Note: This review is part of an event called "The Nine Hells". This is Day IV (The Circle of Greed) and contains mild spoilers. While this doesn't give everything away, your discretion is still advised.
Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is an alternate take on the Fate/Stay Night franchise in the form of a magical girl tale. This time around, Illya gets thrown into being a magical girl by a roaming wand and must defeat and collect the seven class cards that have manifested into their respective figures with the help of the wand's former master, Rin. However, Illya isn't alone on the hunt as a recently transferred schoolmate is also a magical girl with Rin's rival, Luviagelita as her mentor.
At first, the story had an interesting start with the magical wands, Ruby and Sapphire being able to choose their master after Rin and Luvigelita had one fight too many with each other, but this ends up also building an emphasis on the relationship between Illya and Miyu during the hunt for the seven fabled class cards. Parodic inspirations aside, Illya's normal parts of her life ends up not adding much of anything to the story aside of some major events as opposed to Miyu's, whom doesn't get covered that well aside of her meeting up with Luvigelita after already meeting Sapphire offscreen. Speaking of plotholes, the writing really eats itself after the halfway point not only from parts of the main characters' normal lives, but within their jobs as magical girls and the mechanics of the class cards like an often violated several-hour cooldown period for their activations with the wands for example. The pacing is medium-slow mostly as some key events are very long like the two major fights that lasted about a quarter of the show and despite it working for the development of Illya and Miyu's relationship, it tends to drag on with the non-magical girl scenes heavily and even gets used as a way to convey forced drama into the picture whenever they both have a fallout. The end result turns out to be open and ends up being only a bit climactic on the main duo's parts and not on the other departments thanks to not only the bad writing mentioned earlier, but also being thanks to the constant tonal shifts that were at play long enough to be a juggling act between being a magical girl show, an ecchi-comedy and a drama that fumbles into a complete mess.
As expected, the main duo end up having the strongest roles with the others basically being a bit helpful and fun at best and severely unneeded at worst. Despite Miyu falling under the perfect transfer student stereotype (aside of being seemingly homeless until she found Sapphire and Luvigelita), she turns from being cold and distant to Illya at first to becoming good friends with her as she got closer to her from school and their magical girl duties. But with everyone else, she tends to be as bitter to other people as back then with Illya and even becomes selfish and prideful when it comes to her goals of handling everything on her own until a point. She ends up being the best of the bunch thanks to her development within the show, despite being a neutral character on my end thanks to her pride. Illya on the other hand was quite the mixed bag. She originally rejected the offer of being a magical girl despite dreaming of being one and got forced into it instead thanks to Ruby and she managed to learn of how deadly and challenging it can be after trying to have fun with it after all. While it did help her development somewhat (and also got to have a lot of cool moments into her battles), her character takes serious damage to the point of being the lowest part of neutral from the combination of her brother complex with Shiro, some character regression after being in a serious funk from some key moments in the show and the out-of-character moments that have her lusting for Miyu (in a maid outfit) to the point of trying to molest her. She could've been a good main character, but the faults from earlier prevent it from happening in this show.
For the side characters, Rin does a fair job as a mentor to Illya, but other than that, her character isn't much to speak of other than being a very bitter and one-note person thanks to her rivalry with Luvigelita, whom the very same applies for her character with the exception that she mentors over Miyu and falls under the "rich girl / oujou-sama" stereotype for her looks and dialogue. About the talking wands, while there's not much to Sapphire's character other than being the straight woman to Ruby's antics, Ruby comes off as forceful and dim-witted despite her being the more effective comic relief as well as her voluntary role as Illya's supposed magic mentor besides Rin, but she ends up getting a bit better after casting her forceful traits aside after Illya gets in her funk onwards. Aside of one of Illya and Miyu's annoying classmates, the remaining characters are nothing more to note at all other than the rest of Illya's family, whom deservingly get thrown into the dark depths of Evil Town alongside said annoying classmate with the low-neutral exceptions of Shirou and Illyasviel with the latter helping out Illya with something major and the former not doing anything to deserve his serious abuse from 90% of his family, which was all played for laughs. Yeah, he's done some incredibly dumb crap in a number of anime from the "Fate" series, but this time, all of his torture was mostly unjustified.
Pros and Cons
This can depend on the viewer whether it is a pro or a con, but this anime is shorter than the average 12-24 episode series with the 10-episode count that it sports. The art style turns out to be fitting for a magical girl show thanks to Silver Link taking the reigns for the show and looks fine on some characters while others don't look that good with the changes. They also did very well on the animation for the magical girl transformations and especially the fighting scenes. For the normal life scenes, the animation is above average, however. Of all of the average-grade music within the show, the alternate ending theme in episode 9 turned out to the be the best in terms of sound and sequence revealing some symbolism of Illya and Miyu's relationship up to that point. There's a bit of fanservice for Rin and Luvigelita for those that are into that and it turns out to be an added bonus.
Although, the bad outweighs the good for this show and one of the major negatives for those that aren't into loli fanservice (despite the show being light on it) is that the remaining 80% of the overall fanservice is of Illya and Miyu and ends up being very uncomfortable alongside Illyasviel's 5% within said 80%, which involves her own daughter, Illya. More on the overall music, most of the tracks except for the one theme that's already stated are below average even for j-pop music and are nothing worth remembering at all. Fate/Kaleid does recycle a lot of common tropes within the magical girl genre and with the exceptions of the transformation scenes, they aren't really used that good alongside the comedy within the show; In which most of it doesn't work much, and that includes the more dirtier jokes.
English Sub and Dub Comparison/Evaluation
In this case, the English subtitled version easily wins in this department. Aside of some humorous parts within the translation like Ruby's trash talk to Rin, Fate/Kaleid's English dub and most of the voices sound very off, especially for all of the children. While the Japanese dub does have some peculiar voices like Ruby, Sapphire and Miyu, they and the other voices at least sounded more fitting to each other than how they sounded in English. There, even the wands sound a bit strange. The official sub translation is perfectly smooth with the one exception of at least one grammar goof within them.
At first, I thought this was fun and had no idea that this spinoff was my first foray into the Fate or Type-Moon franchise until then, but after re-visiting it when I got myself together, I realized that this wasn't that good at all, especially after noticing the major flaws that were about, which are heavy enough to warrant an overall Absolutely Iffy rating. Although I am willing to tear into the next few seasons and explain how worse the Fate/Kaleid branch had gotten from the second season onward, I'd rather not recommend this show to anyone in the first place, "Fate" fan or not. The Circle of Greed has been cleared now and up next, we're going to a huge salt mine that happens to be serving some shockingly delicious rabbit stew. Believe me on this, however; This is not the end to the torture.
Current Situation: I wanted another excuse to use Enterprise as an avatar again.
I just finish binge watching all season and personally absolutely love it as is a really fun magical girl with decent fan service and Kuro makes the other season so much better, I mean god damn is she just the sexiest loli ever.
Also Shirou deserved all the abuse to be honest. If he die that would be better, and he the reason why I honestly almost gave up on the Fate Franchise after watching Fate night unlimited, the one that not supposed to be bad, which makes me curious on how bad the original Fate stay night anime is.
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT