Fate meets its Destiny
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Fate franchise and its extended universe. From the first time I encountered a Fate narrative, I had been hooked by its original concept, themes and fantastic storytelling. No matter how much I did love the series, I knew that fellow fans of Fate are rare to find within the borders of Sri Lanka.
Knowing this, I realised that my youthful dream of being able to see it all on the big screen was most likely never going to happen. Never did I expect that I would be able to watch a Fate movie in a major movie theatre in Sri Lanka, but here we are today. To be truthful, I couldn’t believe it myself until the screen lit up and I saw the title credits come on screen.
What is Fate?
Even if you are familiar with the franchise, explaining the franchise as a whole can be extremely difficult, which makes becoming a fan of the franchise somewhat complicated at the beginning, but extremely rewarding once you have a grasp of what’s going on. In a nutshell, the Fate franchise revolves around the Holy Grail wars where the most powerful mages of the world gather every 60 years to engage in a massive battle royale with the last one standing the victor and claimant to the Holy Grail; an ancient form of magic that unlocks the root of all magic.
The mages summon a heroic spirit as a servant to help them fight this war, and so many historical figures of the past such as Alexander the Great, King Arthur and Gilgamesh (although not historically accurate and in spite of massive creative liberties being taken with the characters) are summoned to the modern day and engage in combat. This all happens in the main storyline of the Fate franchise. However, the franchise also has an extended universe with multiple timelines. Fate/ Grand Order tells the story of one such alternative timeline.
The narrative of Fate/Grand Order originated in a mobile phone game that was later adapted into a series of movies. The story follows a team of researchers in magic who discover the existence of a doomsday event when the extinction of humanity is set to happen. The only way to prevent the occurrence is to travel back in time and collect seven Holy Grails which have existed in various periods of history in order to face the man responsible for the extinction event; the Mage-King Solomon.
And so, the researchers organise themselves as the Chaldea Security Organisation and after discovering an experimental time-travel technology, use it to send the two protagonists, Ritsuka Fujimaru and Mash Kyrielight to collect the Holy Grails and face Solomon in the final showdown. Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Fate/Grand Order movies over the past number of years have been building up to this final showdown against King Solomon, which culminates in the final showdown that takes place in Fate/Grand Order: Final Singularity- The Grand Temple of Time: Solomon, the conclusion of the overarching narrative. You could even consider it as Fate/Grand Order’s endgame.
Not left out
Although I knew that the hype was high for those who have been following the movies, I wasn’t so sure that I would enjoy the movie, given the fact that I have yet to even start watching the Fate/Grand Order movies. Even so, that didn’t get in the way for my enjoyment of the movie. The movie is scripted in a way that reveals snippets of information that would be crucial to viewers who stepped into the theatre who didn’t know what had transpired in the previous movies, meaning that I was able to keep up with the story. All this is cleverly done through a few flashbacks and discussions during the calm before the final battle. All that changes once the action picks up. Once the battle begins, there is very little breathing room and the entire movie transforms into one continuous, action packed battle that was glorious to watch.
Worth the hype
The only minor gripe that I could find with the movie was the somewhat cheesy dialogue depicted in the subtitles. Although the characters were relatable, interesting and fun to watch, the fact that the movie was subtitled meant that some of the nuances in the dialogue were missed. However, that is of little effect to take away any enjoyment of the movie, which was deserving of the hype. Final Singularity is the product of animation studio CloverWorks, which has a proven track record for producing amazing animations, and they didn’t disappoint this time either. Animations were fluid and dynamic, with great attention to detail, especially in action scenes. The sound design was impeccable as well, with each clang of metal against metal and explosion palpable. This was definitely a movie that needs to be experienced on the big screen.
A must-watch in the theatre
My excitement of being able to watch a Fate movie on the big screen in Sri Lanka did paint some rose coloured tint on my overall experience with Final Order. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a movie well deserving of your time spent in the movie theatre, especially if you are a fan of Fate and anime in general. As it is today, the Sri Lankan community of anime fans is growing in number, especially among the youth. Hopefully, this is the beginning of many more animated movies from Japan being showcased in Sri Lankan theatres.