「外典:聖杯大戦」 (Geten: Seihai Taisen)
“Foreign: Holy Grail War”

For a new Fate show that’s not being handled by ufotable, I must say that everything about this first episode was amazing.

General Impressions

Man, where do I even begin for this one? The animation? The story? The characters? There were so many good things going on in this first episode that it’d be tough to cover it all in one post. That said, for a show of this caliber, I it all deserves to be covered and let’s dive into it!

The Animation, The Studio, and the Story

I think the first major obstacle that Fate/Apocrypha needed to address was that it needed to separate itself from anything ufotable has made. Seeing how people literally associate the Fate anime with ufotable (except the original run by Studio Deen, but I love that one), I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard that A1 Pictures would be the one taking the series. Luckily, after the first two minutes, I think any fears that anyone had were quickly addressed. Combining the trademark “balls to the walls” animation style with a darker spin on the Fate universe that finally addresses how dangerous the Holy Grail War is, I think A1 managed to do the impossible and made something that might be even better than what came before.

Specifically, I loved how the story doesn’t make excuses about addressing the atrocities that occur when something as valuable as the Holy Grail is up for grabs. Seeing people get impaled without warning was surprising, but when you start to toss in things like human experimentation (homunculus experimentation) where there’s zero concern about the consequences, you have the foundation where crazy things can happen.

And don’t even get me started on how we get to have a Greater Holy Grail War where it’s essentially a huge 7 on 7 battle where we get to double up on all the classes for a battle of epic proportions!?

The Characters

So, even though we didn’t get Arturia as our main Saber (I was low key hoping we’d get to hear Kawasumi Ayako), I think I can collectively say for all of us that Mordred was a great surprise to see as The Saber of Red. Seeing how she’s essentially the Saber we all love, but with a slightly different sounding voice and a badass suit of armor, I think it was a good way of appealing to both old and new fans.

Besides Mordred’s amazing reveal, I was glad to see a lot of familiar faces from that one mobile game called Fate/Grand Order. With Jeanne d’Arc and Siegfried prominently showing up (did you keep watching until after the credits?) and a few other faces who you might have recognized if you paused, it looks like there’ll be a lot of interesting interactions to come.

Moving on to the Masters, I must say that no one except the main bad guy really stood out to me. That said, I think the story spent most of its time on the servants and building up the story (aka fleshing out the bad guy) so I’m hoping that we’ll quickly get to learn just what makes all of our characters tick.

Overall Impression

What else could I say here except that this was one hell of a first episode? With a slight deviation from the typical “Holy Grail War” formula that is highlighting the darker side of the Fate universe and a ton of characters to get us fired up about, I don’t think there’s much more we could have asked for.

In any case, I’ll catch you guys next week where the post won’t be atrociously late because of Anime-Expo. On a side note, you should also check out the Anime-Expo post when it comes out. See you later!


    1. @zztop: Thank you for that. I thought/hoped this was 2-cour because I can’t see how they could fit this in to one cour without it being a mess, but wasn’t sure.

  1. With Miyuki Sawashiro as Mordred and Maaya Sakamoto as Jeanne D’Arc, this show is hard to resist.
    I don’t know how it compares to Fate/Zero or the Heaven’s Feel route, but I expect a bit of tragedy.
    Hope Takaii and/or Passerby are ready for this two cour show.

  2. I’m digging the setup here, but this episode was far too exposition-y for me to count it as a home run. The Fate genre has always had a lot of awesome ideas, but frequently falls flat on executing them. Hopefully Apocrypha will manage to develop its multitude of characters well, but if nothing else it looks like we’re in for some awesome action scenes.

    I’m also rather glad I played Grand Order… helped out a ton with identifying some of the servants. Also, why did Caster’s golems look like battle droids from the Star Wars Prequels?!?

    Dr. Hochmeister
    1. Looks like I’m not the only one who noticed Caster’s worker golems resembling the B-1 series battle droids from the Clone Wars. Anyone else notice the parallels with Star Wars’ Clone Troopers as well? I’m referring to the Black faction’s magic-derived clone army (I can”t remember the proper name, homu-something) with mass-produced battle golems.

  3. So the bad news is that Netflix won’t stream until November 7. The good news is that Netflix isn’t streaming this until November 7 so a certain “unlimited” fansub group has risen from its grave to do this series justice.

  4. TBH, I’m kinda worried. The pacing was a little faster than I expected, though of course that’s because I’m used to having a full hour 1st episode courtesy of ufotable, and the fact that nearly double the characters from previous main Fate anime is here means Apocrypha may have a harder time building them up in a meaningful way. But still, this felt like a true Fate anime for me, so that’s a good start IMO. Hopefully it’ll stand on its own as a Fate anime, cuz I sure enjoyed this 1st episode despite those worries of mine. After what zztop said about Fate/Apocrypha anime having 25 episodes, I think it can do that.

