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?!

 

Eva

Blogging Anime since Summer 2009, & Founder of AngryAnimeBitches Anime Blog

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4 Responses

  1. Neko chan says:

    the homunculi’s name is Sieg

  2. Wilfredo Sifr Starduster says:

    Oh my god, it’s only been 4 episodes in and this show is already on the brink of falling apart…

    This episode certainly had more negatives than positives. One thing was officially confirmed: The Red Faction Servants & the Black Faction Servants will NEVER be fully assembled. Why? Let’s start with the Red Faction: Mordred & her Master Kairi were going solo from the start because they couldn’t trust that shady priest, while Spartacus was more of a liability than an asset because he recklessly charged into enemy territory and was captured WAY TOO EASILY by his “oppressors”, honestly why his Master even summoned him in the first place when he’s a trash-tier Berserker (especially when compared to Lancelot & Heracles) that couldn’t obey even the simplest orders?? The situation of Black Faction was even simpler: Jack the Ripper STILL hadn’t arrived yet and Siegfried died for the stupidest reasons.

    OH DEAR GOD SPEAKING OF THE “DRAGON SLAYER”… That’s why Siegfried was being called “Sumanai-kun” (Mr. “I’m sorry”) and was treated as a meme throughout Fate/Grand Order. First, he SHAMED the other Saber-class Servants by being the FIRST out of the fifteen Servants who died during this Holy Grail War (given how Saber-class Servants were always notable for their survival until the final days of the previous Holy Grail Wars). Next, his “heroic sacrifice” was incredibly dumb & hilarious it would make even Kiritsugu & his adopted-son-turned-Counter-Guardian laugh their asses off. Furthermore, I felt that Siegfried’s backstory should’ve been revealed in THIS episode instead of the previous one, that way Karna’s debut fight wouldn’t be too short to the point of being not memorable. The only thing I felt pity for him was that his Master Goudes was a moronic fatass he showcased high levels of mental incompetence by wasting two Command Spells to force him to unleash his Noble Phantasm Balmung even though there’s no guarantee that it might even scratch Achilles and the resulting impact might’ve killed Frank-chan on the spot. (Yes, Achilles’ defensive Noble Phantasm “Andreias Amarantos” grants him protection from non-Divine attacks such as Balmung. Chiron was able to damage Achilles due to his own Divinity, though.)

    As for the fight… Man did they burn most of the budget for the short (but foreshadowed) fight between “Siegfried” & Mordred during episode 1? Because the fights so far were deprived of any tension & urgency, which didn’t help with the animation being very static most of the time. At least they dragged it out a little here compared to the Karna vs Siegfried fight, but Vlad & Astolfo (along with Avicebron’s golems) were able to subdue Spartacus with little difficulty and the Atalanta & Achilles vs Frank-chan & Siegfried fight was just static. Even the OST was bland it didn’t hype up the tension until Chiron started firing arrows from afar to assist his allies in driving off Atalanta & Achilles.

    Now I’ve revealed all these negatives, let’s move on to the positives. First, ASTOLFO was an absolute champion here. Not only he protected the homunculus boy as much as he could, he paved an escape route for him and even stood against the lame “Dragon Slayer” and fired back words at this rubbish Sumanai-kun; above all, he even wept for the (short) demise of the homunculus boy he tried so hard to protect. Honestly out of the fifteen Servants, he’s the only one that grew steadily on my polls so far. As for the Red Faction, goddammit they sure had the hottest bitches aren’t they? They had the Treacherous “Knight” MOEdred, the Elvish-Queen Semiramis & the Cat-Goddess NYAAtalanta.

    Now that the homunculus boy was given a new life he’ll be under Jeanne’s custody and observe the Holy Grail War as a bystander until it concludes… Well no, scrap that, given how the very first minutes of the first episode already revealed us the (potentially) true ending of this show, I bet they’re aiming for a repeat of the Shirou X Saber “romance” in DEEN’s F/SN Fate route adaption and it’s not a good omen.

    • babibola says:

      let me clarify about “sumanai” meme..

      its not correlate with this but more game mechanic in FGO..

      siegfried is saber class with abilities dragon slayer that will give bonus damage to all dragon kin..

      but, almost all dragon enemies is rider class, so its like wasted buff..

      so in the fandom, that’s why siegfried call sumanai-kun..

  3. Wilfredo Sifr Starduster says:

    “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?!”

    Mordred did leak a hint on how the “Siegfried” she faced is a fake in episode 1, but the rest are gonna be massive spoilers.

    “We have heard from RED ARCHER and RED RIDER how they have yet to meet their masters.”
    “Just when the Black Faction thought they were gaining an upper-hand by capturing RED BERSERKER to switch him to their team”

    Please refer to them with their names: Red Archer is Atalanta, Red Rider is Achilles and Red Berserker is Spartacus (whose stupidity cost the Red Faction one Servant for no reason). Actually, now that all the Servants’ identities have been revealed, I’ll just list them out:

    Ruler – Jeanne

    Red Faction:

    Saber – Mordred
    Lancer – Karna
    Archer – Atalanta
    Rider – Achilles
    Berserker – Spartacus
    Caster – Shakespeare
    Assassin – Semiramis

    Black Faction:

    Saber – Siegfried
    Lancer – Vlad the Impaler
    Archer – Chiron
    Rider – Astolfo
    Berserker – Frankenstein’s monster
    Caster – Avicebron
    Assassin – Jack the Ripper

    Out of both factions, it’s obvious that the Red Faction has vastly superior Servants. Karna & Achilles are both top-tier Servants above anyone else from the Black Faction and even their own Red Faction in this war; besides their base stats, they have absurdly OP Noble Phantasms (such as Karna’s blazing spear & Achilles’ immunity to non-Divine attacks) to pick from and they’re all ahead of what the Black Faction Servants can afford. The ones capable of stalling them or fight them are Siegfried (due to his Armor of Farnir), Vlad (due to his fame boost in Romania) and Chiron (because he’s among the few who can actually hurt Achilles), but overall they still don’t put up much of a fight. But when it comes to interactions with their Masters and supplying the Servants with mana via alternative means (a.k.a. sacrificing the homunculi), Black Faction wins on a landslide (no thanks to Shirou’s shady nature putting Kairi off and made him decided to go solo with Mordred).

    “On the side note, it really does make the Red Faction cowards, keeping themselves at a safe distance so they aren’t caught up in the war themselves. So as long as the Black Faction can’t identify who the masters are, they won’t have a target on their back.”

    You seemed to ignore how those Masters were already hypnotized (and brainwashed) by that shady priest Shirou (due to Semiramis’ incense) early in the previous episode. And given that Semiramis was notorious in assassinating people with poisons, it wasn’t really surprising.

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