October 18, 2021

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Home » Fate/Grand Order Final Singularity – Grand Temple of Time: Solomon

Fate/Grand Order Final Singularity – Grand Temple of Time: Solomon

Fate/Grand Order Final Singularity - Grand Temple of Time: Solomon

I could sum up this movie glibly by calling it the Avengers: Endgame of the Fate franchise. The appeal hinges on the cameos of dozens of Servants that haven’t appeared in animated form outside the 15-second commercials. There’s very little preamble or introductions to get the viewer up to speed with the franchise—it’s all about pooling every character together to defeat the final boss.

The plot is a whole load of nonsense, and I loved every minute of it.

Kinoko Nasu once said in an interview that he was grateful that FGO gave him the opportunity to write an “end of the world” scenario. Given that his previous works have a much smaller scope, FGO‘s massive scale gives his writing a completely different flavor, and that’s particularly true of Part 1’s climactic chapter, adapted to film here. In a vacuum, the time-worn JRPG trope of fighting a grandiose demon king with the power of friendship would be groanworthy, but as a culmination of FGO and of everything Fate, it presents a satisfying alternative path.

Admittedly, the timing makes it a little difficult to get into the mood of things. The Solomon chapter might have been a big hype moment for players when it was first released, but it’s been years since then. As for anime-only viewers, FGO‘s story still has massive gaps in its adaptations. Between the First Order OVA, the Camelot movies, and the Babylonia TV series, the important aspects of the plot still get across, but the sheer self-indulgence of this film is almost guaranteed to be off-putting, as characters wax poetic about adventures that barely got a mention in anime form.

It’s worth mentioning that the dialogue in this film in general veers towards the theatrical side. Characters explain their motivations with somber soliloquies, a style of presentation that may come across as more “tell” than “show.” For me, this contributed to the grandiosity of the storytelling. As a game, FGO managed to convey an astounding amount of weight through its dialogue alone, and this film manages to strike the balance between representing that form of storytelling while keeping the visuals interesting. Nevertheless, I can easily see it coming across as tacky, especially if you weren’t a fan of the dialogue in the series up to this point. The overall feeling is rather similar to the final episodes of Babylonia, where the goofy banter takes a backseat to ponderous monologues, so your preferences should map easily onto the sequel film.

Speaking of Babylonia, this film was created by the same team, which is great because they created one of the best-looking Fate anime ever. Solomon isn’t a significant step-up in terms of quality, but that’s not a big issue when the bar was just that high. If I were to have a complaint, it’s that the moments of pure, kinetic action felt too short, but it was the good kind of wanting more where I immediately felt the desire to rewind and watch those moments again after they’d passed. Still, in a film that juggles this many cameos, it’s inevitable that some characters would get the shorter end of the stick and participate very little in the action setpieces. This film could have done more with its action and the characters, but it accomplished enough to succeed on both a practical and artistic level. Anything more would have just been icing on the cake.

Solomon is well worth the watch if you’re a FGO fan who’s been dying to see as much of the roster represented in anime as possible. It’s also worth a look if you’re a more casual fan who’s curious why FGO‘s storytelling is so well-regarded among gacha games. Without the hundreds of hours of investing in the buildup to this climax, there’s a distinct possibility that the scale and emotional stakes may fall flat, but there’s still fun in seeing Fate go through the motions of a conventional JRPG final act. Most importantly, Solomon wraps up the first part of FGO‘s narrative with a neat bow—a rare thing to see in the world of anime adaptations. Even if you only saw a portion of Ritsuka and Mash’s journey, it’s an ending that gives them the justice they deserve.

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