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


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It was a good ending and the trio of finale episodes was well worth the wait back then. Nero's wish surprised me, but also kind of didn't. It's really fitting given her origin story.


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Hello everybody and welcome to our wrap up of Fate/Extra Last Encore. And man, what a journey it was. Well, by journey, I mean "Well, that got all kinds of weird, but it seemed fun." Because it's Fate, and its always screwed up in some fashion. And Last Encore is no exception.

Now, this won't be a review in the traditional sense. I mean, I liked it, but I'm so heavily bias with anything involving Nero that you shouldn't take my word on anything when she's involved. But in this case, it would be best to explain what happened between the original game and what happened here and how they differed. Then again, they kind of included the events in the game to make this a sequel to a potential bad end, but still, let's go over what happened.

In the game, after going through the prologue involving some poor sap who gets killed thanks to Julius screwing up their magical circuits, Hakuno takes over to be the proper main protagonist. You do the typical "choose the gender" and name and stuff, but you also choose between three Servants. You have your Saber class, who is, of course, Nero Claudius, then you have the Archer class, played by Fate's own personal punching bad, EMIYA, though in the game he's called Nameless, and this is technically a different Shirou then the one we know in the main universe. Finally, we have the Caster class, who is a fox Shrine Maiden by the name of Tamamo-no-Mae, and boy does the Fate lore have fun with her. Each of these characters come with their own background, obviously, and their own Noble Phantasm. EMIYA, of course, keeps Unlimited Blade Works, even doing the chant, while Tamamo gets one that allows her to cast any skill for free. We already saw Nero's, which basically turns her into an overpowered Protagonist, because that's just how things roll with her.

In the regular version of the game, the three playable Servants never meet in game. There was an add-on added, which gave you bonus bosses that allowed you to face them, but we never got that in English so we'll ignore that for now. But the Servants they fight do appear in order in the anime adaption itself. The only difference is that, after the third match, you had to choose which of your companions to save. This changes two other fights later, forcing you to fight the one you didn't rescue later, and given how the system works, you are basically killing them in the end. Don't you feel great?

And at the end, when all have been defeated, you face off against Twice and his Servant, Saver/Savior, and beat him to get the grail, sending your companion back to Earth while you get deleted. The back story behind Hakuno is actually interesting, but they're basically a glorified NPC given life, and by entering the Moon Cell, get themselves deleted as a result.

The anime basically says "Yeah, that all happened, but Hakuno failed and things went to hell." And so, the series follows it's own story, though it does retread some things and keeps others. Though it didn't go quite as insane with the floor visuals, but that's Studio Shaft for you. It was interesting how they did the adaption, and honestly, I think they went in the right direction. Why do a full adaption when you can just make your own that follows the beats but changes enough to be its own story?

Visually speaking, the show itself is rather gorgeous. Now, this isn't going to be quite as action-heavy as say UBW, but it was always pretty to look at. Though honestly, if Ufotobe got the show, then the action would be great to watch, but we'd probably lose out on Nero just sitting around looking pretty. This is indeed a difficult decision to make. That said, the action sequence in the opening, when Nero lets her hair down, is very pretty to look at.

Music wise, honestly, I like the opening song they used. It's seems more rock and less pop, which is an interesting choice to make, but for Nero, it makes sense, as she's the type who likes shouting with a burning passion! And the ending song is very beautiful, if a bit sad. I don't know the lyrics there and I could probably find them, but they'd probably still be sad. The rest of the music was, honestly, kind of forgettable. I can't recall any of the tracks that played through the regular series itself, which I think says more about that than anything else.

While I know it's a sin, I did go with the English dubbing on this one. I'm not surprised they didn't keep Nero's verbal tic, but it would have been interesting to hear Cassandra Lee drop it often. But it'd probably sound off if it didn't come from Sakura Tenge, the Japanese voice actor for Nero. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the final Umu count is 58. That's basically 4.46 Umus per episode, and we had one episode where Nero wasn't in it at all! Crazy, I know. And of course, Mela Lee reprises her role as Rin, though I wonder if she ended up signing a lifetime contract with that, or she has something on Nasu that forces him to get her every time, if he has any control over that.

I think Chris Patton did an excellent job with Gawain and sold the character quite well. Cherami Leigh did a great job in bringing out the tragedy behind Amari, even if she didn't stay around for very long. And yes, I do have to say this, but I thought Vic Mignogna did an excellent job as Robin Hood. And let's just leave it at that there.

