Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Fate/Apocrypha

Go To
In the name of Jeanne d'Arc, I command thee, fourteen Servants.note 
Her dream would end, and reality would show itself. However, it had not yet ended. Indeed, the girl's dream had come to an end, but that of La Pucelle would start from then.

Fate/Apocrypha is a Light Novel written by Yuichiro Higashide and illustrated by Ototsugu Konoe set in the Fate universe. It was originally conceived as a joint-project MMORPG by Type-Moon, with the help of several other authors and artists like Gen Urobuchi, but was eventually cancelled when a suitable development partner could not be foundnote . The concept was later revived as a five-part Light Novel, with two previews published in the Type-Moon Ace magazine. The full first novel was released at Comiket on 29 December 2012. The second novel was released on the 15th of August, 2013, the third on December 29, 2013, the fourth on May 30, 2014, and the fifth and final volume was released on December 30, 2014.

In an Alternate Timeline to Fate/stay night, the world is forever changed when the rebellious Yggdmillennia faction steals the Greater Grail during the Third Holy Grail War and hides it within Trifas, Transylvania. This theft causes the Grail system to go out of control, resulting in a number of smaller "regional" Holy Grail Wars across the world, each presided over by a "Ruler" Servant summoned by the Grails themselves to ensure the rules are obeyed and the Wars do not involve innocent people.

Six decades after the Third Holy Grail War, Yggdmillennia suddenly emerges from hiding and declares independence from the Mage's Association by announcing a new world order where mages of any background and talent, not just those from strong bloodlines, will be allowed to learn the art of magecraft under them. As proof of their authority, a Great Holy Grail War will be held between themselves and the Mage's Association: instead of a seven-way battle royale, two teams of seven Servants will battle each other for the right to claim the Greater Grail.

Jeanne d'Arc is summoned as the designated Ruler of this Great Holy Grail War, and departs to Transylvania where she hopes to adjudicate the battle between the Mage Association's "Red Faction" and Yggdmillennia's "Black Faction". Yet it quickly becomes clear that something is seriously wrong with this Grail War, and its parties will do whatever it takes to seize the ultimate prize for themselves.

An anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures was announced December 31, 2016. It premiered on July 1, 2017, has been licensed for exclusive streaming on Netflix, and ran for 25 episodes. The first half of the series premiered on Netflix worldwide on November 7, 2017, and the second half premiered in February 2018.

A novel called Fate/Apocrypha: Side of Survivor was released in the second Blu-ray edition which details what happened to the survivors of the Grail War. A sequel called Fate:Lost Einherjar details a new Grail War ten years in the future where each Master summons two Servants.

Fate/Apocrypha provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

     Tropes A-J 
  • Actor Allusion: Both from the Mexican Spanish dub:
  • Adaptation Distillation: More than a few things are changed from the novels. To wit, here are some of the more important parts:
    • The way Jeanne meets Sieg in the anime is very different compared to the novels. In the original, Jeanne was never present when Siegfried died and had to go meet with the Black Faction to find out what happened to him which in itself led to a brief discussion with Vlad regarding her role.
    • Achilles and Atalanta's final confrontation has a rather considerable change in the anime adaptation. In the light novel, Achilles was the one crying to show his sorrow and support at Atalanta's Tragic Dream, which brought peace to her mind, and they vanished in the same time. In the anime, Atalanta was the one crying over how she let herself fall into madness and despair over her seemingly impossible dream while wondering if she took the right path at all, and she vanished first after sadly telling Achilles that while he was an idiot to throw away his life to try and save her from madness, she was still touched by it. Achilles then watched her fade away and monologued about how he found her dream beautiful and worth supporting before vanishing himself.
    • In the light novel, the reason Semiramis and Shirou Kotomine couldn't tell that Saber of Red was Mordred at first was because of her Noble Phantasm Secret of Pedigree, which hides her stats and her face from sight and other means of detection. The anime makes almost no mention of said ability, treating it as though Mordred's helmet and silence were enough to avoid the topic, making it a bit jarring later when her appearance is revealed and nobody seems to react.
    • Jeanne reuniting with Gilles due to Shakespeare. In the light novel, Jeanne learns that after her death, Gilles became a serial killer and rapist of young children, causing her to be shaken that a friend she had been close to ended up becoming an evil man. In the anime, Gilles and the disembodied head of Sieg instead ask Jeanne how can she claim her belief is to treat everyone equally if she seems to care for Sieg in particular.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • A fairly significant detail is omitted in the anime adaptation during the fight between Sieg and Karna towards the end of the series. In the light novel, it is revealed Sieg is passively using Fran's Galvanize skill to absorb nearby mana, allowing him to spam Siegfried's Balmung to counter Karna's power. The anime adaption does not alluded, or even mention this detail, causing Sieg to randomly gain enough power to spam Balmung despite it begin presented before as difficult for him to use.
    • The anime also causes another one with regards to Astolfo and Achilles in the finale, though a casual viewer would likely not notice. Achilles is able to give Astolfo his Noble Phantasm, Akhilleus Kosmos, because of a specific part of both of their legends interacting in a way only they could: Achilles is known for giving away Noble Phantasms, while Astolfo is known for receiving them. Essentially, their legends created a unique situation only they could do, justifying Astolfo's ability to use it. The anime never references this, instead simply having Achilles tell Astolfo that even though it's not technically "his" Noble Phantasm, Astolfo can still use it as long as he knows and calls its True Name, which to anyone not versed enough in the lore to know otherwise would be understandable.
