The great commander of the Minamoto clan has never been quite so bouncy.
What They Say:
Finishing up the investigation at the Persian Gulf, Fujimaru and company are given a new order from the king. The new order is to retrieve a clay tablet that Gilgamesh had previously lost in the city of Kutha. Kutha was a city that suddenly disappeared after the emergence of the three goddesses, where every citizen had passed away. In such a quiet town, the entourage decides to split up in search of the tablet. Fujimaru suddenly wanders into a very frigid world. It is what people call “the underworld,” a space separate from the physical world.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It appears that this episode is going to focus primarily on Ishtar, a promising prospect, but in reality, she only really appears at the beginning and end, with some other mentions of her throughout. One important revelation relates to what I had mentioned previously about her identical appearance to Rin Tohsaka apparently having an explanation. Indeed, I needed only wait one more episode to have it laid out that the appearance and personality of the Ishtar we see now is a result of having her possess a human girl. I’m still not versed on the overall Fate/Grand Order story well enough to know exactly how Rin herself fits in, but this explanation is enough to tide me over, especially since we immediately get some glimpses of her true form having blonde hair, as well as the tsundere element seeming to come entirely from Rin. Considering some of the depictions of figures from history, legend, and mythology in the Fate franchise up to this point, it wouldn’t be too out of place for the goddess Ishtar to be a bit of a tsundere herself, but I’ll certainly take this exception, especially since their personalities would’ve had far too much overlap to accept without this reasoning. Perhaps most of all, I’m just thankful it’s not like the case of many Sabers.
Speaking of historical figures, Ushiwakamaru may actually get more material in this episode than Ishtar, and I haven’t really talked about her yet. This is of course the famous Japanese historical figure that would later be known as Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Gender-swapping great military commanders is Fate’s bread and butter, and it’s generally appreciated as a way to let female characters claim stakes in history that they were denied because of thousands of years of systemic sexism, though that ideal is often undermined by their usage as sex objects or at least submissive love interests. This depiction of Ushiwakamaru is a lot of fun, but it’s impossible to ignore her absurd wardrobe designed entirely for fanservice. This episode shoves that in our (and Ritsuka’s) face quite literally, which is a little obnoxious, but as long as that’s the worst we get of it, I can still appreciate her strength, independence, and agency.
A new sub-arc of sorts begins in this episode, revolving around Kutha. Something I always give Fate credit for is inspiring historical research, thanks to its tendency to draw from countless different sources throughout human history. More often than not, only basic concepts are used and embellished upon with great liberties, but it’s still interesting to get an idea of what the real stories behind these people, places, and events are. In this case, the series uses the story of the three goddesses to tell a story that, at least to a Fullmetal Alchemist fan like me, sounds an awful lot like the story of Xerxes from that series, though they may have more classic origins that I’m less aware of.
The final piece of significant intrigue in this episode is the journey to the underworld and the proper introduction of a character we’ve seen in even more enigmatic appearances previously, now identified as the legendary Ziusu-dra, a name that isn’t surprising to see come up in a story about Uruk, Babylon, and Gilgamesh. He’s presented as a fascinating character in any context, but the fact that he’s voiced by Jouji Nakata (Kirei Kotomine) makes me particularly curious to see if there will be any further connection there.
This anime continues to keep me interested primarily with its new depictions of famous people and events. Ishtar may be a tsundere Rin-copy, but there are reasons for that, and the hints of a very different true self hiding just beneath are thoroughly intriguing. Ushiwakamaru is a fanservice machine, but she’s got a great personality behind it. Finally, the character of Ziusu-dra promises a compelling story to come.
Streamed By: Funimation
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