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[WIW]Fate/Extra: Last Encore - Because Red Saber is Love


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In our last episode, with the help of Rani, Saber and Hakuno engage the enemy team of Dan and Archer, who we learn is the famed thief, Robin Hood. We also learn that Dan actually died nearly a thousand years ago, but thanks to the corruption of SE.RA.PH, he was brought back, and so he started murdering all of the Masters he finds, never able to ascend. Robin knows about this, but continues on, because it's all he has now.
On that note, since I didn't mention it last episode, can we get a bit of acknowledgement for Dan's battle strategy on the second floor?

So Dan, all this time, is sitting upstairs in the same castle that new arrivals onto the floor enter from. As the new Master is getting their bearings, Dan fires a round from his sniper rifle at the bell across the forest, to make the shot ricochet back at the Master. Here, the enemy Master either gets one-shot, or they flee into the forest, hoping to use the branches as cover so they can approach where (they believe) the sniper is firing from...

... Putting them right into Robin Hood's preferred battlefield. So now the enemy team has to try to fight an invisible Archer who is harassing them with poisoned arrows (which, if that poison gets into one of them, becomes all he needs to make Yew Bow blow them to kingdom come), all the while also having to deal with the various traps (including poison traps, again setting up Yew Bow) he's set up throughout the woods.

Now if the enemy Master manages to get clear away from Robin Hood to reach the tower, they have to cross a clearing to reach the walls. Given the enemy thinks the sniper is forward and above them, they aren't anticipating a sniper round to the back of the head from all the way back at the castle they left behind earlier, now that they no longer have the concealment of the foliage.

And then, even if the enemy team somehow manages to get past the clearing and into the tower... they get introduced to a room full of bombs to either reduce their bodies to chunky salsa, or flush them back out for Dan to snipe them.

-When Rin places her hand on the wall, she quickly realizes she made a terrible mistake. She's forgotten the true nature of the Third Stratum, and the reason the Masters fled to a lower stratum. Because this was made when the creator was high on all the drugs? And then we have a moving shadow as Rin explains that, on this stratum, there is a monster that cannot be killed. And then said monster makes an appearance.
One can presume that this 'unkillable' monster preventing Masters from ascending means that Amari probably hasn't gotten any higher than this. I could elaborate a bit more on this, but I think I'll wait until the plot finishes up on the Third Stratum to continue discussing that subject.


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Hello everybody and welcome out our next exciting episode of Fate/Extra Last Encore, where if you're suffering from deja vu, don't worry, it's just you.

In our last episode, our Terrific Trio have made their way to the Third Stratum, which looks like it belongs in a dark anime about magical girls fighting off fallen magical girls. They search for the Floor Master in this weird landscape, but all is not as it seems. Hakuno and Rin have been having strange flashbacks to memories they had, seemingly at random.

For Rin, it was back when she was fighting in the Holy Grail War, and one of her possible opponents was Amari, Shinji's girlfriend who we haven't seen in a while. But she's so far beneath Rin's notice that she doesn't even bother to fight her at all, which is the ultimate insult.

As for Hakuno, he recalls meeting a girl named Alice, and because he's a nice guy, actually spends time and plays with her, keeping one another company in this strange landscape, where arms that float and pick up teacups is a normal day. We find out that Alice was very sick, possibly dead, and showed up in SE.RA.PH because... reasons. But man, Alice did not like her time in the hospital, not one bit. And we saw her version of events of the hospital. If you don't like getting nightmares, you don't want to see it. Oh, and Hakuno had a different set of Command Seals for some reason, and I think that was intentional, too.

But that isn't the only meeting Hakuno had. During the search, he runs into a possible flashback of Amari, who's getting her drink on and reveals her own backstory. Basically, her name is terrible because it means "leftovers", her mother slept around, got her, and she was so poorly thought of that she basically lied and manipulated her way to the Holy Grail War. So, yeah, the "you're not a Fate character if you don't have a tragic backstory" comes into play here. Makes you wonder what tragic story Hakuno has to offer?

During the search and the crazy mind trips, the trio run into a terrifying monster that can be best described as an Elder God who tried to play dress up but didn't have the eyes for it. Fortunately, Saber dispatched the creature with ease, but this leads to our problem. By defeating the monster, the day resets, putting them back at the beginning. The characters realize the situation they're in, and now, they can't simply brute force their way through this problem.

How will our heroes defeat this monster? And why did Hakuno have a different set of Command Seals? Let's tune in and find out.

-Our episode begins with the golden beams appearing in the sky. Alice is looking up, wondering if Hakuno is responsible for it. She hears a couple of other Masters talking about how it's a mess from the Fifth Stratum up and suggest descending. Oh, and Alice starts randomly glitching. I should mention that the Masters are behind a curtain, as if they're in a shadow play. Were really cribbing on Ikuhara's style, aren't we? Also, when Alice takes a step, pencil outlines of flowers appear, because we haven't hit full on insane yet!

-Anyway, Alice asks the Masters what they're talking about, but she appears to be ignored. She's concerned for Hakuno, because she wants to know about her new Big Brother and hopefully not learn that he is dead. Because she's looks to be bordering on her own mental breakdown. Because this is Fate, and nobody is safe.

-After the opening, we see Alice walk down a corridor filled with... mounted eggs with antlers?

-What nightmare riddled brain comes up with something like that? We keep with Alice until she reaches the chess room, finding Amari and Rin there. They're basically having the conversation from the last episode and how Amari refuses to give up. Also, the chess pieces appear to be different. Amari is on what appears to be the knight, which I think she was on last time, but now, Rin is on what looks to be the Rook... that has a birdhouse. They're just all in on this, aren't they?

-But I suspect, again, this is intentional, because we're seeing this from Alice's point of view. With all the yelling, the spotlight falls on Alice, who doesn't care about winning. She wants to know about Hakuno and asks them for help. But as before, she is ignored. Of course, if you remember, it seems like Hakuno was the only one able to see her. With no help, Alice continues to wander the landscape. While standing around, she glitches again, and she starts to notice it, and here's something to really drive the nightmares.

-Alice is cracking. Literally, apparently. Anyway, she's worried about fading away. She wonders if it's due to the circle and she starts panicking. She wants to see Hakuno again. She doesn't want to fade as we get random shots of a fireplace that used books as fuel, an axe that was chopping up books, and finally, a purse. Right, okay then. Alice, however, absorbs the purse, saying that her resources need to be replenished. We keep following her as she absorbs random objects and eventually finds Amari, who is stone drunk, so Alice helps out by absorbing the alcohol bottle. I assume, given how much of a heavy drinker Amari is, that it's empty. But Alice wills herself to continue, wanting to wait longer for Hakuno. Or Mister, as she calls him, since it didn't seem like he gave a name. But it looks like she's only delaying the inevitable.

-Alice is getting worse. And no matter what she absorbs, she continues to fade. She tries to will herself and... starts getting absorbed into the tree she's leaning on? No, wait, she absorbs the tree, and now she begins deforesting the forest. That seems to do the trick... until her arm becomes a tree branch. She cries, asking for this to stop, but her tears don't even reach the ground. They fade away instead. She keeps walking, saying how much it hurts, concerned that she's fading away. But Hakuno promised he would return. That promise was important to her. But it may be too late for Alice. As she appears out of the castle, she makes noise, drawing the attention of the other Masters, including Amari and... oh dear.

-Given the expressions of the other Masters, I would say that's a yes. Also, there's a bit here that I cannot do justice. A super cheery, young voice does the "ring around the roses" song, and it appears to be coming from one of those mouths. It is absolutely horrifying. As in "Oh God, this shakes my soul" levels of horrifying. The Masters, acting on instinct, attack, but Alice cries out for them to stop, and suddenly, more tree branches! And then one gets eaten in half. And then the song continues as blood comes out of the mouth of the talking out, and suddenly, everything is turning red. And... just wow. We're straight up in horror town, because we have an image of the deformed Alice who straight up murdered two other people. One she just straight up impaled multiple times, and another who also got impaled multiple times and is missing a head. Nasu, you are a sick bastard, you know that?

-Oh, and in case you're wondering where the head is. We have the straight floating balls that filled up with blood, and the head is floating in one of them now. Because, you know, it was so important to know where the head was. So, I didn't seem Amari among the dead, so either she's dead offscreen or she was able to escape. Either way, more tragic ends for everybody!

-Alice tries to recall the promise that was made as we see her that she has become the monster we saw in the last episode. She asks for Hakuno to come back. Sure, he probably won't recognize her, but she's still waiting for him. And thus, the Fate tragedy strikes again. God Damn it, Nasu!