    • The anime adaptation shows the Knights of the Round Table with their designs from Fate/Grand Order, which is fine, except that Bedivere's design is the exact same as it was in Grand Order, which shouldn't be possible since Bedivere's design includes Airgetlám, which was actually Excalibur sealed onto him by Merlin when he washed onto the shores of Avalon, which was the major story factor of the Camelot singularity. This is notable because Bedivere's design originally comes from the Fate/stay night, where he had the look Grand Order used, but without Airgetlám.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Though the Classical Mythology has various alternate interpretations for its characters, this series seems to take on the more 'negative' aspects of Hippomenes from what was described about him in relations with Atalanta. Rather than an awkward guy who's also pretty smart with the Golden Apple from Aphrodite, Hippomenes is described as generally more cunning and sly, the Golden Apple was considered more to be his cheat item and Atalanta viewed him to be less than Meleager (her first love that died after she received the Calydonian Boar fur), but couldn't go against her vow to marry whoever beats her in footrace. Then he forgot about Aphrodite, and it led to Atalanta getting cursed into a lion.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: While Mordred is still the Antagonistic Offspring to King Arthur aka Artoria Pendragon, she actually admired Artoria and was happy when she learned she was her child. However, Artoria rejected her as her child, but not as a knight, and rebelled against her. Also, she is still mentally a child since she is an aged-up homunculus created by Morgan.
  • The Alliance: Yggdmillennia is actually a collection of new, dying, and weak magus clans took in under one banner, with the middle name indicating which clan that member originally descended from. Even their crest isn't unified.
  • All Myths Are True: Mostly played straight, although there are a few deviations. For example, Vlad III was most certainly not an actual vampire during his lifetime, though the prevalent association with them has given him access to a Noble Phantasm that lets him become one... though he loathes it.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the information about the Servants originally came from the Fate/Complete Material IV guidebook rather than the actual novel. Fate/Apocrypha Material further expands on them and also explains what happened to the surviving Masters after the last book. The anime adaptation also has this issue due to the information about several abilities being not conveyed to the viewer.
  • Alternate Timeline: To Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night.
    • In this story, after the Holy Grail was stolen from Fuyuki following the third Holy Grail War by the Yggdmillennia, it was no longer held there and was instead held in Transylvania.
    • In addition, there have been numerous Holy Grail Wars fought all over the world since the theft of the original grail, which is presumably how Waver managed to achieve the title of Lord El-Melloi II as he did in Fate/Zero. The main difference is that the Romania Leyline is better than most, allowing the summoning of fourteen Servants rather than fewer than seven (a number of these supplementary Grail Wars apparently don't even boast a normal complement of seven) and is capable of reaching the Root.
    • And the original summon catalysts for the usual Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero Servants have been lost since, once the information of the war spread, they were stolen and passed around until no one knew where they were. The Servants of Apocrypha can seem a little "second-string" because that's the point - they're easier to summon with broad catalysts (like Mordred) or are a bit obscure and all their relics haven't been plundered yet. However, it is implied that El-Melloi II managed to keep the very same catalyst he used to summon Iskandar in the Holy Grail War he participated in.
    • The material book reveals what happened to major characters from Fate/stay night in this timeline.
      • Kirei grew up in an uneasy coexistence with Amakusa as a "stepbrother", and took over the position of priest when Risei died of natural causes. Because there was no Fourth Holy Grail War, he never experienced the development of Zero, though Amakusa is wary enough to avoid him in case that actually does happen.
      • Because the Grail was stolen by Darnic, Zouken is completely shut down and the Matou family dies off as a result.
      • The Tohsakas completely give up on the Greater Grail to reach the Root after the Third War, instead becoming Kung Fu Wizards specializing in Chinese kenpou to do so. Tokiomi's dilemma of having two daughters to raise still happens but because the Matous are no more, the Edelfelts adopt Sakura instead. Sakura grows up to be a pro wrestler and becomes Luviagelita/Luvia Edelfelt's tag team partner.
      • The Einzberns just decide to try and create a new Greater Grail from scratch. Kiritsugu is never hired and subsequently, Ilyasviel is never born, so the Einzberns will eternally toil since Ilya's nonexistence means there is no ultimate failure to give up on.
      • The Fuyuki Fire never happens so Shirou lives out a normal life with his surname unchanged to "Emiya" and a much more cheerful disposition. Rin and Sakura are still his love interests.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the end, because Sieg isn't dead and so their contract still exists, Astolfo is still manifested on Earth and goes about exploring on his own.
  • Animation Bump: Used in some of the fight scenes and some select full episodes, such as episode 8, but is most evident (and sadly, also rather contested) in episode 22.
  • Anyone Can Die: There is little doubt that a lot of Servants will die, now that there are 15 of them in total. (And probably some of the Masters will kick the bucket too). Of the major characters, only Astolfo, Fiore, Caules, Gordes, and Sieg (as a dragon!) remain alive by the end.
