is quite a very dull reason. Later on it turns into something else that pretty much sets up the anime towards the main story of this series, but I'll leave it there because I might get into spoilers.
The anime takes some episodes to set itself in the first "stage" that consist on the birth of Sumanai 2.0 AKA "the most hated Main Character in the Fate Series" (according to the amount of rant in the forums) I don't consider Sieg to be that bad of a MC. He might look like he has a lot of aspulls around him, but if we did our investigation into the lore of Fate, we shall know that there aren't any asspulls here, it might be convenient for plot purposes, but it makes sense (It is also explained at the very exact moment things happens, which contributes on the feeling of being convenient). Story: 6/10
Now, this is not ufotable we are talking about, the infamous A-1 Pictures is well known for doing many shit stuff and butchering the source. Also, they don't have the best animation style, not as smooth as Ufotable. However, they managed to make Apocrypha an enjoyable experience when it comes to Art and Animation. This is a place were I knew that many people don't know how animation works, Don't mistake "Animation" with "Art Style" or "Still frames" obviously, if you make a screen shot on a scene that has a lot of movement, you will see a lot of derpy faces, but that's not bad animation, this is required to make a scene that needs to be fluid because of the speed of what is happening at the moment. There are also scenes that requires this kind of "Ugly" Style when it comes to something that needs that "twisted" feeling. Art/Animation: 7/10
Regarding the sound department, the first opening is quite out of place for a Fate Series, it is not a bad song but it doesn't really look like it would fit Fate, the first ending, on the other hand is really great, I could say the same for the second opening, which fits more fate Imo, The second ending is okay, not as good as the first one.
Now, if we talk about sound effects, that's were Apocrypha fails in the sound department, the "noises" they got as sound effects aren't top tier material, they honestly sound like doing a blow on a microphone and then make it louder and call it "explosion", its pretty stupid, the rest of the sound effects are your typical generic set of effects, like the "Clink" of swords that you will probably hear on many fighting anime that involves sword fighting, is not bad at all, but not really great.
Now about the soundtrack, I found myself liking the heroic tones A-1 did for this anime, even if they overuse them a lot, they are right in place and (in my case) very hype inducing. Sound: 7/10
About the characters, like on every Fate series, we are set up into heroes from different eras, this is were you need to get into the lore of fate for these characters because if you don't really know who they are you will probably feel lost when it comes to their motivations. Also take in consideration that in the fate franchise some servants tend to be of the opposite gender. For example, "Altria" also known as the "Original Saber" from the Stay Night, Zero Series is meant to represent the King Arthur, but she's actually a female. There are very interesting choices on this anime when it comes to servant representation, Jack The Ripper was quite a nice touch being what "It" is. That aside, the lack of character development might be a bad thing when it comes to their motivations, specially for the Main Character.
There is also an addition of a new class of servant, the "Ruler" Class, its role is to oversee the battlefield in case something goes wrong, (Jeanne/Leticia besto waifu) btw, Ruler servants are meant to be OP. Characters: 6/10
Now, this might not be the best Fate up to date, but it is really enjoyable, it is definitely not bad, it is just quite "meh" compared to what Ufotable is capable of doing, so just erase the idea of comparing this to the other fate adaptations from your head and you will have a good time watching this Anime. Enjoyment 9/10
Taking a footstep into the Type-Moon universe feels almost intimidating at first. The franchise consists of an immense fictional universe that’s filled with unnatural ideas. Their flagship titles include the Fate franchise that were adapted into several TV series, OVAs, and movies. However, Fate/Apocrypha came to me as a show that couldn’t hold itself together. What could have been a big hit of the year translated into a nakedly boring storyteller that dropped the ball.
To get the obvious out of the way, you don’t absolutely need to watch other Fate shows to understand Fate/Apocrypha. It’s advisable though since getting a better understanding of the general
premise (in particular, the Holy Grail War) could improve your experience. Besides, the first few episodes does get into its exposition to explain some of the rules and concepts. It also introduces two sides of the Grail War with its ensemble of characters.
I don’t want to jump the boat here but it felt like Fate/Apocrypha had to do a lot to please the viewers. Setting up a show with a story premise that involves two sides clashing for the ultimate prize sounds like a sensational attraction. It could really draw viewers, whether you’re a newbie or veteran of the Fate franchise. As someone in the middle like myself, it felt like a show that could really get viewers to really invest themselves more to what the Fate franchise had to offer. It’s sort of refreshing to see a war drama-like scenario rather than a battle royal. Unfortunately, it didn’t really live up to expectations that made this show feel any refreshing. It felt like a formulaic story that I couldn’t feel attached to or appreciated. As more episodes progressed, it became a chore to watch. Before I get to the what, how, and why, it’s important to understand what Fate/Apocrypha really did wrong.
For a show like this, it obviously has a decent amount of characters it had to work with. Given the context that there are at least 7 masters and servants on both sides (Red faction and Black faction), there would be a minimum of 28 characters that gets involved in the main story. Then, there’s Ruler/Jeanne who serves as the mediator of the Grail War. (think of her like a middleman of a game) With 25 episodes adapting a 5-volume light novel series, the main concern lies with the fact that the show won’t have enough time to spotlight all the characters. Indeed, this anime did omit characterization on multiple fronts with its cast. This applies to both sides that includes the masters and servants. What made it worse is that the characters’ roles and motivations didn’t seem interesting to begin with. It just felt like the characters are there like pieces of a chess game. Some characters such as Mordred, Atalanta, and Jeanne has their own background stories. Unfortunately, those are vaguely explored and really doesn’t do justice with the show’s characterization. At the worst part, we have mindless characters like Spartacus and Jack the Ripper that just felt disposable.
Now, we do have a main protagonist in the show despite the war-like drama going on. The show introduces Sieg, a homunculus that gets involved in the Holy Grail War. After a series of events, he gained the ability to transform into a servant in Siegfried’s form. To be honest, Sieg’s role in the show felt like a mixed bag for me. Compared to the other characters, he gets a lot of spotlight as he learns about himself, the world, and begins to act on his own morals. However, they are generic to the core and really doesn’t bring interest in terms of storytelling. On the other hand, his character chemistry with Jeanne is perhaps one of the better elements of the show as it makes them both look more human. Still, Sieg is portrayed too much like an average protagonist that just doesn’t stand out compared to the others. Everything he says almost sounds the same and he has a rather uninteresting personality as a character by himself. The only occasional time he shines is through character interactions with others. It’s also sad to say but most of the characters in this show can hardly shine on their own. It’s mostly the character chemistry that sells more interest. They come in a variety of forms such as respect (Mordred/Kairi), greed (Siegfried/Gordes), parental (Jack the Ripper/Reika), among others. Unfortunately, I confess that most of the character relationships in the show ended up being dry and empty. It felt like a lot was missing including insufferable personalities, roles, and in general, characterization. Shirou Kotome is a character that people will begin to take notice more in the latter half of the show. Still, I can’t say his role in the show is impressive given his view on humanity and morals. Shirou’s personality in this anime is also easy to dislike and feels more like they introduced him as an antithesis of Sieg. The clash of ideals gets old fast and tedious. The only plus on this is that both he and Sieg makes the story flow better as their roles are more acceptable. Just be aware of that the show suffers from weak plot devices and doesn’t do justice at telling its story.
So Fate/Apocrypha did a lot of wrong. What did the show actually do right? For me, the characters themselves have rather distinctive personalities that can occasionally be entertaining to watch. Mordred is perhaps one of the more dynamic character with a prideful amount of charisma. Astolfo adds a big dose of comedy to this rather moody show. William the Shakespeare also shows a ton of energy through his philosophy and dialogues that can occasionally be amusing to watch. Even Frankenstein can occasionally have windows of moments that draws attention to viewers. Admitingly, I do miss a few of the characters after their demise. The story itself has a thoughtful premise despite the poor pacing at times and omitting/rushing certain content from the light novel. It’s very predictable at times but occasionally feels impactful when you see the plot being carried out. Unfortunately, these concepts are mostly scattered throughout the show and doesn’t connect each other in a balanced way. It’s like a broken toy that still has problems after being repaired.
Watching Fate/Apocrypha’s action scenes reminds me of battle-shounen style cinematics. Rather than ufotable, A-1 Pictures takes this project that set off some red flags at first. Through their history of adapting shows with action, it felt like this anime’s technical elements would be mediocre. While it doesn’t live up to the caliber of ufotable, A-1 Pictures does live up to their standards. To put it simply, the show’s action scenes mostly looks sharp and stylish. In one particular episode in the latter half of the series, it really brings out a style of animation that stood out by itself. There are some episodes that suffers from raw visual quality with sloppier action movements but for most part, it lives up to expectations. Character facial expressions is also noticeable that showcases the persona of the cast. Jeanne, Atalanta, William the Shakespeare, and Jack the Ripper are a few examples. Character designs also stands out with noticeable traits such as Astolfo’s androgynous appearance, Frankenstein’s experimental look, Mordred’s prideful knight armor, or Semiramis’ devious dress. Jeanne herself stands out as well with her pure look as a spirit in a French girl’s body. Most of the fan service in the show comes with the violence rather than skin so do expect a lot of that.
On the technical front, this anime‘s theme songs and OST delivered what I would expect from an action/fantasy show. It balances between orchestral, eerie, harmonious, and intense. In particular, the moments between Jeanne and Sieg has OST that make them stand out more compared to other character pairs. Character voice mannerism is suitable for most of the casts' personalities although it may take a while to get used to Astolfo and Sieg. Jeanne’s voice sounds too monotonous at times and holds the show back as a main character. On the other hand, I do really find Mordred to stand out a lot in the show with her voice and personality. Frankenstein is also worth mentioning as she hardly gets any lines but portrays her personality consistently like from the original story.
