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Gilgamesh (Fate)

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You can't look at me. Worms can only look at the ground when they die, like the worms they are.
~ Gilgamesh, Fate/Zero
Gilgamesh, also known as Archer, is the secondary antagonist of Fate/Zero and the general secondary antagonist of Fate/stay Night. Specifically, he is the secondary antagonist of the Fate route, the true main antagonist of Unlimited Blade Works and a minor antagonist in Heaven's Feel. He is the Archer-class servant of Tokiomi Tohsaka in Fate/Zero, and later forms a contract with Kirei Kotomine that lasts ten years later into Fate/stay night. He has an obsession with Saber during both stories. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he was given to Shinji Matou by Kotomine as his new servant after his previous servant, Rider, was killed by Souichirou Kuzuki.

He is voiced by Tomokazu Seki in the Japanese version of the anime and Grant George in the English version of the 2006 anime and 2010 film adaption of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. In the English version of Fate/Zero and the Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works anime, he is voiced by David Vincent, who also voices Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, Jin Kisaragi and Seiji Yagiri.

Identity

Gilgamesh is the great half-god, half-human king who, during the years before Jesus Christ was born, ruled over the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, the capital of ancient Mesopotamia. He was an ultimately transcendent being so divine as to be two thirds god and one third human that no other person in the world could match him. He was a despot with high divinity who thought he was invincible. While not really a legend, he is said to have actually existed during the Sumer Dynasty five thousand years ago. He was the King of Heroes who possessed all things in the world, whose tale is recorded in mankind's oldest epic poem, "The Epic of Gilgamesh" which portrays him as a hero, destined to be king and achieve great challenges, who is driven to fulfill his destiny, facing these challenges themselves together with his best friend Enkidu.

Originally a tyrant without any care for his people, Gilgamesh however slowly changed his behavior when he gained a friend in Enkidu whom he considered to be his equal. Enkidu was created by the goddess Aruru in response to the prayers of those who suffered under Gilgamesh's oppression and tyrannical policies. Despite having a body of mud and soil, he is described as a foolish and ridiculous fellow who set his heart to stand shoulder to shoulder with the gods. Even though he feared Enkidu as an enemy at first, the day the two met was fated, and they strongly effected one another. While Enkidu was released to fight against Gilgamesh, and they met and fought as enemies, they eventually came to understand each other and began working together to rule the country together.

Both Gilgamesh and Enkidu eventually defeated the Humbaba, the guardian of the forest and beast of the gods. He became the richest king on Earth, eventually acquiring all the treasures of the world. Uruk was unprecedently prosperous, and Gilgamesh became so powerful that not even the gods could ignore his existence. One goddess, Ishtar the goddess of fertility, fell in love with him and proposed marriage to the perfect king. Immediately he rejected her; giving a long monologue summarizing her portrayal in the latest iteration of Mesopotamian mythology - a witch who was unfaithful, cruel, and the corruptor of all men. Feeling that he had insulted her, she became furious and went to her father, the god Anu, to get revenge, persuading him to unleash the Bull of Heaven.

This unopposable beast of the gods had caused seven years of starvation and destruction on the earth. Cooperating, Gilgamesh and Enkidu faced the Bull of Heaven, and successfully defeated it after he bound it with the Chains of Heaven. Ishtar's reputation was once again crushed, and her fury did not abate. She complained to the gods to give death to one of the men, as it was a sin for a human to kill the beast of the gods. Her wish was granted, and since he was created by the gods, Enkidu could not resist her command. Enkidu suffered a divine retribution that caused him to slowly weaken to death due to his hubris and disrespectful arrogance that offended the gods in heaven.

Even so, Gilgamesh could not forget the day that Enkidu passed away with tears running down his face. He asked him, "Why are you crying? Could it be that, only now, you are regretting having taken my side?" to which Enkidu responded with, "Who would understand you after I die? Who else would march forward by your side? My friend... when I think that you will live on all alone henceforth, I can’t help but shed tears...” As he saw Enkidu taking his last breaths, he realized the way the man who was not human but wanted to surpass humanity had lived was even more precious and more brilliant than all the treasures he had acquired. His last words to Enkidu were, "You fool who stretches your hand towards realms not of men... There is only one person in heaven or earth who’s worthy of appreciating your destruction, and that is none other than I, Gilgamesh. Sink into my embrace, oh you glorious and illusionary man. That is my decision.” Only an evil laughter was left echoing long after Enkidu's majestic brilliance disappeared in the night mist.

