One day a highschooler named Sonshin passes out in history class and wakes up in the infirmary – but not before having a ~strange dream~ in which an emperor zombie yells at him to give the piece of his heart back. He decides not to think much of it, and instead tells the audience how DULL and LAME history is so that we know he’s a Cool Guy. And yet, for some reason, he still decides to search the library to find out any information on this emperor, called Kentei, whom he knows is from the Three Kingdoms part of Chinese history. Suddenly he is magically transported to a mysterious space where a creepy little guy makes him choose a magical card – although one of the cards ends up choosing him.
He ends up back in the library again just in time for his creepy teacher to come up and, after finding out he has one of the cards, reveals that he does too. The cards turn out to be ‘Heroic Spirits’, specifically from the Three Kingdoms era, and a war has started where the owners of these cards must battle them against eachother. As the teacher tries to get his General Gien to kill Sonshin, Sonshin’s card finally activates and out pops Boob-sock Armour.
Man, try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to find a decent stream of this show because every one I found had some giant ugly black filter over half the screen, what gives? Oh wait, it’s….supposed to look like that? Yeesh. You can see it all three of the caps I took – there’s this absurdly ugly grainy harsh texture over parts of the screen, and sometimes it swaps sides of the screen, but its almost always covering a character, and actually moves with them. It looks like complete arse and is incredibly distracting. I have heard it is intended to evoke a traditional Chinese painting technique but it is extremely shittily done and honestly just looks more like a cheap way of trying to distract from how terrible the animation in this is. That’s not the only poor design choice, either – numerous times in the episode, for absolutely no goddamn reason whatsoever, there are ink splatters on the screen. I’ve seen this done to effect in Samurai Girls but there is zero effect here. If they did it every time something violent happened, or as a censorship method, or for literally any reason at all, then fine, but these splatters just keep appearing at random times, at different colours, and add absolutely nothing to the already butt-ugly aesthetic.
The next thing you’re going to notice about this show after how it looks is that it’s literally the most unashamed and transparent Fate ripoff I have ever seen. I actually ended up watching two episodes of this because I accidentally watched episode two first (luckily they’re only about 13 minutes long) which reveals that not only is it a magical war where people use magical Heroic Spirits (not really, they literally use the word eiyuu in this), the main one of which is a stoic and chivalrous genderbend, they also have powerful attacks that can only be used once or twice in each battle (although instead of ‘noble phantasm’ they seem to be called ‘big skills’ pssshhhhh), and said chivalrous genderbend’s BIG SKILL is a magical and destructive swing of her famous sword. Oh, and her ability is tied to the magical ability of her ‘master’, who seems to suck. Boob-sock Armour is apparently a genderbend of Shuu Yu (AKA Zhou Yu, although I had to look this up because I actually know absolutely nothing about the Three Kingdoms), and even her method of speaking is exactly the same as Saber. It’s like someone made an OC all ‘here’s Chinese Saber just because.’ You literally couldn’t get more blatant than this unless you put in a priest as well.
Even the most bootleg of Fates could have still been entertaining if it was well made, but this is anything but. The ugly aesthetic is one thing, but the characters are all incredibly bland and Sonshin reacts to pretty much anything that happens in the episode, from not finding a book he’s looking for to nearly getting killed by a figure from Chinese history, with the same :0 kind of face. Kudos for making Shirou look like a better protagonist in comparison I guess. It’s also just all so damn hokey and badly written.
It’s kind of interesting that we’re getting anime based on Chinese novels – because, as I was surprised to learn, this Fate ripoff was a Chinese novel and not some shitty card game. But wow was this the worst thing I’ve seen in this season so far.