Fate/Apocrypha 08 (The Battle Begins)

Fate/Apocrypha 08
フェイト/アポクリファ episode 08

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis

Fate/Apocrypha 08Red Archer uses her Noble Phantasm to wipe out a large number of homunculi troops, though Black Berserker does manage to save some of them. Red Rider charges forth, slaughtering more homunculi troops. Back at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Shirou is worried, having had a vision of Ruler and knowing she’s on her way. Meanwhile, Black Lancer uses his Noble Phantasm to wipe out a large number of Dragon Tooth Warriors. Red Lancer arrives to challenge him, so Black Lancer goes all out. Red Lancer is not harmed and gives Black Lancer the chance to surrender. Black Lancer is not amused and figures he has the advantage since this is his land.

Fate/Apocrypha 08Red Rider’s chariot is halted by Black Caster, so Red Rider continues his assault on foot. When he encounters Black Archer, he is in for a shock as Red Rider (Achilles) discovers Black Archer is is former teacher, the centaur Chiron. Elsewhere on the battlefield, Sieg finds a wounded, female homunculus warrior and tends her injuries. She is won over to help him when she learns his goal is to free all of the homunculi. Back at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Shirou has Red Assassin mind the fort as he decides to enter combat and test God’s will. His Miike Tenta Mitsuyo sword has been enhanced by Red Caster to stand up to enemy Noble Phantasms.

Fate/Apocrypha 08Elsewhere, Red Saber is using her Riding skill to race the car Sisigou stole to the site of the battle. She’s upset that they missed the start of combat. On the battlefield, Caules is worried as he watched Black Berserker defeat Dragon Tooth Warriors. They flee, so she pursues them into the woods. On another part of the battlefield, Ruler finds herself surrounded by Dragon Tooth Warriors. In the sky, Black Rider flies to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, so Black Assassin has winged, bone creatures flight out to attack. Sieg and his companion infiltrate the Black Faction castle. In the dungeon, Black Caster finishes converting Red Berserker and sets him free to attack the Red Faction forces. Finally, Shirou confronts Black Berserker.

Thoughts/Review

From the inception of Fate/stay night, the conflict the parties engage in has always been called the Holy Grail War. However, this “war” is just between seven Masters and their summoned Servants. With Fate/Apocrypha 08, not only do we have fourteen Servants and subsequent Masters (however Shirou is working things), but the Black Faction has an entire army of homunculi and golems, while the Red Faction has an entire army of Dragon Tooth Warriors. This is what I call a war, amidst the usual Servant vs. Servant battles.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

Black Lancer vs. Red Lancer

We already know Black Lancer is incredibly powerful, both by his name (Vlad the Impaler) and by what we’ve seen him do to date. We also know Red Lancer is quite powerful by what we’ve seen him do to date. Based on Red Archer’s panic at seeing Red Lancer going into a trap, combined with how easily Black Lancer deflected her ranged attacks, I thought that it might be the end for Red Lancer. After all, these lands are Black Lancer’s territory, so he should have the distinct advantage.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

That said, I was glad to see that Red Lancer was even more powerful than we’d been shown thus far. I don’t remember if we’ve been given his name or not, but clearly, he’s top of the line. As Black Lancer pointed out, the issue for Red Lancer will be mana to sustain these powerful attacks and defenses he has. To be honest, I’d like to see Red Lancer win this one just because I don’t like the smug Black Lancer.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

Black Archer vs. Red Rider

We really didn’t have much of a fight between these two. Red Rider charged through the ranks of golems and homunculi troops, but didn’t attack Black Archer…yet. Black Archer did fire arrows from a distance, but Red Lancer was unharmed by these. Most of their time together consisted of Red Rider recalling his childhood as Achilles under the tutelage of the centaur Chiron (Black Archer) and Black Archer giving his former student one final lecture. Kinda boring, but we’ll see where it goes.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

Shirou Enters the Frey

While it is not surprising for me to see a Master enter combat with their Servant (Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night exhibited this quite a lot), Fate/Apocrypha has been different in that the Masters generally stay in a place of safety while the Servants and disposable soldiers do all the fighting. Sisigou would be the major exception to this rule and he and Red Saber act like a normal Master-Servant when it comes to how they’ve acted thus far.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

However, Shirou enters combat solo, leaving his Servant behind. With his Miike Tenta Mitsuyo sword having been enhanced to take on enemy Noble Phantasms, he seemingly has the power of at least a low-tier Servant. And I guess we’ll see how he does since he’s going up against Black Berserker. I would be sad to see Fran-chan die, but I actually kinda think Shirou might be strong enough to do it. Still, Shirou seems more keen on converting her to the Red Faction to make up for the loss of Red Berserker.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

I think Shirou’s motivation for entering the fight is Ruler. He’s seemingly been obsessed with her. He had Red Lancer attack her, but Black Lancer thwarted that. He had the trap set in the church, which I suspect was for Ruler. He’s had troubling visions about Ruler, so now he’s going to do something about it. But what is so bad about Ruler that Shirou fears her? She’s a neutral party, not taking sides. However, he already does appear to be cheating somehow, being the only seen Master for the Red Faction. So maybe he’s trying to break the rules in a desperate attempt to get the Grail.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Another busy week for me, so let me wrap up my review of Fate/Apocrypha 08.

  • The only humor in the episode came from Red Saber driving Sisigou across the field to the battle site. It made me really like Red Saber even more than before.
  • I was surprised that Sieg was more about helping the homunculi than anything else. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I just had it in my mind that Mr. Mopey would take his sword and fight alongside Ruler. Instead, he has a chick homunculus at his side.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

In the end, Fate/Apocrypha 08 actually makes the Holy Grail War feel like an actual war rather than a feud between some Masters and their Servants. I like that.

Fate/Apocrypha 08

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