Enkidu's death was what began the downfall of Gilgamesh himself. He was shocked by the fact that death could come even to a friend of his whom he had considered his equal, tormenting him with the fear of this "death." He finally traveled to the underworld in search of immortality, and obtained the miraculous elixir of immortality at the end of a long journey accompanied by many hardships. While he was bathing on his way back, the elixir was stolen by a snake. While Gilgamesh eventually died of grief, personally he claims to Saber that he didn't really need immortality, so he gave the elixir to the snake. It is said that, because it stole his elixir and drank it, the snake begins its life again in a new body after shedding its skin. The skin shed by the first snake in the world in ancient times was later fossilized and continued to exist for countless eons before being used by Tokiomi Tohsaka as a catalyst to summon Gilgamesh as Archer during the fourth Holy Grail War.

Appearance

Gilgamesh is a tall and dignified young man with beautiful golden hair like a blazing flame. He remarkably handsome and beautiful man with an elegant face, and his blood-red irises give off a mysterious radiance that make people wither, and make his gaze even more brilliant. He is very "well-endowed," and possesses endless vitality, virility, libido, eloquence and charisma He has a compelling voice, flawless smooth skin, perfect teeth, a "perfect, Golden-proportioned body" that is described as emanating majesty that makes the flames surrounding him afraid to come close. His perfect body shape remains’ perfect no matter how much calories he intakes. Regardless of much he indulges in unhealthy habits he remains perfect. He naturally exerts his willpower unto others; attracting others to perceive him as the natural leader. He passively radiates an aura of attractiveness, naturally inducing pleasure and desire while subtly lifting inhibitions. The affected targets remain fully themselves, but can't help but long for his favor and affection. His features are capable of sweeping hearts at a glance; he has strong, attractive manly scent and arousing pheromones that passively rises from him. He regularly wears golden armor that makes a heavy first impression on those encountered by himself. When he fights at his full power in Fate/hollow atraxia, he gains a number of red tattoos on his body that are not usually present.

He is often referred to as the "Golden Archer" and the "golden-sparkling Servant", and Rider generally calls him "Goldy." Rin Tohsaka also calls him "goldie", though it has less to do with the color of his hair and more simply due to the fact that she thinks he looks to be having a rich and luxurious life.

Gilgamesh likes to wear casual clothing, "playing attire" to ward off boredom from being in spirit form when he's not battling, such as modern match-up of a leather jacket with fashionable furs and leather pants. He appears to be a regular foreigner to Rin and Archer, and does not openly give off the impression of a Servant or Master due to his body being made of flesh after the fourth Holy Grail War.

Upon drinking his potion of youth, he takes on a child form referred to as Child-Gil. He has the same blood-red eyes and golden hair that makes him stand out from others. Shirou is unable to identify him on sight and finds it hard to believe that they are the same person even after being told so.

Personality

After drinking his potion of youth and becoming uncorrupted, Gilgamesh becomes a little boy. Surprisingly, this child version of Gilgamesh is well-mannered, polite, and amiable, not to mention perfectly sane and rational, completely different from his extremely haughty, rude (and sometimes irrational and violent-tempered) adult counterpart. He becomes popular and an idol among children in Fuyuki, as he is seen leading a Football team with amazing and flawless leadership. As a child, he not only retains his memory but also his royal and divine charisma as well. He remembers Shirou and greets him politely, while Shirou initially wonders whether he is Gilgamesh's younger brother before being corrected, though the child Gilgamesh wished he had brothers and sisters. He also expresses his uneasiness of how he grows up becoming someone so unpleasant, referring to his adult alter ego's personality. He also approves of Shirou's relationship with Saber and states that she is unsuitable for someone his age. Seeing him with the children, Shirou wonders how Gilgamesh will grow to be someone so unpleasant.

He retains his boy alter ego and amiable personality even when he reverts back to an adult, as he is seen fishing with several of his children companions (dubbed Gil's Brigade) at Fuyuki Dock, along with Archer and Lancer. He is also less arrogant than usual, showing that his personality has improved greatly somehow, even when he is boasting of his superior quality rods compared to Lancer's and Archer's own. He is also apparently a fan of Weekly Jump, telling one of the boys that he can read it after Gilgamesh is finished.

