Fate Apocrypha Review & Thoughts

Submitted by The Good Student on Fri, 02/04/2022 - 14:54

I am going to collect all the thoughts and comments about Fate Apocrypha on the SOS Brigade Server here and add some things of my own as well.

GeorgeSears — 28/01/2022
it is fair to say best girl of fate apocrypha is joan of the arc?

It's either her or Mordred really. Even though Astolfo is the most popular he didn't really have any presence for me - probably because of all the luck and plot armour he had... By that standard I guess Mordred should be best girl but she got so little screen time. Astolfo's character was just too perfect, his cross-dressing was just a joke and so not a real flaw either, so there wasn't any room for character development for him which made him bright but boring.

The Good Student — 28/01/2022
@Heraclius I have been thinking hard about it... What's wrong with Fate Apocrypha.... Why does it feel off.... I think the closest to an answer I got was that none of the servants seemed so desperate for the grail.... maybe because there's a lot of them.... Also wanting to save mankind as a motive is nothing new in fate either... so it felt like a re-hash with a gimmick about them forming "colour based" themes which sounds silly... it felt like it meant more when servants made alliances in the past... also it didn't help that half of the masters were vegetables from the start.... 
I am still thinking tho how I would explain to your friend why it sucks... hopefully we will nail it by next week.

So having watched many of the lore videos on youtube about fate apocrypha, I would say that the stuff which happens is not properly justified even when there is a reason for it. Maybe 25 episodes was not enough to tell this story. It's strange because fate zero and ubw to an extent get the opposite criticism thrown at them, that characters talk and grand-stand too much for just a few minutes of action and pretty animation.

The Good Student — 28/01/2022
on episode 20 of fate apocrypha lol for a moment I thought they were going to 9/11 the flying fortress with empty passenger.  @ThoughtAgent

There's a funny moment in Fate/Zero when a character is able to shoot down a large passenger aircraft with a rocket launcher while standing on a small boat. Similarly here there's a scene with characters fighting on top of some jumbo jets like the winds at those speeds mean nothing. In general the giant floating fortress was not a good idea given that the grail war was supposed to be secret. Then again I guess the characters didn't care but the world didn't seem to care about it either.

The Good Student — 29/01/2022
The ending of Fate Apocrypha was surprisingly alright if you ignore the fact that the Romance between Jeanne D'arc and Sieg kinda came out of nowhere, and obviously ignore the plot-holes too. It's le urban fantasy. If they had focused on fewer characters more this series could have been alright. Also as I said the jack the ripper arc was too long, the loli was probably the worst character (sorry kino) cause her all character arc was "think about the chilens" "won't you think about the chilens." The cat girl who cared about the children had the worst possible design (I just couldn't take this character with cat ears and two hair colours seriously). The classes (saber, lancer, """ruler""") were completely meaningless and servants  seemed to be able to pull abilities out of their arses as the plot required... Especially Assasin (Empress of Assyria) was totally over-powered and made the "Assasin" role meaningless by being a superpowerful mage with a flying fortress lol. 

The protagonist himself came to have the abilities of several servants which again makes the whole thing about having different classes useless. 
Also since there was one character of each of class on either side, this made the classes even more meaningless. At least the loli vampire assassin acted like an assassin until she used her stupid noble phantasm. Where the hell did Shakespeare get Gilles from to show Jeanne?
Vlad's character was okay until they pulled muh Dracula corny bullshit. He just wasn't interesting cause his motives to get the grail were so petty.
I don't get why the priest Kotomine turned out to be a servant? And how was he able to have so many servants of his own at full-power if he was just a servant himself?
I did like some of the dialogue between the villain/priest/servant and J'eanne at the end but that's about it.
They tried to make the action scenes look cool but it just looked like pretty colours, it wasn't clear what was happening sometimes, not well choreographed battles?

I still stand with most of the above comments. I didn't dislike it but again some things remained unclear... Like what Kotomine Shirou's "salvation" meant? People becoming immortal and unable to desire wicked things? I guess this meant that Sieg and the others wanted to defend the free will of human beings to choose to do the right thing eventually or something. But again this is all pure speculation. Okay maybe I was sneeding a bit about Vlad, maybe he cared about his honour a lot to want to erase the rumour that he was a vampire, but still why nothing greater.

