Fate / Apocrypha – 01 (First Impressions)

Full disclosure to new readers: I have never played any of the Fate games, and my only exposure to the franchise’s anime was Unlimited Blade Works seasons 1 and 2. UBW was quite entertaining, but didn’t really leave me chomping at the bit for a spinoff that doubles the number of participants in the Holy Grail War.

Apocrypha is the spinoff we got, whether I asked for one or not, and it offers a decent soundtrack but bland masters (at least so far) who spend much of the episode sitting around in rooms talking after four minutes of heated battle. And even those four minutes, while exciting, only serve to emphasize this is not a ufotable anime, as is much less smooth and sophisticated in both character design and animation.

That’s…somewhat problematic right off the bat, as I’m already getting more than my fair share of fun knights-and-magic battle from MAPPA’s Baha Soul (empty calories and all) as well as Re:Creators (when it deigns to include action in its episodes, that is). Unbacked by the ufotable pedigree, this looks more to someone like me (who has only seen ufotable Fate) like, well, a poor imitation.

Take out all the familiar terminology like Holy Grail War, Servants, Masters, etc., and we’re left with a simply okay-looking magical fantasy drama that hopes to capitalize on the cache of the Fate brand. That may prove to be enough for passionate (or at least completionist) followers of the franchise, but I’m just not that enamored with the alternate King Arthur milieu to overlook this spinoff’s technical shortcomings.

Bottom line: this premiere told me a lot, but didn’t show me enough to warrant an enthusiastic dive into its 25-episode span. However, I may still tune in to see if a second episode can capture my interest.

Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “Fate / Apocrypha – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. In fairness, now that the necessary Holy Grail War exposition is out of the way, future episodes will be focused on character beats, fleshing out everyone, and ofc, lots more fights, so you may very well like the second episode a whole lot more than the first ovo/

  2. I see Fate, I hit like.

    Still, it’s entirely safe to watch it without prior knowledge so it’s fine (though you would obviously enjoy it more the more you know about it). I think it’s natural that first episode isn’t full of fights already (heck, I think Fate/Zero didn’t have one until after the 10th? I may remember wrong though, as I’ve watched it years ago). In my opinion, I agree that it can’t compare to the original Fate/Stay Night, but I really like Apocrypha (not only because it’f Fate, duh), but also because it takes a different approach to the normal battle royal setting, not to mention we have more servants, in particular the new class (I might be wrong, as my memory tends to fail me, but I’m 99% sure that it was introduced with Apocrypha)..

    As for the animation, Ufotable is simply the best for it, but as someone who watched the 2006 version, everything is good looking to me (jokes aside, every studio has its own style, and let’s say that DEEN’s one is by far the worse of all Fate… Carnival Phantasm and Prisma Illya, at least the latest ones, included… I still liked it though).

  3. Ufotable may had the animation bells and whistles but Studio Deen had the meatier and better executed story line with Stay Night. UBW was ponderous and self important with an inescapable contradiction at its heart. I did like Zero tho. I haven’t seen Apocrypha. What I’m looking for is a different context for the Fate wars as the players in the Stay Night/Zero are pretty much played out now.

    On a different and somewhat cheeky note, have a look at the Re:Creators 13th recap episode. Meteora’s fourth wall breaking commentary is a hoot !

  4. Well certainly agree about the graphic, it certainly a letdown for not created by ufotable. But story-wise, this is maybe the second of all fate series after Fate/Zero! (Fate/StayNight and UBW are focusing on main char’s personal matters, which is boring..while Fate/Illya is a pure garbage)

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