-We return to our Trio after their first loop, looking to defeat the monster again. Saber agrees (Umu count 27), and so, they walk the long hallway yet again. Rin surmises that the monster is the Floor Master's Servant, and she also assumes that those who stayed behind were probably eaten by that thing. Well, she's not entirely wrong there. Saber has issues with the monster, mainly that it forces people to repeat the same act. Does it not know how a play is suppose to work? Though she likens it to life being one play, and that every day is basically practice for it. That's actually not a bad way of thinking about life, but she points out that, unlike an actual play, you can't redo a scene just because you stumble, saying that, even if they were on a different stage, they cannot re-enact the same performance. Rin is all "I get it, but I don't." Then she agrees with it, at least, in regards to their current situation. It's less of a loop and more of a retry, one in which their memories still remain intact. Which is good for them, because it means they can try something new, but this is also the same for the enemy. And then we get a winning Rin smile as she says...

-What a rather morbid way of thinking. Of course, the problem for them is the whole rewinding time thing. Rin thinks the Master is the best option, so they should investigate the area once again. And so the search begins, and we see Hakuno going to the same places Alice did, but while alone, he thinks about those that choose to stay to fight for their wishes. But he directs this thought to himself. Looking into a mirror, he comments that he has no wish, he only has hatred, which is why he's climbing the Stratums. Also, we have this.

-...You know, I get the feeling that if they decided to make a Fate spinoff game that went into full on horror, they'd do a really, really good job of it. Rin would probably be happy to be in that, as long as there were ghost. Of course, she goes on to say that a ghost is different from a Dead Face, which she likens to a zombie. It's driven by negativity, and if given a number, it's be zero. Hakuno asks that it's just a rumor, probably to assure himself, but when we get a super smooth shot of Rin turning to face him, making me wish I knew how to do animated gifs, leading to this.

-Why does that no reassure me at all? Also, mental note, learn how to do animated gifs. Rin goes on to say that the Dead Face doesn't create anything, only that it hates the living, or so they say. Hakuno asks how it came to be and is told that a Dead Face is somebody who dies, but then gets rebooted by hatred. Basically, it's a corpse. I bet you regret asking that question, Hakuno. Rin says that, while different from case to case, those that become close to death reach a state that is living, yet dead. And those that keep moving around despite not being alive are the living dead. And while those are different things, if you end up as either one, you're done for. At this point, the person can't die, but can't move around freely, either. Wandering the same place, stuck in time for an eternity. And then we get Alice, who is flashing around to different scenes, driving the point that she may actually be a Dead Face. And yet, she's so happy and cheery... until she started murdering everybody.

-Looks like we're back in a flashback as Hakuno is again with Alice in the teacup. She's reading a book, which he comments on. Before he showed up, books were the only friends she had. They were nicer to her than other people she met, probably because they can't talk or do horrible things to her. Hakuno is reading over her shoulder and comments on how sad the story is. Alice, with a beaming smile, says that children's fairy tales are full of sad stories. But she doesn't mind at all, because if something sad where to happen, all you have to do is rewind back to the very first page. Which she happens to have bookmarked. And that is why the day is repeating for those that defeat the monster. Fun times.

-Hakuno, being a nice guy, asks Alice if she would like him to read a story to her?

-Roll for your will save. Congratulations, you failed your will save. You must protect this smile now. Yes, even you, guy who got a natural 20. You still failed. And then we see the two reading together, with Alice sitting in Hakuno's lap. Looks like the tale they're reading had a happy ending, but Alice questions that at first, but decides that having a happy ending for once is fine. But Hakuno isn't smiling. Instead, he asks why she remains here. She doesn't know, but asks why he wants to keep climbing? You know, that one question that everybody keeps asking him. Alice stares at him, deep into his soul, until finally, he gives an answer. But we don't hear it. Alice does, though, and she thinks that's a wonderful reason. And to celebrate, they play tag! And then Amari shows up to ruin the whole thing. And she doesn't look happy at all. Maybe she wanted to play tag, too?

-Amari sits on the other end of the long table, asking Hakuno how long he plans to keep this up? After all, Alice is his opponent, after all, and eventually, one will have to kill the other. I don't like you when you're sober, Amari... or drunk... or at any time, really. Back in the present, we're back in the chess room, and it looks like Hakuno vanished again. Saber gets upset with the Performer, but Hakuno has questions. First, she did take part in the Holy Grail War, correct? Indeed (Umu count 28). So he has a question. Did somebody climb up without killing their opponent? Yes, there was (Umu count 29). Rin is shocked to hear this, but Saber adds that it was a very rare occurrence. Mainly, if the opponent resigns, then they win by default. Also, Saber, your ass is showing.

-Saber begins to explain what happened to the opponent, but then Monster Alice appears. What amazing timing. Saber goes to engage, but it just launches a line of scissors at Hakuno, forcing Rin to put up a barrier. But the barrier soon collapses and Rin is literally cut up into pieces. Wow, that was ballsy of them. Suddenly, Hakuno burns another Command Seal and... fade to black. Well, that was an unusual length for an series, but I guess they wanted to leave it open for a possible sequel... oh, wait, we're not over yet.

-A voice comments that Hakuno still wants to save Alice, so fine, she'll reveal her true form. and that form is of a body, attached to many IVs and wrapped like a mummy. Hakuno looks on in horror as Amari herself appears to be breaking down, too. When he turns to face her, all confused, we get more glitching until we get...

-You can only make a child so depressed that they decide to go got on you. But just to make things more confusing, she says that this is her, Alice's Alice. Basically, she's a dream that Alice is having, the her through the looking glass. More specifically, she's Alice's Servant. The girl he met in the garden isn't the real Alice, since the real one is here, unable to move. And so, what she's been doing is dreaming of everyday life in Alice's place. Well, that puts a lot of things into perspective for the last couple of epodes, doesn't it? Basically, SE.RA.PH summoned Alice here to be a Master, but she's stuck like she is, unable to move, to play, or defend herself. Goth Alice (I'm going with that to keep the two separate) says that Alice cannot be saved, nor not saved, because Alice is already dead. And then we zoom out from the castle to reveal that Alice is there and we got lots of more insane imagery to show off.

-Got Alice grabs the good Alice in Wonderland, stating that Fairy Tales aren't stories about hope. They're the last light to ease the despair of everyday life. At least, that's what she used to think she was. But apparently, meeting Hakuno changed her mind. Because the final light is actually him.

-Back in the present, we see Hakuno leave the Ladder, apparently having taken a bath or something, with Saber close behind. She was impressed by the use of the Command Spell. It was good thinking on his part, but when he tries to point out that she was the one to actually land the fatal blow...

-Killing an enemy just isn't enough for Saber anymore. Oh, and Rin appears, and because we don't have enough fan service in this episode, we get a long, slow pan of her, apparently having gotten out of the bath, wearing short shorts and a red tank top. I also can't help but think that Hakuno might be looking her up, too. Oh, and Rin is alive now, thanks to the reset! Yay! She wants to make this their last loop and will bring out her trump card, if necessary, so Hakuno suggests finding the Master. Rin agrees, but that's if they can find the Master. Good luck with that.

-So the long walk begins again, leading to the conversation from before. Though we get some reused assets, just to keep the budget down. Anyway, Hakuno recalls that Rin mentioned how cyber ghosts were dreams of the dead, and likens it to this Stratum. And perhaps, the same as him. Rin is confused, so he explains that this place, nor he, are living in the present. This place is nothing but the past, and he has no past. Rin thinks about it, but suggests that a place with a past and a man with no past are opposites of one another. Hakuno disagrees, and suddenly he's walking in a corridor filled with the dead. He states that hatred is an attachment to the past, and he's filled with it, a hatred he does not understand. We see him pass some writing, but I can't quite make it out.

-I'm assuming this is a reference to something, perhaps a fairy tale, but I can't quite make out the last word, so it's lost to me. So Hakuno is all about that hate, and in this Stratum, there's so much past it buries the present, just like he does. Saber is getting concerned, and in the third walk, the girls keep their distance from him. He comments that hatred is what drives him to ascend, since he doesn't have a wish. So Saber decides to cheer him up by telling him an old tale. Once, there was a Master who knew not who they were. They possessed nothing but their own name, but no memories or a wish to lay upon the Holy Grail. Hakuno wonders if that was him, but as if she can read his mind, Saber tells him that, no, it wasn't him.