Fate/Apocrypha felt like a show that had a lot of potential but had too much to work with to be able to make everything go smoothly in the end. While this may seem like an excuse at first, it still doesn’t feel right as the story and characters didn’t capitalize on them. The Holy Grail war drama has been going on for a long time since the Fate franchise begin and to be honest, this one didn’t feel any exceptional compared to its other works. It didn’t inject ideas that made the show impressive but instead tried to rely on its character cast to do the storytelling. That came out as poorly made with little value to talk about in the end. Even at 25 episodes, it still felt like a show that gave the Fate franchise a middle finger.
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.
Now that 2017 is drawing to a close, we can certainly say Fate/Apocrypha lived up to its name, since whether or not you are a budding Fate/Fan, you probably could and should skip this entry. It is arguably the most bland and forgettable installment in the Fate series, notable only for current memes and trends in the community, such as traps and the meme of lewding fictional characters, as well as for what it tried and failed to accomplish over the course of its run. Now before I delve into the review proper, allow me to answer some burning questions:
“Can Fate/Apocrypha be
watched as a standalone?”
Yes, but I wouldn't recommend doing so, as you want to know the rules of the main Holy Grail Wars first that way you know how this deviates. It doesn't explain all of those rules either nor does it explain all of the new stuff it does despite some attempts. You should at least watch the main timeline installments to avoid possible confusion with this one. So no, do not make this your first, let alone only experience with Fate/ anime.
“Should I watch Fate/Grand Order: First Order beforehand?”
No. Pretend that abomination doesn't exist. It will not give you any insight into Apocrypha’s deviations either. All the entry does is cause confusion, not explain anything it adds or amends, and advertises a mobile game that contains all of the servants in the franchise.
“I'm a guy. Is it gay if I like Astolfo as my waifu?”
Yes it is and yes you are. Shame he is so convincing of a woman; I will never live down my shame of being turned on by him at first. Thankfully for you, he’s also actually gay in this anime. To any female reading this who would be interested in him however, you’re shit outta luck. With all that said, let’s get into the review proper.
Fate/Apocrypha, otherwise known by me as Fate/Steak Sauce, was animated primarily by Studio A-1 Pictures, and to be honest, I feel it may have utterly destroyed itself under its lofty ambitions in a variety of ways, resulting in a relatively dull mess full of improperly explained new mechanics, logical errors and holes, a cornercopia of characters that are as bloated as they are uninteresting to the point of even beating out last year’s juggernaut dumpster fire Re:Zero, and lastly, arguably the worst production values ever given to a major A-1 Pictures show. It simply spread itself too thin, leading to a disappointment in nearly all aspects.
Before we really delve into why this show manages to be relatively disappointing in retrospect for me (as I was conditioned by footage and reception over the course of 23 weeks prior to my viewing of this failure to correctly assume this anime would be hovering around the subpar range at all times), how about we look at the one area Fate/Steak Sauce manages to somewhat excel in, that being the music. The composer, Masaru Yokoyama, did a rather decent job with the tracks present here such as its namesake track “Fate/Apocrypha”, among a few other catchy and epic battle tracks. Some of these tracks are rather memorable, for right and wrong reasons. Simply put, these standout tracks get played way too much, particularly “Fate/Apocrypha” and “Jack the Ripper”, the latter of which plays in over ⅔ of the scenes Jack the Ripper and her master, Reina RIkudou, are in. Another issue is that sometimes the music just gets cut off, and while that may work once in a blue moon like in episodes 6 and 17 when a character saves another from a deadly surprise attack, the rest of the time it comes off as sloppy and jarring. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the first OP, where it just cuts off instead of ending and lingering for half a second like it probably should.
Speaking of OPs, while OP1, "Eiyuu Unmei no Uta (英雄 運命の詩)" is one of the weaker songs done by EGOIST, it is nonetheless as pretty good OP that works well given the nature of this show’s “Great Holy Grail War”. OP 2, "ASH", is one of LiSA’s strongest, rivaling, probably surpassing the band’s immensely popular SAO OP 1. This one feels like the perfect 2nd OP of a Light Novel action anime adaptation, which happens to be what LiSA’s songs are primarily used on with the likes of SAO, Mahouka, and Qualidea Code, and quite frankly, this is easily the catchiest LiSA OP to date for me. ED 1, "Désir" by GARNiDELiA, is a pretty decent track by this group as well, and of all the tracks I heard from her this year, this is arguably my favorite, but it certainly isn’t among my favorites she’s done. ED 2, "KOE" by ASCA, is absolutely astounding! If nothing else, Fate/Apocrypha has easily the best ED theme in the franchise to date, because this song is phenomenal, especially the full version! It fits perfectly for this kind of show as well in its 2nd cour too and the vocals are fantastic. I cannot wait to hear more songs from this group, and with this same studio releasing Grancrest Senki soon at the time of writing, I won’t have to wait too long it seems.
Of course, you cannot properly review an anime without taking the actual visuals into account and woo boy was it...rocky. For starters, it seems like A-1 Pictures tried their own spin on the Ufotable face and artstyle and it often doesn’t work that well, however it is at least better than their usual A-1 face (see SAO, Asterisk War, Aldnoah.Zero) or whatever fugly abomination the Eromanga art style was. They quite frequently look off, and I can’t count the amount of scenes where a character (or multiple characters) not horribly far from the foreground doesn’t have a face. There's also that time in episode 9 where Frankenstein’s arms and face became a slinky and turned an emotional scene into unintentional hilarity. The CGI is brief here though sometimes it just looks egregious too (Saber plane from episode 19, anyone?). Hell, the character designs pail massively in comparison to those of Zero and F/SN by a mile. The outfits range from meh to absolutely hideous, with some of the worst offenders being Shakespeare and especially Siegfried, who is easily the worst designed character in the franchise to me. Everything about this design feels ugly and wrong, especially the armorless glowing chest. Other bad designs include Jack the Ripper, who is a little girl (or little girl body that happens to carry the spirits of a plethora of souls of unfortunate children) with an outfits that TV tropes would define as “stripperific”.
The fights are probably the most hit and miss aspect. Sometimes the fights look absolutely abysmal with ruthlessly horrendou choreography and shots that are entirely disconnected to the point of the fights becoming beyond incoherent and incomprehensible (see Karna vs Siegfried in episode 3). Not to mention that the frame rate of the fights can be immensely choppy, such as in the main fight of episode 21. Other times, however, many of the fights would actually become tolerable, if not downright wonderful to look at sometimes, such as anytime Karna busts out his fire moves starting from his fight with Vlad the Impaler in episode 8 and pretty much the entirety of episode 22 (yes, the art is less detailed but the animation is bombastic and dynamic, with absolutely wonderful looking flashy art and animation for the imaginative and stellar attacks and new constructed environments). The actual choreography of nearly all melee is truly terrible, with some of the worst fights this studio has produced, but then we get those exemplary aforementioned examples on occasion and the fact that a lot of the time the flashy visuals are done effectively, and it all sorta averages out even, all things considered.
There are two interesting plotlines in this series, both of which directly involve the main characters, SIeg, Jeanne (and technically Leticia), Astolfo, Shishigo, and Mordred. Those are his journey of learning what it’s like to live and have freedom, and what it really means to be good and find salvation. Over the course of the series, this homunculus, with little knowledge of the world, asks these questions and becomes part of an overarching dialogue with these characters who ask the same and end up coming to their own conclusions of at least one of the two answers, with heartwarming and heartbreaking circumstances and great, terrible, and far more morally ambiguous people fueling or at least playing some influence on said answers, especially for Sieg. He tries to help other homunculi gain freedom just like a select few did for him, and by the end of the series, he comes to his own conclusions just in time to help someone he cares about regain resolve. This, in essence, is one of the two main, interweaving plots of Fate/Apocrypha. To be nice for a moment, Apocrypha does this admittedly well to a degree, and there are a few reasons for this. For one, Sieg starts off weak and with physically no developed personality, as some characters are quick to point out. While he does grow into a myre archetypal character akin to what Shirou Emiya from Fate ends up reconstructing in UBW, it is still areciated development, even if he grows little afterwards, only developing a sense of hate most of his contemporaries (with exception to, oddly enough, Kirito from Sword Art Online), never come close to exhibiting. Another reason this all works is because despite many of the characters not being that well written, more than ⅓ of this sizeable cast plays a major role in his journey through these questions and his final decision towards the end of the series. This means, at least structurally, this all works fine and dandy to some extent, as there are many defining moments in the series for Sieg that influence him in a positive or negative way. There is one problem with the structure to be brought up later but even still, this all sounds pretty good, right?
Yeah, if the script were better written.
If that were the case, this series would’ve actually been rather poignant and compelling. For one, as mentioned earlier, not that many of the characters are actually well-written, as they don’t have that great of a chemistry with Sieg in the first place, and they’re not interesting in their own right anyway. Given the immense size of this show’s character ensemble, with a grand total of over 30 characters in a 25 episode series with only 23 minutes per episode, inevitably only few would stand out as worthwhile character. That is, of course, assuming that any character in such a cast were to do so at all, which is unfortunately not really the case here. Sure, thanks to a few spoiler-based reasons, we only actually need to follow around 24 of them. But that’s still too many for such a series to handle. A lot of them are immensely forgettable in their own right, with a few such as Celenike and Atlanta becoming increasingly, crushingly terrible as the story went on. The main 5 mentioned earlier are the closest we get to well-written characters. This, along with the lack of time to really sell the drama related to some of the more minor characters, makes the deaths of some less emotionally impactful than the people behind this show wanted them to be, especially in the second half of the show, where the majority of the characters are killed. There are a few decent character dynamics such as Jack and Reina, Shishigo and Mordred, and Shakespeare and Semiramis, but not enough are explored well enough for me to truly feel for when some of these characters start dying. The best character is actually Sieg, who actually had to develop into a more archetypal character, which is immensely bizarre and interesting, even if, once again, he doesn’t become that exemplary of a character. There is some nice banter between some of these characters but banter doesn’t automatically make ok at best characters suddenly good and compelling, despite the ambition and drama displayed with many, especially with the main antagonist. I’ll leave it at that though before I go too far. We still have one major subcategory of reasons the writing failed, that of course, being the narrative.
