Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya – Final Thoughts

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA Final Thoughts Review
Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ


When I first heard about Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, I can’t say that I was impressed.  Despite its obvious connections to the Fate/stay night franchise, I figured this to be some cheap magic girl knockoff done to cash in on the franchise. After all, I’d seen this happen before with the Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy spinoffs from the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki franchise (not to be confused with the Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club spinoff that came years later).  But, there are times when a magic girl spinoff actually ends up pretty good, which is what happened when Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha was spun off from the Triangle Heart franchise. So on a whim, I decided to watch Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA,which has its good and bad.

The series starts off as a parody of the mahou shoujo genre, making sure to touch the various clichés associated with that genre such as the required magic girl transformation (henshin) sequence. There are obvious nods to Cardcaptor Sakura and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha as well. However, since this series is based off the Fate/stay night franchise, there are also a lot of nods to the original Fate/stay night series (or visual novel, since that came first).  With the older Rin and Luvia acting as guides for Ilya and Miyu respectively, the subsequent rivalry between Rin and Luvia is cliched but humorous, right down to Luvia’s “Noblewoman’s Laugh” trope.

With only ten episodes given to adapt the first, two volume manga series, the series has plenty of time to cover the material from the manga. I have not read the source manga (I plan to now), but I could certainly feel some drag at times, but also some oddness in plot development toward the end of the series. Ilya somehow instinctively knows how to use the Class Cards they are collecting, but that’s never gone into. Ilya also has a seal on her powers, but that is not explored either once the seal beaks. Miyu has a rather harsh reaction to Ilya’s saving everyone, but due to her massive power, which could have injured the others. Miyu’s actions didn’t make sense to me. The ending was rather clichéd as well, followed by some loli shoujo ai as Miyu clings to Ilya.

But things weren’t all bad. The story, despite a lack of any in depth exploration of the Class Cards, was fairly interesting to me. I liked the concept of Ilya’s being a fan of the mahou shoujo enabling her to excel when she became a magic girl, but I really liked Ilya’s reaction when the deadly reality of being a magic girl came up. I can’t imagine anyone like Ilya not having that reaction. After all, not only could Ilya have been killed, but her comrades could have been killed or harmed as well. There’s a difference between an anime (manga) and reality.  So I appreciated the series bringing this aspect up. I just hope that subsequent series continues to explore things properly.

I also appreciated the linkage to the Fate/stay night series. Unlike Pretty Sammy, which just took TM!R characters and put them into new settings with no connections to the original TM!R other than names and character designs, Fate/kaleid successfully creates an alternate universe feeling. The some of the characters from Fate/stay night (and one from Fate/Zero) are here and in similar roles, only there’s no Grail War for whatever reason in the Fate/kaleid universe. Rin is still Rin and Shiro is still Shiro, only why he was rescued and adopted by Kiritsugu is unknown since there was no Grail War to make him an orphan. The mahou shoujo elements actually end up fitting in fairly well into the Fate/stay night multi-verse.

Despite my disappointment with how the series ended, I am looking forward to seeing more of this world. Since a sequel is in the works, I plan to watch it. In the meantime, I’m going to read the manga, as I’m able.

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6 Responses to “Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya – Final Thoughts”

  1. Farray says:

    So, huh… 2wei was announced. The reason for this were probably the success of the anime and the preorder numbers. One month before preorders ended, PRISMA Illya apparently already became profitable. A shame Silver Link didn’t trust in the preorders and just went along with the original plot. Up to episode 6 everything was perfectly adapted. Starting with the end of episode 7 until episode 9, everything got worse and they removed all the foreshadowing.

    There istn’t really much to say about the story. The first season has the weakest story. Though I must say, Silver Link didn’t make it any better. They made the story, which was already generic, even more generic. There are lots of stuff that are set to be explained in future stories, like Ilya’s seal and Miyu’s past. Almost all the foreshadowing is gone.