  • Artifact of Doom: Averted. The Holy Grail not being corrupted like it was in previous series is what caused the timeline split between Apocrypha and stay night.
  • Artistic License: Abused to the highest degree with the Servant designs, but most obviously, Jack the Ripper is a young, skimpily-dressed teenage girl.
  • Ascended Meme: In the anime Siegfried and Sieg tend to say "sumanai" often. Siegfried earned a reputation in Fate/Grand Order as ''Sumanai-kun" because of how often he said it and how he doesn't really have the best stats.
  • Badass Cape: Siegfried, Shirou Kotomine, Astolfo and Karna are all competent fighters who sport prominent capes. Darnic also wears one as the head of the Yggdmillennia.
  • Badass Family: The Yggdmillennia, although they aren't actually related by blood, except for Fiore and Caules.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Yggdmillennia are all dressed in Renaissance-ish white military uniforms.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: In the second opening, Astolfo is shown fighting Achilles. In the actual story, both of them only meet once but never fought each other. This is likely done for the awesome effect of having each remaining class Servant fight with it's counterpart, but story-wise it cannot be done due to the fact that it would take Achilles less than a second to defeat Astolfo.
  • Bathtub Scene: Jeanne gets one in Episode 19.
  • Beam-O-War:
    • Averted with the iconic clash of fake Siegfried's and Mordred's Sword Beams against each other, which isn't so much a "clash of beams" as usually depicted as the two attacks mixing together and erupting into a Sphere of Destruction that wipes out a good amount of land around them, some Mooks, and can be seen across the battlefield. Both of them survive despite their injuries and continue the fight with Mordred overpowering Sieg.
    • Played straight with the clash of Karna's Vasavi Shakti and Sieg's Command Spell-enhanced Balmung. In this case, however, it's all Sieg can do just to maintain a stalemate with the god-slaying weapon, and Sieg only survives when Astolfo shows up with Achilles' final Noble Phantasm to absorb Karna's attack.
  • Big Bad: Shirou Kotomine is the main villain of this series.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Mexican Spanish dub suffers of this regarding the names of the classes from the Servants: With the sole bizarre exception of the Berserker class (since the term doesn't have a valid translation to Spanish anyways), the names of the classes are translated literally, causing the names given in this version sounding incredibly narm-inducing. The translation of the members of the Black Faction are the ones who suffer the most, because by default their names are translated as "(Servant) Del Negro", translated literally as "(Servant) of the Black (Guy/Person)". Some translations sounds even borderline offensive, like "Asesino del Negro" (Assassin of Black) since it sounds like "Assassin of the Black Guy or The One Who Murdered the Black Guy", at least in Mexican Spanish.
  • Blood Knight: A lot of heroes happen to enjoy fighting, which is partly why they are so good at it. Of note are the two Nigh-Invulnerable Servants, Rider of Red and Saber of Black, who get excited when fighting someone who can injure them due to being bored of never being in danger.
  • Bowdlerise: In the anime, Mordred turns a thumbs up into a thumbs down instead of flipping off Adam.
  • The Cameo:
    • Waver Velvet of Fate/Zero brief appearances at the beginning and the end as Lord El-Melloi II.
    • Saint Martha of Fate/Grand Order appears in Chapter 5 of the manga during an explanation of the Ruler class. She's more well-known as a Rider, but GO does feature her as a a bikini, so her Rider costume is used in the manga. Arjuna also makes a brief appearance in this chapter as Karna compares Siegfried to him.
    • Flatt Escardos of Fate/strange fake makes an appearance in the first episode of the anime adaptation.
    • Arturia, Merlin, Lancelot, Tristan, Gawain, Bedivere and even Agravain all appear briefly during Mordred's flashback in episode 6 of the anime adaptation.note  For a non-character cameo, Arturia's lance Rhongomyniad appears for the first time with its FGO appearance, whereas in previous showings of the scene it was a simple lance. Morgan le Fay (Mordred's mother and Arturia's sister) also makes her first animated appearance in the same episode. Merlin and Arturia make another appearance in episode 23 in Mordred's thoughts as she struggles to survive against Semiramis's poison.
    • Fionn Mac Cumhaill of Fate/Grand Order appears in episode 9 of the anime and chapter 27 of the manga, appearing as Darnic's servant during his flashback to the Third Holy Grail War. Zouken Matou of Fate/stay night also appears in the same flashback in the anime, bleeding out and dying as he futilely reaches out to the zeppelins taking the Greater Grail away.
    • Medea (specifically, her "Lily" version from Fate/Grand Order) and Artemis appear in episode 18 as part of Atalanta's flashback to her past.
    • Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern appears before Shirou in episode 20, dressed in full Dress of Heaven regalia.
    • Statues of Hektor and Penthesilea as they appeared in Fate/Grand Order appeared during the activation of Achilles Cosmos Noble Phantasm, both of them being heroes with heavy links with Achilles' legend.
    • Gordes's son Gordolf appears in the ending montage during the final episode. His design first appeared in the Fate/Apocrypha Materials book, and he made his proper debut (albeit an older, alternate timeline version) in Fate/Grand Order mere days before the last episode aired.
    • Chapter 42 of the manga has Bradamante and Roland from Grand Order and Charlemagne from Extella Link appear in Astolfo's flashback.
