I really like the Fate franchise. I don’t own all of the memorabilia or Blu-Rays or figures (unlike a certain Lady Red and her Asuka worship) but I’ve been playing Fate/Grand Order (FGO) ever since I saw the banner hanging at Anime NYC three years ago at Jacob Javits Center. If you want to talk about waifus, there’s no better source for them that I can think of. And if you want to talk about how frustrating it is to long for waifus, only to have them dangled in front of you and then taken away, FGO is also good at that.
If you don’t already know, FGO is a hybrid visual novel/card game/gacha game for mobile platforms; I play on iPhone, for example. Although the mythos can get convoluted, your character is basically a reject Master in control of Servants based on historical, mythological, or otherwise legendary humans throughout history. You travel through time-space in order to restore irregularities in history, fighting grunts and eventually heroic Servants by the end of each Singularity. The idea of combatting as heroes and gods isn’t new–I play Smite on the PS4, which borrows from many pantheons–but the Fate twist is that the Servants are almost always gender-bent. In most cases, that means everyone you thought was a man actually turned out to be a woman. King Arthur (aka Saber)? Woman. Musashi Miyamoto? Woman, and a cute one at that.
Below are some of my favorite female/nonbinary Servants currently in my ranks:
The headaches occur from trying to best the game’s lottery-style character summon–similar to loot box mechanics–to add new Servants to your roster. This summer, as with every summer since launch, FGO ran a timed event where your favorite Servants changed their combat classes and wore swimsuits. I spent days grinding through the campaign only to fall short of completion, which meant I didn’t get the “welfare servant,” Jeanne d’Arc (Beserker class). To be honest, I didn’t care about winning her. I had my eyes set on Ushiwakamaru (Assassin class), who traded an already revealing military garb for a blue two-piece bathing suit. She’s also just a cool character, and I came to really like her while watching the Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia anime (please watch Episode 8, that’s all I’ll ask of you).
In pure gacha game fashion, I had enough Saint Quartz (SQ) to roll a dozen times, burning at least 300 of them just for one damned sprite. The game is generous with SQ so long as players log in consistently and progress through the normal campaign. Strictly speaking, there’s no numerical advantage between paying for SQ and earning it through progression; the odds of summoning your favorite Servant remain the same, unless one considers having disposable income for mobile games an advantage because it increases overall opportunity. Personally, I’ve only purchased SQ a couple of times, as there are some guaranteed class summons only available for paid SQ, but even those are random draws. At the end of the summer event, I managed to get my Ushiwaka with the very last of my free SQ pulls. My heart was aflutter!
The moral of the story is this: if you like waifus, play FGO. If you hate lottery-type events, don’t play mobile games. If you think paying for adorable sprites is stupid, go fuck yourself.