    1. It does seem a little fast right now, but hopefully that’s just because it’s the first episode and they want to introduce everyone.

      As long as the story is faithfully told, I’m fine with it.

  5. It wasn’t Ufotable levels of visual quality (unfortunately) IMO, but one does get the impression that A-1 at least put some effort into this. So maybe not exceptional, but unless the budget runs out (and it shouldn’t) visual quality should at the least be good enough.

    Overall, I liked this. Definitely a lot of exposition going on and still much to go with all the characters and such. Still, easily enough here for me to be interested. I’m in for sure, and I think there’s quite a bit of promise with this story. Modred was a bit of a surprise, but I’m fine with that. I’m on “Team Saber” for FSN, but there’s also merit with introducing new servants as well. I think Kairi will work out just fine as character. Definitely a nice change of pace from the usual HS main character (though he’s really not the main character from what I can tell. More like a bunch of main characters). Darnic is right now serviceable as the main antagonist. He’s OK. As for the rest, can’t say at this point.

    Overall, Ep. 01 did it’s job. As an FSN fan, I was already looking forward to the show, and after Ep. 01 more so. One problem I might have with this is that while I played the VN a long time ago, watched Fate Zero & FSN/UBW anime, I’m not very knowledgeable about the Fate universe beyond that. Haven’t played the other games including Fate/Grand Order (mobile games are not my thing. I would play if a PC version (should have one IMO), but from what I’ve read, emulators don’t work that well. :/). I may have to do some background research here. Hopefully, I won’t spoil myself.

    @Takaii: Apart from the godawful CGI dragon bit, I actually liked FSN anime as well even if it’s not up to Ufotable standards.

  6. For me, it was a solid episode. Great intro with the fight. Storyline explained. Waver. 🙂
    I was actually hoping to see the part where Saber of Red got pissed off and blasted the thing that was used to summon her, which gave away her identity. Oh well.. seeing her saying “Are you my master” is cool too haha.

  7. If I was team red I’d have the British and Americans drop a few hundred nuclear bombs on Romania and end it.

    I would love to know why in a modern-day an army is fighting with swords not machine guns, automatic weapons, tanks, and field artillery with supporting air strikes. And for hard to hit fast moving targets full auto shotguns and 40mm grenade launchers. With two full auto drum magazine shotguns, you can sweep the weapons in on your target instead of trying to aim at them. Have a few with the weapons fire in a trained pattern and there is nowhere to dodge. Tank fragmentation grenade dispensers do the same thing. And Tank and Artillery cannister rounds make such a huge cone of shotgun plus effect it near impossible to dodge. Add in some Claymore mines and other tricks.

    Ok, will now turn my suspension of disbelief and enjoy the show. Love Star Wars but don’t get me started on military errors in the show.

    Why is the class Saber and not Warrior or something? Saber’s are designed for fighting on horseback, not a ground weapon. A rider would use a Saber and foot fighter would use a rapier or epee or in more primitive fighting a long, broad or another form of sword. Yes, Sabers work on the ground but in the superior modern sword styles the lunge rules and thus the straighter sword. Olympic fencing the Saber event only allows attacks above the waist as it originally was a practice style for calvery.

    1. it’s pride as a magician i think, that’s why in fate/zero kiritsugu not well liked on magician community….he even blow up the whole building with bomb just to kill lancer’s master hahaha
      viva science!

    2. 1.The only relatively “modern army” there was the German army mentioned in the flashback. Were you talking about the bone/skeleton warriors vs the homunculi with polearms scene? That was a in-medias-res moment of the episode featuring the Red vs Black factions. Not a “modern army”as you put it.

      2. You see, the problem with your nitpicking the classes (Saber vs “Warrior”) lies with your perception of how swordfighting supposedly works (“superior modern sword styles” wtf; this is fiction man). For good or ill, Fate Apocrypha doesn’t run on your perceptions. Maybe read up on the tv tropes article/the fate wikia/or the f/go wiki for understanding why the class is designated as Saber. =)

      1. Well I know it is not a modern Army but why is it not a modern Army in the present day? The countries exist in the story and the countries have armies.
        But as I said suspension of disbelief makes the Fate stories enjoyable. I do wonder about the why not modern abilities and why governments are not involved but it not important to enjoy the story.

