Hey everyone remember Fate/Zero the depressing prequel to the Fate/Stay game/animes? Well I’m about to give you a massive total whiplash as we look at the franchise’s Magical Girl spin off with bright pink colours and a version of one of the prominent characters that’s all sunshines and rainbows, instead of yelling BERSERKER at you.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is a Magical Girl spin off of the Fate/Stay series and one of the first shall we say Alternate Universe tales in the series. This is a world were the Holy Grail Wars don’t seem to have happened (spoiler we find more out in later series as plot twists). As such Illyasviel von Einzbern is a regular (kind of albino) elementary school student in Japan both her parents are alive and Shiro is her adopted brother (he was the kid Kiritsugu adopted at the end of Fate Zero and is the lead of the Fate/Stay Core stories, you can kind of think this as the super happy ending of that if you wish). This does mean her personality is drastically DRASTICALLY different from what you saw in the main series.
Anyway Rin Tohsaka one of the main leads in that series (who we saw as a child in Zero) has been sent on a mission along with Luviagelita Edelfelt with two magical staffs to collect 7 magical cards… But they hate each other, get into a fight and the staffs who are sentient say enough and fly off. Rins’ one, Ruby, finds Illya and turns her into a Magical Girl. Rin finds her beats her up and forces her to collect the cards for her which are based on the 7 Servants System we saw in previous entries (well I only reviewed Zero so far but yeah this comes up a lot in the franchise).
Now as mentioned, this is a drastically different Illya than that of the main series personality wise so those wanting to see that one as a Magical Girl, sorry not happening (and no sign of a crossover yet, I WANT TO SEE THEM MEET DAMN IT) This is more taking the concepts of the Fate/Stay universe and using them to make a Magical Girl series (also no Saber technically so points down there). Even though it has characters from the Fate series that’s more it has their designs and names but not what made them, them.
So treating this as a Magical series (not that I watch a lot of them) we fortunately don’t have one that believed the concept was over used and decided to deconstruct the concept and become massively depressing (hello Medoka). It’s a cute little show that involves Illya making a new friend while having to be a Magical Girl, and defeat the dark versions of the heroic spirits that come out from the cards until she can claim them (yes we do get a dark version of Saber but it’s openly pointed out there is no soul in it so it doesn’t count, we are getting Alter in the movies though).
Other than the Fate characters designs it’s very much by the numbers Magical Girl, Other Magical Girl who the main character tries to befriend, Lead Girl unlocking some hidden power, temporary break up proceeded by Lead being depressed and pondering quitting, coming back in to save the day as they join forces. All stuff we have already seen but I’m not complaining about that. Character designs are cute (as they probably should be) and enough hinted at below the surface to imply more going on than just a quest to find 7 cards.
The best moment in the series comes at the middle point when right after they defeat Caster, who should show up but said dark version of Saber, who is so many leagues ahead of everything they can’t even touch, or run away, it really ups the stakes and the action though I did find it cheap seeing one person in reused smoke animation running about but the ending of that fight is the first real hint there’s more to Illya than even she knows and everyone who is familiar with the series then smirks.
After the credits of the final episode (there’s only 10) there is a teaser for a character coming as well as the confirmation of more episodes to come in future seasons which I’m aware does more with the series than the Magical Girl show with a Fate/Stay coat of paint the first does. I may look at those in the future but I feel when I return to this franchise for its next review I’ll go look at one of the more “normal” shows, Apocalypto is on Netflix and with a dub probably that one, don’t really want to see Unlimited Blade Works… not a happy ending for Illya there.