“Fate/Grand Order First Order” may be a shorter animated film that is more about promoting the popular Android/iOS video game and expanding on the prologue, but even for an alternate universe storyline featuring a few of the “Fate/stay night” characters, it’s still an entertaining, action-packed animated film worth watching.
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TITLE: Fate/Grand Order First Order
DURATION: 72 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), Linear PCM English and Japanese Dolby 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.
RATED: TV 14
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Original Concept by Kinoko Nasu
Directed by Hitoshi Nanba
Script: Ayumi Sekine
Music by Ryo Kawasaki
Original Character Design by Arco Wada, Mata, PFALZ, Takashi Takeuchi
Art Director: Takuya Ebisawa
Chief Animation Director: Keiksuke Goto
Anime Production: Lay-Duce
Featuring the following voice talent:
Nobunaga Shimazaki/Griffin Burns as Ritsuka Fujimaru
Rie Takahashi/Erica Mendez as Mash Kyrielight
Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren as Artoria Pendragon (Alter)
Ayako Kawasumi as Fou
Junichi Suwabe/Kaiji Tang as Emiya
Kenichi Suzumura/Xander Mobius as Romani Archaman
Madoka Yonezawa/Kira Buckland as Olga Marie Animusphere
Nobutoshi Canna/Tony Oliver as Cú Chulainn
Tomokazu Sugita/Jalen K. Cassell as Lev Lainur
Yuu Asakawa/Melissa Fahn as Medusa
The year AD 2017.
The last era in which magecraft still thrived.
The Chaldea Security Organization was founded to ensure the continuation of human history. They survey a world which magecraft couldn’t observe and science couldn’t measure all to prevent the certain extinction of humanity.
But one day, the future that Chaldea continued to observe disappears and humanity’s extinction in 2019 becomes clear. Rather, it had already happened.
The cause seems to be related to Fuyuki, a provincial town in Japan, in the year AD 2004. There, an “unobservable region” that had not existed before appears.
Based on the assumption that Fuyuki is the reason for humanity’s extinction, Chaldea issues an order to explore, investigate, and possibly destroy this singularity – a quest for the Holy Grail, the Grand Order.
Back in 2015, the online free-to-play RPG game “Fate/Grand Order” (based on the Fate/stay night visual novel game by Type-Moon) was created for Android and iOS.
In 2016, anime studio Lay-duce created an animated television film titled “Fate/Grand Order: First Order” which is an adaptation of the game’s prologue.
The film is directed by Hitoshi Nanba (“Dash! Yonkuro”, “Golden Kamuy”, “Jungle no Ouja Taa-chan”), screenplay by Ayumi Sekine (“Dusk maiden of Amnesia”, “Idolish 7”, “Aldnoah.Zero”), music by Ryo Kawasaki (“Altair: A Record of Battles”, “Reikenzan: Eichi e no Shikaku”), character design by Keisuke Goto (“Gatchaman Crowds”, Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee”, “Yatterman”) and art direction by Takuya Ebisawa (“Afro Samurai: Resurrection”, “Eureka Seven”, “Glass Fleet”).
And now the animated film will be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex of America.
“Fate/Grand Order First Order” begins with a girl named Mash Lyrielight looking for her pet squirrel, Fou-san. Fou-san rests upon a sleeping Fujimaru Ritsuka at an observatory built for the future of mankind located inside the Chaldea Security Organization.
The last thing that Fujimaru remembers is taking part in a test on the Spiriton Dive for rayshifting and that he has the potential to make a contract with a servant.
Mash explains that Chaldea Security Organization wants to ensure that humanity continues and how a mini-Earth was created inside Chaldea and that it would lead to life for 100 years but now the Earth is starting to fade and that mankind may end in 2018. A new calamity, spacial singularity F has started to show up in Japan and is possibly the reason why mankind is fading.
So, Rayshifting allows people to go into the past in hopes to find out what may be causing to the decline of humanity and destroy it.
Fujimaru meets a Mage engineer named Leff Lynor, who happened to develop the Near-Future Observation Lens called Shiva.