    After a reread (or even during the first read) of the manga, one notices hints and deliberately unexplained parts, which are later picked up in 2wei. The problem I see is that Silver Link removed most of this and I still can’t understand why. Also, changing characters and personalities (both Miyu and Ilya) affects 2wei’s plot, which could lead to even more anime original stuff. But, it’s possible to add some of the scenes they removed in the next season, so maybe they can still fix something.

    I still have to applaud them for making 13.5 chapters into 10 episodes, as much as I hated especially episode 8, which consisted of mostly unnecessary filler, and episode 9, which changed Iri’s conversation with Ilya. They had to stretch things, but overall it was a fun ride overall.

    Visually, I must say it was better than I expected. Of course the animation can’t be on par with Fate/Zero, the budgets can’t be compared, but it still looked very good. However, even Fate/Zero suffered from art inconsistencies and these are unforgivable in my opinion. The same happened here. Especially the sticks and Rin are sometimes drawn very differently in the same episode.

    Also, while the maids, Luvia, Miyu and Ilya (they used the 2wei costumes too, bonus point for the studio) looked very well, other characters like Rin, Shirou and Iri looked awful and weird. However, the animation conceals the badly drawn characters a bit. Most of them look well designed though and the Servants also look very good. The usage of CG here was okay.

    About the sound: Personally, almost perfect for me. I love how the composer used lots of Visual Novel Tracks and rearranged them. My favorite track was definitely the “Emiya” track. I’m still upset Kajiura didn’t make one for Fate/Zero.

    It’s always good that in Japan they try to get the same voice actors for the characters, even for smaller roles like the Servants, who most of the time only moaned and grunted. Heck, they even kept the casting gag, starting in the Drama CDs that came out before the anime, in which Ruby and Sapphire were already voiced by the Tsukihime characters they are based on. Only thing I disliked was the ED song, though. It sounds absolutely generic and forgettable to me.

  2. Farray says:

    What I also must note about the story here is the humor. Besides the personality changes, what made me feel really disappointed, was also the lack of humor, since a lot was removed in some scenes. For example… I was laughing so hard when Vev fhqqrayl nccrnerq, urnivyl tnir Vyln uvagf nobhg gur frny naq ure cbjre naq gura cynlrq qhzo naq uvg Vyln sbe naablvat ure, jnf nofbyhgryl uvynevbhf.

    On the other hand, when Silver Link actually did try to add humor, it was in my opinion completely misplaced. I had no interest in seeing Tatsuko being dumb as always (and it was filler, too!) or hearing Sella complain about her breasts, while Ilya was in such a depressing state. Serious humor would have worked better.

    So all in all, it’s a decent adaptation that changed the crucial story parts that I was looking forward to. Now we’ll see how they will handle 2wei. Will they leave the cliffhanger and clues this time? Will they fix some of the stuff they messed up, by removing foreshadowing this season? Can they do about 20 episodes in two cours’ or will it be only one cours?

    Btw, as APN said in the last review, beware of fanservice in 2wei. I don’t know why, but the loli fanservice is a lot more present in 2wei. Maybe Hiroyama’s editor told him to add more, haha. ^_^ Compare it to Nisio Isin’s Monogatari series. Bakemonogatari had a fair amount of fanservice, but Nisemonogatari took it to the next level. Granted, Nisio Isin never intended to release Nisemonogatari and when he actually did, didn’t care enough to change anything.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Technically two from Fate/Zero. Aside Irisviel, that person Rin was talking to on the phone in the last episode was the older Waver Velvet, and I still feel that’s a porn star name…

  4. Arvin Saints says:

    The only major flaw I’ve seen in this series is Illya suddenly transforming into Archer and using Excalibur, like, what the hell was that? Like you said, there are a lot of things that weren’t really explained. But I think it’s still a fun series. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see the Fate characters in a different story, right?

    I enjoyed this post. I’ve recently reviewed this anime too. I’ve written it here.

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