Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA wears its main influences on its sleeve extremely proudly. Obviously, it is drawing from the expansive Nasuverse for many of its characters, concepts, and themes. Some of them are ported in wholesale but most undergo a bit of a modification or subversion when they appear in the show. Equally prominent is the tropes of the magical girl genre. That only makes sense. So far most of the concepts borrowed from a conventional magical girl show have been fairly broad and could easily be found in any of a dozen different anime or manga. But this week introduces a very specific expy from Sailor Moon: Chibiusa.
Erika Ainsworth is very clearly a Chibiusa reference. Erika is a smaller and much more annoying version of the main character who is antagonistic to the heroine but also clearly wants her approval. That might just seem a coincidence but Chibiusa full name is Usagi Small Lady Serenity. The name of this episode is “The Little Lady Attacks.” The only thing that would make it more obvious would be having Erika fall in love with a Pegasus.
On that note, I’m thinking that Medusa’s Pegasus might want to watch its back.
It is worth noting that the English-speaking community has a VERY different opinion of Chibiusa than the Japanese fans. In Japan, Chibiusa is a beloved and popular character that was given extra stories in the anime and has a metric ton of merchandise. The English-speaking fandom basically considers her a plague on the series who wears out her welcome extremely quickly. Just ask any Sailor Moon fan about their experiences with Sailor Moon SuperS and then get ready for a long rant.
Well, Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! has introduced its own Chibiusa. Alea iacta est.
Erika sets out to see Illyasviel but gets stuck on the wall outside the school. Erika is saved by her query who was outside trying to solve the enigma that is Tanaka. Before Erika can interrogate Illya she not only immediately gets into a fight with Tanaka but she also has a bit of a …. bathroom accident. After a bath which is EXTREMELY conveniently on the top of the school (thanks to Gilgamesh) Erika’s father comes to pick her up.
By the way, her father is Darius Ainsworth. It is about to go down.
One of the key jokes in the JelloApocalypse video about Steven Universe is that the show keeps things mysterious by making sure that characters don’t ask key questions that normal people would do in the same situation. It seemed like that was the same thing with Prisma Illya but with some downtime, the characters finally start delving into the questions that the audience want the answers to. The main problem is Gilgamesh is still trying to play Ambassador Kosh to a T.
Chloe continues to the responsible member of the cast, alongside Bazett, as she tries to make sense of this snowy world. They both realize that Gilgamesh knows much more than he is sharing so they start barraging him with questions to avoid the old, “But you never asked” cliché.
Gilgamesh knows what caused the incident that wrecked the town but refuses to answer the question. They do discover that there are several different “official stories” that explain away the clearly supernatural event. They also learn that he has no idea who Tanaka is but he does set them on the path to figuring out who she might be and why she is here.
The more important thing is the strange picture Tanaka doodles on the wall. While is seems very silly the mushroom cloud imagery clearly has a nondescript figure at its center. It is not a slew of information but it solidifies that she was almost definitely summoned by the event that created the crater but at the same time she is not known by the Ainsworth family.
Tanaka clearly has some sort of programming despite her memory loss. It seems that whenever she is left on her own and she lets her mind wander Tanaka drifts towards the crater. She also instinctively hates Erika. Whatever her goal is she still retains parts of it on a subconscious level. The question is what will trigger her original version of Tanaka to reemerge.
They do avoid the first mystery delaying tactic of not having the characters ask key questions. They then fall back on it companion trope which is having random events pop up whenever people would answer key questions. Que sera, sera.
I have to say that Chloe and Bazett have become my favorite duo in the show. The show is always at its best when they are on the screen. They should really have their own buddy cop series where they solve supernatural mysteries.
If you love a mixture of micturition and lolicon related humor then you will be in heaven in this episode. They spend a good deal of time with Illya merely having a conversion with Erika ass in a way that would embarrass Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The scenes in the bath are just icing on the uncomfortable cake. Everyone else might just be skipping to the next episode hoping that a recap will get them back up to speed.
(I do not wish to know the flavor nor the shape of the uncomfortable cake. Please DO NOT write in with your ideas of what are the answers to those unsolved mysteries. )
Thankfully Chloe and Bazett are at least a little suspicious about Erika’s arrival. They generally judge her to be a harmless goofadoof but at least they give her a once over.
Erika is clearly an ojou-sama with far more pride than sense. Throw her against Tanaka who has just a low a wisdom score and then give them a subliminal hatred and tension and the fireworks start to fly. I am sure that Tanaka’s programming does not help but you get the impression that these two would fight not matter what the case.
In a way, Erika is this world’s version of Fate/Stay Night Illya if she were a Tatsuko level moron. She is bratty, prideful, and self-centered in all the ways that Illya Prime is without the ability to turn on the charm or be anywhere as devious. At this point, Illya Prime would have everyone against Tanaka for bullying her and would probably already be in the middle of vicious revenge. Erika is mostly a punching bag with only Illya there to stand up for her.
They are alike in the sense that both Erika and Illya Prime desperately long for someone to connect to even if Illya Prime has gotten very good at lying to herself about that fact.
It does make you wonder if there is a greater Sailor Moon/Chibiusa connection between Illya/Erika. I would be a little distributed if it turned out that Erika is Illya’s daughter from the future. It then also makes you wonder who the father is.
It is also VERY convenient that Gilgamesh being the one person who could recognize Erika disappears when she shows up. It is not a plot relevant disappearance but one to facilitate the plot.
There are some nice Bazett and Tanaka service. There are also some other girls in this scene but we don’t talk about that in proper company.
While Erika and Illya go to see the visitor at the front desk Ruby gets a call from Sapphire. Sapphire is currently free but she has been hiding so she is not captured by the Ainsworth family. The fact that Sapphire can contact her sister means that there has been a breakdown in the interference on both around the castle and the school. Not only is the person behind the wards no longer there but the jamming around the school isweakened as well. That means trouble is coming.
I think I am a little more used to Yumi Kakazu as Sapphire. I only remembered the voice actress change as I was writing this which is a good sign. I am much more interested in seeing her a Hisui in the Tsukihime remake now.
Darius is a good mixture of totally lackadaisical and terrifying. He seems so unassuming and goofy that it helps mask his more terrifying nature. The slow build to Illya realizing who he is was rather nice. As each clue falls into place the tension builds until the other shoe finally drops.
Thank goodness Darius is here. As we all know no warrior is going to be distracted by Shantel’s booty and the same goes for Erika’s. The audience wants COMBAT and that is what we are going to get next week.
My reviews of previous episodes:
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #01: Tanaka-kun is Always Clueless
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #02: Tactical Espionage Action
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #03: The Bay of Pigs Invasion
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #04: Shonen Friendship and Softcore Porn