A bit faster this time.
I’ve had 3 different set of subs for each episode and I’m slightly entertained into thinking this will be how it’s going to be until we reach the end. I’d have no excuse other than laziness if I got this out any later like I did last week so I made it quick, but just as long as the other. This is honestly the first in a long while I have had the urge to write as much as I can. It’s not too often this sort of adaptation comes along that’s a melding of both original and adaptation content and I’m inspired to point out as many differences as possible. I usually just cover the episode but I’m actually talking about how it differs so it’s certainly more entertaining than the regular episodic coverage stuff I do.
That being said, I’m still extremely mixed about how I feel about this.
Nero fends off the 3 attacking servants and Hakuno falls unconscious after his mysterious outburst. As Shinji tries to zero in on the duo, the firewalls protecting the top floor of his building shatters as Tohsaka makes an opening for Nero and Hakuno to escape. They hop on Tohsaka’s flying motorcycle and retreat. Hakuno later wakes up in Tohsaka’s room where she formally introduces herself as a part of a “resistance” on the first floor against Shinji, as well as mentioning that she too has lost her servant. Tohsaka goes over the situation on the first floor and finally clarifies that the rules governing the Moon Cell have been been rendered null and void. A strange disk called the Chakravartin has appeared in the top of the Moon Cell preventing any of its rules to be enforced. Apparently it’s this strange circle in the sky that the battle royale between masters haven’t been going on. Apparently one person had already qualified to move on to the second stratum but has remained in the first floor. Shinji was able to achieve victory but after being unable to move on, decided to re-purpose the floor into the city they see now. In order to advance and get to the bottom of these problems, Shinji must be taken down.
The trio cause a distraction to avert the attention of Shinji’s girl police and make their way to the elevator to the main tower. Shinji himself intervenes and sends his three berserkers again to stop them. Tohsaka separates the enemy servants with another firewall and helps Nero and Hakuno use the elevator to bring them to the top floor while she remains and she does something to fend herself against the three berserkers. The duo arrive at the top floor where they find themselves in a school building. They make their way to its rooftop and find Shinji waiting for them. Hakuno doesn’t waste any time in declaring that he’s going to defeat him and we see Hakuno bring up Shinji’s reputation as the Game Champion. This causes a little flashback in Shinji’s mind to when he defeated his first opponent with Drake and despairs over how he killed another person and how he didn’t want to move on like this. Instead he decides to stay in the first stratum to build and maintain a space for other masters to survive together, in hopes of one day achieving something great. Shinji returns from his reminiscence and prepares to fight and as he prepares, the city becomes flooded with water and Shinji reemerges with Drake with him on her flagship. Drake’s fleet of cannons swat Nero out of the sky but the latter sinks down and uses one of her abilities to raise a ship of her own. Nero resurfaces and prepares to face Drake again only this time, her Imperial Privilege skill causes one of the sunken ships to resurface and crash into Drake’s own. Nero makes it past the volley of cannon-fire and prepares to fight Drake up close, the latter brandishes her own pistols but apparently she didn’t bother to load them properly. Drake is slain and both she and Shinji begin to disappear. Shinji goes on about a monologue that Hakuno cuts short and says he’d like for Shinji to shut up about his reasoning and stay quiet as to not hate him more than he does. The first stratum is cleared and the duo’s ladder arrives to fetch them and continue their ascent. Tohsaka also comes to follow them up.
So without a doubt, the Moon Cell War is definitely messed up and it wasn’t really Shinji’s fault that made the first stratum the way it was. This only strengthens my belief that this is another chance at the Mooncell War in Nero’s case where I assume things went normally in the previous attempt while this particular occasion is all sorts of messed up. At least they answered that question because they didn’t really explain too much else. I’m still very concerned about how Shinji used up his Command Seals when Drake doesn’t seem to have an issue with him but I guess that won’t be answered at this time. Shinji’s entire “game champion” persona isn’t really brought up for real and the revelation that happens during his defeat in the original Extra definitely felt more poignant. For those of you not aware, Shinji’s actual identity is not that of the Shinji Matou that people came to know and hate in literally every other appearance in the series but in the Extra verse, he’s an 8 year-old gaming prodigy who was able to hack himself into the Mooncell War, thinking it was some elaborate videogame. The harsh reality of his mistake and ensuing death was actually pretty grim, especially with this theme playing in the back and his utter despair in not wanting to die.
At least in this version, Shinji shows some actual regret in backstabbing Hakuno and killing his first round opponent. Drake on the other hand remained mostly the same in her relationship with Shinji but definitely more kind, it works out that Shinji seems more contemplative this time around instead of a child crying his eyes out as he is about to die. The game had Shinji messing with you by trying to impede your progress by hacking through the system while in the anime, he seemed to have grander, more benevolent plans. The anime has Drake reassure Shinji that Hakuno wasn’t too angry with him but in the game, Drake’s parting was that of encouragement and for the victor that bested her to carry on their spirit in the coming battles. To me, the tragic scenario of Shinji in the original game had more weight to it than what I saw in the episode. Now I wonder where Amari is.
In the middle of the episode, there was quite some familiar scenery being used that was directly referencing the Tsukimihara Academy back in the original Extra. The school building that served as the main backdrop for the game’s events was shown off, particularly the hallways, staircase, and rooftop where Shinji is encountered. I have no idea what the purpose was for but I did appreciate the familiar visuals. There was also a familiar location during Hakuno’s mental lapse where he was lying on floor all bloodied and that particular place was where you contracted with either Saber, Archer, or Caster. I had even less clues as to why that scene was even there aside from being yet another nudge and wink toward the people who played the game.
The Week 4/6 servant scenario just got real interesting or really obvious at this point now that Tohsaka has explained that she’s a master without a servant. The whole Deadface part wasn’t explained either and Tohsaka’s ability to fend herself from 3 berserker servants is something pretty overpowered. Rani hasn’t been shown yet in the series, aside from her name, and promotional material so I assume they’re hiding her for that week? Who knows. So far, the whack Mooncell War question got answered but we’ll surely know the true nature of anomaly as the characters approach the upper floors. Shinji’s motivations were explained while his command seals were not. I personally didn’t like how quick the fight was between Drake and Nero and the parting moments weren’t all too impressive compared to the game’s version of it. With this in mind, I hope they don’t mess up the dynamic between Blackmore and Robin as they were one of my favorite pairs in the game.
The ending for this episode was really nice to look at though. I hope everyone gets a fancy illustration like this.