Wow! If the last episode was the appetizer than this episode was the starter. We began off with the first half of last episode being filled with goofiness involving Irisviel but by the last half it was all action. This time other than palate cleanser with Miyu and then Caren this episode was almost all tasty fighting. We even got all three magical girls having a chance to shine with their own specialty being brought to the forefront as well as the weaknesses of their techniques being exposed. These episodes have really reminded me what I loved about the series when it is good.
Also it reminds me that I really want them to fully finish that Fate/Hollow Ataraxia English patch. If Bazett is half amazing in Fate/Hollow as she is here then I actually might be slightly more interested in really experiencing her story then I am in seeing more Saber, silly hamburger jokes, and bathtub sexy times. (OK. That is totally a lie but it is almost true enough to be worth saying.) If anything I hope that whole patch leak lights a fire to get the full patch out sooner rather than later. Fingers are crossed.
Was it just me or did the cold open have music that sounded like what you would hear during an old cop drama when they either recapped that last episode or gave a preview of the current episode?
Rin and Luvia have fallen to Bazett’s onslaught without even making her break a sweat. Now Chloe and Illya will see if they can do any better against a one woman army whose defense, offense, speed, and skill are beyond anything they have faced before. Bazett has the power of Berserker, the speed of Rider, the defense of Saber, and the tactics of Assassin. Can they overpower her? Can they outwit her? Can they even beat her with superior numbers? Also why do both magical wands keep stressing that no one should use their trump cards against this powerhouse? That can’t be a random whim.
Miyu’s journey to find the “Japanese Miracle” of soft yokan servers a three-fold purpose. The story purpose is to keep her away from the mansion long enough so she can swoop in as a big damn hero near the end of the episode. Miyu has really been in the background or filling a support role. Even her confrontation of Chloe seem more of a setup for Illya coming in to save the day. This time she feels powerful partner and not a sidekick when she arrives.
The second is for mood as she acts as a bit of a transition into the next phase of the fight since Rin and Luvia seemingly bit the dust in the confrontation with Bazett. It acts as a bit of a reminder that at its heart this is a very silly series before moving into full on action. The next episode won’t need that same transition because it will be going into the final act and at that point a silly scene might break the tension. For now it is a good rest before the final fight.
Thirdly it reminds us that Miyu is definitely a bit of an odd child. She is the only person who would see Luvia’s description of red bean paste as the gateway to unlocking the deeper secrets of alchemy and the perfection of substances. Even the deadpan Magical Sapphire is less of a kook. It does make me think that Miyu and Drax the Destroyer would get along well.
At the same time this is going on Caren is informed that a fight is talking place at the Edelfelt mansion but mainly seems unperturbed. She seems more interested in finishing her diabetes inducing green tea and then going home to nap than in the outcome of the battle. While it was already clear that Caren know more than she lets on we now know she seems to have enough of an information network to know that things are going on behind fairly well hidden barriers. That takes some series magical backing.
I do wonder how many people felt the most horrific scene in the series was not one of fighting or fanservice but of Caren throwing in like five sugar cubes to her green tea.
As Bazett moves in on the two surprised magical girls in the middle of a sea of fire. Of course the more aggressive Chloe that comes out swinging. At the same time Illya is relegated to the sidelines as Magical Ruby refuses to help Ilya transform. At first it seems like a rather even match but it quickly becomes clear that Bazett is not to be trifled with. Bazett blocks Chloe’s onslaught rather easily and even does that tree trunk parry like a boss.
But the game changer comes when Bazett notices that Chloe is pulling off all the same moves that the ghostly Wrought Iron Hero was executing during their previous battle. When Chloe was fighting Illya and Miyu with the inherent grace of the Hero the card was based on her perfect mirroring of the technique was her greatest strength. Chloe had a built-in skill that the more awkward Ilya and Miyu could not match as they were trying to learn how to fight. But now all of Chloe’s combos are now less of a series of deadly weapons and more of a tell that sets her up for a counterattack. You can only try a trick on Bazett once but never twice. As soon as Bazzet can predict what Chole is going to do the fight is quickly concluded with the dark magical girl being down for the count.
It seems that Ruby and Sapphire are well antiquated with Bazett so they know two very vital pieces of information about her. The first is that she will not casually attack anyone who is not a threat to her unless she is forced to. The second is never use your most powerful attack against Bazett. Ever.
So Ruby was preventing Ilya from getting a full plate of what Chloe got. But seeing her friends down for the count Ilya refuses to give in. If she runs at this point not only will Bazett go for Miyu next but she might very will kill Chloe when she rips the Archer card out of her. This is not the easily discouraged Ilya of the previous arc. She no longer has an enemy that she is reluctant to fight and there are high stakes for not only herself but others if she loses. She can’t run away anymore.