To avoid spoilers, let’s just say there are asspulls galore and many things that just appear out of nowhere only for them to appear from a portal the next time in an attempt to make up for not explaining anything beforehand and causing confusion. One of two nasty exceptions is what a certain female character acquires out of nowhere in episode 21, as there is no explanation as to how or where she got it. This instance actually gets somewhat repeated in episode 23 with a serum a certain important duo used to win a major fight. Everything related to Noble Phantasms is wrong, from the fact that they don’t establish the amount one can have here, or the fact that there are legally many one can weird for some reason (they simply show it and only later do they explain after all the confusion caused). A certain character gets struck by the effects of a servant’s Noble Phantasm in episode 10 that was effectively an electric suicide bomb, and then manages to use all of the noble phantasms the servant who accidentally zapped him with hers had, in episode 24. I understand that the holy grail war this time is different and that there are new rules created specifically for this spin-off entry, and they do a reasonable enough job explaining most of these. However, with instances like the above, they still managed to drop the ball. Sometimes the story claims that a character used more command seals than he or she actually did (or at the least, they don’t show all of them being used). Sometimes it seems like characters just teleport from one location at the end of an episode to another that was far away at the beginning of the next, in an instant (not including the times servants actually do). Other times, time seems to have passed by tremendously with nothing having happened during the fights whatsoever (especially in episode 3). I could keep going on, piling all the small details that really tear up the narrative from the inside, as the first half alone gave me 2 whole pages of errors and holes to list, but I think I’ll stop here.
Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with this entry, not out of the fact that it didn’t meet initial expectations, as it kind of did, but because I saw the potential it ended up having, and found that in an effort to do so much, it failed to make the best out of much of anything. I didn’t even go over the fact that Sieg has a myriad of roles to play in such a short time, including being at the center of a love triangle with Astolfo and Jeanne. I could still list a ton of errors made in both halves, and try to more manually show how this series could’ve been better other than maybe suggesting an increase in length which would obliterate this series’ relatively decent pacing. I didn’t talk about how surprisingly absent Leticia is, or even try to delve into this giant and subpar cast. However, I did expect this series to crumble underneath its own weight, and for what it's worth, it did surprise me at times, and leave me with some enjoyment, intentionally or otherwise. It did fail, miserably, both as a compelling narrative, and as an action series.
So, with all my negative views on it, and the fact that I advised against viewing it, I still didn’t try to spoil Fate/Apocrypha. For those of you who know how I operate, particularly with bad shows, this must be at least a little baffling. Well, it’s because for all intents and purposes, I really can’t stop anyone from watching it, especially given that it did some interesting things. Though, you shouldn’t expect this to become very common. That said, Fate/Apocrypha is ultimately a sadly subpar entry, both in terms of its contemporaries, and in terms of an anime in its own right. It tried so hard and got so far, but as the lyrics go, in the end, it doesn’t even matter. The fights range from great to terrible, and the narrative, for all it tries to tell and do, manages to be riddled with holes and other problems that prevent it from reaching its full, emotionally resonant effect. Barring its noble intentions and occasionally impressive fights, the only real saving grace for this anime is the music, which tends to get overplayed in this anime unfortunately. It merely ended up like a Lancer in any other Fate/entry, out of luck and doomed to fail. So, goodbye Fate/Apocrypha, at least you tried your best, and sparked a new life with some current anime trends, for better or worse…
I have got to admit that I am not an "true" Fate fan who has played through the visual novels, (although that is something I hope to do one day). I have watched UBW, Zero and FSN and that was enough to get me excited on the Fate franchise.
Honestly, looking at the reviews I've seen for this show I am very disappointed because I feel that many reviewers are simply hating the show more than necessary. They're all just colossal rants about how badly people were upset about the show compared to UBW and Zero. So this is hopefully a more realistic review. (without spoilers)
In previous Fate anime we're used to seeing 7 mages and 7 servants whereas Fate Apocrypha takes that level of hype and just doubles it. The premise of a Grail war involving 14 servants should be enough to make anyone who knows anything about the Fate franchise interested. Unlike previous Fate shows, Apocrypha is a full out war instead of a series of 1 on 1 fights (although there are a lot of those). Throw in the ruler class and the show has a lot of potential. It does a terrific job of showing the different story lines for each individual character, which is challenging considering the sheer number of significant characters. The pacing for the show shows no gaps; and one thing that Apocrypha does very well is the consistency in showing rather than telling.
Art - 9
This is the biggest complaint that most people have about Apocrypha. "OMG this adaptation isn't done by ufotable, this show is gonna be crap, I'm calling it". People who say that have had a taste of the good life but have been pampered into unreasonably high expectations, unlimited budget works was a gem but A-1 isn't a huge step down from there. In episode 1 we are given a glimpse of the fight sequences and it did not fail to meet my expectations of a Fate franchise. That level of art has remained consistent throughout the show (at least up till episode 9 where I am when writing this review) and hopefully it will get better as we approach the end of the show. Character designs are great (although I'm guessing that's probably from the novel). For this kind of show all that really matters is that the fight sequences are done right which so far, that is the case. The rest of the surroundings, (cities, battlefields...etc.), are appealing to the eye which is what's needed.
Sound - 10
The fight music and background music during the show is amazing and very pleasant to listen to. It sets the perfect atmosphere of excitement for the upcoming fight and the chaos of the war itself. Even when there isn't any fighting and the characters are planning or just simply hanging around, the music perfectly sets the mood. The only part that bothered me with sound was the opening by EGOIST, but it's one of those songs that grows on you. Listen to it a few times and you'll have trouble skipping it when you want to watch a new episode. The ending for those of you that stick around to hear it is okay, but I'm not really using that for my rating of this section of the show. I'm focused mostly on how well the music gets the watcher immersed into the show.
Character - 8
The best part of a Fate story by far is the characters, because everyone is significant from different perspectives. There is no clear protagonist nor antagonist, (okay that's not exactly true but it is to an extent). The different heroes from different eras always leads to a clash of ideals and principles of each of these heroes which is what makes the Fate characters interesting to watch. Fate Apocrypha does this very effectively. With the different relationships between these heroes and their identities. Every character has their own unique goals and paths to follow, some accomplish their goals, some die in the process. The characters and their personalities are clearly defined when first introduced and have remained consistent to their ideals thus far, justifying all actions the characters make.
The only complaint I would have with the characters is the one trap character Astolfo. Gender-swap characters are always fun but traps make a person confused.
Enjoyment - 10
Fate Apocrypha is just fun to watch. I love the characters and whatever little similarities exist between this show and other Fate shows like *Shirou Kotomine*. Unlike Fate Zero or UBW, this show has different characters, premise and the fight scenes occur more frequently (simply due to the number of servants in the grail war). This makes for a more action packed entertaining show. The other thing is the identities of some servants are very interesting and what role they could play in the show.
Overall - 9
I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoys action, mystery and history (or any Fate fan). This show is heavily underrated, 9 episodes in there is still so much left to cover with so much more to enjoy. To anyone debating with reviews whether to watch the show or not I would say. Don't give up on this show before starting it, just based on bad reviews. There are many great redeeming qualities to the show and you need to watch it for yourself to decide. Every show has mixed opinions, but I guess for most people this is either a hit or miss but if you enjoyed other Fate shows, you will definitely enjoy Fate Apocrypha.
Personally, I'd recommend watching to episode 7 if you want to get a real feel for the show. If you don't like it that far in it's probably not worth it for you then.
I can't describe how horrific is to watch this anime... I'm currently on episode 18, but I kinda already found out that this show was going to be dreadful...
Fate Apocrypha is one of those show that you can call "pretentious" : trying to reach the same level of his predecessors by pulling in some random existential problems like "the safety of humanity", the grudge of the world, the injustice thinking it is cool without developing anything of the themes...
What pisses me off more is that this isn't one of those trash anime that got a bad adaptation due to lack of materials or anything, but
is one of those where the show just simply SUCKS.
Let's go with the review...
The story has a good foundation trying to not being the standard Fate franchise with the same lore of 7 master with 7 servant in a war... and in the first episodes if we don't count the plot holes, irrelevance of the scenes can even be enjoyable... what's bad is that the story goes along with some existential problems that accompanies every protagonist in fate series (ex: Being a Hero of Justice even if it's an impossible task for shirou) in this case the choosen themes are those that I mentioned above.. but really... the script of the show seems to be designed to only mention those problems without really dealing with any of those which kinda pisses me off (Why introducing a theme if you're going to not develop it??? WHY JESUS CHRIST?)
All characters are designed with the freaking same base... take off the boobs from woman chars, cut off the hairs and every freakin face of every freakin character will be the same... fight scenes are decent and scenic design are good tho, but overall it can't even be compared to ufotable work... it could have been a 6-7 as vote.. but they had to f**k up by recycling characters design...
OP and Ending are awful to me (personal point of view here)... and themes are bad: no adrenaline, no emotion in any particular scenes... just nothing... meanwhile other bad animes can still give you some feeling even with a poor overall product just by using the right music at right scenes... (Ex. SukaSuka)...
this... this is just the cherry on the top... if I could give a negative number as vote I'd give this - infinite... every single character has poor characterization, they're bad designed and their background is just... No...
for example sig is a freaking no sense character: he borns, doesn't know anything of the world in his introduction episode... and 1 episode later he is already at some Nietzsche level of philosophical mentality trying to save the world because bla bla bla... REALLY??? he was freaking born a freaking day ago how come he becomes a goddamn depressed Shirou 2.0 without even a background or motivation but only because some random guy with a big sword gifted him a hearth?? (and to nail on the head of this even "this big sword guy has poor characterization)
and this is even the peak of the trash... Jean D'arc and Rider of Black... those 2 character can't even be described without using bad words... the first is literally the female hero that falls in love with the protagonist without any APPARENT REASON and she has 0 personality and was put here only to have some female on whom the nerds can do their jobs... the second one is just an annoying bitch that can be related to the hyperactive overconfident girl that always talk when she shouldn't just to downplay the situation the is f**ing present in every freaking HAREM, E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E.
