If I were smart this post’s title would continue to talk about Gilgamesh being naked as opposed to making references to a mostly forgotten saucy 90s OVA. But that is why this blog will always remain at its current popularity as it is as opposed to getting some sort of real attention. I’m sorry Kate.
You can tell everything is wrapping up because this is the episode where all the cards the series has been holding back are finally placed on the table. Well that is not exactly true. It is more like all the major mysteries are at least touched on therefore giving up at least some answers on all of them. There is still Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Drei! after all. The identity of the 8th card (90% of the people watching the anime knew who it was by now but the characters in the show were still unaware), the nature of the new Holy Grail War, Caren’s agenda, and most importantly Miyu’s secret all get some major progress towards real answers. Many of those answers only lead to more questions but it finally feels like the show has broken out of it’s holding pattern of refusing to give up its secrets while Chloe wonders why no one is talking to solve that problem.
It seems that the King of Heroes has all the answers in his treasury in addition to swords, wine, huge flowery shields, and ancient magical jet planes.
The naked youth who emerges from the Skin of Evil like tar is rather exposed in the literal sense of having no clothing but also in the forwardness of his speech. But when he discovers that Illya and Miyu not only have cards on them but they are both pieces of the Grail his demeanor quickly changes. The golden hero is soon trapping the disheartened Miyu in his massive form to summon the power of a fully awakened Grail. Can the rag tag band do anything against a giant goblin faced monstrosity made of some of the greatest magical treasures ever known to mankind?
There is no shame in Gilgamesh’s game. While he has no problem letting it all hand out it seem Illya does not care to see his golden frank and beans. The women watching the show may disagree (although I think most of them would rather it be a King of Heroes that is above the age of consent and not this To Catch a Predator version.)
At first the mysterious young man seems rather eccentric but amiable. Despite that Miyu and Illya are smart enough to know that you don’t trust anything that comes out of evil black tar no matter how handsome or charming it may be. In fact that should just make you doubly suspicious. But the more that he learns about the girls in front of him the harsher his words get even if his tone never changes from his upbeat demeanor. But the feces hits the oscillating air current distribution device when he reveals the truth about Miyu. She is not from the world and even more than that she is a full Grail as opposed to Illya’s lesser Grail status. If Illya is a terminal one would use the access the mainframe then Miyu is that mainframe itself.
The reveal of her origin sends Miyu into an uncharacteristic rage. She seems to be half fighting out of anger and half out of fear. It is clear that she is no fan of where she came from and more importantly what Gilgamesh represents because of that. But the more she fights the more the Golden Boy crushes her spirit. He does not have to lay a single finger on her. His words cut at her core more than anything else. The artificial nature of Miyu’s existence, the vast power of her current opponent, the even greater power of the true puppet masters, plus the overall hopelessness of the situation quickly sink Miyu into submission.
This also goes a long way to explain why Miyu is such an odd duck. Since she is an artificial human raised in a different dimension her bizarre manners, strange gaps in her cultural knowledge, and overall robotic demeanor make much more sense. She is half foreigner and half construct. It would be more unusual if she fit in any more than she already did.
At the same time Caren suddenly collapses as her Masochistic Pneumatic Automatism Diathesis kicks in. It tells Caren when supreme evil is in the area but does so by wracking her body with painful wounds. It is like the world’s most inconvenient Detect Evil spell. That is one of those powers that is super useful for NPCs but no PC, who is not a hardcore Real Roleplayer™ that is, would ever even consider taking. If only she were a proper Paladin then she could use that power for free.
Unable to progress any further she spills the beans on what she knows. It is clear that the Church is well aware that Miyu is from another dimension. They know when the progenitors of this new Holy Grail War first crossed over to their world it not only made a big mess but almost immediately signaled the start of the Cards starting making trouble. They also know that eventually Miyu was one of those extradimensional beings. If Caren knows the identity of any of the other people from Miyu’s world she is still holding that information close to her chest.
Knowing the truth does not change anyone’s plans. It does give them all a little more peace of mind now that a few dark posts in their knowledge base have been cleared up. Even the normally haughty Luvia still sees Miyu as a precious little sister that must be saved. That alone moves her from the dastardly Kodachi Kuno version of the rich princess to the more gentle Kongou Mitsuko form of the debutante.
Gilgamesh’s power quickly is displayed for everyone to see. When he was a mindless rage filled beast he was dangerous but reactionary. His moves were powerful but had no finesse or skill. Now that there is an intelligent brain behind the treasure trove of Noble Phantasms Illya is at a distinct disadvantage. Before this point Illya was never able to land a killing blow but she was able to disrupt this actions to some degree. Now in this giant form he seems an unstoppable monolith.
For everyone who has wanted to see Hercules as a Archer class servant instead of a mindless Berseker you will just have to wait for Fate/Grand Order to see your dreams come to fruition. Until then you can at least get this episode to see the son of Zeus’ famous bow True Nine Lives: The Shooting Hundred Heads. Normally the Noble Phantasm is just a huge chuck of rock that is simply used as a crude club. But when the giant Gilgamesh wields the weapon it becomes the multipurpose tool it potential to be.
While no one has any Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear there is some good old battle against the advancing giant. You can also make a Shadow of the Colossus reference if Hajime Isayama is not your style. But really with a goblin face this hulking behemoth feels much more like a titan than the more naturalistic colossi.
Chloe and Bazett do their best to fight the mammoth monstrosity. But with all of Gilgamesh’s defensive tools and offensive firepower the two women are more of an annoying distraction than anything else. They know that the key to defeating this abomination is freeing Miyu at the core of the beast but they can’t get anywhere close to that with the over the top strength, speed, and toughness this thing has.
After a point Gilgamesh whips out the BFS mostly as a fly swatter to get rid of pesky insects than as something to fight a serious threat.
While they might not be super effective it is great to see Chloe and Bazett in the thick of things. The mixture of hard hitting and high flying action in this segment is extremely satisfying even if it is not doing anything.
But before the Zanbatō can wipe out the two brave warriors an ultimate power arrives. Illya discovers that when the power of Jade and Amber come together than anything is possible. (Just don’t combine Robotic Jade with Mad Scientist Amber. That leads to the Rise of the Machines.) Wielding both Magical Ruby and Magical Sapphire (and a dash of fighting for your friend) transforms Illya into a force on par with the Giant Dark Demi-God. Snapping Gilgamesh’s GD6 Chain Sword in two is only the beginning.
The transformation of Illya is quite clear here. At first it seems like she might either run away or shut down like she has the the past. With an overwhelming foe like this it would be in her previous character to hope for a miracle to save them. Now she is making that miracle herself. She is really living up to that legacy of the lesser grail.
It will be great to see that destiny unfold next week. Expect more action, some big reveals, and a real cliffhanger as opposed to the softer endings of the last two seasons.