After three reviews, we’re finally catching up on this series, and you know how they say that the third time’s the charm? Well, in the case of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya, it seems like the fourth time’s the charm, since the latest installment in the series just may be the best one yet~
Picking up where 2wei Herz! left off, Illya and co. have managed to rescue Miyu from her cruel fate as the Holy Grail, only to discover that the emergence of a parallel world is set to throw everything into chaos once again.
Previous seasons of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya have seen a sort of balancing act between fluffy slice of life and more serious magical girl fare. While the story in 3rei!! is not totally devoid of the former, it’s certainly taken a back seat to more dramatic and serious storytelling. I’m sure plenty of people may not be huge fans of this development, and even though I very much enjoyed the cute girls doing cute things moments of seasons past, I feel like the time was right to do things a little bit differently here.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the “prince” is a girl, but the “save the princess” trope that’s the backbone of this season kind of feels like a natural fit for this series, and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It also helps that now more than ever, we get some explanation regarding important plot points, not the least of which include the origin of the Class Cards. We also learn more of certain character’s backstories, and after the last couple of seasons saw the series drag its feet and be content with merely telling a mediocre story, it’s great that this season saw more care paid to the story, and for me at least, it resulted in a more enjoyable viewing experience.
There were quite the number of plot twists and turns that always kept things interesting, and as has been the case in this series, there’s a lack of resolution that sets us up for more, that being Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya Movie: Yukishita no Chikai. I’m guessing that we’ll also see an inevitable fifth season come our way at some point, and given how well this season turned out, I can’t wait for that. All in all, I think this season’s more concerted effort to produce a compelling story paid off, and hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future~
Over the course of the first three seasons, there generally haven’t been very many new additions to the cast, at least as far as characters that play fairly important roles. 2wei! saw the introduction of Kuro and Bazett, while 2wei Herz! brought us Gilgamesh, but 3rei!! takes it even further, with several new faces that jump into the fray.
These fresh faces pretty much come at the expense of other character who’ve been cast aside. Illya’s friends from school, Caren, and Iri all play little to no role at all this season, and while that may seem like it could be a downer for some people, I personally didn’t mind that much, since the new blood kind of make up for the losses.
Immediately, we’re introduced to Tanaka, a childlike amnesiac who’s essentially this season’s form of comic relief, and she filled the role left void by Illya’s school friends quite nicely. At one point, she even kisses Illya, so had they met, I’m sure Mimi would’ve welcomed her as a friend~
Like Bazzet before, seeing a former enemy turn into an ally was a bit strange. Even stranger was the fact that I didn’t dislike Gil as much as I did in 2wei Herz!. Shocking. Speaking of allies, Bazzet, Rin, and Luvia are as interesting as ever, even if they’re not fighting amongst each other anymore. And now, on to Illya, Kuro, and Miyu.
Considering the attention the kissing scenes have received, it’s probably pretty easy to forget that Illya was ten years old when the series began. This season, you could say that she grows up and truly discovers (and takes to heart) what’s really important to her. Some character development is almost never a bad thing, so seeing this not a girl, not yet a woman moment from her was especially nice. Similar things can probably be said of Kuro, who rarely resembles the carefree wild child that we first saw in 2wei!, which is probably why I like her now more than ever. Miyu’s critical role in the story makes it impossible to not be sympathetic towards her, and much like Kuro, I found her easier to like as well. Of course, the dynamic between her and Illya helps matters greatly.
With only two kisses in the entire season, Illya’s relationship with Miyu is what ends up driving the yuri rating here. A princess in need of saving needs a prince, so who better than Illya to assume that responsibility and do everything in her power to save her beloved friend? Throughout the season, it’s easy to see how much Miyu means to Illya (and vice versa), so relying on this to supply the needed yuri subtext is one-part sweet and one-part disappointing. You’d like there to be something more overt, but to me, at least the subtle way they’re drawn together is heartfelt and far more meaningful than the hollow kisses that have also come from this series.
The world could always use more
heroes villains, so Angelica, Beatrice, Darius, Julian, and Erika definitely added some more excitement into the mix. I thought Beatrice was a particularly annoying foe, while on the opposite side of the spectrum, Erika was so damn cute to watch. Remember how forgettable the enemies were in the first season? We’ve come a long way since then.
So with a main trio that see a lot more character development than at any other point in the series’ history, and new and interesting characters that end up shaking things up, this season’s cast was the best yet, in my opinion~
More than the original, 2wei!, or 2wei Herz!, 3rei!! has enough combat to make it clear that this is definitely the best-looking installment in the series so far. No, the visuals don’t look as good as the franchise’s more recent efforts (Unlimited Blade Works), but they’re still nothing to sneeze at, and you won’t find many magical girl anime this side of Madoka Magica that feature such dynamic battles. Overall, 3rei!! looks like a small step forward in the visual department, and the series continues to churn out some mighty fine-looking battle scenes.
Naturally, since there’s an increased emphasis on both the drama and the battles this season, the music takes on a more important role, and I think that this is the series’ best effort to date. Strong voice acting performances from both the returning characters and newcomers, along with another set of solid OP and ED themes, have this season at least being on par with the previous ones.
With more action, more drama, and more feels, it feels like Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei!! is what the series should’ve been like all along. It may be lacking a lot of the slice of life moments from the previous three seasons, but if that doesn’t really bother you, the further refinement of this winning formula proves that Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya has yet another winner on its hands~