It is time for the return of the Queen. (Which once again makes me think of Kaoru Akashi. Making this the second time she has come up in a Fate/kaleid review post. You think I would be making more Nanoha Takamachi references.) If anyone is going to get this show back on track it is none other than Irisviel von Einzbern. Now that she is not dying of magical anime disease (Holy Grail version) she can finally flex those full motherly muscles like she was always meant to. But at the same time Miyu gets to show off some solo fighting ability. So there is more to this episode than bath time fun. I know some people are saddened with that news. Hopefully they do not read this blog and instead just stick to Sankaku Complex or something equally vile.
I had to download a raw video just to get a good shot of that darn bathroom door because for some reason it had a huge “This is your exclusive stream announcement” on Crunchyroll. Normally I am never that bothered by that little announcement but when your trying to get screen shots it is amazingly annoying. The little Crunchyroll water mark in the corner is never as bad (I have left it in on other screencaps) but this is just silly. That is enough “Al talks about minor details of blogging” information. On to the summary.
As Illya mopes around about her decision to quit, a tornado enters her humble abode. It is not the entrance of an enemy but the unexpected return of the master of the house, Irisviel von Einzbern. She gives some advice to her heartbroken daughter and perhaps lets on she knows more than she says. At the same time Miyu fights the final card. After delivering a fatal blow it quickly becomes apparent that Berseker is a challenging foe in a completely different manner than the simple powerhouse of Saber or the overwhelming numbers of Assassin. Killing Berseker once is challenging but killing him twelve times might be downright impossible.
As Illya goes on about the superiority of Japanese baths like she was in Thermae Romae we see it is mostly an attempt to gloss over the fact that she is still guilty about leaving Miyu to carry her burden. But before anything else can happen a certain someone comes in through the door even surprising Sella. Irisviel like some fanservice seeking missile immediately finds her daughter and jumps into the bath with her. This seems like some pretty convenient timing from a story perspective. But it is not entirely just coincidence.
Throughout this bath scene, while framed in the salacious manner possible without being utterly vulgar, are obvious hints that Irisviel full well knows that is happening. The fact that Irisviel immediately picks up Ruby, starts by asking about the mansion and Miyu, and guides Illya towards the heart of her problems while making it seem like she is just throwing out random observations cannot be mere chance. But it is clear that Illya needs someone to open up to but at the same time cannot tell anyone outside of her little circle what is really going on. So Irisviel lets Illya only reveal what she wants to show her. You can tell throughout the whole conversation that her mother wants her to open up but she knows that if she pushes to hard Illya will just close herself off from her. So she has to carefully dance around what she knows, what Illya is willing to tell her, and what needs to be said.
Oh and there is a scene where Ruby is drowning in between Illya’s legs. That exists.
I think it is worth mentioning that the final fight for the series in Berserker. As Berserker is Illya’s servant in the main Fate/Stay Night storyline it makes sense that he would be her final opponent in this series. Also his God Hand makes him a good final boss in way that never get fully explored in the original visual novel. That has more to do with thematic elements of which servants get highlighted in which arcs of the game. Here he can be the monster he has always meant to be without some overpowered death beast taking him out.
Oh before I get in trouble I must add this link. You cannot talk about the God Hand without mentioning that. That is the law.
The fight starts simply enough. They notice that as with Assassin the amount of space they have to fight within is getting smaller and smaller. When the sentient freight-train that is Berserker reveals himself they notice that he has just enough move to room but not enough room for them to fight him a long or even medium range. But with some simple strategy between Rin, Luvia, and Miyu they are able to avoid the hard-hitting monster and get in a killing blow with the Lancer card. But quicker than the time it took to kill him Berserker flares up like a magma elemental and then is fighting again. He is able to land a rather debilitating blow to Miyu before even fully healing. This prompts Rin and Luvia to beat feet and try to escape in hopes of returning with a better plan. But when Miyu opens up a portal back to the real world she kicks her mentors though and stays to finish the fight.
