*This article contains spoilers for Fate/Grand Order. I will cover Fate/Grand Order: Camelot, Babylonia, and the final Singularity of F/GO Part 1 (Going beyond what the anime will cover).
I love Fate. While I doubt anything will take the place of Code Geass as my favorite anime, the Fate universe as a whole is the best thing I’ve ever embraced. And let me tell you what; this is a great time to be a Fate fan.
The Fate/Grand Order mobile game is currently getting an anime adaptation of its Babylonia Singularity. This year, its Camelot Singularity will also be animated. Coming to the game itself, the Global version of FGO will also be witness to Part 2 of the story: Cosmos in the Lostbelt. Oh, and the third movie of Heaven’s Feel is getting released in a few months. Not bad.
Still, at the release of the article, nothing is going on in the immediate moment. The Babylonia anime is taking a two week break and we’re floating in hype and suspense. Does that mean we sit back until the next episode? No! I’m going to make damn sure everything that’s been released so far is properly appreciated!
Do I think the Babylonia anime is the best Fate has to offer? No. It doesn’t reach the heights that Zero and UBW did. I say that as an FGO veteran who began from the day it was released in NA. That doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing. So, as a self-proclaimed FGO veteran, let me talk expound on an underappreciated moment that is:
Ereshkigal v Mashu
There was certainly lots of talk around this fight, but not for the reasons I’m about to bring up. People love it because Ereshkigal is a great character and it’s the first time Lord Camelot has been animated. So, it certainly is appreciated. But even then, not enough so!
Time and time again, we’re continually told of Ereshkigal’s power in the Underworld. Her Authority makes it so that no one can match her power in that domain. Both Gilgamesh and Ishtar support that claim.
That said, Ishtar does qualify Eresh’s power once more. While her powers are effective against Servants and gods, the power draining effect doesn’t reach living humans such as Fujimaru and Mashu (A demi-servant rather than a complete one.
Furthermore, Gil explains Eresh’s power like this:
That makes it sound like Eresh isn’t particularly powerful, but let’s get this straight now. Ereshkigal is a proper goddess through and through. Despite the setting taking place at the tail end of the Age of Gods (With humans beginning to stand for themselves, rejecting the gods, stopping worship, and therefore the gods’ power declining) she is incredibly strong. Take the King of Heroes’ words with a grain of salt. He can only talk so confidently because he’s used to fighting those of immense power, e.g., Gugalanna, The Bull of Heaven: a Divine Beast that the gods themselves couldn’t tame.
All that to say Fujimaru’s party doesn’t stand a chance. Ignoring Gil’s Authority which allows him to fight Eresh despite being dead, Ishtar has been stripped of most of her divinity. She’s quite literally a useless goddess in this situation. Mashu’s offensive power is also null in the face of Eresh. It doesn’t matter whether she’s dead or alive, that shield is going to be used for defense the entire time.
What about Fujimaru himself? Yeah, no. He’s an average Master who’s only human. His little shots of magic aren’t gonna cut it. In fact, if he didn’t have a contract with Mashu, he probably wouldn’t have survived the environment, nevermind Eresh.
I say all that, but have a look for yourself what happens:
Mashu and the rest triumph in their battle against Eresh. But how? Most viewers will assume Mashu’s Lord Camelot was just an effective counter to Eresh, but there’s a little more to it than that. The point I want to highlight is this:
The battle was not to determine who was more powerful. It was to determine whose will was stronger. The terms will and resolve appear repeatedly through the entire F/GO story and are very apparent during Babylonia especially. This whole fight is prefaced as Ereshkigal’s “first choice of her own free well.” And that’s why she lost.
From the beginning, she didn’t stand a chance. She explained that she wanted to kill all the humans and dominate over the souls, but this was all a lie; a lie that neither Fujimaru nor she could fully believe. She loved humans and only wanted to protect them. Believing that humans would die to Gorgon, she would take their souls and care for them gently in the Underworld. Even if she did believe more strongly in her own lie, the result would actually be the same. To explain why, let’s talk about Mashu and Lord Camelot.
Mashu is a demi-servant; a human whose body houses the heroic spirit Galahad, a Knight of the Round Table. As such, she is able to deploy Lord Camelot. For a sense of her power, prior to being able to deploy Lord Camelot, she deployed an extremely limited virtual noble phantasm: Lord Chaldeas. This alone was demonstrated to be able to protect from Excalibur Morgan.
Another feat we can ascribe to Lord Camelot is in the final Singularity of the game. Lord Camelot takes on a beam whose power can penetrate through Earth entirely. Even faced against such overwhelming power, it doesn’t falter and stands tall. Thus are White Walls of Camelot: a shield whose power is proportionate to the user’s will.
“So long as the heart doesn’t break, those castle walls shall never crumble.”
With complete trust in herself and her Master, she will never lose.
[Mashu] “To protect you… That is my Master’s wish! And… I believe it’s the right thing! Because that is… the path I have chosen!
[Eresh] “My… Resolve…”
That’s the true beauty of this fight and a recurring theme in the Fate franchise: “Whose ideals are stronger?” Just as Archer and Shirou fought in UBW, so to do Mashu and Eresh. Even with all her Authority and power, Eresh knew she had been defeated. There was no more point to fighting, even if she likely had strength remaining. She failed to be true to her heart and hid away her intentions. Her will was incomparable to Mashu’s; a girl who has full faith in her Master. Even when faced with the collapse of Proper Human History, gods and goddesses, she will remain by her Master’s side and believe in them to the very end.
A heart that believes that humans are truly beautiful- That our lives have meaning- That our fleeting existence is all the more precious because of it.