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Anime Review: Fate Grand Order Camelot


Clephas

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Fate/Grand Order is the name of the mobile game/visual novel/card battle game that has become synonymous with the Nasuverse over the last seven years or so.  For those unfamiliar with the game, I'll go ahead and describe the flow of events that lead up to this particular chapter-turned-anime in the spoiler box below.

Spoiler

Like most Nasuverse series, it is based in an alternate version of the same world, with small variances in political power balance and minor shifts in history (the most extreme changes being Apocrypha, FGO, and Fate/Extra).  In the game, you are represented by Fujimaru Ritsuka, a protagonist that is completely an agent of the player, with all lines spoken from choice (though the results don't change).  In the anime series, the male version is set as the main character.  Fujimaru Ritsuka is, similar to Kokutou in Kara no Kyoukai, the ultimate 'normal person' who gets placed in the role of saving the world by traveling through time and dimensions to Singularities where he needs to eliminate the sources of history's destruction.

In the game, Camelot is considered to be the first 'serious' chapter and the one with perhaps the deepest link to the other Fate/Stay Night series in spirit (considering the characters involved).  The sheer level of scenario quality and artwork that went into the game version was completely different than what you saw in previous chapters, and it lacked the somewhat oddly humorous aspects that went into them.

The anime, split into two movies, is easily one of the top-quality Fate-series anime I've seen, if only because it shows the main reason why a lot of people keep playing FGO, despite the game being a blatant money trap waiting to suck your bank account dry if you aren't careful.  

Throughout the last few chapters of the first main volume and the Lostbelt Chapters, FGO continually jerks at the emotions, showing you both the dark and heroic sides of the Heroic Spirits that appear on both sides of the conflict.  In a way, I consider Camelot to be the true starting point of the current FGO 'style', and it shows.  I cried numerous times during this movie, and while the action falls far short of work done by ufotable on other Fate series anime, the producers did not fail in any way to grab the attention and emotions of the watchers.

Most of the important moments of the original game are presented in an impactful manner, and the only real complaint I have is that certain characters didn't have the time to make an appearance in the first movie (Tawara Touta in particular is impactful in the sense that he and Arash were a team in the original content and brought life to the mountain people settlement part).

The moments that stand out to me most in the second movie are Mordred vs Sanzo, Tristan vs Serenity and Cursed Arm Hassan, and the final conflict (Lion King vs Mash, Ritsuka, and Bedeviere).  This is not so much because the fights were awesome but because the lines and their presentation were perfectly designed to produce a result that would remain in memory and impact the emotions.

Overall, while the animation quality of this anime falls well short of the ufotable-made Fate series, in exchange the emotional impact is on a completely different level.

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