Fate/Apocrypha Review - The Holy Grail War Just Got Larger

The Holy Grail War just got larger

  • Episodes : 25
  • Genre : Action, Historical, Supernatural, Drama, Magic, Fantasy
  • Airing Date : Jul, 2017- Dec, 2017
  • Studios : A-1 Pictures

Contains Spoilers


Fate/Apocrypha Introduction and Story (Spoilers)

Fate/Apocrypha starts a new story that acts as a parallel tale to Fate/stay night. It all begins on episode 1, where we see something peculiar happen. A group known as Yggdmillennia—which is part of the Mage’s Association—has decided to go on their own. In the process, they take The Grail and become a target of the rest of the Mage’s Association. When the Mage’s Association tries to launch a countermeasure to obtain The Grail, they are defeated with only one of 50 mages surviving long enough to activate a reserve system for the Greater Grail, which in turn, allows a special summoning to occur. Now, 14 servants are able to be summoned and thus, a new Grail War begins.

As the story of Fate/Apocrypha progresses, we learn more about the two sides involved. You have the Red Faction which is the Mage’s Association who wishes to stop Yggdmillennia. Meanwhile, from the members of the Yggdmillennia, a Black Faction forms. Using homunculi, the Black Faction attempts to harness the powers of these bodies as a means of constant mana flow to help them in the war. Each side enters combat quite quickly but several elements begin to occur behind the scenes. The Red Faction hires an outsider called Kairi Shishigou who, in turn, gets the ability to summon a Saber class servant who is dubbed Saber of Red, the son—though represented as daughter in this case—of Saber from Fate/stay night. The Grail also summons a spirit under the name Ruler who possess a young girl named Laeticia to act as mediator for the war. The final big element to occur is a homunculus gains self-awareness and is later fused with the servant named Siegfried thus gaining the name Sieg by Ruler who saves him from the Black Faction.

From here, Fate/Apocrypha goes through numerous story points. We see Sieg wishing to join the fight despite Ruler’s advice on avoiding the war altogether. By episode 8, the battle has begun between Red and Black Factions and Sieg finds himself gaining two important powers. One is that he can actually use Siegfried’s form and fight on the level of a servant—albeit weaker than a normal servant—and Sieg even gains a servant of his own in the form of Rider of Black. Ruler and Sieg team up to try to stop the war, but unfortunately, they are unable to do so and are forced to retreat. This, in turn, shows that the Black Faction has completely changed form with some members of Red Faction even joining their side and vice a versa.

Sieg, Ruler, and even Kairi, all make moves that alter the course of The Grail War after the first major battle. By episode 13, the war changes dramatically with various hands of power shifting towards Shirou Kotomine—two familiar names from Fate/stay night—and the Black Faction is nearly changed completely. Now, the goals of Shirou is to alter the course of mankind completely by making a wish upon The Grail. Ruler, Sieg and the remainder of the Red Faction—which has lost a numerous amount by this point—team up to defeat Shirou by all means. The battles from here get intense with forces changing sides, various masters/servants being killed off and eventually lead to a climax of epic proportions.

Shirou, by episode 22, has obtained the wish he sought from The Grail. Episode 24 tells us this wish would have The Grail make all humans immortal but equally, become spiritual beings who will lack a physical coil and would become one giant entity which, in turn, removes true freedom. Sieg—who is already on borrowed time after continuously using his powers of Siegfried—defeats Shirou and makes a daring wish to The Grail. Sieg would allow himself to become a dragon of extreme power but, in turn, this would take The Grail far away to a place away from mankind so its wish wouldn’t affect humanity. At this point, we see Rider of Black, one of the former masters of the Black Faction named Caules and Laeticia, escape the battlefield of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon alive and well. The trio then witness Sieg—now a dragon—carrying The Grail and eventually taking it to some location beyond humanity and life. After an unknown amount of time has passed, Ruler—who has fallen in love with Sieg throughout Fate/Apocrypha story—finally finds Sieg and transforms him back to his original form as she confesses her love for him and the two live out a life together for eternity.

What We Liked About Fate/Apocrypha

Back in 2004, Fate/stay night released to the world as an eroge—which means erotic game—but shocked not only Japan but the west with some rather interesting story telling. This would ultimately lead to Fate/stay night being redone as an anime series and after that, the franchise would continue to pump out tons more spin offs and original works using the Fate lore and themes. Fate/Apocrypha continues this trend as the more recent series—minus Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel which was a movie—to release to the world. With the idea of a larger scale battle, tons more servants and masters to explore and the strength of studio A-1 Pictures behind it, Fate/Apocrypha truly blew us away here at Honey’s Anime HQ. We loved the animation, music, voice acting and even the story itself which makes Fate/Apocrypha one of our personal favorite Fate stories in some time to be honest. Down below, let us examine even more elements of Fate/Apocrypha in our review that continues down below.

Discussion Time

The Fate franchise has been around for some time now. Having been not only anime series but manga, light novels, visuals novels and even video games, die-hard fans of the Fate franchise have been treated to numerous versions of the story. That’s why many wondered how studio A-1 Pictures could handle Fate/Apocrypha and what the series would have in store for fans. Luckily, Fate/Apocrypha does a lot more right than wrong thanks to great storytelling, solid animation and the action we all expect from any version of the Fate franchise. There are some flaws with Fate/Apocrypha but trust us, folks, we here at Honey’s Anime have a lot more positive to say about Fate/Apocrypha than negative. Let us prove why Fate/Apocrypha should be watched by fans and newcomers alike as we delve further into what we loved about Fate/Apocrypha and what it did wrong.

