Score: A

Finally got a chance to actually watch this movie. Been looking ahead to it for a while, but the chance offered itself and I definitely ran with it. It really was everything I expected. They did a pretty darn good job with the action, tweaked a few things to make it fit within a movie structure, and ended on a colossal cliffhanger! I was definitely getting curious as the movie went along just where they’d draw the line. It was clear that Saber Illya would get a major focus so getting to that part of the fight was a given. But how far beyond Illya vs Julian was always something I was guessing at. I’ll admit that I didn’t think they’d go for maximum gut punch!

This is what we are left with…

Come on movie! I mean seriously. It will be years before they can do another movie after this. The manga is a monthly release per chapter…and sometimes not even that. It could easily be another year before there’s enough to even start looking at making another movie. Might be more than that. So, the last animated thing for Prisma Illya…is a cliffhanger of Kuro getting her card crushed! If I wasn’t already reading the manga there is no way on this planet that I would be waiting for the next movie after that! That’s an absolutely insane thing to leave on. At this stage Kuro is absolutely one of the main characters of this show. Illya, Miyu, and Kuro are the core of this franchise. One of those cores may have just died at the end of this movie. Absolute gut punch after a triumphant win for Illya.

I swear if Kuro doesn’t survive this…

I know that Kuro’s value to people will vary greatly. For some she’s just a fanservice machine and that’s about it. I’ll give the movie a nod that it did next to zero fanservice and was going as hard as it could to give a quality experience. Kuro is the determined voice that will spark Illya to action. She won’t waver all that much between options. She’ll look at what is there, make a choice, and go with it. Sometimes those choices can be issues (like most of 2wei) but she makes a choice. Throughout this arc she was quick to choose Miyu. To refuse the option of sacrificing a friend (even one that doesn’t always get along with her) even if a world was at stake.

I think Kuro is at her best when she is being serious. She lived a life mostly sealed away and has chosen to use the miracle of her very existence to be true to what she wants. Having one of the core characters go out here would be absolutely heart wrenching for me. Now that’s a reason they might do it. The cost of a happy (?) ending and saving Miyu might be Kuro herself. There is impact to that. Of course, if Illya’s desires to save everyone is to come true then Kuro can’t be permanently sacrificed. Is the point to make Illya learn that she has to pay a price? Or is it to let her stubbornness reach a happy ending? I really don’t know. Selfishly I hope she’ll survive. But this story isn’t written by me. So, I’ll wait and comment in the next movie.

Movie did make me think on a few things

The movie obviously isn’t just about how it ended. They managed to get a lot done in this movie in terms of explaining the situation around Julian, Pandora, Beatrice, and even Angelica. It’s an interesting element having this be a world where a standard myth never happened. Pandora existed within this world, but she simply never opened that box. The world also steadily having moved towards annihilation and that box becoming a central part of the current struggle. There’s an obvious concept that would come to mind especially for people who played the Fate/Grand Order mobile game. All the more intriguing since the Pandora plot point only really started to come to light about 4 years ago around the time that FGO in Japan was starting to kick off its second arc. Not that I think the Miyu-verse qualifies as “Lostbelt” itself, but there are similarities to consider.

I can sympathize with Pandora to a degree

For the moment I’ll focus more on Pandora though. You can certainly imagine why she’d be so eager to die. The girl was created by gods, given a task, and then basically was left to endure a life of immortality for thousands of years. It’s just hard to imagine having to exist like that. She saw the highs and the many lows of humanity. Plus, she is immortal but not invulnerable. We’ve seen in flashbacks and present day that she can suffer harm. Her suicide ‘attempt’ in Julian’s flashback was horrible. She was definitely suffering from what should have been fatal wounds, but she also couldn’t die. It’s easy to gauge why she wasn’t a fan of her existence or of humanity. She couldn’t really detach herself from humanity nor could she fulfill her purpose.

I did like how it was Miyu and Kuro that talked things out with Pandora. Illya is absolutely the primary character here. And she did get a chance to talk with Pandora bit before things took off. But Miyu and Kuro are right there. Letting them have that moment while Illya deals with Julian was just a good use of the available characters. And Miyu could come at this situation both from her own situation and also understanding her brother’s journey. Miyu can definitely relate to despair even if she can’t relate to immortality. And honestly Miyu got one of her best lines in the show by embracing her position as the holy grail and not granting a dishonest wish from Pandora.

I like the Serenity install

The concept of the class cards still works for me to this day. It’s a fun way to give the main characters these abilities. And the focus can stay on the main characters without having to introduce and balance the various servants as characters in the story. The good thing is when they branch out a bit away from just the familiar servants from the original Fate series. In this movie alone we got to see Assassin Serenity (a clever way to use that card), Gorgon, Magni, Berserker Lancelot, etc. Some of these characters like Magni just haven’t shown up in other Fate properties. Not that the original Fate servants aren’t good to use. Having Illya go full Artoria later in the movie was great. But there is a rich collection of characters to draw from and the class card system allows the franchise to just use many of them.