She's probably there because authors tought she'd be fun and cool but she's just here to piss the reader/viewer.
ENJOYMENT and OVERALL ofc is 1, only because I can't give this some negative numbers...
this show is dreadful and I can't get if authors tried to follow the slipstream of the success of it's predecessors by putting in what they tought was cool about these shows without really thinking anything else, or if they're just retarded.
PS: Sorry for english mistakes... writing by phone LUL
EDIT: Latest episodes saved this show, Overall I still think what I written about this show, but episodes from 20 to 24 can be considered good if we rank those not based on the overall show but the art ands sounds., except maybe for episode 22 where even if the fight scenes are pretty decent the art used was kinda hasty like if the studio hadn't the time to draw...
Fate/Apocrypha - a completely new Fate experience.
Before I write down this review I will note few things:
-This will be a spoiler free review.
-I am reviewing it from a neutral standpoint and I have watched all Fate anime so far and I have extensive knowledge of the lore.
-This anime has nothing to do with Fate/Stay Night so you can watch it even if you did not watch the original work. The work does good explanation of how the basics of Fate universe works.
-I should also note that majority of negativity this show gets is because of fans of the franchise who expected
another Fate/Stay Night story, which Apocrypha clearly is not. It has different theme, different characters and different setup. So I would suggest that you venture into this not expecting another FSN to get maximum experience, otherwise you will be as disappointing as many Fate fans were who were expecting something else and missed the point of the show.
With that out of the way let the review begin:
Fate/Apocrypha exists as a parallel universe to Fate/Stay Night, the Holy Grail War is not only in different location ( Romania instead of Japan ) but the war itself is bigger than ever. To compensate for the increase danger of something that may go wrong Servant Ruler was summoned to oversee the War. But nothing is at meets the eye as there are others who have different idea of how war should go. And thus our story begins... full of twists and epic battles.
Now I have read LN ( at least the parts that are translated ) and I can say that A-1 remained some 80% true to the novels. In some areas the change were good, in others... not so much. Characters suffered the most from this as many things that are associated to their background and character growth were removed. Surprisingly, the one character that suffered the most from this is main female lead - Ruler. Even if her introduction scene with main male lead in anime was made better the part they cut to make it possible is one of the most memorable from LN. I would suggest that you check the manga that remained much truer to the LN and didn't skip any character development parts like LN did. That is to say, story is really the weakest part of anime, but then again only to those who never read LN and do not know all the background stuff happening around the characters.
Still I am not going to rate this very low as the removed parts did not affect that story that much. Ufotable is also guilty of this in Zero and UBW anime and I consider those very well done as far as adaptation of the main story goes. In Apocrypha the story is decent and interesting to watch. The plot twists are very few but done great, and the battles are just magnificent to watch.
p.s. - to showcase the difference between stories I will write down main themes of them. It will not contain spoilers but it will give you some idea what to expect:
Fate/Stay Night - Morality and how our choices affect everything around us.
Apocrypha - Religion ( Apocrypha is filled with it, from debates to outright symbolism ) and are thing that we made for simple usage just that or can they also be much more than that?
Despite having low res here and there animation was quite decent and it get the job done. Special note on episode 22 that got praised by anime veterans ( among them Nasu himself, the creator of Fate ) because it was entirely hand drawn episode. Some moments are literally breathtaking as far as animation goes and the rest is decent. I should also note that this is all to TV station lowering the quality of episodes in order to air them. A-1 staff argued about this and when watch BD episodes I tend to agree with them. In that regard anime suffered as many expected better animation due to this being Fate work after all. All in all animation is good and it get's the job done.
I really have nothing to add here. All Fate anime have great soundtracks ( 2006 FSN being the one with the best ) and VA really gave it their best here when voicing the characters. The sound was consistent during the entire show and some of the scenes where characters are chanting their special attack and giving important speeches are quite memorable. So as far as sound goes it is also well done.
90% of reason to watch this show, I am not kidding. Tn Fate the story, battle and moral messages are important bits but one thing that really push Fate forward ( and makes it as popular as it is ) are the characters. And Apocrypha has a lot of good and memorable ones with great character development and interesting backstories. You cannot help but liking most of them, even the bad guys. The only drawback here is that they have cut a lot of Ruler's backstory and some story elements ( which to me are very important for her full character development to be fleshed out ), some never get their full potential explored ( like Berserker of Red ) and others were outright pushed back for the sake of others being more highlighted.
I should also address the biggest problem with this show here that many had - Main male character. He has very specific original story different from any other Fate MC. As such he is much weaker compared to others who already ahd established deep personality and character traits. Problem with him are also fans of Fate as they expected him to be as deep as the others, which for him was impossible mission. Other than that he is somewhat Mary Sue-ish in the anime, but not to the level where he will break any and all enjoyment from it. So enter Apocrypha accepting MC as he is and you will enjoy it all the more.
Apocrypha is really enjoyable Fate anime. The battles are fantastic and biggest in scale in all of Fate with Grand Order being the only exception to the rule, the characters are fun to watch and get attached to, the twists are done great, the calm moments between engagements are nice watch and the ending brings out so much feels... Fate/Stay Night 2006 last episode level of feels - especially the last 3 episodes. It is quite enjoyable and worthy addition to Fate franchise. Few negatives it has are so overshadowed by positives that are barely noticeable, and then again most of them are only if you read LN before watching it. So if you watch this and expect enjoying anime you will not be disappointed.
Fate/Apocrypha is unique story in Fate franchise. It deals with different themes, has the biggest Grail War in series beside FGO, has a ton of enjoying characters - both Servants and Masters and when something sad happens to characters you cannot help but feel sorry for them. If you are fan of the franchise you should give this a go - especially if you are fan of Ruler and Saber of Red because I doubt we will see them any time soon ( if FGO get's anime that is, which I doubt will happen so soon ). If you are new to Fate - you can also watch this without fear of ruining yourself FSN experience ( unlike watching Zero before FSN 2006 and UBW anime series ) since the anime itself has very little connections to it.
I highly recommend it, as both anime watcher and fan of the franchise.
I had a review up here before from episode 9 but it is now out of date and I feel it was a bit too rambly and ranty. To complain about many parts of this show I might dabble into extremely light spoilers but I mean extremely light and vague. I won't give you anything specific, name characters, events or incidents as best I can so you get the gist of the problem without
A bloody mess, you don't really get what's going on, events are poorly explained ("anything can happen" is an actual line). The latest episode if you've seen it is
a great example of this as the series jumps the shark when I didn't think it could've found anything to one up itself and do it again. Most events feel like a shark-jumping moment so the anime can try and live up to ufotable's work but instead it comes across as insignificant and poorly executed in such quantity and always super far-fetched.
Basically, every significant moment feels far-fetched and stupid given no explanation besides "anything can happen". It is a shamble of events added just because it seemed cool.
This because it's cool attitude extends to the characters too as every single one is mega OP just because they felt like it. Imagine how boring Jojo would be if everyone had GER or Dragonball if every character was as strong as Goku. Actions lose significance since characters no longer feel human or vulnerable. Of course I mainly mean servants here, for the best example compare Lancer of Red to Lancer from Fate/Zero or Saber of Red to Arturia.
The problem here isn't the actual art or animation as much as it is the design and direction although the budget cutting for fights hurts me a lot of the time.
The animation on its own is a meh 5/10 but it loses 2 points (me being generous even though it doesn't seem it) for 2 things
Character design, an absolute mess. Characters are either bland or over designed but somehow both in Siegfried's case. Saber of Red is literally just the same look as Arturia so that doesn't count and ruler looks super similar too. The two worst designs are Siegfried for being overdesigned AND bland looking like he was ripped from a sub-par MMO while the other one I can't get into but they are a loli that is way too scantily clad to think they were added for anything more than pedophiles since they have so far done near to nothing.
Secondly, direction. The actual direction during fight scenes is god awful. With the exception of a couple fights, most of them are cut in such a way and move at such speeds that you can't tell what's going on in the worst way. Think of a fight scene you really like and think about how easily you can follow the action and understand the character's attacks and positions. Fate/Apocrypha is super unclear in comparison. This ties into the issue of every character being needlessly strong so they can make everything "feel epic" as mentioned in story. Character's attacks are only so unclear and ridiculously paced because it is cheaper to do (less frames for faster movements) and because they thought it would be oh so cool.
Basically fights just feel like they want to be FateBall Z or something with the budget cutting and speed. With some better angles you might be able to tell what is going on a bit more.
My other issue is the lack of willingness to show people absolutely bloodied and destroyed in a way that really dances around blood a lot and makes fights feel insignificant except a few moments. If someone gets slashed with a sword they should bleed, that is all I shall say. Really kills the punch when they get up with those anime bruises that just make them look a little grubby.
The animation has moments where it is pretty good albeit a bit bland that is ruined by poor design and direction.
Also, just need to tack on the fact that the backgrounds are boring. Didn't stand out to me even once so think of that whatever you want. They aren't bad, but they are nothing more than backgrounds at any points.
Also the settings start to get very boring but some may place more weight on that than others.
Note: This score may be going up, episode 10 I feel was better animated although the budget cutting with the most significant fight was awful. Would be 3/10 if episode 10 didn't exist.
Music and sounds are pretty good if a bit generic. I was a little harsh in my last review about sound since the show in general left a bitter taste in my mouth but I have to say the music is good. Opening is absolutely killer, most of the music is pretty good although repeated a little too much for my liking.
Sound also has a few moments where it isn't synced too well and it can get a bit too bassy/loud at points to the degree it sounds kinda lazy.
No complaints on sound besides the music having moments it can be a bit repetitive, the music isn't exceptional enough to push it above a 7 and the sounds being kinda bland and having a few moments where they are kinda bad. Overall I would call the music and sound the best part of the show by far.