Now, one problem that I do have with the series, aside from the standard Studio Shaft stuff (why does everybody need to tilt backwards when looking over their shoulder?), one major hurdle this series has for itself is that you do have to have had played the game or at least know what happened to have a better appreciation for the series. It's not actually a requirement, per say, but you do miss out on a lot if you haven't. This is very much not a "new people can apply" show if you aren't familiar with Fate, especially with Fate/Extra. Then again, if you aren't confused about something in any Fate product, you're probably not doing it right.

Normally, at this point, I'd say what show I'm doing next. Except I don't have a show at the moment. I can't tackle Eva yet for reasons, and the latest Symphogear is still running, so I can't hit that yet, either. Guess I'll need to dive deep into the queues to find something, unless somebody else has a recommendation. But for now, that brings us to the end of this look into the Fate universe.

Until next time, remember, if you find yourself stuck in a computer program where you need to select a historical character to be your Servant to fight battles to the death, always pick the short, cute, blonde girl holding a sword longer than her. She will kick everybody's ass without breaking a sweat.


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Well, we're finally at the finale. Due to a variety of reasons, it took me a long time to manage to see the final three episodes, so I haven't been able to comment on them until now.

And that's because the true final boss, Twice Pierceman, kills the winners and keeps the Holy Grail to himself.
Pieceman, not Pierceman.

In FGO, a certain Craft Essence (a sort of equipment-card for a Servant) that has his likeness upon it plays with his name a bit. The CE in question is titled "A Fragment of 2030", and what is another word for "fragment"? A "piece".

And so he activates his Noble Phantasm, first by throwing his sword in the air, then grabbing what is basically a sun beam from a mini-star. He plans to show off the power of the sister sword to the Holy Sword of the Planet. Basically, he's flinging the power of the sun at them.
Excalibur Galatine is described as containing a miniature sun within its hilt, from which it draws its power. While the statement originated as a joke making fun of a certain memetic line from the manga Bleach, it's said that Excalibur Galatine at full power can extend a blade of solar flame that reaches as far as 13 kilometers.

-Our episode begins with a clock, seemingly indicating the distant past. There, we see Twice greet Leo, who has a few questions for the head of the West European Conglomerate. More specifically, about what's happening on Earth. It all starts in 1970, when the resources have been depleted and humanity begins their decline. At this point, the power for life to go on was removed from the world. He wants to hear what Leo thinks of this?
-Leo has seen this episode, it seems. But he won't let the world end. He's going to find the Holy Grail and use it to remedy the situation. Twice confirms that the Moon Cell's Holy Grail is indeed an omnipotent wish granter for humanity, but even it has limits. While one is able to gai na profit greater than what they lost, one cannot regain the lost thing itself. Leo should already be aware of this, then throws out another year, 1999. Apparently some event happened there, because according to Twice, the planet's soul, its core, has been hurt. And who's to blame for this? Why, all of humanity, of course! Well, isn't he just a cheery guy?
I don't know if this is you misinterpreting the statement, or if the translation you're following misinterpreted something. At any rate, the term "Overcount 1999" is a mysterious term that has been hinted at in the past, as being connected to one of Nasu's older works, Notes. Setting aside the discussion of that story, how it relates to Fate/Extra is as follows...

Basically, in the Fate/Extra setting, a certain ritual was performed in England in the year 1970 (which is far earlier than it was suggested it was planned to happen in other works). As a consequence of this, the planet's soul was wounded, the Earth suffered a pole shift that moved the entirety of the crust, mana (ambient environmental magical energy, which is the lifeforce emitted by the planet itself) dwindled away, and the Earth's resources spontaneously ran dry despite the fact that they should have been enough of it that humanity could never consume it all.

Further information establishes that the Harwey family were involved with the performance of the ritual that caused Overcount 1999 (and the translation that I followed for Last Encore has Twice say it's the Harwey's fault, rather than all humanity's fault), though the exact reason or if they knew the possible consequences is unknown.

Rin, who isn't neutral, goes into her Servant mode, then decides she's going to borrow something.
I guess Rin picked up some excess firepower from Rani's avatar bodies back on the Sixth Stratum?

