In sacrificing himself, he became the hope for humanity beyond the dead end of stagnation.
The finale of Fate Extra: Last Encore has aired, consisting of three episodes, and so I’ve come to give my review of them and the series.
The 11th episode opens with our three survivors heading to Seventh Floor, where Leo awaits them with his Servant Gawain. Rin mentions that she was targeting him 1,000 years ago, but for some reason he gave up the win to female Hakuno and with it the chance to be the earth’s Messiah. Then they arrive on the final floor, which is an idyllic paradise of sorts being tended to by Gawain.
He naturally recognizes Saber as the one who struck him down previously, but he declines fighting at the moment since his body hasn’t truly recovered fully and he doesn’t have the will to do so. He explains that Twice saved Leo rather than let him die and became the floor guardian, making him the enemy of all surviving humans for the first hundred years. But since its been ages and there were no more challengers, Leo decided to go into a slumber.
Since their time is running out, they head up to summit where Leo has been waiting for 900 years. Along the way Saber goes to the final resting place of her former Master and leaves behind a flower she picked. Rin points out that what happened to them has happened countless times, as Twice defeats the victor and keeps the grail for himself every time.
She can’t help but wonder if Leo would have changed things if he’d have made it, which Gawain backs up. However, she also points out that his method was to maintain the status quo and humanity would have died out 500 years ago instead of 1000 as they are now. Twice’s methods aren’t exactly better, since he’s beginning to warp Moon Cell, and both his and Leo’s methods don’t leave any room for the future.
They need a third option. It’s too late to change what happened, but if they can stop Twice from deleting the past of human history Gawain thinks that they can use it to avoid the survivors repeating the mistakes of the past and can stop the timeline from being trimmed via Quantum Time Lock. Hakuno decides they’ll need to fix Moon Cell and so they begin the final battle.
Gawain once more reclaims his sword and stops treating them as equals, instead choosing to once more become his king’s sword. Leo welcomes them as he awakens and then accepts their challenge after pointing out that if Hakuno restores Moon Cell then he’ll be erased due to being irregular data. So not only will he have to be strong enough to beat Twice, but he’ll still die in the end.
Nero and Gawain then get into an epic battle, while Leo and Hakuno rely on their own means of fighting via Terrain Manipulation and Dead Face. Then comes the final clash, Excaliber Galatine being released to strike down Nero and Hakuno. The only reason neither of them gets killed is because Saber managed to block it somehow, leaving them to instead be blown down a crevice and back down as this episode ends.
The 12th episode opens in the past, where Leo and Gawain meet Twice for the first time. The two have a discussion where Twice thinks that in 970 years humanity will reach the point where they’ll lose the will and means to live, but Leo thinks that if he gets Moon Cell he can prevent that from happening. Twice states that human were going to die anyway since they’re stagnant and only concerned with surviving, not living or progressing, and Leo is proof of that. The moment Leo accepted Twice’s words, he lost the will to be King.
Back with Hakuno and Saber, they end up getting knocked all the way down to what looks to be another floor by the impact of the attack. They survive but fell back into the place where they first met. So they’re basically screwed when they hear from Rin that Leo’s trying to finish her off and they’re really running out of time so they need to get up as soon as possible.
After getting her perspective on things, as the last actual human in Moon Cell who hasn’t had their wills broken, and coming to terms with themselves, they both decide head back. Alice’s Bookmark gives them the means to do so, with Twice watching over them while thinking that he’s learned something in accepting his life. Hakuno, who was born from nothing, has become the center of everything.
Back with Leo, he’s trying to finish off Servant Rin when our heroic duo resurface. Hakuno gives Saber as much magic as he can to challenge Gawain on an equal level, but as Leo points out his magic is the sum of all those who made up his form as an embodiment of death and none of them managed to surpass Leo. So he can empower Saber, but his body will eventually break down.
That being said, Hakuno refuses to quit even as his body begins breaking apart under the strain. He’s resolved to fix Moon Cell even though it means his death, because it’s what he can do. Even if its a small thing, he finds that living is worthwhile.