That 7 I mentioned would have been within reach if the sword sounds were a bit better (and the ED was good), they aren't good. They sound way too light and gentle sometimes compared to a lot of other sounds.
Another generous score, the characters are awful. They are all bland, generic and boring. The 'main character' is a more bland copy of Shirou, a speech from UBW gets copied, almost every character is just a bland cliche with no characterisation since there are so many of them that they just can't make more than a couple interesting characters since they spread themselves so thin.
Saber of Red and her master have pretty good synergy though and play off each other pretty well. That is the only saving grace. Every other character is boring as all hell since their entire character can be done in under 10 words.
2 good characters in a show with this many characters isn't great, 3 if you include Rider of Black since he is kind of ok as a character but not exceptional (you at least understand his goals and personality even if they aren't too interesting)
Enjoyment: 4/10 for most, 6/10 if you don't think too much
I want to hate this show more but I can't do it fairly. The animation and sound really have moments where they are pretty good and some scenes I would genuinely call great but the characters and story are such a mess. Some moments I really struggle through watching while others are enjoyable.
Any enjoyment you get out of this show you can get better elsewhere is kind of the problem but it still has its merit. I am a bit more critical so I find it 4/10 thanks to the story and characters, mileage may vary.
This is very much my opinion, you might like this show more or less than me.
I cannot in good faith give this show a good score no matter how good the opening is. It has moments, it really does but then it jumps another shark and drills the mess of story and characters back into me.
The animation has moments (especially episode 10) but then the story and characters remind me of how utterly awful the show is.
It wants to be a good fate show so hard, it is exactly because it tries so hard that the show is bad. With the overly bland characters, shark jumping and messy story it really destroys this show. It tries too hard.
A grail war with double servants? two teams? sounds like a fanfiction, right? wait, cat-girls? one of whom is a trap?? they're servants? forget fanfiction, now it sounds more like a joke.
And that's how it seems for the first few episodes.
I came in after reading 10+ chapters of the manga (~4 episodes) so I had a good idea of the premise of the STORY . It started off predictably, and a bit slow, but develops in unexpected directions towards the mid-point of the series, where the pace of the story and character development both speed up.
The animation and ART  is a step
down from Ufotable (but hey Ufotable comparisons are unfair in general) but both are quite decent regardless. There are certain scenes where I especially enjoyed the art (~ep. 19).
Likewise, I found the OP's and ED's to be very skippable, and the SOUND  is actually pretty good! I never felt any backing tracks to be out of place, which is a good indication that they fit the scenes well, and there were a few gems that I noticed in certain scenes that made me say to myself "hey this is nice".
Now, some of our CHARACTERS  start off as jokes (Astolfo lookin @ u) and others just seem bland and over-ornamented (e.g. Siegfried with his open chest armor?). Many of them start of bland, and remain bland for most of the show (think simple motivations that seem irrational at best, and comical personalities that become boring after a while). Some receive development not until later in the series (often in disjointed scenes, where an action or phrase reveals a little more to the viewer), while others only receive any meaningful development in their final moments. Given the size of the cast, the show's performance in this area is acceptable.
However, the development of a small number of characters are exceptional. As examples, the MC starts off as being literally bland (being a homunculus), but you see him try to find a purpose in his life, and learn to fight for the path he has chosen. Ruler starts off as an almost robotic authority figure, but eventually develops into a complex character whose personal struggles are shown very well, especially in the second half of the series. Other characters start off seeming as though they're 'all the same' (masters of Yggdmillenia), but through their development, they somehow manage to reveal more complex personalities and yet stay consistent with their initial impressions.
Despite all its flaws, I found this show to be very ENJOYABLE . We got a large and varied cast of characters, an impressive story, fun battles and very interesting character dynamics (with alliances dissolving and forming based on strategy and characters' own motivations; very enjoyable partnerships between characters). Most characters are developed as much as they need to be (it helps when you've read some of the manga), and the irrational motivations of some characters are exactly the nature of the 'wishes' that the grail is able to grant.
OVERALL  fun to watch (and that's what should be most important).
Disjointed Quality drops when A1 Pictures was behind of it.
Eh? Really Not like the story ain't gonna be a lot downer cause in the later volume of this light novel which is altered connect to Strange/Fake it does seems ended real bad. (Damn you spoiler)
As far as state when other studios like Layduce (The one's who directed FGO)
Studio Pierrot (Who Butchered TG every single chapter since Root A) and Lastly DEEN (Well I'd say Fate Route ended a huge justice in the adaptation and of course in the VN, but why care about the quality over the story)
Relying the fact when Type-Moon doesn't even mind
whether if Ufotable didn't pick this series because of a third rate animation.
Nitpicking about UBW and Fate/Zero (Honestly comparing these shows to Apocrypha wouldn't easily get amount of credit which is why upon the animation but setting is way more expanded about the False Grail War set from other place not once in Fuyuki City)
Vividly across when it's truly pointless where it directly less attracted not for long how biased the rating suddenly change for wicked aspects after getting hype cause of the preview. Why else can you expect about the first damn animation by A1 Pictures at the first set of scenario. Less material, Less Rush and Less unexpected sudden plotholes that attains the viewer to loose their screwed attention.
It would be better if Kalafina gets the spotlight of doing the second OP cause some opening of EGOIST doesn't seem fit to this set of series
Overall Impression : *Unspecified*
Either Love it or Hate it.. is nowhere to begin with
Love fate series. Fate apoc has not disappointed once. been watching it with loud sound and bass, so the fight scenes are unreal, the very first episod had me and my two friends on the edge of our seats like holy crap! When both sabers lined up, So intense! I personally enjoy fate apoc maybe a bit to much, so my opinion is biased? maybe? but I don't understand how anyone couldnt like this show? It's awesome, it's enjoyable to watch, it's brought in some of my actual favorite people so that was a huge bonus as well for me and others. It's got a
weird layout compared to FSN / UBW / FZ but I personally really like it.
instead of 1v1v1v1v1v1 etc
I think this is better then FSN, worse then UBW and FZ
but it's ultimately awesome.
I think you'd be missing out if you didn't finish this anime, if you like fate series.
This is edited 12/27/2017
Man after reading more reviews on MAL about fate/apoc I became disgusted, guy complains about bad sound?
my $2500, custom made 7.1 surround system, does not crack, does not distort, does not make any error ever in the sound, how is that possible?
Oh it's possible because morons like him use 25 dollar logitech speakers. Then complain about bad sound quality. Fate apoc shakes my house. Not with distortion. you might need a amp between your computer and speakers or headphones if the quality is bad, no motherboard has a 50ohm amp built in. So everything sounds like crap without an amp. From my personal experience. Not just fate apoc, if you have bad quality, it's through and through, it's your system, it's your setup, you got what you paid for. CRAP FOR CHEAP.
Yeah I bet it sounds very crappy, you bought the cheapest speakers on amazon. Unlucky.
DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT SOUND QUALITY, IF YOU DO NOT HAVE PROPER AUDIO WARE
DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT IMAGE QUALITY, IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A GRAPHICS CARD
**Spoiler Free Review** (Only things are described on the Description of the anime.)
So, have you seen other Fate's Series?
You should watch those before watching Apocrypha.
Because its like the FOURTH show on that world, they will not explain everything and show everything they showed in the other series.
Fate Apocrypha on my view its above any limits on power that the other ones had, here we have FULL POWER fights between 7 vs 7 servants, and not considering that we have like 7 LEGENDS in each team, that's going to be good to watch.
What about the fighting styles? That's cool! They animated each character with different styles
on fighting and when they fight each other there is a great mix that you can see they thought before animating, that's very necessary considering that has a lot of different classes and ages of fighters.
90% of the Animes spend their budget on things that most of people sadly don't see that good, who watch a LOT of Japanese content can actually see and understand that.
So they spent their budget on something you can really see even without any knowledge on Japanese world, AMAZING COLORFUL fights, explosions and a little on scenarios and weaponry, great face expressions and a nice thing that I noticed that has some Characters that have same skills other Servants on other Fate Series had, those ones have great similar animation and strategies, I love that.
Yeah! For me that's it, they don't make EACH frame beautiful because there's so much to see, you can't even process that quantity of information, I needed to watch 3 times the 8,9,10 episode to really say OMG that's COOL!
On Story, plot, Character development... These normally on the other fate series you have a LOT like A LOT, I enjoy that but gladly they went to other trail, (actually there are like 2x more episodes to come, they can show great plot/character development on that).
In my opinion the track of history and the Characters weren't very detailed and had a looooot of background infos to us to understand, they create a good feeling on some characters before having true combat, so we can FEEL them when they're in combat.
I really love fighting scenes, because that shows the TRUE power of animation and knowledge on spending money in an difficult way (it is NOT easy to animate fights with that magnitude, BUT we're in 2017 MAN, but NO, the animation world and tools didn't evolve that much in the past years, a lot of people criticizes that but a little bit of study on that show that DRAWING frames on a fight did not changed the same as CINEMATIC movies). Having budget on fights its hard because you need to project your costs on each battle and dont exceed much, in other words, a lot of thinking and planning, I like that too. And thinking how they thought to have that conclusion.
So my Score is 9 because that's my kind of anime (and I didin't watch it all)
(specially for being a story that I understand and LOVE (all the fate series and visual novel)).
They got pretty cool characters too! But each Fate has their cool characters, so I wont detail here, could be spoiler!
Hurry and watch this piece, its worth watching even if you don't like fights that much.
I see a lot of hating on this page, thats why I created an account to make sure someone reads this. (Hating and talking bad on a show without showing good parameters or references for me its equally to yell that you don't like it PERIOD)
I see that there are a lot of big anime franchise names coming around, such as Code Geass again, plus Dies Irae and a few other slick sort of kinda medieval-ish ones... and then like a bunch of other ones but really there's only one I care about and it's this anime...