He explains in narration that he never healed properly from the wounds he suffered from Real!Hakuno, and then brings out Gawain, who is not dead? Well, if somebody actually stayed dead, it wouldn't be Fate.
Gawain's vanishing earlier didn't exactly look like a Servant's Saint Graph collapsing - if anything, it looked more like a Servant going into astral form.

Now, I did say I'd discuss the Second Drama CD at some point, right?
A translation can be found here: https://amielleon.dreamwidth.org/305579.html - It seems I'd misremembered a bit of it when I mentioned it earlier.

At any rate, it depicts Tamamo at a campfire on Floor 4, telling a traveler of certain events that occur on Floor 6 (the point where Rin and Rani started getting tired of just fighting to endless stalemates), on Floor 7 (Gawain's flower-gardening as he awaits a Master to challenge him and Leo), and on Floor 5 (with Tamamo interfering to permit Berserker a moment of sanity so he can speak with Julius for a little while). She then finishes things off with a scene set in the Moon Mile Ladder... except it's acknowledged to be an impossible event (it involved Nero, Rin, Rani, Hakuno, and Female Hakuno all meeting in the baths - obviously something that could never happen) she's showing just to lighten the mood.

At the end, it's revealed the guest is Female Hakuno during the Grail War in 2030, and Tamamo is showing her events of the future (and that one impossible comedy scene in the baths) using her Witchcraft. Tamamo then sends Female Hakuno and Nero onward to the Fifth Floor, and waits to see how long it will be before she meets someone else... with the implication (combined with info from supplementary materials) that she'll be waiting until the day she fights and is defeated by Nero and Dead Face Hakuno.

I could go on a bit with things like the translations for the Keyword entries that accompany each episode on the Japanese site, but I'll have to come back to that later.


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It's been a few days, so I figured I'd finally get around to those Keyword entries that I mentioned earlier.

A user on another site has a list of translations. Their translation style might seem a bit quirk to some, but nonetheless this is information that had not (to my knowledge) been entirely translated into English before these posts were made. The posts are available...
Here (Pre-Episode 1 to Episode 8)
and Here (Episode 9 to Episode 13)

... but if you'd like some summaries of some of the points, you may read below.

Spoiler: Show

The Moon Cell is basically a colossal supercomputer that uses light refracting within it as its storage medium. It's specifically something constructed by a race of sapients who are distinctly not human, but no further details are given here on the nature of said creators.

Episode 1:
Half of the students who enter Limbo (or Limbus, as the localization seems to have gone with) suffer a 'loss of meaning' and commit suicide as a result. Since the Moon Cell is no longer operating properly (especially its purification faculties), anyone who enters perceives three 'layers' simultaneously - the Ruins that are the basis of Limbo, the Academy that is the 'shared fantasy' of everyone participating in the Preliminaries, and any Traumas the individual entering Limbo brings with them.

Episode 2:
The city that makes up the First Stratum is known as the Newly-Incorporated Oceanic City, "Cape".

Episode 3:
Code Casts are basically pre-written code programs, activated with magical energy.
I'm not sure I even need to say it, but Floor Masters are selected either from a Master who chooses to remain on that Floor, or from the Moon Cell's records of "the most outstanding Master" to have fought on that Floor.
Elaborating that Imperial Privilege is a skill of "self-indulgent willfulness", possessed by Emperors who would make possible the impossible through nothing but their own authority.
There's a notice that while Servants can generate some magical energy on their own, their energy consumption far outstrips their production rate, so Masters provide their own life force as magical energy to sustain them. While there are many ways to transfer said energy, transference through physical contact is the most efficient in transmission.
As I've mentioned before, a "female Master who escaped from the 3rd Floor" (read: Amari) served as Shinji's right-hand and helped further advance the development of the Oceanic City, and Shinji relegated formal management of the City to her. It's left unconfirmed but implied that Amari chose to have the police force be made up of young women due to her own interests.

Episode 4:
Rani was the last homunculus on Earth, created by the Atlas Institute, itself the last remaining organization focused on magecraft. She's specialized for work in cyberspace.
If the "maintenance of civilization" were to be defined as the existence of a testament to Mankind, then the humans in the Moon Cell were "the last of Humanity" by the year 3020. If SE.RA.PH were to collapse, then Humanity will cease to exist in this Universe.

