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Ramen Or Bust
On the way back to their airship, (Captain) and company help a man who has collapsed. He is the ramen lover Ippatsu, and he joins them to search for a legendary ramen master when he hears about the goal of their journey.
(Captain) and company are returning to the airship after completing a mission from the Knickknack Shack.
Vyrn: Heh-heh. That was easier than expected! Huh?
Lyria: Hmm... Do you think he needs help? He seems to be having trouble staying on his feet.
Lyria: Wha? He fell down! Excuse me! Are you all right?
(Captain) runs over and helps the fallen man up.
Vyrn: Hey! Are you okay? Hang in there!
???: Ra... men...
Vyrn: Huh? That sound... Was that his stomach?
Lyria: This is terrible! Quick, we need to get him something to eat!
(Captain) and the others take the man to the nearest food stall.
Lyria: Excuse me! Is anyone in? We need some food!
Stall Owner: Hello? Oh my goodness. That poor man is on his last legs. I have just the thing for him!
???: Oh... That smell...
Stall Owner: Okay! One order of piping hot ramen to warm your belly!
Lyria: Wow, I've never seen anything like that before! There are noodles in that soup.
???: Ramen! My sweet ambrosia, how I've longed for you!
???: Slurp... Chew... Gulp!
The man devours the ramen as if he hasn't eaten in days.
Stall Owner: Now that's a man who appreciates good ramen!
???: So good!
???: It's so perfectly seasoned and savory... This is shellfish stock. Why, I'd recognize it anywhere!
???: The salt and shellfish harmonize so well, almost like a heavenly choir in my mouth, and then the fish stock brings it together.
???: The soup brings to mind the shores of Auguste, and the tangled noodles make me feel almost like I'm right there on the beach!
???: And what's this? This is no ordinary salt. Such robust flavor... Is this roasted sea salt?
Stall Owner: Unbelievable! You can tell all that from just one bowl?
???: Phew. I'm honestly ashamed that my hunger drove me to eat it so quickly.
???: Now that I've finished the soup, all that's left is a hint of fish.
???: That's how I could tell it was made with fish stock. A work of love for sure!
Stall Owner: Ha-ha! I can't tell you how happy I am to see someone who really appreciates the nuances of ramen!
???: Slurp... Chew...
Vyrn: Ha-ha! Man, just watching the way he eats makes me hungry!
Vyrn: I have an idea! We finished our mission, so let's treat ourselves to some food here, (Captain)!
Stall Owner: Of course! Please take a seat!
And so (Captain) and the crew sit with the man they saved and enjoy the delicious noodles.
???: Phew... Now that was a meal! Just what I needed to get back on my feet.
Lyria: Hee-hee! I have to agree. That was one of the tastiest things I've had in a long time!
???: Huh? How did I end up in a shop all of a sudden anyway?
Stall Owner: Well, these skyfarers brought you here.
???: Is that so? Then I've been quite rude. How can I repay you for your kindness?
Lyria: Please, there's no need. Your health is reward enough!
Ippatsu: Ha-ha. Oh, and I haven't introduced myself yet either. My name is Ippatsu.
Vyrn: Nice to meet you! So why exactly did you collapse out there?
Ippatsu: Well, I just love ramen! I can't get enough, so I hop from island to island, trying every kind I can find.
Lyria: Ramen? What's that?
Ippatsu: It's what you just ate. It actually originated on a certain island. What do you think of it? Yummy, right?
Lyria: Absolutely! It was delicious!
Ippatsu: I'm so glad you like it. I enjoy spreading the ramen love wherever I go. So anyway...
Ippatsu: I'd heard of a famous ramen stall somewhere in this town, so I hopped on an airship and managed to make it to this island well enough.
Ippatsu: But I ran low on travel expenses and refused to eat anything until I could find the ramen. I guess you saw how that worked out for me.
Vyrn: What? That's just ridiculous.
Stall Owner: I appreciate your dedication to noodles, but you should look after yourself a bit better.
Ippatsu: Oh, how embarrassing... To end up like this during my search for ramen ingredients.
Lyria: Ingredients? So you're a ramen chef too?
Ippatsu: Don't be absurd!
