As we approached the end of the summer 2013 anime season, shows must start coming to an end. The first one to do so is Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya, which isn’t really a surprise, considering it was a mere ten episodes long.
My review is based on the anime alone, as I haven’t read the manga. Anyway, let’s begin.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya is a spin-off of the Fate/Stay Night series, featuring Illyasviel von Einzbern as a magical girl. Naturally, she started off as a normal schoolgirl, but then she gained her powers. The first episode wasn’t really indicative of what the whole series was going to be like, though if I had read the manga beforehand I may have had a better impression from the start.
Well, first, let’s take a look at the characters. Who better to start with than Illya herself? She dreams of becoming a magical girl, but otherwise lives a normal life with her two maids Leysritt and Sella, and her step-brother Shirou Emiya (there’s a name people may recognise). Illya has a crush on her step-brother, and the less I say about that, the better.
Anyway, Illya is then granted the ability to become a magical girl, though it comes with a contract, if you will. She has to help collect the Class Cards, which means fighting against the Servants seen in Fate/Stay Night. Illya treats it as a bit of fun at first, but quickly learns that the battles are real and dangerous.
Next, the other magical girl who fights alongside Illya, Miyu Edelfelt. She is introduced as a rival character at first, who already has the Lancer Class Card in her possession. At first, she is there to step in when Illya’s battles don’t go so well. However, the two eventually come to respect each other, though it may be a bit more than respect that Miyu shows for Illya in the end…
Miyu seems like a character who prefers to fight alone, as one can see after the battle against Assassin. Illya initially mistakes this for cold-heartedness, but after hearing some words of wisdom from her mother, she realises there was a very good reason that Miyu told her not to fight anymore.
As for the supporting cast, let’s start by taking a look at Rin Tohsahka and Luviagelita Edelfelt. Those two were originally magical girls, but their kaleidosticks, Ruby and Sapphire, got sick of their constant fighting and left them, thus preventing them from using their powers. Illya was only to achieve her dream of becoming a magical girl thanks to Rin and Luvia’s fighting. I was entertained by the interaction between the two former magical girls. However, they weren’t always arguing; once things started getting tough battling against the Class Cards, they would work together. I generally enjoy seeing two rivals putting their differences aside to work together (Natsu Dragneel and Gray Fullbuster from Fairy Tail, just as another example). Of course, it was generally one of the magical girls who would bring an end to their battles, but Rin and Luvia were able to hold their own.
I don’t really have much to say about the other members of the von Einzbern household, aside from Irisviel von Einzbern. After taking a bath together with Illya, she was able to give her strength to continue onwards. Characters such as Irisviel should be in more anime, even if it is just to snap a protagonist out of depression. I think more would get done that way. However, Irisviel isn’t there for the entire duration of the series, but she does conveniently arrive just in time to help Illya deal with a tough time.
Before we move on to the antagonists, just a quick word about Illya’s school friends. I can only remember that one is called Tatsuko, and that’s the blonde-haired one. Clearly they didn’t leave much of an impression on me, though they were also able to tell when something was up with Illya. Naturally, they didn’t help her to the extent her mother did, but at least they tried, I guess?
Now, for the class cards. At the beginning of the series, the Archer and Lancer cards have already been captured, so we didn’t get to see either of those servants in action. However, the battle scenes were a joy to watch. Since this is set in the Fate universe, they were violent battles with the young magical girls getting bloodied up, but if you don’t mind that, it’s definitely worth checking this anime out for the fight scenes alone.
The highlight for me was the battle against Saber Alter, which involved Illya putting her Archer Class Card to good use. Berserker was probably my second favourite battle, though I have to admit I’m a little disappointed how he is ultimately defeated. The theme music power up was nice, though.
Ah, as for the soundtrack, there wasn’t really any stand out moments for me. The opening theme was used for the climax of the final battle, and apparently the theme that played during the battle between Illya and Saber Alter was good, though I can barely remember it as I watched that a few weeks ago now. So, the music didn’t really stand out to me, but then I guess that’s no surprise, as the music I prefer tends to have electric guitars. (Of course, since I can’t remember most of the soundtrack, there could be some rock music there… well, whatever…)
There was humour in this anime, as well. I particular enjoyed the interaction between Illya and Miyu; for example, Illya sees Miyu dressed up as a maid, which activates a switch within herself. This then goes on to Illya developing quite a thing for Miyu, which ends up with her bending Miyu over her bed, and then kissing her later on. So, yeah, there’s a lot of yuri in here, but it is a magical girl anime, so that is to be expected.
In conclusion, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya was an enjoyable anime. Whilst the first couple of episodes seemed a bit bog-standard, it vastly improved after that. The fight scenes never failed to impress, and I think the characters were well-developed. I’m not personally a big fan of the soundtrack, but that’s my own personal opinion, and if you don’t like it, you should go on the internet and complain.
The score I give to each anime is based on the average of what I rated each episode, rounded up or down to the nearest whole number. So, yeah, if you are a fan of the Fate series, or just magical girl anime in general, I strongly recommend watching Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya.
Oh, a second season, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! has been confirmed for production. I believe it should surface some time in 2014, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that.