Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 10: A goddess’s aid

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Gilgamesh teases Ishtar

With one goddess recruited, it’s time to move on to the next one. This week’s episode was surprisingly light in tone, feature a surprising number of gags for how important the main mission is. I’m not even talking about Jaguar Warrior here. Of course, she’s there to be a comedic relief character, but there were jokes taken at even Gilgamesh’s expense. That’s why I would call it a humorous episode overall, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Quetzalcoatl makes her appearance

Quetzalcoatl makes Jaguar Warrior’s personality feel much more understandable. Still, it was fun watching her interact with the Ritsuka, especially when she offers to switch sides almost immediately. I curious about Mash’s comments, though. She seems to be looking a lot deeper into Quetzalcoatl’s behavior and finding something strange about it. Or maybe she’s just jealous. Who knows?

The gang reacts to Jaguar Warrior

I think the hidden gem in this episode goes to Ishtar’s faces. I know I’m biased towards these kinds of things, but I think it makes her a strong addition to the cast. I think it’s great that she tends to have a less enthusiastic reaction to most events as a goddess.

Ishtar sneezes

Oh, that’s what the sneeze in the previous episode was supposed to mean. Based on previous conversations, I guess this is supposed to be Ishtar’s real appearance, but I just see it as Ereshkigal from the game.

Ishtar talks about Quetzalcoatl

I’m curious how much sense this comment makes to people who have only seen the anime. In the game, Quetzalcoatl’s boss version is immune to attacks from good-aligned Servants, so you were forced to fight her with neutral or evil Servants (unless you cheese her with Servants that don’t have an alignment). I wonder how this will be incorporated into the fight in this adaptation.

Fou attacks Ishtar

Stop bullying Ishtar, Fou.

Jaguar Warrior gets ignored

I think it’s hilarious that Jaguar Warrior is recruited with literal harem protagonist power. And to top it off, Merlin specifically requests that Ritsuka do it, so it’s just an established fact of the world.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 9: How to recruit a goddess

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Gilgamesh mourns the dead

Compared to the grand spectacle of last week, this episode was more chill, as the heroes attempt to recoup their losses. I was happy to see the focus on Ishtar, and she’s turning out to be a great character. It makes the sacrifice of the other Servants seem so much more worth it. Plus, I can’t complain about extra screen time for Rin.

Gorgon's story is told

While this is definitely a liberal interpretation of Greek mythology, it’s a cool story. As a fun fact, Medusa was believed to be the only Gorgon who wasn’t immortal. So, she’s technically the least god-like of the three. However, I like how this story of Medusa becoming Gorgon sounds, especially when you factor in Ana’s identity.

Ishtar is confused by the offering

There’s something oddly fitting about throwing a ton of jewels at Ishtar to get her to join the team. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It has come out in small ways in previous episodes, but this episode certainly solidifies Ishtar’s cute side.

Ishtar questions Ritsuka

I think it’s hilarious that Ishtar gets this false impression about Ritsuka’s intentions. Most of her scenes in this episode make her feel much more human. She claims that the ratio between the goddess and the human host is 70 to 30, which is much higher than I was expecting for the human side. It really comes out in scenes like this.

Ishtar tries to help humanity

I do like the idea behind Ishtar’s motivation. She’s trying to shoulder the burden of humanity’s suffering as a goddess to spare them the pain. She even literally calls herself a target for blame, so that humans can pin the cruelty of the world on a supernatural being. I think we as a society (at least in the developed world) are moving away from this crutch, so I like seeing this somewhat antiquated notion showing up in a fitting time period.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 8: Defying a goddess

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Tiamat threatens humanity

As far as battles go, this week’s episode was pretty epic. It’s sad to see Servants only getting single moments to shine, but I respect how their battles have been portrayed in this adaptation. I would have liked to see some more lasting impact from these battles, but I guess they served to inspire Ritsuka.

Ushiwakamaru faces off against Tiamat

Ushiwakamaru sure has it rough. She definitely had a great showing in this episode, effectively facing off against a god with her sword skills. She probably has the most dynamic combat in the episode as a whole. However, the ending reveals that she is still alive, and it’s heavily suggested that she will become brainwashed as a future enemy. I’m hoping she’s right about her strength of will, because having her face Ritsuka will be sad.

Leonidas wastes away

Leonidas gets a more brief moment in this episode, but it’s an excellent demonstration of his Spartan courage. He’s not a character I’ve used in the game a lot, but I know he’s a powerful defensive unit.

