Enough expository banter! Now we fight like men! And ladies! And ladies who dress like men! For Gilgamesh...it is morphing time!
Gilgamesh is a recurring boss and antagonist in Final Fantasy V. The right-hand man of Exdeath who declares Bartz Klauser as his rival, Gilgamesh fights the Warriors of Light on many occasions. Though antagonistic toward the party, Gilgamesh serves as comic relief.
Gilgamesh is the first recurring character in the Final Fantasy series, and has since made numerous appearances in the series retaining many of his characteristics from Final Fantasy V, such as his affinity to search out swords of legend.
Gilgamesh is a humanoid with a pale gray complexion and thick red/orange armor and cape. His sprite contains a battle pose with his knee bent forward, presumably signifying readiness for combat. He wields a lance, hinting that he is a Dragoon (he also uses the Jump command in one of his encounters).
After his "morphing time" in Castle Exdeath, Gilgamesh's true form is revealed. He has multiple limbs, all of which wield different weapons, and no longer retains his sprite's battle pose, instead standing tall and upright and his armor has thinned. Despite his appearance change, Gilgamesh's personality remains the same.
While he is Exdeath's right-hand man, Gilgamesh is not necessarily evil, and does not share Exdeath's goals. Rather, Gilgamesh fights to prove himself and as a challenge. During their encounters Gilgamesh exchanges banter with the Warriors of Light, and while he claims to be a powerful fighter—and lore supports this—he often gives the Warriors excuses for running away mid-battle. Gilgamesh speaks in an upper class tone though he is clumsy and unrefined otherwise.
In an interview, Hironobu Sakaguchi has alluded to Gilgamesh's early life of growing up in a village of warriors. The Genji equipment sets were ancient and precious sets of armor from the village passed on to its best warriors upon proving their worth in battle. It is said that the centuries of "blood, sweat and dust" accumulated on the Genji equipment have made them extremely resistant.
Gilgamesh came to work for Exdeath and is commanded to guard the prisoners Bartz, Lenna and Faris in Castle Exdeath. Galuf saves the trio and easily defeats Gilgamesh, and the latter runs off. When the party crosses the Big Bridge after escaping Castle Exdeath, Gilgamesh halts their progress. They defeat him even though he casts Protect, Shell and Haste on himself, and he makes up an excuse and runs off again.
Gilgamesh attacks the ship the party and Xezat are on during the battle to unlock the barrier surrounding Castle Exdeath, and brings an ally with him: Enkidu. The party defeats the duo, and Gilgamesh is thrown into the ocean after attempting to take Galuf with him. Swearing revenge, he swims off.
When the party attacks Castle Exdeath Gilgamesh attacks again, and halfway through the battle transforms into his true form, hoping to use the blade he had taken from a chest shortly before the fight, the Excalibur, to defeat the party. Finding himself unable to hurt the party, the sword turns out to be the Excalipoor, a weak replica. Exdeath banishes Gilgamesh to the Void as punishment for his incompetence.
Gilgamesh gets lost in the Void, fighting monster after monster, and when he runs into Bartz's party he at first mistakes them for monsters. Gilgamesh no longer wishes to serve Exdeath and simply wants to leave the Void, but realizes there is no escape. When the party attacks Necrophobe, Gilgamesh arrives to support the party. He sacrifices himself to save them and defeat Necrophobe. Though it is possible to defeat Necrophobe before Gilgamesh sacrifices himself, he will not appear again.
Gilgamesh's leitmotiv, "Battle at the Big Bridge," debuted in Final Fantasy V, and plays during all encounters with him and at the Big Bridge. Variations of the theme have since been used to accompany Gilgamesh during many of his appearances outside of Final Fantasy V.
Creation and development
According to the fifth "Chocobo's FF Laboratory" feature published in the November 1993 edition of V-Jump, the initial design for Gilgamesh was created by Tetsuya Nomura, although Yoshitaka Amano was the one who drew the character's final artwork. The magazine states that Nomura's initial design looked like a cross between Gilgamesh's first and second in-game forms.
The Final Fantasy V incarnation of Gilgamesh appears as a playable character and a boss.
The Final Fantasy V incarnation of Gilgamesh appears as a summonable vision and a boss. As a playable unit, Gilgamesh is a 5-7★ Rare Summon. His job is listed as Guard Captain, and his role is Physical Damage. He appears as boss in the event The Big Bridge.
Gilgamesh is the main character of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian poem considered the first great work of literature. He is a demigod with superhuman strength who builds the walls of Uruk to defend his people and travels to meet the sage Utnapishtim, a survivor of the Great Flood.
Gilgamesh is believed to have actually existed by many scholars. It is estimated he lived sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC. The Sumerian King List claims Gilgamesh ruled the city of Uruk for 126 years.
Gilgamesh in Final Fantasy is also based on Benkei, a famous character in the Japanese mythologies and chronicles of the Genpei War. A powerful warrior monk said to have personally defeated 200 men in every battle he engaged in and said to have had the strength of demons, Benkei's introduction sees him set out to collect 1,000 weapons, and to this end he posted himself at Gōjō Bridge in Kyoto and challenged every warrior who attempted to cross. On his 1000th duel Benkei was defeated by Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the only defeat he had ever known, and became his faithful retainer throughout the rest of his life.
From the story of Benkei, Gilgamesh takes his preference for the naginata (Benkei's traditional weapon as a monk), his penchant for fighting on bridges, his collecting of weapons from enemies he defeats, and his friendship with the player's characters who defeat him. Benkei's devotion to Yoshitsune is the basis for Gilgamesh's association with Genji equipment—the Minamoto Clan is also called the Genji Clan, using the alternate pronunciation for the Chinese characters for mina and moto, gen and uji, respectively. Gilgamesh's face paint is based on traditional kabuki actors, for which Benkei is a popular character to portray.
- V-Jump, チョコボのＦＦ研究室 (Chokobo no FF Kenkyūshitsu?, lit. Chocobo's FF Laboratory), November 1993, p.188-192. Cite error: Invalid
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