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« Fate EXTRA Last Encore – 09

Fate/EXTRA Last Encore – 10

「無限の残骸 アンリミテッド/レイズ・デッド」 (Mugen no Zangai -Anrimiteddo / Reizu Deddo-)
“Infinite Remains -Unlimited/Raise Dead-”

I’ve talked before about how Fate/EXTRA Last Encore has been either metaphor for heaven or purgatory, but from appearances it seems that the 6th stratum of SE.RA.PH is modelled after the frozen lake of Cocytus. I was asking for something big for episode 10 last week, and I guess the lowest circle of hell fits the bill. More relevantly for the plot, it’s also time to find out what the deal is with Rin (and by extension Rani). We’ve had a a string of revelatory episodes recently, our two supporters are the last big mystery left to be addressed. They are arguably the only characters who seem to know what’s going on, who seem to have a plan going forward, and who seem to have changed the most compared to their game incarnations (what with their newfound magical girl powers and all), and I don’t think I’m the only one who wants to see what they’re all about unravelled.

While Rin and Rani’s Last Encore incarnations are quite alien for those familiar with them from the original game (as I am), I imagine they must be even more so for those who have not played the game at all. For those of that number who are still following along, my commendations. I admire your perseverance in the face of an anime that was not made for you at all. It’s clear now that Last Encore is just an avenue for Nasu to play around with his old Fate/EXTRA ideas, with no regard to who may be watching. And the big idea behind Rin and Rani in Fate/EXTRA is that, ultimately, only one gets to live. In the game, Rin and Rani were ad hoc allies of the player who offered aid and comfort from time to time. they were indeed matched against each in a round of the Holy Grail War, and were perched to kill each other. The player can intervene, but can only choose to save one of them. The other eventually becomes an opponent in a later round, and the player has to kill her. It’s the classic visual novel diverging route, a choice that splits the story into two. In the grand scheme, though, this choice wasn’t actually very impactful on the plot, with the branching narrative reconverging quickly and the only lasting effect being whether Rin or Rani live to see the end.

In a way, Nasu seems to be questioning this route branch in Last Encore. The entire split is arbitrary. The only takeaway is that either Rin or Rani must die. Last week I talked about how Nasu is only really concerned about this thematic core, and here all the bollocks about getting Matrix-batteried is really just there to put Hakuno into a dilemma. Our protagonist zombie, who just recently grappled with the meaning of life, has to weigh life and death yet again. His natural instinct — to try to save them both — is hard to fault, but it is doomed to failure. If Hakuno really wanted to both to live, he could have just left them there, but that doesn’t really solve anything, does it? Similarly, in the videogame the only option to move on is to kill Rin or Rani. The only alternative is to literally put the game down. Stop playing it. Never advance. And that’s the way it is for the Holy Grail War. The only way to move forward is to kill your opponent, and Nasu always posited that as a morally justifiable action. His thesis is that life is more than existence, and therefore conflict is acceptable for progress, and peace should not be priced with stagnation. And it is in the arbitrary framework of the Holy Grail War, and the even more arbitrary framework of a videogame set up around a Holy Grail War, where the choice is clearest. No matter what, keep moving forward.

Ironically, this is as far forward as the Last Encore can move, for now. We’ve run out of air time. We have to stop at episode 10. We’ll be getting an episode 11… later, via the internet, but for now I guess we’re on hiatus. It may seem bizarre that we’re stopping here, but it’s just SHAFT doing SHAFT things. Anime production is a messy business, evidently. So let’s insert our bookmark here and put Fate/EXTRA Last Encore back on the shelf temporarily. While we wait, we can enjoy the new Spring 2018 anime season. I’ll see you all back here in a few months for the rest of Last Encore.

End Card

April 3, 2018 at 9:20 am
9 comments »
  • April 3, 2018 at 9:44 amzztop

    @Passerby : Anime production can be a messy, ugly business at times, especially when the production process is a chaotic mess from the start (I don’t think this is the case for Last Encore though).

    Marchen Madchen’s a prime example, which suffered severe drops in production quality throughout until it ended early with ep 10, its final 2 eps postponed indefinitely.
    Anime blog site Sakuga Blog claimed to have received insider info from a committee member, who said Marchen’s production was in extreme disorder since day 1, such as inexperienced production assistants, lack of manpower, indifference/tantrums from Studio Hoods’ CEO/anime producer Nagai Masaru, etc.
    https://blog.sakugabooru.com/2018/03/24/marchen-madchen-a-production-postmortem/

    Some excerpts:
    “By autumn 2017 we were already worried that the broadcast could be in danger, so Kitamura, as production assistant, came up with an outsourcing plan that was then rejected by the CEO for financial reasons. By late January, the CEO finally approved the subcontracting proposal, but at that point we were running so short on time that no studio was willing to take the offer. Even after that, the CEO planned to continue delivering unfinished episodes so as to make broadcast, but the distribution side forced us to postpone it for two weeks.”