Ushiwakamaru lectures Tiamat

This is probably my favorite line in the episode. Heroic Spirits are basically legends manifested into reality, so I like the idea that they fight for humanity to preserve their legacy. It really gets down to the idea of leaving a mark on the world and gaining a sense of immortality as a result.

Enkidu taunts Ritsuka

Enkidu (or rather Kingu) remains the most incomprehensible character in this show for me. I honestly can’t tell which side he’s supposed to be working for. He clearly spares humanity in this episode, but he seems devoted to Tiamat. Is this supposed to show the influence of the real Enkidu? That would be cool if it was the case.

Benkei leaves everyone behind

I guess Benkei gets the worst part of the deal in this episode. He’s here to reveal that he’s a fraud and leave the party. I’m curious to see how Ritsuka will fight now that the main three Servants have been lost. Is it time to recruit some goddesses?

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 7: Snake problems

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Solomon taunts the heroes

I’m a little sad that this episode starts directly with the vision of Solomon, rather than showing the flow of events following the recovery of the Tablet of Destinies. It makes me want to stand by my comment from last week about the tablet being a MacGuffin. That aside, this week’s episode does a nice job of showcasing the other Servants in this Singularity, which was cool to see.

Leonidas gives Ritsuka advice

It was cool to see more of the day-to-day survival role that Leonidas plays at the wall. This particular scene was a bit surprising, though. Keep it together there, Leonidas.

Merlin gives Ana advice

I liked seeing Merlin’s chat with Ana in this episode as well. It’s probably my favorite part, as Merlin admits to his own inhuman nature and encourages Ana to open up to the main characters.

Ushiwakamaru finishes off the enemies

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Benkei and Ushiwakamaru’s fight in this episode. It was a great progression of attacks, but the quality of the animation felt weak. It reminded me a lot of the fights from the first episode.

Enkidu reveals his plan

I probably haven’t been paying enough attention. Was the Northern Wall part of Nippur or is it the main wall we’ve been seeing at the Absolute Demonic Front? Because I really like the idea of Enkidu sending Demonic Beasts to attack Gilgamesh’s main stronghold to keep him locked up there. Meanwhile, Enkidu can sacrifice humans in neighboring villages to other Demonic Beasts.

Enkidu traps Ana

Oi, stop bullying Ana.

Tiamat makes her appearance

It looks like the goddess behind Enkidu finally makes her appearance. To be fair, she ended up looking better than I expected. I also think it’s interesting that Enkidu almost seems to bemoan her arrival, almost like he’s tired of dealing with her or something. Maybe that will be relevant later.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 6: A capricious goddess

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Ishtar is summoned

It kind of felt like there was a lot going on this week, but I liked learning more about Ishtar. Along with that, we got a little bit of focus on Ushiwakamaru as well, so I’d say the characters are getting more fleshed out. If anything, I’d say the show doesn’t have the strongest sense of direction, but I think that might be changing with this episode’s discussion of the Three Goddesses Alliance.

Gilgamesh gives the gang a task

This might change next week, but I thought it was funny that the Tablet of Destinies ultimately ends up being a glorified fetch quest. Ritsuka ends up just getting it in the end, and Ishtar fights him for it despite not having any idea what it is. That being said, I do think it was an entertaining way to introduce the idea of visiting the underworld.

Ana is ready to go

I really liked this episode’s character moments. Ana’s enthusiasm for the quest was really cute, despite being a small scene. In addition to that, Ushiwakamaru’s interaction with Ritsuka was a nice touch, given that she’s based on a Japanese legend. I liked seeing her sense of pride in how her story has come to life in Ritsuka.

Ritsuka enters the underworld

Ritsuka’s journey to the underworld was a bit jarring, but I think it works overall. Gilgamesh mentions that he lost the Tablet of Destinies while walking through Kutha and the underworld, so it’s not crazy that Ritsuka would find it there. I would have liked to know more about Ziusa-dra, though.

Ishtar flies away

The fight against Ishtar was great in this episode. Even when you ignore the combat, the scenes where Ishtar floats around also looked great. I might be biased because I have her character in the game, but I thought that this scene in particular was awesome.