Fate/Apocrpyha is like a friend described it the B heroes from history anime, sort of like the Fate series in general. The cool thing about Fate/Apocrypha though is that unlike Unlimited Blade Works, Fate/Stay, and Fate/Zero, Fate/Apocrypha seems to actually embrace the B hero status. It doesn't try to turn these people into
Instead you get characters like Mordred who is easily my favorite Fate character, pretending to be a cat, cursing out anyone who refers to her as a woman as a kind of weak indicator, and I think her character design was really cool with the kind of slightly dirty blonde impression.
Plus, Jeanne D'Arc as ruler and a big eastern influence with Frankenstein, Vlad Teppes, and others.
Also Fate/Apocrypha changes the formula somewhat by having teams and different sides, and kinda goes right to the action..
The biggest weak point in my opinion is the repeat of Fate/Zero's purely sociopathic caster in the form of Fate/Apocrypha's caster, meaning Fate/Stay's caster is still probably the most interesting caster hero.
I'm not a Fate superfan or incredibly knowledgeable but I do know out of all the anime going on this one was/is the most interesting and I almost couldn't care less about all the other ones.
When I first watched Fate/Zero, I was absolutely taken in by the animation and world-build up. The story’s gripping narrative made it one of my favorites. I also enjoyed Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, the sequel to Zero. When I watched the Fate series, I hadn’t watched a lot of anime, so I simply enjoyed the aesthetic quality of the series, so I’m looking over any criticism it has received. Having enjoyed Fate so much, naturally I was really looking forward to Fate/Apocrypha, which aired in the fall of 2017. And what are my thoughts on it? Well, A-1 Pictures managed to present another disaster
of an anime this season!
I’ll not deny it, A-1 has given us some of the most popular shows in the last decade, but there are several shows by this studio that simply follow the mainstream of anime- throwing in terrible story writing with half-assed animation along with a popular title that draws in an audience. It’s disappointing at the least that studios don’t even try to satisfy the audience who watch their shows.
Why is Apocrypha a fiasco? To start it off, let me tell you that the show does follow the basic foundation of the Fate universe, but instead of the usual seven masters and seven servants, Apocrypha has double the number of characters as the original Fate. It’s set in an alternate timeline where the Grail was seized by a clan of mages after the third Holy Grail war. They then announced their possession of the Grail and left the Mage’s Asssociation. Yggdmillennia, the aforementioned clan then declares war on the Association and each of the sides have seven servants and masters each who fight against each other as two collective groups.
I know what you’re thinking. “Well, that sounds interesting!”- yes, that’s what I thought, before I actually watched the train-wreck of an anime that Apocrypha is. The basic problem with this anime is the number of characters in it. There are twenty four characters that play a significant role if you count the masters and the servants separately. I kid you not- twenty four characters! Now, the original Fate gives its characters a tragic backstory to get the viewers to sympathize with them. This works because there are a limited number of characters and each character’s backstory is explored separately by the anime, while in Apocrypha, instead of focusing on one particular character, the anime simply shows us a glimpse of someone’s backstory and then jumps to another scene even before the viewer has fully taken in the previous scene. I simply felt no emotional connection with any character whatsoever. Even though the anime fails in character development, I still expected a few intense action scenes. Nah, why would an action anime need those? Almost all action sequences in Apocrypha are lazily animated. They are dull and boring. Nine out of ten scenes are a complete snooze fest. An abysmal story combined with terrible direction. That is what Fate/ Apocrypha felt like for a majority of its episodes.
To add more to the farce, most of the characters seem like they’re from some stupid fantasy game. There is unnecessary fan-service because why not? The character of Jack The Ripper being a loli speaks volumes about how carefully the production team thought about each character. I’m presuming the conversation during their brainstorming sessions went something like this:
“I wonder how we can get the audience more involved with the characters.”
“You know what? We should add a loli. People love lolis!”
“Wait if we’re adding lolis, why was my suggestion of adding Traps rejected?”
“Ugh, fine. We’ll add a Trap too.”
“Oooooh, we should add a yandere too then? Make her like the Trap’s master maybe?”
“Oh my god, best idea ever! There should be a few scenes where she licks him for no apparent reason too. People will like that.”
Yes, that was totally a great idea. Should have added some smut while they were at it. Great job, A-1 Pictures!
There is no comparison between the animation and artwork of the original Fate series and Fate/Apocrypha. It’s god awful. As I said the battle sequences look terrible and there is one particular scene where the Rider of Red does not even look like himself. At this point I was just laughing at the ridiculous job the animators had done. The only battle which actually felt intense was the sequence in Episode 22. The fight between Karna, the Lancer of Red and the Homunculus kid whose name I forgot was pretty well made. Episode 22 was undoubtedly the best out of all 25 episodes. It has a really long battle scene and some great Sakuga sequences. I was quite surprised when I saw this after 21 episodes of foolery.
The music is forgettable. The Opening and Ending themes were dry and unappealing. They could have used some great music during the battle scenes, but again they didn’t. The overall animation and sound was far below my expectations.
To tell you the truth, towards the end, I had this faint feeling where I felt like the anime got back on track. After most of the characters were dead, they were able to focus on the remaining cast and it made the story far less confusing than it was at first. As I said in the last paragraph, there was also a decent action scene in Episode 22. Then there was this concept of “humanity and salvation” but I felt as if the idea wasn’t presented clearly. It seemed like a vague concept introduced for the advancement of the story because they couldn’t think of anything better. Again, it could have been much better. There was so much space for improvement, yet A-1 decided to give us an anime that is easily forgettable and which would disappoint any fan of the original series. I wouldn’t recommend watching Fate/Apocrypha. Its fails spectacularly as an anime and even more so when compared to Fate/Zero or Stay Night. I would give it a rating of 4 out of 10.
Think of the worst anime you've ever seen. Is it Mars of Destruction? Pupa? Maybe it's something more obscure, maybe it's some bland magic academy show, maybe it's something very popular that you just you don't like at all. Now be grateful, because if the show you just thought off isn't Fate/Apocrypha, it means that you haven't yet watched this abomination to the Fate franchise. Fate/Apocrypha is A-1's attempt at milking the cash cow that is Fate, written by the dude who wrote the script for the horrid Danganronpa 3 Mirai-hen anime cash in, and it is easily the worst anime I have ever seen.
No, seriously, I am in no way exaggerating, out of all the awful shows I've seen, no show can even be compared to how bad Fate/Apocrypha is. I gave Fate/Apocrypha the honor of me finishing it, mainly because of how I wanted to see how bad it could possibly get. Now please, let me explain why you should stay the furthest away from Fate/Apocrypha as possible.
Now surely if you're familiar with the Fate universe, or any other Nasuverse show or Visual Novel, you know the various themes Kinoko Nasu or any other of the writers who wrote anything for Fate like to put forward. Fate/Zero focuses more on the ambitions and ideologies of the various servants summoned, while also presenting one of the best dilemmas in anime for it's ending which focuses on the idea of "justice", something that Urobutchi tends to like to base his stories on. Fate/Stay Night serves as an introduction to the Fate universe, and arguably does it even better than Fate/Zero. Unlimited Blade Works presents the idea of "Original vs Fake", and this same idea is developed a lot of more in Fate/strange Fake. Even Fate/kaleid, the fanservice-y loli show eventually puts forward exhilarating battles and does justice to the Nasuverse magic more than any other Fate show. Fate/Apocrypha on the other hand, is empty. The only thing Fate/Apocrypha tried to pull off is some half-assed "justice" conflict, which you have already seen a million times if you're somewhat into anime. And even then, this "justice" conflict is basically "All humans are evil!!!", "Nooo!!! Good humans exist too!!!". I'm not even making a strawman out of what is said in the actual show, "So, please don't say that goodness doesn't exist in this world!" is a real thing that a character in the show said, that is meant to be taken seriously. Either this is intended to be some massive joke, either this show is targeted towards 12 year old kids.
Boy is this far from all the problems with the plot in Fate/Apocrypha. While all the other renditions of Fate all have 7 servants which are developed during the course of the show, Fate/Apocrypha has 14. 14 SERVANTS!!! This means that Fate/Apocrypha effectively has 28+ characters it has to develop in the span of 25 episodes. As you understand, this is impossible to do, so obviously most servants are left out, and a lot of masters are sidelined. ...Sidelined. The most interesting aspect of Fate is sidelined and becomes mundane. The show mainly focuses on a few select servants and masters which leaves you wondering "Why do I have to watch all these secondary characters interact? They don't matter in the long run". This thought is completely correct. Most of the characters are useless in the long run. The show would have honestly been better if the cast would be the classic 7, heck 5 servant-master combos.
Heck, the plot in Fate/Apocrypha is basically sidelined. It's all just an excuse to have poor action play out. It can be resumed to "big shiny thing, me want. Reason me want? Me don't know".
Although, the plot isn't really a strong aspect in any Fate anime (and it truly brings me pain to say this because I know that I'm wrong), what about the "strong" aspect of Fate, the characters? Well, the characters in Fate/Apocrypha are a shit show of their own.
Not a single character is interesting. Not a single character brings anything interesting to the show. Not a single character serves any other purpose than just bad fanservice. I realised this fact by episode 3, and eventually started watching this show just for Mordred. Well, to my disappointment, Mordred ended up in the exact same situation as the rest of the cast. Her backstory was rushed, which of course it would be since there's barely any time for any of the characters, and her ambition and desire to get the grail ended up being a poor excuse to fight some people.
Then there is Sieg, the walking definition of "Deus Ex Machina". Sieg is the puny homunculus you see in the beginning of the anime which *spoilers* ends up playing a major role in the show (He's literally on the cover of the show). The amount of plot armour Sieg has rivals the plot armour of Emiya Shirou. For no reason at all, every other member of the cast either has a mad crush on Sieg, either cares way too much about him. Even Jeanne D'Arc, the supposed "judge" who should remain neutral until the very end of the war develops a crush on Sieg. Why? Because it's Sieg. Without getting into spoilers (in case you want to watch this shitty show), the amount of times Sieg escaped death is insane. By "escaped death" I don't mean "came really close to dying", I mean "should have been dead".