Episode 5:
The Second Stratum is known as the "Forest of the Root of Regret", while the First Stratum can also be referred to as the "Sea of Stagnation". As I've mentioned before, Dan's ploy was to ricochet shots off the clock tower bell to either one-shot arriving Masters, or flush them off of the Royal Castle into the forest where Robin could get them. And then if they escape that and reach the clock tower, they either get shot in the clearing or die to Dan's final trap (the bombs). The text comments that the ringing of the bell caused by this can't really even be called an announcement that the duel has begun.

Episode 6:
Since SE.RA.PH is a World where spirits can be rendered into data, it's possible for beings of Pure Psyche or Pure Spirit to exist as tangible beings. Such Cyber Ghosts cannot normally depart the place where their regrets are tied to.
Alice, however, retains freedom of movement as she wasn't a Cyber Ghost created within the Moon Cell, but rather someone who became one in the process of her soul transferring from Earth to the Moon Cell. Her personality wasn't well-suited to the conflicts of the Grail War, but aside from that she's exemplary as a Master... to the point that it's said that Masters who went up against her didn't even reach a point that could be called "combat procedures".

Episode 7:
Nursery Rhyme once took on the form and personality of Alice, but could no longer maintain it once Alice's nature/existence changed.
The Third Stratum is the "Garden of Oblivion". It's merged with Alice's Reality Marble, the "Nameless Forest" wherein one is neutralized once one forgets one's own name (yes, the Reality Marble is Alice's. Presumably this means Nursery Rhyme gets access to it by merit of copying Alice). Those who enter within wander adrift in time, but if you look at life as "a continuous tale", the Garden of Oblivion is simply shuffling the past with the present.

Episode 8:
Where Cyber Ghosts are existences that lack flesh yet pursue life, Dead Faces are those who are alive yet are bound by death. Since SE.RA.PH distinguishes between 'death of the body' and 'death of the psyche', an incomplete death can cause mental processes to continue until they develop into a curse. With the Moon Cell's purification systems non-functional due to Chakravartin meddling with the system, said mental activity/curse becomes the Dead Face. Even those who have accepted death may find themselves 'contaminated' and become 'the walking dead', wandering a floor of SE.RA.PH without any purpose.
Demi-Servants are those who incorporate a Servant into themselves and inherit their capabilities. Fundamentally requires contracting with a Servant first before one can be made into a Demi-Servant. Normally a Master could not survive the burden of their Servant's Saint Graph and would collapse in the middle of the process of becoming one... though if one were created and adjusted from birth for the sake of the process, it should be possible to survive it, but... (further elaboration on that is a story for Fate/Grand Order).
The Fifth Stratum is "The Town that Sounds of 'Zaza' (I believe that's the Japanese onomatopoeia for rainfall?)". Voices of hate become noise, and that noise is the repeating sound of rainfall. The floor is reflecting the wrath of a wandering killer, so the floor's scenery depicts the collapse and stagnation on Earth. Since the Floor Master is already dead, and no other Masters are available for the role, a match between Masters to determine a victor is impossible, so the Moon Mile Ladder is already lowered for whoever arrives.

Episode 9:
The Screening Room where HAKUNO meets Female Hakuno was once part of the school building in the Moon Cell Grail War ~1,000 years ago. All that remains in it now is a a yakisoba bun (a reference to a healing item from Fate/Extra that has basically been accepted as one of Hakuno's favourite foods).
The Golden Theatre is a Noble Phantasm that creates a decisive battlefield wherein "all opportunities to victory and luck" are biased toward the one who plays the protagonist's role (read: Nero). Incidentally, due to the influence of the Great Fire of Rome on Nero's legend, Nero is skilled at managing flames, but also has a fated connection to "calamities of the flame".

Episode 10:
Unlimited... (Unlimited/Raise Dead). When Rin and Rani were absorbed into the Sixth Floor, they "lagged" for decades. The few Masters who made it to this floor in that period of time either went up to the Seventh by beating another Master, or went back down to the Fifth. They've been making proxy avatars mostly on instinct for about 500 years, until they agreed that they were getting nowhere this way.
Their core selves have managed to become (Demi-)Servants after seemingly-endless reiterations of terrifying, agonizing modifications to become "different beings" even as they yet still live. Rin specialized herself for skill, while Rani specialized in power. One Avatar body was sent to each of the floors below the Sixth, since the Moon Cell permits one-way travel downward.
The dome at the center of the Sixth Stratum is called "Cardial Realm, Astraia (or Astraea)". Rin's and Rani's Avatars cannot interfere with their originals, so even if they wanted to, Rin and Rani can't use them to commit suicide. Also, if an Avatar looked upon their original, there would be a chance that the Avatar would break down due to internal inconsistencies. As such, the Avatars fear approaching Astraia. Every Avatar destroyed relays its memories back to the slumbering original self.

