The ninth episode of Fate Extra: Last Encore has aired, and so I’ve come to give my review.
The episode opens Hakunon telling Hakuno to take a seat and watch so he can learn about the past and what’s most important for a Master to know. As well as the fact that he’s ignorant to assume Nero doesn’t know anything about hatred.
In the last Grail War, Hakunon only discovered the desire to live and her own identity in the battle against Julius on the Fifth Floor, where he tells her only the resolute can survive in Moon Cell. She had no wish or memories, something Nero finds amazing considering she made it that far in spite of lacking them. Then we get a look to the moment where she learns she’s not human, but a glorified NPC that gained free will, which shakes her to the core. Again, Nero attempts to comfort her by explaining that as a Servant in Moon Cell she is also nothing more than a recreation, but they will all become one in the end since the moon records all and they can live as they are now.
Because of how Nero carried herself, Hakunon presumed that her life had been nothing but joy and flowers. That wasn’t the case though. Being who she is, she naturally has a bad rep as demonstrated by the creepy puppet show that showcased her past to Hakunon. She basically pushed her love of others too hard and the people stood by as she was ousted, so she tried to take her own life and died in despair three days later where they draped a cloth over her body and her legend was solidified.
After seeing her past, Hakunon explains that despite the fact that Hakuno called out for her in desperation, for Nero it meant the world since she yearned for attention and to be useful, hence she’s perfectly willing to die for it again. So he needs to stop worry about himself and worry about the people he holds near.
Hakuno leaves out at that and wakes up in reality to find that best girl Rani is still alive somehow and treating them. Saber wakes up and is eager to go back towards fighting , but Hakuno is still having a pity party until she gives him a wake-up slap along with another spirited lecture about him not being an imitation but his own person. So after she manages to make him decide to continue carrying hope into the sky once again, Nero gives us a precious face as they plan to take out Julius and his Berserker.
Then the battles begin as Saber uses her Imperial Privilege to borrow Li Shuwen’s martial art skill. That stops her from getting wrecked instantly, but for the finisher she needs to use her Noble Phantasm. Doing so places them inside of a golden colosseum to where she immobilizes him and one-shots him with a single attack.
Then it’s Julius vs Hakuno. When it comes down to a fight, Julius is still stronger, at least initially. But his lecture falls short since Nero’s words give Hakuno the strength to keep ascending and they put on their game faces even as the building they’re on collapses and gravity takes a 30-second break so they can duke it out midair. Hakuno eventually prevails, but Julius tells him that he’ll be just like him soon enough before vanishing.
Victorious, Hakuno and Nero prepare to depart to the next floor while being overlooked by Rani and Rin. The two have a discussion where they muse that their role in guiding a Master and Servant to the Sixth Floor was complete and now they could rest, but Rin decides to tag along with them while Rani opts to remain behind again, leaving her to vanish as the episode ends.
This episode expands more on the relationship that resulted between Hakunon and Nero before getting back into the habit of clearing this floor. Hakunon was the PC of the original games, apparently, having been an NPC who gained sapience enough that they could be qualified as a Master. They defeated Julius and made it all the way to Angelica Cage, whereupon Twice completely wrecked them.
Nero’s identity isn’t a secret to anyone reading, since I don’t think I bothered with being obscure using the tags and the game has been out for over a decade at this point… I think. Anyway, Hakunon’s purpose was basically to tell Hakuno to get his head on straight and it took a double dose of cute Nero faces to make the lesson stick. So hopefully we won’t have to go through that song and dance again.
Other than that, things go as expected with regards to Julius and Li. They get beaten, though Nero did so exceedingly easily once she copied his Martial Arts Skill for herself. Hakuno barely scraped by as far as I can tell, but that makes his second direct kill on a Master so I can’t complain.
There are still some things left up to question though, like the situation with Lu Bu from the last episode and Rani hanging around. Ultimately, I believe they were very advanced AIs meant to guide a Master and Servant to the Sixth Floor since whoever is there needs a worthy opponent to ascend to the Seventh Floor. Having Rin on the First Floor ensured that Shinji could be dealt with and Rani on the Second for Dan.
However, knowing that they can just pop in and out of existence like that kind of diminishes their deaths. I was heartbroken when Rani died on the Second Floor, but I respected her decision. That decision has little weight if she’s still kicking around because Rin backed up her data or something. Likewise when Rin got scissored to death and forced Hakuno to burn a Command Seal to save her by forcing Alice to reset.
There’s still some leeway depending on the proper explanation for the two, and whatever happened to Amari, but that won’t be revealed until the next episode and so I’m left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth.