Fate/Grand Order – First Order [OAV Review 1]

Fate Grand Order is a game you might have heard of that prominently features a drawing system for servants. They periodically release new servants and allow for draws like any card game might, daring you to play for an endless period of time in order to obtain rare servants. The Fate Grand Order OAV / OVA exists to summarize the story of the game, one which I was previously unfamiliar with. Grand Order serves as a great way to introduce yourself to the much more complicated entries in the series of Fate. While you might know of the original game and the subsequent storylines stemming from it the story does get a bit more complicated. With the release of Fate/Zero, a prologue of Fate from the demented and wonderful mind of the Urobutcher, the concept of bringing new more diverse entries into the animated series seemed more plausible. We even reviewed Unlimited Bladeworks here and the Heaven’s Feel Route will be getting a movie soon- so where does Grand Order fall to expand the universe?

The most prominent thing it does it really show there are mages and organizations that exist outside of the realm of the main Holy Grail War. The main story emphasized the Grail to the extent that it seemed like a small world, but this world features the organization that wants to ensure the survival of humanity for a hundred years. The OAV focuses on the protagonist, who is the placeholder main character meant to represent your part in the Grand Order game, and the demi-servant Mash. (Or Mashu, whichever way you feel like romanizing it) What seems like it might become a recruitment mission style anime really goes downhill quickly as everyone capable of being a master, and even the important leaders of the organization, are killed in a bombing. All except for the main character, who was deemed the most ordinary of the recruits and upset the Director, so he was kicked out before the bombing occurred.

Mash and the Protagonist (who is named Fujimaru) spend the entirety of the OVA getting into really exciting fights with dark Servants. Sadly, the best one really seemed to be the Medusa fight to me. The animation was so dynamic and by the time they fought Dark Saber it was reduced to dark Excalibur shots. The animation didn’t compare to Fate/Zero’s Excalibur use, but every fight was fairly interesting. When the big bad is revealed we see a character die without Mash or Fujimaru doing a single thing. .  .which felt completely out of place for them to react to someone they had been traveling with being killed, even tortured!

I wouldn’t recommend watching this if you don’t know much about Fate, because it takes a lot of the mystery and fun out of guessing who each hero is. They make each identity obvious and they basically shout the premise at you over and over, even failing to surprise you at all with the big bad. The animation doesn’t hit the quality of Zero or UBW frequently but it definitely managed to be pretty at times.

What it doesn’t do right: pacing, connecting you to characters – by the end of it I didn’t feel much for most of the characters.

What it does do right: It introduces you to the lore of demi servants effectively and opens the door for more complicated Fate works to be understood better. There are a lot of potential fate works that I think can be understood far better now simply by having the story explain, hey, a demi servant is a servant spirit combined with a human spirit. This gives a human spirit the ability to control all of the abilities of the servant while having the will of someone who might be more agreeable or more sympathetic to your plight. There are many reasons to support the idea but ultimately I can see how it might be difficult given the servant’s own reluctance.

Overall Fate Grand Order’s first OVA episode is harmless. It does nothing substantially wrong or substantially right. It doesn’t quite capture the nature of the Fate we are used to as the deaths definitely feel a little less awful than normal and there isn’t even horrifying morbid lore yet! However, I will continue to cover the OAV as it comes out because it has the potential to be mildly interesting and might potentially examine other facets of the Fate universe. For now, only check out Grand Order if you’re a die hard Fate fan and don’t mind sitting around for an hour and 20 minutes watching characters who are slightly generic.

But hey, Cu’s back, and he’s still sexy, so there’s that!




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4 Responses

  1. From someone who played this game since the release, I’d give this OAV a “meh”. Not that it was bad, but it sure wasn’t groundbreaking. If anything it did accomplish getting people interested in it. But even so, foreigners “AKA us” won’t be convinced to actually start playing the game even after watching this, because of mostly “Language Barrier” (the whole gacha-payment thing isn’t really an issue because I’ve been Free-to-play the entire time and I’ve managed to get a good amount of SR and SSR servants. Plus the company is actually more generous with feebies than most other app games I’ve played. They periodically set up mission events for all players to obtain a free-SR servant that you can max out its power with). Anyways, enough game-jargon. Like everything else this was made to convince Japanese customers to start the game. So I can see this being an issue for those who aren’t Japanese and are willing to wait for the next OAV when it probably won’t even come for another year.