Fate/Apocrypha also ruins some of my favourite historical figures. In Fate/strange Fake, Jack the Ripper is presented as a mysterious incorporeal Berserker, a spirit of madness, which makes a lot of sense since Jack the Ripper literally had origin stories that claimed that the man who committed the crimes was possessed by a cursed watch. In Fate/Apocrypha, Jack the Ripper is a loli in a thong with mommy problems, and no, I'm not making this up, that's literally what she is. In one of the episodes Jeanne D'Arc takes out her sword, which is supposed to be a symbolic piece of rusted metal that she used to boost her troops morale. In Fate/Apocrypha, the said sword is a suicide magic wand that casts fireballs.
As a side note, there is also a particular character which I despise that goes by the name of Astolfo. Astolfo is easily the worst thing to ever come out of Fate. Astolfo is a trap, a character type that recently became popular in anime. Astolfo, just by existing in the show, lowers the seriousness of the show by a lot, further implying that Fate/Apocrypha is just a poor fanservice show.
What about the """miscellaneous""" parts of Fate/Apocrypha? As in, the Sound and the Art? Well, they're both terrible.
Both of the openings of Fate/Apocrypha are boring and uninspired. The first opening is a terrible performance by EGOIST in which the vocalist sounds like a siren. The second opening is the most generic LiSA song ever. The endings are also boring, but hey, I wasn't expecting the endings to be remarkable.
The worst part is the sound design. On multiple occasions the loud bass used for literally every single sound hurt my ears. Bullet being shot out? Loud bass. Fire burning? Loud bass. Swords clashing? Loud bass with 2016 Berserk clanking. Oddly enough, the person responsible for the sound design, Iwanami Yoshikazu, has done a good job in his previous works. It's as if he just gave up and used the same sound for every single thing in Fate/Apocrypha. The sound design being terrible heavily ruins the immersion.
Fate/Apocrypha has one OST along with a few remixes of that OST. It's loud, it's bombastic, it's annoying, it doesn't fit, and it made me want to stop watching the episodes every time it played.
As an insult to injury, my favourite voice actor of all time, Hayami Saori, does a terrible job voicing Atalanta.
Finally, the art and animation. The art style is bland. It looks like a cheap knock off of ufotable's artstyle. But the art style isn't the worst part of the visual aspect of the show.
The animation, IS AWFUL. I have no idea how a studio can fuck up this badly. Most of the time, nothing is shaded. There are loose keyframes every few seconds. The show abuses still frames, and on one occasion I had I to sit through a poorly drawn still frame that played for at least 10 seconds. The main purpose of this show being clearly to deliver fanservice to the fans of Fate is completely ruined by the god awful actions scenes that completely lack direction. The animators were probably told to just draw something that "looks nice".
Episode 22, the """good looking episode""" looks awful. If you believe it looks good, you are wrong. Episode 22 was mainly webgened, which would be a nice effort from A-1, if the final product looked remotely good. The problem with this episode is, yet again, lack of visual direction. Taken separately, the various clips may look good, but put together they become a mess of conflicting art styles and ideas. One second you have a well drawn still frame of a character, and on the following second you can have some "sakuga" explosion which ends up being completely out of place. The animation suffocates the viewer. There is a clear lack of visual clarity. A-1 focused on "flashy" scenes rather than well orchestrated fights. Compare Fate/Apocrypha to any other Fate show by ufotable. The difference is striking.
Obviously, I did not enjoy watching this show. It's a train wreck. A train wreck that I finished watching purely because I wanted to see how bad Fate/Apocrypha can get. There isn't a single redeeming quality in Fate/Apocrypha.
-Complete lack of a story
-Empty of any thought provoking themes
-Sieg and Deus Ex Machina
-Ruined historical figures
-Bland openings and endings
-Ear-hurting sound design
-Boring art style
Type-Moon have delivered us splendid shows in the past already. One of them is the 'Fate' series. Due to ufotable's great job of adapting Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and Fate/Zero, it's safe to say that the 'Fate' series are those series you can't just miss out. In Summer 2017 season, A-1 Pictures delivered us "Fate/Apocrypha". With it's attempt of trying to make a good 'Fate' adaptation, I just want to say it really didn't planned out to be better than any 'Fate' series out there or it's not really that good.
The story followed the two factions fight for the 'Holy Grail' in a never
before seen type of royal rumble. Instead of 7 masters and 7 servants in total, there were 7 masters and 7 servants on each faction which was known as the Red and Black Faction. When I went to the official information page of Fate/Apocrypha, I'm already guessing this will not be good unlike the other past Fate adaptations. Why?.. It's because of the vast amount of characters it have. Let me tell you something, the past 'Fate' series were all having 7 masters and 7 servants. Having 14 characters in total (+ some extras) is already a bother as you have to plan out everything for each. Whether they die or live. Whether they quit or not. Planning is tough when you have a bunch of characters on a story. Since Fate/Apocrypha focused on a Holy Grail War, you will expect that the masters and servants will kill each other and as episode 25 grew closer and closer, you will notice just one fight that should have killed any servant from the beginning, made one servant die in order to dispose their purpose for the conclusion. Apocrypha, from the first 12 episodes, gave us a one big hint on how the ending will have. I will not tell you as it will be a spoiler but it's within the main protagonist of the story which was Sieg. Sieg here was a huge problem. Though before he became a participant, he was a third party and suddenly he participated, thus, giving us a hint of the conclusion of this anime. One thing was certain that Sieg, when alone without Ruler, felt like he was just a supporting character. Other characters like Mordred, Astolfo, Karna and even Shakespeare stood out in a great way when they have screen time. Ruler, on the other hand, was an important piece to the story. It made the fighting of both the sides which summoned Jeanne in a reasonable way. Hence, Sieg only stood out when he was with Jeanne (except the fight with Shirou because that was his time to shine). I want to talk about the fights as well. The fights were very dynamic and predictable as we go through it. Predictable like the Karna vs Sieg battle and non-predictable like Chiron vs Achilles (I was shocked in this fight.). Also, what happened to Berserker of Red (Spartacus)? Just because he was just an overpowered servant, they just have to get rid of him? It seems that he didn't get enough screen time at all (except on the first opening). We were also told by the story of Jack The Ripper that was a huge development for Archer Of Red (Atalanta), Though, there were still few things I liked in Apocrypha and I will tackle it next.
Sieg not getting a shout-out or in conclusion not standing up high with himself was quite a prickle and a problem. Although, we were given a variety of characters that made apocrypha at least a bit of an enjoyable series. Astolfo gave us comedic laughter and memes. Mordred with her charm and traits like her father gave way fan to favor with her. Caster imitating what will Shakespeare's attitude is if he was still living on this current era. Jeanne (Ruler) as a referee of the war kept on meddling and meddling on both sides having her stood out from the rest. Karna with his loyalty and pride to fight any Heroic Spirit in a sport-manship way and there was Berserker (Frankenstein) who rose up from the dead (seriously). With 14 servants, there is a certain that each one of you have picked at least one servant to gain hope for. I said earlier in the 'story' section that having too many characters is a problem and quite risky, although, one advantage of having this many characters is having a favorite or side to choose from. Apocrypha was about a Holy Grail War so I am sure almost anyone made a bet that this servant will win (even though we already know the outcome after a few episodes).
First opening (episodes 1-12), which was by EGOIST, was a disaster in my ears. Don't get me wrong. EGOIST made a ton of good songs but this one doesn't fit my ear drums. With it's slow narration after the sign 'Fate/Apocrypha' showed in your screens, the narration was just bad and we don't get that 'hype' feeling which was common in the past Fate series. Although, the first part was really bad, only the chorus we get to hear the good part along with the animation. But still opening 1 was a rock-bottom. Although, the first opening was not suitable for my hearing, the second opening by LiSA was a success to keep me watching more. Both endings was quite fine as they sounded smoothly for an episode to finish.
Oh boy this section... I was really not hoping for A-1 Pictures to present a godly animation (like what ufotable did), hence, I would like to give a round of applause to the studios. The animation and art was decent enough to be fascinated or get enjoyed by the fights although some fights (Karna vs Sieg) was over the top that my eyes hurts a lot after the fight. I can't describe it to be good or bad. It's decent.
Overall thoughts and Enjoyment:
My overall conclusion about Apocrypha is that it was a decent adaptation and attempt by A-1 Pictures. Although, there's a feeling that something was missing to the story. It lacks something that we just can't understand at first. That feeling is quite a bother to the plot and to the audience perspective. Even though the community judged this Fate anime to be all negatives, there were still some positives outlook to Apocrypha itself. To wrap this up, I enjoyed and I disliked it as well. Enjoyed because of the fights (and the opening and ending), then disliked it for its predictable outcome of the story and lacking of it.
If you’ve been an anime fan over the past several years, it’s very likely you’re aware of the Fate franchise. The Type Moon Visual Novel first appeared to the anime world with the infamously mocked “people die when they are killed” 2006 adaptation of stay/night, but people REALLY got hooked with the adaptation of Gen Urobuchi’s Fate/Zero, a harrowing mature, and dramatic clash of ideals positioned as a battle Royale. From there, more and more iterations of the Fate mythos kept coming, with there being an Unlimited Blade Works TV anime, a mobile game adaptation in Fate/Grand Order, a Studio SHAFT Fate production due to
air next year, and....in Summer 2017.........this.
THIS Fate, based on an alternate universe light novel by Yuuichirou Higashide and animated by A1 Pictures, tries to do everything Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night did and more. More action scenes. More characters talking about whatever’s relevant. More game players, with double the amount of before. More over the top ridiculous antagonists! More genderbends and even a trap now! This alternate continuity wants to do everything bigger, broader and more off the wall! And thankfully, you don’t have to watch any other Fate series to get into it! While I somewhat respect that it seems like it wants to give the show wider appeal, in the process we get a hollow shell of a show, one that owes too highly to its fore-bearers while accomplishing far less, in spite of its shakeups.