Ippatsu: Oh, I'm sorry. You just surprised me.
Ippatsu: When I was a child, I went through a lot. I collapsed once then too.
Ippatsu: Someone helped me up and gave me some ramen to eat. My benefactor was a ramen master of the highest degree.
Ippatsu: To this day the master searches for the very best ingredients to make the perfect bowl of ramen.
Ippatsu: But the master ended up leaving Phantagrande before trying every ingredient in the skydom.
Lyria: What? But why?
Ippatsu: One of the Seven Luminary Knights took a liking to the master's ramen.
Ippatsu: The Luminary Knight even opened a shop for that legendary chef.
Vyrn: Really? Now that's impressive!
Lyria: It really is! But for one of the Seven Luminary Knights to go to such trouble, the ramen must have been out of this world!
Vyrn: Yeah, I can't even imagine how good it must be. I just gotta try it!
Lyria: Well, until we complete the sky map and reach the edge of the sky, we'll just have to visit every ramen shop we come across!
Vyrn: That's right! Maybe we'll get lucky!
Ippatsu: Wait! What are you talking about?
Lyria: Oh, you mean the sky map? We're hoping to find a way to Estalucia...
(Captain) and company explain their quest to Ippatsu.
Ippatsu: I see. So you hope to use the completed sky map.
Ippatsu: Basically you're saying that you're determined to traverse the Grim Basin, right?
Ippatsu falls to his knees and presses his forehead against the ground.
Lyria: Wha? There's no need for that, Ippatsu!
Ippatsu: Please! You have to let me come with you!
Ippatsu: I mean, I've collected some ingredients, but I have no airship capable of getting me to the ramen master's skydom.
Ippatsu: And the Seven Luminary Knights are too busy for me to get in touch with.
Ippatsu: But if I go with you, I might be able to go and see the master personally!
Choose: We might not visit any islands with ramen shops.
- We might not visit any islands with ramen shops.
- Welcome aboard, traveler!
Ippatsu: I don't mind. That won't stop me from looking for ingredients!
Vyrn: Amazing! You're really determined to come with us! There's no way we can refuse, right, (Captain)?
Ippatsu: We need to celebrate this fateful meeting. With another bowl of scrumptious ramen!Choose: Welcome aboard, traveler!
Ippatsu: Thank you. I mean it. This means so much to me.
Ippatsu: Ha-ha. Good thing I collapsed out there.
Ippatsu: We need to celebrate this fateful meeting. With another bowl of scrumptious ramen!Continue 1
Ruffian: I can't believe it. This run-down little stall is still open!
Stall Owner: Hey! I told you not to come around here anymore!
Ruffian: And I told you this is our turf! If you wanna open a shop, you have to pay the fee!
Stall Owner: What? I'm not gonna pay one rupie to you thugs!
Ruffian: What was that? Was that a refusal I just heard?
Ippatsu: That's enough! I've had enough of people like you, traipsing around like you own the world.
Vyrn: Huh? Are you sure about this, Ippatsu?
Ippatsu: This is a restaurant, so it needs to be clean. I think it's about time we took out the trash!
Ruffian: What do you think you're doing? This can only end badly for you!
A frenzied Ippatsu grabs the thug by the neck, drags him outside, and forces him to repent.
Ruffian: Eek! Let me go!
Ippatsu: I never want to see you around here again! You hear me?
Ruffian: Y-yes! I promise! I'll never set foot in these parts again!
Ippatsu: Ah, sorry about that. Now where's that ramen?
Ippatsu: (Captain), you guys should eat something too!
Ippatsu: Let's finish our food then head back to your airship, okay?
Vyrn: Eh... Ah... Erm...
Vyrn: Hmm... What sort of weirdo did we invite onto our airship this time?
Stall Owner: Okay, guys, this is on the house! Eat up!
Ippatsu: Slurp... So good!
Thus the ramen fanatic joins the crew.
His love of ramen surpasses all else and will perhaps drive him to other skydoms and even the edge of the sky.
The Ramen Way
(Captain) and company return to the Knickknack Shack after completing a mission, but Ippatsu isn't his usual lively self. He needs more ramen, so they hurry to a neighboring town to get it.