Why You Should Watch Fate/Apocrypha

Fate/Apocrypha might not be made by the studio Ufotable—known for making Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works—but studio A-1 Pictures did some amazing things with this series. Down below, we have mentioned several elements of Fate/Apocrypha we think are some of the reasons you need to watch this show. We here at Honey’s Anime could find a dozen reasons why but these three specific reasons will be what makes Fate/Apocrypha worth watching for 25 episodes. Let us convince you with some evidence to prove Fate/Apocrypha’s worth as a series. Scroll on down now to see the reasons why.

1. Largest Grail War Yet!

If you thought the Fate franchise wasn’t large enough, Fate/Apocrypha has something to prove to you. With two sides—designated as a Black and Red group—Fate/Apocrypha has the largest Grail War ever in the franchise. There are 25+ characters that are involved in Fate/Apocrypha which leads to The Grail War feeling like an epic battle and not just a small one. This does have a side effect—which we will mention below—but regardless, we loved Fate/Apocrypha for feeling extremely epic in both size and scope. If you ever thought it was hard picking a favorite character in the previous Fate stories then you have a shocking revelation ahead when you begin Fate/Apocrypha.

2. Amazing Cast

Now, while a large battle may be fine and all, that doesn’t mean much if the characters aren’t interesting and or unique. Thankfully, Fate/Apocrypha does a superb job of giving audiences a slew of characters—both masters and servants—that are wonderfully written and truly impactful. Some of our personal favorite characters are Saber of Red and Ruler as well as the homunculus Sieg. As you get further into Fate/Apocrypha, you’ll find more characters to enjoy and even some of the ones you may not have known much about get some much-needed time to shine on screen. Fate/Apocrypha has one of the strongest casts of any Fate series and that will appeal to those who love strong characters in any anime work.

3. Epic action

One thing that the Fate franchise is known for is providing some truly spectacular battles. Swords and lances clash in epic combat leading to both myths and heroes of old to duels we could only dream of. Fate/Apocrypha does the same thing and it does it incredibly well. While some of the earlier episodes are incredible—especially episodes 8-10—just reach the later episodes like 22 and 24 to find some of the best fights ever seen in the world of Fate. The Fate series might be known for epic fights, but Fate/Apocrypha seemed to want to prove something and we think it did an incredible job. If you have seen Fate/Apocrypha comment down below which fight you thought was best, we have our own opinions as well and we’d love to share them with you.

Why You Should Skip Fate/Apocrypha

Now, we’ve mentioned the positives of Fate/Apocrypha but even the best anime isn’t immune to having some issues here and there. With Fate/Apocrypha, we feel there might be good reason to avoid the series if they truly resonate with your list of pet peeves for an anime series. We list the more glaring issues with Fate/Apocrypha further down and provided explanations to why we feel these are issues. We personally don’t think any of these reasons should cause you to hate Fate/Apocrypha because we personally loved this show, however, we can understand when there are literally thousands of anime series to watch this might help you avoid a series that might not appeal to you in the end game.

1. Dizzying amount of characters

Both Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero have a lot of characters. That’s to be expected when you have several masters summoning several servants in each story. With Fate/Apocrypha however, seeing as how the story is centered on one of the largest Holy Grail Wars ever, there are nearly 25+ characters that appear and that can be quite hard to take in. While Fate/Apocrypha does a great job trying to give all the servants and masters screen time, some just fall by the wayside. Even characters like Kairi don’t get a lot of screen time and while their stories are explained well enough to give them substance, it still doesn’t feel like enough. Plus, like any other Fate story, expect Fate/Apocrypha to kill off favorite characters at some point or another. Getting too attached might be a bad idea needless to say.

2. Some boring episodes

Like any 25-episode show, there are some episode of Fate/Apocrypha that can be quite…slow. The Fate franchise loves throwing lore at the fans as much as they can. This is extremely noticeable in Fate/Apocrypha, which can have some episodes that focus only on narrative and nothing else. Luckily, Fate/Apocrypha doesn’t do this as much as some of the other Fate stories. Still expect it though to happen occasionally if you plan on watching Fate/Apocrypha.

3. Historical, it is not

We know many people out there in the world love history. While Fate/Apocrypha deals with both historical concepts and themes as well as well-known myths going back to the age of King Arthur, most of them aren’t too accurate. For many fans of the Fate franchise, we have come to understand this being creative with the lore but not everyone will like that about Fate. This is especially noticeable in Fate/Apocrypha which has Jack the Ripper being a loli girl and Frankenstein’s monster also being a female. If you’re okay with creative freedom, then this won’t bother you about Fate/Apocrypha. However, if you are easily triggered by changing history up than maybe avoid Fate/Apocrypha.


Final Thoughts

Fate/Apocrypha is a truly awesome Fate story. We absolutely loved the animation—especially episode 22—and loved the cast of heroes and villains. There were some issues with maybe having too many characters and the usual Fate problems of narrative driven episodes, but even these issues can’t stop us from fully recommending Fate/Apocrypha. With that being said, we don’t know if we consider Fate/Apocrypha being the best Fate series but we think its pretty high up there. Let us now ask you, what was your favorite Fate series and if you did see Fate/Apocrypha what did you think of it? Comment down below to sound off and for all your anime reviews and article needs, get stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime.

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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