Taking place in an alternate universe from the mainstay Fate everyone’s all familiar with, the Holy Grail was stolen prior to the events of Fate/Zero, and now we have a new timeline, double the servants and masters, and a different twist on the setup.
Now although this is different, not all these differences really work. For instance, since the plot now has double the amount of characters, plus supports, as before, it will inevitably struggle trying to make them all interesting AND deliver a cohesive story that makes the most out of the Fate setup. Alas, we get small potatoes, barely any accomplishments, and an overall meandering story pace. Why the story doesn’t work is quite simple: very little happens ground in character. The first half feels like it was literally built only to do positioning for the second, nothing else, and even the second half takes a detour at one point mainly to drag things out. When not setting up the poorly presented main character and equally poorly presented main villain, the entire first half feels like battle after battle after battle. The continual shift from person to person almost ensures that no one really has much to them, character depth takes quite the backseat to all the fighting. With exception to Achilles and Chiron, who have a dichotomy as two Servants on opposite sides that knew each other in life, is sorely lacking. In Fate/Zero, that was one of the earliest parts established, why the characters are fighting, what ideals will be confronted by the characters, and why we should care.
Here, a good 80% of the characters can be boiled down to “fight for the party” which is incredibly lame and boring to think about. Characters that seem like they would have interesting stories basically have them info dumped almost in whole. The show’s not completely faulted in this regard, it does a fairly good job exploring Joan of Arc, but if you wanted the protagonist to be anything more than a generic block of wood who makes Shirou Emiya look like Kiritsugu, too bad.
There’s a constant stream of idiocy among this cast. Perhaps the most notable example is the fat uncle character on the way he failed to understand command seals to such an epic level at one point. A few more of these happen. At one point, a character is presented an illusion that we, the audience, know is fake, and the character is told that repeatedly, but it still drives them to insanity that again, is poorly conveyed by backstory. I ended up feeling more contempt for said character than feeling sorry.
But this wants to be a bigger Fate, so it increases the count of two of the things the series is known for: Noble Phantasms and Genderfying characters. The other Fate series gave one Noble Phantasm to each Servant for good reason: it was meant as a trump card if all else failed and accentuated strengths and limits. Here, some Servants can have four, or even five of them, which not only devalues their worth individually, but makes it feel like they’re pulling these skills out of their asses. Rider in particular forgets one, and then just does it perfectly remembering the name, and even used someone’s else Noble Phantasm all his own which makes no sense at all. But since this Fate wants more of everything except what actually matters, there’s a staggering increase in genderfying characters, even quite infamously a trap character. The other Fates solely had Arturia be a gender swap, and the show did well to tie that aspect to her character arc, but here, they make Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein, Mordred all girls, and have Astolfo as a trap. Why? No reason, just pandering nonsense it feels. Exception to Mordred, who has the slight benefit of Arturia, it becomes a lot harder to take these characters seriously when they feel so “animed” into the story.
Things feel flat out ridiculous at times. One character, who can't work, basically uses Dr. Octopus style mechanical tentacles to make their way around whenever they get knocked down in pretty funny display. For some reason, the show decides to include not just one, but TWO yelling screaming edgelord characters in the Black Party. The sheer amount of it, combined with the lack of any real intrigue to how they went around things made them more laughable than anything else. What also doesn’t help is facial expressions from other characters. At one point, a character uses magic to reenact a dead person’s last moments and in doing so, his facial expressions and voice acting come off as more hilarious than scarring. When a character later becomes resurrected, his face resembles a nutcracker Guard!Sometimes this even comes from the dialogue, which while under par in most cases, gives us gems like “Do you think we can save all children?” It doesn’t always happen like this but it’s notable whenever it does.
As for that conclusion, don’t expect the ending to feel satisfying or sensical. Just don’t.
What we have here as an exercise in excess, putting on the image that “everything you love and more” isn’t always a full proof plan. To quote Astolfo “This might be a trainwreck, but we’re in it together”. And the boring and lackluster writing is helped even less by the passé visual style.
Let’s get the good out of the way: Episode 22 looks incredible. A1 Pictures brought on the key animator who worked on the Saitama/Boros fight for that episode and the quality really shows in how smooth everything feels, the explosion quality and overall impact. That episode alone is worth seeing just for the animation. And there’s a few other moments of great animation sprinkled in there in the final portion of the show. Also, a few of the character designs can be.... good. Such as Archer of Red, Achilles, Shakespeare, and Assassin of Red. Overall design keeps consistency with the Fate series we knew before, given the existence of the designs prior to draw from. That’s it for the positives.
While some characters have good designs, the majority are either bland (Protagonist-kun, Mordred, all the Black masters), a mess (Caster of Black, Lancer of Red), or both (Saber of Black). Others, like Astolfo, Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper look flat out jarring given the gender modifications. Overall it’s more miss than hit, but what about the action scenes they’re thrown into? There are two solid action scenes, one a Fist Fight, and one in episode 22, but otherwise, if you like frame skipping, incomprehensible choreography, and a general sense of empty spectacle, Fate/Apocrypha is there for you! It wants to impress on that front, yet somehow fails to excite. Lacking ufotable’s stronger effects, having overly simplistic framing and THAT FREAKING SMOKE. So many action scenes rely on that smoke, and it basically feels like their way to “smoke and mirrors” around the lacking fight scenes, a sad state indeed.
As for the soundtrack, the songs used in the show, while generally fine and fit the scenes, are hardly memorable specifically, and if they are, it tends to be overplayed, like the self-titled Fate/Apocrypha. It gets the job done. The sound design is a bit less. Almost every time there’s an “epic” sword clash, a BWOOM sound that roughly sounds like a boom box letting it rip plays. It’s a weird overly loud constant purveying in almost every action scene. Similarly, Joan of Arc’s flag pole slams tends to sound suspiciously like a frying pan, which I’m sure will give Berserk fans PTSD. Everything else in the show checks out well enough. Not bad necessarily, but not great either. Outside of the story, OP 1 by EGOIST is fantastic, grand scale, resounding and really nails the intended majesty of the figures fighting. OP 2, by LiSA, is comparatively, much more standard, pretty much compliant with these Light Novel type shows what with similar songs in SAO/Mahouka and, less memorable because of it, but hey, the sound could be way worse right? Like the characters.
Fate/Apocrypha’s cast is a prime example of while quantity over quality is a bad thing. With so many characters to work with, it’s inevitable that certain people will be left in the dust, and they are. But let’s start with who we eventually see as the main protagonist (don’t worry, not a spoiler, he’s on the cover art). As named by a friend of mine, “Cancer”, but considering his name is a spoiler, I’ll just call him Protagonist-kun. In some ways, I can see what they tried to do here, basically create a newly formed protagonist forming his own ideology by the events around him, but in execution, he mostly comes off as a boring, undriven protagonist for a VERY large portion of the show. He gets better near the very end when he makes some of his last decisions, but even still, mainly just fits into the LN guy mold, complete with spontaneous power pickup down the line. Even Shirou, from the original Fate/stay night, while pigheaded in his ideals, at least was more steadfast about them and they were more consistently challenged.
Joan of Arc probably gets the best out of what’s happening on screen. As the 2nd most important character, there’s enough background provided to shape her past, current feelings and powers throughout the series, however exact specifications may be. Protagonist-kun is basically a siphon for whenever she talks to him, and someone might call silly on her growing attraction to him, it’s far from the most implausible thing in the show.
Others suffer a bit more. Most every other Servant is either similarly bland, defined by a single element (ex Lancer of Red wanting to fight Siegfried, Assassin of Red protecting the villain, Mordred being incredibly cocky), or incredibly annoying instead of endearing (Trap Rider). The masters get this worse. Both the two Black siblings and Mordred’s master, the show seems believe that telling us their backstories is enough to really characterize them, which aside from being so late in the game, doesn’t get the dedication there to hook the audience to their plots. One particular pair only gets focus very late in the game, but in such a way that dealing with it basically felt like a filler plot. And as I mentioned before, Two more of the Black masters basically appear as edgy lunatic masochists and nothing more. Aside from “win for the party” motivations feel almost non-existent for most of the Masters. The cast gives off a very hollow feeling.
The supporting cast isn’t entirely bad though. A handful of character interactions actually work pretty well for the story. Achilles and Chiron, for instance, get some pretty nice interactions and a satisfying catharsis, while Shakespeare is just flat out fun to watch, like Romeo x Juliet’s if he went more over the top. He’s a total ham, probably the closest to Rider in Fate/Zero in that regard, and dang it he’s fun to watch.
Sadly, all of this falls apart with the antagonist. While I won’t spoil much about his character, I will say that he was the character that interested me the most because what he accomplished in the early half of the series seemed really interesting. However, overtime, his motivations became just as silly as the PROTAGONIST of the previous Fate series, his backstory is an absolute mess, told in the most incomprehensibly dumb way possible, especially for Fate newcomers, and his powers are boring, unnecessarily OP, and having basically no consistent rules. At one point, a door that is very specifically closed off, and a Command Seal can’t be used because of his power. However, at some point following struggle, inexplicably, the Master uses the Command Seal anyway and gets in the blocked door. What is consistency in this series. Even his catharsis sucks, for all his buildup, it’s over amazingly quick in more poor action framing. He, much in representing the show itself, came off as a massively full of himself disappointment.
When I look back on Fate/Apocrypha, my feelings on it are quite simply “what happened here exactly?” It tried to bring everything up to the nth degree, but in the process, became dull, laughable and unsatisfying. Honestly, it’s annoying that the first outright dislikeable Fate came from A1, and that it looks worse than a show that came out 6 years ago! Despite an initial hook and promise from trailers, and a couple solid character interactions, everything else turned into a poorly thought out gray blob. Not awful, but it failed as an action series, failed as Fate title, failed as a character piece and failed to be a good series. If you’re a newcomer to Fate, you may vaguely enjoy this, but I’d highly recommend watching either Fate/Zero or even the 2006 anime first. There's more of a soul there.