The Good Student — 01/02/2022
"Secret" Holy Grail War.

I didn't buy how anybody cared to keep the battles a secret from the public. There are too many servants, too many large "Area of Effect" attacks and a fucking giant flying fortress which flies around, even if it's at a sort of high altitude... Anyways the video is the battle between Sieg and Karna with some nice music in the bg.

The Good Student — 01/02/2022
A review of the novel before the anime came out. It was only 5 volumes long and light novels are pretty short. 

If there were a lot of volumes then I could have blamed the fact that 25 episodes were not enough..

The Good Student — 04/02/2022
Come to think of it "magical energy" was pretty much unlimited in Fate Apocrypha...

One tactical aspect which was removed was the need to manage magical energy because Shirou Kotomine and Darnic both had unlimited amounts of mana for their servants. Though honestly Shirou had much stronger servants, except for le Shakespeare.

The Good Student — 04/02/2022
Having watched Otaku Daikun's lore videos... I feel like I have spent more time watching videos about Fate Apocrypha than Fate Apocrypha itself. I am still not sure what to say, it sounds like a light novel let down by an adaptation but I am not sure.

Daikun's lore videos are good but they are not reviews so they didn't really answer my question and I am afraid might create the illusion in some minds that the anime is better than it actually is because of the legends on which the servant characters are based on. He did however fill in some of the gaps in the plot but I shouldn't have to watch a lore video to get that, and I am sure he would agree with that because he sounds very reasonable.

The Good Student — 04/02/2022
"having taken many women to bed"

This video by Otaku Daikun went through some of the backstory of the historical legend of Astolfo going to the moon and whatnot but we are never told any of this in the anime. Nor do I recall them showing that Astolfo had taken many women to bed. Nor are we told the reason why Astolfo started cross-dressing. The idea of this femine pretty boy who liked to cross-dress being some kind of womaniser is funny, not because he couldn't do it but because he didn't seem to show any interest in women throughout the series.

Also Astolfo suffered from another problem which many characters did which was that he had too many noble phantasms and other aces up his sleeve.

The worst is asssassin of black with her flying fortress which apparently took a long time to build but  we never see her struggling to build it or having to deal with fighting outside of her terrain. In a sense both sides were too well-prepared. Mana/Magical energy for example was not really a limiting factor for either side like it had been in Fate Stay Night and Fate Zero. This lack of limitations makes things more boring.

Heraclius — 04/02/2022
Having just finished it, I liked the second half but loathed the first half, but the show was prone to logical leaps and being loser on rules then Fate usually is.

What's interesting is the characters and their designs were started as a MMO project that didn't get past planning stages, then they spun it off into a light novel.

I guess the whole idea of having "red" and "black" teams then might have come from the fact that MMOs have player "parties" formed of 5 players each. With each of the players supposed to play a role within that party.

Not sure what Heraclius disliked about the first half. I will need to ask him tomorrow. For me the finale was the best, the first battle was okay, and the arc about Jack the ripper in between the two was the worst.

The fact that Jack the ripper was the spirit of the aborted souls of the children aborted by prostitutes in 18th century London was not really explained that well in the series which didn't help my enjoyment either.

Heraclius — 01/02/2022
I was watching some of Fate/Zero's first episode, what's remarkable is that show opens with scene by scene, setting up the motivations of each master, really in depth. Not just a two second line but really in depth. I can't think of any similar comparison in Fate/Apoc. Kairi seems to have been dragged into this against his will. Darnic wants to reach the Root bc that what mages do, but I don't get any sense as to why that matters to him. You'd think a guy rebelling against the Mage's Association would be more unorthodox. And I have no idea why any of the other Black masters showed up other then a vague promise of power. I guess the young brother and sister maybe wanted to fix the sister's legs? Honestly a grail war is so dangerous, you'd think they'd just be happy with her living in a wheel chair.

Yea and in the end they cure her legs without the grail anyway. Again F/Z gets criticised for having characters "stand around complex "for long periods of time just explaining their motivations and powers which may be alright for a visual novel or a light novel but an anime has got to move on. Fate Apocrypha does the opposite and fails even harder. Maybe the problem is that Fate as a series is simply not suited to anime as a medium due to the limitations of how much exposition you can have in an anime.