After finishing a mission, (Captain) and company head back to the Knickknack Shack.
Sierokarte: Excellent work, everyone. So good to see you back safe and sound!
Ippatsu: Oh... Ugh...
Sierokarte: Oh my. It would seem that not all of you are sound after all.
Lyria: Well, he just seemed to run out of energy on the way back. Ippatsu, are you all right? Are you hurt anywhere?
Ippatsu: Ugh... Ra...
Ippatsu: R-ramen! My body... It craves nothing but ramen!
Vyrn: Um... You mean you're hungry, right?
Ippatsu: Nothing but ramen can satiate this hunger!
Ippatsu: Ramen is my very life essence, that which binds me together!
Lyria: Ah! Ippatsu's going to collapse!
Supporting the staggering Ippatsu, (Captain) asks Sierokarte where the nearest ramen shop can be found.
Sierokarte: Well, ramen's not very common, so I don't think you can find it in this town...
Sierokarte: Oh! Wait a second! There is one place in the neighboring town that serves it!
Ippatsu: R-really? Let's go! Now!
Vyrn: Oh... Looks like he regained some strength at the mere mention of ramen.
Vyrn: All right, let's go check out this place in the next town, (Captain)!
Ippatsu: Oh! An encounter with an as yet untasted ramen... This swelling in my chest... Surely this must be love!
Ippatsu: Ah, dearest ramen... I come to you now!
The Ramen Way: Scene 2
(Captain) and company go to a so-called ramen restaurant, but the ramen turns out to be a pale imitation of the real thing. When Ippatsu hears that the chef needs spring water to make actual ramen noodles, he hurries to the nearby mountains to get it.
Lyria: Thank goodness we made it here all right! Now let's see... Where was the ramen place?
Ippatsu: Oh, it is my eternal regret that I cannot hear the call of the ramen...
Vyrn: Call of the ramen? What's he talking about?
Lyria: Hmm... According to the map Siero drew for us, it should be this way. Let's go!
Lyria: Um... It just looks like a regular fast food place. Do you really think they serve ramen here?
Ippatsu: Oh... Ugh...
Lyria: Oh! Hold on, Ippatsu!
Chef: Hey, is that guy okay?
Vyrn: Hey there, can we get ramen at this place?
Chef: Huh? Well, we do serve it, but that guy hardly looks like he's in any state to be eating.
Ippatsu: No! A bowl of ramen is the only medicine I need!
Chef: Um... If you say so. Well then, just give me a second.
Ippatsu: Ah... I wonder what marvelous manner of ramen it will be!
Lyria: Hee-hee. I'm so glad you're feeling better, Ippatsu!
Chef: Sorry for the wait, everyone. This ramen is made with stock from my dad's special recipe.
Ippatsu: Oh! The clarity of this soup... My heart throbs!
Ippatsu: Slurp... Ah. This refreshing sensation... Like a rooster crowing at dawn!
Ippatsu: And these noodles, golden as the rising sun in the morning, coaxing one into... Huh? A rude awakening!
Ippatsu: Hmm... The noodles are flavorsome and piquant, and the ingredients are sublime.
Ippatsu: But with this degree of firmness, the noodles fail to release the passionate flavors of the soup.
Ippatsu: What we have here in other words is nothing more than soup with pasta thrown in!
Ippatsu: This, my good sir, is no ramen!
Vyrn: Say what?
Vyrn: I mean, isn't that exactly what ramen is? Soup with noodles?
Ippatsu: Oh, so innocent! So green! Greener than the seaweed that garnished my last dish.
Vyrn: Huh? Am I?
Ippatsu: You are indeed.
Ippatsu: But I can forgive a ramen novice such as Vyrn.
You, on the other hand!
Ippatsu: How dare you serve this as ramen? However good the taste may be, this is unforgivable!
Ippatsu: This is truly deserving of the term outrageous! And you call yourself a chef?
Chef: I'm very sorry... The truth is that ramen was a specialty where my father grew up, and it was his signature dish.
Chef: But he passed away too soon, before I had the chance to learn the art from him.
Chef: I've been trying as hard as I can to reproduce the dish to his standard, but I guess I really am no good.
Ippatsu: I see. I suppose that explains it.
