Origin: Children Storybooks and Songbooks
Illustrator: Wada Arco
Featured In: Fate/Extra
Voiced By: Nonaka Ai (Japanese)
Of all Servant Classes, Casters are arguably the most unique insomuch that while a good majority are actual practitioners of the arcane and mystical arts there are those who are bestowed this Class because they created something akin to magic in the eyes of people across the entire globe. William Shakespeare, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Hans Christian Anderson are such examples of Casters who, in life, did not produce any literal magic but managed to do something that could be called the same regardless.
My own personal choice of Caster is akin to these great men but quite different in her own right though not the only one of her kind either. Nursery Rhyme is in essence a product of humanity’s subconscious. She is a physical manifestation of picture books and other children’s tales that the kids of England deeply loved and was given existence by their half-voiced dreams.
Her very foundation, or rather her “heart,” was made from, and is quite likely responsible for, the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which had begun as a series of simple rhymes told by Lewis Carroll to the daughters of a family friend whilst rowing down the River Thames one summer’s day.
Admittedly, this is a large chunk of the reason why I’d specifically summon Nursery Rhyme as a Caster seeing as she is, quite literally in essence, the heart and soul of one of my favorite books.
Being a metaphorical existence, Nursery Rhyme doesn’t actually possess a “body” in the strictest sense of the word. Her base form is that of a certain book but given enough magical energy, she can create a body of her own that resembles the titular character of her book form. While she can heavily modify her defense with such skills as Self-Modification and Shapeshift, Nursery Rhyme also possesses one of the unique traits of recharging her magical energy with an aptly named skill called “Meanwhile…”
While not utilized fully in the game Grand Order, Nursery Rhyme’s “spells,” if they can even be called as such, are primarily named after certain characters from the Wonderland books. “Frenzied March Hare” is a powerful wind attack spell while “White Queen’s Enigma” is a curse that lowers an enemy’s resistance to magical attacks.
She is also one of the rare Servants to have more than a single Noble Phantasm to her name but as one required direct interaction with her master, I’ll only speak of the other, Nursery Rhyme: A Story For Someone Else’s Sake.
Named after herself, or rather she named after it, the NP Nursery Rhyme is a Reality Marble type of Noble Phantasm. For those not familiar with the term, a Reality Marble is the literal reshaping of the world around the user to reflect their own soul. While it is quite common for Casters to be capable of utilizing such a thing, it is exceptionally rare in any other Class and nearly improbable for any human to use. Improbable not impossible, but I digress.
While the animation above shows a clearly childlike array of things coming to the attack, this is merely the first wave that results from this Noble Phantasm’s execution. Nursery Rhyme can also summon Trump Soldiers, more commonly known as Card Soldiers, whose numbers are limited to a single deck of cards but are nigh invincible thanks to Nursery Rhyme constantly regenerating any damage dealt upon them.
While far from extremely powerful whence compared to other, similar, creations, the Trump Soldiers have the advantage of sheer-doggedness and the inability to permanently die so long as the Noble Phantasm remains in place.
Next, Nursery Rhyme can call forth the Nameless Forest of Wonderland, a place that earns its name for an incredibly disturbing ability. Whomsoever walks through the Nameless Forest will first forget their name, then their memories, and eventually their very self. It is an exceedingly deadly place for Servants of small or humble egos whilst those, like Tamamo-no-Mae, an incarnation of the goddess Amaterasu, and Nero, an emperor of Rome, can manage to stand against it.
The only true way to break the spell and restore one’s self is for them to recall their name and can be done by way of reading it aloud should it be written down. However, should the wrong name be uttered, the effect of the Nameless Forest grows by whole leaps and bounds to the point where even language, written or spoken, become a mess of noise and symbols.
Yet, this is far from the deadliest thing lying within Nursery Rhyme’s Noble Phantasm. For there is a creature that dwells just beyond the borders of the Nameless Forest, a monster with eyes of flame, claws that snatch, and jaws that bite.
I speak of course of the ever renowned Jabberwock, a creature that while not appearing at all like the famous illustrations, is no less as fearsome a beast as any dragon worth its name. Its tiniest of motions can bring a quake to the earth beneath its feet and just being near it is enough for one to feel its great and terrible power.
But that’s far from the worst of it.
If by some miracle that one manages to kill it, the Jabberwock will NOT die.
Because there is only one weapon in all of creation capable of killing the Jabberwock, that wicked sword of silvery light known as the Vorpal Blade, of which Nursery Rhyme does likely possess somewhere in the vastness of her recreated Wonderland but she has no need of it. For one, the Jabberwock is her friend and ally against her enemies.
Second, for all that it is a powerful, nigh unstoppable monster of no equal, the Jabberwock does possess one weakness. It needs Nursery Rhyme’s power to maintain a place in the world and while Reality Marbles are indeed second to none in sheer power and magnitude, they are not everlasting as the very concousness of the Earth will do all within its power to ensure that the natural order of Creation is restored.
As one can likely already surmise from my longer than average review on Nursery Rhyme, she, and by default her Class, are one of my personal top choices among the many, many Servants that have been revealed thus far. A large part of it, if not the entirety, has to do with the fact that Nursery Rhyme is literally the essence of my favorite storybooks since forever and whose powers and abilities represent and/or are based entirely upon said works. The rest… I suppose one could save that I have a certain fondness for the Caster class of Servants as a whole.
While there are those who are indeed practitioners of magic, there are far more that are not and the fact that many of them have been inspirations for people the world over for generations since their time… Though Nursery Rhyme herself is merely the conceptual realization of children’s books brought to life, I like to think that it is stories such as hers that set people down the path to their dreams and for all that she may not exist as a true-blooded person, she and she alone out of all the Casters is the only one who truly claim to have sparked the light of imagination in children across the world.