Anime

Lil Nas X's Armor, Which Anime is it From? Fate Explained

Everything you should know about Fate/stay night and Gilgamesh, the anime franchise and character that inspired Lil Nas X for the 2021 Met Gala gold armor.

By Iyane Agossah

September 14, 2021

The latest Met Gala was held on September 13, with celebrities participating in themed costumes, and Lil Nas X was there with gold armor from an anime called Fate/stay night.

I’m sure you know who Lil Nas X is. Prolific and incredibly popular rapper. Artist with music clips above hundred of millions of views on YouTube. Icon of the Black LGBTQ+ community.

Even someone like me who only knows about anime and game-related music has heard of Lil Nas X and Montero. So of course I was particularly shocked when seeing pictures of the rapper donning the golden armor of Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night.

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Which anime is the Lil Nas X golden armor from? Gilgamesh, Fate/stay night explained

Lil Nas X based the golden armor on a certain character: Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night. A franchise that initially started with a game bearing the same name. It was first released on PC in Japan in 2004, by an independent company called Type-Moon.

Fate/stay night tells the story of seven Magus who can use Magecraft and participate in the Holy Grail War. To keep things simple, in the Holy Grail War, each Magus can summon a Servant, and they all fight to the death. Not simultaneously, but across several battles spanning a few days.

The last Master-Servant pair standing then gets their wish granted by the Grail. Of course, that’s in theory. Fate/stay night gets much more complicated as the story unfolds through the eyes of protagonist Shiro Emiya.

Servants are powerful warriors selected from various heroic spirits whose tales are spread in legends or mythologies. Like King Arthur or Heracles. Servants can be summoned into different Classes, and Gilgamesh, the Hero-King of Uruk from the Epic, is part of the Archer class. This is why you’ll sometimes see Gilgamesh being referred to as “Archer”.

Gilgamesh is an incredibly charismatic character in the anime community

Gilgamesh is a blond-haired man with ominous red eyes and is often seen wearing golden armor and earrings. He is also one of the main villains of Fate/stay night, and by far one of the most powerful characters of the series.

In Fate/stay night, and other stories written by Kinoko Nasu (co-founder of Type-Moon) Magus characters are almost always bad people. Magi have a twisted sense of values due to prioritizing Magecraft research above anything else. Even then, Gilgamesh manages to be worse. But that’s what makes fans love him. See Vegeta in Dragon Ball? “Gil” is even more arrogant than that.

Furthermore, Gilgamesh doesn’t always appear as a villain in the series. In spin-off games following Fate/stay night, such as Fate/Extra, Gilgamesh is one of the Servants the Master protagonist can summon. While he always keeps his detestable but charismatic personality, he makes for a powerful ally. Fate/Extra was first released in 2010, and a remake is in development.

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Gilgamesh using his iconic technique Gate of Babylon in Fate/stay night, origin of many memes

How do I start Fate/stay night and the Fate franchise?

First off, it’s important to note that all of the series released by Type-Moon are connected together to create the Nasuverse. Everything is loosely connected and taking place in the same universe. So there are different ways to enter this franchise. I’ll introduce some below.

The second thing you absolutely must keep in mind is that the Nasuverse is aimed towards mature audiences. Who are accustomed to Japanese media. To give you an idea, Attack on Titan can be considered as a teens anime and is already pretty gore.

Meanwhile, many Type-Moon stories have way more disturbing content than Attack on Titan. Tsukihime Remake, the latest game by Type-Moon freshly released on PS4 and Switch in Japan, is rated 18+ only.

The Nasuverse is also one of the most convoluted series out there. When you include spinoff game FGO, Fate/Grand Order, there’s even more lore than the Trails Series. Overall, it’s definitely not for everyone.

How to watch Fate, the anime franchise the Lil Nas X golden armor is from

If you’re still interested, Here are some tips to get into Fate. First of all, do not start by watching Fate/Zero. Just like many prequels in Japanese media, it assumes you’ve already seen what happens next and is not beginner-friendly. You should avoid Fate/Zero at first, especially if you’re still unused to anime and Japanese media in general.

The first entry point I suggest is the TV series called Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works. It’s on Netflix. The original Fate/ stay night game had three distinct scenarios, with very different developments. This TV series adapts one of these scenarios while introducing things out for newcomers.

The other entry point I recommend is Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners. It’s a supernatural thriller series of seven movies + several epilogues. All of it is on Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime. Be sure to watch the movies in the order in which they were released.

Kara no Kyoukai is the adaptation of a novel, one of the first written by Kinoko Nasu. And while it can be pretty complicated at times, watching it all will help you understand the concepts reused in other parts of the Nasuverse.

Next, if you’re already used to anime and even visual novels, and if you prefer taking your time rather than being pressed ahead by Fear of Missing Out, you could try playing the original Fate/stay night game, or Mahoutsukai no Yoru. Both are very good for learning the basics of Nasuvese. Both games have fan translations you’ll be able to find by digging around.

Finally, once you’ve experienced one of these, you’re pretty much free to watch anything you want. Just keep in mind it’s always best to watch series in the same order they were first released in Japan.

All of the Nasuverse anime adaptations nowadays are handled by Studio Ufotable. This is the studio behind the Demon Slayer anime, with the record-breaking movie Mugen Train. So you can always expect very high quality from Ufotable series.

Another inspiration I could explain for the Lil Nas X armor is the Gold Saint Cloth in the Saint Seiya anime franchise. I might do it another day. Lil Nas X will release the album Montero on September 17. Meanwhile, you can always catch me on Twitter @A_iyane07 if you have any questions on the Nasuverse.

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Iyane Agossah
@A_iyane07

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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