-The person Saber is talking about is a frail Master who was driven to ascend solely by their will to survive. Despite their frailty, they continued to fight. They won in the seventh round, but when they reached the Angelica Cage, a Master named Twice Pieceman defeated them. After a moment of silence, she explains that, once you reach the Angelica Cage, the Holy Grail will be there, but even if you defeat Twice, would the Moon Cell really grant your wish? Rin thinks so. She says that nothing in life is guaranteed and... kind of leaves it at that. Okay, moving on.

-Back in the castle, Saber asks Hakuno a question. Does he still wish to ascend? She explains that nothing here is certain, not even the wishes or the Holy Grail. But suddenly, we jump to the past, where Hakuno greets Alice, explaining that the third round is over. He was able to win, much to his own surprise. He's glad to see that she's fine, despite surrendering. Normally, the one who is defeated loses their life, no matter what, but she loop hole the the hell out of the rules, since technically, Alice is already dead. And so, Hakuno goes to climb again, with Alice pleading with him to stay, and the promise made once more. Basically, the same as the teaser from the last episode, but now, with new context. What a cheery opening.

-Oh, I should mention that, in the room where Master Alice lays, there is a statue of her overlooking her, and it begins to cry. Alice wishes to see Hakuno again, to show that she became better as a result. In the present, Saber comments on Hakuno being deep in thought and asks if it has something to do with his past? We see him approach the remains of the long table, but he tells her that no, there is nothing here. Except the book is there, and as he touches it, he recalls the times he spent with Alice, who asks him why he climbs? The answer he gives is that, while he doesn't have a clear goal, he trusts his feelings. And besides, it's not like he's a normal person. He's a fake who took somebody else's place, but despite that, he wants to make his feelings real. Whatever his objective is, he plans to stay hopeful, and with that, he'll ascend to the sky. And Alice just stares at him, eating her cookies. I think she wants to play tag again.

-In the present, Rin recalls remembering something as well. There is nobody left in the castle, nothing to salvage, and no tales to speak of. And so, it's time to begin the final battle. At the top of the castle, Monster Alice awaits. While we can hear her inner thoughts, it's of one of a confused, scared child, asking them to stay. She doesn't want to be forgotten, and becomes worried about the pain and fear. She attacks, and so Saber responds by using her flaming sword to send the projectiles back at her. And so, Rin decides to unleash her trump card.

-...Well, this explains how she survived the fight against three Berserker Servants back in the First Stratum. But I wonder if she has E Luck? So Rin attacks, stabbing Alice straight in the stomach, who cries out in pain. Oh, but we're not done yet, as more spears emerge from her body. And with a smile, Rin has sewn the monster's destiny. But said monster... is crying in pain. She stares at Hakuno, holding the book in his hands, and with this distraction, Saber comes in and attacks, beheading the creature, causing it to disintegrate. And then, the credits begin to play, the Ladder arriving to them. The battle has ended, and now, there is truly nobody left on the Third Stratum. The book in his hands begins to disappear, leaving only a familiar bookmark.

-With this, Hakuno answers the question Saber asked long ago, the reason why he wants to ascend. Well, he can't give an answer yet, but he's aiming to climb the sky with hope. Saber turns to Hakuno with a smile on her face, happy to hear the answer. And with this, the episode ends on the title, Nursery Rhyme.

-But we're not done yet! Within the castle, an object shines. It is the broke eye of Monster Alice. She looks at the Ladder, commenting that this wasn't a sad thing after all. Her ghostly form takes shape, saying good bye to Hakuno one last time, and those other bodies on the Stratum wave to him. End episode.

So, normally, when we have proper credits, we get to see the Master/Servant pairing for the arc. I didn't do it in the last episode because it was going to contain some massive spoilers, though it would be out of context. Now we can show it, even if the context still doesn't make sense.

By the way, they didn't mention it, but the Servant is Nursery Rhyme, and she's a Caster. In the game, she basically serves as the wake-up call boss, being very difficult for first time players who, despite being a Caster, can hit really, really hard, and her Noble Phantasm goes off after the turn ends, meaning there's no way to block it unless you get those defense spells up.

Also, what a horrifying arc this was, and for a number of reasons, too. It's also a tragedy and, at best, a bittersweet ending. Alice herself really doesn't get any resolution, and dies rather quickly thanks to Rin using her trump card. Fate fans will always recognize what's going on there, but again, no spoilers. This is also one of those cases where having previous knowledge of Fate in general helps clear things up a bit.

But I have to say, despite clearly being the cheaper set of episodes, this was a rather impressive arc. If it was going for a straight up horror setting, it worked very, very well. Especially when we saw Alice becoming the monster and the extremely creepy children's song. Hope you sleep well from that.

Now it's time for the voice actors. Alice and Goth Alice (Caster) were played by Xanthe Huynh, who's other roles include Sachi in Sword Art Online, Charlotte in Madoka Magica, and Yuna Yuki in Yuki Yuna is a Hero. So many dark shows, right? And all usually ending rather poorly for her characters. You think she got typed cast?

As for Amari, she's voiced by Cherami Leigh, who's other roles include Asuna in Sword Art Online, Red Blood Cell in Cells at Work, and Makoto in Persona 5. Chances are, given her resume, you heard her in something.

So, Alice's situation seems rather terrible, right? But if she's dead, why would SE.RA.PH have her be a Master and fight? Perhaps she was grabbed before her physical body died, and since they're in cyberspace, the mind and soul can continue to exist. But then we saw how bad things got for her. Wow, did they go bad.

Also, people who have played the games should have picked up on something in this episode, something that will add a lot of context to why the series takes place so far in the future... maybe.

And then we have Rin and her transforming into something that can fight Servants. But how did she get that? She did mention she was a Servantless Master, but is that because she merged with her Servant somehow?

The one thing this arc did was answer a couple of questions, but asked so many more. Deeper and deeper we go, but where does the rabbit hole take us? Because the Fourth Stratum will answer that question for us.

Until next time, remember, if you hear a children's song being sung, run, run as if your life depends on it, because it probably does and there's a monster just around the bend, looking for it's next victim.


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Alice's stratum is the best part of this series IMO. Pretty confusing with all the time jumping and surrealist stuff, but very intriguing and emotionally striking. I wouldn't liken it to horror though, but to dark creepy fairy tales.


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-I'm assuming this is a reference to something, perhaps a fairy tale, but I can't quite make out the last word, so it's lost to me.
"Oh deary, deary me, this is none of I!"
Upon looking it up, it's a line from... well, a nursery rhyme.

Read into it what you will, I guess?

So, I didn't seem Amari among the dead, so either she's dead offscreen or she was able to escape. Either way, more tragic ends for everybody!
So I said I'd get back to this...

There are two Drama CDs for Fate/Extra: Last Encore. The first covers Amari's experiences in the Holy Grail War. Putting the details into a spoiler box, just in case.

Spoiler: Show
As has been implied, Amari couldn't manage to pass the Third Stratum, and so like several other Masters, retreated downward to the First Stratum. While there, she worked with Shinji to produce that city.

In fact, the Master who arranged for the police girl force? Amari.
The Shinji in the office who was commanding the Berserkers? Amari in disguise (the real Shinji was in the school grounds all along).

Off-screen, after the Berserkers are defeated, Amari fought Cu-Rin using her own Servant, a Rider-class wolf-man Servant named Vanagandr...
... and if you know your Norse kennings, that might sound familiar as one of the various alternate names for Fenrir.

Evidently, Amari lost and died.

As for the second Drama CD... it's too spoilery to discuss right now.

-...Well, this explains how she survived the fight against three Berserker Servants back in the First Stratum. But I wonder if she has E Luck? So Rin attacks, stabbing Alice straight in the stomach, who cries out in pain. Oh, but we're not done yet, as more spears emerge from her body.
Incidentally, take a close look at the shadows in the scene of Alice getting Bolg'd.

The battle has ended, and now, there is truly nobody left on the Third Stratum. The book in his hands begins to disappear, leaving only a familiar bookmark.
BTW, the book is... was... the last remnants of the Servant Nursery Rhyme, who could no longer maintain her imitation of Alice's form.

And then we have Rin and her transforming into something that can fight Servants. But how did she get that? She did mention she was a Servantless Master, but is that because she merged with her Servant somehow?
All I'll say at this point is that this is an idea that was originally considered for the Fate/Extra video game, but did not get implemented until now.


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Hello everybody and welcome to our next exciting episode of Fate/Extra Last Encore, where even sickly little girls can be selected as Masters in a fight to the death.

In our last episode, the Terrific Trio have figured out that they're stuck in a loop thanks to the monster. Should it be killed, it resets the day in order to get its best ending. Along the way, we get more flashbacks with Alice and Hakuno and how they became close to one another, as well as revealing that the Alice we've been seeing is actually her Servant, a Caster. It's this Alice that grows close with Hakuno, then turns into a monster because she was having some major glitching issues, thanks to the Angelica Cage going insane.