  • Chess Motifs: In the anime adaptation, there are heavy chess motifs assigned to the Servants. The first Title Sequence starts with the camera panning over the seven classes of Servants, each modeled after black chess pieces. Soon enough, the board itself appears, containing not only the aforementioned pieces but also pawns that are supposed to represent the Masters in front of them. In the center, there's a miniature of the Holy Grail and, on the other side, there's another set of fourteen pieces, this time red-colored. The same board can be seen midway through the first episode when Lord El-Melloi II is explaining the rules of the Holy Grail War to one of his students. This is all to highlight how, in this war, the surplus of Masters and Servants demands a more strategic approach (there are two sides now, instead of the Battle Royale these wars usually are), something that is heavily associated with chess.
  • Cliffhanger: Volume 1 ends during the battle between Red Saber (Mordred) and the Homunculus, where we see Mordred's wind-up, but not her actually dealing the final blow. Of course, when we rejoin the battle in volume 2, it turns out he survived.
  • Compressed Adaptation: A lot of content from the light novels, especially regarding the Red Faction, was Adapted Out to fit the anime's 25 episodes.
    • Two examples are flashbacks explaining the relationship between Achilles and Atalanta. The first explains that Achilles idolized Atalanta through stories of his father Peleus. The second shows Achilles' battle with Penthesilea, which ended with her rage over Achilles calling her beautiful resulting in a Dying Curse, where Achilles would one day kill someone dear to him using the same spear he used against Penthesilea—a prophecy that comes true when Achilles has to kill Atalanta. There was also a cut scene that would've resulted a cameo of Arjuna (and Duryodhana, who hasn't made an appearance in any other Fate works), when Karna took a bath after looking at the drugged original Masters and compared his promised battle with Siegfried to his rivalry with his brother.
    • In addition, Atalanta had a lot more of her scenes cut out or replaced with something shorter which could give different meanings. Amongst the modified scenes include witnessing a hellish nightmare after Jack's death, which was similar to what Sieg witnessed, but far worse; instead of recalling her past with Medea (Most of these were just alluded briefly in the anime during her final battle with Jeanne where she declared that the world she came into was not the kind of ideal world she wanted). The remaining vengeful spirits would then possess her through her arm, whispering dark thoughts that drove her to madness as she returned and recuperate to her wounds in the Hanging Garden, but rather than exorcising it, despite being capable of such, Atalanta decided to keep it and it drove her further to insanity, since she considered her inability to save the children a sin, and the curse was her punishment.
    • Unrelated to the Red faction, the light novel also had the occasional Meanwhile Scene back in London where Lord El-Melloi II and others at the Clock Tower would discuss what they heard was going on in the war. One of these scenes in particular is notable for being the debut of Reines El-Melloi Archisorte, who is only a minor character here but would go on to be one of the main protagonists of Lord El-Melloi II Case Files. All of these Clock Tower scenes were cut from the anime, but fortunately the manga kept them.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • The Yggdmillennia, although Darnic Prestone in particular really counts. Rather justified, considering that he's been preparing ever since the Third Holy Grail War. That's 70 years worth of preparation, folks.
    • Shirou Kotomine as well. He manages to outsmart and murder Darnic by the end of the second volume. It helps that Shirou had been around for almost as long as Darnic, and was probably even more prepared than him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Hanging Gardens siege ends in an overwhelmingly favorable position for the Red Faction. The Black Faction loses three servants, including their two strongest, their Caster betrays them, and their Assassin goes rogue. In contrast, although the Red Faction loses their Berserker and their Saber switches sides, all their other servants (including two ridiculously overpowered ones) are still kicking, and Shirou Kotomine is a Ruler-class himself. Luckily, the Black Faction gets reinforcements with Mordred, Ruler (Jeanne) and Sieg (who can use Siegfried's power for a limited time) joining them to stop Amakusa Shirou.
    • Rider of Red wipes the floor with Berserker of Black during their brief encounter, since she can't hurt him and he horribly outclasses her in combat ability. Saber of Black fares better in that he's skilled enough to clash with Rider of Red evenly, but due to the nature of their Noble Phantasms, neither one can really hurt the other.
    • Kairi Sisigou and Saber of Red vs. half a dozen of Caster of Black's golems and several homunculi soldiers. Master and Servant tear them apart (quite literally in Saber's case) and walk away with no injuries to their name.
    • Later, Mordred wipes the floor with Astolfo and Frankenstein, making the latter use her last resort attack.
  • Distant Finale: The final scene is Jeanne and Sieg reuniting in the Reverse Side of the World, an unstated but certainly very long amount of time after the war ended.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap:
    • Shakespeare can One-Hit KO anyone whose parameters are lower than his, which would be much more impressive if he wasn't the weakest Servant in the war.
    • Karna rivals Gilgamesh for the title of strongest Servant period, but his absurd mana consumption can kill his master instantly if he uses his full capabilities. Thus, he only does so during his final battle with Sieg, as he resolves to show nothing less than his best against the one he deems a Worthy Opponent.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: After Astolfo's Gender Reveal to Sieg, Astolfo expresses surprise that Sieg assumed he was female, as the Japanese version avoided direct references to Astolfo's gender before that point. The English dub keeps gendered mentions of Astolfo to a minimum, but Sieg still calls him by female pronouns at least once when Astolfo could hear, and Astolfo's reaction is unchanged.
