Don’t overwork yourself to death!
What They Say:
Fujimaru and company ever so easily have Jaguar Warrior join their ranks, and are reunited with the soldiers of Uruk, thought to be all dead, outside Eridu. Learning of their safety, the group sees a way to defeat Quetzalcoatl. They finally arrive at Eridu’s Temple of the Sun, and they challenge Quetzalcoatl, one of the deities of the Three Goddess Alliance, to a battle. While in a fierce battle in an attempt to destroy the Altar of the Sun, Fujimaru seeks assistance from Ishtar’s powers and challenges Quetzalcoatl to a head-on battle of the soul.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Ishtar and Jaguar Warrior both in the party, Ritsuka presses on to secure the most challenging target: Quetzalcoatl. While we got a taste of what combat with her might look like in the previous episode, this provides the true showcase for the unique thrill of battling someone going all out as much as the true antagonists but doing so for pure personal joy. This means that Quetzalcoatl is having the time of her life, but the battle is nearly as intense as the one against Gorgon. Throughout this first cour, the series has proudly displayed its commitment to consistently lavish animation, but big action pieces like this take it to the next level and drag the audience into its exhilarating immersion. With the return of this scale of warfare also come more earthshaking sound effects that prove essential to convey the impact.
In case Quetzalcoatl’s crazed sadism wasn’t enough to give this a sense of relative levity compared to the grand battle against pure evil that resulted in the death and/or capture of several prominent allies, the very presence of Jaguar Warrior throughout these events takes a great deal of the tension out of them. At a time like this, fighting a morally gray warrior who will presumably join the party if defeated and whom Jaguar Warrior already had a relationship with, perhaps seeing a woman in a kigurumi bashing down her tiger-paw lance is somewhat acceptable. But it’s hard to imagine how that will fit in when faced with more substantial stakes and potentially further losses. There are enough stark dichotomies in this series to give it the appearance of having something of an identity crisis, but its occasional tonal whiplash could prove to be its most fatal if anything about its very precarious balance shifts too much from this point.
The real highlight of the episode, though, lies far from its primary focus, and instead on our beloved Gilgamesh, who finds himself acutely aware of dramatic irony that forces him into comical positions that require he act as his own tsukkomi. This sounds a great deal like more of that juxtaposition so severe that it shouldn’t work, but it’s brief and clever enough that it gets away with it. Gilgamesh is often one of the most enjoyable characters in the franchise, which is impressive considering the significant differences in his characterization between nearly every depiction of him. This series may be the most extreme simply for the fact that it largely eschews all villainous traits, but even within that, this is a new side that pulls him even further away from the iconic traits we associate with this character without making him unlikable.
As is the case every several episodes, we also get a reminder that this series is part of a much larger story, with Ritsuka recalling all of the previous installments that haven’t been animated. Soon after, a discussion regarding the character of Romani arises, namely the secrets he holds that he hasn’t made privy to the rest of the cast. Being unfamiliar with the source material, I can only speculate on whether or not we’ll get any answers in this series, but as it’s the final story in its run, I’d think that we have a decent chance. Of course, it could easily leave that out if it’s not specifically relevant to the Babylonia story, but if that were the case, it would seem a poor decision to bring such direct attention to the matter here.
Another sweeping battle unfolds, this time with the distinct charm of the opponent loving every moment of it. The production values remain top-notch to execute optimal impact, though the inclusion of a character like Jaguar Warrior inevitably detracts from the ability to fully invest oneself in the experience. On a more positive note, Gilgamesh proves a surprisingly successful candidate for comic relief, while Romani is put in a more suspicious light that implies a greater mystery to the overall Fate/Grand Order story. Without knowing how the game progresses, I can’t be sure how much we’ll delve into that here, but it does add another layer that could answer some outstanding questions as to the larger nature of the plot.
Streamed By: Funimation
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