Fate/Apocrypha 22 (All Your Art and Animation Belong to Us)

Fate/Apocrypha 22
フェイト/アポクリファ episode 22

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis

Fate/Apocrypha 22Red Archer transforms into a beast-like mode and viciously attacks Ruler. Meanwhile, Sieg has returned to himself, so Red Lancer waits and calls out Caules, who’s hiding in the rubble. He requests Caules save the former Red Masters. Caules agrees, if Red Lancer will let them go if he cannot defeat Sieg as Black Saber. Red Lancer agrees, so Caules rescues the unconscious former Masters. Sieg gets Red Lancer to state that he will take down Ruler if he defeats Black Saber. Hearing this, Sieg transforms again to battle Red Lancer.

Fate/Apocrypha 22Ruler holds her own against Red Archer, but Red Archer’s power keeps growing. Ruler is about to use her Noble Phantasm to defend against Red Archer’s next onslaught when Red Rider comes in and defends Ruler. He sends Ruler on, telling her he’ll handle Red Archer. Ruler leaves and Red Rider prevents Red Archer from following. Thus the two engage in combat. Ruler enters, where she’s greeted by Red Assassin. Red Assassin seems content to allow Ruler pass through, knowing Ruler will have to face Red Caster.

Fate/Apocrypha 22The battle between Red Lancer and Black Saber continues with fierce intensity. Sieg realizes he’s acting as a limiter to Black Saber, so he uses a Command Spell to negate that. In a class of Noble Phantasms, Black Saber’s isn’t enough. However, Black Rider enters with Red Rider’s shield. Using the Noble Phantasm power of the shield, Black Saber is able to defeat Red Lancer. Sieg returns and exchanges respect with Red Lancer, who warns Sieg that Red Caster will defeat Ruler.

Fate/Apocrypha 22Sieg races off, so Black Rider pays his respects to Red Lancer before Red Lancer dies. Black Rider then rushes off to help Sieg. Meanwhile, Red Archer and Red Rider have a fierce clash. Red Rider manages to land a killing blow, but not before some final arrows of Red Archer fall into his back. Red Archer transforms back to normal, including her sanity. She knows what she did wouldn’t help the children, but she had to do it anyway. Red Rider wanted to make sure she didn’t fall to darkness. She dies in his arms and he dies shortly thereafter.

Thoughts/Review

Fate/Apocrypha 22 would have been a really good episode, except that A-1 appears to have run out of money, resulting in laughable art and animation sequences during key battle moments.

Black Saber vs Red Lancer

When Red Lancer first appeared, he didn’t strike me as a very honorable person. I don’t know anything about Karna, the person summoned as Red Lancer, so I had nothing to go on but what I saw in his first appearance. He seemed like a bloodthirsty Servant, keen only for battle. Yet in Fate/Apocrypha 22, he does show how honorable he is.

Once he became Shirou’s Servant, there was no reason for him to really care about the former Red Masters. Yet he asks that Caules save them. So he acts with honor there, and because he’s Shirou’s Servant, he also acts with honor in not joining the Black Faction. I liked that.

Not sure how Sieg will survive going forward, having transformed into Black Saber twice and having used a ton of power. Black Rider is still there, but dependent on Sieg’s magical reserves. And Black Rider does have Red Rider’s shield, unless that has disappeared when Red Rider died.

Red Rider vs Red Archer

I didn’t see this fight coming in a million years. However, here too, we have Red Rider acting with great honor on two fronts. First, he respected Black Archer’s request and did lend a Noble Phantasm to Black Rider.

The second act of honor was him fighting Red Archer to keep her from falling into evil completely. I don’t think I mentioned this, but Red Rider always addressed Red Archer as “ane-san.” The word “ane” is another word for talking about one’s sister, but the use of “ane-san” is not used from what I understand, save for yakuza. It is their way of showing respect for female yakuza members. As such, this is an interesting way for Achilles to show Atalanta great respect.

Red Archer and Red Rider always seemed somewhat closer to each other than to the other members of the Red Faction. However, after her sanity was restored from Red Rider’s killing blow, I guess they not only respected each other, there was a hint of romantic love between them. The moment would have been rather touching, where the art/animation not so hideous.

