Gilgamesh the Hero


   Square's web site recently asked Square fans to vote for their favorite Final Fantasy V and VI tunes for inclusion on a Final Fantasy Anthology soundtrack CD. Gamers were thrilled at the chance for feedback - but how would they know which songs to vote for? Final Fantasy V posed an especial problem, as many Final Fantasy fans had never played the title, and thus had no idea for which songs to vote. The answer, of course, is "Battle With Gilgamesh." But for those still in doubt, Andrews Vestal and Kaufmann have prepared this brief and unbiased feature detailing why "Battle With Gilgamesh" deserves your vote.

Point / Counterpoint:

"Gilgamesh is the man" vs. "No, Gilgamesh is the man"

AndrewV: That Gilgamesh, he is so friggin' awesome. I mean, he's the man!

AndrewK: Dude, you're slighting Gilgy. He is the man!

AndrewV: Do you have any idea what you're talking about? I mean, just look at him! Those robes, that helmet, his weaponry ... he has the look that only the man can have.

AndrewK: You're obviously not looking at the same Gilgamesh I am. I look at him, and I see the best. The best that is associated only with the man.

AndrewV: Put down that crack bong and listen to me - this is Gilgamesh! Wielder of the Eight Sacred Weapons? Leader of his mighty sidekick, Enkidu? Infallable supporter of all that is right and just with the world? Master of the Super Ultimate Gilgamesh Metamorph? In other words, the man?

AndrewK: Take off your headphones and turn down the Barry Manilow - haven't you heard Nobuo Uematsu's melodious musical masterpiece, "Battle with Gilgamesh"? It's a powerful tune that distinguishes Gilgamesh from all the pretenders to the coolness throne. That driving, melody-carrying bass; searing, crisp hihat; soaring snythesized arpeggios; grinding grunge guitar riffs; and stunning syncopation - all of these combine into a tune fit for only one man: the man!

AndrewV: Is your heart so callous and cruel that you are unable to feel emotion at (spoiler, highlight to reveal) his noble sacrifice on the Cleft of Dimension? The selflessness with which he gave himself up for Butz, the one man he considered his friend?(end spoiler) Oh, I weep for thee, you unfortunate, stone-hearted, man-shaped shell, you who are unable to comprehend the dignity with which Gilgamesh is the man!

AndrewK: You fool. You are the most foolish of the fools, a model of stupidity upon an altar of ignorance in a chapel of boorishness at the corner of 5th and Dumb. Gilgamesh is the man, and your shallow comprehension of his stature will never change that.

AndrewV: You're hopeless.

AndrewK: You too.

Who's the Coolest of Them All?

Is Gilgamesh truly the greatest villain around? Let's take a look at some of his so-called "competition":

Exdeath: Exdeath isn't that bad a villain - for a tree. Yes, there's no two ways about it: Exdeath is a tree. An evil tree, a menacing tree, but a tree nonetheless. When I think of villainous traits, "green and leafy" aren't at the top of the list. Exdeath is a job more suited for an effeminate lumberjack, not the four sacred Light Warriors. More telling is Exdeath's signature attack: "Mu," the Japanese character for "Nothing." Cause that's what Exdeath is! Nothing! Nothing compared to - GILGAMESH!

A tree.

Emperor Gestahl: Does this guy even count? He's about as threatening as your great-grandfather accountant. If FF VI were a movie, he'd be played by Bob Barker. Gilgamesh could spay and neuter this loser without a second thought.

Your grandfather.

Kefka: Did you ever see Stephen King's "It"? "It" was scary, eh? We know scary, deranged clowns, our friends, and Kefka is no scary, deranged clown. Kefka is better suited to blowing balloon animals at a second grader's birthday party than world domination. Once Kefka does manage to gain control of the world, what does he do? Fry things on whims. No overarching plans, no necessary infrastructure. The heroes could land their airship on his tower without opposition. With shoddy planning like this, it's no wonder he fell from power just as quickly as he rose. Gilgamesh knows that with great coolness comes great responsibility.

