Fine story this episode. Wonky artwork though. Bad place to skimp on.
The twenty-second episode of Fate Apocrypha opens with Atalanta rejecting her heroic side by shoving the pelt of the divine boar into her, activating her Noble Phantasm, Agrius Metamorphosis. Her more conservative clothes are stripped away and she’s clad in black, her eyes glowing red as she falls onto all fours like a beast. If you couldn’t tell, this basically turns her into a Berserker and she throws herself at Ruler, slamming her down from the plane to the Hanging Gardens of Babalyon.
Then we go back to Karna and Sieg. The latter’s transformation wore out during the battle, so he’s left with no other choice but to transform a second time. However, before he does so Karna cuts the battle short to ask a favor of Caules, who snuck onboard at some point, to save the original Red Faction Masters that were poisoned by Semiramis.
Caules agrees, only on the condition that if he can’t beat Sieg before his transformation wears out next time, he’ll let the remainder of the Black Faction go. He consents and gets the Masters out, and then Karna goes back to fighting Sieg with the intention of honoring his Master’s order of going after Ruler once he defeats Sieg. Since he’s actually a threat to her, Sieg fights to stop that from happening and they go at it once more.
Back with Atalanta, she’s steadily turning insane and ranting about how she didn’t want to fight for a future where children were suffering before she lays down an immense amount of cover fire. It actually wounds Ruler, but doesn’t bring her out of the fight as she tries to reason with what’s left of her sanity that, while her wish isn’t bad, pardoning any act of evil to get it is what she has a problem with. Their fight continues until Achilles shows up to take Ruler’s place in the fight.
His reasoning for interfering is because it’s a hero’s duty to punish those who have fallen into evil. As things stand, she won’t be able to go back to how she was as the influence of her Noble Phantasm overtakes her. He regrets that it came to this and can only apologizes before he goes on the attack as Jeanne meets up with Semiramis.
Back with the Karna fight, the two of them are basically dropping heavy attacks like they’re going out of style. They devastate the land, tearing the skies apart in their mighty clash, but Karna decides to unleash his strongest Noble Pantasm by sacrificing his armor as Seig offers up his body for good in exchange for the power to push it back.
It’s still not enough, but Astolfo shows up with Achilles’ shield because he gave it him as a promise to Chiron. It basically takes them into an entirely different world outside of the attack and allows for Seig to get in a killing blow. Despite Astolfo interfering, Karna takes it in good faith and tells him to go help Ruler before passing on.
Then we get back to Achilles and his fight with Atalanta. He manages to land a decisive blow on her, only for for several of her arrows to shoot him in the back. So they’re both mortally wounded and lay dying together, with clarity returning to Atalanta as she admits she knew she couldn’t save those children but wanted to do something before she passes on. Achilles can only state that she and her dream were both beautiful since she challenged the world for the sake of a dream that wouldn’t be accomplished, and that he at least wanted to stop her from falling down that path before he dies as well.
The episode then ends with Semiramis allowing Jeanne to pass on to the greater grail since she believes that Shakespeare will be able to deal with her. Seig heads after her, given that Karna warns him that the Caster would be the worst opponent for her.
So, three more Servants bite the dust: Karna, Achilles, and Atalanta.
Karna gets more of the spotlight and brings up the matter of pride and promises. His pride is derived from never breaking promises he made, so while he mantains his loyalty to the ones who summoned them into the world, even if they were no longer Masters, he won’t disobey the orders he’s given from Shirou as long as he can fulfill his promise to Siegfried. That ties into his backstory, if you’ve studied up on it, hence also why he’s known as the Servant of Charity.
It was also why, despite Astolfo’s joining in netting the win for Sieg, he doesn’t hold any ill-will. After all, the Servant is a part of the Master’s power and they fought without holding back. He also reveals that for Heroic Spirits that are shadows of the past, the people living in the future are the greatest possible treasures and they shouldn’t interfer, which aligns neatly with Jeanne’s thoughts and why he told Sieg to go after her.
Atalanta’s mindset was also fleshed out at this point. She wanted to make a world where children don’t suffer and fought for that in the past, only to find that there was still suffering. Being told that to save the children was wrong and that killing them was the only choice in the world left her wanting to change it, and to that end she was perfectly willing to throw away her heroic side and fall into a beast to challenge that in hopes of the Greater Grail at least being able to give her a shot.
Achilles’ point was to step in and stop her, because her fall was one that couldn’t be reverse if completed. Similar to Medusa when she undergoes a Gorgon transformation, once a certain point in their monstrous transformation is reached, they are no longer Heroic Spirits and can’t go back. While he found her dream and the fact that she’d fight for it to be beautiful, he just couldn’t let that happen to her so he put his life on the line to interfere.
It was a tragic, but decent story this episode. But the art looked a lot wonky to me a good portion of the time, and that’s unforgivable given how epic the fighting should have looked. I hope they’ll get back on task next week.