Ruler

So Ruler appears to be walking into a trap as the weak Red Caster is apparently able to defeat her. I know what Red Caster did to Black Berserker with his Noble Phantasm. I suppose that this will be what he uses to get Ruler distracted so he can get a cheap kill. However, I rather suspect that won’t happen as Ruler is clearly set up to be an end-game character, but we’ll see. I thought Black Lancer would be an end-game character as well.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Time to wrap up my review of Fate/Apocrypha 22.

  • I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears mentioning again as about 75% of Fate/Apocrypha 22 was horrible to look at. The recap for Red Archer transforming immediately reminded me of some episodes in Yu Yu Hakusho, where for a few episodes, the artwork and animation became laughably bad. I hope this bad art/animation doesn’t continue ’cause it ruined the fight between Red Lancer and Black Saber as well as the fight between Red Archer and Ruler, then Red Archer and Red Rider.
  • What the frack happened to Red Saber? She comes in for an attack at the end of the previous episode, causing Red Assassin to not kill Black Rider. In this episode, there’s no Red Saber, and Red Assassin is just casually sitting her her throne room.

In the end, Fate/Apocrypha 22 turned out to be better from a story perspective, thanks to the honorable actions of Red Lancer and Red Rider. However, the horrendous art and animation throughout most of the episode is so laughably bad, it ruins everything good about the episode.

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19 Responses to “Fate/Apocrypha 22 (All Your Art and Animation Belong to Us)”

  1. Ferian says:

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment here. For me, this is the single most visually stunning episode in the entire series. True, the art in the battle scenes is inconsistent with the series’ standard and often goes off-model even after accounting for that. But, regardless, I’ve found its expressiveness impressive. While some other battles may be more technically proficient, the scenes in this episode are inspired – A-1 had hired talented freelancers for those scenes and apparently given them more or less full creative freedom; and I strongly approve of the results. This episode is highly evocative of what we are supposed to be seeing – a battle to the death between heroes of old, legends incarnate; I have found most previous combat scenes to be lacking in gravitas or/and scale to really create that feeling. The scene where Vasavi Shakti is called on, in particular, credibly looks like the activation of an apocalyptic weapon from Hindu mythology that it is meant to be.

    Also, as a bit of relevant trivia, Nasu’s own opinion on this episode was, (citing his blog post about it) “I saw something terrific and wonderful”.

    Moving on, some comments on the story side of this episode:

    Firstly, here is a very informative post about the fight between Achilles and Atalanta:
    https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/type-moon-general.4892/page-2792#post-9775782

    Breogan says everything I’ve had in mind and more far better than I can hope to manage. He really gets those two characters, though his description paints a picture prettier and of better narrative quality than how it actually is in the novels.

    As for Karna, he actually becomes much more interesting if you know his legend – F/A is not his first appearance so Higashide has not given as much attention to properly introducing him as he probably should have. Suffice to say, loyalty and integrity are Karna’s defining traits, and this is especially true for his Nasuverse version. There is a lot I’d like to tell about him but it’s late enough here that I’m getting seriously sleepy. As an interesting and quite important detail, though, one of Karna’s skills is Discernment of the Poor – he possesses incredible insight about other people’s natures, their characters and motivations being laid bare to him with the briefest exchange. This is part of the reason behind his abrasive attitude – he does not (cannot, in fact) turn a blind eye to the ugly truths about the world around him.

    …And finally, on to the detail I had actually started writing this post to say – Astolfo does not have Achilles’ shield anymore; it has been utterly annihilated by Vasavi Shakti. The explosion that occurs in the background when Sieg deals the fatal blow to Karna shows this quite clearly in the anime, though it is not said outright.

    • Eight Star King says:

      Actually, the reason Akhilleus Kosmos disappeared was not because it was annihilated by Vasavi Shakti, but rather because Astolfo being able to use it was a one-time deal only. In all other circumstances, as in used by Achilles himself, the shield is something that can defend against virtually anything. To wit, this is what is said about it in side material.

