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Anime Expo 2022
Fate/Grand Order 5th Anniversary

by Bamboo Dong,

Fans packed into Petree Hall on Sunday to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the English version of the Fate/Grand Order mobile game, which promised an hour and a half of surprises and special guests. The panel was hosted by English localization producer Albert Kao, who immediately shared the first surprise of the hour—a beautiful piece of art by illustrator Namie, which fans can see in person at the booth.

After recapping some of the events that have been featured in the game over the years, the panelist showed a 5th anniversary celebration PV animated by A-1 Pictures. Following that was a recorded message from actress Rie Takahashi, who plays Mash Kyrielight in the Fate/Grand Order game and anime adaptation. Greeting the crowd, she said that she enjoys checking what her log-in day is because it makes her emotional to think about how much time she's spent with the game. Speaking on what it's been like for the anime series to catch up to the Solomon arc, she said that while she was playing the game, there were a lot of scenes she thought would be great for her to voice in the series. She was surprised, though, that when they actually recorded, “the scenes where I teared up are actually scenes were Mash didn't cry at all! That was very memorable. When I was on the verge of tears, I remembered that Mash stands tall and strong.”

Next up was a video message from Shimazaki Nobunaga, who plays both Arjuna in the Fate/Grand Order game and Ritsuka Fujimaru in the anime adaptation. He congratulated the English version of the game on reaching its fifth anniversary and thanked players for their support. Asked how he felt about playing Fujimaru in the various Fate/Grand Order projects, he said, “The more I think of him, the more I want to be like him. The more I try to analyze him, I'm inspired to be like him. He's so human. He's the epitome of a human being and he's good-leaning. But he's not just all good, and that's what I like about him. I learned so much from him, and through him I was able to see how valiant all the heroes were, and I was able to take in and receive so many things as Fujimaru Ristuka.” He added that playing Fujimaru was “one of [his] proudest works” and he learned so much as an actor and as a person.

Rumi Okubo was next, who plays Elizabeth Bathory and Astolfo. Regarding the many forms of Elizabeth she's played, she said, “We've been together for a very long time!” and confessed that one of her favorite things to do at anime conventions was to take photos with cosplayers dressed as Elizabeth and Astolfo without revealing her identity. When asked what Servant players should level, she said that everyone should level the swimsuit version of Miyamoto Musashi, who dazzles in a star-spangled bikini.

Minami Tanaka, who plays Nitocris and Valkyrie, greeted fans next, asking players who had her Servants to please raise them with care. She expressed excitement for the future of the game, saying that as the story progresses, there are some unique gimmicks that will challenge players. Asked which Servant players should prioritize leveling up, she proudly declared that it should be Lancer Cú Chulainn, but admitted it was because he was her favorite Servant. “He has both Evade AND Guts… but the power of my love is why he's so strong… When he's with me, I always win!”

To talk about some of the exciting new updates that players could expect for the fifth anniversary of the English version, Kao introduced his special guest, Second Section Director Kanou Yoshiki who thanked everyone for their unwavering support.

The celebration will include a ten-part campaign, including login bonuses, 1/2 AP for Daily Quests, expanded inventory slots, new extra missions, a limited time guaranteed paid summon, and more. Since the English version of the game is roughly two years behind the Japanese version of the game, many of the fifth anniversary bonuses may not come as a complete surprise to players, but the crowd still cheered for every one. The anniversary also brings a new summoning campaign, with 5-starred Artoria Caster and Leonardo da Vinci (Rider) featured as the limited rate-up Servants. New anniversary Spiritron dresses include costumes for Arjuna, Da Vinci (Rider), Nero Claudius, Okada Izo, and Paul Bunyan.

Coming this summer is also the Summer Camp event, whose first limited rate-up banner features Sessyoin Kiara (5* - Moon Cancer), Brynhild Sigurtein (Berserker), and Illyasviel con Einzbern (Archer).

Next up was a video message from none other than Ayako Kawasumi, who has voiced Saber in Fate/stay night, Fate/Zero, and of course Altria Pendragon in Fate/Grand Order. Greeting the audience, she said, “I'm always overwhelmed by all the fans' passions. I'm sure everyone's excited right now!” Asked how she felt the first time she voiced Altria Caster, she said that even though she's voiced so many iterations of Altria, Altria Caster felt completely different from all the rest, and that she was much girlier. “I had a lot of fun voicing her,” Kawasumi added. Regarding any direction she may have received from Fate creator Kinoko Nasu, she laughed and said that he had told her, “You can forget about all the past Altrias,” in reference to how different Altria Caster was from the others. “But she is still Altria,” Kawasumi said, “which made this character hard to voice. The recording sessions with Nasu were priceless.”

For fans of the various Fate anime, seasons one and two of Fate/Grand Carnival are currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

As an extra surprise for panel attendees, Kao then played a special video—the first trailer showing the English-language version of Type-Moon's Witch on the Holy Night visual novel, which will be available this winter on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch. This visual novel is notable for being the first Type-Moon title to be officially available in English.

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