Ippatsu: The soup stock and soy sauce mixture are done very well. The issue I have is with the noodles, you see.
Ippatsu: It's a crying shame that such a delicious soup isn't embraced by a softer complement of noodles.
Chef: Ah... I see...
Ippatsu: Hmm... When your father made the noodles, can you remember him adding anything to them?
Chef: Hmm.. Well, not especially... Oh! But he did often go to the mountains to draw water from a spring.
Ippatsu: That's it! Let's go get some of that water! Quickly!
Vyrn: Oh! Hey! Hold up!
Chef: Oh no! For the past few years, the mountains near here have been infested by packs of monsters. They're incredibly dangerous!
Lyria: Let's go, (Captain)! We have to catch up with him fast!
The Ramen Way: Scene 3
(Captain) and company defeat some monsters and obtain the spring water, which turns out to be just the missing ingredient the ramen chef needs. The chef insists on thanking Ippatsu, so Ippatsu asks for a second helping of ramen.
Clearing the monsters out of his way with feverish zeal, Ippatsu leads (Captain)'s crew to the source of the spring.
Lyria: Um... This just looks like normal water to me.
Ippatsu: Glug... Glugh... Gulp. Oh, this is it!
After tasting the spring water, Ippatsu smiles and scoops it into a container he has with him.
Ippatsu: All right, let's head back to the restaurant. Now we can eat real ramen!
Whether the monsters were completely eliminated or simply scared off by Ippatsu, (Captain) and company make it back without incident.
They soon find themselves before the ramen chef.
Ippatsu: This is from the spring! Try making the noodles with this!
Chef: Hmm... But how will merely adding water make a difference?
Ippatsu: Trust in your elders! Now get on with it!
Chef: Well, if you insist...
The chef uses the spring water to make the noodles and serves the ramen once again.
Lyria: It looks delicious!
Ippatsu: The moment of truth! Slurp... Ah! So good!
Vyrn: Whoa! He's right! These tender noodles fit the soup great!
Chef: What? How could the water make such a difference?
Ippatsu: Phew... That was fantastic!
Ippatsu: You see, water with specific characteristics is necessary for the preparation of ramen noodles.
Ippatsu: After leaving home, your father probably chose this location for its access to suitable water.
Chef: I see... How blind I've been to never notice it before.
Chef: But thank you! Now I can finally make good ramen.
Ippatsu: No need to thank me. I'm guided by the obstinacy of my appetite.
Chef: Hmm... Still, I could improve on the noodles further. Maybe I should use a different wheat. Or perhaps...
Ippatsu: Ahem. I actually have a small favor to ask of you.
Chef: Oh? What is it? Anything is fine! I'm indebted to you after all.
Ippatsu: Thank you kindly. In that case...
Ippatsu: Another bowl of ramen, if you please!
Ippatsu truly does love ramen above all else.
As famous as he is for his love of ramen, perhaps his passion will become renowned even to the edge of the sky.
For the Love of Ramen
Lilele takes part in an effort to spread the word about ramen, but she and Ippatsu are stunned by the outrageously hideous ramen that the shopkeeper has on offer. The shopkeeper eventually accepts their criticism and vows to hone his abilities, and the two ramen enthusiasts walk away in search of better noodles.
(Captain) and the crew visit a village on assignment.
Lyria: Hmm. According to Siero's instructions, the restaurant should be right around here.
Lilele: Lyria, I think that might be it over there.
Lyria: Looks like it! Let's go!
Lyria: Um, hello? Anyone home?
Shopkeeper: Welcome, welcome! What can I get for—gasp! L-Lilele? Lilele in the flesh! In my shop? Is this really happening?
Vyrn: We heard you have a job for us. What do you need?
Shopkeeper: Ah! Yes, sorry, I just can't believe this is actually happening. Ahem. Actually, the job is for Lilele.
Shopkeeper: Please, Lilele! Won't you try a bowl of my ramen?
Lilele: Huh? Your ramen?
Shopkeeper: Yes. Ramen still isn't very well known among the masses, you see. A niche business if there ever was one.
Shopkeeper: My dream is that one day everyone in the skies will know of its delectable splendor.
