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Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia – 03 »« Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia – 01

Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia – 02

OP Sequence

OP: 「Phantom Joke」 by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN

「城塞都市ウルク」 (Jousai Toshi Uruku)
“Fortress City Uruk”

After the carousel of characters we had in last week’s pilot, it seems that this week two new members have permanently joined the party! First we have Merlin (Sakurai Takahiro). I’m sure you’ve heard of him. I’m actually quite fond of Merlin and personally consider him one of the more interesting characters in Babylonia. Discussing him, though, will require a bunch of spoilers so let’s stick a bookmark in it and save it for later. As for Ana (Asakawa Yuu)… she’s just a cutiepie, isn’t she? Maybe I’m just a sucker for stoic girls and big ribbons. I must say, though, she’s a lot smaller than I thought she was. That’s one of the things an anime adaptation does; as a direct medium it gives a visual clarity that a limited smartphone game cannot. Still, it’s not just me, right? She really is small, right? I mean, she’s 60% thighs. I guess Babylonia knows what the fans want.

Anyways, this is our 2nd episode which for anime is traditionally the exposition episode. The first episode spends a lot of time just trying to hook the audience, and the second one needs to slow down a bit and actually explain itself. And boy, is there a lot to explain. Here we get to another hurdle for new viewers: mechanics. MECHANICS. I’ll probably need to write a separate post dedicated to this idea, but the Fate universe (or indeed the greater ‘Nasuverse’, as writer Nasu Kinoko’s fictional universe is called) is a setting based on bollocks. This isn’t a criticism per se, it’s just the handy for Nasu to have a world with highly complex yet thoroughly fuzzy fantasy mechanics so that he can accommodate whatever plot twist or alternate reality adventure he needs to tell the kind of story his whims takes him to any given month. It does mean, though, that over the years a huge amount of bollocks has aggregated. Game players would have had the opportunity to gradually acclimate themselves to multi-layered bollocks tsunami that is Fate/Grand Order, but for new views of this anime, you’ll just have to go with the flow. I mean, does it really matter to the story we’re telling right now whether Merlin is a ‘Servant’, why exactly he can’t be a Servant, and how he actually is a Servant? I’m going to say no. How about we just smile and nod and pretend to understand, and we move on? But it wouldn’t be Fate without the details I guess, so we’re going to have to throw in a hand wave. This is on top of all the usual exposition stories need to do so we’re in for a lot of walking and talking, lengthy tirades, and Merlin story time. At least this means the animators have a lot of free time so… here’s some ants! And of course they get to show off more of that gorgeous background art. Take a gander at the ED. In the now established Fate anime tradition it’s just a slide show of pretty pictures but they sure are pretty. I actually prefer it to the action OP — if only because it’s easier on the screen capping.

But we can’t just be talking and gawking forever. As if to remind us this is a game adaptation, Gilgamesh shows up and suddenly, ‘We meet so we fight!’. This is the part where somebody reminded Nasu that he wasn’t actually writing a visual novel and they needed some gameplay in there. For us anime viewers, though, it’s a promise of at least some more action early next episode, as if to apologise for all the exposition we had to digest in this one. What I’m looking forward to most of all, though, is worldbuilding. These later chapters of F/GO is where Nasu spends the most effort on basic fantasy foundations like worldbuilding. Uruk is the city that’s under attack and we the audience need to care about its defence, so it’d help if we cared about the actual city. So, there will be time to ingratiate ourselves with its people and get a look at how they live. That’s not something we usually get with Fate/anything (since they’re usually urban fantasy), so I look forward to the change of pace Grand Order will bring to the franchise.

Spoiler policy: If it’s not been brought up in the anime, please use spoiler tags. Ta.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「星が降るユメ」(Hoshi ga Furu Yume) by Eir

October 13, 2019 at 3:59 am
32 comments »
  • October 13, 2019 at 4:55 amboingman

    Yeah, the conversation between Merlin and Da Vinci/Romani contained stuff that isn’t really that important to the casual viewer.
    Great production values, good use of the game music, as a FGO player I’m happy so far, though not sold on the OP song.

    • October 13, 2019 at 2:16 pmPasserby

      I think the OP is definitely a ‘part 1 OP’ i.e. it’s still a fun adventure song. I expect the OP of part 2 to be tonally different.

  • October 13, 2019 at 5:11 amDamrod

    Fou is adorable this episode though in his interactions with merlin :P
    Still wonder if it wouldn’t be better to first release the movie with the camelot singularity and then this anime as we had some references in both episodes to that singularity without including merlin.

