My roommate is often curious if he should watch certain episodes of Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA or not. He sees the potential for awesome episodes in the series but reading my reviews proves to him that the promotional material does not misrepresent what the show is about like say a show like Kamichu! does. While the series has some of Type-Moon’s amazing signature fight scenes all of that is sadly held in check from being as awesome as it could be with some squicky fanservice around Illya, Miyu, and Chole. It is definitely an anime that you either need to like the fanservice, be able to ignore the icky parts, or just read a guide to skip to the parts that have the battling with Servants.
Well this was an episode my roommate could watch without reservation. After a season of a half of hype the 8th card finally appears. You can’t build up an opponent like that and then have it fall down like it was a simple jobber. (Technically you can do that but you better either have the twist of the “real villain” prepared with adequate set up or just be prepared to utterly disappoint your audience.) That means that their one hit knock out plan is probably not going to work. Actually considering who the 8th card is the thought that this might be a cake walk battle is actually unthinkable.
The world will never know why I picked that picture for the episode summary.
OK. So there is fan service in this episode. But it is of Luvia so it is all good.
The road is set to battle the sleeping 8th card. Out of professional curiosity Bazett allows Illya’s team the first swing. An impressive amount of firepower is laid down but it is all for naught. Even Bazett’s power as an Enforcer and a berserker only allow her not die instantly while engaged in combat with the 8th Card. It takes them all working together in order to retreat. So it seems they can’t beat the 8th card alone and so they decide that at this point it is best for them to call in for backup.
But the 8th Card will not give them the luxury of time.
Since this still is a magical girl show the prerequisite transformation scenes still need to be in place. This time as per the standard genre convention we have all three girls transform at the same time in a joint animation. As magical girls get introduced they slowly have to get added to the joint transformation sequence. If anything Chole’s addition was long overdue. A far too genre savvy Magical Ruby points out that Chole never usually gets a transformation scene but Sapphire merely points out that her sister is an annoying monster and maybe should be quiet a bit more often.
Sage words magical wand version of Hisui. Very sage words.
I will say that I have noticed that the anime has really warmed me up to Chole. She was always just sort of there in the manga. The fact that she had the whole “hot to trot” little girl schtick going on did not help her case. But the anime has really put her far more in the ‘lovable scamp” category. I think the expanded time to get to know her in filler episodes has helped but I have to give Chiwa Saito her due credit for breathing in a good deal of mischievous sparkle into the character as well. Good job.
Oh boy, oh boy. It is Bazett time. It is like Christmas has come early this year. (Although with all the pumpkin stuff starting to come out this week it is more like Halloween came early.)
She is such an underused character in general so I’m glad to see her get her time in the spotlight even if it has to be through Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya. We know that she can’t be the one to take down the 8th Card. If anything she has to be the Worf to show off how deadly the 8th card is. But in the brief amount of time she is allowed to shine brightly before she inevitably gets beaten down it is something to behold.
Also that is a rather bad ass entrance.
We also find out that Bazett has long since shrugged off curse of shared pain. This makes much mores sense in the anime as we have seen her interact with Caren a good deal more.
Even if it is doomed to failure you have to admit it is an impressive failure when Illya’s crew tries to win with overwhelming force. They do fight with some real style. The 8th card is completely cloaked in the same mana dense miasma that Saber was. So they need to pin it down using Luvia’s crazy skillful maneuvering as well as some formidable gem magic. I also noticed that BOY do they ever show off her cleavage. It should get main character status for all that it appears in this episode. Oddly enough despite her flipping around like an acrobat they never panty flash her. That was an impressive bit of restraint.
But all of that is just a prelude. Then comes the real firepower. First up is the CG rail run that is Rin’s 8 gem Thor’s Hammer. But that is just to create an opening for Miyu and Illya to hit the card with a crazy energy blast. That just drops the mana shielding. As Saber proves it means the fight has just begun. It is just like taking out the bosses’ first form. But they try to end it just as quickly as it began. And in their defense it is a solid tactic. Chole fires off a Broken Phantasm version of an Excalibur arrow. Caladbolg II arrows are nice and all but they are just watered down Excalibur prototypes. An Excalibur arrow is for when you need someone dead yesterday.
The only problem is that the card has a crazy shield. So much for the simple way.
I will mention that Thor’s Hammer is also the main weapon of the formidable Iserlohn Fortress in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Now Mjölnir is hardly an obscure reference. Thor is without a doubt one of the most well known Norse gods and his hammer is undoubtedly equally iconic. The Marvel movies have only increased Mjölnir’s visibility. In the third part of the manga Beatrice show that in spades. So jumping to the assumption that it is a the Legend of the Galactic Heroes reference seems odd. Then again the Type-Moon staff is clearly Legend of the Galactic Heroes fans. It is clear from the 7th Fate/Grand Order comic they know the show and Rider whole deal during the April’s Fools gag this year was her live tweeting a marathon of the show. The Type-Moon staff like LotGH. Also they use the term Thor’s Hammer and not just Mjölnir. Therefore it is not impossible for the attack to be a reference.
The fight itself is fairly brutal. Bazett gets taken out but a slew of Noble Phantasms before she even gets in punch number one. Fortunately enough for her getting killed only actives her more powerful runes which let her fight on with a power boost. But even then she is only getting in decent shots but nothing that could even be considered a killing blow to someone like the 8th card. When she tries to go in for her trump card she has to use Fragarach to even get in close enough. And then it is only because Chole and Illya stay behind when the should have retreated that she is able to land her most powerful attack with their support.
That attack gets them the knowledge that they are fighting a second Archer card but they quickly have to beat feet when Ea gets pulled out. It is at the point where Bazett’s killing blow is mostly just an inconvenience and the Sword of Rupture makes it’s debut that they all decide they are in over their heads. It is time to call into headquarters as ask for backup. They can’t beat this thing on their own.
So. A hero who is can be summoned as an Archer but uses all sorts of weapons (especially what seems like 1,000 swords), appears and a 8th Servant when everyone thinks there is only 7 heroes, has noble phantasms up the yin-yang, and is scary as all get out. That could only be one person.
Yup. It is clearly Musashibou Benkei. No. That’s not right. This 8th card is clearly golden.
The Golden Boy? Nope. Still wrong. Looking for the other golden boy.
That is not even the right franchise.
No. The that is the right power level and level of golden but the wrong part of the Type-Moon universe.
Closer but not golden.
Oh right. It could only be this guy.
There is a new ending for this episode as well. Wishing diary by Yumeha Kouda is a rather pleasant melody to cap off the episode. It starts off with a melancholy tone but Illya’s determination is able to break through to Miyu and bring about a sunny day’s rainbow. A rather fitting metaphor for the series.
Also the ending really pushes the Illya and Miyu ship with Chloe being the prominent third wheel. That symbolism can’t be ignored either.
Man someone is really pushing Stella Gakumazawa’s voice actress through this anime. (Actually she is probably just Stella Gakumazawa because they decided to get her publicity through this anime and then just gave her a quick throwaway role but it is fun to think of it the other way around.)
Much like a horror movie just as the heroines think they are safe the killer appears for one last jump scare.
Sweet. An episode that is nothing but fighting and adventure. It looks like the next episode is wonderfully enough more of the same. Oh and a little fan service because Caren is throwing off her nurse’s outfit and switching to her exorcism gear. The “skirts are for losers” exorcism gear. That also means some Vimana action and a good deal more combat. This time the fighting is in the real world where the stakes are higher.
This is where the season really begins.