A circus reject.

Do you want one of these losers representing evil on the Final Fantasy Anthology? Neither do we.

Gilgamesh = The Man

Gilgamesh's Historical Coolness

From the Encyclopedia Mythica:

   Gilgamesh is the great hero of Sumerian and Babylonian epic poetry. He is the precursor of Heracles and other folk heroes. Gilgamesh is the son of the goddess Ninsun and Lugalbanda or a priest of Kullab (part of Uruk), and fifth king of Uruk after the flood. He was famous as a great builder and as a judge of the dead.

   The Epic of Gilgamesh was preserved on clay tablets which were deciphered in the last century. It contains the adventures of the great King of Uruk (southern Babylonia) in his fruitless search for immortality and of his friendship with Enkidu, the wild man from the hills.

   The astute reader will note several things from this passage:

  • Gilgamesh was first. Anyone cool in subsequent centuries was just stealing his act.
  • Gilgamesh was partially immortal. Never one to rest on his laurels, Gilgamesh spent much of his life searching for complete immortality.
  • Gilgamesh was esteemed royalty, yet was also a man of the people. He was not above building for those he ruled, and his greatest friend was a rural savage.
  • Gilgamesh was a great judge of character. Why else would he be put in charge of the afterlife?
  • Although not mentioned in this passage, the Epic of Gilgamesh also mentions that Gilgamesh was the strongest human being on Earth and unable to be defeated in battle.

   In other words, Gilgamesh was THE MAN.

The Eight Holy Weapons of Gilgamesh

   After performing his Super Ultimate Gilgamesh Metamorph, Gilgamesh is capable of wielding the eight holy weapons - simultaneously! There are the eight weapons with which Gilgamesh is armed. Ask yourself what greater force the Universe could possibly harbor than Gilgamesh. Answer yourself, "None. None at all." (Yoichi is a hero of the Tale of Genji, while Sasuke is the legendary ninja, Sarutobi Sasuke.)

  1. Excalibur
  2. Assasin Dagger
  3. Sasuke's Katana
  4. Holy Lance
  5. Rune Ax
  6. Masamune
  7. Yoichi's Bow
  8. Fire Byuuto
He slices, he dices, he kicks your ass eight different ways.

Guest Starring...

No doubt bowing to the relentless demands of his worldwide fan base, Square has brought Gilgamesh back for Final Fantasy VIII. After a painful two game absence, the series' greatest hero returns. Rejoice and see for yourself!

His coolness transcends individual titles.

Hear the Glory

   Hear Gilgamesh's theme for yourself:

IT Austen L
MIDI Andrew Thompson and Mathew Valente
MP3 Final Fantasy V OSV
S3M Mathew Valente

   Note: The GIA does not usually provide sound samples, so unfortunately no assistance can be provided regarding these different sound formats. Please don't write us asking for help playing them - if you need help, try searching around.

Rock the Vote.

   There remains one small blemish on Gilgamesh's spotless record. No fault of his, of course, but instead the fault of the group of second-graders that generated the song titles for Final Fantasy V's soundtrack. These poor, misguided youngsters gave the most noble theme of the most noble of men the most ignoble of names: "The Big Bridge." While all God-fearing Final Fantasy players have been using the innately superior title of "Battle with Gilgamesh" for several years, it's time that title was made official canon. When voting for "Battle with Gilgamesh," be sure to request that Square use that title on the soundtrack, and that Square NOT use the painfully inferior title "The Big Bridge." Together, we can erase the blight of "The Big Bridge" from Gilgamesh's otherwise flawless record once and for all!

   Now, go forth and vote with pride for a man amongst men, a hero amongst heroes, a god amongst immortal greats: GILGAMESH!!

Feature by Andrew Vestal and Andrew Kaufmann, GIA
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