  • Enemy Mine: Jeanne enforces a temporary ceasefire between the Black and Red Factions so that they'll work together to stop Dracula from acquiring the Greater Grail.
  • Expy:
    • As with most of the franchise, Fate/Apocrypha features a Saber that references Arturia. In this case, Mordred, Arturia's son (actually daughter) makes an appearance as one of the Sabers. Jeanne d'Arc, who Arturia was compared to in both Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, is also present.
    • One of the Masters is called Shirou, has white hair and somewhat tan skin, and wears a red shroud similar to that of stay night Archer's. This one is, of course, a massive Red Herring.
  • Flash Forward: The novel begins with a battle between Red Saber (Mordred) and Black Saber (Siegfried), something that has yet to actually happen by the end of the book. It later turns out that the Homunculus was the one fighting Mordred, and that the real Siegfried had died by that point.
  • Flat Character: This is the installment that puts more focus onto the Servants than the Masters, and therefore some Masters end up with little to even no characterization.
    • All of the Red Faction Masters except Shishigou and Shirou are basically Living Prop, with no lines and only existing so the Red Factions can have a full Servant lineup... until they got drugged by Shirou and then made to give their Command Spells to him.
    • Celenike from the Black Faction fared a bit better than the above, that she DID speak and had a role. Except that her only role and personality boil down to being a one-dimensional evil bitch meant to be disliked and conveniently forgotten once she bit the dust.
  • For Want of a Nail: The event that separates this universe from the Fate/stay night universe is the Einzberns summoning a Ruler Servant instead of Avenger in the Third Holy Grail War.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the prologue scene, Siegfried and Mordred are battling each other, with Mordred taunting Siegfried for being a "fake". This is because later on, it is revealed that the Siegfried she is fighting is not the real one, but a homunculus that has copied his appearance and abilities to a limited extent.
    • If you look closely, Sieg's command seals are shaped in the form of a dragon reflecting his power from Siegfried. Later on, he himself transforms into Fafnir in order to carry the Greater Grail to the Far Side of the World.
  • Four Is Death: In Episode 4 of the anime Siegfried makes his Heroic Sacrifice to save Homunculus' life.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Throughout the final fight between Sieg and Shirou, Sieg's left hand can be seen slowly becoming more draconic in appearance.
  • Functional Magic: The novel makes use of the traditional Nasuverse-style magic rules.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Neither Shirou Kotomine nor Darnic Yggdmillennia seem particularly moral. Their intentions are a completely different story, however - Shirou wants to rid humanity of all evil and suffering, while Darnic's wish is the far more selfish magus goal of simply reaching the Akashic Records, albeit with the benefit of guaranteeing the prosperity of the Yggmillennia clan.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: At first, the story seems set for a great struggle between Yggdmillennia and the Magus Association. By the end of Volume 2 and essentially confirmed in Volume 3, the true struggle is in fact between the Servants who have sided with either of the two Ruler-class Servants, Jeanne d'Arc and Shirou Kotomine, with Sieg as its focus.
  • Hate Sink: Present or past, there are a few characters that was designed so you just can hate them without regrets:
    • Present day, Astolfo's first Master, Celenike Icecolle Yggdmillennia, a seriously depraved Master who spent her free time killing people and delights in seeing the suffering of people, and in particular just makes it her mission to violate Astolfo in more than one way possible. While the Black faction could be pretty nasty and led by an ex-Nazi collaborator, Celenike stands out to be seriously demonic, even for the franchise standards, despite her short-lived time.
    • Past days, there are actually two:
      • The first is Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the creator of Berserker of Black. He's made to be even more despicable than his novel counterpart, considering that he is shown to be more actively abusive towards Fran and made her life miserable in the past, when Fran saw him being kind in Shakespeare's First Folio, she knew that something was horribly wrong because he's usually very hateful on her despite her love for him. This is even before Fate/Grand Order makes him worse.
      • The second is the King of Arcadia, Atalanta's father. While he never appeared on-screen, his only existence is to show how miserable Atalanta's past was: He discarded her to die in the wild the moment he found out that she's a girl and he wanted a boy. And then he only came back when Atalanta gained enough fame from the Calydonian Hunt and saw her only as a tool to boost his own ego, telling her to marry someone so he could have an awesome heir and overriding Atalanta's protests because he's the King. This led to a chain of events where Atalanta held a footrace contest for her marriage and killing those who lost (this is one event that marks her as 'Evil' alignment-wise), and then losing to Hippomenes due to a cheat and then getting turned to a lion by the Greek Gods. Losing an heir aside, the King gets away scot-free.
  • Historical Gender Flip: As per the Fate series' tradition, some of the Servants are gender-swapped versions of mythological and historical figures. In this case, we have Frankenstein's Monster and Mordred, Arturia's "son", with Jack the Ripper being a borderline case since even now the real Jack the Ripper's gender is occasionally called into question. Astolfo, on the other hand, isn't gender-flipped despite what you might think.
