I feel like most people reading this post has probably already made up their mind about Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. And that is most probably for the best. As someone who has read pretty far into the manga this anime is based on I will state right here that it does not get more complex. This is not some deep deconstruction of the genre hidden in a pastel disguise lulling you into a false sense of security only to pull the rug out under your feet when you least expect it. It a show mostly for people who were REALLY upset that Illyasviel von Einzbern never got a path in Fate/Stay Night (BTW a majority of those people are very bad people). And they demand recompensation with some yuri undertones.
But I’m Hisui and this is Reverse Thieves so I’m going to watch this regardless and I might as well write about it.
So lets cut to the heart of the matter. I always go out of my way to mention that most magical girls shows are actually written for little girls. The demographic of older folks who watch the shows for less than the most upstanding reasons certainly exist but they are not the percentage of the audience some people assume they are. But these older fans are a distinct and dedicated fan base and they occasionally get shows that cater to them. This is one of those shows.
That means we get Illya being less than dressed for about a quarter of the episode. While I can’t ever remember getting that much naked Illya anywhere past this point it does mean there will be a good amount of implied lesbian undertones, fanservice, blue comedy, and obscure Type-Moon references. It is that kind of show.
So now we are all on the same page.
Illyasviel von Einzbern is your stereotypical high spirited middle school heroine just before she becomes a chosen of detiny. She lives with her brother and two maids while her parents are away overseas. But all of this is soon to come to an end when some fool assigned eternal rivals Rin and Luviagelita to find class cards with enchanted sentient wands that turn them into magical girls. Soon enough their bickering causes their talking batons to abandon them they look for new owners. Illya is found by the rather duplicitous Magical Ruby who tricks her into being the new maho shojo. Its only going to be an uphill battle to go downhill from here.
Lets get a few things out of the way. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is where minor Fate characters (and Rin who people actually like) go so someone will remember them. That means a whole slew of Fate/Hollow Ataraxia characters that hardcore fans will instantly recognize show up that everyone else will assume are original characters.
Yes, that is why Shiro is here. But oddly enough not Sakura.
But the first person we meet like that is Luviagelita Edelfelt. She is Rin’s rival and mostly a comedic character in Fate/Hollow Ataraxia there to offset the horrible series of Groundhog Day deaths that make up that game. She was also in Fate/Unlimited Code but that was a title that was mostly only picked up by dedicated fans while it was available in the US so it hardly made her more recognizable. I mostly mention that because I already saw one person in a review assume she was an original character. There are several original charterers in the series but Luviagelita is not one of them.
I keep waiting for Kane Himuro, Makidera Kaede and Saegusa Yukika to become major antagonist in this series or something. I know that Yukika has that Izumi Segawa style fanbase that loves her for being the moe moe idol favored by the God of M. THIS exists for a reason. If fact what am I saying? It is really only a matter of time before THAT shows up. Expect it in Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Vier.
Also Magical Ruby voice actress is Naoko Takano who is the current voice of Kohaku in anything that is not the Tsukihime anime (that everyone pretends does not exist). If you ever played Fate/Tiger Colosseum Upper you will know that Magical Amber (who is essentially Kohaku as a magical girl) can become Magical Ruby and vice versa. So Naoko Takano voicing Magical Amber here just makes sense. To round out the joke Miyu Matsuki is Magical Sapphire. As Miyu is Hisui’s voice actress the circle is complete. The real question is will they ever make a robotic Magical Sapphire.
Also of you ever play Fate/Tiger Colosseum Upper you will learn that Neco-Arc is a real jerk. But that is neither here nor there.
As for the episode itself it is an introduction to the world of Fate/kaleid. Here Illya is not the moral nihilist trained to be a killing machine to participate in the Holy Grail War she is the main Fate universe. She has grown up with her parents and seems to not have too many worries on her shoulders. If anything she reminds me of Sakura Kinomoto if she were thrown in an adult magical girl show. Sadly they did not give her a proper Tomoyo Daidouji as a side kick.
The story jumps right to Illya as opposed to the manga that starts with Rin and Luviagelita. They also introduce Illya dopey side character friends early although you don’t really get a sense of who they are outside of the standard character design cues. That also means Taiga Fujimura shows up sooner but as always she is quickly shoved to the side. As is her l0t in life.
Rin and Luviagelita are fun as usual. Rin while a good person at heart still has her delightfully uncompromisingly pragmatic side to her. The sort of pragmatism that lets her shoot a magic bolt to the side of the head of a little girl at point-blank and then force her into service when she wakes up. It anything Luviagelita mostly just seems to exist to play off of the more complex Rin.
There is not much discussion of the plot past getting Illya sucked into this whole mess. We don’t really get more than a hint of the existence of Miyu Edelfelt but she will appear soon enough. Overall it was not a bad adaptation of the manga. It may have moved one or two pieces around but overall it jot the job done to get to the most important part of the introduction.
But in the end the source material is what it is. At least with Zettai Karen Children there is a solid X-Men story at the center. At the center of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is really just Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha for better or for worse. As much as I complained about the story I had fun but at the cost of feeling icky inside as well.
So in for a penny in for a pound I suppose. While my roommate dropped out of watching more I will continue.