It’s not like I wanted to join you or anything…
What They Say:
Fujimaru and entourage have lost Ushiwakamaru and Leonidas I. Upon receiving the report from the group that returned to the ziggurat, Gilgamesh decides it is necessary to conquer the three goddesses in certain order to fight against Gorgon, and orders Fujimaru to first turn Ishtar into an ally. With a “secret plan” given by Gilgamesh in hand, Fujimaru and company head over to Ishtar’s temple.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s all about Ishtar this episode. Gorgon has stepped aside for the moment but has proven to be a far greater threat than the team is equipped to handle at the moment. The third goddess seems fairly unknown to all beyond the fact that she’s from the jungle. So the obvious choice for Gilgamesh is that they have to recruit the remaining goddess, the only one they reasonably could, Ishtar. This seems like it could either be easy because she’s obviously not a villain or impossible because she’s still terribly arrogant, not unlike most depictions of Gilgamesh that we’ve seen outside of this series. But he knows exactly what works on her: gems Furthermore, he’s uncharacteristically (which is certainly the operative word for his characterization this time around) willing to give up a huge chunk of his own precious treasury to win her over. This plays out pretty much exactly as Gilgamesh foresaw, and gives us a heavy dosage of the Rin-isms we’ve grown to expect from Ishtar.
I’ve mentioned this to some extent every time it’s come up, but this is where we get the most explicit explanation of Rin’s relevance to Ishtar. Rin is never mentioned by name, nor is it mentioned how the possession played out, which I’m still very curious about, especially since I’m still not really sure where a character like Rin would lie within this story, but I’m not sure this is the platform in which we’re going to find out about any of that. What we get here is enough to reconcile the Ishtar we’ve been seeing throughout the series: a Fate-style rendition of the goddess with Rin’s body and unquestionable personality elements from her without going to the extent of just being her. From an out-of-universe perspective, this can be considered relatively lazy writing that allows the story to prominently feature a fan-favorite character without having to actually include her where she wouldn’t necessary fit, but Fate/Grand Order in all of its forms is nothing if not a cheap Fate fanservice of the nonsexual nature (as well as the sexual on occasion), so hopefully this isn’t a deal-breaker at this point.
Although the source material isn’t a visual novel, it features enough extended scenes of Ritsuka having solo heart-to-hearts with the female characters that it clearly drew plenty of inspiration from the medium that originated the franchise. This time, fitting with the overall theme of the episode, Ishtar is the heroine in question, and we peel past layers of goddess arrogance and tsundere tropes to reach a tenderer image of this Ishtar/Rin amalgam. Arguably nothing about this doesn’t fit within the “dere” of the aforementioned tropes, but it’s more nuanced than it could’ve been, so I’ll give it some credit for making Ishtar feel like a legitimate character for the first time, rather than just a representation of fanservice (both kinds, as an opportunity to see Rin as well as a very revealing outfit), impressive action animation, and lovable gags. It still perpetuates the trend of every powerful woman becoming vulnerable in Ritsuka’s presence, but I’ll still take that ironically human vulnerability if it means we get a more realized character.
The Ishtar Show is in full force, essentially from beginning to end. For all intents and purposes, the character is just Rin, but the show delivers just enough exposition to reconcile the distinction between the two halves and why it more or less makes sense that her character is the way she is. After some predictably silly antics, we get a deeper look at her psyche, and it’s a decent display of character depth.
Streamed By: Funimation
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