Leo decides he’s heard enough and opens a Command Seal to finish them off. with Excaliber Galatine once more. But as Hakuno recalls the memories of his former self and everything, he breaks Dead Face in order to give Saber the power to use her Noble Phantasm. Leo accepts his defeat afterwards, which signals that the battle has ended.
Since there’s no more time, they are all immediately ascended to the final stage where Moon Cell resides.
The final episode opens with Twice’s backstory. He was born amidst war, where a bombing run wiped out his home and soldiers killed everyone. Sometime later, he pulled a Shirou Emiya/Shirou Kotomine as he walked among the flames and realized that his dream of saving humanity wasn’t going to pan out and died.
His data was uploaded into Moon Cell then and became an NPC that slowly gained awareness after inheriting the memories of his real counterpart and fighting in the Holy Grail. However, because he was an irregularity like the Dead Faces we’ve seen so far, he could never use it. So he awaited others who could use it and would sympathize with his goals.
Female Hakuno didn’t accept his ideal, citing that while an unexciting future may have awaited them she couldn’t hate or accept that. As people who lived in the past, she felt they had no right to interfere or make decisions for those in the present. Twice didn’t accept that answer and opted to have his Servant kill them.
Back in the present, he’s getting ready to destroy all records within Moon Cell in around 20 minutes when Leo, Rin, Saber, and Hakuno shows up. Twice goes Dead Face the moment they arrive and attacks everyone but Leo, forcing Rin to use her Servant powers to create an opening for Saber to cut him down. She fails to do damage, and Twice reveals he intends to get rid of everything and leave nothing behind including himself.
Hakuno still wants to still fix Moon Cell even after Twice shows that human civilization is already dead. He points out that as long as SERAPH is there, the humans who have survived will migrate to it, so his Dead Face intended to take that place away to let them truly die out instead. What’s left of Twice doesn’t want humanity to survive at all, having long since given up on them.
Leo, having heard enough, protects the group from Twice’s attempt at then wiping them out and they buy some time. He explains that the person he was died the moment he accepted Twice’s words in the past, but at least this way he can lift his head with some pride. So he summons Gawain to use Excaliber Galatine to put pressure on Twice and break through a layer of the Chakravartin at the expense of himself and Leo, leaving the others to press onwards.
Then Saber tells Hakuno to give her the power of their final Command Seal and she would buy him 2 minutes to get to Moon Cell. He does so, entrusting everything to her. Saber then leaves Rin to get Hakuno to Moon Cell as she puts her body on the line to do so.
She thinks that its over and she’ll never see him again, but Hakuno reveals that he had Rin head to Moon Cell alone. Any Master could enter at this point, but she’s the last remaining Human after Leo died. He felt that she was best suited as she spent the last 1000 years with Rani trying to correct their mistake and would be able to do so adequately.
Saber has then has a flashback about the time she spent with her former Master, where her fondest wish was to not die alone. Her image overlaps with his, leaving Saber to realize that he was carrying out her will. So, as her body fades, she entrusts her sword to him to finish off Twice.
Twice tries to absorb Hakuno, as they were both Dead Faces, but Hakuno phases through the attacks and continues on. He remembers everything that’s happened up to here, including the other Masters and Servants. Then he drives Saber’s sword into the barrier around Moon Cell and goes inside to where Rin was waiting for him.
Moon Cell itself wanted him to come, because it doesn’t oppose his wish. He simply needs to just touch it and his wish will become a reality. Knowing that, he opts to make a new world for humanity at the expense of his own existence and memories, and leaves it up to Rin to guide them in the end as Nero watches her Master’s final moments with both sadness and happiness.
After the credits roll, we see that Moon Cell is reconstructing everything now that it has been reset. Rin, who was originally a blonde in her original body, regains her hair color in this new world. She makes her intentions to restart again clear before running off to do so.
Right, so to explain it a little clear, as mention before in the finale review of Fate Apocrypha, the Quantum Time Lock trims any timeline where stagnation sets in, bringing them to a close. This involves time being a part of the Human Order and a bunch of other Nasuverse mumbo-jumbo, but essentially humans need to progress or else they’ll hit a dead-end. And a dead-end means they’ll be trimmed from existence.