      “to oppose this shield is the same as making the world your opponent”

      In that context, the shield is very much capable of defending against Vasavi Shakti since the latter is an “Anti-Divine” Noble Phantasm, meaning it mostly specializes in taking out those with divine heritage. Literally a God-Killer in a sense. The only real weakness Akhilleus Kosmos would have is something like Gilgamesh’s main NP Ea, which is an “Anti-World” Noble Phantasm.

      • Ferian says:

        You are giving too much credit to Akhilleus Kosmos, and too little to Vasavi Shakti. To start with, Vasavi Shakti is capable of killing gods by its sheer destructive power rather than some kind of special esoteric property. Here is its translated description from the fifth volume of F/A,

        神殺しの槍―『日輪よ、死に随え」。その威力は、確かに神を殺すに足る存在。英雄は無論、魔獣、幻獣、神獣 、盾、城、結界、あらゆる存在が無意味に等しい。

        The god killing spear [O Sun, Abide by Death]. Its power is surely sufficient to kill gods. Therefore Heroes are a matter of course; Magical Beasts, Phantasmal Beasts, Divine Beasts, Shields, Fortresses, Bounded Fields, every single existence is equally meaningless.

        (TL by You from Beast’s Lair.)

        More generally, in that scene, we have an A+ rank Noble Phantasm shield trying to hold back an EX rank Noble Phantasm attack. A greater mystery trumps a lesser one, and it’s only the shield’s conceptual advantage over the spear that allows it to hold back the attack for any amount of time time at all.

        Most importantly, though, the novel makes it quite clear that the shield does not survive the clash, though there it endures until a bit past the point of Sieg landing his killing blow.

        • Geburah san says:

          And do not forget the Balmung spam before, so it was 2 A+ ranked NP, one amped to the max with a comand seals plus being casted consecutively thanks to Berserker Galvanism, and the other being specialiced on defense, yet the shield is obliterated on the clash and to be honest was quite a thick plot armor that Ex ranked Vasavi Shakti didnt plow through everything and annihilated both Astolfo and Sieg. even on Shirou and Gil fight the plot armor wasnt as strong as that.

          Imo the only reasonable way to have ended is that Karna DIDNT used Vasavi Shakti or that he died while casting it because EX rank atacks are beyond quantification and only able to be confronted using another EX NP like Artoria did with Avalon against Ea. As it was, it felt like a sucesion of asspulls one after another to not get a “bad end”

          • Ferian says:

            Higashide tries to hype Vasavi Shakti with the odds stacked against it and the shield’s destruction but IMO, the scene still comes off as nothing less than an insult to Karna. Every bit of the odds stacked against him is extremely artificial, asspulled to the point of breaking my suspension of disbelief. Sieg is a wish-fulfilling power fantasy of a mediocre fanfiction writer, and Akhilleus Kosmos, in particular, does not possess the required credibility to contend with its opposition without stirring discontent in me; maybe I would have had a different view on it if there was an actual legend behind the shield’s ability, but as things stand, it just rings hollow to me, another asspull for the sake of narrative convenience. Most of all, though, when Karna announces that he is forced to use Vasavi Shakti, I don’t buy it; even disregarding all other issues, that in itself is a major problem for the scene.

            I think I would have been most content if Vasavi Shakti were used against Golem Keter Malkuth. Karna taking on the recreation of Kaballah’s Adam Kadmon, the divine will that precedes and guides Creation? I’d be hype for that match-up, and it could have been a plausible way to weaken Karna to the point that he can be at least somewhat believably defeated by Sieg. The sheer weight of the legend behind that golem makes for a credible target to require such firepower as Vasavi Shakti, the name of Adam Kadmon granting it gravitas that Achilles’ shield, which has basically no feats in legend, and a puffed up author’s self-insert cannot ever hope to match.

            …But now I’m just ranting. I better stop here. *sigh* Still, every time I think of Fate/Apocrypha, I cannot help but see a hill of missed opportunities. :/

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            …But now I’m just ranting. I better stop here. *sigh* Still, every time I think of Fate/Apocrypha, I cannot help but see a hill of missed opportunities. :/

            I know what you mean. I still have to write my review of the final episode, then the series. But the series does seem to have missed something.