I like how Illya keeps the eyepatch

I especially liked the use of Gorgon and Serenity in this movie. Gorgon was a clever way to use the concept of Thor. Fate has thrown out the idea that true names for servants are to be guarded. Because if you know the legend/history of a servant then you have means to beat them. I don’t feel as if the franchise actually does that very much. And while it didn’t work here, it also did work. Hiding Magni’s identity protected Beatrice from the Gorgon strategy. If she just said from the start “I’m using Magni” then things play out very differently since they wouldn’t use the anti-Thor strategy anymore. Even though it didn’t work, it was great seeing Illya make use of the cards in such a way. Even if the mystic eyes and snake hair didn’t get the win.

The Serenity strategy also didn’t straight up work, but it was a clever way to use the cards. Illya only really used Assassin just to hide from Angelica in the previous season. And while there are standard options that Miyu could have used, Serenity was a smart option. Lancelot has a lot of strengths as a servant no matter the state he’s in. But poison isn’t necessarily something he can simply deal with. The cost of course was that they weren’t simply facing Lancelot, but Sakura. And while history isn’t exactly the same in this world…clearly things weren’t entirely perfect for Sakura either. Scary stuff was tapped into once she was turned into this doll of death. A horrible fate for such a sweet girl.

We got some good horror imagery for this movie

The big question throughout this movie is how far can Illya go with her mindset? From a mage point of view the overall goals of the Ainsworths aren’t bad. If some sacrifices must be made to save humanity then isn’t it fine? Illya doesn’t want to go there. She finally found her resolve in seeking a better path. Even if walking that path makes her look naïve and foolish. And it looked at times like she wouldn’t be able to get that. Bazett had to step in and was prepared to kill Beatrice. But through good fortune (and set up previously with her only killing Rider Miyu’s Pegasus) only Thor’s divine core was struck. So Illya still had her chance to help Beatrice, get to understand her, and allow Beatrice’s true feelings to surface. Illya got her win.

However, Rin said it when Illya was heading to face Julian. She might have to face the need to make sacrifices. It looked as if Illya was safe on that front, but we saw how things played out. Illya did manage to reach out to Julian and get to his true feelings. And yet, Darius overtook Julian and Kuro may have been killed. Now Illya didn’t exactly make any choice that directly led to that besides not trying to cut off Julian’s head or something. But we’re already at a point where she might not be able to score the happy ending she wants. Now I really hope she can manage it. I don’t want to leave this series in a few years with Kuro dead and maybe others joining her there. But we will have to wait and see on that front.

I like the cape and the overall design here

I don’t want to leave without at least covering the Illya and Julian fight. It was definitely nice seeing Illya mature through it. She started out with her install just being the basic Artoria Lily. It reflected her mentality and maybe also how much of Artoria’s power she could really tap into. But Illya’s resolve only strengthened as she faced Julian and she was finally able to really collect King Arthur’s power and bring it into this fight. And yeah as someone who has enjoyed playing FGO over the years it was nice seeing Illya reach the final form of Saber Artoria in that game in terms of design. The cape may not be a tactical advantage, but it did look cool XD.

And it wasn’t as if Illya was only bringing that into the fight. She made use of all the cards she had with her and was flexible in using them to corner Julian. Considering she’d never consciously used the cards before this arc, it was pretty great to see how far she’s come. But the big thing was that she was able to face a heavy and weighty situation with Julian without breaking. Instead, she brought her determination into that clash and made him rethink things.

Julian really lost a lot and obviously so did Beatrice

Julian at the start truly cared about Pandora. And I like his desire to not simply lead her to death, but to lead her to a happy one. After thousands of years, she can certainly afford to move on. But having it just be out of a sad desire to die…that’s just rough. So, I like that he put so much effort into trying to allow her to die in the best way. But along the way he just lost himself. That’s fair since he had to face Darius looking to eventually possess him. And it’s hardly like that was his only source of grief. His father was possessed, his sister apparently died before being turned into a doll, Pandora took on that childish persona of Erika, and apparently his young love interest in Beatrice died in front of his eyes.

Sure, Beatrice ended up coming back but it wasn’t exactly as herself. The girl who was ready to proclaim her love to him before all that just wasn’t the same person. Eventually Beatrice fell in love with him again, but she had her own doubts. And by that point Julian was really in a dark place. If not for Illya’s efforts I’m sure she wouldn’t have ever found the will to embrace her feelings for Julian. It’s kind of nice in that sense that there’s hope even after she’s been reduced to that state. I’m less sure what they’ll do with Angelica. Since the road to regaining her emotions is a tricky thing. But she was saved for some purpose and I’m sure the story will do something with her.

Kid Gil has to just hang around

As you’d expect from a 90-minute movie…there was a lot to unpack here. Most of my thoughts are still with how things ended with Kuro and the cliffhanger that will be hanging for years. But the movie did a lot of good things. It had to trim some elements to make things fit and some things I think will come via flashback in the next movie. Silver Link isn’t Cloverworks or Ufotable in terms of Fate action animation. But they do solid work and I appreciated the efforts put in here. I really had a good time with this movie even with how it ended. Illya really got to shine in her fights against Beatrice and Julian. But so did Miyu in her own fights against Beatrice and Sakura. And Kuro put in a good effort even if she did walk a dangerous road in this one.

This isn’t a bad place to leave the Fate/Kaleid anime for the time being. It showed how solid this franchise can be. The fanservice might be all that people see, but there’s a great Fate story being told in this spinoff franchise.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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