As a result, one more loop is needed, and Rin reveals her own trump card. She has somehow merged with her Servant and inherited their powers. Fate people, and those who played the game, will already know who the Servant is, but we'll talk about that later, when it's more appropriate.

But with the combined efforts of Rin and Saber, they're able to defeat Alice, releasing her from her bonds, allowing her to move along, as well as our trio. What will await them on the Fourth Stratum? Let's tune in and find out.

-Our episode begins on a dark and stormy night, which sounds really, really cliche. Purple lighting flashes among a desolate city... that's actually floating in the sky. Must be the next fight. We see that the city has gone through it's own inception period, with buildings in all sorts of wrong places, before cutting to what appears to be a construction site. Hakuno narrates, repeating something "that man" said. That man tells him to see how his existence will end, how he's consumed by sin, and that no amount of punishment will satisfy him. So Hakuno is secretly Catholic? Cause we're all about that regret.

-That man goes on, telling Hakuno that he has no hope, so he should return to death. To him, clinging to life is arrogant, and that face should be more than enough proof. And it looks like the enemy Master has a purple scar going across his face. Wait, "That face"? Does he mean Dead Face? Are we in media res here? Hakuno can't help but admit that he has a point. Everything he said was true. He is drowning in sin and has no wish. It's something he's incapable of having. And into the opening we go!

-When we return, we get this lovely vintage of beauty gracing our screens.

-Yay for close up of Saber! ...Wait, what did she say about the Fourth Stratum? Also, it looks like Saber and Hakuno are doing a stretching exercise because... uh, reasons.

-...Right, so, to quickly recap, we're skipping the Fourth Stratum because that pair sucked so badly that they weren't worth a mention. Of course, this is an adaption reason that I'll explain later, but I can see why they skipped this part. Also, Umu count is now at 30. Rin is watching them stretch and totally isn't getting jealous of it. She mentions how they're so carefree, but thinks it's for the best. She's been preparing for the Fifth Stratum. And what has see been doing to prepare?

-...What, is it constantly raining or something? And sure enough, it is. While looking over the landscape, Hakuno gets a vision of a city engulfed in flames, and it looks to be hurting him pretty good. Rin says that on this Stratum, Berserker roams. And given all of the destruction, this is not a happy Berserker. She then points up a central location, where the Ladder is. And it looks like it's already descended. So if Hakuno makes it there, he'll automatically ascend, because this place doesn't have a Floor Master, just some random Servant going berserk. Oh, and there's also a bloodthirsty murderer on this floor, too. Because it's a Holy Grail War and we need at least one bloodthirsty murderer as a Master.

-Hakuno doesn't like hearing Rin describe a Master as "bloodthirsty," but in this case, it's true. The Master in question was an assassin back on Earth, and he did the same thing during the Holy Grail War, eliminated many Masters in secret. Saber recognizes the description, and we get the name. Julius Belkisk Harway. And if the name sounds familiar, you've been paying attention. But in case you don't see the connection, Julius is the brother to Leo Bistario Harway, who Rin has a very high opinion of. We've met him once before, back in episode one, where he killed that guy in a Chess match. And it seems Rin knows a lot more, because she mentions that Saber and her previous Master defeated Julius on this floor. And if that is the name of the Master, then Saber already knows the Servant they'll be engaging. And she's not looking forward to the rematch.

-Saber does admit she did defeat the Servant once before (Umu count 31), but she just barely did so. But thanks to that match, she knows every trick the Servant uses, so leave all the fighting to her. Well, maybe she's more confident than she lets on. We follow the three into a nearby building to get out of the rain. After a moment, Rin will scout out the area, using something close to a presence concealment as she disappears. This leaves Hakuno alone with Saber. He'd like to know more about her previous Master. Saber is all praise for that Master, who had extraordinary courage and never knew when to give up. To her, the previous Master would be a "hero" (Umu count 32).

-But despite that praise, Saber says that her previous master was foolish, yet endearing, with a wish that was equally so. But still, it was a wish they held close to their heart. Hakuno seems a bit upset, since it means it probably wasn't him. But obviously Hakuno can't be Saber's previous Master because...

-So, yeah, Saber says there's no resemblance between Hakuno and her previous Master. That said, she has noticed a few similarities. Remember what Saber said when she first met Hakuno? Well, in melodramatic fashion, "Gasp, has she been reborn!?" And Hakuno gets depressed, because he doesn't think he could be that remarkable. And it makes me doubt if what he's doing is right. It seems like he wants to say something, but while he doesn't, Saber senses that he's picked up some baggage from their previous battles. But don't worry, Saber's got this!

-And Saber pulls ahead of Gil in the "who has the bigger ego" race. She summons her sword, saying that, to be a genius, you cannot rely on just ability and talent. Sure, having those things are nice, but having talent only makes you talented, and even her blade could be described as such. So what makes a genius last?

-Well, at least Saber keeps her ego grounded. She goes on to say that humans are prone to comparing one another, and when done so, they want to see the other as equals. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as no two humans are exactly the same. Something that, for example, Hakuno could do may be impossible for somebody else, and vice versa. And a genius can understand that difference without bias. Of course, Saber is an almighty genius, but she never once expected others to do the same work she can do. You're just so humble about it, aren't you? But she continues with her point. She also knows that she cannot imitate another person, regardless of how unskilled they are compared to her. Just keep being humble, Saber. But in the end, humans believe that they are equal to everyone around them. After all, how splendid would a world without competition be? Probably rather boring, but that's just me. But Saber's point is that, with equality, life would be satisfying. People walking together, hand in hand, being able to understand one another and sharing each other's values. For her, it would be a dream come true for such a perfect world to exist. But reality sucks, and it would never let such a thing happen. Especially if Nasu is writing it.

-Saber explains that everybody has their roles to play, along with their flaws, but she believes it's important to believe in others. However, she reminds Hakuno that the person he would encourage is different from himself. Also, don't do anything extravagant. Just do all you can and that should be plenty. And in turn, she will do all she can, because in this world, that is all that can be truly expected of them. Well, that was a nice speech, Saber. And it seems to reach Hakuno in some way. Rin then shows up to say "yeah, she's right." Great contribution there, Rin.

-Anyway, time to move on. Except there's a small problem. Berserker is blocking their path. Looks like they'll have to fight after all. Rin suggests falling back to strategize, but it looks like that isn't an option. Above them, standing against the side of the building, the enemy Master awaits. And he's very happy to see Hakuno once more. Berserker engages Saber while Julius, the enemy Master, engages Hakuno. Saber is forced back by the enemy Berserker, who appears to be using some form of martial arts. Stuck on the defensive, Rin intervenes, transforming into her servant self, launching Gae Bolg, and forcing Berserker back. Shen then carries Saber away, but she can't help but get her snark on. Also, I noticed now that Rin's hair has more red when in Servant mode.

-But Saber is glad for this, because it means Rin can take her place to deal with the Servant. Rin is shocked by this request, but to add more to it.

-No pressure or anything (Umu count 33). Rin is all like "...the hell? Seriously?" Meanwhile, the Masters go at it, with Julius just so happy to see Hakuno return. He's surprised that another Master actually recognizes him. Julius comments on how he doesn't learn, but isn't really surprising. and then a flash step and a bunch in the face that sends Hakuno into a nearby wall. Julius doesn't give Hakuno a moment to breath, but he finds this unexpected. He always assumed anger would kill him, but now, he might die from disappointment. And then he delivers a kick, sending Hakuno into a nearby pillar. And there goes his back again.

-Julius, stopping for a moment, can't believe how pathetic Hakuno is. But now he's pissed, so Hakuno shows off his Dead Face and engages Julius properly. Now, he can see his face clearly and recalls a memory of defeating Julius, who gives him such an angry stare as he fades away. From this, he concludes that Julius is already dead, and asks if he's a ghost as well? And then Julius laughs like a madman, as if Hakuno said the funniest thing ever. He attempts to attack the laughing madman, but Julius easily deflects the attack and puts him in an arm-bar. While attempting to break his arm, Julius says that he and Hakuno are lower than ghosts. They can't create, nor can they save people. And so Julius reveals his own Dead Face, showing how the two are the same. And then he punches him in the chest and oh God so much blood!

-And then we... flashback? Teleport? Dream vision? Either way, we're back at the incinerator, where the Teacher looking guy from episode one appears. He's surprised to see Hakuno again, but thinks that he has a connection between the past and present him. While he doesn't know everything, he does not quite a bit. For example...

