Fate/Apocrypha - afterword
Fate/Apocrypha Volume 4 afterword
Afterword: Commentary by Nasu Kinoko
At last, the war has reached the final battleground—seven thousand five hundred meters midair above the ground, a place that can’t be reached by human hands.
The blue sky that encompasses their entire field of vision is endless, and the unseen, far-off ground exemplifies the limits of the human world.
There in the sky is a perfect world unclouded by anything. In this pure domain still yet untouched by civilization, an offering of condensed human wishes is now being consecrated.
It is the cup filled with desire.
The final wish of the broken-hearted.
That which grants a single wish while accumulating the wishes of many.
That which produces the one and only correct answer.
—No matter how much it is dyed in madness and despair.
A great war between fourteen Heroic Spirits. A multi-viewpoint, action-packed story centered around a Holy Grail War that surpasses the structure of the Holy Grail War. The [Fate: Hidashide-version], which went beyond a single Far East island country out into the world and which really feels like it went overboard in various ways, has finally reached its final volume.
While thinking that as long as Chiron-sensei and Semiramis-sama each got a happy end, I wouldn’t even mind the obvious Laputa1 jokes, I awaited the final manuscripts, but then—
“Kinoko. I told you it would be finished in four volumes. But that was a lie.”
With those words, Higashide “Commando” Yuuichirou then rudely hung up the phone.
This was on a certain January day in 2014.
But Kinoko understood. I’d already known it after looking at the plot a year earlier.
“That’s why I told you that this wouldn’t finish in four volumes!”
But it’s too late to complain now.
Actually, most readers probably thought the same themselves.
So this volume count was pretty much expected. There’s no point in being surprised. If you’re going to be surprised by something, let it be at the actual contents of the book.
Like at how that Servant who everyone expected to go on a killing spree with Maria the Ripper ended up going in a shocking direction, or how the idea for boarding the Gardens ended up being a method that goes too far even for Hollywood and makes you think ‘Hey, do you know just how much money this would cost if this were a movie!?’.
Just between you and me, many of the developments in this volume weren’t even in the initial plot. Even Mr. Higashide Yuuichirou probably didn’t predict during the plotting stage that the story would get so crazy and overblown.
Therefore, it was unavoidable that the volume count increased. After all, this is what they mean by the saying ‘stories are alive’. What lies ahead is an invisible domain that not even the narrator can imagine. A story that can’t be predicted even by its god, the author. What a wonderful thing that is. Don’t you think that’s what makes this a Final (Dead) Coaster2 worthy of being an apocrypha that breaks all molds and conventions?
My acquaintance and relationship with Mr. Higashide Yuuichirou is actually quite long and deep.
It goes back fourteen years ago.
Right after TYPE-MOON had published the visual novel “Tsukihime”, we first met and talked at Tokyo Big Site’s western hall where lots of passion and excitement swirled. The doujinshi I received from him back then is still on my work shelf even now.
After that, Higashide Yuuichirou formally debuted with the PC game “Ayakashibito” and displayed talent and passion that you wouldn’t expect from a newcomer.
It fused Japanese romance with a shooting action game. It contained deep knowledge of horror films. It contained depictions of martial arts that left you on the edge of your seat. It had an extremely charming and fascinating relationship between teacher and student. It was a story of growing up and parting. It was a story with multiple character viewpoints that increased in depth the more you read through it. The game is hard to get a hold of these days, but it’s been ported and spread by consumers, so I highly recommend you play it. It is the undiluted embodiment of Higashide Yuuichirou’s writing at full speed. It is such a condensed piece of work that his strong and weak points practically squeak and grate against each other within it, truly a story that ‘expresses the soul of the writer’.
And after “Ayakashibito”, Mr. Higashide Yuuichirou continued to make other games like “Bullet Butlers” and “Evolimit”, and later moved on to work in the world of light novels.
I am both a fan of Higashide Yuuichirou and at the same time a producer who spreads the [Fate] brand, which has already grown beyond a single visual novel.
I want new blood. I want to see new possibilities. I couldn’t help wanting to see what would happen to [Fate] by introducing Higashide Yuuichirou into the mix, and I entrusted him to write this apocrypha.
I’m now reflecting on the results of that decision with the release of this fourth volume.
The different viewpoints and ways of life of two saints. The countless hells that exist in the real world and yet are ignored as if they were only natural. He recites their story while coldly depicting those grudges and lamentations.
I’ll tell you now. There is no salvation in this hell, It’s precisely because there is no salvation that this is hell, after all.
As those we have overlooked this, we mustn’t turn our eyes away from this truth and reality.
What lies beyond it? What will it produce? —And what meaning lies in it? We keep searching for those answers.
That is the story that only Higashide Yuuichirou can write, one that isn’t [stay], [Zero] or [EXTRA].
While confined to the [Fate] universe, Higashide Yuuichirou’s writing at last bared its fangs with this timing.
[Fate] is a story about both dreams and reality.
Those who were destroyed by reality within their dreams and ideals.
Those who drowned and wallowed in dreams and ideals within reality.
And those who sought for reality within the dream of the virtual world.
Though the order differed, all three stories were cameras that displayed those who “stood up once more after breaking”… Well, the main goal of their plots was the “fulfillment of wishes that couldn’t be granted”, so naturally the protagonists all tasted failure and frustration.
The concept of not giving up or not being able to endure it and still holding out a hand even so; that is the starting point of [Fate].
Fate—a tragic destiny. In order to defeat and smash that huge, heaving wave that is beyond the capabilities of humans to resist.
No matter how much [Fate/Apocrypha] has diverged from the history of [stay night], that aspect remains unchanged.
Look at the light of the battle flag which runs across the blue sky.
This is the story of two saints.
The march of the young man who carried salvation to the extreme in the present era, and of the young woman who ascertained the salvation of the present era.
This is the story of the flags they each believe in and the utopias they each seek.
The Greater Grail is about to activate. At last, the young man’s dream will take form.
—But will its final form be prosperity or vanity?
VOLUME 4 END
(1) Reference to Ghibli film “Castle in the Sky”.
(2) Final Dead Coaster is the Japanese name for the horror film “Final Destination”.
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