The two head to a briefing held by Olga Marie Animusphere, a young woman who comes from the Mage family but because he falls asleep, he is kicked out of the briefing. Fujimaru ends up meeting Dr. Roman and while the two are talking, an accident takes place and many people in the briefing are killed, while Mash is crushed by debris.
Fujimaru stays with her and a Rayshift process takes place and the two and Fou-san are sent to Fuyuki City, Japan in the year 2004.
Immediately, Fujimaru is attacked by Archer and Mash, in her Servant gear, protects him with her huge shield. They then see Olga under attack from a skeleton army and Mash goes to help.
Olga receives a message from Dr. Roman that 47 potential Masters are in critical condition and will be put in cryo.
Mash who was killed by the falling debris was given an opportunity to live on as a Demi-Servant because she helped with investigating Singularity F and Fujimaru is now her master.
As the three search around, they come across Medusa Lancer who is turning humans to stone and killing them, and Lancer ends up trapping the three with her chains but is rescued by Caster.
Caster exlpains to everyone that during the last Holy Grail War, there was a fire in Fuyuki City and many humans were killed while leaving their Servants alive. Saber Alter would corrupt Archer, Assassin Lancer, Rider and Berserker with a dark shadow. And Archer and Caster are the only ones that have not yet been defeated.
The three decide to help Caster in hopes to resolve the Singularity F issue, but will it work?
“Fate/Grand Order First Order” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16 x 9). Colors are vibrant and backgrounds are well-done, characters are well-shaded and for the most part, the anime series looks fantastic in HD! I didn’t notice any major banding issues or artifacts.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Fate/Grand Order First Order” is presented in Linear PCM English and Japanese 2.0. The anime is well-acted both in Japanese and English. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.
“Fate/Grand Order First Order” comes with the Fate/Grand Order Game Opening (1:37), Fate/Grand Order Announcement Trailer (2:04), eight trailers featuring a servant character, First Order Dub PV (1:27), First Order Cast Interview (13:50) with English dub voice talents Tony Oliver (Caster), Erica Mendez (Mash) and Griffin Burns (Fujimura).
“Fate/Grand Order First Order” comes with a 30-track (42-minute) CD soundtrack and a 20-page booklet.
I have been a big fan of the “Fate/stay night” Type-Moon Japanese visual novels, anime series and video games.
So, with the announcement back in 2015 of a “Fate/Grand Order” Android/iOS game, I was a little giddy. The cool thing about this game is that it would be a reboot of the original Fate/Apocrypha project from 2012 and is meant to be a parallel world to “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/Grand Order” is mean to expand the prologue to the video game.
So, some fans may find the animated television film to be a bit short, considering “Fate/stay night” has received longer television seasons or an animated film, but at 70-minutes long, the story focuses on another timeline where humanity is supposed to be wiped out in 2018.
And we see the Chaldea Security Organization trying to extend humanity while trying to find out why these singularities are disrupting the continuation of human history and if they can send individuals who can rayshift (time-travel).
The anime series focuses on two individuals, Fujimaru and his demi-servant Mash, who come across the servant characters that many may be familiar with in “Fate/stay night” but seeing many of their favorites, especially the often good protagonist, Saber Alter, now corrupted by darkness. And the two remaining servants are Caster and Archer who need to battle to the death (there is also an appearance of Medusa in a brief battle).
While entertaining, it’s a film that is meant to introduce people to the primary characters of “Fate/Grand Order” and then people can jump on aboard and find out how the story ends by playing the video game.
Overall, animation is well done. Lay-Duce did a magnificent job with the animation, character design and background art. Animation is vibrant and colorful, while lossless audio is presented in LPCM Stereo in Japanese and English. Voice acting is well-done for both soundtracks and dialogue and music is crystal clear.
There are numerous special features, primarily trailers, but you do get a cool interview featuring Tony Oliver (ADR Director and voice of Caster), Erica Mendez (voice of Mash) and Griffin Burns (voice of Fujimaru). But another cool addition to this release is that it comes with a 20-page booklet and CD soundtrack.
Overall, “Fate/Grand Order First Order” may be a shorter animated film that is more about promoting the popular Android/iOS video game and expanding on the prologue, but even for an alternate universe storyline featuring a few of the “Fate/stay night” characters, it’s still an entertaining, action-packed animated film worth watching.