-Oh, we're just dropping all the bombshells today. Teacher guy says that SE.RA.PH has been on the decline for a thousand years, and through all that loss, the only thing gained was the guise of death. As in, the Dead Face. He explains that ghosts are beings with a physical body. They wander around in search of finding one, but Dead Face are different. They're trapped by death while still alive. They act like the death and are curses that spread nothing but death. To him, they are only malicious data that bring nothing but destruction. In SE.RA.PH, physical death and mental deaths are separate things. Even if the body dies, but the mind doesn't, anything leftover is a magnet for curses. So it sounds like you're saying that Hakuno and Julius are cursed. Aren't you a fun guy to have at parties?

-He goes on to say that, normally, humans are pleased from their emotions once their physical body is lost, despite any hatred they may bear. But, when the Angelica Cage was closed, ending the Holy Grail War, SE.RA.PH became a cybernetic hell. The purification function stopped removing regrets from the dead, and their bodies were left neglected. Once, he sought to innovate humanity, but the century that prospered using his generation as compensation was immature. His wish was that humanity would become worthy of the sacrifice, but as he can see, the world went to hell in a worry, so that didn't happen. Undefeated in SE.RA.PH, he kept living and kept corrupting until he reached a clear conclusion. He just gave up, deciding that it'd be better for humanity to end. Thanks a lot, Twice. By the way, this is Twice talking to Hakuno.

-During these years, Twice has disposed of many victors, some who were good and some who were evil, all worthy of being fit to win the grand prize. But in his opinion, not a single one were worthy of becoming a "Messiah." You have some real high standards there, don't you, Twice? Bad at the Incinerator, we see the piles of the slain as he explains that, normally, they would have been recorded as data. However, sending the fall of SE.RA.PH, a one time change occurred. Which lead to the formation of the Dead Face, who's task is to go up there and kick Twice's ass. And so, one day, a complete nobody awoke to bear that burden. Can you guess who it was?

-Just to repeat, Hakuno is apparently not Hakuno. He's just a collection of death, but was influenced by her. Interesting. But yeah, Hakuno (we'll just keep calling him that to keep it simple) is just a murderer who wants to murder the living. However, he's just trying to process this all and he's having a lot of trouble with it. And here comes the crash. He denies everything Twice says, but he asks if Hakuno is certain of that, since from the beginning, he only wanted to climb because of his hatred. But he has no future. Hakuno was only born to kill others, then to die. So, yeah, it's a really bad day for Hakuno right now. Especially since he's got a hand in his chest. Julius recalls that Hakuno is already dead, so ripping out his heart won't be enough.

-Luckily, Saber arrives, giving Hakuno a second wind and allowing him to push Julius away. Since murder is still on the table, Saber engages Julius, who keeps his distance from her. That's when Rin arrives. And by arrives, I mean gets blow through the wall and into some other garbage. Berserker is here to cause more trouble. Rin apologizes, but Saber's cool with that. So we get a stand off between Julius and Saber, when suddenly, she starts coughing up blood. Julius is surprised to see Saber endure for so long, since Berserker's Noble Phantasm kills in one hit. His first strike is guaranteed to annihilate any opponent he faces. This is something she should know, and yet, she guarded Hakuno, despite him not being a Master. All hope seems lost until...

-...So apparently those skeleton arms from the Third Stratum bulked up and decided to join Hakuno, because why is there a random fist coming from the sky? Of course, said random fist is attached to some creature in shadow, who then leaves. Realizing the situation he's in, Julius and Berserker retreat. Hakuno, meanwhile, crawls over to the fallen Saber, apologizing to her for not being a proper Master. If she had one, she wouldn't lose to anyone. Except we have the problem of a lack of proper Masters. He then passes out next to Saber, leading to our episode title, Bajiquan. Cue credits!

-And here are our Master/Servant pair image for this episode. It's Julius and Berserker, looking all berserker with his berserker look.

-Oh, but we're not done yet! We have an after credit scene! And a long one, at that, given the timer. We see Hakuno walking in the void, probably dying. He says he was born of hatred, to curse other people, driven by the jealous he feels towards the living. He get a quick shot of his revival from episode one, about his hatred of the Moon, then his confrontation with Shinji and his declaration to kill him. Despite this, Hakuno says he had a convenient dream once, which includes Saber, then a girl staring out into the blue sky.

-Hakuno wonders if, perhaps, he is her reincarnation, which is something he almost believed in, and it would have been nice if it was true, too. However, this is reality. He is not alive, nor is he Hakuno. He starts walking into this black pool, citing that he only has hatred and revenge. But during this trip into the black lake, Saber calls to him to open his eyes, then the very first thing she said to him. So these are likely flashes of previous memories with her, which includes her doing all she can to lift his spirits. He keeps walking, heading towards a golden light, but he doesn't want to listen to her cheery attitude, since hatred is all he has. And he walks past the light, going through the endless void, until sudden, he comes to a door. Curiosity gets the better off I'm, so he enters to see something like an A/V room.

-In the room, a projector is on, but it's only displaying static. As Hakuno enters, a voice tells him to take a seat, because the show is about to begin. Hakuno can do nothing but stare at this girl, who looks very familiar to him. And that's where we end the episode.

Hoo boy, do we have a lot to unpack, because there is a lot to do. Fortunately, I can probably hold off a lot of this until future episodes, depending on where things go, but still, we have a lot to discuss. Aren't adaptions fun?

So let's discuss why the Fourth Master was skipped, as that's the easiest to do without getting into too many spoilers. After defeating Nursery Rhyme, an event plays that requires the main character to make a choice. This choice affects how the rest of the game is played, as it changes two Servants you will fight. Mainly, the Servants you with in the fourth and sixth rounds are affected by this choice. The fifth round, where you would fight Julius, does not change. I can't really go too much more into this one, because I suspect we'll need to revisit this later.

As for Julius being back from the dead, this is a bit more complicated. You know all that talk about ghosts and the like that has been brought up through the series? Yeah, that was kind of foreshadowing something like this. Despite being defeated in an official match, Julius showed that he was too angry to die, and thus, came back during a later round to get a rematch with the MC. He kept the Servant, but changed classes as a result. I should also mention that, in the game, Julius was killing off a lot of Master candidates, but indirectly. Instead, he did just enough damage to their Magic Circuits, how they use magic, to make it difficult for them to control a Servant, and thus, the system would end their lives. In the game, you actually play as somebody else first before getting to the MC proper, and they suffer this fate.

Now, there's one more thing that happened in the fourth round that obviously didn't come up in the Anime, but I suspect that will be coming up very soon, so we'll get to that when we get to that. Assuming Saber survives. Hopefully her self-revive skill still has some charges left.

Will Hakuno survive this encounter? Will he learn the truth about himself? And will he be able to defeat fellow Dead Face Julius? Tune in on Friday to find out.

Until next time, remember, when going on a floor that is nothing but rain, always make sure you have a spell handy to create a raincoat. You'll be surprised how often that becomes useful.


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-Yay for close up of Saber! ...Wait, what did she say about the Fourth Stratum?
-...Right, so, to quickly recap, we're skipping the Fourth Stratum because that pair sucked so badly that they weren't worth a mention. Of course, this is an adaption reason that I'll explain later, but I can see why they skipped this part.
So let's discuss why the Fourth Master was skipped, as that's the easiest to do without getting into too many spoilers. After defeating Nursery Rhyme, an event plays that requires the main character to make a choice. This choice affects how the rest of the game is played, as it changes two Servants you will fight. Mainly, the Servants you with in the fourth and sixth rounds are affected by this choice. The fifth round, where you would fight Julius, does not change. I can't really go too much more into this one, because I suspect we'll need to revisit this later.
Hm... how much can I actually say here? The battle on the Fourth Stratum was cut out basically to conserve their episode count. They've said they might come back to it for an OVA episode, but to date that hasn't happened. The Servant encountered on that floor is also the point-of-view character of the second Drama CD.

If I expose much more, I risk spoiling things (or at least eliminating options when you start guessing for the future). I won't give you the Servant's identity right out, the most I will say at this moment is...
Spoiler: Show
It was neither of the Servants you face in the game during the fourth week.

The fact that Red Saber of all people would speak of the opponent she faced so flippantly as "an insignificant opponent" is meant to be taken as a hint. Saber normally wouldn't speak this way about someone she fought unless she was very familiar with them.

