「王と民」 (Ou to Min)
“The King and His People”

I’ve never been particularly fond of Goldie. In the original visual novel he was basically just some megalomaniac douchebag who was arbitrarily overpowered so that he could be taken down in some impressive way. Fortunately, as the years went by and more spin-offs were added to the Fate/ franchise Gilgamesh actually got character development. And, perhaps more importantly, he began to veer from antagonist to protagonist, so he wasn’t just a megalomaniac douchebag, he was our megalomaniac douchebag, which was much more acceptable. The version we have in Babylonia is the culmination of all that. As Merlin made sure to explain previously, this version of Gilgamesh is one who’s returned from his failed quest for immortality, turned over a new leaf, and settled down as a wise king. That is, he’s gone through his mythological character arc and is a much more respectable guy now. Sure, he’s always going to have a bit of arrogant douche in him but at least he’s actually trying to save the world instead of being actively genocidal, which is a vast improvement. It also helps that Seki Tomokazu is plain brilliant in everything. His haughty laugh is just too good to not make you love this magnificent bastard.

Gil aside, this episode is the part of the RPG where you need to knock out a bunch of sidequests before you can advance the main quest. We’re anime, though, and don’t got time for that, so apparently we’re just going to montage past all of that. On the one hand, I’m slightly disappointed that we’re not devoting any time to sidequest hijinks because those were basically the comedy segments of Babylonia and we’d get to hear Seki Tomokazu howl again. There aren’t going to be that many opportunities for levity in this story so we should take what we can get. On the other hand, much of the comedy of those segments were of an absurdist metahumour streak, which do not seem to the kind of tone this anime adaptation is trying to set. If anything, this is Fate/Grand Order does Emiya Gohan. I can see why this adaptation would want to do things this way. This is a calm-before-the-storm episode, and there’s no better way to establish that mood than having your cast laughing around a meal. Secondly, we’re still getting to know Uruk, and anybody who has taken an overseas vacation that eating is the central part of tourism. Food is culture, after all. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, eating is humanising. It’s an old technique, when one wants to take the edge off a character, to give them a connection to eating and cooking. I haven’t plugged Darker than Black in a while so I’ll mention it, but many stories do this. That was the main appeal of Emiya Gohan for the Fate/ fans, as well; the supernatural and antagonistic cast feel human and friendly when they can share a meal together. And so it is in Babylonia, especially for Ana, who has been consistently stand-offish and professes to disliking humans but… well, look at her. We were always supposed to like her, of course, because she’s cute, so to soften her they emphasise her childlike nature with a sweet tooth (and by making her a darling). Ana may never admit it, but Merlin sure did a good thing by dragging her along with him and forcing her to mix with people (which makes Ana a sort of Fou II, but more on that some other time).

There were a bunch of other characters introduced this episode as well but we basically know nothing about them other than their alcohol tolerance so there’s not much to talk about. This again is where playing the game would help, because F/GO re-ruses a lot of playable characters from its roster in its story arc and players would be expected to have some familiarity with them. For anime viewers, I suppose we’re to treat them as a new batch of allies-by-circumstance that we should learn to recognise but don’t have to care about qutie as much as we do the main party. They’ll likely get their chance to shine sooner or later. We’ve seen them fight a bit in the OP but I’d like to see them participate in a lengthy action sequence. Mostly to see how the animators manage to make an outfit like Ushiwakamaru’s stay on.

31 Comments

  1. Gil infuriates me to an impressive degree, so I spent my time grinding my teeth to all his scenes in the episode. Fortunately he turns out the arrogance next episode so I can finally stop badmouthing him every episode and remember why I even rolled the dude. This was a nice episode as usual, lots of good shots. I’m a bit sad they breezed through the Uruk missions, I was hoping they’d be expanded on

    Mami
  2. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    How nice that Rin’s good personality is influencing Ishtar. Someone stated that Ishtar’s raw personality is “add Tōsaka Rin and Luviagelita Edelfelt, divided by two and subtract most of the humanity.” I wonder what would happen if Misaya Reiroukan gets possessed by Ishtar, would the result be the same?

    https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2016.jpg
    In terms of lore, what can that shield do? Can they summon Mabo Tofu?

    Greed
    1. the shield is part of the actual round table of camelot, it represents a gathering of Heroes, and it is this catalyst that the Chladeas FATE system use to summon Heroic spirits to fight alongside the master.

      lyc11
    2. Someone stated that Ishtar’s raw personality is “add Tōsaka Rin and Luviagelita Edelfelt, divided by two and subtract most of the humanity.”