        I went to the sources and the reason for the term Saber is not explained their or on TV tropes. All the other classes are named after a type “The seven standard classes are the Three Knight (三騎士, Sankishi?) classes of Saber, Lancer, Archer, and the Four Cavalry (四騎, Shiki?) classes of Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker” from the wiki. If I asked a question which of the seven class names does not belong to people ignorant of the story the vast majority would pick saber because saber is an item while all the other names are of roles. Swordsman would have fit. Saber weapon is 17th century forward, funny that a character of the 5th and 6th centuries is named after a weapon that did not exist till much later.
        All I can tell is the term Saber sounded cool for a name of a character that does not even use one. And the class was named after the person, not the role.
        And I love the name Saber on the character and I like the story. My bringing up the discription is a curiosity still not answered by the Type Moon wiki or TV Tropes. But in no way would I tell anyone to avoid the story because of a point of curiosity or error from real life. I love Game of Thrones despite the lack of helmets when they should be worn. And I’m sure the historical based Vikings series is great despite the lack of wearing helmets that the historical people did wear.

      2. “The countries exist in the story and have armies.” -> this statement means you have clearly not have seen previous fate/-series, because if you did, you would remember it’s a cardinal rule for Magi to keep the existence of magecraft and magic a secret from society (remember why Lancer tried to kill Shirou twice in main storyline of F/SN (episode 1)? He was making sure that Shirou, someone he previously thought of as a normal person, wouldn’t spill the beans, as per orders of his Master). Normal people do not know Magecraft and Magic exist in the Nasu-verse, and the Magus Association keeps it that way.

        As for the Saber naming dispute, I concede you do have a point semantics wise, but I guess Nasu went for rule-of-cool.

      3. Yes, the other fates do claim a secret war that I grant them under suspension of disbelief as in reality no secret that big last very long at all. And it is to boring to show how teams run around the world casting forget spells if they wanted to go Men In Black. A flaw of many a story that I let them get away with normally. I’d like a side story to show the in and outs of government interference but I understand why it dropped from the main plot.
        This one they stated that the theft of the Great Grail let the general public know about the Grail War and that many fake Grail Wars have been fought all over the world. On second viewing I noticed it was stated that the Germans were fighting other countries referring to the Real investigations that Hitler had into the occult. So yes there at least were the armies of WWII around. Clearly, in this story the Mages control the countries Romania, in particular, why not use armies.
        The fighting while cool was of the most disorganized barbarian type with the Armies. If you’re sticking with hand weapons at least with 60 years they could train to fight like some of the more advanced civilizations of the time. But rule of cool, they only show the Spartans fighting once in their shield wall disciplined formation that made them very tough in the movie 300. In 300 the rest of the time they show individual fighting that is cooler. I loved that movie.
        I love Star Wars. Light Saber is a cool name. But Light Saber’s don’t work like Sabers, they work sort of like double bladed long swords or Samari swords in fighting style. But a Light Saber cuts all directions so it really is not like any other sword and really should have its own name but that would not be as cool. Speculation is they are Plasma Beams to fit their behavior the fantasy is power source and the fact that they don’t light everything in the room on fire from the heat. But Plasma Blade not as cool sounding.

      4. Watch the episode again and again, and again, and AGAIN. Nowhere was it stated that the theft of the Great Grail led the OVERALL public (INCLUDING THE NORMIES) into the secret that Magecraft and Magic do exist, okay? What it means is that the Fuyuki Grail Wars became more known to the overall magus society and that they got to knowledge to enact their own grail wars all over the world once the secret to setting it up was known (if you’ve watched/read previous Fate works like Fate/Zero, the Fuyuki Grail Wars aren’t all that well known, labeled by most Western Magi as “that Far Eastern Magical Tournament”; even Waver Velvet [the long-haired professor with red clothes you see in this episode] in his student days had to read up on it in their library).

        Yes, the Germans helped one of the masters in the 3rd Holy Grail war with the theft of the Great Grail, hoping to use “occult artifacts” to help them win WWII, but that’s the point – they weren’t let on in the big secret of Magecraft – how it can be taught and reproduced by a system of learning (True Magic is different). After the disappearance of the Great Grail – they were left in the lurch (probably brainwashed into forgetting/killed to silence them). And thus the secret was kept secret. Even the Holy Church cooperates with Magi in keeping the masquerade, that’s why no one notices all the magecraft-related shennanigans going on in the setting.

        On Romania, when the exposition said “the Black Faction/Yggdemillenia controls Romania” – it doesn’t mean they have control of the state/government/how things are run in the country. What that means is that they set up shop there and prepared their resources under the noses of the normal people – just like what the Magus Association is doing in London.

  8. ……Waiting on Jack to get summoned, so hyped. Though finally seeing Jeanne animated was nice, hope it’s explained a little more than that after credits scene why she’s taking over a body?

