Anime Review: Fate/Extra: Last Encore (2018)
Director: Akiyuki Simbo
Runtime: 339 minutes
Released: October 22nd, 2019
Availability: Streaming exclusively on Netflix, pre-order on RightStufAnime
Fate/Extra: Last Encore is a reimagining of the Fate/Extra game written by Kinoko Nasu himself and is not a direct adaptation of the game.
A young man named Hakuno Kishinami is at a special school where he is trying to become a Master and ascend the stratum of the Moon Cell and have his wish granted.
The Moon Cell decides to purge the candidates and he barely manages to survive and summon Red Saber.
As they begin to ascend, they meet a Mage named Rin Tohsaka who accompanies them.
I Enjoyed the Mystery Aspect of the Anime
The story is not a straightforward Holy Grail War like in the mainline Fate/Stay Night series. Kinoko Nasu wrote Fate/Stay Night with many mysteries that are answered in each route. He decided to take a similar approach to the anime instead of a straightforward anime of the game adaptation.
I really enjoyed the mystery Kinoko Nasu has set up in Fate/Extra: Last Encore. I do know that some fans didn’t like this mystery aspect of the anime, but you should know that Fate/Stay Night never gave you all the information about who is who from the start, especially if you watch Fate/Stay Night in route order of Fate/Stay Night (2006), Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (2014) and the Heaven’s Feel Trilogy (2017), you’ll see that the mystery slowly unfolds and answers all your questions, but because of the never-ending debate about watch order, this is isn’t quite as obvious as it should be.
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore PV3 [Eng Sub]
This Is An Odd Adaptation
This is not a normal anime of the game adaptation like Persona 5: The Animation (2018), Kinoko Nasu took the liberty to basically reimagining the entire scenario into a completely different story while still keeping small parts of the game. If they wanted this to be a straightforward adaption of the game they would need 25-26 episodes, not the total of 13 that were given to the anime.
Kinoko Nasu took out all the game elements and decided to change many story aspects compared to the original game, this made long-time fans very confused because they were expecting a straightforward adaptation of the game.
I Like How They Used Both Male and Female Protagonists
In the game Fate/Extra, you can choose the player character’s gender. Usually, most of the time the canon player character is male, but Fate/Extra: Last Encore does an interesting thing with the player character that I won’t spoil because it’s a big plot point, but it was a really interesting way to make both genders canon in the story.
I do think that it was a unique idea that was executed very well in the anime version of the story. I like the execution of the idea because it makes all the fans happy, even if it doesn’t appear that way at first.
I do wish they would have used female Hakuno Kishinami as the main protagonist, she was more interesting than the male version of Hakuno Kishinami.
The Animation Is Very Good
Studio Shaft is a very unique studio. They are known for their creative and unique backgrounds and character designs for anime such as the Monogatari series and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011). They are the perfect choice for a Fate anime set in a virtual world where the sky’s the limit on what it could possibly look like.
While fans complain about how the fight scenes aren’t over-the-top and flashy, I enjoyed the fights because they were very character-driven, and while they weren’t long battles, they do keep you guessing unless you played the original game and you know who wins the battles.
I really like the art style and the background designs for Fate/Extra: Last Encore. The background and art style design is unique to Studio Shaft and with how imaginative they can be with their designs it’s not surprising that they were chosen for this anime adaption.
While the fights may not seem “exciting” they’re still very well done. Kinoko Nasu saved his flashy fights for the tail end of the series, as usual. While the fights did become more over-the-top and flashy, they did not outshine Ufotable, but they were still entertaining nonetheless.
I have no doubt that Fate/Extra: Last Encore will be updated for its blu-ray release on home video in Japan so the visuals will definitely improve. Puella Magi Madoka Magica looked decent during its broadcast but looked amazing on DVD and blu-ray. I’m sure Fate/Extra: Last Encore will get the same treatment.
Audio and Subtitles
Japanese (Audio description)
The English Dub Is Excellent
Billy Kametz did a decent job as Hakuno Kishinami (Male). He’s a very interesting character because he is different from most of the Fate protagonists because his satiation isn’t typical when it comes to the Fate franchise.