Now, because of an event that happened in this timeline called Overcount 1999, the world was already in a bad spot. Leo’s family conditioned him to just watch and guide humanity, but since he couldn’t actually do anything about fixing the problem he would have consolidated the remaining resources on the planet so that things remained under his control. The moment he accepted that Twice was right and that humans would stagnate, he gave up even doing that and refused to ascend because what good is a king in that circumstance.
The reason Leo had his will broken was because he was essentially perfect and never experienced defeat. He was born and raised as an elitist who had everything to his name and no worries, but carried the weight of the world on his shoulders as if nothing. That meant he didn’t have the ability to comprehend a solution, which made him an inadequate king ironically enough.
Gawain largely saw this flaw but didn’t say anything since he wanted to serve Leo faithfully after what happened in his own past. To that end, he was kind of a dick to everyone else but Leo. 900 years have given him enough time to mellow out into a person who is much more amicable, but once Leo came out he turned himself back into a sword to be wielded.
These two only get their resolution at the end, where they regain some hope in humanity and do what they can.
Twice, on the other hand, believed that war and conflict furthered humanity based off his own experiences. However, after meeting Leo and having his proposal rejected by female Hakuno, he seemed to completely give up on them. If humans couldn’t progress after 1000 years of struggle, then there was no future or meaning in them existing and so he would wipe the slate clean using Chakravartin as by the time of Hakuno’s arrival on the first floor there was little to nothing left on Earth.
I don’t even think that the Twice we see at the end, who is a Dead Face, is the same as the one who appeared as normal. That thousand years would appear to have probably robbed him of all his humanity and left behind only a vengeful specter. That might be why we don’t even see Saver, despite being the one who defeated Nero in the past.
Rin was really the only person who never truly gave up by the end of the series. She and Rani spent 1000 years trying to solve their problems, up to the point they guided Hakuno there. Even after no longer having a body to go back to on Earth, she intends to start everything over as Moon Cell.
Fate/Extra: Last Encore has been an interesting exploration of the Extra Timeline. It didn’t really have a happy ending in the main game, whereas what came out afterwards in Extella and CCC offered possibilities. In that way, this is another one of the possibilities that comes from continuing on even after humanity has been reduced to extinction level by flinging hope into the future.
Humanity reached a dead end, but through the means available in Moon Cell and the records of the past what’s left can continue on. They can learn from their mistakes and then have a new beginning. Humanity still has hope and so they can keep going on in the end, a new world to replace the one they lost.
It was a great piece of work that left you to think about the nature of despair, at giving up against impossible challenges, about whether or not you can progress when you hit a setback, and that hope should always be held. However…it had a number of problems. To ignore that is something I can’t do.
To start with, who thought it was a good idea to put so many months between the final episodes and the last one? That is a very poor way to do an anime, and frustrating because it was only by chance I even remembered it was coming out.
Another thing is that they don’t explain things clearly at all.
I’m lucky that I’m a member of two communities that discuss this kind of stuff in length, so I can get some solid answers. But they don’t even explain what happens to Amari in the anime. It’s explained in a Drama CD that she actually gave up and returned to the First Floor and took Shinji’s place on the ground floor while he sat on the rooftop, meaning she died when he did.
Saver has gone missing in the final battle, leaving only the Noble Phantasm behind. I can’t even piece together why that is, only that maybe Twice’s soul was no longer able to be saved at that point. There’s still a question of what might happen in the future as well, but they’re clearly not going to address that.
Overall, I liked the concept of what they had here. I liked the constant theme of wanting to live and doing what you can to progress. I liked the notion of leaving a record for the fallen and flinging hope into the future.
I liked the art and visuals. It was solid for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember much about the music, but I will probably remember the story for years to come.
It’s a good Fate show , but you will be lost if you aren’t familiar with Fate/Extra and the show makes it clear they aren’t going to hold your hands. If you want answers you’ll have to seek them out yourself like I did. Good luck with that.