Fools! You face the mightiest swordsman in all Ivalice! You face ME! GILGAMESH!Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh is a character in Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, and appears as a recurring boss and as a cameo in a sidequest. Infamous across Ivalice, Gilgamesh is a duelist and a sword collector, much like in his various other appearances throughout the series. Gilgamesh is accompanied by Enkidu.
Gilgamesh uses weapons from various Final Fantasy games, as well as one from Dragon Quest (also known as Dragon Warrior). The swords differ from their appearances in their respective games, and the Bestiary states none of the swords is authentic. Like most appearances of Gilgamesh, he alludes to his original appearance in Final Fantasy V.
Gilgamesh retains all the features that typically characterize him: an arsenal of weapons, red and orange clothing and a gray complexion. Gilgamesh has six arms, differing from the usual eight arms. His clothing is more regal with more gold decorations, possibly to fit in with the Ivalice setting.
Gilgamesh is a battle-hungry sword collector who is nonetheless an honorable fighter, and like his other appearances, is not openly hostile towards the party. His personality in Ivalice is more menacing, characterized by his more threatening dialogue and harsher voice than many of his other appearances. Gilgamesh is still a comic relief character, however, with his comical moments of failure.
Throughout the battles Gilgamesh wields various famous swords used by the protagonists of other Square Enix games. When he first appears he only uses unnamed katana that uses the model from the weapon Kotetsu, but as the fight progresses he draws his other swords. As a reference to Excalipoor, the weapon Gilgamesh mistook for the legendary Excalibur in Final Fantasy V, Gilgamesh's weapons are counterfeit versions of the real items.
These swords are:
- Cloud Strife's Buster Sword: the blade has the kanji for "fake"/"imitation" painted on it and four holes instead of the usual two.
- Squall Leonhart's Revolver: instead of Griever, the blade has an image of a chocobo and chocobo footprints, and it has no keychain.
- Zidane Tribal's Orichalcon: this is Zidane's left-hand dagger. It is longer than the original and has a differently-shaped handle.
- Tidus's Brotherhood: the blade has two hooks protruding from the tip instead of one and is more transparent than the original. The guard has a slightly different design.
- Odin's Zantetsuken: it has a skull emblem near the guard, rather than being shaped like a lightning bolt.
- Two copies of the Tournesol, the game's strongest greatsword. In the first battle Gilgamesh uses one with a moon emblem on it, and in the second battle he uses one with a sun emblem. The two share an extra blade running along the curved main blade, and have shorter, thicker handles than the real Tournesol. Gilgamesh's use of the two swords with differentiating emblems is a reference to Excalibur and Excalipoor, which had the sun and the moon in concept art for Final Fantasy V.
Gilgamesh also wields the Wyrmhero Blade, his ultimate weapon that he uses in the last phase of the second battle with him. Unlike his other weapons the Wyrmhero Blade appears to be genuine, with no cosmetic differences from the version the player can acquire. When Gilgamesh is defeated he leaves the sword stuck in the dirt, and examining it prompts the message "Appears to be just an ordinary sword of legend". As the player leaves the area, Gilgamesh returns to seize the sword before fleeing.
Final Fantasy XII
Gilgamesh became feared across Ivalice as a sword collector and an unmatched duelist. Montblanc posts a bill for an Elite Mark asking Clan Centurio hunters to track down the "Ancient Man of Mystery". When Vaan approaches Montblanc concerning the bill, the latter tells him that an individual has wagered his sword in combat with the Ancient Man of Mystery and lost, and that this mysterious adversary is to be found on a bridge somewhere in the Lhusu Mines.
The party gives chase to the man of mystery and finds him on a bridge in the Lhusu Mines, where he is looking for the "sword of legend" and attacks the party as they accost him. Upon losing, Gilgamesh flees with his dog Enkidu at his heels, falling off the bridge to the mines' lower levels. The party tracks Gilgamesh down again and defeats him. Gilgamesh again flees, but as the party exits the chamber the battle took place in, he sneaks back to nab the sword of legend he left on the ground.
