This article contains spoilers for Fate/Grand Order: Camelot, Babylonia, and Solomon.
*Author’s Note Post-Writing: I worked a lot more on this article than I thought I would. I think it’s my longest article so far. Weird seeing how it’s an episode review. Kinda. It turned into a full blown analysis… Also, there’s some cool math down below.
An episode review? That’s a first for me, but I really want to talk about Episode 20. Is there enough material to even consider writing something for a singular episode (relative to how I usually write)? You have no idea. If you’re not too big a fan of Babyonia, don’t worry! This is probably my last article on it unless Episode 21 is exceptional. The third Heaven’s Feel movie and Camelot movies on the other hand…
Listen. I loved Episode 20, I really did; but I wouldn’t be writing this if that was all. I have some major gripes as a general anime watcher and as an FGO player. Let’s get started.
What Went Wrong?
It hurts to critique, but there are some obvious flaws about the anime in general that are accentuated in Episode 20. The top two among them: the music and quality of art. These two things are fundamentally important and viewer impressions are based, in large part, on them. That’s why the Episode is such a mixed bag of emotions.
I’ll bang out the complaints about music straightaway since it’s a simple critique: there’s not enough variety. This might be because I’ve heard a lot of the tracks in FGO (they remix FGO OSTs or put in hints of the original score for some songs), but I still think they’re reusing some tracks way too much. It’s not like any of them are bad, but they’re far from standout. Prover and Tell Me by Milet work really well as inserts, but what’s the equivalent to, say, the Unlimited Blade Works track or The Sword of Promised Victory?
ART & ANIMATION
Same as the music, there’s not a lot of bad animation. It’s just that there were very noticeable dips which detracted from the overall experience. CloverWorks took an all-or-nothing approach and, in this instance, it didn’t work for me. King Hassan’s appearance was the most egregious. In fact, all scenes he was in lacked that impact FGO players loved him for.
Compare this close-up shot from Episode 19 to the one in Episode 20:
They’re worlds apart and it’s really disappointing that Gramps doesn’t appear in consistent high-quality. He’s a Grand, a servant summoned specifically to fight a Beast. Yet, all he really does is apply the concept of death to Tiamat in a moment that goes by quickly. This isn’t the absolute, no-nonsense, powerhouse, master swordsman we know him to be.
He clouded the skies in Camelot, completely nullifying the Gift granted to Gawain by Rhongomyniad. During that time, Gawain couldn’t lay a finger on him. Then, when Gramps cleared it as his assistance was no longer needed, Gawain still couldn’t touch him. The only reason he wasn’t killed was because of Gramps’ adherence to the Lord’s code. Do you know how powerful Gawain is? His swordsmanship is the best of the Round Table, matched only by Lancelot and far above Artoria. In Fate/Extella, under the light of the sun, only Karna can match him. Yet, Gramps doesn’t look great at all.
Another scene that looked pretty bad was Fujimaru’s action scene, where you can tell that the budget was diverted. It doesn’t help that the scene the budget was diverted to occurs at the same time which results in the juxtaposition of high and low quality.
Again, I’m not blaming CloverWorks for this, but I do find the lack of quality to be interesting. Isolate Fujimaru’s scene from Ereshkigal’s. If CloverWorks produces mediocre (or bad) quality scenes, it doesn’t usually look like that. From what I’ve seen in their Babylonia adaptation, they still retain flow even if they have to abandon detail. It’s peculiar that this is the exception.
I also had a slight problem with Gilgamesh’s Gate of Babylon, specifically when his Archer variant is first introduced and he’s firing downward upon her. It just looked like the projectiles were going too slow. (I have a picture a bit farther below) That said, it was an extreme wide shot so perhaps it’s merely perception. But I’m not satisfied with that theory so I decided to do some math.
