Blu-Ray Review: Fate/Apocrypha – Part 2

The quest to obtain, and in turn, use the Greater Grail continues in Fate/Apocrypha – Part 2, but will the victor be awarded the spoils of war or will an unknown fate cause disruption within the world. You’ll have to watch the series to find out; but for now we take a closer look at what we thought about the series and this Blu-Ray release via MVM Entertainment UK.

Synopsis:

Beyond each of their wishes is where the “Apocrypha” is woven.

“Miracle Child” Amakusa Shirou Tokisada — Shirou Kotomine, wishes for the salvation of all humanity using the Greater Grail. “Holy Maiden” Jeanne d’Arc – as Ruler, seeks harmony within the Great Holy Grail War. Sieg — an unknown boy, who picks up the sword for the sake of his own wishes after harboring the power of the “Dragonslayer” within him.

Our View:

The quest for the Greater Grail continues within this second instalment into the Fate/Apocrypha series, and despite the events of the first half building up to an all-out-war between the Red and Black fractions the result is a much more interesting and entertaining prospect that far exceeds any preset expectations you may expect from the franchise. Servants, Masters and Grails collide into what surely has to be the most spectacular incarnation of the fate franchise that is beautifully animated through a range of different scenarios, events and circumstances.

Put simply, this is what the other fate instalments should strieve to achive, a consistent storyline that is both approachable and entertaining from start to finish with an ending that leaves you wanting more. Taking place directly after the events of the twelfth episode we find that Shiro has taken the command seals from members within his faction and in turn is orchestrating the attack on the Red Faction in order to use the Grater Grail for his own desires. This desire, which has been residing within him for more than forty years, is to save humanity and restore salvation within the world.

Naturally this unjust balance causes Ruler (Jeanne De’Arc) to retaliate against Shiro’s ideals, as it would mean using the Greater Grail outside the scope of what it was originally intended for due to Shiro’s origins of a past servant. Regardless with Shiro in charge of the Red Faction, and in turn in charge of all relevant servants and their command seals, a battle ensues which sees former friends and foes fight against each other in order to appease their master’s desire. At the same time, on the battlefields below the flying fortress, a new pact is formed between Astolfo and Sieg. Astolfo, who was once servant to a master of Red, finds himself free from her binds as a result of Mordreds stealth attack; as such Astolfo quickly forms a master and servant pact with Sieg in order to continue their adventure and fulfil each others desires.

With the events of the ‘war’ wrapping up, and Shiro running away in the flying fortress, the series takes an interesting detour by returning back to the Assassin Class Warrior, Jack the Ripper. Previously Jack the Ripper was expected to aid one of the factions but instead found herself doing as she pleases, which meant killing off subordinates and humans related to the Black Fraction. As such members of the Black and Red fractions, excluding Shiro and his relevant servants, form a plan to defeat Jack the Ripper which causes a game of cat and mouse to begin – with Jack the Ripper leading the chase. This story arc offers a different type of fate experience, with more mystery, violence and suspense than intense magical action – but it provides a nice change of pace when compared with the next, and final, arc of the series.

That arc being the final battle and confrontation with Shiro. It’s a battle of epic proportions and sees all of the remaining servants do battle with one another, including a highly entertaining – and beautifully animated – fight between Karna and Sieg in his ‘Siegfried’ form. Each servant featured within the series, and is alive at this point in the series, gets their fair share of screen time with each playing out their own ideals and agendas for the masters they represent. Naturally Astolfo, Sieg and Jeanne D’Arc take the spotlight; but its nice to see that everyone is represented in some form. Ironically by now the story, or the objectives, for obtaining the Greater Grail have long since been forgotten; but the prospect of everyone joining forces for their own agendas and ideals helps it become a more relate able story – especially for Astolfo and Siegfried.

The fate franchise is often known for being well presented, but confusing, and with Fate/Apocrypha a nice balance has been found that focuses more on the action and preservation of the world than someone wanting to become a hero of justice. If you’ve been put off Fate due to the Stay Night and Unlimited Blade Works, then Apocrypha is worth considering.

Extras:

As with the previous instalment of Fate/Apocrypha MVM Entertainment are using disc masters authored by Madman Entertainment, the Australian distributor for the series, as such we receive a relatively bare bones release with only textless songs and trailers for Australian related releases being included.

The trailers themselves meanwhile are, other than Princess Principal, for anime titles distributed by other companies in the UK; but here you will find trailers for Attack on Titan – Season 2, Ajin – Season 1 and Occultic Nine as well as the aforemention Princess Principal. It’s nothing exciting; but all of the excitement can be found within the episodic content of the series.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 x2
Region: B
Running Time: 2:45:41 (Disc 1), 2:22:00 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Fate/Apocrypha – Part 2 continues to deliver the story the foundations of the previous instalment laid out, but while viewers may be expecting a continuation to the unfolding story, a story which sees two rival factions battle it out for the Greater Grail, the reality is a more darker and sinister plot. In this case the story line shifts ever-so-slightly from stopping a rival faction, to stopping one person, and that starts with Jack the Ripper; the last AWOL remaining servant and one that is causing destruction amongst the magicians and humans.

It’s a nice change of pacing from the ‘war-talk’ of the core story and it gives Shiro and his band of servants room to grow and share their wealth of knowledge; which is more than any other fate related series has done. For the most part this second instalment is stylised like a two cour series; the first of which being the investigation, and destruction, of Jack the Ripper and the second cour being the attack on Shiro and his group of servants. Regardless of the target in question both serve a purpose in helping enemies become friends and relationships being strengthened; especially when it involves Sieg, Astolfo and Jeanne De Arc.

The bond this story helps create is worth watching the series alone, but that aside it does provide a visual spectacle that only few other anime series manage to achieve. Naturally i’m not referring to intensive detail, such as those in some of Ufotable animations, but it is worthy of praise none-the-less and flows nice with the pacing of the series. The same can also be said about the English dub of the series; as what started off ‘acceptable’ has soon become a better experience with the English dub cast delivering some impressive lines during the intense fight sequences; but for continuity – especially with other Fate properties – then the Japanese audio provides the better experience.

Overall Fate/Apocryoha – Part 2 manages to continue, and build-upon, the foundations of the original to delivery an original story that is enriched with passion and entertainment from start to finish; but the same issues that plague the first part, and most other Aniplex related titles, remains. This being a simplistic menu basic, a basic selection of content and subtitles that change between top and bottom of screen for seemingly no apparent reasons. These are not ‘issues’ by any means, but they are worth mentioning – especially if you are looking for something more than just episodes on a disc. For me however; Fate/Apocryoha – Part 2, and the series in general, was a refreshing surprise and I am already looking forward to watching it again.

Score: review-stars-5

Fate/Apocrypha – Part 2 is now available within the UK via MVM Entertainment.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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