Shopkeeper: I know you love ramen, so I thought—what better way to get the word out than to have the one and only Lilele try some!
Vyrn: Gotcha... What do you think, Lilele?
Lilele: I'd be honored to! Anything to make a wonderful dream like yours come true!
Lilele: Leave it to me! I'll spread the word about your ramen across the whole sky!
Shopkeeper: R-really? Thank you, Lilele, thank you!
The shopkeeper asks for some time to prepare and tells the crew to return the following day.
The crew does so, as instructed. What astonishing feats of ramen await them?
Vyrn: Whoa, this place is packed! I can barely move!
Lyria: Look! That poster! That must be why everyone's here!
Vyrn: So that's what he meant when he said he needed some time.
Lilele Fan A: Oh my gosh! It's Lilele!
Lilele Fan B: Holy skycrabs! It's really her! I'm your biggest fan, Lilele!
Lilele: I love you all! I'm so glad I can be here to brighten your day! The one and only Lilele is in the house!
Lilele Fans: We love you Lilele! Woohoo!
Vyrn: Man, that's a lotta sweaty fans...
Lyria: They're really shouting their lungs out!
Shopkeeper: Lilele! You're finally here! Come right this way. I made this seat just for you!
Lilele: Oh, wow... Thank you! I must be the luckiest girl in the whole sky!
Vyrn: Oww. That chair is so shiny it feels like my eyeballs are gonna melt.
Lyria: Ha... Haha... He really went all out, didn't he?
Shopkeeper: And now for the main event! Lilele, I present to you my signature ramen! Enjoy!
Lilele: Mmm! It smells absolutely divine! I can't wait to taste it!
Lilele: (Ew... What the heck is this? How could something that smelled so good taste so bad?)
Lilele: (What's with this awful fatty aftertaste? Is this supposed to distract me from how salty the broth is? I need water! Water!)
Shopkeeper: Umm, Lilele? How's the broth? Do you like it?
Lilele: Huh? Oh! Um... Well! It certainly has a very... powerful taste! You can really taste the um... richness of the... er... ingredients!
Shopkeeper: Yes! I knew you'd notice that! Nothing gets past you, Lilele!
Shopkeeper: I simmer the broth for hours to wring every last drop of flavorful goodness out of the ingredients!
Shopkeeper: And my noodles are specially made to perfectly compliment the extra-thick broth! Bon apetit!
Lilele: H-here goes nothing...
Lilele: (Oh no... I can tell this is going to be bad just looking at it. Looks can be deceiving, but...)
Lilele: Slurp, slurp, slurp...
Lilele: (I knew it. Soggy and mushy. It only makes the broth taste even worse!)
Shopkeeper: Uh, Lilele? Is everything all right? You seem awfully quiet all of a sudden.
Lilele: Oh! Ahaha, I just got lost in the... the taste! Yeah, that's it!
Shopkeeper: I see. You certainly don't seem to be eating very much though.
Lilele: Uhh, I'm... I just don't have a big appetite! A bite is good enough for me!
Shopkeeper: Ahh, I see! Well, what do you think of the noodles then?
Lilele: Um... Hrgh...
Lilele: (You can do this, Lilele! Just keep it in! This is work! You have to be professional!)
Lilele: Th-the way the soup goes into the noodles creates a really... tremendous... um... impact!
Shopkeeper: Bwahahaha! I knew you'd like it, Lilele! You don't know how much that means to me!
Shopkeeper: Heh, I always knew my ramen was the best in town! No... The best in the skies!
Shopkeeper: Come on up and try some ramen, everyone! It's Lilele approved!
Lilele: Mumble mumble...
Shopkeeper: Hm? What was that, Lilele?
Lilele: I don't approve! This ramen fails on the most basic level imaginable!
Lilele: The broth is the most important part, and the broth in this bowl is the worst. It ruins everything!
Lilele: How can you even call this ramen? That's an insult to every other bowl out there!
A deafening silence falls over the room. The seconds drag on, seemingly forever until the room suddenly erupts in turmoil.
Shopkeeper: Wh-what? Th-that's not what you said a minute ago!
The shopkeeper stares at Lilele with fiery indignation. She fidgets in panic. Suddenly a lone voice pipes up.