  • Hollywood Board Games: On two occasions in the Fate Series a modified chess board can be seen — 7x7 grid, Masters as the pawns, Servants as the other pieces, and a Holy Grail in the middle. Each time, its presence signifies different things. Although, in both cases, the Masters are the pawns not only because they are more plainly designed than the Servants but also because the power plays between the Servants have as much of an impact on the Wars' outcomes as the interactions between the Masters. That it's Lord El-Melloi II, aka Waver, the one explaining the modified rules of the Great Holy Grail War to one of his students through the aforementioned board means two things primarily. One, he survived a previous war and not only emerged unscathed but also learned to be more patient and confident in his own strategies. Two, that he's a much more approachable Professor than Lord El-Melloi I was. About the student himself, he's very much a Keet and seems to learn better when he can see and interact with stuff. On a related note, this particular board has two sides (black and red), thus matching the special circumstances of this war.
  • How We Got Here: Episode 1 opens with a grand battle between the Red and Black faction before rewinding to before most of the Servants were even summoned. The story doesn't get back to the opening point until the end of episode 10/early episode 11.
  • Immortality Field: Avicebron's ultimate golem, Golem Keter Malkuth (also known as "Adam"), projects a Reality Marble called "Paradise" that protects it from all harm so long as its feet remain firmly planted on the ground.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Jeanne's main weapon is her standard, which she justifies by noting it's tipped with a spear point, so why not?
    • Kairi uses human fingers as bullets and hearts filled with teeth as grenades. He's a necromancer so he does that kind of creepy stuff.

     Tropes J-Z 
  • Journey to the Sky: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, also known as the Aerial Garden of Vanity, is the largest floating vessel owned by Semiranis, being her (and the Red Faction's) base of operations, and is located very high in the skies. After the main characters (Ruler, Sieg, and the Yggdmillenia faction) defeat Jack the Ripper and all that remains is their strongest enemies, they prepare to storm the Gardens by piloting large airplanes from a local airport and head to their fated destination (though Rider of Black uses his hippogriff instead). The anime version's episode is even called "Soar Through The Sky".
  • Logical Weakness: As Archer of Black lampshades, no matter the measures a Servant takes, it's pretty much impossible to hide your true identity from someone who knew you in life, especially your teacher.
  • Mundane Utility: In addition to all his amazing talents, Caster of Black can also make the equivalent of a magical television from the flame of a brazier, from which the Black Team observes Kairi and Mordred's fight with one of their patrols.
  • Mythology Gag: In the manga adaptation Astolfo decides that he wants to see a Holy Grail War take place in Las Vegas, with his Imagine Spot depicting the modified Vegas as it appeared in Grand Order's 2019 summer event.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Amakusa's death ultimately does nothing to derail his plans as once he wished for the Greater Grail to activate Third Magic, there is no way to make it stop. The only reason why his plan ultimately failed is because Sieg took the Greater Grail to the one place where it can't grant Amakusa's wish, which is the Reverse Side of the World.
  • Neutral in Name Only: The role of the Ruler Class Servant is to enforce the rules of the Great Holy Grail War (an up to eleven version of the regular war) as a neutral party. Unfortunately, Amakusa Shirou Tosikada wants the Grail, and he is also working as the Church overseer. So much for neutrality.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: All over the place, really. To list the three most major cases:
    • First, we have Siegfried, who bathed in the blood of a dragon, and is completely invulnerable to any attack that isn't of at least A-Rank power. The only way to get around this is to aim for the small leaf-shaped mark on his back.
    • Next, we have Achilles, who cannot be harmed by any Servant that doesn't possess a Divine attribute or Divine Constructs, unless they attack his heel which only deactivates the Noble Phantasm in question. This is extremely broken, as there is no guarantee that a Servant with a Divine attribute will be summoned in the Holy Grail War unless through a specific catalyst. Luckily for the Black Faction, they have Chiron within their ranks (and if they didn't, there is basically nothing the Black Faction can do to stop Achilles from wiping all of their Servants out, attacking his heel notwithstanding).
    • Then, we have Karna, who possesses an invincible armor that even gods would have difficulty in destroying. It reduces any damage (physical or conceptual) to a tenth of its original value. In addition, in the original myth, it granted complete immortality to Karna, although it is unknown if this feature is carried over into the Fate/Apocrypha continuity. If it does, Karna is Story-Breaker Power incarnate. Considering that the armor was best known for granting immortality, the odds are in Karna's favour. The only saving grace is that in order to use his ultimate god-killing spear, Karna must permanently sacrifice the armor.
  • Noodle Incident: Kairi tells Mordred they should celebrate with wine if they win, but Mordred's reply is, "Master, you and wine aren't a good mix." How she knows this is unknown, too bad for everyone who wants to see a 200 lb tough guy get hilariously drunk.
  • Obvious Beta: Looking over the various half-finished and hilariously broken Servants listed, it's clear that this was a project that was abandoned halfway through development. The Light Novel has taken some steps to remove this by replacing or altering characters or skills.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The plot is kicked off by the activation of a failsafe in the Greater Grail: should a full complement of Servants form an alliance, which would allow them to win the Grail's wish without an earnest fight, an additional seven Servants will be called to combat them.
