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Key Visual

In the wake of the Heaven’s Feel movies and also the Absolute Demonic Front TV series the bar for Fate anime generally has been set a whole lot higher now.

The Fate/Grand Order – Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot: Wandering; Airgetlám isn’t a bad movie, it’s pleasant enough to watch but it’s mostly just there. Which is the whole problem.

So, where does Airgetlám[1] fail, and how?

I think it comes down to focus, both a lack of focus on Mash Kyrielight[2] and attempting to put too much focus on Bedivere. For all that Bedivere is a great Servant[3], he just doesn’t have the dramatic weight as a character to really invest the viewer in the film. At the same time, the attempt to focus on Bedivere weakens Arash’s Crowning Moment of Awesome because Arash hadn’t had enough development either.

Plus there’s a parade of other supporting Servants from the game who are mostly there to provide fan service[4].

I could also comment on the relatively bland and simplified character designs which jar a bit compared to the sharper images in the game or the brilliantly sharp designs of the Heaven’s Feel movies.

But. Let’s be honest: Absolute Demonic Front had the exact same “problem”.

Except there I either never noticed it, or I never cared. Because Absolute Demonic Front had the necessary focus and strong character work to carry it[5]. Oh sure, I think I tweeted that some of the later combat sequences in Absolute Demonic Front felt a bit lazy or cheaty, but even then I didn’t mind too much.

In an ironic turn of fate[6], I also suspect Airgetlám of being the first over-edited piece of the Fate franchise to be put to anime[7]. The entire 6th Singularity of the Fate/Grand Order game is slated to be adapted in just two movies. That’s 3 hours or about 6 TV episodes. Absolute Demonic Front ran the full 26 for the 7th Singularity, and felt about right with remarkably little padding by the usual Fate standards[8]. More run time and a different focus might have saved Airgetlám.

In conclusion? I don’t regret seeing Airgetlám, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but a hard-core fan of the game.

[1] If you think I’m typing that title out more than twice, you must be dreaming.

[2] The Eternal Best Girl of Fate/Grand Order.

[3] He’s a personal favourite despite being only a silver-rank or 3-star servant in Fate/Grand Order

[4] In both the sense of acknowledging their roles to the players of the game, and also in the more, ah, traditional usage of the term in anime.

[5] Not to mention Kana Ueda having a truly unholy amount of fun voicing Rin-faces Ishtar and Ereshkigal.

[6] Yes, I just went there.

[7] See previous snarky comments on the poor pacing of Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, and Fate/Stay Night.

[8] See previous comment.