These kinds of shows, where the story takes place in a school with a gimmick and where the hierarchies play a huge role in the characterisation, are not my favourite. It’s not that I dislike Kakegurui and its own specific elements, I just happen to be very tired of shows like this, and that certainly affected my enjoyment of the first episode. Going forward, I don’t see myself having much interest in the story or the characters, which means I may have to struggle to keep watching the show.
That said, however, Kakegurui is darn stylish, and the style makes it exciting. The focus on gambling combined with the style is very reminiscent of the D’Arby arcs in Jojo Part 3, which is a very good thing. In addition, the OP reminds me of the Maria Holic OP, which I also like. Basically, at this point Kakegurui coasts by on style and style alone. I hope it develops some other interesting aspects with time, but the style goes a long way at least for now.
The Fate franchise is not one of my favourite ones, mainly because every series I’ve seen so far has had story elements or characters that have rubbed me the wrong way. It’s far from being a perfect series, and it has a lot of objectionable content. That said, I keep coming back to it, mostly because I love seeing the historical references and characters. I also like the worldbuilding, specifically how it ties into the Kara no Kyoukai series, so there’s still a lot to like in most Fate shows, even though I don’t really feel much for most of the characters.
And so far, Fate Apocrypha seems to not deviate too much from that formula. Sure, the story is different in that the Grail War here is a 7 vs. 7 team deathmatch, whereas the original is a 7-player free-for-all, but it’s still mostly more of the same. And that means I’m very excited to see all the new Servants and their Noble Phantasms. It should be a fun ride.
So far, this show seems like a pretty generic “modern magical girl” show in the vein of Yuuki Yuuna and Symphogear (at least some of the girls are also idols, so the Symphogear comparison is even stronger), with the big exception that it seems to be common knowledge that the girls are magical girls. This has the potential to be something that sets the show apart from others, but with only one episode the show hasn’t had the opportunity to really do that yet. In addition, the expectation that there will be grimdark elements is so strong that the eventual twists will probably not be very surprising.
The show is not a visual marvel either. It’s traditionally animated (aside from the CG enemies) in a very generic “cute girl” kind of style, but without the charm of a dedicated moe show. The direction, voice acting and soundtrack are pretty ordinary too, in a not-bad-but-not-great-either kind of way. To be quite honest, the show has no hooks at all. I’m not even sure it’s worth applying the 3-episode rule to. In fact, by the time the first episode had gotten to the halfway point I had already finished writing about it, and after I finished the episode I found no reason to add or change anything. That’s how uneventful it was. I’ll give it one more episode, but that’s probably it.