For once, I actually felt that Last Encore delivered a better version of Week 3 than the game did. I expected a cavalcade of weird shit and I definitely experienced that weird shit these past two weeks, moreso than the game could really provide. Let’s not waste any time since I slacked off on this one because the subs took so long, I don’t even know if the latest episode is already done with that or not.
Another flash-forward as Alice watches Hakuno ascend to the fifth stratum and overhears two other masters discussing something about the higher strata. Alice tries to ask them what’s exactly wrong with the upper floors but she doesn’t get an answer. Alice encounters a smack talking tirade between Rin and Amari where they apparently stayed behind while Hakuno left for the fifth stratum. Amari demands that Rin fights her but the latter refuses, apparently neither acknowledge Alice’s existence. Alice herself begins to fade away and fizzle out of reality as well and she tries to “replenish” herself and turns a bunch of objects into some strange material. However, Alice begins to transform into a monster and other masters try to eliminate her, only for her to fight back in self defense and try to survive as to uphold a promise she made.
Turns out that this flash-forward isn’t one at all and the monster that the trio fought previously is that exact Alice, which begs the question who the Alice Hakuno met last episode even was. Rin explains that something akin to a loop is going on on this floor every time monster-Alice dies. Rin smugly explains what Dead Faces are and predictably, they are dead beings revived through a deeply rooted anger and Rin more or less gives off the air that she knows what Hakuno really is, despite him playing it off without batting an eye.
Hakuno is seen again reading a book with Alice and the process repeats where she heads off to play Tag and Hakuno counts. This time however, Hakuno asks why Alice stays on the floor and she asks why Hakuno wants to ascend. He gives her an answer, but we don’t get to hear it. Amari appears to give Hakuno the rude awakening that he needs to kill Alice to proceed upwards. Hakuno rejoins Rin and Nero and he asks Nero if she has participated in a Holy Grail War before and she affirms his question. He then asks if she’s ever seen a master ascend without killing their opponent and Nero states that it’s a rare case. While she explains that an enemy master can simply forfeit, the Alice-monster busts in and kills Rin and Hakuno immediately uses up his second command seal to restart the loop, only this time, he follows Amari and sees Alice’s “true” body, that of a bandaged up body lying on a hospital bed. “Amari” apparently wasn’t who she was after all, and it turns out to be Alice’s servant mirroring her master. The Alice Hakuno has been interacting with wasn’t real to begin with, as the real Alice is already dead. The trio plan to find Alice’s body if anything than try to fight the monster again and en-route to their destination, Nero shares a story of the previous war and her previous master. Hakuno asks if this was another version of himself and Nero corrects him. Instead of being filled with hatred, her former master simply wished to survive. Despite making it through the 7th floor, her master was defeated by Twice Pieceman and Nero is skeptical if the Mooncell will grant a wish that the war promises. Even so, Hakuno desires to ascend and he confronts Alice as the scene from the previous episode where Hakuno leaves her and ascends to the fifth stratum plays out again. Alice can’t exactly die since she already is so her “participation” was mostly invalid. Even so, the trio ascend the castle to eliminate the Monster-Alice and Rin’s apparent “install” abilities allows her to use Gae Bolg to incapacitate the creature enough for Nero to finish it off.
So let’s take a bit to explain what the deal for the game’s rendition of Week 3 was. Alice and Nursery Rhyme seem innocent enough but the game she plays with Hakuno is mostly a lethal one and the first Arena’s hazard was the Jabberwocky. Engaging the creature without assistance was a quick Bad End but help came in the form of Rani who transmuted a Vorpal Blade to deal with the creature. The second arena hazard was under the effects of Nusery Rhyme’s Noble Phantasm which slowly drained out the semblance of identity from Hakuno. This was simply countered by Rin’s assistance who wrote down your name on a piece of paper so you wouldn’t actively forget. The battle itself on the seventh day is probably the easiest in the game and I kind of already figured that the reveal on Alice’s actual fate to be inconsequential. I’m personally not that easily affected by tragedies that take place on children.
Last Encore though definitely tugged at your heart strings more because of Alice’s involuntary role as the monster that needed to be slain while she had plenty of times to grow on you as someone who really didn’t want to fight anyone. Instead of revealing everything about her at the end, we’re given a few minutes of the revelation to think about before the final fight takes place. She only turned into a monster in an attempt to keep herself existent and the sadness goes further when everything is just a loop so she’s stuck suffering until things finally die down. I’ll give my first honest vote to Last Encore’s rendition of Alice’s chapter over Extra’s. The loops without a doubt messed with my head and they only started to make sense after I saw the entire thing play out. I was mostly concerned with the usage of the command seals and Hakuno used up his second one during this trial, while the previous episode seemed to have already suggested that a similar event had occurred.
Aside from that, my big question still remains: Who will be the opponents in the 4th and 6th rounds? There have been no signs of Gatou or Ronnie, and Rin apparently can pull some Prisma-Illya shenanigans by installing Cu Chulainn on herself and summon Gae Bolg to fight with. I’m not even going to bother asking how she can do this, plus the whole Dead Face explanation seemed pretty predictably self-explanatory. Speaking of Rin, what even was with Amari? If she was just Nursery Rhyme in disguise, who was Rin even talking to and what even happened to her at this point? My other prediction turned out true as well, Nero and Hakunon during the last war seemed to have gone through the “regular” events of Extra but failed to beat Twice, leaving Nero to retry the war this time with Hakuno. I can only imagine where this will go from here, especially with a wild-card fourth week/stratum coming up.