If you missed the new it seems that Fate/Grand Order is currently having a Prisma Causeway Event. A bunch of the “magical girl” characters like Nursery Rhyme, Helena Blavatsky, and Medea (Lily) are going to be the focus of the event alongside the Prisma Illya characters. While there could still be some surprises the big draw is the 5 Star Illya alongside the Chloe as the prize for completing the event. As someone who has really gained an appreciation for Chloe via the anime, I am platinum glad to have her as the free Servant.
(Tsukihi Araragi puns like that are clearly why the blog is “popular.”)
There is oddly enough no Miyu as a summonable Servant which is distinctly surprising. It would have been cool to get Tanaka or Bazett as Servants I don’t anyone is super shocked they are not in the game. Now the number of people super sore about Phantas-Moon, Kaleido Ruby (beyond a CE), or Magical Amber not being in the game because that is the default state of Tsukihime fans makes it that a small but vocal group of people will complain this whole event.
But for everyone else, this should be fun!
Damn the Ainsworth family! Their sham of a plan is soundly rejected by Illya. This means WAR! It also means the cycle of attacks, parries, ripostes that are emblematic of shonen series is now in effect. At first Illya’s group has a strong opening attack with a cloaked Bazett and Gilgamesh joining the fray. Then a strategic use of Rule Beaker seemingly tips the scales completely in their favor with Miyu even getting Sapphire back. But all of that advantage disappears when Darius’ true form is revealed. With the illusion broken their opponent takes off the kid gloves as summons the might of his forces including an army of phantom Servants.
Then a Hero of Justice enters the scene.
You might think this is Nobunaga’s Noble Phantasm because all of the Chekhov’s guns are going off at once. I have talked enough about the final decision to fight. The die is cast. At least on Illya’s end.
First of all is the ambush from Bazett and Gilgamesh. It seems that Angelica carelessly put Hades’s Cap of Invisibility in the Gate of Babylon after abducting Illya. Gilgamesh having invisibility makes him more of a wild card than he usually is. For someone who usually makes sure, he is always the center of attention he can melt into the background when he wants to.
Rin and Luvia are free from their mind control which at first seems like a null gain. Once they are free they are mostly comic relief so they are not really power players in the battle. In fact, they seem more Hoe! than Illya at this moment. But it is important to note that the two of them being shuffled off to the position of Speedwagons is still better than combatants for the Ainsworths. As fighting maids, they added a bit more firepower to overwhelming Ainsworth trio while also being a shield that Illya’s team is (mostly) reluctant to injure. Now they are no longer a liability and if the fight with the Saber Card or Bazett proved anything it is that they can occasionally pop up with some useful surprise attacks. They don’t win fights. That is not their role in the show. The duo is a pair of incompetent mentors. They tend to tip the odds so Miyu and Illya can find a path to victory not grab that victory themselves.
Seriously Rule Breaker is Medea’s secret most powerful weapon. There is a reason most Fate/Grand Order players max her out in the game despite the fact that she is only a 3 Star Servant. When Darius first sees Illya charging at him with the Lilly Saber Excalibur it seems like she is trying the same thing again and excepting a different result. But despite being crazy weak damage wise the surprise Ruler Breaker attack throws his grand narrative right into the toilet. Illya and Chloe assumed this would end the ceremony but instead it merely destroyed the background set on this play and revealed this world for what it really is.
It is worth noting that when Julian gets serious the first thing he does is destroy the Caster card with extreme prejudice. It is clear that past this point it would be idiotic for Illya and Miyu to not use Rule Breaker to counter any long-term spell Julian would cast. While it has to touch him to be effective it still acts like a counterspell with infinite uses. Julian could still use instant spells like fireballs or single teleports but every other type of spell would come and go in a flash. Enchantments, summoning, long-term portals, illusions or any other sort of spell that normally have persistence would be gone soon after they activated. He would go from the final boss to a minor inconvenience.
It makes sense for him to destroy the card. It also makes sense for Hiroshi Hiroyama to have gotten ridden of the card in the manga. Now that it has played it part it has to leave the narrative lest the reader wonder why the characters are not using it all the time as it would make victory rather simple.