That said the fight does not go that well at first. Any advantage Ilya had from being the first to attack is quickly lost and she has to fight an entirely defensive battle. It quickly becomes clear to Ilya and Ruby that this cannot last forever. Bazett seems to be slowly chipping away at Ilya’s defenses and it is far more likely that Bazett with catch Ilya with an unexpected blow that smashes through her walls than Ilya catching an off balanced Bazett. Even a huge turtle shell of a barrier is eventually smashed through with a combination of martial arts and rune magic.
Ilya needs an unexpected technique because otherwise she is delaying the inevitable more than anything else. Ilya then steals a page from the Kekkaishi play book and tries something that is far more her style than something that Chloe would do. Much like Tokine and the Hazama-Ryu Kekkai Technique she is able to materialize mana shields into shackles to bind Bazett’s deadly hands and legs. This unorthodox use of a defensive technique throws off Bazett long enough to capture her. But by the time Ilya moves in for the finishing blow Bazett has had enough time to analyze the maneuver and dodge Ilya’s blast. Bazett even manages to use the blast to break free.
Once free Bazett cannot be caught by the same trick twice. It worked the first time because the novelty was unexpected. Bazett is able to dance around any other attempts to catch her letting her land a devastating body blow on Ilya.
While this is going on we see that Rin and Luvia survived like magical cockroaches. Luvia, Rin, and Auguste made it to the secret tunnels beneath the mansion despite the fact that they are distinctly worse the wear with Luvia being is the worst shape. They clearly still hear the battle above but they just don’t have luxury of finding out what is going on. They are setting up a little surprise for the Enforcer above them (although Luvia has to tell them to go on without her as her injuries take her out of any strenuous amount of moving around.) It should be clear to everyone that whatever they are planning it will most probably be used as a card up their sleeves when everything seems lost. The real question is what is the face of that hidden card.
Fortunately for Ilya while the little moles under their feet still don’t have their plan in order the link between her and Chloe comes in handy for both of them every once and awhile. Chloe being shocked awake by Ilya’s pain gets back into the fight. This time she is moving away from just pulling off moves that the Archer Card would do. While they are not anywhere good enough to defeat Bazett they are at least unpredictable enough that Chloe does not get tagged for a while.
At the same time Ilya is desperately trying to get to one of the cards to activate its powers. While she would not have the mastery she would back when she could just let Chloe take over it is really the only way she can currently have anything remotely looking like a chance of winning. But before the broken body of Ilya can get to a card Bazett has put down Chloe once more. The Magus stomps down on Ilyas hand to prevent her from getting any cards. Bazett tells the internally bleeding magical girl to give it up so they can stop fighting. But while Ilya can’t active the last card Bazzet was unable to collect she refuses to give it to Bazett as well. As long as Ilya is awake she will guard their last hope. So Bazett starts crushing Ilya’s hand underfoot.
Like Han Solo at the end of the first Star Wars movie in comes Miyu with a few tell timed energy blasts. While they are not anywhere near enough to stop the martial arts machine they do get her away from Ilya. Ilya then gives their final card to Miyu who activates it without question.
Out comes a Miyu clad with the powers and outfit of Rider. Medusa has never been this effective (and that is counting her part in the Heaven’s Feel route.) With a mixture of Pegasus, Bellerophon, the nameless dagger, and Cybele Miyu us finally able to land some solid blows on Bazett. It also helps that while Bazett is deadly on the ground she does not have that much of an aerial game. So while Bazett makes some valiant attempts to ride the lightening she takes a pounding from a soaring Rider. But then Miyu realizes two things.
While she is doing chip damage to Bazett she has yet to land a definitive blow. Also she has no idea where Rin and Luvia are. When she asks Bazett she gets the answered she dreads. Their bodies are buried under the rubble of the mansion. This sends her into a berserker rage.
Sadly this means that she no longer fighting as smartly as she usually does. It also means she blocks out the very worried Sapphire, who like Ruby, tries to make it clear not to use Rider’s ultimate Noble Phantasm. Sapphire probably should have mentioned that before hand. But her warning comes to late as Miyu first locks Bazett into place with Cybele and then starts her power charge. At the same time while Bazett cannot run for cover she still draws an orb from her metal poster tube and seems ready for a counter.
This episode really delivered on the promise of action that was made last episode and it only looks like we are going to get more in the next and final episode of the season. It will clearly be the end of Bazett fight it does leave me with some questions.
What is up with Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei!? The Bazett fight is not the end of this arc. They did not get to the beach and they are only just touching on the problem with the ley lines in the area. Is there going to be a Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei! Part Deux or are they going to fold that into Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 3rei!!? Only time will tell.
But if your going to close out a season you might as well go out with style like this.