Episode 11:
The Seventh Stratum is "The Summit of the Sun". The Moon Mile Ladder doesn't descend here because there are no more floors to rise up to - the victorious Master on this Floor is simply summoned from the site of their final fight at the temple ruins straight to the Angelica Cage. This floor is where Hakuno died, after falling downward from the Cage in her final battle.
Excalibur Galatine, the Turning Sword of Victory or Sword of Revolving Victory (Aksys tried to flower up the title when they came up with something like "Resurrected Sword of Victory"). It's already a top-notch Noble Phantasm among those brought into a Holy Grail War, but Leo is able to provide enough magical energy and powerful enough reinforcement to augment it power even further. One stroke with its power fully-unleashed in this boosted state is mightier than any of the seven weapons mounted on Chakravartin (the proof is in how one blade of Chakravartin drove Female Hakuno from the Angelica Cage to the Seventh Stratum, while Excalibur Galatine drove Nero and Dead Face Hakuno all the way down to Limbo).
The Offensive Barrier, or Firewall, incinerates fallen Masters because a defeated Master is deemed "unnecessary" and therefore disposed of by the rules of SE.RA.PH. As such, it could be said that Masters are not the ones who end the lives of other Masters during the Moon Cell's Grail War.

Episode 12:
The Bottom of Limbo is all that remains of the preliminary stage once it was purged after Episode 1. The Rose Theatre of Limbo is all that lingers here still, and even then only just barely.
Overcount 1999. The decisive depletion of Earth's resources, which should have been a reserve too deep for Humanity to entirely consume, and yet it was nonetheless. The Keyword entry doesn't elaborate much on it, but there are small bits of info elsewhere in Nasuverse works about it.
The scar on Gawain's chest is left behind from a blow by Nero and Female Hakuno that wounded Gawain's Spiritual Core. Leo surrendered the battle against Female Hakuno the moment Nero landed this blow that overturned what should by all rights have been Nero's absolute defeat. The reason is because Leo still bore doubts about his purpose, while Hakuno, despite being an NPC who had no future awaiting her, could devote every bit of herself toward making that one strike possible.

Phenomenon Selection Tree - Angelica Cage (aka the Cage of the Blazing Skies... as an aside, "Blazing Skies/Heavens Messenger" is the literal reading of the kanji used for "Seraph") is the heart of the Moon Cell, which can even perform management of Adjacent Realities (or Operation of Parallel Worlds, as it's been translated in the past). The form of all Adjacent Realities would be perceived as resembling a great tree... it may be worth noting that it was under a Sacred Fig Tree that Buddha achieved enlightenment under.
Chakravartin, one Noble Phantasm possessed by the Saver-class Servant Buddha, now left behind with Twice after Buddha departed this Universe. It's made up of two wheels, a Greater Wheel around all of SE.RA.PH that is 70 km in diameter, and a Lesser Wheel that is 7 km in diameter and only surrounds the Angelica Cage.
A Master is one whose destiny becomes shared with their Servant. While all sorts of cruelty and ugliness was born of the conflict between Masters, it's only those who proceed forward in spite of that who can triumph. But about 1,000 years ago, that "brilliance" vanished... or perhaps it faded over the span of that millennium? At any rate, efforts to pursue the Grail became a thing of the past. As such, Dead Face Hakuno's journey is merely a final echo, a Last Encore, if one will, of the War for the Holy Grail, where a single life that was "somebody who was nobody" managed to become the only human Master to achieve a wish upon the Holy Grail of the Moon.
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I still don't understand why Buddha would be summoned as a Servant. Isn't one of his defining features the lack of attachments? What could he wish for?


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I still don't understand why Buddha would be summoned as a Servant. Isn't one of his defining features the lack of attachments? What could he wish for?
In the game, after Pieceman is defeated, the protagonist states their belief that Savior was moved by compassion for Pieceman's suffering. This is never confirmed or denied.
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