Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia

Part of the Fate Franchise. Sequel to Fate/Grand Order: -First Order-

Genre(s): Action, Magic, Fantasy, Supernatural

Age-Appropriateness:13+ (Violence, profanity)

Platforms: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Episodes: 22 (including 1 prequel-ish episode)

TheAwersome Rating: 6.8 / 10 (Has some good moments)

Premise: Chaldea, a secret mages organization with the mission to preserve humanity’s future, foresaw mankind’s extinction in 2015. Thus commenced the operation to repair the Singularities in history caused by Holy Grails dispersed across time and space—Operation Grand Order.

Ritsuka Fujimaru and his demi-servant Mash Kyrielight have traveled to and resolved six Singularities. Now, they depart for their most dangerous destination yet: a civilization in the Age of Gods, B.C. 2655 Mesopotamia. Demonic Beasts roam the land, attacking people and towns. Amidst chaos and terror lies humanity’s last defense—Uruk, a fortress city that acts as the frontline for the battle against the beasts. The battlefront is commanded by none other than King Gilgamesh, the King of Heroes, who sought aid from Heroic Spirits and took on the role of a mage to protect his city.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Bad things first (all will be elaborated on): This plot is denser than a harem protagonist, and needlessly so. The story is clearly a video game adaptation with the various mini-missions and battles, and it feels tiresome. Writing in general is the same “Go stop some enemy servant from destroying people but end up winning them over to our side because you can tell that they aren’t actually evil,” repeated 5-6 times. Audio balance feels very off with ridiculously loud battle sounds compared to everything else. Fate’s “Same face” syndrome runs rampant.

Good things: The action choreography is excellent, but I feel the animators couldn’t quite live up to it a lot of the time. There are some great monologues and speeches.

TLDR: If you really like Fate GO and/or don’t care about story but like great fights, give it a go. Pass otherwise.

If there is a storytelling trope that I despise it’s the magical mental gymnastics workaround. Much like Harry being the master of the Elder Wand, Fate is guilty of “Well technically they aren’t actually the Holy Grail, they’re the Vessel for the Holy Grail, but the CONTENTS of the Holy Grail are actually held by someone else, so in killing them to get the Grail you actually destroyed its vessel, so the Grail’s CONTENTS are now actually free since the Vessel is gone, but you DO have the Grail, but it doesn’t matter because the Grail’s contents are now spilled and manifesting as the IDEA of humanity’s wishes, but it isn’t AckShTuaLLy the wishes, just the idea, and so, etc., etc.,” That kind of nonsense is rampant here. Nearly every time you think they’ve taken care of the Big Bad, they’ll pull this to milk the season out a bit longer. It happens like, three times and they take so much time trying to explain how it isn’t just a cheap trick that I got bored of it pretty quickly.

I also got bored of “Evil servant of the enemy who is trying to destroy humanity is doing just that! Go stop them!” always getting followed up with a neat looking fight (with ridiculously loud sound effects) and Fujimaru telling the evil servant “I really like humanity a whole lot, and I don’t think you’re completely evil!” Evil servant then says “Someone finally understands! Yeah, I’ll totally betray my faction and side in this war. After all, a teenage boy doesn’t think I’m evil, despite me proclaiming that I am and slaughtering hundreds, and that’s all I’ve really wanted was to be understood.” This happens at least five times.

Then there’s the “Same Face” syndrome. No, this isn’t “Saber-face” this time where the Saber class servants all look a lot like Arturia (Altria in the Fate/GO universe because whoever translated the katakana decided that it wasn’t supposed to sound like or be a reference to the feminine version of Arthur, or Artorius, but something altogether different) Pendragon (King Arthur). No, for some reason Ishtar (and Ereshkigal) look and act like clones of Rin Tohsaka (and have the same voice actor), “Jaguar” looks and sounds like a hyper Taiga Fujimura in a PJ onesie (what on earth is the reasoning behind this, please tell me). Then there’s a handful of versions of Medusa (Rider from Fate/Stay Night), but this one actually gets explained.

(Babylonia version on the left, Unlimited Blade Works version on the right. Completely different characters with no explanation whatsoever why they look and sound exactly alike.)

It really is so much. It is too much. It is absolutely ridiculous to ask anyone who isn’t intimately familiar with the Fate universe, and the Fate/GO story to take this seriously, or to Really Understand it. I’ve seen every Fate/Stay Night installment, Fate/Zero, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Extra Last Encore, Fate/GO – First Order, Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files, and played through the first three singularities or so of the game. The things which I didn’t understand (which, for being as familiar as I am, were too many), I had no desire TO understand. I’m still kind of juggling the idea of going to read up and re-watch Heaven’s Feel III’s ending to fully understand it, but not for this.

Also, deciding to make an anime adaptation of the Seventh Singularity and just kind of loosely referencing everything that happened in the previous six was a bit disorienting. I’m a firm believer that an adaptation shouldn’t require you to know the subject material. Otherwise, it’s just an illustration, and this felt like that.

*Exasperated Sigh*

Okay, that all being said, (which is a lot) I did like a lot of the inspirational speeches and occasional dialogues. They are legitimately good, and it’s the main redeeming factor that doesn’t plummet this to the 4-5 out of 10 range (well, that and the fight animation when it isn’t against horrible CG beasts). Some of them are legitimately inspiring, touching, and moving. It’s just such a shame that the overall experience for me is tainted by the character 180-turns, and nonsensical plot explanations.

It’s fun to see the servants that do get summoned (Spoilers if you care), we get Leonidas (Sparta!), Merlin, Quetzalcoatl, Ishtar, Gilgamesh, and Waifu’d up Da Vinci, but naturally the character of these mythological and historical figures isn’t nearly as much of a focus as it would be in Fate/Zero, but their differences are touched on.

You’ll likely enjoy this if you enjoyed:

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