-Just to repeat, Hakuno is apparently not Hakuno. He's just a collection of death, but was influenced by her. Interesting. But yeah, Hakuno (we'll just keep calling him that to keep it simple)
While this translation convention doesn't get applied in official translations, fan translations of Type-Moon products tend to distinguish between two characters with identically-pronounced names that are written differently in Japanese characters by writing the name of the one that comes second in the work in all-caps.

The Kishinami Hakuno who was previously Red Saber's Master had her full name written in kanji (the same way official materials write this character's name in other Type-Moon works), while the Dead Face who became Saber's new Master has "Hakuno" written only in katakana. As such, some translations have taken to distinguishing them by writing the Dead Face's name as Kishinami HAKUNO.

Also, regarding the reveal of HAKUNO as being a collection of death amassed from the many who have been slain in the Moon Cell Holy Grail War... try taking a look back at several of the strange 'flashbacks' that we've been shown so far, like...
... why there was a mass of people begrudging something happening "again" back in Episode 1.
... how there have been differing depictions of HAKUNO dying in the past.
... how HAKUNO seemed to have a sudden awareness of how other Masters died against Dan Blackmore.
... how the HAKUNO who met Alice had the wrong Command Spells.


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Hello everybody and welcome to our next exciting episode of Fate/Extra Last Encore, the show where people don't stay dead, even if you kill them.

In our last episode, we end up skipping the fourth Master outright and go straight to the fifth, because the fourth wasn't that interesting. On this floor, which is a ruined city scape, the trio of Rin, Hakuno, and Saber meet and engage their enemy, Julius, and his Servant, Berserker. But as it turns out, Hakuno and Julius have met before, long ago. And he's become like Hakuno, a Dead Face. But more to the point, Hakuno isn't actually Hakuno, but an amalgamation of all previous Masters who have died before, fueled by hatred to reach to the top because Dead Faces hate the living and just want to kill everything.

We also learn a bit about Saber's previous Master, a girl, who was strong, kind, and certainly left an impression on our Genius Saber. And she also appears in this episode, too, despite being rather dead in the first episode. You see, Hakuno is dying thanks to a possible fatal wound left by Julius, and inside this dark AV room, he meets a girl, waiting for him. This girl is the real Hakuno.

What story will the she give? And will they survive these fatal wounds? Let's tune in and find out.

-Our episode begins inside the AV room, with Hakuno just flat out confused. But he isn't alone. There sits a young girl, telling him to sit down, because the show is about to start. It's something he needs to see, so he can understand what he's missing as a Master. Oh, and the female Master is pissed!

-Hakuno, I don't know what you did, but you should probably apologize for it anyway. And the show begins, leading to... the intro? Okay, sure, whatever works. Actually, after the opening, we cut to some floating islands in the water as the narrator, Real!Hakuno, explains that, on this floor, she gained things that she was uncertain until then. We see a fallen Saber, then Real!Hakuno, clutching her stomach. Here, she reveals that she wasn't dead, nor was she alive. But she still discovered her own wish. Across from her is her opponent, Julius, and his Servant, who appears to not be crazy this time around.

-Julius walks up to Real!Hakuno, shocked to see that somebody with no memories and no wish made it this far. He's about to stick a knife in her, but Saber was playing dead and attacks, but the Servant catches the sword between his hands. I guess he plays Samurai Showdown quite often. Anyway, Saber is pissed because her Performer has done well to get this far, and he should praise her, dammit! She will stab until there is nothing left to stab for this insult!

-We then get a cut to Real!Hakuno in the infirmary, where Sakura tells her that she isn't a true wizard, and she's different from a Master. She is recreated data of a human who existed in the past, an NPC. And you might have as well hit her with a bag filled with bricks with the kind of bombshell that was. But Saber, however, remains her cheery self and asks if such a thing is something to worry about? Oh, and was that Sakura telling her? It sounded like her. Anyway, Saber tries her best to cheer up her Master, saying that her era was far in the past, but look at her now! She is here, before you, looking hot as hell! Okay, I might have added that one, but still!

-You'd think she add an "Umu" there. Anyway, Saber tries to be cheery, saying that everything in the universe will disappear in due time and will become part of this star's history. Doesn't that sound wonderful? Well, when you put it that way... you suck at this, Saber. But then she makes a nice recovery at the end.

-...Still needs work. But this does help as Real!Hakuno looks upon her, narrating that her words were always full of confidence and always triumphant. And because of that, she had a misunderstanding of her. In this rather plain room, Saber tells her Master she wishes to unleash her Noble Phantasm in the next battle. Real!Hakuno narrates that Saber's life must have been glorious, full of joy, and beautiful. So why wouldn't she think otherwise? Saber continues, saying that a Servant and Master are two hearts beating as one, and as proof of that, the Servant reveals their True Name. But she had a reason for keeping it a secret until now (Umu count 34). Why did she keep it a secret?

-Oh come on. It can't be that bad? It's not like you were ever a tyrant in your previous life... right? And so we go into what looks to be a picture book story. How much of a picture book?

-Well, that isn't nightmarish at all! Real!Hakuno takes over narration, explaining the history behind Saber. She was boon not a the legitimate heir of the emperor, but at the tail end of her family. Perhaps because of her illegitimate birth, she loved strangers more than her family, and we show this as Saber is handed flowers by the crowd. So for her, nameless citizens were more important that famous noblemen. But no one understood her way of thinking. As the camera pans from the roof of a building down below, we see the city is on fire. But Saber acted quickly, and with her superior knowledge, she quells a great fire in one evening. But while that would have been a great thing, she did something rather horrible instead. She executed her own mother, and thus, the people saw her as nothing more than a tyrant. Dammit Saber!

-The reason Saber killed her mother was because she was greedy and disrupted the empire. But that sort of thing weighs heavily on her. But she was also seen as superior, hard-working, and whimsical, and those qualities likely made others see her as a freewheeling dictator. We return to the roof to see Saber holding the flower she got before, which has wilted away. How sad.

-Back in the plain room (Umu count 35), Saber admits that she may have made a slight mistake in executing her own mother. But she sees other flaws in her character. Her love was selfish. When she put her whole heart in, she expected it to be return in full. She answers those who deserve love with her entire soul. But that is nothing more than a flame. To her, the love that people harbor was something softer and fragile, and she failed to understand that. Because clearly it was expecting too much love and not the whole executing the mother bit.

-In the picture book, Saber's position fell from that of an Emperor to that of a traitor. Saber takes over narration, saying that, being Roman Emperor means you are the first citizen of Rome, and no matter how many crimes the Senate charged her with, if the people rejected them her position would never waver. But that never came to be. Saber devoted herself to the people, and practiced policies that were widely praised by them, and she thought, because of that, the people would never see her removed from her position. But they never did. In the scene, we see cloaked figures running, and one by one, they fall, only leaving one left. And here, alone, Saber holds what appears to be a long sword... and we fade to black.

-When we return, in the picture book story, we see Saber on top of a rock, dying from her self-inflicted wounds. Real!Hakuno takes over narration. In the first sunset, she heard voices calling for her and she opened her eyes. They were the voices of her beloved people, cheering for her. But it was a hallucination. During the second sunset, she heard another sound and opened her eyes, but as expected, there was nobody there. Then, on the third sunset, a soldier walks over to the fallen Saber, draping her with a red cloak. She appreciates the loyalty, but it is already too late. For the Roman Emperor had died. And who was she?

-And in classic Fate tradition, in this universe, Nero was actually a woman. Crazy, right? But why does she look like Blue Saber? How odd. But the story continues. Nero never knew the love of her mother and father, nor the love of her people, and she ended her life in despair. This is the tale of a solitary girl, spending her last moments on a rock, covered in a cloak left to her by soldiers who were loyal to her in the end. Of course, this is all a tale that Nero is telling her Master, and how does she end it?

-You know, for somebody talking about her own death, Nero is rather cheery about it. Oh, and since we learned her True Name, we can start using it now. Anyway, Nero says it's all in the past and it was such a boring tale, so forgive her for it! And with that, preparations are now completed, and once Real!Hakuno sees it...

-Of course Nero would find a way to fancy up the room just for her. Real!Hakuno speaks to her, but it's done with text. The response is "...You're right." Nero walks over to her and gently taps her knuckles on the Master's head, telling her that there is no need for a sad expression. She is at peace with her demise, and despite her sadness, she holds no grudges. Sure, bad things happened, but such things are needed to balance a perfect life. She just keeps seeing that silver lining, doesn't she? She holds out her hand to her Master, saying that she would set herself ablaze for the sake of those who are beautiful. Not so much in the "You're pretty" sort of way, but in the "You're soul is beautiful" sort of way. Real!Hakuno, looking sad, takes Nero's hands into her own, agreeing with her, turning the frown into a smile. This shows how strong their connection was in the end.