Gilgamesh greatly differs from most of the sovereigns and leaders in the history of humanity. He placed himself before his nation and the people, and he had neither the curiosity nor desire to conquer, possibly because he had too much in the beginning. He takes the time to enjoy himself, mastering every treasure and every pleasure. With conviction to treat good and evil equally, he has no need for other ideologies and ways of life 

As an adult, Gilgamesh is extremely arrogant and selfish, claiming that everything in the world is his possession and that he's the one and only king. He is unable to acknowledge anyone's authority, not even from the gods. He's incredibly proud, especially of his treasure collection. In battle he's prone to underestimating his opponents and views fights as a game of amusement. His huge ego prevents him from acknowledging his opponent as a real threat and he doesn't take fights seriously at all. As such, he prefers to severely handicap himself and mindlessly shoot his endless number of Noble Phantasms.

Gilgamesh had an extremely close relationship with Enkidu. He responds to Rider's request to join him as an ally with the words, "It is unfortunate, but I do not require a second friend. Past and future, my companion will only be one."

Given the pleasant personality his child form has is totally different from that of his adult counterpart, it is likely that Gilgamesh was a much better person when he was still a little boy. How he grew to be someone so unpleasant and haughty remains a mystery.

Development

While selecting heroes for Fate/stay night, Gilgamesh was chosen as the oldest and most obscure hero that Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi could find in contrast to the well-renowned Heracles. While there were other candidates, they liked his strong-sounding name and myth. Since his initial conception, the overall concept of the character has changed very little.

Role

Fate/Zero

Gilgamesh is summoned as Archer by Tokiomi Tohsaka in the fourth Holy Grail War. While the relic used as the catalyst looked like the broken fragment of a mummy, it was actually claimed to be the fossil of the first skin ever shed by a snake. He immediately takes notice of both Saber and Rider due to their status as kings. As they exchange their philosophies on ruling as monarchs, he develops a fascination for Saber due to her flawed ideals and the chance to see them crush her in despair. He feels Rider is a suitable opponent after witnessing Ionioi Hetairoi, and exclaims that he will be the one to kill him.

He eventually begins to take an interest in the actions taken by Kirei Kotomine, Tokiomi's disciple, because of the conflicts in his heart. He has begun to find Tokiomi boring and uninteresting to view, so he attempts to guide Kirei into finding true pleasure in his otherwise empty life. He suggests that Kirei should determine the backgrounds and the motivations of the other Masters and Servants as to why they wish to obtain the Holy Grail. As Kirei takes an interest in Kariya Matou, he convinces him to learn about him specifically

In the culmination of these events, Kirei reveals that Tokiomi will use a Command Spell to force Gilgamesh to commit suicide to gain the Holy Grail and proposes that he should form a new contract. Gilgamesh allows him to murder his former mentor and forms a contract with Kirei afterward. He continues to observe Kirei's movements with interest, and finally has his duel with Rider that ends in Rider's defeat. In a moment of respect, he spares Waver Velvet after the fight because he no longer has any claims as a Master, only proclaims that he is Rider's follower, and says that as his king told him to live, he cannot seek revenge only to die.

During the final confrontation with Saber, he proposes that she becomes his wife while she lays defeated in front of him. Their battle is interrupted by Kiritsugu Emiya ordering Saber to destroy the Holy Grail. Due to his proximity, Gilgamesh is caught off guard and becomes drenched by the pollution that spills from the Holy Grail. He obtains a physical body, and because he has been incarnated into the world, he decides that it is time to once again unite the world under his rule. He continues to follow Kotomine after the war is over, and Kotomine provides him with energy drained from children orphaned by the fire to sustain himself. He decides to wait for the next Holy Grail War to cleanse humanity, so he retrieves a potion of temporary youth from his vault that reduces his physical age and allows him to smoothly blend in with society for ten years.

Fate/stay night

'All the evils in the world'? Bring thrice as much if you want to stain me!
~ Fate/stay night

Gilgamesh is one of the antagonists in each scenario of Fate/stay night. He first appears before the start of the Fifth Holy Grail War around Sakura's house. He identifies her as “the other Grail” and comes to tell her “Go die right now.” It is just a suggestion rather than a command, as he believes that the matter will develop into some sort of entertainment regardless of the situation. When asked about the encounter, Sakura just claims that he was asking for directions and that “It was English” in order to hide the truth.

Fate

In Fate, he kills Caster as she assaults Shirou's residence, and later ambushes Shirou and Saber during their date. After that, he kills Lancer. Ultimately, he is killed in a climatic battle with Saber at the Ryuudouji Temple atop Mount Enzou.

