Posted by AidanAK47 on 12 August 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Fate/Extra Last Encore, Reviews by AidanAK47

To many the Fate series is daunting with its numerous incarnations and spinoffs and here in the year of many a Fate adaption we get another one by Studio Shaft which was first thought to adapt the story of the PSP game Fate/Extra. Fate/Extra could basically be considered Fate with a sci-fi twist as this entire series takes place in a virtual reality where a massive Holy Grail War is taking place. The protagonist Hakuno and his Saber Servant must advance up seven Floors while defeating the servant and master that guards each floor to reach the Holy Grail at the top. The scenario itself certainly feels like that of a video game but this anime is not actually an adaption of the PSP game but instead an alternate retelling/sequel to that game. Despite claims from the writer that this anime could be experienced blind, the story itself does require context from the game to understand the story as a whole.

I will say that the story of this anime does sound good on paper and I am sure if you read summaries on each episode you would find yourself interested as the events of this anime do sound exciting, at least on paper. However the execution is botched heavily as the story was essentially a novel written by the author and handed over to be adapted into a anime screenplay. It’s source trappings remain in the show as Fate/Extra is an anime that prefers to tell you it’s story rather than show you it. There is an unforgivable amount of exposition and characters are not developed enough to make such copious amount of exposition interesting. The main character is essentially characterised as having no personality besides a vague anger which makes him a poor foil to the heroine of the series who mainly acts as fanservice. The massive amount of dialogue and Shaft being the animation studio has had people referring to this anime as Fatemonogatari which certainly seems like an apt comparison. The show is mainly dialogue and the battles between servants and masters on each floor all feel uninvolving and anticlimactic. Not helped when each fight either boils down to the protagonists trying harder or pulling out some previously unmentioned dues ex machina. I will say that Shaft make the show quite visually striking and there is some legitimately beautiful aspects like the illustration of the servant master duos in the episode endings. However the animation isn’t as strong as some other Fate entries and this series can take a bit too many of Shafts quirks as an anime studio.

The show follows a fairly formulaic pattern which makes the show feel vacuous as it continues to progress but the characters on screen remain machines for exposition or meaningless dialogue. What is likely intended to be the driving force of the series is the mystery behind what is actually happening as the story itself is very stingy on the details of what is actually happening causing many a viewer to just think “What?” which is the intention of the author but sadly backfired. Anytime you feel you are beginning to understand just what is happening in this show, it throws another curve ball and leaves you trying to figure it out all over again. Once pieced together the story becomes more straightforward but instead of being a rewarding experience to puzzle out it just becomes a reason why the viewer becomes so disconnected to the events on screen as we can’t engage if we are too busy trying to get to grips with what the plot even is. Upon its conclusion it just feels empty and meaningless, providing nothing of worth nor entertainment. Music didn’t leave much of an impression either. Overall there does feel to be a story under all this which could have made for a pretty good anime but the execution of it’s ideas where botched to the point that it just feels soulless and vacant , lacking anything which makes it recommendable besides finding out where that girl who looks exactly like Saber but in a red dress came from. Even then playing the Fate/Extra game would be a better experience even if that too isn’t perfect. So I pray…for Fate/Extra CCC to be localised for that certainly seems like it would beat out both the previous game and the anime. So get on it Marvelous or Xseed.

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