Clara and I streamed the Fate/Grand Order panel yesterday from Anime Expo in Los Angeles. It was unreal hearing Rumi Ookubo who voices Astolfo and Elisabeth Bathory, the latter servent being the first I rolled! But I practically had heart palpatations when Ayako Kawasumi came out.

To put into context why, I offer my post about Jean-Luc Piacrd from last year:

Picard was aspirational to so many of us growing up. In the face of scary danger, he projected calm rationality, political savvy, charisma, trust in his team, and above all: class. He often didn’t pick up a phaser, because he didn’t need to.

I feel the same way about Saber, the character Akako voiced from the beginning. The enduring Fate franchise has been a part of my life for so long, and a large part of the reason I started playing Fate/Grand Order was when I discovered I could play her. I since became a little too obsessive with Mashu and Umu-chan in her various forms, but there’s no question Saber is the de facto mascot of the Fate universe; or cash cow as Carninal Phantasm referred to her!

I was absolutely an Emiya growing up; perhaps unsurprising given he was shamelessly designed for nerds like me to identify with. Despite our best intentioned but thorough bumbling of everything, Saber was always there for us. There’s no way for this not to sound cheesy, but she helped through some tough chapters in my life; and based on the audience reaction when Akayo came out, I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

The most interesting part of the panel discussion for me was how the actors approached voicing all the Fate/Grand Order character variations. Ayako said she’d ask herself how the different outfits—bubbly swimsuits, dark armour and such—would change the character, but that ultimately it was always Saber underneath.

I’m hoping there’s a recording of the panel somewhere, it was lots of fun.