Heraclius — 01/02/2022
I can see why, they're trying to characterize him [Ast0lfo] as the hopeful character who believes in people and doesn't give up on them. It's very virtuous, though also very odd characterization for a trap.

The problem with it is that this tendency of Astolfo is never really questioned or challenged but just totally reinforced by the narrative. For example Shirou's good nature gets him to a fair bit of trouble but Astolfo's good nature just gets him a stake through his hand that he can endure well enough. He just keeps on winning and getting saved... At least Shirou had to suffer a bit for his plot armour.

Heraclius — 28/01/2022
Also, I was watching Achilles go at it, who looks nothing like Achilles should, and Chiron starts lecturing him that Achilles is too harsh on his enemies and lenient on his allies? Wtf, that's literally the opposite of the Illiad, where all Achilles wants it a legendary place to fight and die, and he's constantly chaffing at Agamemnon who is always choosing the more cowardly and underhanded tactics, or he feels is just not showing him proper respect.
Literally, just transplant actual Achilles into Fate, and he makes a great Fate character. Why would you simplify him or change him?

If I had to guess why it's because Fate has already had Iskandar. How would this Achilles be different from Iskandar? Maybe they didn't want to repeat the same thing exactly.

The Good Student — 28/01/2022
Astolfo's master was unironically correct when she said Astolfo is not the real Astolfo but just a toy/familiar with the same name lol.

The Good Student — 28/01/2022
the jack the ripper loli arc was way too long... felt like they had nothing to put there inbetween the big battles.
@Heraclius I have been thinking hard about it... What's wrong with Fate Apocrypha.... Why does it feel off.... I think the closest to an answer I got was that none of the servants seemed so desperate for the grail.... maybe because there's a lot of them.... Also wanting to save mankind as a motive is nothing new in fate either... so it felt like a re-hash with a gimmick about them forming "colour based" themes which sounds silly... it felt like it meant more when servants made alliances in the past... also it didn't help that half of the masters were vegetables from the start....  I am still thinking tho how I would explain to your friend why it sucks... hopefully we will nail it by next week.

I still don't have a single proper answer and I hope that tomorrow's live stream will correct this fact.

Heraclius — 28/01/2022
I think you're right on that none of these characters are desperate for the grail. "Your desire for the grail" is a really great character writing shortcut to get at what makes a character tick, what matters to them. Sitting at episode 8, I really only know two servant motivations: Siegfried wanted to save someone of his own accord, Mordred wants to be king. That said, the story hardly focuses on either of these characters enough to do character studies of them.
The team aspect also severely detracts from the battle royale style paranoia that was enfused in Fate before.
Also far too many joke/fetish characters. Jack, Astolfo's master, Siegfried's master

I mean Rin and Saber from FSN were pretty much fetish characters too. Saber is the "exotic" blonde babe warrior and Rin is literally a tsundere. But yeah Astolfo's unserious nature might not have been good. Siegfried's master was like a dollar store/poundland version of El Melloi in Fate/Zero, not that I found him that interesting either.

The Good Student — 28/01/2022
Shakespeare was painfully unfunny throughtout. I haven't seen a single fictional depiction of Shakespeare which did not suck. A waste of screentime....
The self-less homonculi protagonist also reminded of that cardboard cutout from guilty crown.

Heraclius — 28/01/2022
His [Sieg's]thing seems to be "learning what he wants to do", which is kinda inherently less interesting, esp. when there's no pressure bearing down on him

Basically Shakespeare was just a poor self-insert for the audience, like you're supposed to be excited about the story like Shakespeare seems to think it's such a great riveting story but if you don't already feel that way then it doesn't work.

As for Sieg, after the "saved" the homunculi (aren't they going to die in 3 years since Sieg didn't use the grail to save them) then he had a  bit of an internal conflict about whether humanity was worth saving or not after he saw how horrible people can be to each other in the jack the ripper arc (he had already been treated like trash by humans as an homunculi but whatever) but I don't know, he just seems to accept Jeanne's resolve that "If humanity is given immortality in a miracle, humanity will lose faith in their own potential" and doesn't question it. It is never explained what Jeanne means by potential either? Potential to be good or potential for greatness? Because it sounds more like she is more against stagnation than evil, which is strange for a character who up till now didn't really seem to care about greatness but I may be just knocking down straw-men because it just wasn't clear enough what she meant.

