I’ve been meaning to jump into the Fate universe for quite some time and never expected my first foray to be the magical girl spin-off show, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya.
Now that I’ve gotten over how much of a pain it is to type that full name in, I’ll be referring to it as Prisma Illya! I know some tidbits about the series but not a whole lot, so I’m going into this with little to no prior knowledge other than that this is a magical girl spin-off with a bigger emphasis on comedy than its parent series. The show gets off to a strong start with bright, vivid colours and some great music and a quick introduction to characters, and I find myself eager to watch more. I might have only started, but I can see myself watching the other Fate series’ at this rate.
The ten episode anime follows Illya who’s a normal schoolgirl until she runs into sentient magical wand Ruby who, as is a common problem with young girls in magical girl anime, is tricked into signing a contract. Rin Tohsaka, the previous magical girl who worked with Ruby, tasks her with finding the Class Cards which are known to contain Heroic Spirits who can be summoned to aid Illya in battle. She also finds a rival in Miyu who’s been chosen to be a magical girl by Ruby’s sister wand Sapphire, who was previously working with Luvia. Admittedly, working with is a loose term as the wands left their previous owners for constantly battling each other which grated on the wand’s nerves – their rivalry is hilarious though!
As is expected of most magical girl shows, Prisma Illya has a huge variety of bright colours and, matched with Fate’s well-known and spectacular character design, Prisma Illya can’t help but look beautiful – of course it’s very different to the mainline Fate series but it’s easy to enjoy and, though I haven’t seen the other series’, it seems that the series lends itself well to this new genre. Silver Link, who’ve done their fair share of cutesy shows, are on animating duties here and they’ve done a fantastic job with capturing the light fantasy feel prevalent in Prisma Illya, and it’s an absolute delight to watch. Silver Link were also very sparse with the fan-service which I was thankful for, although there is a bit of it! I expected a lot more and was pleased that there was only a little, as I really like how the show turned out. I don’t mind fan-service but there’s a time and a place!
It isn’t all fun and joy with a good few grand battles interspersed between the slice of life and comedy segments, and they look stunning – there’s a massive battle midway in the show that can be breathtaking at times! The characters are familiar to Fate fans but a few of the enemies will be too and it’s no wonder that they’re being used here considering how good their designs are. Silver Link have taken a page from Ufotable’s book when it comes to special effects in that they look amazing, and the environments, weather and fight itself all blend together so well and so seamlessly that it’s hard to not get engrossed in the action. Thankfully, Anime Limited including a bonus OVA episode as well as clean OP’s and ED’s for more Prisma Illya goodness, and you’ll be wanting to rewatch those tunes!
One thing that hit me as soon as I began watching Prisma Illya is how damn good the soundtrack is – like, seriously, it’s super catchy and like the visuals, does a lot to reflect the light fantasy theme of the show but it’s prepared for anything the show can throw at it! Anime Limited have included both the English and Japanese voiceovers, and I opted for the former, and was pleased with the performance of the voice talent. I know a few of them such as Emily Neves but I’m not familiar with much of the cast but I think they did a great job, and I particularly liked Cynthia Martinez, Carli Mosier, Shelley Calene-Black as Allison Sumrall as Illya, Rin, Luvia and Taiga. Being a magical girl show most of the cast consists of girls although fan-favourite character Shirou plays a minor role as Illya’s brother, spectacularly voiced by Patrick Poole.
I started Prisma Illya not expecting to dislike it but I wasn’t sure I’d like it either, but I ended up loving it. It’s funny, has great action, the story is consistent and well-paced, and the overall visuals and audio are undeniably fantastic. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequels to Prisma Illya as well as the mainline Fate series, and I’m super excited to be doing so. Maybe this won’t be for those who enjoy Fate’s usual gory and darker tones, but I recommend giving Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya regardless. As expected, Anime Limited have added another great title to their ever-growing catalogue and I’m highly anticipating what they have planned for anime fans this year.
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