Ippatsu: No. The miss is right!
A voice—suffused with a love for ramen as profound as it is delicate—silences the murmurs of the crowd.
The thronging masses part to reveal a man triumphantly clutching a bowl of ramen in his hand.
Ippatsu: From the moment you sip the broth, the raw stench of meat, fish, and vegetables fills your mouth. A flavor riot most foul!
Ippatsu: Your throat is then assaulted by a stinging saltiness that leaves your larynx a briny, sandblasted wasteland!
Ippatsu: From this miserable bowl, I detect not even the slightest hint of love for ramen!
Shopkeeper: Th-that can't be! I use nothing but the freshest, highest quality ingredients! The vegetables I use are all naturally grown!
Shopkeeper: Even the water is from a natural spring! The seasoning used is the best the market has to offer! How can you possibly claim I don't care about my ramen!
Ippatsu: Hogwash! All of it! The heart of ramen lies not in its ingredients, but in the ability of the culinary artisan who gives it life!
Ippatsu: Without ability to guide the way, your all natural ingredients become mere fodder for a pigsty of muddy, stygian broth.
Shopkeeper: What are you talking about! Lilele says my ramen's delicious! Isn't that right, Lilele?
Lilele: Sigh... It has deep-bodied flavor. I'll grant you that. And it did leave a serious impact. However...
Lilele: I never said it was delicious! I couldn't!
Shopkeeper: Then... everything I've done up till now... the reason my shop doesn't get any business... It's all because my ramen's... bad?
Ippatsu: Yes. In fact! This ramen is unworthy of the very title of ramen!
Ippatsu: However! Even within this disgusting, muddy mixture, my chopsticks found their way to a single shining morsel of hope.
Ippatsu: While the meat might at first seem sinewy and thick...
Ippatsu: A single bite transports you into a world of soft, melty, juicy extravagance!
Ippatsu: But it doesn't end there. The sweet, smoky juices that burst forth create a flavor explosion, transporting your tastebuds into undiscovered flavor country!
Ippatsu: I've never had such delicious meat in my life!
Lilele: I also thought the egg was hard and unappetizing at first...
Lilele: But after taking a bite it starts to melt in your mouth, filling it with eggtacular goodness!
Lilele: From the bottom of my heart, I truly think the meat and eggs were absolutely delicious!
Shopkeeper: It's okay... No need to patronize me... I get it. I'm just not cut out for ramen.
Ippatsu: You coward! Are your feelings for ramen so shallow?
Ippatsu: Humph. Is one setback all it takes to make you give up? To seal your fate as a ramen failure for the rest of your life?
Ippatsu: But if you choose to keep going and refine your process, to learn and improve... imagine what you could become.
Shopkeeper: I see... D-do you really think there's still hope for me?
Ippatsu: It all depends on your discipline and passion. But I believe that if you stay the path, your dream of being the best in the world may not be as unlikely as you think.
Lilele: The eggs and meat you prepared were wonderful. I can't wait to taste broth worthy of their deliciousness!
Lilele: So please don't give up! You can do it! I'll be rooting for you!
Shopkeeper: You're right... If I gave up now, I wouldn't be able to look at a ramen bowl for the rest of my life!
Shopkeeper: I'll start all over again, right from the basics. The next time you step foot in my shop, it'll be for the best ramen you've ever had!
Shopkeeper: Okay. Time to get started! I want to thank the two of you. I won't give up until I've created the ultimate bowl of ramen!
Lilele: Hehe, I'll be looking forward to my next visit!
Ippatsu: I'm glad we got that settled. Goodness, that was some bad ramen.
Lilele: What do you say to getting some real ramen to wash the bad taste out of our mouths?
Ippatsu: Now that's an idea! I'm simply dying to erase the residue of that infernal broth from my tastebuds!
Ippatsu: This is a hub for ramen, after all! We're bound to find that perfect bowl somewhere!
Lilele: Ahaha! What're we waiting for then? Let's go!
With a skip in their step, the ramen-loving duo heads off into the horizon in search of better noodles.
The horrific taste still fresh in their mouths, they look to a brighter future.
Vyrn: Hey! Where're you guys going! Don't leave us behind! Sigh...