The Good Student — 28/01/2022
I am 5 episodes in and the masters in Apocrypha just don't have the same charisma or are as memorable as the ones in Fate Stay Night. You might hate Shirou as an autistic but at least he was kinda memorable. But then again I am only 5 eps in and the main cast is kind of undecided except the trap character, it'll become clearer as more characters die.

The motives for getting the grail are weakened by the fact that they have to play ball as part of a team. Not just the masters but the servants too, don't seem terribly interested in the grail. I guess Sisico's motivation was interesting as was Mordred's because it wasn't vague like reaching the root or vague and self-less like saving humanity - which were the goals of the black and red factions.

The Good Student — 27/01/2022
lol i have read the Frankenstein story and if the monster was a cute girl like here in Apocrypha rather an ugly hideous monstrosity then it would have been a different story... That seemed to be the point of the story.

After watching a bunch of lore videos I realised that Frankensteins' story is different in the anime because he was trying to create a new Eve. But Fran was too unemotional and dumb essentially and brought him a dog's entrails so that's why he hated her. Whereas in the original Victor Frankenstein really hated the monster just for looking hideous rather than for his lack of intelligence or anything.

GeorgeSears — 02/02/2022
It's hilarious how in fate apocrypha the anime forgot about the loli for a bit

Yes, she didn't really seem to care about the grail. I guess it might be worth comparing him to Gilles from Fate/Zero who at least had his obsession towards Jeanne as a characteristic.

GeorgeSears — 26/01/2022
i am staring episode of fate apocrypha and i honestly i find astolfo as a character to be so irritating

I have heard many people say similar stuff about Astolfo but I didn't really hate him. He seemed to have a good heart regardless of his fetishes, though I wonder how much of the cross-dressing is to get a reaction-  like some guy cosplaying convincingly as a girl to get a reaction from when people realise you are a guy... But there isn't much more to his character other than that he has a good hearts and is a cross-dresser. Do we really even get to see much lore about him? Like dreams from his previous life? No. Does he meet anyone from his previous life in the series? No.

Now I have finished reviewing this hastily made compilation of comments about Fate Apocrypha left on my server and the funny thing I just noticed is that almost nobody mentioned Sieg, the protagonist of the series. I guess his motivation of saving his homunculi friends was boring, because we never really got to know the homunculi that well.


If I were to sum up my issues with the first half, it would be this. We do not yet know the characters, what they stand for. Two of the Black masters we see are absolutely irritating characters, the fatso who's comically oafish and arrogant through most of the show, and the master of Astolfo, who is a fetish character. Every scene either of those two characters were on screen I was audibly groaning. Darnic himself turned out to be not a very interesting character either. You would believe based off the backstory he's a master strategist, but his only strategy appears to be wait for the Red side, fight, and then maybe merge with Vlad and break all semblance of Fate lore in a last ditch effort. Yes, I suppose he had Caster working on golems and homunculi for him, but neither of these creations had the slightest effect on the battles as they played out. They were clearly a wasted effort.

The show in general takes a very back seat attitude to Fate lore, best exemplified by Lord El-Melloi II, aka Waver. While I had assumed that he just somehow rose to that position off of merit and chance in this timeline, the last episode of this whole show has Waver make a fanservice callback to Iskandar, despite the events of Fate/Zero never taking place in this timeline. When I looked this up on the wiki, it told me that a lore and art book explained Waver "participated in a subspecies Holy Grail War across the world". This horrid, gaping plot hole has to be covered by a bunch of nonsense, all because the author HAD to include a call back to Fate/Zero. If he'd simply not done this, no explanation would have been required. There's other lore bits, such as the lesser grail apparently having been destroyed, that are simply never explained in show and you need a wiki or the novel to understand.

Anyways, the first episodes of the show honestly have almost no plot happening at all. There are opening skirmishes, Sieg is being set up but he's not allowed to really DO anything yet. The battles are dull and uninteresting, as Mordred and her master aside, we have no one to root for in this grail war. We don't understand their motivations or desires, that of the masters or their servants. I remember in a stream you sent to me, that Anime Snob and his people wondered if Fate/Zero couldn't have ignored character motivations until they became necessary to be brought up. Well, this is the downside to that. You have big bombastic battles, but no characters to latch on to. Of course, more competent writers could set up characters through battle, but this is also harder to do in a war instead of a duel setting. Which is probably why this show barely even attempts to make this a war, and instead has scattered skirmishes all over the place. Simpler to write, sure, but also potentially less interesting, and makes both sides look like fools for not really planning ahead.

