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Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia Episode #21 Anime Review (Season Finale)

4 min read
My first significant exposure to Fate/Grand Order ended up being far more positive than I expected.

At least take the cup.

What They Say:
Fujimaru and company finally succeed in defeating Beast II, though this victory was won with many sacrifices. The entire group is wounded and battle-weary, and as they take stock of the aftermath, they see that Uruk itself is on the verge of collapse. What will the end of their journey bring them?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the several-episode-long final battle wrapped up just before this finale begins, it’s a pure dialogue piece, regrouping after the huge war and saying farewells to characters who largely won’t be seen again. It’s an epilogue in a sense, but it’s certainly important to spend this time with each character that contributed so much to the story up to this point.

One of the most frustrating things about this series has been the number of times that a moment has been built up as a noble sacrifice or some other kind of death and proven to be untrue or reversible, making that initial emotional investment feel cheap and unearned. With each subsequent example of this, I’ve been less surprised, because the habits of the show have demanded that I not believe any death is permanent unless it’s made irreversibly explicit, as the classic “need to see the body” trope goes, though for this series, even that may not mean there’s no chance. As this finale began, I wasn’t surprised at all to see the face of a character last seen in a dramatic sacrifice walk up like they hadn’t been in a battle whatsoever, but I was still disappointed, especially since all indications are like, like most characters, this one won’t be appearing in any sequels, or if they did, they could’ve gotten around a true death with the magical Fate explanation of how Heroic Spirits are summoned, especially given how much Fate/GO has twisted the rules to get as many fan favorites as possible together.

The sequence of wrapping things up with each group, and each character within it, is expected and necessary, and those moments have often been well written enough, with this episode carrying a bit more weight. Still, as entertaining as Merlin is, it felt like half the episode was dedicated to him and Romani going back and forth with their usual gag for the obvious punch line of “Don’t they have the same personality?” That was never a joke subtle or funny enough to deserve such belaboring, but they sure do love spending as much time as possible on it.

Thankfully, the Babylonia series naturally concludes with a farewell to Gilgamesh himself, and in this final moment, he proves beyond any doubt that he was the highlight of the series all along. Whether he’s the arrogant, cruel King of Heroes or the surprisingly selfless and magnanimous ruler of Uruk, Gilgamesh can always deliver a speech with a charisma that sweeps the audience away, and tying in his abridged retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh from a first-person perspective is a wonderful way to wrap up the story. Of course, he also includes a very significant parting gift in the most badass way imaginable, somehow always seeming like the star no matter how much of a supporting role he holds. Perhaps the best thing about Gilgamesh being a good guy this time around was getting to see him go out in such a favorable light.

And so the story of Fate/Grand Order is over, I assumed as someone who never played the game. Wasn’t this the final Singularity? Did I just imagine them saying that? Well in typical Fate fashion, nothing can ever be over, so we end with a cliffhanger announcing that, in fact, this is only the beginning of the true final arc, and we get the confirmation that we’ll have an anime series for that as well. I was honestly hoping for some finality from this, but it’s not as if I’ve experienced the first six chapters anyway, and I’ll be seeing the last of this in the form of a film series eventually, so I suppose one more series that will hopefully be more conclusive is acceptable.

In Summary:
My first significant exposure to Fate/Grand Order ended up being far more positive than I expected. Despite hating many principles about its gacha game origins and what it’s done to the Fate franchise I love so much, this adaptation of its seventh chapter was remarkably well executed in every facet possible given its source material. The animation was a highlight, but many other aspects were extremely satisfying as well. At the end of the day, it’s a lot of shallow pandering, but considering the standard set by other Fate spinoffs, this still manages to be the only one I’ve actually found to be worth watching overall, something I never expected.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Funimation

Review Equipment:
LG Electronics OLED65C7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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