Unlimited Blade Works

Gilgamesh is more active in Unlimited Blade Works, and reprises his role as the final antagonist; He is "lent" to Shinji Matou after Shinji's Servant, Rider, is killed by Souichirou Kuzuki and later easily killed Ilya and Berserk. Gilgamesh attempts to use Shinji as the core of the Holy Grail, but he is killed by Archer after being cornered by Shirou.

Ilya's death - Unlimited Blade Works04:37

Ilya's death - Unlimited Blade Works

It is interesting to note that in Unlimited Blade Works, Gilgamesh was depicted as a Complete Monster, unlike his other appearances in other Fate titles and routes. The Unlimited Blade Works version of Gilgamesh lacks the hidden depths of his counterparts in said other titles, and crosses the Moral Event Horizon twice in said route, first by ripping out Ilya's heart, and again later by using Shinji as a vessel for the Holy Grail. This is not the case in the anime, however, in which his personality is made closer to what it was like in Fate/Zero.

Heaven's Feel

Gilgamesh has a small role in the Heaven's Feel scenario, where he lacerates Dark Sakura with swords from the Gate of Babylon. However, he underestimates her regenerative abilities and is devoured by her shadows.

Fate/hollow ataraxia

In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Gilgamesh once again consumes his potion of youth, and holds a low-profile in Fuyuki City to avoid interacting with previous Servants or Masters. As a child, he is extremely popular with other children, retaining his royal charisma but also affable and amiable. When Shirou reunited with this younger Gilgamesh, Shirou did not recognize him and was surprised as to how Gilgamesh would eventually grow into such a haughty and selfish person. It is possible that Gilgamesh is a better person when he is still a child, or the potion he consume to revert to child affects his personality as well as his age. Furthermore, he still remembers the events in Fate/Stay Night as he recognizes Shirou and greets him politely. He is also aware of his adult alter ego and wonders why he grows up becoming someone so unpleasant. During the Fuyuki eclipse, he reverts to his adult form and assists the other Servants in slaying the endless horde of Shadow Wolf Beasts, providing the opportunity for Avenger to make his way to Heaven's Feel. He also seems to retain his pleasant personality even after he turns back as adult as he is seen fishing at Fuyuki Dock with several children, with golden fishing rods that his children companions think very cool albeit being slightly silly-looking.

Other appearances

Fate/strange fake and Fate/Extra CCC feature other incarnations of Gilgamesh separate from the version summoned during the Fuyuki Holy Grail Wars. Archer of strange fake is the Servant of Teene Cherke, and Gilgamesh in Fate/Extra CCC is one of the four selectable Servants summoned by the Protagonist along with Saber, Caster, and Archer. Fate/Prototype features Archer, an alternate version of Gilgamesh that lacks his kingly disposition. In Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya, Gilgamesh is 8th servant as well as the 2nd archer. Unlike his Fate/stay night counterpart, who is extremely stingy when using either Gate of Babylon or Ea, Gilgamesh does not hesitate to utilize either of them at maximum output.

Abilities

He has the skill Golden Rule, being fated to a life that is filled with riches. It's a measure of the chance of attracting gold in one's life. The level of gold provided by rank A will make the user incredibly wealthy to the point where money trouble will be unknown, allowing him to live the life of a nabob. He attracts wealth and resources making him incredibly wealthy to the point where money trouble is unknown, He will always be lucky and wealthy. As such he can become rich very quickly and easily.

He has the highest rank of Charisma, rank of A+, making it no longer a matter of popularity or skill, but closer to something like sorcery or curse enough to influence and build a grand empire on a global scale. He is the greatest king, so his ability to command and lead great armies is perfect. He is able to intuitively utilize his resources perfectly, allowing him to optimally succeed in any situation. He always knows the right move, making him invincible. Any army led by him will have a tremendous increase in abilities because an egotistical Gilgamesh radiating with self-confidence is sure to boost the morale of his army to an extremely high level.

