Continuing on our journey through the Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya series, we’re now at the third season. After the slight improvement that was the second season, was this a continuation of that progress? Let’s break it down~
When we last left off, Kuro had slowly come to be a part of the group, and the girls had successfully defended against Bazett and her attempts to take the Class Cards. The revelation of the existence of an eighth Class Card essentially pressed the reset button, ensuring further twists and turns were going to be had.
Much like the previous season, roughly the first half of this season was focused on Illya and her friends, with slice of life being the order of the day. It was kind of weird in that, this is a magical girl anime, but for about half the season, there aren’t really any signs of magical girls. Be that as it may, I did enjoy these slice of life-centric episodes, with Mimi’s descent into the life of a fujoshi being the obvious highlight. The beach episode, the festival episode, and the theme park episode were also nice, but seeing a rabid Mimi feverishly discussing BL was easily the comedic highlight for me. If only she could have remained focused on yuri, instead of heading over to the dark side… 😛
Likewise, once the plot thickens, the rest of the girls disappear and are nowhere to be found. Maybe I would have preferred these two things to not be as separate as they were, but since there was really only one battle, that might not have actually been possible. Stretching out a thin plot probably isn’t the greatest thing to do, but once said plot does thicken, we get more of the backstory and details surrounding what’s really going on here. The mystery surrounding Miyu finally comes to light, and learning a bit more of the Holy Grail War further sparked my interest. Waiting so many episodes for more information on these matters made the payoff feel more rewarding for me, and it only made me more interested in the lore of this alternate universe. For newcomers to the Fate series (like myself), maybe this is designed to funnel viewers back towards the main series, because that’s what it’s done to me.
And then, there’s the final battle. This battle with the eighth Heroic Spirit got off to a good start, I’d say. We get some fighting, some magic, and another villain (who’s quite annoying btw), but once our protagonist rises to the occasion to oppose this powerful enemy… we don’t see how it actually ended. That was pretty disappointing for me, not just because of the missing conclusion to the battle, but because of the increased importance due to Miyu. One minute, the villain was stronger than ever, and the next minute, they were defeated, and everything was normal again. So only having one battle—and it ending somewhat prematurely—let a bit of air out of the balloon for me, you could say.
Still, more explanation (even if it took a while) was nice, and more fun slice of life moments kept the mood as light and fluffy as ever, not to mention keeping things fun as hell. I would have liked to have seen the more serious aspects of the story spread out further and not all happen in the final few episodes, but at least when it comes to having an actual plot, this was yet another step in the right direction~
With as much an emphasis on slice of life as ever before, we see a lot more of the supporting cast, which is pretty nice, considering how entertaining they are. Characters like Nanaki and Mimi, who were seemingly forgotten up until this point, came back to relevance, thanks to Nanaki’s feud with Rin and Luvia, as well as Mimi’s rotten girl transformation. Suzuka played a major part in Mimi’s episode, which was especially nice, since she’s definitely one of my favorites. Tatsuko has always been pretty great, and absolutely nothing has changed on that front. Rin, Luvia, Iri, and Caren also have/continue to have prominent roles, and Bazzet has gone from fearsome foe to occasional comic relief, which felt a little weird, though, if she doesn’t get the chance to fight, what else is she supposed to do? So in that regard, I guess her role was somewhat understandable. Shirou is more annoying than ever, but thankfully, he’s also pushed aside in the later episodes. 😎
Getting back to the main trio, Illya hasn’t changed at all from earlier seasons, and maybe it’s just me, but Kuro seemed a little more laid back, from what I remember. That hasn’t changed my opinion of either, it’s just nice to be able to like Kuro from the outset. If season one saw the focus geared towards Illya and Miyu, and season two saw more of Illya and Kuro, I think season three goes and shines the spotlight back on Miyu a bit. Gradually, my impressions of her have improved, and with this third season in the books, she’s, at least, on par with Illya and Kuro. That serious, unassuming charm of hers finally won me over, and I’m glad she wasn’t an afterthought this season.
Shifting gears, aside from having the kiss between Illya and Kuro that made it to the semifinals of our Best Yuri Kiss tournament, there seemed to be an overall downturn in the yuri moments this season. Yeah, there were another couple of kisses, and despite being rotten to the core, Mimi still sees Illya x Miyu x Kuro as a thing, it’s just that nothing serious seems to happen. Illya x Miyu would be the obvious place to look, yet that really didn’t meet my expectations. I think there’s still plenty of potential there, but it would have been nice to have seen that come to fruition. *crosses fingers for 3rei! to bring this to reality*
All told, the slice of life-heavy episodes early on were great to see more of these girls at their best, and the character development from Miyu make her more likable to me (and I’d guess others as well). This entire season just reiterated what we should have already known, that this is a pretty damn good cast of characters~
Since we don’t see any battles until the seventh episode, it’s kind of hard to say how this compares to what’s come before. Compared to season two, I didn’t notice quite as many CG elements, and to the untrained eye, I think it’s hard to tell a major difference between scenes from 2wei! and 2wei Herz!, so understandably, I think the animation rating should stay largely unchanged from the previous season.
From an audio standpoint, there really isn’t much that differentiates this from the previous two seasons, in my eyes. During the climactic battle scene, we have some nice, intense music that gets you in the fighting spirit, yet I don’t think it’s especially memorable or remarkable. This also extends to the themes, which fall in line with previous seasons, and are generally more than adequate, so across the board, I don’t think there is that much changed from before.
As the name might suggest, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz! felt like a carbon copy of the second season, right down to the increased emphasis on cute girls doing cute things and the further scaling back of the action scenes that were fairly prevalent in the first season. As long as you don’t expect to see a lot of magical girl battles, chances are this third season will still be largely as entertaining as the first two were, even without boatloads of yuri moments.