Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #06: Attack of the Designer Knockoff Noble Phantasms

hisui_icon_4040_round I love going to Otakon but it really messes up my overall schedule. Normally the blog is structured to have material come out on a fairly regular basis but still be flexible when needed. The only thing that really throws a monkey wrench in that is the Type-Moon related content. A convention means the Type-Moon Weekly News Roundup has to be a double feature. While they Rounup can be time-consuming it is not that horrible. But the episode reviews of Prisma Illya are an extra sticky wicket because they take a decent amount of time and they get harder as they pile up. On top of all of that, I just got a new phone so I could start playing Fate/Grand Order again. My old tablet kept crashing so I could not really participate in Onigashima Event and was not able to get a Kinkoti Rider, or do any missions in Chapter 6. Now that Summer Event is going on there is no way I’m going to miss Scathach Assassin. The fact that we stayed long in Baltimore for the final Otakon in that city only compounded everything else.

But as I was writing this I remember that last year was actually worse. Fate/Grand Order just came out and practically demanded my attention. On top of that, I had three episode reviews to do in a row as opposed to two. So I guess what I’m saying is it is just time to suck it up and get to work on these reviews. I mean the action is really starting to kick into high gear so that alone should be great motivation to praise and critique these episodes.

Having been discovered Darius merely stands his ground against the fierce attack of Illya’s team. Darius has a pocket full of mysterious Nobel Phantasm cards as well as a seemingly inhuman amount of combat skills. The combined efforts of Illya’s group only show them how outclasses they are by the magician. Even Gilgamesh is perplexed by his array of powers and skills. The group seems incapable of stopping Darius as he drains Miyu for his fiendish ritual. On top of that Illya goes missing in the middle of the night.

While it was always clear that Darius was going to be overpowered it is another thing to see it in action. The fact that he has literally a pocket full of Noble Phantasms makes him a Gilgamesh level threat seemingly without any of prideful vulnerabilities of the King of Heroes. Gilgamesh really only whips out items from the Gate of Babylon to make his life simpler. Theoretically, Gilgamesh could end a lot of fights sooner if he just made an effort to use a little overkill. Darius does not have that problem. He plays to win right from the start.

If anything Darius’ main weakness is his obsession with playing a role in this greater narrative of destiny he sees being laid out before him. In many ways, Darius is like Diavolo from Part 5 of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. He is a man assured of his destiny but in an incredibly insecure way. He seems invincible with his plans seemingly backed up by a prewritten story that foretells his victory with everyone around him merely playing their roles in his story. But anytime something moves his life off the script he becomes increasingly erratic and vengeful as his antagonists exert the free will that shows they are more than just players in his tale. They also both go out of their way to exert a huge presence while at the same time doing their best to hide their real identity behind deceptions and illusions.

Darius is a Sleeping Slave of Fate. In fact the whole cast of 3rei!! could easily be seen as having Vento Aureo analogs when push comes to shove.

Even when Illya is able to whip out her Saber form she is unable to beat Darius when she teams up with Bazett, Chloe, Tanaka, and they all attack him at once. He clearly has some tricks up his sleeve more than just weird generic brand noble phantasm cards. I assume he can also install a heroic spirit like Beatrice and Angelica. The question is which hero is he channeling. I’m guessing a high-level mage like Merlin or Zelretch but if they have dropped any major hints they have flown over my head.

Tanaka proves that she has some sort of sun or heat related powers. The fact that she is able to melt the ice of Apneic Beauty proves that she has some sort of literal fire power that is far beyond being the humanoid avatar of Charmander. She is almost certainly either a fire  or sun goddess who has been summoned by the Grail as a defense mechanism.

The most interesting part of Gilgamesh’s return is the fact that he does not recognize any of the Noble Phantasms that Darius owns.

Apneic Beauty and Authoritarian Personalism seem very different from each other and are not obviously attached to a specific hero. If anything they seem to be centered around ideas more than the specific powers of a certain hero.

Apneic means breathtaking. As in something that literally makes you unable to breathe as opposed to just being figuratively emotionally powerful. It is a bit of a pun but more so it is the power of the majesty of the alps. It contains both the frigid beauty of the region, the slow but steady lack of oxygen as you ascend the mountains, and the isolating but magical power of nature at the top of the world.

Authoritarian Personalism on the other hand feels like Conqueror’s Haki from One Piece. The idea is that the bearer of the power is such a powerful ruler that others are forced to the floor by your overwhelming presence. It is more the generic power and majesty of a forceful ruler than a power tied to the story of a specific conqueror.

These are ideas that are not tied to a single person or place. They could be the powers of an individual hero but they seem something beyond that. If Gilgamesh’s items within the Gate of Babylon are the origins of most treasures that other heroes would have these cards seem one step removed from that into the realm of ideas that those more concrete items are based on.

I totally forgot about this scene. I realize it clearly has a narrative purpose. It is there to show that Darius is a sadistic fanatic that is willing to hurt anyone to complete his legacy. It is also there to show how much Miyu has given up and why she has given up so absolutely in the past. At the same time, it also shows that Illya’s influence has not been totally beaten out of her even if that hope has become somewhat painful given her current situation.

The problem is that the whole scene feels sexualized for utterly gratuitous reasons. While it is not a rape scene the imagery and direction make it clear that is what it is going for even if there is nothing sexual going on in practice. That does not remove the greater thematic resonance of the scene. It is just that they exist side by side when that was not necessary. The scene is clearly supposed to be titillating and powerful at the same time. The problem is that the scene is supposed to be stimulating robs from the themes of the scene. For all the criticism you can throw on how Sakura is handled in Heaven’s Feel most of the scenes of Sakura’s actual rape know better than to try to make them dark cheesecake at the same time.

I’m not the type of person to casually point the finger at a scene for being “problematic” but I feel it is fairly hard not to see why this scene robs Peter to pay Paul emotionally. All it would have taken was a less scandalous view of Miyu during this ceremony and my criticism would go away. If the camera was less salacious it could do everything in its power to invoke a feeling of violation without reveling in it at the same time.

Erika Ainsworth is very clearly supposed to be a very messed up little girl. She is generally a nice person if immaturely selfish. The problem is her twisted upbringing under Darius has accented her negative traits while making her positive traits very strange. Miyu sees that Erika would normally be a slightly princess like little girl if she grew up elsewhere. She also sees that a lot of her more annoying tendencies are the result of her isolated childhood. Beatrice and Angelica are hardly a healthy peer group nor or are they guardians who properly mold her into a fine young lady. In many ways, this makes Erika a mixture of the sadness of Chibiusa and the innocent cruelness of Fate/Stay Night’s Illyasviel.

Oh oh! It seems that Illya has gone missing. Unlike before it is also clear that she did not run away this time. She has been captured. But by who and how? This looks like the work of a certain Chibiusa like character.

I had to go back and read the manga just to make sure that I was right. I swore that Darius’ illusion did not break in the original manga.Going back and reading the chapter proved that to be correct. I’m guessing at this point they assume everyone watching the show is someone who has read the manga. I mostly say this because they are not hiding the fact that Darius is just Julian Ainsworth with an illusion spell over him. The manga plays that fact closer to its chest. Did they want to drop some bigger (to the point of being obvious) hints to that reveal at an earlier point or is this just a very large set of Easter eggs for manga reader?

The next episode is going to be a bit of karmic justice delivered on one form of a character for the crimes of another version of herself.

– Alain


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
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #05: Dumb and Dumber
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