Fate/Extra Last Encore – 01 (First Impressions)

After an appropriately intense prologue in which a red Saber is magnificently defeated by what looks like some kind of golden deity. She starts falling and her eyes meet those of a dying girl—perhaps the female version of our protagonist (in a different life). Like Bakemonogatari or Madoka Magica, Shinjo starts things out loud and brash.

Things tone down a bit (or possibly reset), as we settle into a more-or-less ordinary high school class. There, familiar faces abound as our protagonist, Kishinami Hakuno, has interactions with Matou Shinji, Toosaka Rin, Matou Sakura in short order.

These faces are familiar, but the setting is strange, and there are constant flashes to a darker, more sinister reality lurking beneath the bright top layer. Kishinami can sense the death, and he questions what anyone is doing in this place, or why it even exists.

When he goes against a teacher’s warnings and approaches “Limbo”, the incinerator in the bowels of the school, he gets a fresh lecture from a bespectacled teacher. This is indeed an artificial paradise; a “digital hell” made in the image of heaven. He calls it a “Moon Cage”, where those with Master compatibility are sent.

Once the number of potentials reaches 100, there is a purge, and only the strongest selectees survive. An already disoriented Kishinami is quickly stabbed in the back by Matou Shinji (I guess he’s a jackass in any reality!) and as he starts to bleed out, an army of terminators starts mopping up the losers.

But Kishinami refuses to die, not without “vengeance” or “bliss, ” and presumably, not without more answers. As he’s chased by some kind of stone golem, he makes it to Limbo and falls in.

When he’s at the bottom, he finds a red sword waiting to be plucked…some version of Excalibur? His would-be destroyer is breathing down is neck, but Kishinami reaches and grasps the sword in time, summoning the servant Saber, who cleaves the foe in two in a sumptuous display.

By choosing to fight rather than simply run or survive, Kishinami seems to have earned the favor of the most powerful of Heroic Spirits, and a chance at an “encore” to attain vengeance for his plight and the bliss of victory—and Kotomine Kirei seems to be rooting for the kid, in his way.

Hmm…I found this a fresh an interesting twist on the Fate formula, going virtual and combining advanced Matrix-esque technology with the more low-tech history of the various servants. The Holy Grail would seem to be, at least in part, release from all of the layers of virtual prisons; a “true freedom”.

Akiyuki Shinbo directs this much like Bakemonogatari and Madoka, juxtaposing epic spectacles with mundane daily life and not afraid to let things get a bit trippy. While I would like to see a little more humor infused in the proceedings, I understand the need to establish this world with a straight face. Let’s see where this leads.

Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

One thought on “Fate/Extra Last Encore – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. It is I, resident Fate person Scarfy!

    And I’m in for this wild ride with you, because while this is something of an adaptation of the game Fate/Extra, pretty much only the basic skeleton and the characters are the same. Everything else is different and I well and truly have no idea what to expect, besides yeah there sure does seem to be a lot of indications of time loops.

    As Kinoko Nasu (creator of the Fate series, writer of Fate/Stay Night, co-writer of Fate/Zero, wasn’t involved with Fate Apocrypha so that’s why it wasn’t that good) wrote on his blog for this:

    “Today is the day EXTRA anime finally starts.
    I am taken aback because it took long to get here, but when I look back, there were only happy things.
    I’ve been blessed with several animations so far, but this is the first time it’s not an “anime adaption of a game” but a “book I wrote to be animated”.

    “You can go wild with your taste. Do what you want”

    These words that were said to me in the 2nd meeting are the base of “Last Encore”.
    (And this is how I got my engine running, but since I have no experience with writing anime scenarios, I wrote the source novel-ish book for “Last Encore”, and had Sakurai-san help me adapt and adjust that into anime scenario format.)

    Through “Last Encore”, I tried to make it something that feels different depending on whether you know the premise.
    For the people who will watch this anime as their first “EXTRA” experience, I want this to be the starting point where they become interested in the original game and the comics (5 volumes in total, on sale from Kadokawa!)
    For the people familiar with the original game, I want them to go “What…?” at the differences.
    So people can have fun playing EXTRA after watching the anime, and people can have fun watching the anime after playing the game.
    I hope we made something that can be enjoyed both ways.

    No matter how much your form changes, no matter how much time passes.
    If the soul in the core is the same, then the conclusion will always—

    … enough with blabbering.
    This is the first time working on something big with SHAFT, but they were very patient with this troublesome project, sometimes surpassing my imagination with how wonderful they were.
    Thank you very much.

    So — I hope you will stay with us for one season.
    Please enjoy “a unprecedented Fate” by SHAFT.”

    Have fun figuring out the Servant identities they dun seem to be telegraphing them!

    Incidental thing of note is that the stone golem chasing Hakuno seems to be modeled after Archer EMIYA from SN.

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