Fate/Apocrypha debuted a few weeks ago and we here at Honey’s Anime have decided to give the series a mini-review after the first three episodes. This review will take a look at the series story before watching, the pre-viewing impressions, what happens in episodes 1-3, what we expect to happen next and if our expectations have changed, and if we are going to keep watching the series and overall a score at the end. If you have had an eye on this fantasy action anime for the summer but are not sure if you can handle it or you will understand the story, then this is the article for you. If you have already seen the three episodes, please let us know how you feel in the comments below! Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first three episodes of Fate/Apocrypha and what it holds for us.
After the Third Holy Grail War in Fuyuki, the Holy Grail just up and disappeared. No one knows where it is located. Then, about the same timeline as the Fifth Holy Grail War, the Holy Grail reappears. Kind of. You see, one of the families that was part of the Mage’s Association wants out. The Yggdmillenia family announces that they are not only in possession of the Holy Grail in Romania, but they are now to be considered free and independent of the Mage’s Association. The Mage’s Association quickly dispatches 50 assassins to bring back the Holy Grail and subjugate the Yggdmillenia family, but all of them are killed. The problem is, it was just one servant who killed all 50. Now the stakes have risen and the Mage’s Association has its own team of seven masters summon seven servants for their faction of Red. At the same time, the Yggdmillenia family summons its own batch of seven servants by seven masters known as the faction of Black. The seven servants of Red must now fight the seven Servants of Black. Then, when that is done, the winning side must then kill off each other in a new type of Holy Grail War. This story will go down in history as the Great Holy Grail War.
I am not holding my breath too much as I know that this is a side story, or gaiden, to the original Fate/Stay Night/Zero/Unlimited Blade Works series. This is one critical piece of information though that the creators originally did not point out. The good thing to note though is that if this is anything like Sword Oratoria was to Danmachi, then Fate/Apocrypha is going to be fantastic. However, in this one, there was no Fourth Holy Grail War since the grail had disappeared. I am slightly expecting the story to hit the ground running or at least start running rather quickly. I am not too sure what is going to transpire between now and December when this series ends, but I imagine that whatever faction wins will not have many of their own left over to kill off. There are a lot of characters too, so I wonder how many will be relevant halfway through the season let alone a few episodes in. What I do expect is a lot of fighting, a lot of bloodshed, betrayal, stubbornness, and deeper plot.
What Happened So Far (Episodes 1-3)
The series opens up with a battle because why not? Humans and zombies/skeleton soldiers battle while we see the Saber of Red go against the Saber of Black. The story of Fate/Apocrypha is going to be of hope and people fulfilling their wishes. This is foreshadowing for a battle that will come soon I assume. Then, the scene changes to a main character Kairi Sisigou walking through the halls of a university looking for a man named Professor Rocco. We learn quickly that this professor is part of the Mage’s Association and Sisigou is a Necromancer. Professor Rocco explains everyting that you already know from reading the above intro and asks Sisigou to join in as a fighter of Red. He agrees and then Rocco introduces the fact that this is no ordinary Holy Grail War and is going to be known as the Great Holy Grail War. Then, a man named Shirou is revealed to be an administrator for this fight by the Church. The view shifts to within the castle of the Black faction and we see that the servant has been using Homunculi that he has been producing for 20 years in order to fund the magic necessary to win. is smart and is using Sisigou begins to carry out his summoning ritual and then you see four other uniformed individuals do the same. Everyone succeeds and we meet the Saber of Red, a woman named Mordred, the successor of Arthur Pendragon.
Episode two opens with what appears to be Jeanne’s backstory where she was burned at the stake. The view then shifts to the Black faction and we get to meet the four servants that have just been summoned. Namely they are Rider, Archer, Berserker, and Saber. We then get a nice glimpse of Berserker of Black using her power. Her master reveals that if she uses her full power, since her body is human-made, she will die, and so he forbids her to ever do so. Then it is revealed that it is going to be seven by seven fighting and then the normal Holy Grail War will happen after one side is determine to be the victor. Back to Sisigou, it is revealed that he does not want to work with Shirou. He has a bad temper and tells the faction of Red that he has no interest in dealing with working together and says that he will fight on his own. The two of them become this sort of weird third party who wants to get rid of black, but will not cooperate with others. Then we meet another servant of Red who happens to be Shakespeare? Finally, as Sisigou moves into what appears to be Yggdmillenia family territory, both he and Saber of Red are ambushed by Yggdmillenia soldiers and golems, but they make short work of them.
Episode three’s curtain rises on our introduction to one Homunculus in particular; his name is Seig and he is who we keep seeing in the visuals for the series. He uses his magic to break out of the capsule that he was held in and begins to leave the dungeon. Rider of Black, Astolfo, happens upon him and with Chiron, the Archer of Black, they help Seig to a room to rest. We then get to meet Servant Ruler Jeanne D’Arc be introduced for about two seconds before she is attacked by the Lancer of Red. When he appears to be going after her, she is assisted by Saber of Black and his master. Lancer of Red and Saber of black go at it in a rather impressive fight scene with good animation and sound effects as they tell their stories. The general, master for the Saber of Black, starts making demands and orders, but Jeanne stays neutral and says that she is here to watch. Back to Seig waking up, Chiron explains that Seig only has three years left to live and needs to decide what he wants. We get a rather endearing introduction to Frankenstein aka Berserker of Black where she reveals that her wish is to have someone to share her life with. Her master reveals that his wish would be to revive his sister should she die. The sister then reveals, to her servant in another room, that her wish, would be to walk again even if she cannot use magic. Her servant, Chiron, reveals he wants to be immortal again. The episode them wraps up with Berserker of Red heading towards the Black team’s base where they say that they are going to try and get him as their pawn, and then if they can’t, they will kill him.
Expectations & Impressions After Episode 3
The general aka the master for Saber of Black is SO insufferable. I hope he dies first. However, I have a bad feeling that he will be like second-to-last to die and we will have to deal with him being annoying for a long time. There are a lot of characters in this story! Berserker of Red looks like a giant from Shingeki no Kyojin and it is flat out creepy. I mean I knew getting into it that there would be a lot of characters, but there are quite a lot of them to the point that it can be hard to remember all of their names and roles. That is why I am thankful that it is much easier to say Rider of Black or Assassin of Red than the individual unique names that the servants have. I have to say that even though I like the Fate series overall, Fate/Apocrypha is still something that I was on the fence about actually picking up. There is this thing about the fate series that is, you know what you are getting into, you know the result is going to be that many people die, and that the initial hook is, frankly, not that interesting. However, every.single.time. the series turns out to be good. That is the reality of the fate series. Unless you are a Type Moon superfan, then most fate series intros do not grab you, but the stories are so good that you find yourself enjoying it a lot along the way. The other good thing is that Fate/Apocrypha does not.
The Skinny: Keep Watching or Drop?
If you have a short attention span or lack the ability to appreciate the subtler items of a story, then you will not enjoy Fate as a series overall. Like I said above, the series is already setting itself up for greatness. We just are getting there. Still though, I was worried it was going to be nonstop plot for the first three episodes and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is not, but rather it is interesting and rather engaging. I will keep watching it. I would give it so far an 8.5/10. I would like to see more action and maybe a minor servant or two get killed off, but I also know that hitting the ground running with fights would mean that either characters die off early, or we are spending time in endless DBZ fights. Here is to more!