  • October 13, 2019 at 11:33 amGreed

    https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2018.jpg
    Yeah, I still don’t understand the logic of Merlin being a Servant. I understand how a certain Archer (Fate/Stay Night) can be summoned due to how the Throne of Heroes has no concept of time. But doesn’t Merlin need to die to be a Servant?

    https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    Considering how hardworking Gilgamesh is, when alive, I can see why he was such a lazy person in fate/zero, drinking wine while lying on a coach. He probably died due to overwork when alive.

    Anyway, was it ever explained how Mash and the main character can talk to people in ancient Babylon? I doubt the characters studied ancient Sumerian before “time traveling” to the past.

    • October 13, 2019 at 11:36 amGreed

      On the extra side note, Roman stated that Merlin can “see everything in the present” as in he can probably locate anything. Is there a reason why he can’t find the Tablet Gilgamesh lost?

    • October 13, 2019 at 1:43 pmDamrod

      Well, prepare for some mental gymnastics as that merlin part is a bit weird to explain if you want a more complete explanation then his guess in this episode that since gilgamesh his era is before he was born, it would qualify him as not being alive.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 13, 2019 at 5:55 pmGreed

        thank you, that was interesting mental gymnastics. And here I thought Merlin died from boredom. For scathach, I understand she died because of “the end of time.” Though sorry for not understanding Nasu-logic when talking about Merlin’s case; I still can’t see if Merlin manage to put his soul in the Throne of Heroes or, in Prelati’s case, the Throne manage to throw in the “data” it had about Merlin. Meh, I am wondering if Merlin’s female counterpart was “sealed” the same way. About what you said
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Notably I am wondering if Touko Aozaki can summon a Servant version of herself. It was never clear to me if Touko can do a mind transfer or she is making clones the same way clones are presented in toaru majutsu no index

      • October 14, 2019 at 12:57 amPasserby

        That’s not exactly how it is.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 14, 2019 at 2:03 amDamrod

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 14, 2019 at 2:06 amDamrod

        I just went from memory there Passerby so my apologies if that explanation was incorrect. Nasu logic is not always easy to follow.

      • October 14, 2019 at 2:41 amPasserby

        There’s no need to apologise, Damrod, least of all to me. I’m not sure even Nasu understands all the Nasuverse.

      • October 14, 2019 at 10:12 amGreed

        I am now wanting to know where can I read the “Garden of Avalon”, want to see which how many women Merlin fear so badly.
        also
        Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 17, 2019 at 2:04 amMellys

        All that explanation is BS Merlin feeds to everybody because he doesn’t want to actually tell the truth though. Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 13, 2019 at 10:49 pmBloodHunter

      Funny that you mentioned that he died due to overwork because Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 14, 2019 at 10:14 amGreed

        Well a part of me wonders how Gilgamesh died and enter the throne to begin with. Old age? A part of me now understands that it is feasible to capture and seal a soul before it enters the throne

    • October 15, 2019 at 2:06 pmworldwidedepp

      Easy, this Gilgamesh here (and in the entire Fate Series) is a product of Legends, Fantasy and a little bit of Anime Magic

      Of course all of them speak the Anime World Nippon and even if there are Gaijin’s their Nippon is even better then their mother tongue

  • October 13, 2019 at 1:14 pmMistic

    What I’m looking forward to most of all, though, is worldbuilding. These later chapters of F/GO is where Nasu spends the most effort on basic fantasy foundations like worldbuilding. Uruk is the city that’s under attack and we the audience need to care about its defence, so it’d help if we cared about the actual city. So, there will be time to ingratiate ourselves with its people and get a look at how they live. That’s not something we usually get with Fate/anything (since they’re usually urban fantasy), so I look forward to the change of pace Grand Order will bring to the franchise.

    Agreed, although in my case I’m looking forward to worldbuilding for different reasons.

    My fascination with Sumer and other Mesopotamian civilizations started when I was very young and played Age of Empires. My father, not caring too much about age-mandated reading levels, noticed my interest and gave me a book of articles written by Jean Bottéro and other famous Assyriologists. My interest has only increased ever since and I’m sad Mesopotamia doesn’t get the spotlight other ancient places get, like Egypt, Greece or Rome.

    So I love this. I love that the story is taking place in Uruk as the Last City Standing. I love that Merlin explains the history of the Sumerians as worldbuilding. I love that the Epic of Gilgamesh is used as a plot point (“Wait, according to the myth, shouldn’t Enkidu be dead?”). I love the little details, like the clay tablets, the ziggurat, the Ishtar Gate, the sacred prostitutes, etc.

