Fate/Apocrypha Episode 4: The Noble Sacrifice
To say, “Something is VERY wrong with this war”, is an understatement alright. It is only episode four, and so much is already happening. But the bigger question is what is going to happen to Siegfried?! The first episode shows us him fighting Mordred, so does that mean they forcefully re-summon him?! WHAT IS GONNA HAPPEN?! (Also his master is gonna be in so much trouble, he got knocked out by his own servant, and was already neck deep in the grave when he was caught and stopped by Darnic for wasting two command seals to force Siegfried to use his Noble Phantasm.)
What really stands out to me is how there’s more than a few Servants are actively rebelling against their masters. They do not want their will to be trampled, or to have to cast aside their pride for the sake of this farce they have been pulled into. It is probably why I have already grown so attached to many of the Servants, and have little to no interest in their masters as it currently stands, they are serving as the minor characters while their servants bask in the spotlight. I honestly can’t stay this enough, but my attachment to them is going to make it incredibly difficult to watch them fall, as I wish for nothing more than their happiness.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate Astofolo? I love him to death. He is willing to take all the risks to do what he wants to do, even it is means defying orders and causing problems among his own fraction. He was lucky enough that it was Siegfried who found him, because in the end, Siegfried was persuaded by his wish to help the boy, and most importantly, made the decision to sacrifice himself. It turns out that Siegfried’s wish was a simple one, he just wanted his own wish to be granted for once. He had always wanted to help someone by his own free will. And here, he had given the boy the greatest gift of all, the gift of life. He sacrificed himself by taking out his heart and donated it to the homuculus boy.
With the heart now in the mix, the boy who was no different than an infant who could barely walk had a growth spurt to an adult. He is now under the protection of Jeanne, who pledged she will watch over him. Alas, it took four episodes, but our main characters have finally met, and now all there is left is for him to be named.
It seems most if not all the servants (particularly the ones in the Red Fraction) are keenly aware something is gravely amiss in this war. We have heard from Red Archer and Red Rider how they have yet to meet their masters. Red Rider in particular is suspicious of this setup while Red Archer shares similar sentiments but is quietly observing the situation before making any general conclusions. We saw the same with Karna, who also, if I recall correctly have not met his master in person yet either. While we are aware that there have been masters like Sisigo recruited to fight, it does make me wonder, especially if this episode, if Shiro is stepping over bounds of his “supervisor” role by doing shady shit. Moreover, I am suspicious of the fact there are claims that the servants have been given the word to follow Shiro’s orders as well, making him co-master in a sense. (On the side note, it really does make the Red Fraction cowards, keeping themselves at a safe distance so they aren’t caught up in the war themselves. So as long as the Black Fraction can’t identify who the masters are, they won’t have a target on their back).
But perhaps this is where the differences in dynamic in each respective fraction will prove to be the most intriguing. The Black Fraction’s Masters more or less has a relationship with their servants, where the the Red Fraction, with the exception of Sisigo and Shiro, do not. It makes me curious to see how their opinions will develop as the war goes on. The Black Fraction as it is already has their shares of problems, mainly with disobedient servants who wish to follow their own will (namely Astofolo and Siegfried), and because of that, one of them have already fallen (on their own accord).
Just when the Black Fraction thought they were gaining an upper-hand by capturing Red Beserker to switch him to their team, they lose another, so really all they did was neutralize their losses, just a bit. I suppose the only gain is that they have two Beserkers on their side now, so they can use the one they had just captured and have them expend their noble phantasm instead of the other.
I think it goes without saying that we have to address the elephant in the room. And that, is of course the animation quality in this week’s episode. It had it’s ups and downs, but good lord… This was exactly what everyone was concerned about. Man, it was… ah. You know I don’t like being too hard on the animators… And let’s be real, Ufotable has some of the best combat animators in the business (though I must say Mappa is definitely hot on their heels). But you can’t sugarcoat this episode, some of the scenes were absolutely atrocious. The worst part was the best quality scenes came out at the very end of the episode, which is a real shame because yeah, while it was drop dead gorgeous and a lot easier considering they are more so of a still-frame rather than an active one, regardless it was a tough pill to swallow.
With so much happening already, it’s hard to believe we are only at episode four. It’s even wilder to think that this is going to be a 25 episodes series, so goodness gracious, just what kind of journey are we in store?!