        • Red Knight says:

          You give too much credit to rankings yourself. EX rank or not, god killing does not equate to world killing. Conceptually, Akhilleus Kosmos will defend against Vasavi Shakti since what the latter specializes in is killing those with divine heritage whereas as stated in the mats Akhilleus Kosmos is something that defends everything in the world no matter what.

          The world itself is another matter altogether and by all rights a much harder thing to destroy to as stated in FGO,

          Spoiler Inside SelectShow
          • Eight Star King says:

            By the way, Red Knight is actually me. For some reason the name ended up different.

          • Ferian says:

            It is interesting that you choose to single out and pounce on the weakest link in my post that is the argument about ranks. Please, stop that. If you intend to engage me at all, address my argument as a whole or argue each point I bring up separately, but do not arbitrarily focus on just the few points while disregarding the rest. As it is, you are debating dishonestly, which is not something I am inclined to participate in.

            Still, just this one time, you will have an answer. Rejoice.

            The problem with your line of argumentation here is that it is explicitly not what happens in the novel. The shield is broken by the attack so your argument is flawed in conception from the moment you deny this. Your argument regarding Vasavi Shakti’s specialization affecting the outcome is fallacious – its anti-divine nature means that the attack is stronger against gods, not that it is weaker against anything that isn’t a god* – and outright erroneous when considering the text of the novel. The quote in my previous post is a passage right from the fifth F/A novel, right from this scene; go back and read it, please.

            * To clarify what I mean here, if we assume the attack’s base destructive power to be an arbitrary value of 1000, its specialization means that it hits gods for an arbitrary 1500, not that it hits everything that is not a god for 500. As such, Akchilleus Kosmos does not actually have any conceptual advantage in this respect; it merely lacks the corresponding conceptual disadvantage. (As a side note, AK does have a conceptual advantage against Vasavi Shakti but it has nothing to do with its anti-divine properties.)

            The latter part of your argument, I find myself unable to address properly due to the difficulty of parsing what you are actually trying to say here,

            The world itself is another matter altogether and by all rights a much harder thing to destroy to as stated in FGO,

            What you bring up in the spoiler box is a valid consideration, though a different case altogether as I shall address shortly, but it is of no relevance to any interpretation of this sentence I can think of. Please clarify how the two points interconnect in your mind, or if they are meant to be treated as separate things. If it is the latter, I would ask that you do not confuse the actual world with the Ancient Greek version of it that Akhilleus Kosmos symbolizes, and that you provide a quote from F/GO that states such a world to be harder to destroy than a god.

            As for the incident from F/GO you are referring to,

            Spoiler Inside SelectShow

            So, while I agree in general that ranks only matter unless they don’t, the specific case you bring up is not a good example to go by.

          • Eight Star King says:

            @Ferian

            Hey, no need to act like a condescending prick. I wasn’t trying to be one myself, so sorry about that. Just pointing out the fact that’s what the materials themselves say. Akhilleus Kosmos, which was forged by the Hephaestus himself, is stated to defend against just about everything with its sole weakness being Anti-World Noble Phantasms.

            Not to mention the fact that Astolfo isn’t Achilles. I think it’s a given that Noble Phantasms would work better when they’re in the hands of their owners. I guess all I’m trying to say is that unless it was Achilles doing the defending, we can’t really say for certain how well the shield would hold up against Vasavi Shakti as a result. Concepts in Nasuverse can be literal at times hence my doubt.

            Also, looking at the scene again in the anime, the shield wasn’t so much destroyed but rather it dispersed itself in order create the actual field of deployment. Maybe it disappears after it’s used like that? Either that or since Achilles died around the same time too, it’s plausible to say that the shield disappeared because he wasn’t around anymore.

            Either way I can understand your skepticism about the matter. To be honest I have some too but let it slide since the concept comes off as somewhat viable enough for me.

          • Ferian says:

            In turn, I apologize for acting as a condescending prick. Your reply had hit a few triggers from previous experiences with people who would do the things I described intentionally. Regardless, that is not a good excuse; I’m sorry, I should not have assumed.