With the fourth wall firmly broken the reality of the stage is revealed. Darius is unmasked to be merely a part played by the director of the play, Julian. The fairy tale castle is just a hunk of rock that is a powerful node on some overlapping ley lines. Now that the illusion has been dispelled Julian is furious but it is a cold and methodical madness. Gone are his theatrics and his pomp. While he was in the guise of Darius these little moments of the real Julian would occasionally shine through but now that the spell is broken he is spitefully himself 100%. While it was clear Julian was holding back when he was playing the part of Darius the extent of his power was never fully apparent until his true face was revealed.
It is worth noting while they were hardly super effective the cards Crown Undertaker and Ninth Prayer were not in the manga. They were nowhere near as effective as Apneic Beauty and Authoritarian Personalism but they are a sign that Julian might get a few new flashy powers in the anime.
While Julian has Beatrice and Angelica there is a fairly formidable alliance in front of him. Therefore he drops in an army of disposable Servants to tip the balance back in his favor. While none of them seem as dangerous as a full class cards they are still thousands of them. Much like everything else that Julian does he makes up for having the real thing by producing inferior but cheaper mass production models. The problem is not any individual Shadow Servant. It is the fact that they seem limitless. The team’s real goal is to shut down their production more than defeating each of these bush-league Servants individually.
This sort of reminds me of a Dynasty Warriors game at this point. Illya’s team has to fight through a sea of small fries to draw out their real opponents. This whole scene would make a great bonus stage in Fate/Extella. It could be a fun DLC pack that would have all new playable characters and opponents.
Also, it reminds me of the Shadow Servants from Fate/Grand Order. They are more powerful than the standard enemies but a major step bellow fighting a real Servant. They are good mini-bosses or minions for a true Servant but they are never a full-fledged final boss. They serve much the same role here as well.
While Illya’s mind is made up Miyu spends much of the episode on the fence. At first, Miyu seems to have broken free of the illusion that Julian had convinced her was her destiny. When Illya makes her choice to save her Miyu becomes far more defiant. She occasionally showed signs of resistance before that point but always was broken by Julian’s oppressive aura. As the battle with the Shadow Servants goes on Miyu loses much of that confidence she gained. In many ways, it shows that it was a borrowed confidence more than an internal resolution. When Julian begins to whisper in her ears again she begins to go back to her old routines.
This is exactly what Julian wants. It is one thing for him to use his impressive firepower to get Miyu back in line. But it is a suboptimal solution. Miyu, and her backup Illya, could be damaged in this fighting for sure but that is a secondary concern. The more important goal is to get Miyu back as a willing actress his little story. It would reaffirm his role as heroic champion and Miyu role as willing sacrifice for the greater good.
Miyu cannot make the decision to defy Julian on her own because she cannot defeat Julian on her own. What she does do is finally accept Illya’s help absolutely. She can make the decision to join with the team again with complete confidence. She can accept that Julian’s path is not the only way and that they can save the world.
That tricky golden wild card King of Herroes was able to save the boy who is usually the hero of these stories. While Shiro will not be the one to defeat Julian or save the day he is a valuable asset when they need him the most. Shiro in this universe distinctly has a Heaven’s Feel vibe about him. Considering that is probably the most popular version of Shiro this is probably the best case scenario for most fans.
The Sleeper has Awakened! All of this fighting has activated Tanaka. It is also clear that part of her has some insight into Julian’s powers as her scribble on the wall is revealed to be giant cube that he summoned in the fight. I am still very curious what she actually is and what happened to her that caused her to be in this broken state.
Also is it just me or does the giant cube that Julian summoned look like the Main Core of the Moon Cell? It is just a giant cube so it does not necessarily have to be the same object or a similar object. But it does add some fuel to my idea that this is either the universe that leads to the Fate/Extra universe or at least has the potential to go in that direction. But until the nature of the cube and the mechanics of this snowy universe are revealed I will have to continue to wonder if I have actually discovered something or if I just have a crazy Internet theory.
The old stage has been cleared away along with many of the illusions that were a part of that story. Now the real fight begins.
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?
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! #09: Puella Magi Illya Magica