Yep. It’s a Madoka sequel, including the Witch Transformation.
The seventh episode of Fate Extra: Last Encore has aired, and so I’ve come to give my review.
The episode continues the crossover to Madoka Magica, with Alice in the past looking up above as the golden circle appears in the air above. Some Masters note that the upper floors are gone now as a result, but none of them can answer her question about what happened to the Hakuno, who she had bonded. Remember, only a select few people can see her for some reason and she can’t head up the floor to see for herself, leaving her in the dark while waiting for someone who wouldn’t return.
She then walks in her castle to where Rin and Amari are having the discussion they did in the previous episode, with them not being aware of her presence. She can only leave them behind as her body begins to glitch out and fade from existence, leaving her to wonder if she was going to disappear. Her despair and desire to see Hakuno once more leads to her breaking down bits and pieces of the world around her to maintain her existence. That warps her until she becomes the monster that currently haunts the Third Floor.
In the present, Hakuno’s group decide they need to kill that monster in order to move on to the next floor. Since they retain their memories from the previous loop, its more of a retry than a reset. But the monster is no doubt the same and will try to kill them even harder.
Hakuno still has his existential crisis about only his hatred driving him towards the sky while thinking on Rin’s lecture on how Dead Faces are more like zombies than ghosts, driven by negative emotions . They’re walking corpses rebooted by their grudges, unable to die or move on, stuck in place and time.
The scene then flashes back to Alice in her normal form talking with Hakuno about her love of books and how children fairy tales often ended sadly. So much so that when one does have a happy ending she’s question whether or not the story went like that. She then asks why Hakuno wants to ascend and they do that thing where his words are muted. Then Amari tells him to stop playing with her since she’s his opponent and one is going to kill the other.
Hakuno then wanders back to Rin and Saber, the latter of whom he asks if there was anyone who managed to ascend without killing their opponent in the war she fought in before. She cites there were cases of Masters who did so by having their opponent abandon the fight, winning by default. But before she can reveal what happens to the one who abandons the fight, Monster Alice appears. Rin ends up getting shredded by a rain of scissors before Hakuno uses a Command Seal so that Red Saber can land a hit to reset time for them.
We then cut to the past where Amari shows that Hakuno what Alice’s true form looks like bedridden in a hospital bed in Moon Cell. Amari then turns into Nursery Rhyme, which looks like Alice dressed in black clothing. She reveals that the Alice Hakuno met was a dream that she brought out, and that the real one can’t be saved since she’s already dead.
On their way to deal with Alice a third time, Hakuno of the present gives his thoughts on how hatred is fundamentally an obsession with the past. Because of that, the past chokes the present and he has no wish he wants granted.
Red Saber offers a story of her previous Master, possessing nothing but a name and no wish or memories. They ascended only to survive until they made it to the Seventh Floor, only to be defeated by Twice Pieceman. You know, the doctor who was sitting before the Angelica Cage. She then brings up how one has to defeat him to claim the Grail, but there’s no guarantee that the Moon Cell will be able to grant whatever wish you desire, and asks if he wishes to continue.
We then cut to the past once more, where Hakuno passed the third round because Alice chose to concede by absence, giving him a win by default. Since she’s already dead, Moon Cell can’t kill her. She then begs him not to leave her alone and he promises to come for her once he has the grail, leaving her to wait for his return.
In the present, Hakuno is mentioned to have been lost in thought and it becomes evident as he touches a book that belongs to Alice that he’s reliving the memories of a past version of himself. That in mind, he and the others ascend to the top of the castle where Alice in her monster form can no longer take the loneliness and attacks.
Rin pulls off a transformation scene and shows that somehow she’s become a Demi-Servant, capable of using Lancer’s Gae Bolg to strike at her heart. It’s not enough to kill her, but when she spots the fairy tale book she pauses long enough for Red Saber to get it a decisive hit. The book vanishes into Alice’s Bookmark, which makes Hakuno suddenly want to carry hope with him into the sky.
The episode then ends with what’s left of Alice or Nursery Rhyme telling Hakuno to take care as they ascend.
So, if you’re watching this episode and wondering what the heck just happened, you aren’t alone. This episode and the last one were complete mind-screws. Part of that was because we don’t know where one Hakuno is the present version and the other is the past version, and what role Nursery Rhyme plays until the end .
Unlike the times before, they kept it subtle that it was the past we were seeing and not Alice appearing before present Hakuno. The reveal only truly came about when we’re seeing the bond Alice built up with him being what drives her to desire to survive even if it warped her into a monster. Speaking of which, I couldn’t help but feel even worse for Alice than before.
She fought off dying, no matter how painful it was, for the sake of a promise that wouldn’t come to pass. An act I have not seen since the original game with another Master. She turned herself into a monster, was attacked for it, and ended up brutally killing her assailants as a result. Her memories degraded, leaving her a sad and lonely existence that yearned to see the person who had befriended her for the first time in whoever knows how long.
Yet, it’s that same bond that allows them to move onto the next floor. This is only speculation since none of it was clear, but one of Nursery Rhyme’s Noble Phantasm is a Reality Marble that allows the Servant to project their Master’s desires outwards. In the original Fate/Extra game, it allowed her to turn a battle back to the beginning by rewinding time, essentially making it a continuous retry like what happened here. But in the previous episode it was mentioned that it could be suppressed by Alice.
What I think happened was that when she spotted the book, gained a moment of clarity about what was happening to her. Then she spotted Hakuno and came to realize that he came back, so she decided to have Nursery Rhyme drop the time-loop aspect of her power and let them go. Then again, Alice is already dead by this point and Nursery Rhyme is dreaming of her form in Alice’s place, so maybe it was Nursery Rhyme who had gone insane for her Master’s sake and then her Cyber-Ghost came to comfort her.
I just don’t know.
Anyway, we also learned more about Dead Faces and about how there were two types. The first were those that died too much while still alive, the dead living, and those that started moving around despite not being alive, the living dead. It’s likely that Hakuno is the latter somehow, but the way the screen flashed to Alice about not having a future makes me think that she ended up being the former post end of the world.
We also learned that whatever Rin did to herself gave her the power of Cyber Cu. Not sure how that works since I haven’t played Grand Order. Still, it debunks those Caster rumors going around.
Anyway, if you can handle the despair, it was an excellent episode and I can’t wait to see the next one.