The plot is only finally advanced forward via Siegfried's death for the unnamed homunculus, Sieg. This set of events is rather hastily set up via a rushed flashback of Siegfried always fighting and ultimately dying for others, and him explaining he wants to sacrifice for someone of his own accord. So given the oppurtunity, he rips out his heart and gives it to the Homunculus. Theoretically, that heart should be incompatible, considering its a servant, but I suppose Homunculi being blank slates might help the process. Cue more episodes of nothing happening and us learning nothing about these characters. Another big battle starts, the servants fight. But then, something strange happens. There are stakes? A reason to care about who wins? Yes, turns out the world will  be vampirized if Darnic gets the grail and can't control himself, so all the servants have to team up.*gasp* They have to work as a team! They get to have their personalities shine in a group effort as they play off each other, what a thought! Darnic dies as Shirou Kotomine (what a name) reveals himself to be the main villain, with a vague but suitably menacing goal of "saving humanity".

As the Black masters retreat, and then take down their own Caster, they're finally given a chance to breathe. The obnoxious, mouth breathing characters are thrown to the side, start to become self aware, or mercifully have their heads claimed by Mordred. All hail Mordred, savior of this show! Jeanne gets to dote on Sieg and dissuade him from having a dangerous future, while he, lacking purpose, decides he might as well have a purpose in at least saving his own kind, much to Jeanne's dismay. We get some meat to the relationship between the brother and sister pair on the Black side, the older sister Fiore being set up as a big softy via flashback, caring for a dog she knew was going to be killed in her father's experiments. Jack the Ripper may be another annoying fetish character, but at least she sets up a moral dilemma for Sieg, who up until now saw humans as unreservedly good. Atalante goes stark raving mad at Jeanne for dealing with Jack, setting up a rivalry that will last the series. Chiron and Achilles get to have a respectful fist fight to the death, Karna gets a final fight with Siegfried, and the animation goes wild with insane fluidity and movement, if limited detail. Mordred gets to have a touching final moment, turning her back on being a knight of betrayal, acknowledging her true desire to simply help the kingdom and Arthur. Basic moral rivalries and battle rivalries are put to the forefront, as they always should be in Fate! There's a fitting final battle, and the hero sacrifices himself to save the world. That's the way a story should end. The whole story in a way reminds me of an MMO or overwrought JRPG. Yes, once you break through the outer coating, there's a decent story underneath, with a few ideas to chew on. Should it have taken this long to get there, to just become a decent show? Definitely not. Could I recommend this show to anyone? I guess to people that can sit through 12 episodes of nothing and be satisfied.  I can imagine myself revisiting certain scenes, but I will certainly never rewatch this show again.

The Good Student

Sat, 02/05/2022 - 09:25

TudyMNX — Today at 05:33
Btw,cuz i don't think anyone mentioned,theres also a manga which i remember regarding as a better adaptation than the anime
I also remember using the spartacus vs vlad fight to demonstrate
Here's the manga chapters and the novel excerpt,how it went in the anime you prolly already know


"His feet turned immaterial, his body covered by innumerable golems, his entire being save for his heart and brain pierced by stakes - and still Berserker moved to bring down the oppressor right before him. His actions could no longer be contained by words such as 'hatred' or 'conviction'.

Yes, this was his faith. This was what Lancer sacrificed half of his golems to ascertain: whether he was a foolish barbarian who sought only to rebel against authority - or a man who, in spite of his madness, had carved an uncrossable line, an unbreakable resolve onto his own heart.

Lancer nodded in satisfaction and said quietly.

"...I understand now that I have come face to face with you. Your rebellion is the embodiment of your noble spirit. The strong will always trample over the weak... but you fight because you are unable to accept that. You fight until you have turned the strong into the weak."

He fought not for the sake of the weak. The mad warrior would not have come so far for such pretenses of altruism. No, it was simply that...

"Do you dream of a world where all are equal? Yet your dream is but a flight of fancy. For the first time... I feel I must show my respect to those we call the rebels.""