Welcome to the mountain top. We have reached a climax. Remember the climax is not the end. There is still the closure and conclusion so there is still going to be a lot of fighting, philosophizing, and reveals before the end. Also, this might just be a climax and not THE climax. Tanaka is a wild card that could show an extra level to the story. But it is one of the most important points in the series. Illya has conquered a major obstacle. Darius, Angelica, and Beatrice are still dangerous threats. None of them will be pushovers. But after this episode, they CAN be defeated. They have become vulnerable. If Illya did not make the choice she did in this episode she could never win. Now the battle will still be horrifically hard. Every one of her allies will have to bring everything they have to even have a chance. But despite all that, the road to victory has been opened.
With the heavy revelation dropped by Angelica puts Illya into a moral quandary. She wants to save Miyu but she does not wish to damn the population of an entire planet. Chloe, on the other hand, has no such conflict but she cannot handle someone wielding the Gilgamesh card while also using Flash Air. Seeing this Darius tries to utterly break Miyu but showing her not only that her saviors are outclassed but also in the wrong. But that decision may be his undoing as Illya decides to break the seemingly invincible chains of fate showing they might just be far more brittle than they first appear.
OK. My bad. I had forgotten how this went down in the manga. While it seems like it could be the origins of the Fate/Extra Universe it actually sounds much more like the foundation of the Notes. timeline. In many ways Notes. is the origin of much of what would be the greater Nasuverse despite taking place near the end of it. It would be like if Tomino first produced Victory Gundam (or Turn A depending on how you look at it) and then all the rest of his Universe Century output was looks at what could have led up to that story.
In Notes. the Earth is pretty much dead and humans have all but died out. Humans have mostly been replaced by A-Rays who can live in the toxic environment of ruined Earth as they fight the 8 Aristoteles. The world of Notes. in pretty much a world where Darius plan “succeeds.” The Earth may be ruined but a transformed humanity eek out an existence even if they have to fight what boils down to the gods of the solar system. The particles that are killing the Earthy will be known as the Grain in this timeline.
So TECHNICALLY if Darius plan goes through it will work how he says it will but the Earth that it produces is hardly the ideal situation for anyone involved. It is a planet that is not totally barren but it is essentially the worst possible ending that is not a complete dead-end.
I still wonder if this might be the foundation for the Fate/Extra universe. The Fate/Extra universe is just what happens if Illya wins. When Darius wins you get the bizarre transformation that is the Notes. universe and if Illya wins Moon Cell world of Fate/Extra happens. Maybe. Fate/Extra could be a third option with Illya’s world being some new third option. Only time will tell what their truth is.
Magical Sapphire shows that she is the successor of Hisui in magical wand form. She might be the comedic version of Hisui but she is still the reliable younger sister in the Yakumo Tsukamoto mold. She gently guides Illya towards her answer in a way that lets her sort of what she knows. Sapphire even pushes Illya towards the answer she wants but does it in a way that makes the choice completely up to Illya.
I also think it is important to see Miyu being fierce and unbending in this flashback. Much of this episode is her being broken by Darius. Miyu has had a taste of hope, happiness, and control which has made her all the more vulnerable to Darius’ machinations. It is easy to see her now as just the broken puppet of the Ainsworth family. It is important to remember there was a time that she fully believed that she could fight, she could win, and that it would lead to the best possible future. It reminds the audience of what she was, what she has been ground down to, and what she will be again.
Also, this episode has a lot of powers that Assassins are supposed to have in the Fate/Stay Night universe but never really get to use effectively. Despite the fact that Presence Concealment is supposed to be such signature ability for the Assassin class in never really is all the useful in any of the canonical titles. It mostly just lets Assassins do some ineffectual sneak attack. This time, it actually came in handy. It not only gives Illya time to think but it lets her swoop in with a clever save later on.
Chloe is the true hero series. I said it in back with the 7th episode of this season but it really comes to the forefront this time. While Magical Sapphire lays the road map to Illya’s ultimate decision it is Chloe who does much of the driving. She jumps in with a vital save that prevents Angelica from capturing Illya. She also essentially gives Illya permission to be greedy. Illya clearly wants to save Miyu. She is even tempted to say damn everyone to save her friend but she just can’t be that selfish or determined. Chloe, on the other hand, looked into her bag of shits to give and saw that she had absolutely nothing to hand out to the people of this world. Chloe is not an objectivist, mostly because outside of an Ann Rand novel that makes you a villain, but she knows what she values and when she feels confident in being self-interested. She knows the value of altruism and cooperation but is willing to think about herself as well.