            Just pointing out the fact that’s what the materials themselves say. Akhilleus Kosmos, which was forged by the Hephaestus himself, is stated to defend against just about everything with its sole weakness being Anti-World Noble Phantasms.

            Similar things are said about a lot of Servants’ abilities. However, they are still usually limited by their ranks, if not so much by other values.

            Also, I’ll note that the novel does not contradict the materials in this case – AK successfully defends Sieg and Astolfo against Vasavi Shakti. However, it is destroyed all the same. As per the novel’s phrasing,

            盾は既に消えている。神殺しの一撃を耐えるだけ耐えて、砕け散ったらしい.

            The shield has already disappeared. It endured against the god-slaying attack but in enduring, it was destroyed, and crumbled.

            On the subject of Astolfo using the Noble Phantasm rather than Achilles – if anything, the shield would have been less likely to hold in Achilles’ hands due to Vasavi Shakti’s Anti-Divine advantage, what with Achilles’ Divinity A.

            However, this is a hypothetical scenario. Neither the novels nor the materials mention any difference in the shield’s performance depending on the wielder so I see no reason to assume there to be any.

            Also, looking at the scene again in the anime, the shield wasn’t so much destroyed but rather it dispersed itself in order create the actual field of deployment. Maybe it disappears after it’s used like that? Either that or since Achilles died around the same time too, it’s plausible to say that the shield disappeared because he wasn’t around anymore.

            Had the anime clearly said anything on the matter, I would have respected the decision to do things differently. However, it does not, whereas the novels are explicit both about the fact of the shield’s destruction and the reason for it (see my earlier citation). It does not really leave room for interpretation.

            Also, the deployed field that absorbs Vasavi Shakti’s blast into itself explicitly and violently explodes when Sieg stabs Karna.

          • Eight Star King says:

            As far as I remember the Novel translations haven’t reached that far yet and this is actually the first time I’ve ever read those lines you quoted, and I’ve been following Apo since it was first released. I know a friend who knows Japanese too and never once said anything either. Must have been too bothered about the parts with Sieg to actually mention the topic.

            Anyway, I understand now. In the future, let’s agree to try and not come off as pricks again to each other and to anyone else we talk to. We gotta keep it civil after all~

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            In the future, let’s agree to try and not come off as pricks again to each other and to anyone else we talk to. We gotta keep it civil after all~

            I approve of this idea. 😀

        • Fullbringer says:

          Agreed with Eight Star King. There’s a reason why among the Servants (where even Siegfried would honestly lose) Achilles is touted as Karna’s only real match in story and other mats. The former is a defensive fighter in contrast to the latter’s offensive based abilities. The shield serves as the perfect counter to any of Karna’s main NPs which leaves both to mostly fight through melee combat.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Most importantly, though, the novel makes it quite clear that the shield does not survive the clash, though there it endures until a bit past the point of Sieg landing his killing blow.

          This is why I wish adaptations were more faithful to the source material.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        Interesting. Thanks for the info here.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      While some other battles may be more technically proficient, the scenes in this episode are inspired – A-1 had hired talented freelancers for those scenes and apparently given them more or less full creative freedom; and I strongly approve of the results.

      Except I don’t think that’s what happened. I think A-1 ran out of money, and so opted for a cheap solution to get the episode out on time. If they end up redoing the scenes for the BD/DVD release, I will take that as proof I’m right. If they don’t, then you may have a point.

      But as I always say, everyone has their likes and dislikes. I’m glad you liked it, but for me, it took me right out of the fights and just had me laughing. And the whole time I’m thinking, “Man, I wish ufotable had done this series.” 😅

      Firstly, here is a very informative post about the fight between Achilles and Atalanta:

      Thanks for that link. This is another thing I hate about adaptations, where they decide to cut important stuff ’cause “reasons.”

      …And finally, on to the detail I had actually started writing this post to say – Astolfo does not have Achilles’ shield anymore; it has been utterly annihilated by Vasavi Shakti. The explosion that occurs in the background when Sieg deals the fatal blow to Karna shows this quite clearly in the anime, though it is not said outright.

      I completely missed that.

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