Two Rins are better than one.
What They Say:
Fujimaru and entourage finally face Ereshkigal, the great goddess of the underworld. They ask her to save Uruk with them, but she refuses and attacks them instead. With Gilgamesh and Ishtar’s assistance, Fujimaru attempts to communicate with Ereshkigal’s heart, but… The fate of an intense battle is in the hands of Mash’s Noble Phantasm, “Lord Camelot.”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In lieu of an OP, episode 13 of Babylonia opens with a dramatic monologue from the Blonde-Rin Ereshkigar within the monstrous form our protagonists are faced with, as the credits adorn the screen and culminate in a title screen that separates this cold open from the episode proper. This is a classic tactic to set up an episode as particularly climactic, giving the indication that it needs as much time as possible to deliver new content. Given that, it’s no surprise that this episode offers another of the show’s growing supply of grandiose action spectacles.
At this point, we’re more or less accustomed to what this entails, though that doesn’t make the visual prowess or aural impact any less impressive. Knowing that Ereshkigal isn’t truly an antagonist makes the stakes slightly less pressing, especially given the abstract concept of “death” that manifests in this setting, but it’s more of a story of her own insecurities holding her back from reaching out and letting others in. Holing herself up within a frightening external shell to fight off those who try to connect with her isn’t the most subtle metaphor, but it gives the battle a more personal touch than it could’ve had if Ereshkigal was simply a villain that needed to be defeated.
It still functions as an excuse for pure Fate action, though. I don’t know much of Ritsuka and Mash’s story through the first six singularities, but the fact that Ritsuka uses his second Command Seal here gives it a far more substantial weight than I expected from what ultimately seemed like a recruiting mission. Yes, there’s the ostensibly more imminent matter of bringing Gilgamesh “back to life,” but that’s really more of a temporary state to be undone that served as a way to bring the cast to this setting and interact with Ishtar’s other half. The scene of Mash unleashing her Noble Phantasm in this episode is unsurprisingly one of the stronger battle sequences of the series, though nearly every significant fight has had at least one moment on par with this. That’s not to diminish this showcase; it’s simply a rather well-executed show when it comes to big, dramatic conflict.
When Ereshkigal finally shows herself, we get an amusing amount of Rin talking to Rin, especially since Ereshkigal quickly becomes far more Rin-like once the battle concludes, putting her nearly at Ishtar’s current level. The more similar they become, the more redundant they start to appear, but they remain distinct enough at this point, and Kana Ueda does deserve credit for convincingly having a shouting match with herself. The fact that Ereshkigal doesn’t immediately join the party like Ishtar eventually did (which the latter comments upon in a savvy manner) helps prevent the potential Rin overload, so as long as she’s utilized well in her inevitable future appearances, likely at least in rematches with Gorgon, her presence will likely serve the series well enough. It’s possible that this was the highlight of her character, but I could see her and Ishtar teaming up to very satisfying effect in some later climactic moment.
Another big battle brings another gift of propulsive action animation and deeply resonant sound effects. It’s similar enough to past affairs that it’s almost old hat at this point, but the focus on Ereshkigal as a sympathetic victim of circumstances rather than a true antagonist gives it the more tender touch it needs to set itself apart from what we’ve seen before. Unsurprisingly, Ereshkigal is another Rin at the end of the day, but having a pair of them for a bit is entertaining enough.
Streamed By: Funimation
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