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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Fate/Apocrypha E6: Knight of Rebellion.

Episode 6
Knight of Rebellion.

We're kicking off the second act of this utterly ridiculous, terrible show this week, and we're doing it the only way Fate/Apocrypha knows how -- by jumping the shark. Again. Several times over. Because why wouldn't it? Why would it even bother at a pretense of quality.

With orders from Shirou and the rest of the Red Faction, Sisigou and Mordred (Saber of Red) head to Sighisoara, chasing down rumours of a serial killer that has murdered every magi to enter the town, and who has been stealing and eating hearts, with Sisigou guessing that the serial killer is a Servant. Meanwhile, Fiore and Chiron (Archer of Black) are also dispatched to investigate, with Caules setting out after them. Elsewhere, Avicebron (Caster of Black), Vlad (Lancer of Black), and Darnic plot to use Gordes -- now useless to them after the death of Siegfried -- as the core of Avicebron's Noble Phantasm, while Shirou's Servant, Semiramis (Assassin of Red), completes hers: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The episode starts with Mordred having a flashback to her life, as the child (son? Clone?) of King Arthur. This flashback, totaling about four minutes in length, is the most interesting part of the episode and also the entire series. There's a genuinely interesting story in Mordred entering her father's (mother's?) court, hoping to win the king's (queen's?) favour, and the story only makes it more interesting by introducing us to a group of rebels who seem intent on killing Arthur and who, when asked about it, cryptically say it's because she's 'too perfect.' Arthur even gets given plenty of villain framing, with her eyes rarely shown and her demeanour appearing severe and faintly sinister.

(Except, of course, we know Arthur's not evil at all, since she's the usual Saber we get in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, and by now everyone, even those not well-acquainted with the series, knows her character.)

Having established that there's a really interesting, compelling story to be told here, the show promptly stops telling you it and proceeds not to even allude to it in passing for the entire rest of the episode. No, no, instead we have to move onto our main event, which is -- sigh -- Jack the Ripper eating people's hearts, and various people trying to capture her.

I've said before that I'm not comfortable with Jack the Ripper being genderswapped -- Arthur, Mordred, Frankenstein's Monster, sure, fine, whatever, I honestly don't care, but Jack the Ripper's crimes are so heavily steeped in sexualised violence against women and Victorian era misogyny that turning him into a her feels almost victim-blame-y, especially since these are, in a wider historical context, fairly recent murders.

Well, the show saw that I was uncomfortable, understood, and elected to make me uncomfortable in a different way by having Jack, who is a little girl who can't be older than twelve and acts like a five year old, wear a low-slung thong and very little else. Just. Listen, Fate, I'm hoping that most of your audience aren't paedophiles, so I'm not sure who you're aiming this at, but it's weird, and uncomfortable, and I don't like it.

Jack the Ripper's actual involvement in the episode amounts to a very brief fight against Mordred (seriously, it lasts all of about six seconds) before Chiron drives her off, to make way for the next set of fights in our utterly meaningless fight lottery -- Chiron (Archer of Black) vs Mordred (Saber of Red). I swear, these fight match-ups are decided less by what's interesting from a storytelling perspective and more just by throwing darts at a board.

Our other match-up is a fight between the Masters, Sisigou on the Red team and Fiore on the Black team, with Fiore using -- and here's where the episode jumps the shark for the second time, like an unlockable character in Super Mario Aquarium --  giant mechanical spider legs. Fiore, if you can build giant mechanical spider legs, why can you not build smaller mechanical spider legs, and not have to worry about the whole wheelchair thing? Why do you even need magic if you're tech-savvy enough to build giant mecha-spider legs? Is this just because someone thought it'd be a cool fight scene, and didn't actually think about the implications of it? It is, isn't it?

This show makes me feel like I'm having a stroke.

Incidentally, man, hey, remember how Sieg the Homunculus and Jeanne D'arc are meant to be our main characters? They're on the poster and everything? They aren't in this episode. They aren't in this episode at all. 

Next week, we have Mordred vs Chiron, I suppose, and presumably Caules interrupting the fight between Sisigou and Fiore, since when we left off, Sisigou had cornered her and was firing corpse thumbs at her or some other nonsense like that. I am so very, very tired of this show and everything it aspires to be.

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