He has a senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, perception, intuition are several levels above the ordinary. He can easily and constantly observe and analyze everything that is going on around him without missing even the smallest detail. He can make accurate deductions and instantly react perfectly. This happens without any mental or physical strain the whole process is natural for Gilgamesh. He has tremendously vision capable of seeing absolutely anything with flawless accuracy, including things that a human eye cannot see such as air movements,  his perception and intuition are capable of passively reading any situation, to predict the outcome of every situation, any move his opponent could make as well as the minute details and movements of his general surroundings Basically he is able to perceive all cause and effect relations. And can notably deduce the path leading to any effect, allowing him to plan, analyze, and take action with absolute efficiency.  In a fighting situation, he can perfectly adapt to all factors before they even appear, achieving maximum efficiency in offense, defense, and strategy, ensuring optimal success as long is there is the slightest chance.  As a strategist, he can always achieve optimal results, perfectly anticipating all variables and his opponents' every move. These calculations can lead to extremely complicated planning in the long run, which always ends up being successful.  He can instantly understand anything by perceiving all the causes/effects it is currently made of, as well as all the previous ones that lead to this state. For example, a simple glance at someone would be enough to learn their nature, personality, history, expectations, strengths, weaknesses, etc. The perception can also be turned to the person's future, its many paths, their probabilities, and the one which will eventually be realized.  In short, he is flawless tacticians and leader, hence why he is referred to as the greatest King. He understand everything, is always several steps ahead of everyone else, and always able achieve the best possible results.  His incredible perception is not limited to his eyes, so even if he were to lose his eyes, he would still possess this “sight,” and it is this ability that allowed him to easily beat Rani VIII, who easily overwhelms all others, in chess. Compared to predicting moves and reading the flow, he is able to "gaze down and oversee" the game, with the right move always visible. He claims that to challenge him in a card game would require obtaining the precise hand one needs.  He is extremely perceptive of magecraft, allowing him to see through Caster's fake death and tell the exact number of spells a magus is preparing just by looking at them. He is able to predict the exact number of Projections prepared by Shirou, and asks what kind of hero he would be if he could not see through a magus. He is also capable of accurately assessing his opponents' abilities. He would not even consider having a battle of swordsmanship with Assassin, and while he plays around with a weakened Saber in Fate, he immediately backs off from her to avoid hand-to-hand combat during Unlimited Blade Works after she receives a boost in power from her contract with Rin.

Servants are normally corrupted and blackened upon contact with the incarnation of All the World's Evil from the Holy Grail, but Gilgamesh is unable to be controlled or blackened due to his powerful ego that can stave back the mental pollution. He claims that someone would need at least three times that amount to even think about affecting him. The only change is that the saturation converts his spiritual body to one of flesh and blood. During Heaven's Feel after being devoured by Sakura, she quickly converted him to mana in haste because she was afraid he might tear her up from the inside if she does not digest him.

Gilgamesh is placed into the Archer class because of his main Noble Phantasm, Gate of Babylon. It grants him access to all of the world's treasures that he collected during his life, which include prototypes of other heroes' Noble Phantasms, and he can launch them as the strongest arrows towards his opponents. While he may sometimes choose to wield them as regular weapons, he mainly fights by raining down an infinite amount of weapons on his opponents. The most trusted Noble Phantasms contained within include Enkidu and Ea. While he has numerous Noble Phantasms, none are indicative of his true identity, and the only person through both Holy Grail Wars to figure out his identity without being told is Rider. His compatibility against Heroic Spirits is great due to the versatility of his weapons. He can be called the "Servant Destroyer" because they are no match for him. He is undoubtedly the strongest Servant.

He is rarely serious while fighting, describing his going all out in hollow ataraxia as a once in a lifetime whim, and it is said he could have ended the Fourth Holy Grail War in a single night if he wished. He is extremely perceptive of magecraft, allowing him to see through Caster's fake death and tell the exact number of spells a magus is preparing just by looking at them. He is able to predict the exact number of Projections prepared by Shirou, and asks what kind of hero he would be if he could not see through a magus. He is also capable of accurately assessing his opponents' abilities. He would not even consider having a battle of swordsmanship with Assassin, and while he plays around with a weakened Saber in Fate, he immediately backs off from her to avoid hand-to-hand combat during Unlimited Blade Works after she receives a boost in power from her contract with Rin.

He normally wears golden armor materialized from magical energy much like Saber's armor. It is extremely strong to the point that Shirou initially assumes that it is his main Noble Phantasm. It has a strong innate Magic Resistance, and it is durable enough to block Tsubame Gaeshi and numerous strong blows from Invisible Air simply by protecting his head with his hands. While it is completely free from damage after Saber's attacks, he claims it is at its limit and that any more would be bad even if his armor doesn't give out to attacks often. Shirou believes she would have been able to slash through it if she were to relaunch her barrage of attacks.

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