*This article contains heavy spoilers for Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia.
Siduri is unequivocally the best character of Babylonia. In a cast filled with standouts, husbandos and waifus alike, she takes the spot for best character. Not best girl. Best character. This either sounds completely absurd to you or you fully agree with it. Let me explain.
Since we’re talking about the all star cast, let’s list them:
When I first wrote this list, I separated a few characters into another group since they weren’t as popular as Gil or Eresh. Yet, with these characters coming to life on screen, they’ve all garnered many more fans. (Even Benkei! A lot of his story was cut from the anime, but even he got a cool moment the audience loved). As a minor tangent, I think Quetz gained the second most fans from the adaptation. CloverWorks did a great job with her NP(s) and everyone was in awe.
Who gained the most? Siduri.
All F/GO players who have played through Babylonia beforehand know the tragedy of Siduri. We all remember her and what she did. Thus, we waited with dread about how poignant the anime’s portrayal of it would be. Miraculously, it was phenomenal. I’ll bear the flak if anyone disagrees, but I believe every player loved the beautiful scene. Would it hit as hard to non-FGO players? Actually, it’s very close.
Since Siduri was never introduced to players beforehand, all backstory and emotional attachment had to be formed in Babylonia’s narrative. That means her story arc starts and ends in Babylonia, leaving no room for people (even anime-only watchers) to get lost. There’s only one minor reason it wouldn’t be as impactful.
The Flashback of The White Flag
This was a small directing mistake that’s done a lot, but I’m not surprised. It’s the classic: “I don’t trust the audience.” They didn’t think we’d be able to connect Siduri’s initial waving of the flag (back in episode X to the Lahmu’s gesturing. These sorts of “mistakes” will most likely never be remedied as they’re somewhat useful. The entire reason it’s made so obvious is for less astute viewers to catch on. What that means for detail-oriented watchers though is that the reveal of Siduri being converted is wasted. Instead of the heartbreaking reveal and realization occuring at the end of Enkidu’s chase (which subverts the expectation of his death), it jumps the gun.
I’ve said all that, but a tragic death doesn’t constitute being titled best character. Why is she so compelling? The answer is simply thus: she’s human.
All of the cast that I listed were/are/can be servants. At the minimum, that means they have all gone through mythological trials and tribulations in their lives. Their lives have been meaningful enough to be recorded in history. Siduri has no great feats; however, she still fits comfortably among the heroes of old. Her actions, though not on a comparable scale, embodied heroism despite being a human with no special powers. [Let’s ignore MC-kun (Ritsuka Fujimaru) for now since he’s supposed to embody the player. Besides, even he has some ability as a magus, even if average.]
The entire reason she died is because she chose to sacrifice herself for the people of Uruk. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. She knew that by leaving Gil’s side at the throne room, her death was cemented. She didn’t need his clairvoyance to know it either.
Gilgamesh is described by Merlin as, “A judicator who tries to keep humans on a fair scale. That’s why he protects mankind, but he doesn’t favor individuals.” Yet, as Siduri proclaims that she will go assist with the evacuation of citizens, he shouts in disapproval. Does that sound like he doesn’t favor Siduri? No. That was a completely emotional outburst as he foresaw the outcome which doesn’t go unnoticed by her. In her mind, she accepts everything and with a smile that shows full understanding, Gilgamesh has no choice but to concede to her.
Even when Gilgamesh was a child who took the throne, she was there to watch over him. Even as Enkidu, a being devoid of a soul was brought in, she welcomed him with open arms. Even as Gil left Uruk to find immortality, she waited for him to return and maintained Uruk in the meantime. And when he finally did, she scolded him for shirking his duties and, in no uncertain terms, told him to do his job. She scolded him. I can’t express that enough. She is respected by all the citizens of Uruk as well as the gods and goddesses. When Ishtar and Gilgamesh threatened to fight each other once more in the Singularity, she stopped them easily with a few sentences. Let me remind you that Ishtar caused the death of Gil’s only friend, yet neither are able to oppose Siduri.
Furthering how pure of heart Siduri was, let me clarify that it isn’t wrong to say she died twice over. While protecting the citizens, she died once as she was converted into a Lahmu. Then she died once more as a Lahmu. Through all of that, she retained her sense of self. Nothing could corrupt her. If you’re more familiar with these terms, it’s as if she was under Madness Enhancement but was able to control what she did. That’s literally Heracles levels of willpower as seen in Fate/Stay Night. Overall, she got little screen time. That said, every moment we did witness was as poignant as ever.
Now that we’ve established who Siduri is, how do we incorporate a character like her into our own stories?
First, we demonstrate hopelessness. We can see an abundance of examples of this everywhere in Babylonia. That’s literally what Babylonia is: a hopeless situation where the people of Uruk still continue to resist the gods.
“I will say it once again. Uruk will fall! It is a fact that we can no longer change!”Gilgamesh, Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia, Episode 18
“Everyone has tried everything under the sun to get even this far. But it’s still not enough”Merlin, Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia, Episode 19
Second, carefully distinguish your character. Once you begin writing, you need to actively pay attention to the character you’re creating. Think back to Ritsuka Fujimaru and Benkei. They aren’t the same as Siduri. In the game, Fujimaru is depicted as a survivor who barely manages to scrape by. He’s performing his tasks out of necessity and survivor’s guilt; only later developing the courage to stand fast by meeting other servants. Hitachibou is also driven by guilt and regret about leaving Ushiwaka and Benkei.
Siduri is unlike either. She didn’t help out of necessity or because she would feel guilty. She helped because that was her nature. To not be compassionate and selfless didn’t make sense to her.
Third, watch your scale. A small reminder that characters specifically like Siduri are best left as side characters. What she did was, in the scope of the narrative, small. While she saved Enkidu, it isn’t as if she held back an army. She defeated three Lahmu that were playing around with their prey. Two were ambushed and the other traded stabs with her through the chest.
*Also remember to plan out the history of a character too. It’ll have implications on the future, add depth, and allow you to get a better feel for them.
What better way to end the article than with the special ED made for her? Both the visuals and song were used for this tribute and only recur when Siduri is mentioned. Undoubtedly, best character.