    “(Ep 1′s externally-produced) key animation…turned out to require many complete retakes. The quality of the drawings for episode three was so low that the episode directors and supervisors had to correct essentially everything (this marked the start of the severe delays). Even the storyboards for that episode were late…since the original director fell sick, and his replacement was an assistant without any experience in episode direction.”

    As the production grew more chaotic, episode 7 ended up being broadcast without consulting the studio members about the credits (the animators at the studio were so occupied with episodes 6 and 8 that no one was available to act as animation director, so they had to resort to falsely crediting someone for the episode). As a result, (Kiyoshi) Tateishi [the only supervisor credited for episode 7] only corrected about 20 cuts – everything else was either fixed by the key animators themselves, done uncredited, or went through entirely uncorrected.”

    • April 3, 2018 at 8:46 pmPasserby

      Ha, yes, the horror stories are many, and I’ve heard that Marchen Madchen had its share. Increased reliance on outsourcing probably, if anything, makes it even messier. But I’m sort of used to management hiccups and production snafus by now, especially from SHAFT after following the Monogatari Series for so long. The joke used to be that their tag line was basically, ‘We’ll fix it for the DVD release.’.

  • April 3, 2018 at 9:57 amGreed

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20EXTRA%20Last%20Encore/Fate%20EXTRA%20Last%20Encore%20-%2010%20-%20Large%2022.jpg
    I never would have imagined that Tohsaka will get cloned one day. Poor Rani, she will never get her own route T_T

    http://randomc.net/image/Fate%20EXTRA%20Last%20Encore/Fate%20EXTRA%20Last%20Encore%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2001.jpg
    Anyway, I hope next season will answer some question. For example, who was the Hakuno that Alice met many years ago. Was it the female Hakuno or a completely different Hakuno.

    Next is will we see a certain Fox eared Caster? Find it sad that she never made her debut. Or maybe that Hakuno, that Alice had met, was the master of the fox Caster.

    Finally, who is Misao Amari? Is she some sort of secret boss? And how many floors must Saber go through?

    On the side note, I sometimes wonder what is Zelretch doing. How does he feel when observing all this.

    • April 3, 2018 at 8:36 pmPasserby

      It’s implied that all the flashbacks we see are actually that of Female!Hakuno, but of course Male!Hakuno remembers it as if he was the one there since he’s using Female!Hakuno’s memories.

      • April 4, 2018 at 10:55 pmTsuzurao

        I think a lot of the flashbacks are filling Hakuno in the place of various other Masters – the various Masters whose grudges make up the Hakuno we’ve been following. Remember that some of those flashbacks have included Hakuno as Masters who died (like the one left hoisted on a spear, or the one that’s chased down by Robin in the medical wing).

        Plus, we know that Nero was the Servant used by female Hakuno in the past, and yet we saw male Hakuno with a distinctly different Servant in the fight where Dan and Robin first lost.

  • April 3, 2018 at 12:07 pmTheVoid

    It wasn’t completely doomed to failure. As Rin points out Hakuno couldn’t save Rani because she’s different from normal humans, but it only failed because he helped Rin first. If he had chosen Rani and tried to save Rin it would have worked because Rin was a normal human. The chances of failure was 50%, but he had no idea of this when he went in. The sad reality if he only knew more about Rani’s origins things could have ended well.

    • April 3, 2018 at 8:30 pmPasserby

      I don’t know much about the homunculi mechanics so I don’t really understand why the order matters, but even then Hakuno needed to kill one of them to move up. Rani just conveniently made the decision for him.

      • April 4, 2018 at 3:28 pmTheVoid

        The one he choses first is considered the victor by the Moon Cell most likely, thus it tries to terminate the other. Remember they and the Moon Cell only tried to determine victory through death if the other. He tried to go for a third option. Servants and or masters suurviving termination isn’t as oddity as one of Extra’s Berserkers, CCC Master, and Tamamamo in Extella’s backstory did.

  • April 3, 2018 at 10:59 pmTenryuuVan

    And so Rani fades back into the obscurity, because she hasn’t appeared in any other fate product other then the Extra series.

    Tamamo is still nowhere to be seen but she might have a chance of appearing still Show Spoiler ▼