Boy, was that a rollercoaster of an ending. Also — Happy New Years!
I’m not quite sure how to attack a post like this since there’s a lot going on here and I’m not sure how I feel about all of it. As a whole, I think Apocrypha was a fun experience that did a spectacular job at setting it apart from the other offerings in the Fate series. With its story taking a drastically different approach on what it means to have a Holy Grail War, it was rather interesting to see what happens when you try your hardest to break the rules of the game. Sure, I don’t think there’s ever been a Holy Grail War where all the participants have been playing fair, but I don’t think we’ve seen it done as blatantly as we did in Apocrypha. Between Darnic and Shirou, there were so many shenanigans going on that you’d be hard pressed to find a time where someone wasn’t completely breaking the rules.
Overarching story aside, let’s move onto the characters or rather the one main character who ended up making it to the very end. A homunculus who didn’t even enter the show until a few episodes in, it’s rather amazing to see just how much Sieg has grown since he first busted out of his glass tube. Starting off as an unremarkable kid who I could barely sympathize with, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t see him a bona fide hero by the last few episodes. If I had one complaint about his character though, it would be just how hard the story tried to force him into the heroic role. Besides having the heart of a dragon slayer literally inside of him, I started to grow weary whenever Sieg would talk about living up to the ideals of Siegfried. Not in the sense that I didn’t enjoy that he looked up to Siegfried, but rather the fact that the idea started to lose its luster since he brought it up so much. Minor gripes aside, I’m glad that Sieg got the opportunity to selflessly save the entire human race. Flying off into the sun as Fafnir holding the Greater Holy Grail, I don’t think there could have been a better way for him to finish his story.
Switching sides to Jeanne, I don’t really have all that much to say. As another main character who the story focused on a lot as we passed the latter half of the story, I was glad to see her grow as a person as well as find the resolve to believe in herself until the very end. I won’t go into the obviously cringey moments whenever she tried to “romance” Sieg since it’s clear that even Jeanne didn’t know what she wanted, but there is some closure knowing that the two managed to figure things out at the very end.
Main points aside, a Fate show ain’t a Fate show without some awesome Servants and I think Apocrypha definitely delivered in that department. With both factions having some great fighters and some blurring the line between just who or what they were fighting for, there was always enough there to keep things flowing as the story tried to tell Sieg’s story. For me though, I really liked the diversity in the Servants and just how wide the show went with what eras they were going to pluck people from. That and it was a blast to see whenever two Servants would bring up their history with one another.
Last but not least, let’s touch on Shirou real quick. As the last bad guy who was defeated right at the end, I wish we could have gotten more on him. As touching as his final scenes with Semiramis were, there was definitely something missing that could have made the scene an emotionally powerful one. That said, thinking back on Shirou’s exploits and all that he did to make it as far as he did, there was no way you didn’t at least feel a little remorse for him.
Overall, even though it had its stumbles and awkward moments (those blown out sound effects whenever swords clashed still haunt me), Apocrypha turned out to be a fun show in the Fate universe. It may not have been everyone’s cup of tea and it’s probably impossible for most people not to compare it to what ufotable has made, but if you go in with an open mind and the right expectations, I’m sure you’ll enjoy what you’ve found.
Before I head out though, let me express my gratitude for everyone who’s stuck around for these posts. It’s been (mostly) a blast going through the comments and I hope you guys will swing back once the next season of anime starts! Anyways, Happy New Years and see you later!