He did a good job with this role and he did grow into it as the episode when on. I do like his voice acting and he gave a good performance.
I love Cassandra Lee Morris as Red Saber, not to be confused with the Saber of Red from Fate/Apocrypha (2017). I’ve always enjoyed her work and I really like that they picked her for this role. She brought life and personality to Red Saber and she did a fantastic job voice acting in this role.
Cherami Leigh is great as Misao Amari and even though she’s an anime-only character she was still very interesting and has an interesting role in the story. Her voice acting was also really great and I’m always happy when she has roles in anime I’m watching.
Christine Marie Cabanos is great as Rani VIII. Her character is interesting, but she’s different than how she is in the game. Her character is interesting, but she isn’t in the story for very long, but she’s an interesting character.
Christine Marie Cabanos did a great job and I liked her in this role. This is one of the more unique roles she’s played in awhile because it’s not a cheerful young girl like Madoka Kaname in Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Mela Lee once again reprises her role as Rin Tohsaka, even though this is not the Rin Tohsaka of the Fate/Stay Night series. I enjoyed her in this role and she was great, it’s always nice to see that even though not all the voice actors were able to reprise their roles, I’m happy she did.
Christina Vee and Kyle McCarley reprise their roles as Sakura and Shinji Matou, but they don’t play as big a role as they do in the game, but it’s still nice to hear their voice work and see them play these roles again. I’m really looking forward to hearing the English dub of Fate/Stay Night: Heavens’ Feel: Presage Flower (2017) when it comes out on blu-ray.
Vic Mignogna voicing Archer/Robin Hood is a nice surprise for me as a fan of his voice work. I really liked him in this role and it’s always nice to see him in another Fate property since the last thing he was in was Fate/Zero (2011). He was fun and I enjoyed his voice acting in this anime.
Xanthe Huynh did a great job as Alice. Even though her role was short she did a great job portraying her character. I enjoyed her voice acting a lot in this anime.
I'll give a special mention to Chris Patton who voiced Gawain in this anime as I didn't even recognize his voice, probably because he wasn't really using his trademark voice that I associate with both Greed from Fullmetal Alchemist and Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic.
Laura Stahl is great as Leonardo Bistario Harway, she did a fantastic job voicing this role and I really liked her as this character.
Greg Chun also voiced a fantastic villain as Twice H. Pieceman. He's not really a unique villain because he's similar to Kirei Kotomine so he's not as interesting as he could be but he was a decent villain and Greg did a great job voicing him.
Ryan Bartley is excellent as Hakuno Kishinami (female). Now there is a story related reason why there is both a male and female Hakuno Kishinami but that's not something I want to spoil for the audience, but I like female Hakuno more, and not because I'm female, but I think that she was way more interesting than the male protagonist and her voice actress was great too, I wish she was the main protagonist instead, but Fate's main demographic is male so it wouldn't have happened.
If you enjoyed the Japanese track of other Fate anime I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Japanese dub of this anime, so either way, you should like the dub in either English or Japanese.
Fate/Extra Last Encore Opening Full -「Bright Burning Shout - Takanori Nishikawa」
The Music Is Great!
I loved the music in Fate/Extra: Last Encore. Satoru Kousaki’s soundtrack was really nice. I enjoyed the music a lot and it fit each episode very well. I enjoyed the music and even though it’s not my favorite soundtrack I really enjoyed the music.
The opening is "Bright Burning Shout" by Takanori Nishikawa and has the distinction of being performed by a male singer, all of the Fate openings have been performed by female singers. While I wasn’t really impressed with the visuals of the opening, I really like the song.
The ending is "Tsuki to Hanataba" (月と花束; The Moon and a Bouquet) by Sayuri. I really enjoyed this ending theme. It's actually my favorite ending for the Fate series, excluding "Hana No Uta" from Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel: Presage Flower.
The soundtrack is really great and if you like good anime soundtracks you’ll enjoy this music score.
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore ED/Ending Theme - "Tsuki to Hanataba" by Sayuri
The Anime Is Not Newbie Friendly
Fate/Extra: Last Encore is not newbie friendly, despite what Kinoko Nasu said about the name being friendly for newcomers. Type-Moon’s Fate franchise has always been difficult to get into and many fans have asked if they should start with this one.