-Back in the present, the film has ended, but Real!Hakuno speaks. Despite being abandoned by those she loved, Nero never changed who she was. But deep down, she hates being alone and likes the attention. Hakuno asks why, but she answers that he sought her out. It was the pack they made in Limbus. Sure, he may have done it out of desperation, but for Nero, it meant everything to her. Now, does Hakuno see what he should be focusing on? She places a hand on his shoulder, saying that it's fine to look away from himself for as long as possible, after all, we aren't able to see ourselves with our own eyes... unless we use a mirror. So he should prioritize the people who believe in him. And with that, Hakuno leaves, but before doing so, turns to Real!Hakuno to ask who she is... except she's disappeared, leaving only...

-Damn staff delivered the food too late. But Hakuno leaves the AV room, returning to the world of the living. When he awakens, we see Rani is hard at work at keeping the two alive. Hey, Rani! Wait, how are you alive? Is this another doll? She asks if Hakuno is conscious, but he's kind of having trouble processing Rani being right there. She is, though she's a reliable assistance at a level different from Rin. Ouch. So, good news, Saber's Spirit Origin has been repaired, so Rani used her excess vitality to treat Hakuno's body. Hence the green tube connecting the two. And with the treatment done, Rani leaves, making Hakuno wonder if Rani did survive after all? But he's got more important things to worry about, like Sleeping Beauty over here, who awakens to see her Master once more.

-This may be a guess, but I think Nero is happy to see Hakuno awake. He's happy to see her awake, too, and just like that, she's all pumped for the rematch against Berserker. But unfortunately, Hakuno is done fighting. He doesn't feel like he's qualified, since he isn't a proper Master. He is just a dead man, posing as somebody else. He's not even a ghost, just a walking corpse. So of course he would have no memories, and he fought to live despite already being dead. And he only ascended because he didn't know anything. He keeps going into this deep, emo state, but Saber has had enough of this crap. She tells him to shut up, then slaps his face with her hands, but also so she can grab his face.

-Okay, I know this is meant to be a serious scene, but given how short Nero is to Hakuno, this makes me chuckle. Anyway, Nero won't allow for this depression and tells Hakuno that there is a reason to fight, it just hasn't been determined yet. So she tries to help but reaching into her motivational speaker notes, telling him that he's been fighting to life, how he fought to ascend out of pure curiosity, and more importantly, he wanted to be more than a copy, right? But Hakuno keeps trying to go emo, saying that he can't be a replacement for Real!Hakuno, adding that he's like Frankenstein's monster. Except not quite as cute. Saber doesn't know what that means, so he says that he's a corpse created like patchwork. Saber asks "...and?" He answers that he's a ghost with memories of the dead. Nero counters that she's been dead for three thousand years, so she won there.

-Hakuno keeps trying, but Nero isn't having any of this. She tells I'm to think of an author, and that they wrote two different books wit hate same theme. If the situations differ, then they have different stories! However,r the foundation does not change. If it's based on the same soul, no matter how different, one will always arrive at the same conclusion. And that is how a soul should be. The basic principle of what he finds beautiful and what he aspires for in life doesn't change. Hakuno, clearly running out of arguments, says that he and Real!Hakuno aren't even the same gender. Yes, he is a different person, but he isn't a fake. Well, clearly Nero sucks less at this than she did before, so that's good.

-He's still processing this, but Hakuno take's hold of Nero's hand, suggesting that perhaps he is like Real!Hakuno, just with a different face and gender. Nero agrees (Umu count 36). Hakuno keeps asking if it's alright that he is who he is, but Nero responds that if he wants permission, then as emperor, she will grant it. With this, he will ascend, embracing hope, which is something he said on the Third Stratum, which is something that somebody else said in another time. So, you know, just copy what that guy said. It's not like he'll sue or anything.

-So with the name Nero entrusted him, Hakuno will reach the Angelica Cage, regardless of what awaits him beyond the sky. And Nero can get behind that (Umu count 37). She takes hold of his head, promoting to protect the one she made a pact with, nurture him, and wield her blade to the Angelica Cage, no matter what she must sacrifice. But Hakuno won't accept that. They're a team, and he'll stay by her side until the very end. She then flashes back to Real!Hakuno, obviously saying the same thing, and that makes her happy (Umu count 38). And a Happy Saber is a Good Saber.

-Nearby, Rin and Rani have been listening in, being very rude. Rin is happy to see how things have progressed, but Rani points out that she came up with a plan to defeat them secretly, but Rin responds with "Alls well that ends well", as if that explains anything, and the two walk off. And with them gone, Nero discusses strategy, since they need that to defeat Julius and Berserker. Despite appearances, the two are a perfect team. Hakuno suggests that he take on Julius while Nero deals with Berserker. She likes this, since the Holy Grail War is about duels, so she goes with this (Umu count 39). So she's going to unleash her Noble Phantasm, a symbol of who she is. And thus, she will reveal her True Name to Hakuno, which we already know, so we don't hear her say it. But in narration, Hakuno remarks that such a name demands a thunderous applause, and now, as a human, he must respond to that trust and hopefully not get her killed with his insane plan.

-Back in the ruined city, Nero faces off against Berserker while Hakuno faces against Julius. We also learn of Berserker's true name. he is the Mystic martial artists know as Li Shuwen. And Nero is going to defeat him with a frontal assault. And so the Servants engage in combat, but Nero is prepared, since she's using Imperial Privilege to give herself an edge. Remember what I said about the skill? For Nero, it's extremely broken, hence why it's an EX rank. And with that, there is almost nothing she can't do because of it. As such, she can take the essence of martial arts and make it hers, even if it's only temporary.

-And in the fight, we see that Nero isn't boasting, either. Li Shuwen is able to dodge the initial strike and get in close, but we see her match his moves, blow for blow, and soon enough, she starts gaining the upper hand. And now that playtime has ended, Nero unleashes her Noble Phantasm. She throws a rose in the air, which begins to glow, and commands it to reconstruct her theater.

-And thus, her Noble Phantasm, Aestus Domus Aurea: The Golden Theater of the Deranged. And here, in this theater, Nero is at her strongest, while her opponents are weakened by it. And Berserker can see it happening as Nero unleashes her next skill, Rosa Ichthys, launching herself like a fireball at Berserker, delivering the fatal blow and killing him instantly. With his defeat, the theater disappears, but all that's left is for Hakuno to finish the job. So how's that going?

-Well, the two are still at a stand off, so that's a plus. Julius starts the mind games early, saying that Hakuno was always filthy, no matter when, but his mere presence is an insult to Julius, because it seems, no matter how often he kills him, he keeps coming back. Or is he addressing Real!Hakuno? Hakuno seems to think so, because he tells Julius that he is Hakuno Kishinami, but not the one he knows, and he's tired of him talking about his nostalgia, and decides to play his own little mind game, telling Julius that whining about the past is unbecoming. That works, and the two engage, but unlike with Nero, Hakuno is on the other side of the beat down. And thus, the scene we got from the last episode plays, showing that we have caught up to the present. But despite what he was before, he has a reason to fight, picturing the face of the smiling Nero. And he's going to keep forward, no matter the obstacles in his path.

-The two enter their Dead Face modes, and this time, Hakuno is putting up a fight. But then the building towards to tilt, causing Hakuno to lose his balance while Julius keeps his. He then delivers a kick to Hakuno, but he's able to figure out how Julius keeps his balance on the side of the wall and does the same. And now they're fighting on the side of a building, which turns completely upside down, causing the two to fight in mid-air. Oh crap, they've gone DBZ on us!

-So they fight, somehow returning to the original battlefield, but this time, it's Hakuno who delivers the killing blow. Julius, in his dying state, tells Hakuno that the dead can't change anything, and that Hakuno is no exception. All this hatred made him sick, and he tells Hakuno that soon, he'll be like him. And then he fades away, giving him the victory. Still a jackass until the very end.

-Hakuno soon rejoins Nero at the Ladder. She's happy to see him, but man, he's a complete wreck. And she was worried sick, too! But now he's here and everything is good! Hakuno mentions that he isn't as injured as he thought he was, but Nero has her own line for that.

-The two smile at one another. Nero notes that Rin and Rani won't be joining them. And it's probably for the best, since they have to actually climb a ladder instead of taking the Ladder. As the camera pans up, we show off our title, Aestus Domus Aurea. Cue credits! As for our ending picture...

