First Look: Fate/Apocrypha

Alternative title(s): Here We Go Again
Light Novel Adaptation by A-1 Pictures
Streaming on Netflix in November

Premise

It’s another Holy Grail War, but now it’s 7-on-7 team-based multiplayer!

Iro’s verdict: Fate/Fanfic

Oh, this wants to be Fate/Zero so hard. Since the show itself is packed with tedious lore buzzwords and such, allow me to sum up: this is an alternate universe to mainline Fate where, in the 1940s, the Yggdmillienia clan jacked the underlying magic behind the Holy Grail War we know of and took it back to Romania. Now they’re running the ritual back home, but because the clan controls all seven Masters, the Grail designates seven more for a 7-on-7 team battle between Black and Red factions. Other than the inescapable anime bullshit, it seems pretty decent, and A-1 does solid work. It’s also a rarity in that it’s a Fate work where I’m not already aware of how the entire story goes, so I’ll probably cover this for at least a while. Strap in, I guess.

Zigg’s verdict: Apocralypse Now

This is the usual Fate house style, which is to say that the intriguing historical and mythical connections and fascinating setup of the Grail War is buried beneath a tidal wave of heavy handed lore explanations, sludgy dialogue and general fascination with minute apocrypha (see what I did there?), rather than actually making the story and characters interesting or relatable. It shouldn’t be possible to make ‘Holy Grail War against anime Nazis!’ boring but somehow this does it. It also follows the grand tradition of Fate stories never actually being able to stick to the supposedly inviolable rules that are laid down, though I’ll cut this one some slack as an alternate universe tale. A-1 do their best UFOtable impression to make the show look suitably swishy, and as ever there are some interesting ideas batted about, but I just don’t have the patience to do these anymore.

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4 thoughts on “First Look: Fate/Apocrypha

  1. I desperately want this to be for people other than just die hard Fate fans, but this episode (as much as I, a massive Fate fan, enjoyed it) didn’t fill me with much confidence on that one. Fingers crossed, this mixes things up a bit and grabs you before you indefinitely drop it, Zigg.

    • The show’s throwing around terms like “Greater Grail”, “True Magic”, and “the Root”; it’s absurd to expect more casual fans to know what that means. On the other hand, the world can only handle so many double-length Episode 0s.

    • I’ll probably give it another episode since I have Iro to help me along with the lore stuff, but as you note accessibility is a huge issue with all of these shows. Fate/Zero is the only one where I’ve felt they actually did enough right to make me interested in ploughing through all of the confusing mythology stuff.

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