  • Oh, Crap!: Archer of Black and Fiore have a subdued one when they realize that they can't remember anything about their encounter with Assassin of Black due to one of their skills, meaning that, aside from knowing that their True Name is Jack the Ripper, they know absolutely nothing about them.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Assassin of Black's Maria the Ripper is capable of this, although only under some rather specific circumstances. First, the target must be female. Second, the skill must be activated during night time. Third, there needs to be a dense enough mist covering the vicinity, although she has a secondary Noble Phantasm that can assist with this aspect.
    • Caster of Red is also capable of this through First Folio, although it only works against opponents that are weaker than him. Considering that his stats are abysmal compared to other Servants, it is unlikely that this would work against any of the Servants from the Black Faction.
    • Lancer of Red possesses an Anti-God Phantasm that will most certainly kill any Servant that becomes a target of it. However, it can only be used once, and he must permanently sacrifice his armour of invincibility in order to activate it.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different:
    • The Black Faction has a noteworthy amount of Homunculi in their ranks. They serve as a mana source for the Servants, and also act as sentries alongside the Golems made by Black Caster.
    • Saber of Red (Mordred) herself is a Homunculus, albeit a rather special one that's more like a Designer Baby. She was noticeably unnerved when she first saw some of the Black Faction's Homunculi.
  • Our Hydras Are Different: Kairi Sisigou notices a preserved baby hydra in a jar while discussing the Holy Grail War at the Mage's Association and asks for it as part of his advance payment. He later uses it to create an antidote to the poison used by Semiramis, allowing Mordred to finish their fight and cripple Semiramis for the rest of the war.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Gordes ordered Siegfried to never speak, to conceal his identity, and Siegfried nodded in agreement. Gordes saw the nod as "your will be done, master" while Siegfried meant it more as "sure, why not?". Gordes arrogantly assumes that Siegfried is merely a tool at his disposal, and this arrogance causes him to not only waste two command spells and nearly expose Siegfried's Noble Phantasm so early in the war, but it causes Siegfried to act on his own to save the Homunculus's life at the cost of his own.
  • Purple Is Powerful: When Siegfried's and Mordred's Sword Beams collide, they produce a massive purple energy wave that's as strong as both of their Anti-Army Noble Phantasms combined. The first time they do it is during their battle against each other where they create a purple Sphere of Destruction, and the second time they use it as their Finishing Move against Caster of Black's ultimate golem Adam as a Sword Beam that tears it apart.
  • Quality over Quantity: Inverted for the Yggdmillennia. They are stated to favor quantity over quality in terms of their magi and their homunculi.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: The Yggdmillennia are Quantity because they are an alliance of weak magus who allied to strengthen each other while the group gathered by the Clock Tower are Quality, being top-notch mercenaries.
  • Recap Episode: Two of them: Episode 12.5 covers the first 12 episodes with Sieg and Jeanne as the narrators while Episode 19.5 covers episodes 13-19 with Astolfo and Shakespeare as the narrators.
  • Red Baron: Fate/complete material gives a cool title to each of the planned game's original 14 Servants, but new novel servants Chiron, Avicebron, Mordred, and Achilles do not have them.
  • Rousing Speech: Vlad delivers one to the remaining Black Servants and the Yggdimillenia host as the Hanging Gardens carrying the Red Faction arrives:
    "Now, here is a question for all of you! Are you willing to accept defeat?"
    [silence; Frankenstein snarls while Astolfo shrugs]
    "Good! We will be victorious! Such difference in military strength, such despair... Who can claim to be a hero without devouring it all down? Those are barbarians! They are corrupting my domain and smirking with arrogance! They are fools who must be killed! Laugh as you murder them! Now, go!"
  • Rule of Seven: Seven Masters and Servants each, in both the Black and Red factions.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: After stealing the Greater Grail, Darnic spread the mechanics behind the Holy Grail Wars, prompting a slew of entrepreneurial Mages into beginning a series of lesser Wars, none of which have managed to call more than five Servants at a time, or properly replicate the Greater Grail.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the anime's Episode 11 preview, Astolfo calls Mordred a "female Jason".
    • The more human sized golem in the anime bare resemblance to the B1 battle droid.
    • Spartacus shouts "THIS! IS! SPARTACUS!" when he performs a suicide explosion.
  • Shown Their Work:
  • Sky Heist: The Black Faction is secure in its knowledge that it has the Greater Grail inside its fortified castle, preventing stealing and tampering. In response, the Red Faction led by Shirou Kotomine simply flies Semiramis' Hanging Gardens of Babylon over it to magically levitate it into their grasp. This forces Vlad III to leave the safety of his Home Field Advantage, drastically weakening him in the process.
  • Snicket Warning Label: The story opens with a disclaimer which warns that it is not a tale about Servants, their Masters, or Saints. It is instead, the chronicle of a man who gets his wish granted.
  • Spanner in the Works: Things start diverging from everybody's plans the moment Rider of Black saves Sieg, something he does purely because in his worldview, rescuing people in need of help is simply what heroes do.
  • Spoiler Opening: At the end of the opening, the black command seals on Shirou's body are clearly shown.
  • The Stinger:
    • In the first episode, a young girl is shown praying to Jeanne d'Arc... right before Jeanne is summoned and takes over her body.
    • In Episode 5, Shirou brainwashes the other Masters of Red into giving him their Command Spells.
    • In Episode 9, just as Mordred is about to kill Astolfo, Sieg arrives and challenges her.