    The issues I mostly had with this was moreover from the company producing it. Obviously they couldn’t drop this project on Ufotable because they’re busy finishing season 2 of Tales, and working on Touken Ranbu and the Heaven’s Feel movies for this year. If anything I kind of wish A-1 pictures did this (since they’re also animating the recently announced Fate Apochrya that’ll show this year!!) because they did a pretty good job with animating the commercials and opening for Fate Grand Order. But its more of a budget thing since the money to make this hour+ special came from the customers constantly pouring money into this game (one person in particular got a $3000? loan from a bank to roll for 5 copies of his “waifu” Aka” Cu’s teacher. Pretty dumb thing to do since they used their parents information to get the money.). So they could only afford using a “newer” animation company.

    But as the game’s story goes, it gets really good later on mostly due to the fact that Nasu didn’t pay much attention to it until after the popularity increased after the 4th chapter. Once London came around he started being more active with it and the last 3 chapters are widely hailed (including me) as some of the best stuff he’s written.

    Lastly, Fujiwara AKA “Gudao” was a little “too” self-insert. Mainly because the main duo characters are supposed to be self-insert, but the Japanese sure have a habit of….loving those types of bland people. Unanimously we all felt like Gudako (AKA the girl in the class with the orange hair) should have been the MC because she is…interesting to say at least. That girl is a force to be reckoned with all the chaos and zero fucks she brings. In the game Fujiwara was just as plain and the only memorable thing I can remember of him was that he and Robin Hood (who is male I might add) had sex with each other because they were trying to prove that Robin Hood could seduce anyone.

    Anyways: Here’s what an Ufotable Wickerman Looks like (from a collaboration CM, zero spoilers as the chances of this being animated is 0)

    If you haven’t seen any A-1 animated trailers, this is essentially why we wanted A-1 to be in charge of animation (no spoilers, just a 15 second CM show-casing the servants in the America Chapter)

    • Vantage says:

      As I understand (from my brief experiences with LLSIF JP) Western players should be able to download the .apk and access Fate/Grand Order through something like QooApp. Obviously it’s a greater time investment and a lot more trouble than something like downloading it from the App Store or Play Store the normal way, so you’re probably right in that this OVA was an advert targeted at future Japanese players.

      I’m never going to play this, though. I’m already sinking time into LLSIF EN and I’m also really scared that I’ll end up whaling for that lewd Servant voiced by Yuuki Aoi who I’ve heard came out relatively recently and is basically an in-game self-insert of her. I can sympathise with the guy who dumped money on Scathach, although it really was stupid of him to go as far as to get a bank loan.

      • Well I’m a western player and you’re right. That’s what I had to do (through QooApp). Originally I played it through an emulator on my computer but then they decided to get rid of those, which led me to take a break from the game for a few months. I decided to save some money up for a better phone (since 2GB Ram is the minimum to play this game without it constantly crashing) after finding out my one true husbando was getting released during a rate-up period (Ramses ii AKA the Rider from Fate Fragments of Blue & Silver LN AKA Gil’s twin). That was basically the only time I actually used money on this game. So glad after shelling over $200+ on a phone I was actually able to get him in 1 gacha roll. It made everything worth it lol.

        Anyways, as it turns out I went back to see how much the guy spent; the dude did a $5000+loan. While I can’t really judge how people spend their money (but going in the $1000s….let alone over $500 in a single purchase), the fact that he did it with his mom’s credit card without telling her is a huge no no. Also recently someone posted on twitter that they spent $3000+ to try and get 5 copies of Illyia (5 copies of the same servant maxes out their NP) and only got 1…..so yeah.

        If anything though, if more people over there are just whaling their money like that…..at least another OAV being funded isn’t out of the picture yet lol. Hmmm….Yuuki Aoi servant? I think you’re talking about Shuten Doji? Though she also voice Okita Souji in the game. Regardless both pretty solid servants and Shuten is the queen of enemy debuffs.

        • Vantage says:

          I know that feel. Whenever I get terrible (i.e. 1SR) rolls on LLSIF I often have to take a break from the game to get rid of all my salt. It doesn’t help that rates are pretty shit too (80% R, 15% SR, 4% SSR, 1% UR, and it used to be 9% SR, 1% UR before SSRs existed).

          I’m sure there’s endless debate in every mobage community (including Western mobages) over whether real money should be spent on in-game currency, and if so, how much. As far as I’m concerned, working adults should be granted the discretion to decide for themselves so long as they don’t spend irresponsibly. Loans would be an example of irresponsible spending, and theft (and it is theft if his mother never gave him permission to use her credit card) goes beyond that. I’m not all that surprised though, I’m sorry to say, given that there are many other stories of Japanese otaku fans doing extreme things like that.

          Shuten Doji! Yes, that’s it! Doesn’t she look identical to real-life Yuuki Aoi? Apparently they’re even the same height.

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