Her answer is not the answer Illya would ever come to. And Chloe does expect Illya to ever throw in as hard as she does. What Chloe does is give Illya permission to fully explore the question which allows her to find her own answer.
Well, Darius just went up several levels on the creeper scale. He was already a nasty piece of work but the full confirmation comes here. As he beats Erika the truth of his character is revealed. As much as he claims to be the savior of humanity his work to save people is almost a byproduct of that work. His real goal is to orchestrate a story in which he is the noble savior. Anything that gets in the way of it is an abomination. It is very clear he has a chip on his shoulder and this crisis is he way of dealing with it. Actually, he is less dealing with it and more placating it. When you know more of Darius’ backstory all of this makes more sense.
When Erika and Miyu step out of their roles or even look like they might deviate from his grand scheme he goes out of his way to crush them so they fall back into their prescribed roles. It should also be very clear that Angelica is now on his shit list for enabling Erika with her childish little schemes.
While it was fairly obvious it is also worth noting that Darius has some plan involving Illya. The fact that Illya is also a Holy Grail vessel is clearly why he wants her untouched. For one thing, she is a good backup just in case anything happens to Miyu. But if he can before the Grail summing ritual with Miyu there is nothing to say he can’t do it again with the Grail from another world.
It seems that the assassin class has a bunch of great powers that no one has ever used. The Cursed Arm Hassan was able to really get some work done in Heaven’s Feel but he could have been so much more effective if he only used some of these tricks. The Body Replacement Technique is a great ninja power to have. I would have to assume at least Fuuma Kotarou would use that ability if he were ever in a series outside of Grand Order.
Illya steps up to the plate and actually saves Chloe for once. I think she now just owes her dark-skinned sister like 20.
Here is the turning point. Once Illya has decided that she will save Miyu and the consequence be damned everything changes. As the beloved screenshot says, “Don’t Think, Imagine!” The Holy Grail is a wish granting device yet people always use it to grant limited wishes. Illya is going to think big. Hopefully, she is not playing Dungeons & Dragons with a DM that loves to punish the players for daring to use the Wish spell.
This whole situation does seem very similar to another series about magical girls. There is a sinister ritual designed to save the world but it uses up the girls at its core. There is a reluctant magical girl who thinks outside the box for a way that fixes the core problem without the suffering the current plan revolves around. The main solution revolves around making a carefully worded wish.
It is not exactly Madoka. You can find a dozen reasons why they are different. But the similar is distinct on a surface level even if details are very different.
It seems that Type-Moon has influenced Gen Urobuchi and in turn Gen Urobuchi has inspired some of the Type-Moon staff. The new ending of 3rei! is fairly solid if somewhat if a bit bog standard. It has a watercolor Illya and Miyu meeting each other in a field of flowers. “Cuddle” by ChouCho adds to the soft mood of the scene. The most striking thing about it was summed up by my roommate when he came home for the ending of the episode. He said, “Has Prisma Illya always been trying to be Madoka Magica or is this a new development?”
Everything about this ending seems to be trying to channel that opening they made for the Madoka movie so hard it hurts. There has always been a good deal of subtext between Illya and Miyu. In fact even in regular magical girls shows targeted at little girls there is plenty of text and subtext between the women in the show. Haruka Tenoh and Michiru Kaioh are the groundbreaking lesbians from Sailor Moon and fans read a good deal into the relationships between characters in pretty much any other show.
Show specifically targeted at adult men traffic in this Class S titillation as their bread and butter. Madoka’s most famous couple is undoubtedly Madoka Kaname and Homura Akemi. Heck, the Madoka wiki has a whole (very long) page devoted to pointing out subtext in the show. Now look at this ending as see how they are very clearly trying to tap into that Madoka and Homura iconography. There are no chairs but they are very deliberately trying to invoke that “Luminous” feeling.
Hail, hail, the gangs all here. Now that Illya’s crew has thrown in their chips with saving Miyu the only path forward is crushing the Ainsworth family. So far there are been a few quick clashes that end with someone retreating. Now that the season is wrapping up the fights will be appropriate for the end of a season.
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
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #06: Attack of the Designer Knockoff Noble Phantasms
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #07: Illya Does a Fairly Good Beatrix Kiddo Impersonation
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #08: Are We the Baddies?