The timing of these posts are going to remain weird with how long it takes for proper subs to happen but I was slow on the uptake this week so hopefully this won’t come as late.
I definitely didn’t expect things to turn out like this. Let’s get right into it since I have a lot to say.
Nero and Hakuno get a lift to the Moon Cell War by a strange device known as a “ladder”. The two share a bath to recuperate from their ordeal and Nero goes over the bare-basics of the Moon Cell War and how Hakuno is now a Master and she is his servant, one of the 128 pairs that will soon fight for supremacy to claim victory through the 7 battles ahead. Nero however sees the gaps in Hakuno’s knowledge of the subject and ponders over the fact that during the prelims, the memories of the potential master candidates are suppressed but should have returned to them by now. Hakuno feels that no such thing as occurred within him and only knows that his purpose is to fight. Nero is at the very least entertained that someone so “fearless” is her master but also worries over his lack of memories and true conviction.
The ride comes to an end and Nero prepares to face their enemy but the duo steps out of their ladder only to find a sprawling cityscape in the night. Nero is delightfully surprised at their stage and the duo decide to start their search by walking around town. The stop for some food but Nero reveals that their merry stroll wasn’t just for show as she has a decent guess on where to find their opponents. The two make their way to a tavern where they confront a pink-haired woman by the bar, who Nero demands to brandish her weapon and fight her. The woman is unperturbed aside from Nero’s strange way to start a conversation and states that the war is pointless, no one would ever reach the inner cage of the Moon Cell and many have abandoned their attempts in advancing. Masters have revoked their own rights as Masters and “sold” their servants to live out a leisurely life in the first stratum. Nero is disgusted by the hedonism and complacent whims of masters and storms out of the pub, while Hakuno slowly follows. As he leaves, the woman asks if he will revoke his servant but he states that he’d rather not and the woman clues him in that there’s at least one other person in the stratum that hasn’t sold out his servant either.
Outside, Nero and Hakuno are circled by a group of women dressed as police officers and they tell the duo to follow them to meet with the “mayor” of the city. They relent and follow the posse girls to the top floor of the building in the center of town and sure enough, Shinji is there waiting for them. He explains that the first stratum has broken free of the Moon Cell’s rules and the masters can live out their lives without pointlessly killing each other. The act of revoking servants double as “buying” servants in Shinji’s side of things, where apparently having a servant is a needless burden. Shinji offers Hakuno citizenship and of course, Hakuno refuses. Shinji then cuts off the building top where they stand in from the rest of the city to eliminate Hakuno right then and there. He activates a firewall to separate Nero from Hakuno and sends three Berserker servants (I spy Darius, Fergus, and Leonidas) to fight her while Hakuno is seemingly killed by the female police squad. However, Hakuno refuses to fall and something happens to him. All of this happens as Rin watches from a nearby rooftop and muttering “Deadface”.
There certainly isn’t any room for doubt now that Last Encore is definitely doing its own thing than following through with Extra’s set-up. The bare-basics are there however. Instead of the My Room portions, it seems that every master and servant duo have access to their “ladders”, devices that function as their room as well as the means to move up level once they defeat their chosen opponents in the grail war. Speaking of opponents in the grail war, the number is kept consistent with the 128 total number of masters/servants pairs as well as the 7 rounds to reach the top of the mountain. Instead of having uniquely assigned opponents per 7 rounds however, the 1st elimination process in Extra occurs in a completely different stage.
Instead of confronting your opponent on the last day of the week after meticulous investigation on the enemy servant identity and beefing up your own servant, the first “stratum” of the Mooncell War takes place in a large city where apparently it was hacked and separated from the Mooncell, where presumably multiple elimination battles took place throughout the city all YGO Domino City style. The backdrop is certainly more interesting than traversing the same school grounds, the Arena cubes with the admittedly BEAUTIFUL backgrounds, and the likes. Time to say goodbye to the Virtual Sea, the most underrated element in Fate/Extra. Anyways, the transit time for Hakuno and Nero apparently took a long while as apparently, it’s been some time since anything has happened in the first round. The masters residing on the first stratum have also “sold” their servants and decided to live out the rest of their lives in the first stratum. This really surprised me because the absolutely rigid system of the Moon Cell never allowed for anything like this. The master and servant dynamic is signified by the Command Seals and in the Moon Cell War, using up all three command spells meant termination but the level of hacking that must have happened to separate this system from the first stratum must have been immense.
So far, the only notable characters aside from our main duo have been Shinji, who now runs the city, and Rin who seems to be one the run. The woman in the bar is obviously Francis Drake and the little scene where Shinji summons the berserkers shows that he has two of his three command seals already used up, most likely pacifying Drake seeing as though she’s so relaxed and somewhat downtrodden in the bar we see her in. Rin hasn’t done anything other than observe (for a long while, I might add considering the weird time-skip we had) and mention whatever the hell Hakuno turned into at the end. No guess what’s going on there.
I’ll be frank with everyone right now, I’m not a big fan of Nero, at least not anymore. Back when I first started Extra and sheepishly made my way through CCC, I adored her character. I was never a big fan of Arturia but Nero’s personality really provided a fantastic contrast and imperious flair that I’m easily won over with. In the following years of her other appearances however, I think they focused way too much on her quirks and haughtiness that I feel that the original stuff I loved about her has dwindled in comparison. That and the memers who joined the franchise through FGO probably soured my already jaded outlook on her as well. The biggest hope I had for this series was for Nero to retain her lovable and verbose style of speech and for now, I think she’s fine, she’s definitely cute and they’re not going overboard as of yet. Although, Hakuno’s entire attitude, or lack thereof, of what’s going on definitely isn’t helping anything. The bath scene was par for the course; I mean it’s Shaft we’re talking about here. They definitely upped Nero’s cup size though, but the man in me can’t deny that it was a pleasant scene of her tits just flopping everywhere in the unashamed bath scene. I guess that definitely was a preferred backdrop for exposition over two guys walking in circles around another guy.
Last but not least, Hakunon’s death in the first episode and Nero’s own strange circumstances of being summoned. With the subtitle of “Last Encore” I surmise that this is Nero’s second lease at life to win the war and Hakuno is the culmination of all the anger and pain that previous masters have gone through. While episode 1 confused the hell out of me with its “similar” and I say similar with the most stress the quotation marks can give me, episode 2 definitely made it clear not to expect too many similarities with the original material and there’s both pros and cons to that but hey, my interest is piqued so I eagerly await what will come next.
Oh and the opening is pretty boring. I know they’re trying to sell Nero and all but she’s the main servant for god’s sake, she has and will get enough screentime. There was no need to make her the only character in the opening.