    Thomas Wilson
  9. I’m actually surprised that there wasn’t as much character introduction as I expected for a first episode of Fate. The black faction’s looking pretty strong though. With their preparations, unity between masters and vast resources, I’d think they’re looking like a strong contender to win. On the other hand, the red faction has support both from Clock Tower and the Church. All but two of the red masters look like cannon fodder, but that’s probably cause they haven’t been properly introduced yet. They might end up being a real threat if they get some powerful servants.

    I wonder if Sisigo will be a primary main character, like Kiritsugu was. He’s certainly interesting though, and I look forward to seeing both his magecraft and him working with Mordred.

    Mellow Yellow
  10. Compared to the manga, the anime seems to be more focused on the story and drama, removing some of the witty banter and jokes. That’s fine with me, as long as they keep the tone consistent.

    Also, I like how they are not afraid to show the more violent parts of the fights.



    1. Them mages are lucky the impaling was done fast style not execution style like Vlad the Impaler did. You would not live long enough for the point of the stake to come out upper chest or shoulder. But having your arms tied and the stake shoved in your anus you would slowly die in extream pain as your body slowly forced the point up by your weight but the point probably did not get halfway up before shock killed most victims.

    1. Sorry dude, but Kairi is not the protagonist. He is more wild card character. You could kind of compare him with Waver in Zero as a character who is not the protagonist, yet he gets great focus. Anyway, the real protagonist will be introduced later.

  11. It’s quite an accomplishment that even with the different studio and artstyle, the essence remains the same when it comes down to recreating what they did with their Fate adaptations.

    The concept is really cool too with older masters who have to fight against eachother in factions. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with it.

    Over the weekend, I finally played Grand Order after it got to NA, and I’m digging it. I’m curious to see what role Jeanne plays since she’s one of the main 5 star pulls you can get.

  12. I wasn’t impressed by the flash over substance style of the in medias res opening fight, but everything after that I did like. It remains to be seen how it will do in fights that aren’t just teases, but the visual style is nice enough, and the animation team seems to have a decent grasp of how to show character and unspoken details through body language.

    I was afraid we were going to get a stiff exposition first episode, but I’m pleasantly surprised by how well they integrated the explanations with the dialogue and showing the background events that are buolding up the story. When adapting light novels heavy in exposition it’s always a concern that the anime will get stuffed with dull talks, but I didn’t feel it was the case here.

    They adjusted a few things to make it easier to bring up things in a natural fashion. Referencing the logistics behind the Yggdmilennia side and exposing some key details while following a chess match between Darnic and the Caster of Red is a good example of that, and likewise other details through the episode. It shows some care that they’re leaving some things to be understood based on observation when it would be really easy to just say what’s happening, like the hint of what Sisigo asked for advance payment.

    So I’d say that, despite my concerns, it was a fairly promising first episode.

  13. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Apocrypha/Fate%20Apocrypha%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2030.jpg
    poor random female enforcer.Wanted to see her abilities.

    So the Germans were involved with the Third Holy Grail war. Gee, I wonder what were the Americans doing at the time. Either way, would have wondered how modern soldiers can handle mages with magecraft.

    Is that really how Golems are created or did the animators just tried to make a short-cut.

    Anyway, I don’t know how long can Homunculi live for, but I am assuming that they all have short lifespans.

    1. Urobuchi designed two from all 14 servants (Spartacus and Vlad). They get the exact end, true to his style. Otherwise, story overall story is written by Yuichiro Higashide under the supervision of Nasu. Higashide himself is rather expert on chuuni style of stories, rather than Urobuchi’s Nihilism.

      1. There is not too much. We only know that, Illya was never born and with Grail gone, Einzberns decided to try create new one. Tohsakas gave up on Grail and decided to find a different way how reach root. Rin herself became founder of “completely new martial arts that combines magecraft and Chinese Kenpou”. Zouken became crippled from shock upon learning that Grail was stolen, and in this state he never managed anything more, so fate of Matous was completely shut. Sakura was instead adopted by Edelfelts and with her new “sister” she ended forming pro-wrestler tag team against Rin.
        Hard to say whether new anime shows anything from this.

  14. Nope.
    Frame blending and dodgy CGI. Lazy backgrounds.
    Why did A-1 had to helm this? why not White Fox? Hell maybe even SHAFT would have been a better option.

    A-1 is infamous for having wildly varying quality and their “b team” episodes are ghastly.
    I just can’t picture newer Fate adaptations done by another studio. Ufotable simply raised the bar too high.

  15. Wait a minute, the professor in the mage association explaining the greater grail to the blond student Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

  16. I actually hated this episode. I thought the fight in the start was a headache and the exposition made it like a generic fantasy anime.

    I love the fate series. I really do. But besides Mordred, I really don’t like what I’ve seen so far.

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