    Yes, it’s fantastical and anachronistic, but do you know how hard it is to find Mesopotamia depicted at all in modern popular fiction? I’ll take what I can get.

    Game players would have had the opportunity to gradually acclimate themselves to multi-layered bollocks tsunami that is Fate/Grand Order, but for new views of this anime, you’ll just have to go with the flow. I mean, does it really matter to the story we’re telling right now whether Merlin is a ‘Servant’, why exactly he can’t be a Servant, and how he actually is a Servant?

    Honestly, I’ve played the VN and I’m not sure how things work there either. The Nasuverse runs on bollocks, yes. Nevertheless, I suppose that it counts as a mitigating circumstance that this series expects its viewers to have checked the previous two Fate/Grand Order anime pieces.

    • October 13, 2019 at 2:03 pmPasserby

      Hey, Age of Empires. That was a good one. On my part, it always sort of bugged me that Gilgamesh’s noble phantasm in the VN was ‘Gate of Babylon’ when that wasn’t his city so it’s like Nasu finally fixing after all these years.

      • October 13, 2019 at 5:06 pmMistic

        Yeah, it’s the same in my case. And from what I’ve seen, I know that “Babylon” isn’t going to be the only anachronistic name we’ll find in supposedly Sumerian Uruk.

        Historical disclaimer: While I’m relatively sure it was a case of anachronistic stew (“Babylon is Mesopotamian, right? And it sounds cool, so it’s good enough”), the Gate of Babylon could fit Sumerian culture through a happy coincidence. While historians are still arguing about the subject, a common theory in the past was that “Babylon” (or better said, “Bābilim”, since “Babylon” is the Greek word) was an Akkadian translation of a previous Sumerian name for the place, meaning “Gate of God”.

      • October 14, 2019 at 12:44 amPasserby

        The more you know!

  • October 13, 2019 at 6:21 pmChoya

    They did the scene where Fou face-kicked Merlin! It’s cool to see the cast rounded up in the OP as well as the grand debut of Merlin and Ana. Wonder if they’ll get around to showing off Merlin’s skillset by helping the team steamroll through encounters with his support abilities. The animation picked up very well with the Ana/Enkidu fight and making the characters more expressive this time around.

    It still hasn’t been kind to newcomers because it introduces ideas that were played around with in previous chapters such as anachronistic appearances from other servants and character development that happened during Camelot. To its credit, it has been able to balance out the fights in this episode so that they’re not constantly running into trash mobs like with the game’s combat in-between more special boss fights. Hopefully, they use the anime medium to help give us more time with Uruk and the civilians the party meets along the way so that it doesn’t feel like the anime needs to take the time to have the party experience every enemy type in Babylonia.

    • October 14, 2019 at 12:43 amPasserby

      At this point I don’t think Babylonia will ever be 100% friendly to newcomers. There’s just too much missing and I don’t think they’re going to devote too much time to it. I mean, just this episode they threw out the concept of ‘Grand’ which is sort of important but does not mean a thing to newcomers.

  • October 13, 2019 at 8:58 pmGreed

    https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2016.jpg
    Nice screenshot. I like to see Merlin go into the Tsukihime world
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 14, 2019 at 12:34 amPasserby

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 14, 2019 at 10:01 amGreed

        So Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 14, 2019 at 2:37 pmPasserby

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 17, 2019 at 2:08 amMellys

      What Passerby means Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 15, 2019 at 11:20 amURGH

    So, Rin dressed as even more of a whore than usual is the only reason to watch this garbage.
    Oh fateshit, you never cease to disappoint.

  • October 15, 2019 at 8:06 pmBloodHunter

    The OP felt pretty weak but my girl Show Spoiler ▼

    That Fou attack was so satisfying to watch. They better include Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 17, 2019 at 2:35 amSeph

    My biggest question atm is, while the adaption stop where Babylonia stops or will it cover what Babylonia directly leads into?

    • October 18, 2019 at 3:09 amBloodHunter

      My guess will be that they will alter the ending to give it an anime ending rather to lead to the next story because right after Babylonia is the Show Spoiler ▼

      I do hope they can adapt that singularity but in order for that to happen, they will have to adapt all 7 singularities, 2 of which we are getting. It’s a wishful thinking but it would be cool to watch all of the singularities on screen.

      • October 18, 2019 at 6:13 pmsealouse

        It would be a massive undertaking but they really should do that and just change the dialogue around to make the earlier ones more interesting.

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