First Impressions: Fate/Grand Order (iOS/Android)

In my work crazed state I’ve fallen into a bit of Fate moment: watching Fate/Apocrypha as it airs, rewatching the first couple of episodes of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works in preparation for the Heaven’s Feel movie in October and finally downloading the new mobile game in the franchise, Fate/Grand Order.

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At the start of the year (it was actually New Years Day in fact) I watched the one off extended episode of Fate/Grand Order: First Order, before letting it slip to the back of my mind and promptly forgetting it. The anime adaptation of the prologue of this game was okay at best with a cast of characters that felt as if they should have been in a mobile game. Well, that’s the thing isn’t it – because they actually work very well in the real mobile game.

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A summer update… (#1)

Only a brief post today just to fill you guys in on what I’ve been up to over the last ten days or so since my last post…

So until the start of September I’m going to be working on my Masters’ dissertation (that is twenty-thousand words on a very niche bit of Medieval British history), so I hope you’ll forgive me for not posting a lot until then. It doesn’t mean though that I haven’t had any time to watch any anime!

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Because my time for watching has come a bit randomly I haven’t watched things as episodically as I would normally, but let me just run through what I have seen…

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Attack on Titan chapter 95

The final arc of Attack on Titan continued this week, staying in Marley with Reiner and co. we get to see more of the potential future that awaits Eldians on the continent and Paradis. We also get a flashback of Reiner’s group of warriors first arrive on Paradis with some fairly shocking revelations.

Last month we learnt Reiner’s view of Marley and the ‘honour’ of gaining the power of the titans isn’t as great as it perhaps should be. It’s only fitting then that chapter 95 opens with Gabi showing off just why a concerned older brother like figure would be concerned that she might be just a little too keen to gain the power of turning into a world breaking giant humanoid.

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Chronologically in the chapter we also learn about the 9th titan – the Hammer Titan – held by the mysterious Tybur family. It’ll be interesting to see how this new titan and group fits into the story going forward, but hopefully Isayama will plan for enough chapters not to rush this. We also found out that Zeke is going to attempt to conquer Paradis within a year – which seems to put a finite cap on the chronological end for the manga.

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Episode Focus: Fate/Apocrypha 2, The Virgin Departs

It’s not really surprising that Fate/Apocrypha is still introducing things in its second episode. With 14 (15) servants and, presumably (?) an equal number of masters to try to show off before things really get going, I wouldn’t be surprised if episode three follows suit – nonetheless, this episode did a decent job introducing lots of new characters, as well as giving us a taste of the kind of action we can expect going forward.

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We see a little more of Ruler to begin with before rejoining the two factions who take turns in introducing themselves. The Black team do a full (and quite convenient) set of introductions led by their overly bubbly Rider.

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Episode Focus: Classroom of the Elite 1, What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness.

Comedy, school, romance. Three genre tags that offer a whole lot of potential, but equally can make for a complete waste of a studio’s budget. Because of this, I had no idea what to really expect from Classroom of the Elite (Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e). After seeing that before this show started I didn’t really know what to expect. An optimistic bit of me saw a grumpy but intelligent male lead and an equally aloof female and thought maybe this would be some kind of reworking of Oregairu. Episode one has started to clear some of the fog from this season.

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Ayanokouji has just started high school, Koudo Ikusei. In fact, it’s the best high school in Japan. Down side is, our male lead made a hash of his entrance exams and ends up in class D. Initially, this doesn’t sound like a massive problem with everyone in the class being given an allowance of 100,000 yen and access to the same facilities as all of the other students.

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Getting a ‘bad end’ and trial and error in visual novels

The release of Fate/Apocrypha has put me in a very Fate mood recently. As a result, I was inspired, over the weekend, to go back to the Fate/Stay Night visual novel. I’d got hold of it this time last year, but at the time I didn’t get far passed the prologue. This time, I got a little further, and discovered a new facet of the gameplay: the ‘bad end’.

All things said and done, I can think of five visual novels that I’ve had experience with. Out of those, one didn’t have any decisions, three are largely linear (though there might be some deviation if I keep playing, though I’m fairly sure there isn’t) and then Fate/Stay Night.

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The workings of the Fate VN will need no introduction to most familiar with the series so I’ll keep this section brief. The VN is split into three routes: Fate, Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel. On the face of it, these three routes fit in largely with the three heroines of the tale: Saber, Rin and Sakura, though in truth there is a lot more to it than that. The game doesn’t allow you to play the routes out of the order above and as such the game gets progressively darker as you play each route. But I digress.

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Episode Focus: Fate/Apocrypha 1, Apocrypha: The Great Holy Grail War

Yes, this article is a thing. After my last article it might seem odd that I’m here writing this, but all I can say is I made a decision and the result is you guys get weekly reviews.

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And frankly I’m glad I watched episode one of Fate/Apocrypha this week. For those of you familiar with Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, I wouldn’t rate this as highly as the first episode of that, but I would say that this has got of to a great start, particularly for fans of the franchise.

Continue reading Episode Focus: Fate/Apocrypha 1, Apocrypha: The Great Holy Grail War

Netflix to stream Fate/Apocrypha outside of Japan on November 7th

Fate/Apocrypha is one of the bigger anime set for release in Summer 2017, but if you live outside of Japan, you would be better of considering it a Fall 2017 anime. The reason for that you ask? Netflix got the rights.

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Before I go into full rant mode, let me just fill you in on some of the other details of this anime. Fate/Apocrypha is set in a parallel universe to Fate/Stay Night and tells the story of how, after the third holy grail war (that is the war before Kiritsugu Emiya and the events of Fate/Zero) the greater grail is stolen, leading to an attempt by the Mages’ Association to reclaim it. A seven on seven greater grail war ensues between two factions. For the original source material, you’ll need to learn Japanese or find some fan translations of the five volume light novel series.

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Episode Focus: Tsuki ga Kirei 12, And Then

For a relatively simple anime, I felt there were several ways this final episode could go and, thankfully, the writers got all of the decisions spot on.

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We’re not left with any suspense at the start of this final episode – Kotarou failed his entrance exam. Unsurprisingly, he’s pretty dejected but initially it seemed as if all was going to be okay. The first five minutes of this episode epitomised for me just why the show generally has been so good: for both parties involved, it would be the natural response to try and put a brave face on this sad event, but inevitably (this is a relationship between 15 year olds, remember) things don’t stay as positive for all that long.

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The two ways to adapt manga into anime

I can imagine for many people outside of the anime and manga community, it would be easy to assume that when adapting manga, a format that tells it’s story mainly through images, that there is little room for manipulating the content in an anime adaptation. In this article, I want to use the example of two mainstream anime that have been adapted from highly successful manga in very different ways. I’m not aiming to particularly share my views on how successful these adaptations are generally, though I will inevitably touch upon my personal opinions of the quality of each adaptation.

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So what are these two ways of adapting manga into anime? And which examples will I be using. The first is the one I alluded to at the start of this article – that is that the story is taken aspect for aspect from manga into the anime. The second is where key points of the plot, including ending, character defining moments and essential events, are maintained, while other parts of the story are altered to be more effective in the anime medium.

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For the first method, I’ll be looking at chapter 42/episode 31 of Attack on Titan. If you don’t mind though, I’m going to start with my second example first: Tokyo Ghoul chapter 120/episode 19.

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Thoughts and ramblings on anime, manga and visual novels