      Nasu was the one who said that, actually. That description is as canon as it gets.

      Astroprogs
  3. As Merlin made sure to explain previously, this version of Gilgamesh is one who’s returned from his failed quest for immortality, turned over a new leaf, and settled down as a wise king. That is, he’s gone through his mythological character arc and is a much more respectable guy now.

    Yes, it was high time we saw post (canon) character development Gilgamesh, older and wiser, instead of his insufferable younger self. So insufferable that the Epic of Gilgamesh literally starts with the gods creating Enkidu to defeat Gilgamesh and prevent him from oppressing his people.

    That said, in spite of this, I’m the opposite of you, Passerby: I’ve always been fond of Goldie, especially in the original Fate/Stay Night. Sure, he was a douchebag and he was overpowered, which didn’t sit well with me at first… until the game revealed that he was Gilgamesh, and everything clicked. For he is indeed the First Hero of human history, the original Gary Stu that can get away with it because of the “grandfather clause” (trope!).

    There were a bunch of other characters introduced this episode as well but we basically know nothing about them other than their alcohol tolerance so there’s not much to talk about. This again is where playing the game would help, because F/GO re-ruses a lot of playable characters from its roster in its story arc and players would be expected to have some familiarity with them.

    Yeah, this was weird. I mean, they got some time to introduce or talk about Gilgamesh (one of the main villains from the original Fate) and Merlin (arguably the most famous wizard in legend), but not for Ushiwakamaru, Benkei and Leonidas? Especially since, as you point out, a meal is a perfect place to humanise characters… and these Servants specifically went to that house to introduce themselves!

    I wonder if it’s because they’re going to die soon. Leonidas and his Spartans (and a bunch of other Greeks that don’t appear so often in the tales) died trying to stop the Persian army. And Minamoto no Yoshitsune (the later name of Ushiwakamaru) committed seppuku while his friend Benkei kept his besiegers at bay during the battle of Koromo River. The fact that they were chosen for Uruk’s defense makes me fear th worst (I mean, all those images of happy Sumerians working and having fun in Uruk feel like a plot to make the characters and the viewers care for them before everything goes to hell, don’t they?).

    Mistic
    1. Well,yes and no…
      I mean 2/3 are Lancers… and being lancer is suffering
      Do you really want to know?
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Kristian64
    2. OG Gary Stu just makes it worse for me. He’s proof that the Nasuverse law that ‘older is better’ is simply untrue: the writing of the ancients sucked! More importantly, I just can’t stand abuse of power.

      As for the Leo, Ushi, and Benkei, the way they’ve been neglected does make them look rather expendable, doesn’t it? But they were supposed to have gotten a bit more time during the ‘sidequest phase’, where they’d pop in now and then with comment. I wouldn’t click on Kristian64’s spoiler, but they do have significant parts to play in the story so I hope they get their share.

      1. I wouldn’t click on Kristian64′s spoiler

        Too late, I already did :p

        But now I’m looking forward to the rest of the series even more. After all, I’ve always supported the idea that the best tragedies are the ones you see coming a mile away, not the sudden surprises. Which was, after all, the origin of the genre (modern readers tend to overlook the fact that Greek tragedies were written for people that were familiar with the myths they depicted; audiences already knew “what” was going to happen, but not “how”).

        Mistic
      2. @Kristian64
        No worries! As I said, I was already preparing myself for the worst. Mobile game or not, this is Fate we’re talking about; things are going too well, everybody is too happy. That’s a big red flag.

        Mistic
  4. Oh boy,they left out some really important bits in this episode. They didn’t mentioned what was their (Ushi, Leo, Benkei) roles when they went to visit the Chaldea gang and the number of servants that Caster Gil had to summoned to protect Uruk.

    iRawrzz
    1. Most of those mentions (both Ushi, Benkei and Leonidas roles and the other Servants summoned) happen multiple times during Babylonia tho, so there will be other occasions for that. Heck, we even got a glimpse of Leonidas at the Demonic Front in episode 2.

      Lelo
  5. On the one hand, I’m sad that we’re not getting the side stories, because those really make it feel like Ritsuka and Mash become citizens of Uruk. At the same time though, as you said Passerby, it definitely seems like the rest of the time will be for what else is left. Which will make things interesting though, because I can almost believe that we (FGO alumni) can figure out what will be the middle ground episodes before hitting the second half running.

    Dorian S.

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