Ishtar is tied up

I’ve seen enough anime to know where this is going.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 5: Day off with Gilgamesh

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Gilgamesh joins the party

Well, this week’s episode certainly escalated quickly, but it was cool to see Gilgamesh in action. I find this whole deal with Enkidu to be interesting so far, since he’s clearly struggling with something. His relationship with Gilgamesh also seems to have some complexity to it. Personally, I felt like the battle in this episode wasn’t as impressive as previous ones, but maybe that’s just me.

Gilgamesh talks with the people

Maybe it’s just the added layer of seeing him in his element, but this version of Gilgamesh seems to have a lot more going for him. I think it’s great to see how he interacts with his subjects in this episode. He comes off as a reasonable king. In addition to that, his interactions with Mash and Ritsuka felt nice and genuine.

Gilgamesh talks with the observatory workers

This one scene in the observatory did have me curious. It comes across as another one-off scene showing Gilgamesh at work, but it has the foreboding nature of a secret meeting. It seems innocent enough, but I wonder if Gilgamesh is working on something else in the background.

Gilgamesh brings up a memory with Enkidu

I really liked Gilgamesh’s entrance here. It’s cool that he and Enkidu have similar abilities, and it was hilarious to hear him call Enkidu out for claiming to come up with his tactics. As for the fight itself, it leaned more towards the flashy side with the massive energy blasts and whatnot. It’s not the kind of thing I tend to find appealing, but I still think there were some good moments with Gilgamesh’s axe.

Gilgamesh analyzes Enkidu

I would normally think that Gilgamesh is just saying things here, but this episode actually does back up what he says. In the final moments, we clearly see Enkidu miss his attack on Gilgamesh, so it’s completely within reason to say that Gilgamesh narrowly avoided death. It seems like Enkidu might be battling against his real personality, since he’s having trouble fighting against his old friend.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 4: The great tiger

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The Mage King taunts the heroes

I’m probably in the same boat, but I can imagine this episode makes less sense for people who haven’t played the game. Jaguarman’s entrance was definitely a hilarious development, but this week’s episode shines the light more on Ritsuka’s internal struggle. It’s nice to see that the series is getting back to the action, but this story certainly feels like it’s drawing more heavily from previous singularities that haven’t been adapted.

Mash comforts Ritsuka

That being said, I don’t think it’s too hard to piece things together. I skipped through most of the story in the game, and I basically concluded that those scenes were from Camelot. Presumably, Ritsuka was able to recover the Holy Grail in that singularity, but he did so at great personal cost. As a result, he’s come to question the sacrifices he’s had to make along the way.

The people of Ur refuse rescue

I think that’s what makes this episode better, as Ritsuka’s now forced to reconcile his personal feelings with what he sees in Ur. As he’s agonizing over his past decisions, the people in Ur are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own in order to survive. Given the general story behind this singularity, it’s a great analogue to Chaldea’s own mission of saving humanity from extinction. The individual losses that Ritsuka has suffered due to his decisions could be seen as similar sacrifices for the sake of humanity.

Merlin notices an irregularity with the Holy Grail

I’m surprised at how casual this discussion about Gilgamesh’s fake Holy Grail is. The main characters have been spending a lot of time ingratiating themselves in order to get the grail, so I would have expected some outrage. I guess it’s never a bad thing to be on the king’s good side.

Jaguarman attacks Ana

On a completely different note, the fight against Jaguarman was pretty awesome. She feels like such a joke character, but the fight still looked good. I guess it shows that Taiga is not to be trifled with.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 3: Please the king

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Ana being forced to fight

Picking up from last week, this episode follows the Chaldea gang as they attempt to curry favor with Gilgamesh. I thought it was funny that it started with the suggestion of joining the front lines in defense of Uruk, but it ultimately ends up being menial side quests. It’s something you would expect from a typical RPG, but Fate/Grand Order isn’t actually that kind of game. But as a whole, I liked the fight against Gilgamesh and the expanded focus on Ana.

Gilgamesh faces off against Mash and Ana

As I’ve said before, I think the choreography of the fights in this series is impressive. The fight against Gilgamesh was cool to watch, and the later fight against Ishtar is probably better. It feels like the episode is devoting time to showing the fight unfold, rather than using flashy energy attacks.

Gilgamesh reveals the Holy Grail

Another thing I like about this arc is that the line between allies and enemies isn’t super clear. Gilgamesh isn’t acting like a bad king, but he’s standing in Chaldea’s way when it comes to their mission of recovering the Grail. In contrast, the Goddess Alliance is clearly made up of enemies of humanity, but they also happen to have the same goal as the main characters. It seems like it would be very easy for alliances to sway in this story.