The party runs into Gilgamesh again on their quest for the ultimate fishing rod. They follow clues to the Barheim Passage where they find Gilgamesh hunting for legendary weapons. He explains he isn't there to spill their blood, but to hunt for a sword; he even refers to them as friends. He says, "There was no treasure, a useless stick I found". He relinquishes the fishing rod to the party before departing.
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Gilgamesh wanders with Enkidu at the Gates of Shattered Time. When he spots Vaan's party, he recognizes them as the people who had previously battled him, and vehemently denies that he, in fact, lost.
Deciding that fate had brought them back together to fight, he takes out his swords and attacks Vaan and two other party members. Gilgamesh is defeated and flees for his life.
Final Fantasy XII
Gilgamesh is fought twice in the Lhusu Mines after accepting the Elite Mark from Montblanc. In the second fight, he is a much more deadly foe with new abilities and increased stats, including triple the amount of HP. Some of his attacks are level based, such as Level 3 Disable, similar to Blue Magic spells he could wield in his Final Fantasy V appearance. Gilgamesh also gains additional cinematic attacks in his second fight.
At certain HP thresholds in each fight, Gilgamesh will change swords, and varying Genji equipment can be stolen from him. He is the only Mark with a unique battle theme, and his HP is displayed at the top of the screen like a traditional boss battle.
Completing the hunt earns 10,000 gil and the Masamune, as well as his sprite in the Sky Pirate's Den. In the Zodiac versions, the player will receive the Excalipur instead of the Masamune, but the latter can still be acquired inside a treasure in the room where Gilgamesh is fought the second time. This can be obtained regardless if the hunt was accepted or not.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are fought on the Trial Mode on Stage 94 in the Zodiac versions. He is the same as the latter battle with him in the main game, but different weapons can be stolen from him: Masamune (common), Kumbha (uncommon) and Wyrmhero Blade (rare).
As part of the fishing minigame, after the second battle with Gilgamesh, the swordsman will appear in a niche at the end of the bridge at the Barheim Passage Zeviah Span. He hands the party the Matamune fishing rod and leaps away with Enkidu hot at his heels.
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
The greatest swordsman in all of Ivalice... or so he says.In-game Description
Gilgamesh returns in the mission Battle on the Big Bridge, wandering around with Enkidu at the Gates of Shattered Time. He attacks Vaan and two other party members and summons more Enkidus into battle to assist him. Upon being defeated he flees for his life, but not before alluding to his position as a summon.
After felling Gilgamesh in battle the party unlocks his sphere on the Ring of Pacts. Gilgamesh is a Rank III non-elemental melee Esper, sharing the same rank and spot with Odin, although Gilgamesh is more powerful and also has a special attack. His normal attack, Slice Thrice, hits the enemy three times, while his special attack, Masamune, deals physical damage to one target ignoring their defense.
Gilgamesh's iconic theme, "Battle at the Big Bridge", appears during his battle in Final Fantasy XII. It is an arrangement by Hitoshi Sakimoto titled "Battle on the Big Bridge [FFXII Version]", and is the background theme for the two encounters with Gilgamesh and Enkidu at the Lhusu Mines.
The theme was released as the thirteenth track of the third disc on the Final Fantasy XII: Original Soundtrack.
"Battle on the Big Bridge" does not play during the battle against him in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. The music for the area that plays in the battle is "The Estersand".
Behind the scenes
Gilgamesh being fought on a bridge is a recurring motif of his character. Gilgamesh was introduced in Final Fantasy V where he was battled on the Big Bridge. In Final Fantasy XII he is first fought on a bridge in Lhusu Mines, and the clue for finding him in Barheim Passage as part of the fishing side quest has the player look for a broken bridge.
The boss battle contains many allusions to Gilgamesh's Final Fantasy V version in the attacks he uses in the battle, as well as the Genji equipment that can be stolen from him. Him wielding replicas of other Final Fantasy characters' swords refers to Gilgamesh's obsession with finding the legendary sword Excalibur in Final Fantasy V, as well as his dimension-transcending travels throughout the series.
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.
- Final Fantasy XII Scenario Ultimania, p. 494