Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m going to review an anime I’ve been following through its two season run: Fate/Apocrypha. As usual, I will do my best to keep spoilers to a minimum, both for Apocrypha and the other Fate/ anime I’ve watched. But I’ll definitely cover the premise of the story!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Fate/ series, there’s a general structure to the conflict taking place. Seven mages, called Masters, each summon Servants – heroes from throughout time, but mostly from the past – to fight on their behalves. They battle each other until only one remains to claim the prize, the Holy Grail, which grants the winner a wish.
The catalyst for Fate/Apocrypha is a mage faction called Yggdmillenia, which breaks off from the rest of the Mage Association and claims ownership of the Grail. In their efforts to retrieve it, the Mage Association eventually manages to activate a scenario where Servants are summoned again – but, this time, there are fourteen of them. Two factions, each with a member of each of the following hero classes: Saber, Lancer, Rider, Archer, Assassin, Berserker, and Caster. The seven Servants of Black fight for Yggdmillenia, and the seven Servants of Red fight to regain the Grail for the Mage Association. Of course, this creates fourteen masters, too. However, due to special circumstances, the viewer never meets all of them.
I won’t list all the servants present in the battle, but just to give you a taste, let me name a few of the better known ones: Achilles, Frankenstein, Shakespeare, Mordred, Vlad III, and Jack the Ripper.
In addition to the fourteen Servants, the Grail summons a fifteenth spirit, Jeanne d’Arc, who is of the Ruler class and is to serve as an arbiter for the battle. There are rules to be followed; specifically, those who have nothing to do with the Grail War are not to be involved. Jeanne quickly finds herself in over her head trying to enforce that!
I won’t go deeper into the story than that except to say the primary protagonist isn’t a Servant or a Master, but a homonculus who the viewer meets in the first few episodes. If you like action, fantasy, drama, or mythological lore, I definitely recommend you check out the series, though I should mention that the Fate/ franchise isn’t afraid to interpret heroic spirits as the writers see fit.
I really enjoyed Fate/Apocrypha. The main characters undergo great development throughout the story, and there are plenty of intriguing characters to become attached to. The downside, in this case, is that there are so many characters that there’s no time for all of them to last very long. I became fond of several characters who died quite early, and that was a bummer!
One of Apocrypha’s themes is the salvation of humanity, like in many of the other Fate/ anime. The cast offers a varied selection of viewpoints regarding that topic, which makes Apocrypha fun to watch for me since I like delving into philosophical subjects. In the end, I wasn’t entirely certain which side to root for – a sign that the writers did justice to all sides of the argument.
Personally, I don’t really watch stuff just for the action scenes, but, for those of you who are into that, Fate/Apocrypha delivers spectacularly. There are many battles throughout the series – simultaneous battles of weapons, spells and ideas that kept me interested quite reliably.
Overall, I rate Fate/Apocrypha 4.7/5. It’s a super cool anime that gives you all sorts of reasons to get involved! The only caveat is I feel you’ll get the most out of Apocrypha if you watch Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works beforehand. The two are connected, and understanding how gives the viewer better insight into the characters.
Have you watched any Fate/ anime? (Or played any games?) If so, what did you think? I find the concept of writing a show involving a wide array of heroes from the past ultra intriguing. Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Ciao for now!