She then says a line that is simple to explain away as Miyu knowing more than she should for the convenience of the audience. She recognizes that Berserker has the resurrection ability and that it must have a limited number of uses. You could pass this off as Miyu just being a lazy mouthpiece for the author. But she has more than enough reason to fight on her own without this piece of knowledge. The real thing this reveals is that Miyu has much more magical knowledge than she first lets on. While she is mainly a woman of science she also has a background that involves the arcane. It also explains why she was so quick to sign on as a magical girl without any reservations as well.
Missing or ignoring little details like this I think is one reason certain people seem to think plot twists come out of no where while other people see them a mile away.
Although I will admit I’m not sure why she was so reluctant to show Rin and Luvia that you could install cards. It was Illya that learned you can do that so I’m not sure why she was hiding the fact. Maybe I’m forgetting something that happens later on. If anyone knows the answer just leave a little comment below.
Knowing that Berserker has to be repeatedly killed means that Miyu has to whip out her biggest gun: The Saber card. After seeing what Illya could do, she too upgrades her skills by becoming the King of Knights. This gives her access to Excalibur as well as the strength and speed of a servant. This lets her kick ass and take names with authority.
Also a random thought: Berserker here is much like Berserker in Fate/Tiger Colosseum. He is really easy to kill a single time. In fact he is the easiest to kill servant in the game. But you have to kill him 12 times to get any points off him in a battle. And you have a limited time to do it. In a way the same thing is happening here. Berserker is far easier to kill than anyone Miyu and Illya have faced in the past. But in this case Miyu has to kill him 12 times before her mana runs out. Sadly she does not have a partner character like you often would have in Fate/Tiger Colosseum as well.
While this is all going on Illya and her mother continue her conversation. And thus the truth that Illya has been running from comes to light. She is taking the easy way out. While Illya keeps telling herself that she has every reason to quit she knows in her heart they are all excuses. Miyu is so competent she does not need anyone else; Illya is too dangerous to fight alongside someone else; Miyu is happiest fighting alone; Illya has no place on the battlefield. These are all excuses she is telling herself and Miyu has been all to happy to enable them in order to protect her friend and take all the burden on herself.
And so Irisviel slowly guide Illya to the answer she needed. The only way the pain in her heart can go away is if she faces the truth and defeats her fears. Her regret at not being at Miyu’s side would be infinitely worse than anything else. Especially considering the burden her friend has taken upon herself. And so Illya rushes into the darkness of the night to transform and protect her true friend.
A mother’s job is thankless and never truly done.
But Miyu should be rather thankful to the matriarch of the Einzbern clan because while she starts off doing well this in an endurance match and not a speed battle. At first she is able to take off a few of Berserker’s lives without a problem even better than that nameless trash servant that killed him 5 times. But she soon realizes that Berserker is getting harder to kill with every resurrection. Soon only an attack from a Nobel Phantasm is strong enough to do any lasting harm. While that kills him one more time it also leaves her in a vulnerable position. Soon she cannot hold her form as Saber which also means she cannot transform into a magical girl as well. And even if she could she would not have enough power to take on this toughened Berserker.
When Bersereker wakes up again he is able to catch Magical Sapphire dooming an otherwise defenseless Miyu.
But of course like a Big Damn Hero™ Illya shows up and chops Berserker in half. While Bersker is not beaten neither is Miyu.
Oh wow. This season is only ten episodes. That explains a lot of the extra elements added to the series. I figured that they were going to adapt most if not all of Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei! in this season. But since they had to stretch 2 tankobon of material into 10 episodes this plotting makes much more sense. I am much more forgiving when it comes to plotting so I don’t really care but I’m sure there are people who are upset they did not keep up the breakneck pace of the original manga. I mean the end of this fight takes places of the course of 6 pages including a big old magic power splash page in the original. So unless 80 of the next episode is falling action there is going to be some filler.
But I look forward to the conclusion of the series. So far when this was written the last episode was out but I had not seen anything about a second season. But with the new production cycle of anime it is far more likely for a show to get a second season several months (or more) after an anime wraps up so only time will tell.
I mean we all need more Bazett in our lives.