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.

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The opening scene appears to come from a future battle (or perhaps a past one?) with two Saber class servants as well two armies of mages and something akin to undead (but probably the golems we learn about later). This is possibly the weakest part of the episode as it seems quite messy and feels as if it was put together in quite a lazy way. All of the character designs (bar the two servants) look alike and we gain nothing from the scene apart from the knowledge that big battles happen and the two Sabers don’t particularly get on (but it is a war so I can’t imagine anyone is particularly surprised).

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The rest of the episode goes about setting the scene, but in a much more straightforward and comprehensible way. I will say there are moments that suppose you know certain things about the franchise such as when Shishigou attempts to second guess Belfeban and become one of seven masters in the Holy Grail War. It felt as if the moment it was revealed there would be 14 servants instead of seven on two teams was meant to be shocking, but would have probably been obvious to those familiar with Fate from reading the synopsis, while it would have probably been wasted on those who aren’t.

All in all though, this episode does a pretty good job of setting out the basic setup for what we’ll be watching. Two teams, seven servants, seven masters. Greater grail stolen after WWII by Romanians called Yggdmillennia. Homunculi power the team that stole the grail. The vast majority of this information is put across in an interesting, succinct and often dramatic way.

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Focus has always been given to the summoning of servants in the franchise and Apocrypha is no different with the final scene being devoted to the summoning of five of the fourteen servants in quite the ceremonial fashion. I’m not going to lie, I do love a bit of atmosphere, regardless of substance, and the summoning captures that perfectly: it just screams epic.

Lots more is hinted: the leader of the Yggdmillennia clan is at least a bit crazy and Jean of Arc appears in a post credit scene, as well as very briefly in the opening battle. With so many characters, this show could get complicated and done wrong it could be awful, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed until that problem hits us.

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What did you make of the first episode of Fate/Apocrypha? Did you like the way the scene was set or did it just feel like an info dump? And can the show manage a cast in excess of 30 characters going forward? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 😀

 

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2 thoughts on “Episode Focus: Fate/Apocrypha 1, Apocrypha: The Great Holy Grail War”

  1. It’s a decent start and I look forward to seeing how it is adapted.

    Technically the series opened with a scene before the in-media-res battle but the aforementioned opening scene is very spoileriffic if you know how it all ends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right it does. I think I left it out because of a combination of being lazy and not quite knowing how to describe such an abstract moment.

      Intriguing that it’s really important for the ending though…

      Liked by 1 person

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