「陽動作戦」 (Youdou Sakusen)
“Diversionary Operation”

I sort of kind of wanted to talk about Merlin this week because we sort of kind of had a Merlin episode. By which I mean, he actually does something that looked useful (while stealing Sword of Promised Victory, the Fate/ Excalibur theme, as a musical motif even though that’s not the sword he’s associated with). Plus, he got to monologue about himself for a while and I’m not sure if he will be given the opportunity again. But I think there’s probably a better time for that discussion a bit later in the story so let’s shelve it for another day. Instead, let’s talk about yet another adaptation quirk, which is specifically about Ana.

So the F/GO smartphone game is one of those character collector types, and those employ many different ways to induce you to gamble your hard-earned money for a collection of pretty pixels and audio clips. F/GO‘s main method is relatively (relatively) benign; it makes the character collector actually about collecting characters. The chief of attraction of F/GO over its rivals is its visual novel-esque story, in which characters play memorable roles which will make you want you to adopt them. Like how one might adopt a shelter dog; you look into that old mutt’s eyes and you can tell it has seen things. it at least deserves a comfortable retirement.

It conforms to good marketing sense to sell these characters at the same time a new story chapter is released. But here is where gameplay and narrative come to blows; what if the very identity of the character spoils the story? On the one hand you can’t really market this character without telling players who they are but who they are is important to hide in the context of the story. Plus, they’re game pieces so you can’t hide everything about them anyway since players need to use them. This was the case for Ana. In later story chapters F/GO would invent a way to give all the new characters pseudonyms until you’ve finished their associated story chapter but we didn’t have that for Babylonia. For Ana, it was, ‘Spoil away! The gacha must flow!’.

I didn’t think much of it at the time since I had already resigned myself to spoilers, but in hindsight a lot of Babylonia is, thematically, about identities. Ana isn’t really ‘Ana’, Fake!Enkidu isn’t really Enkidu, the Magical Mystery Mascot isn’t just fluff, Merlin can only maintain his personality by juicing and Show Spoiler ▼

I’d love to find out how this affects one’s experience of the story I don’t really know how to measure it. If you have an anecdote I’ll like to hear it, though.

Speaking of identities, the Big Bad is revealed to be Solomon with no fanfare whatsoever (to be fair, I guess the fanfare would have been three story chapters ago and if weren’t there for that TOO BAD). Our protagonist are apparently not ready to face him yet though but fortunately the last boss is content letting our party grind levels before they tackle the final dungeon. Until then, have an actual Final Fantasy boss. Woo.


  1. In later story chapters F/GO would invent a way to give all the new characters pseudonyms until you’ve finished their associated story chapter but we didn’t have that for Babylonia. For Ana, it was, ‘Spoil away! The gacha must flow!’.

    You tell me. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I’ve just started playing F/GO. And taking advantage of the anime, there were special summoning events for the series’ characters. I was lucky: twice I tried the summoning, and I got Caster Gilgamesh (seeing Dingir in action now means much more XD) and “Ana”. As in “looks like Ana, sounds like Ana, but her name isn’t Ana”.

    In hindsight, especially for veteran players/viewers of Fate/stay night, that particular reveal was obvious, though.

    It was also obvious that Tiamat would be presented as the Big Bad Goddess. Since F/GO seems to follow the Akkadian version of the myths, there’s no Bigger Bad than Tiamat. Ironically, if this were 2500 BCE Uruk, the local Sumerians would be puzzled. Contrary to Babylonian/Assyrian stories, where she is a monster-making primordial entity that has to be destroyed for the world and humanity to be born (and whose destruction justifies why the chief of the gods is the chief of the gods), in Sumerian myth she was the far more benevolent Nammu. Of course, since even in their stories their patron deities (like Inanna) can decide to genocide entire populations on a whim, perhaps it isn’t so surprising after all.

    As for Merlin, I like the detail that he eats human dreams. He’s half incubus, after all.

    1. Because most women in power became demonized by Akkadians. Look at the change of the characterization of Innana to Ishtar and how her dispute with Gilgamesh went from something completely justified (Gilgamesh was being a cocky bastard who was usurping her rights in the temple and then mocked her, on top of lazing around his duties) to make her a jilted woman chasing after him who couldn’t deal with rejection.

  2. The episode was a bit limp in some places (the second demonic beasts fight and Tiamat’s introduction overstaying is welcome with the atmosphere not being as tense as it should have) but overall it was good. I wish they had dedicated bit more time to Leonidas thougj but guess its just time to wait for the much hyped episode 8, im looking forward to how it compares to the fan animation

  3. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2011.jpg
    How nice that gilgamesh was able to lend magic cannons, but why didn’t he lend all the Servants he summoned, especially leonidas’s army, Noble Phantasms from his Gate of Babylon? That technically would be a smart thing to do is to equip your Servants with even stronger Weapons than the ones that they were summoned with.

    While leonidas’s army is strong, despite being a 2 star servant, A part of me thinks that Gilgamesh would have summoned maybe a Stronger servant with an army such as iskandar with his ionioi hetairoi, Darius III with his Immortal Ten Thousand Soldiers, Napoleon with his Grande Armée, or even Uncle Sam with the entire American military.

    On the side note,
    While I play the game, I am still confuse Lore-wise, why does Tiamat looks like Medusa?

    And so Merlin is an Incubus, then his female version must be a Succubus.

    1. The point of most NPs is that it is part of the Servant’s identity; upgrading to a weapon that is superior (on paper) will make most of them worse, since they lack the training/experience that went into their usual one. The phalanx was also trained to use their standardized equipment, so having them all use different weapons from the armory defeats the purpose of the phalanx.

      1. I recalled Iskander came up with the idea of upgrading his army with Gilgamesh’s weapons. If the idea would do more harm, in his army’s performance, I didn’t know why he made such a suggestion.

        Anyway, if all they need is training then they could train with the borrowed Noble Phantasms before going into battle, I recall some soldiers trained with Ritsuka. Meaning they had the time. Using Fate/Strange Fake as an example, and taking in mind what you said, I wouldn’t understand why Servants are unable to effectively use borrowed Noble Phantasms in the same level as how ordinary police seemed to fight well when they used borrowed Noble Phantasms. Did you by any chance know about Fate/Extella’s Saber Venus; using her as an example, I wouldn’t understand why it is bad to use borrowed weapons.

      2. The spoiler about Gilgamesh, because although it isn’t, it sort of is:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Dorian S.
    2. As others have said, for a summoned Servant their own Noble Phantasm, tied to their feats and legend, is stronger and way better than an unnamed (even if strong, on paper) weapon. What Iskandar proposed in Fate/Zero was to arm his men that have no special weapons with those in Gilgamesh possession.
      It’s a bit different.

      Let’s also not forget that Gilgamesh can’t properly use all of those weapons, and he can only activate certain abilities like shooting fire and stuff like that. That wouldn’t change if those weapons were to be given to others.

      Plus, it’s way easier to use them as a miniature Gate of Babylon, to disperse demonic beasts like we saw in the episode.

    3. Other people have covered this, but while it’s a minor character spoiler I don’t think you get unless you read his lore, there’s another, more noble reason why he can’t just whip out all the NPs from his vault.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Grand Caster is one of the 7 Grant Servants. They are basically higher level than normal servants. King Solomon is a Grand Caster and Merlin is considered one but he’s just a lazy ass mage. There will be one more Grand Servant (Gramps) who will be making his appearance late in the series.

      It can be considered as a huge spoiler because he will be revealed in Camelot arc and Babylonia arc is after Camelot.


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