My answer is no, the Holy Grail War is so different from the main Fate series that the difference is big enough that you shouldn’t start with this series as your first foray into the Fate franchise, you start with Fate/Stay Night (2006) because it’s the first route of the game and that’s how you play the game, in route order of Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel. Fate/Zero is the prequel and spoils all three roués so it’s not recommended to start there despite being chronologically first.
Fate/Stay Night has one major Heaven’s Feel spoiler, but it doesn’t spoil everything about a characters home life and that’s why you should watch the oldest anime first. Fate/Zero spoils everything about certain characters.
There are too many rule and format changes when it comes to the Holy Grail War for this to be the best place to start. Fate has never been particularly newbie friendly outside of Fate/Stay Night (2006) so you should definitely not start here with this as your first Fate anime.
Viewers Might Dislike How This Story Is Told
I know that Type-Moon fans might not enjoy Fate/Extra: Last Encore because of the story format or the decision to rewrite the story of the game. I understand why fans don’t like it, but I do think that you should give the anime a chance.
I know that a lot of fans were expecting a faithful adaptation of the game, and that would have been possible if Studio Shaft had decided to make it 24 episodes, but Type-Moon decided 13 episodes was enough.
Fans Were Disappointed by the Animation
I know that some fans were disappointed by the animation, but Studio Shaft tends to fix a lot of their quality issues on blu-ray disc. I’m sure they’ll fix up this anime on disc too.
I know fans complain about how unexciting these fights seem to be, but Kinoko Nasu’s fights were never really described with a lot of detail in the visual novel for Fate/Stay Night and any fights were shown with some visuals. He saved the flashy fights for near the end of the story.
The Ending Was Worth It
Kinoko Nasu may be a man that loves to make his writing ridiculously complex when it comes to his lore, but he did give Fate/Extra: Last Encore (2018) a lovely sendoff with a bittersweet ending, that's how he ended two of three routes in the original Fate/Stay Night before he gave a happy ending to the Realta Nua version of the visual novel.
While the ending to this anime was bittersweet, it was very well done. But unfortunately he made things too confusing for the general Fate audience and he apologized for that, because most of the lore for this anime is found in supplemental material in Japanese.
While I agree that the anime is initially confusing, I enjoyed it a lot and I can still recommend streaming it, but not buying it because of AniplexUSA's ridiculous pricing model.
Will you watch Fate/Extra: Last Encore (2018)?
It’s Not the Best Fate Property, but It’s Fun If You Want Something Different
I really enjoyed Fate/Extra: Last Encore and I enjoyed the ending, but it's not the best Fate anime I have ever watched, it is too confusing when it comes to how the story is told. Kinoko Nasu left out a lot of details that would have made the anime easier for the audience to understand.
I liked it because it was different and a nice short Fate fix for me to enjoy and just have something nice and quick to watch.
It might not be exciting for everyone, but I found it to be a fun and enjoyable anime.
What doesn't work:
Interesting characters, and world-building
Audence might not like story format
Animation doesn't seem impressive in broadcast version
Excellent English dubbing
Different format might be disliked
My Grade: B
I really enjoyed Fate/Extra: Last Encore (2018), the story is interesting and entertaining. It’s not a very straightforward story, but I do enjoy the mystery aspect of the storytelling and it’s a nice. It’s not a perfect story, but it kept my attention.
It’s not the adaptation that all fans enjoyed because they were hoping for a faithful adaptation of the game rather than a re-imagining of the game. I still say you should give it a try to see if you’ll like it.
It has a nice animation, excellent dub, great music, and an intriguing mystery.
I recommend it if you’re familiar with the Fate franchise. It does require previous experience with the franchise because this is an alternate universe. It is an interesting story with an intriguing mystery and I really enjoyed it. It’s not my favorite Fate anime but it is a lot of fun.
The first arc is called Oblitus Copernican Theory, the second part is called Illustrias Tendōsetsu is now up on Netflix. I recommend watching it at least, it’s probably going to be expensive because it’s an Aniplex title but it’s worth watching at least, not necessarily buying it for your anime collection.
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