-Well, they were the important characters in this episode, so it makes sense. But of course, we aren't done yet! As Nero and Hakuno approach the Ladder, Rin and Rani watch from above. Rin says that their role in this story comes to an end. They were finally able to complete their mission! Which was to send a proper Master to the Sixth Stratum. And Rani is certain that the Sixth Stratum master is prepared to greet them. Too bad the floor is total hell, though. So Rin decides that she's going to stay with them for a little longer. It'd be bad if they killed themselves, which is a possibility Rani never thought of. She asks Rin to take care of them, which she will do. Rin tells her to go on ahead and get some rest. And soon we see the Ladder actually activate, ascending to the heavens, leaving Rani behind to watch it go before disappearing herself. End of episode.

Well, we have a lot to unpack, don't we? But it wouldn't be Fate if there wasn't, so let's start things off simple.

The female Hakuno is voiced by Ryan Bartley, who's other roles include Ram from Re:Zero, and Gilda from The Promised Neverland. So lots of snark here to deal with the scary things.

So now we know that the anime series isn't so much an adaption of the game as it's more of a sequel. More specifically, a sequel to a possibility of Hakuno losing the fight against the final boss. Which isn't actually a thing in the game, since the only option is to win or try again. But this is also an adaption reason, as well. In the game, you had a choice between a male and female avatar. This does change a few lines here and there, but the story itself pretty much remains the same. As for her backstory, it's a bit complicated, she isn't exactly an NPC. She is based on a real person, but said person is actually in cryostasis. They were caught in a terrorist attack that left them severely injured, mostly in the brain, but hey, it could be treated! Except the only guy who could treat it was also caught in the blast. Talk about bad luck.

Anyway, the Moon Cell ended up grabbing her, and here she is, fighting in a war she didn't know what was going to happen. During the chapter where they fight Julius and Li Shuwen, they attack her outside of the dungeon and severely weaken the connection between her and Nero. This leads to another scene that I can't talk about yet, but I should be able to talk about it after the next episode.

Moving on to our main villain, Julius is played by Jordan Reynolds, who's roles include Wael in Pillars of Eternity II and Kagatsuka in Sword Gai: The Animation.

And while he had no actual lines, just grunts, Li Shuwen was played by Christ Hackney, who's other roles include Gohan in Dragon Ball Super and Masahiro in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.

So what's the deal with these two? As it turns out, Julius is actually there to help Leo win the Holy Grail War, and he does it by murdering pretty much everybody in his way. He got his servant before everybody else and went to do just that. He also used a hacked account, taking over the place of somebody else. This worked well, because the Li Shuwen that was summoned the first time around was classed as an Assassin. But why is he a Berserker here? Well, after being defeated, Julius really was too angry to die and somebody avoided deletion, which is what happened to losing Masters, and with some Command Seals he stole from another Master, revived Li Shuwen, making him a Berserker. And so you have to deal with that again before being able to continue with the story. And he's just as nasty to Hakuno as he was in the anime.

And now we come to the elephant in the room, one Nero Cladius, Hakuno's Saber. So again, we have a gender swap of a historic character that was originally male, and just to make it interesting, we make her look at Blue Saber. This was actually a big thing back when the game was first released, as this makes her the first proper Saberface, and lead to theories that Blue Saber is actually descended from Nero. Speaking of, Nero actually gets a chance to talk smack about Blue Saber. The line comes from how history came to view Nero as a man, but she never really hid her gender from the people. She liked wearing men's and women's clothing, and loved all equally. The rest of her story, however, remains rather close to her historical counterpart, though the series downplays the tyrant side quite a bit.

Her Noble Phantasm is also rather unique for a Saber. When she activates it, she's actually recreation her theater, which makes it a Reality Marble. This makes her rather unique because not many Servants outside of the Caster class can actually create Reality Marbles, and as it turns out, the second one we know of is also a playable Servant in the game. in the game itself, last for three turns, can only activated after the third turn of a battle, but increases all of her stats and gives her access to a skill she normally doesn't have access to. It is a rather powerful Noble Phantasm, though, and useful for those hard boss fights.

With Julius defeated and Nero's True Name revealed, Hakuno ascends to the Sixth Stratum. But what kind of hell awaits them there? Tune in on Sunday to find out.

Until next time, remember, when somebody starts getting emo on you, make sure to give them a good double slap to the face. Then give them a motivational speech to get them to kick that habit. That will surely work on them.


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Okay, a lot to discuss here...

-And in classic Fate tradition, in this universe, Nero was actually a woman. Crazy, right? But why does she look like Blue Saber?
In all honesty? It began as a meta-joke on the audience back when Fate/Extra was in development. The idea was to show someone the fanbase would think was Blue Saber in a new attire or something like that, and incite a reaction like "what the hell happened to Saber?!"

As for her backstory, it's a bit complicated, she isn't exactly an NPC. She is based on a real person, but said person is actually in cryostasis. They were caught in a terrorist attack that left them severely injured, mostly in the brain, but hey, it could be treated! Except the only guy who could treat it was also caught in the blast. Talk about bad luck.

Anyway, the Moon Cell ended up grabbing her, and here she is, fighting in a war she didn't know what was going to happen.
No, Hakuno is specifically an NPC. An NPC whose design is based on a real person in cryostasis (this isn't even the only case - when we saw Sakura back in Episode 1? She was an NPC as well)... but the NPC has no established link to the human on Earth. This means that nothing that happens to the Hakuno in the Moon Cell will carry back to the Hakuno in the cryo-chamber.

As I recall, the original Hakuno wasn't in the terrorist attack - she was dying of a brain disease that included amnesia as a primary symptom. The terrorist attack hit and killed the doctor who had first discovered a treatment for said disease (and it took decades for that treatment to be independently rediscovered). While the original Hakuno was in cryostasis, the Moon Cell created an NPC based on her, which eventually developed capacity for independence. However, due to her original suffering amnesia, the NPC Hakuno was similarly amnesiac from the outset.

And now we come to the elephant in the room, one Nero Cladius, Hakuno's Saber. So again, we have a gender swap of a historic character that was originally male, and just to make it interesting, we make her look at Blue Saber. This was actually a big thing back when the game was first released, as this makes her the first proper Saberface, and lead to theories that Blue Saber is actually descended from Nero.
The closest thing to an official explanation for the resemblance in-universe is that Blue Saber's legend is built partially from the foundation of a historical Roman officer. No particular statement if Nero and Blue Saber actually count as distant relatives, though.

Her Noble Phantasm is also rather unique for a Saber. When she activates it, she's actually recreation her theater, which makes it a Reality Marble.
The Golden Theatre is considered to be 'similar to a Reality Marble', but not truly one. At any rate, there's an amusing description of what it does in supplementary material for this show. Basically, it shifts all opportunities of victory and luck in favour of the one playing the protagonist's role (with said role in this sense being Nero, of course). Also of note, Nero's sword is specifically not a Noble Phantasm - it's just a sword Nero personally crafted and named.

Anyway, just this week, a series of supplementary entries were fully translated that discuss certain keywords for each episode of Last Encore. If you're interested, I can post (or at least summarize) the ones for the episodes you've caught up to.
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Nero is actually quite interesting in wider Fate lore. Her Noble Phantasm is something very similar to, but not quite exactly like, a Reality Marble, which her class shouldn't be able to utilize.

Quick exposition:
- There are seven "main" Servant classes (and a whole bunch of others that show up in other works, and there's some hints that the main seven were never set in stone in the first place), split into three "knight" classes (Saber, Archer, Lancer) that are supposed to be all about fighting ability, three "cavalry" classes (Rider, Caster, Assassin) that are supposed to be more about trickery or specialized skills, and Berserker, which is a warrior driven mad by a special skill, sacrificing higher cognitive functions and the ability to use skills for raw power.
- Reality Marbles are a type of extremely rare and specialized magecraft that very few beings in the Nasuverse can access, because they're essentially an imposition of a fundamentally different view of the world onto reality, and thus require the user to both have a perspective that's detailed enough to comprise a fully realized alternate world that's incompatible with reality and yet be lucid enough and skilled enough in magecraft to turn it into a Reality Marble. Of the two characters in Fate media famous for using one, one of them (Iskandar) gained his after he turned into a Heroic Spirit as an expression of his legend, and the other (Emiya Shirou) was psychologically damaged and then magically altered to have the concept of "swords" permanently grafted onto him.
- Knight classes, being about direct confrontation, shouldn't normally be able to use Reality Marbles, and Nero doesn't have the excuse EMIYA has of being based on a person who could use one in life. This has led to some speculation that is only now starting to pay off in Fate/Grand Order, as things start to get revealed about Nero's true nature.
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