Ishtar isn't concerned for the main characters at all

Ishtar’s really great at channeling her inner Rin.

Ishtar traps Mash

My favorite part about Ishtar’s fight against Mash and Ana is seeing her use Ana’s chains to restrain Mash. That seems like a great way to fight against multiple enemies. Also, the part where she kicks Ana in the stomach felt impactful.

Chaldea meets the summoned Servants

Oh hey, I guess we get introduced to the other Servants in this episode. Given that they were summoned by Gilgamesh, I do wonder whether they’re meant to be future allies or foes, but I guess it’s good to meet them.

Ana doesn't want to contract with Ritsuka

Watching Ana interact with Uruk was also great. She seems to be softening up a lot as a character, and it’s cool to see. I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to be treating her like a kid, though.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 2: Meeting Merlin

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Enkidu looks over the battle

Strangely enough, I thought that this episode was much more entertaining than the first episode, despite liking Ishtar as a character from the game. The visuals were less noticeably jarring in this episode, and I think the story seems initially interesting. Oh, and the facial expressions in this episode helped. I really can’t help myself in that regard.

Enkidu's secret is discovered

This series wastes no time with Enkidu’s betrayal. It makes for a pretty cool fight, and I think the development itself comes out of nowhere. I think it’s great that Merlin ends up using historical knowledge to reveal that Enkidu had been lying.

Roman can't accept Merlin

Merlin’s entrance as a whole is hilarious. I liked his interactions with Da Vinci and Roman (and Fou, for that matter). There’s also something funny about him being labeled as the “embodiment of dishonesty” when he’s the one who pointed out Enkidu’s own deception.

Merlin is a dishonest man

Merlin’s own story as a Servant is a bit sketchy, though. I guess it makes sense that he’s being summoned to an era in which he doesn’t exist, but using the “dead before you were born” argument seems questionable. When Emiya was summoned from the future, at least he had died in the future.

Ana accepts some cookies

This is definitely a tangent, but Ana is surprisingly adorable.

Ritsuka and Mash meet Gilgamesh

I also like Gilgamesh’s portrayal in this episode. We immediately see him acting as a fairly responsible king, which is in line with his portrayal in Fate/Stay Night. He’s ambitious and possessive, but he respects his subordinates. I’m curious to see how his fight against Mash and Ritsuka will go next week.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia First Impressions (1): Humanity’s last stand

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Ritsuka and Mash fall into Mesopotamia

I look forward to being reamed for having played this game while only paying half attention to the story. I might have had a chance, but it seems that the series decided to skip right to singularity seven. On that note, I’ll say upfront that I think this episode makes more sense if you’ve watched First Order (it was an OVA from a while back). With that out of the way, I thought that this episode was entertaining. It jumps right into things and features some fun introductions.

The seventh Grail is found

If you’re not as familiar with the story, the series follows the activity of Chaldea, a magical organization tasked with defending the future of humanity. They do this by using “Rayshift” technology to send Masters to the past to fix anomalies. After one of their leaders betrays them, humanity is left with only one remaining Master, Ritsuka Fujimaru (which is why he’s referred to as the “Last Master” in this episode). Together with Mash Kyrielight, his Servant, he travels to save humanity from extinction by recovering the Holy Grail left in each time period.

Ritsuka and Mash miss their target

As you may have gathered from the episode, the Babylonia story takes place in Ancient Mesopotamia, the last of the seven main time periods from the game. From my own experience, this was a singularity that took a while to clear, so I’m probably coming at this series with a slightly biased opinion.

Mash faces off against an Uridimmu

From a visual perspective, I thought that this episode felt a bit weaker in comparison to the other mobile game adaptations. In particular, the enemy Uridimmu looked ridiculous in many of their scenes. However, I think that it does a much better job with the fight choreography. The attacks make sense and they’re easy to follow. The series also seems to commit to the gore when the enemies die.

Ishtar meets her cushion

I also liked Ishtar’s portrayal in this episode. Her fight scene is great (for one reason or another), and her personality is hilarious. She’s arguably just a clone of Rin for this series, but I can’t really complain.

Enkidu explains the situation

I look forward to seeing this story unfold. Humanity has put together one last stronghold to face off against the gods, which sounds cool. It has that “catastrophe” vibe to it that I tend to like.