    • In Episode 14, Kairi and Fiore meet in a plain, both of them noting that neither of them are enemies, at least for the time being.
    • In Episode 18, Shakespeare is writing in his book and dramatically narrating the events that happened, then he addresses the audience and asks how Jeanne's conflict with Shirou will go, and what role Sieg will play.
    • In Episode 21, an injured Astolfo comes to and muses over his surroundings, which is engulfed in flames. Achilles appears before Astolfo, entrusting one of his Noble Phantasms to him as part of a dying Chiron's wish.
    • In Episode 22, Jeanne attempts to engage Semiramis, who sends her off to confront Shakespeare instead, as she anticipates the arrival of a few guests.
    • In the final episode, Jeanne walks in complete darkness until she encounters Sieg in his dragon form, who reverts to his original form after she reaches out to him. As they look up to the night sky, Jeanne delivers a Love Confession to Sieg.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • In the second volume, we see the true extent of just how overpowered Karna can be: despite the story going to great lengths to describe just how powerful Vlad III had become thanks to the Holy Grail War's location and his own Demonic Defender of the State Noble Phantasm, Karna was still able to overpower Vlad III for the majority of their match without bothering to use Brahmastra or Vasavi Shakti. Even when Vlad III bypassed the effects of Karna's legendary armour by skewering him from the inside of his body, Karna merely shrugged it off and incinerated the stakes that were within his body. Had Karna uses his Brahmastra there, Vlad would have been incinerated.
    • Vlad III's vampire form also demonstrates this trope, where it is shown that he is able to take on six Servants at the same time—including the aforementioned Karna. This is despite the fact that Vlad III had just lost his double-layered Home Field Advantage and that the six Servants were empowered by Jeanne herself. One can only imagine how powerful Vlad III's vampire form might have been had he retained both layers of his Home Field Advantage.
  • Superpower Lottery: Even for Servant standards, Karna, Achilles, Siegfried, Vlad III, and Shakespeare have absolutely absurd abilities and Noble Phantasms, especially Karna and Achilles. The former is regarded as one of the strongest Servants ever (to the point he is compared to Gilgamesh), and the latter is so well-known he's basically on Home Field Advantage everywhere in the world.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    • Mordred demonstrates this in at least one instance, during the fight against the sentry golems and homunculi just outside Yggdmillennia territory.
    • As a member of the Eighth Sacrament Assembly, Shirou wields the Black Keys and can use them like this.
  • Wild Card:
    • One Master-Servant pair of each faction is established as this early on — i.e., Mordred, Jack the Ripper, and their Masters (Kairi Sisigou and Reika Reikudou). The Red Faction's pair because as per his Servant's suggestion of something being fishy with the Red Faction's contact, the Master decided to act independently. When their suspicions were confirmed, the pair temporarily joined the Black Faction. The Black Faction's pair, on the other hand, is a Wild Card because the Master-to-be failed to understand his Servant's nature and, as a result, it backfired on him. Hence, the Servant getting a new Master who doesn't align with the Black Faction's interests nor intends to join either Faction and freely attacks everyone who gets in their way.
    • One could also argue that, by definition, the Ruler class fits this trope and has a rare (in-universe) Lawful Neutral flavor. Rulers are Heroic Spirits who must not possess a wish for the Holy Grail and are summoned by the Grail to ensure both Factions will follow the Holy Grail War's rules. To do so, the Ruler is granted with endless Command Spells (to cast on disobeying Servants or gift to temporarily allied Masters) and superior magical progress so to speak (to, again, subdue rebellious Servants). This means the Ruler will back whoever plays by the rules regardless of morality, Faction, or strength level. This Servant might very well help a couple of Masters from one Faction to get rid of another Master from the same Faction which ends up happening at the end of season one when Darnic fuses with Black Lancer and his very existence threatens to rope the entire world into the war. Or even force a ceasefire between the factions.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: With the exception of Shakespeare and Avicebron, literally every "villainous" character is either sympathetic or a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Even Vlad the Impaler is portrayed in a sympathetic manner.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: This trope is played straight in the cases of Black Assassin and Shirou Kotomine, subverted in the case of Red Lancer and Black Saber (who aren't evil, just happen to have morally dubious Masters), and downplayed in the case of Celenike Icecolle (Red Rider's Master) who has slightly light gray hair but is the cruelest Master in the entire franchise.
  • World of Badass: This is the Nasuverse, after all, and this time fourteen heroic spirits are summoned from all over the place.
  • Worthy Opponent: After their first encounter, Red Lancer (Karna) and Black Saber (Siegfried) regard each other as this. They hope to have a rematch in the future, which is rather tragic as Siegfried would later go on to perform a Heroic Sacrifice and thus miss any opportunity to battle Karna again. On the other hand, the result of said sacrifice, Sieg, eventually does do battle with Karna one last time.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Near the end of the story Gilles de Rais, who had been summoned by Shakespeare's Noble Phantasm in order to Mind Rape Jeanne, uses Jeanne's Noble Phantasm Luminosité Eternelle translation  to defend her and Sieg from Shirou.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fate Apocrypha


"Shut up."

Mordred decapitates Celenike before she could order Astolfo to kill Sieg.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / OffWithHisHead

Media sources: