Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is a Mahou Shoujo (magical girl) anime that takes place in an alternate universe within the Fate series. As many of you know, Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night are the pinnacle of fast paced action, confusing stories, epic characters, and great dialogue. Taking this super serious concept and flipping it into a fun, cute magical girl anime seems next to impossible. Not even that, it just seems like a straight up *bad *idea. As it turns out, Fate Kaleid is actually kind of awesome. And so begins my Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya review. Note, this is just a review of the first season.
If I could sum this series up in one word, the word would have to be “surprising.” Maybe because it seemed like a spin-off parody, I didn’t expect much from the show to begin with, granted it is basically a parody of the Mahou Shoujo genre. This show delivers well on all fronts. The art and animation are very good and quite glossy. Sure, we aren’t blessed with a Ufotable rendition like Fate/Stay and Fate/Zero have had, but honestly Silver Link really nailed this one. It’s not all cute girls at school either; there are some very well done magic battles and fight scenes to look forward to. On par with the animation and art, the music is also surprisingly good. Done by Tatsuya Kato, the soundtrack is pretty string-heavy which perfectly fits the world of Fate/Kaleid. It isn’t really anything astounding, but it is commendable for what the show is.
Now, on to the plot! The plot is probably one of the weaker points in the show, as it is driven pretty heavily by character interaction and development. Basically, our girl Illya is more or less forced into becoming a magical girl by an enchanted stick, called a Kaleido-stick, after it decides that Rin doesn’t quite cut it as a magical girl anymore. The two original magical girls, Rin and Luvia, still have a goal they must accomplish in Fuyuki City but without their powers, they’re pretty much useless. Enter the two new magical girls: Illya and Miyu. Their goal is to collect each of the seven “class” cards by defeating the card’s heroic spirit. Of course, being Type-Moon, there is actually a pretty deep explanation to everything that show doesn’t really touch on. Either way, the plot is interesting enough to keep the viewers attention and it provides a goal for the characters, which are arguably the best part of the show.Illya. Illya is adorable. A lot of the show just amplifies Illya’s adorableness, which may just be the best thing ever. She isn’t the most popular girl in school or anything, she loves anime (specifically Mahou Shoujo), she likes maid outfits but wouldn’t wear one, she’s pretty shy, she *might* have a crush on her brother, and she’s adorable. While all that is fine and dandy, what is really special about her is that she actually develops throughout the show. Again, this is an aspect that surprised me. [Illya and Miyu](http://loli.dance/), who is basically the second main character, are both unique and dynamic. The other side characters, while still pretty great, don’t change all that much; the show centers around the relationship between Illya and Miyu. All of the interactions between them and the rest of the characters are well done. It gets the humor right. It gets the emotional parts right. It gets the serious parts right. And it is even able to mix these interactions and have them flow nicely. But, where it falls short is actually in the quality of the interactions. Like most of the aspects of Fate/Kaleid, everything is more or less straight forward and only on the ‘surface’. There isn’t really any deep emotional parts. The humor isn’t an example of well thought out or well written humor, but instead it relies pretty heavily on slapstick and exaggerating character quirks. And even when the show is serious, it is never really gripping.
Now, the humor is one aspect that will definitely not be for everyone; it is the one part of the show that I would tell people to be wary of. Most of it is harmless, adorable fun. As the show goes on, it becomes far more sexualized fun. While this would be fine, the biggest issue that arises is that the majority of the characters are blatantly stated to be elementary schoolers. I am not going to get into the fundamentals of why or why not this could be a bad thing. Throughout the first season, at least, the sexualization is very mild and toned down. This is more or less a warning to those of you that avoid sexualization in anime.
So, overall, Fate/Kaleid liner Prisma Illya was a pretty enjoyable and very, very surprising. In my opinion, it makes a really nice change of pace within the Fate universe. It looks good, it sounds good, the plot is solid but nothing special, and the characters are cute and well thought out. For those that have thought about watching it while knowing what the show is, I’d say to go for it. If you aren’t sure whether or not it is for you, I can recommend it if you like the Fate series and enjoy at least Madoka Magica or other Mahou Shoujo anime (while it is nowhere near as dark as Madoka Magica, it does draw some similarities for being a lighthearted parody of the genre). All in all, for my Fate/Kaleid liner Prisma Illya review, I give it a 3/5 stars for being friendly to both Fate viewers and Mahou Shoujo viewers, two things I never would have thought would be involved with each other.
Addison’s Rating Scale.