In FGO Material IV, Tiamat is said to have a height of 60+ meters when in her draconic form. I’m uncertain as to whether this is her height while on her hind legs or on all fours. I’ll calculate both:
Assuming She’s 60+ Meters on Her Hind Legs
(Also Generously Assuming No Contraction of Her Legs)
To calculate the speed at which Gil’s treasures are fired, we can use the simple formula:
Velocity = Distance/Time
Speed is our unknown and the Distance is at least 60 meters. All we need now is time and we can find speed.
I recorded the time it took for a projectile to go off-screen, starting at the height of Tiamat’s head. These were the values recorded:
That gives an average time of 0.792 seconds. Put that into the formula:
Velocity = 60 meters / 0.792 seconds
Which gives us an approximate answer of 75.7576 meters per second. I’m not that used to the metric system for daily life though so let’s convert to imperial by multiplying by 2.237. That gives us 169.4649 miles per hour. As a reminder, that’s a minimum since her height is 60+ meters. Therefore, Gil’s treasures travel at a speed of >169.4949 mph or >75.7576 meters per second.
Assuming She’s 60+ Meters on All Fours
(Still Generously Assuming No Contraction of Her Legs)
This is a bit more difficult to calculate since we need to find the individual length of her legs. Difficult, but not impossible.
Using a CG from the game, I quickly scribbled and wrote up proportions.
Since green is her height in pixels, and we know her height in meters, we can convert.
628 pixels = 60 meters
1 pixel ≈ 0.0955 meters
Therefore, the length of her leg:
427 x 0.0955 = 40.7785 meters
Add those together in order to simulate her approximate height when standing on hind legs and we get 100.7785 meters.
Apply this once again to the Velocity formula:
Velocity = 100.7785 meters / 0.792 seconds
Which gives us an approximate answer of 127.2456 meters per second. Convert to imperial and that’s 284.6403 miles per hour.
That sounds really impressive. It is. But even more impressive is the fact that some of his treasures are able to achieve fighter jet speeds. Anyway, I concede the point this time. Gil’s weapons are really fast and it’s the extreme wide shot messing me up. Good job CloverWorks.
NOTABLE ADAPTATION DIFFERENCES
Fujimaru didn’t do anything in the mobile game. He commanded his servants, but he certainly didn’t STAB TIAMAT IN THE HEAD. That’s fucking ridiculous. And you know what? I don’t know if I hate it or love it. It’s a cool scene because we see Gil’s treasures are batshit overpowered and Fujimaru gets his own hero moment, but he isn’t that type of hero at all.
Another thing I can’t make heads or tails about: Gramps biting the head off a Lahmu. WHAT?! That has never been hinted at. EVER. It’s absurd! He’s King Hassan! I know that’s a title given to him, but… WHAT?! What maniac would think Gramps bites things to kill them?!
On a less serious note, Fou. Fou is adorable and I love him, but we got to see him use his powers a little prematurely. Until the end of Part 1 of FGO, we don’t know what or who he is. We don’t even know he’s special in any way. For Fou to teleport Fujimaru is unravelling the surprise a bit too early. Oh well. Solomon probably isn’t getting adapted anytime soon though so maybe they just gave us that as a bonus.
Lastly, Fujimaru’s conversation with Tiamat. Love it. Don’t care that it wasn’t in the game. Anything we get with a sane Tiamat is beautiful and she’s beautiful and I love her.
Now, I could make this article extremely long and talk about what I liked in-depth, but I’ll just touch base on them.
Tiamat’s CG looked a lot better than previous episodes.
The SFX sounded great and a lot more varied.
Ereshkigal’s Noble Phantasm was well used.
Ereshkigal’s death was beautiful.
Merlin using Excalibur and alluding to his training Artoria was lovely.
Merlin’s NP itself was great. (But I’ve heard that “incantation” so many times in the game that I hate it.)
Gilgamesh using Ea is always a win. No holding back!
The conversation with Tiamat was amazing!
Long story short, I liked the episode. I feel iffy about some changes and a bit sad about the inconsistent quality, but it was undoubtedly enjoyable. Did you enjoy Babylonia? Did you play the game? Is Tiamat a waifu?