「てーまぱーく・ぱにっく!」 (Teema Paaku Panikku!)
“Theme Park Panic!”

This was an episode in search of a point. It never found it.

Anime Original Episode

Prisma Illya his distinguished itself as one of the best adapted series I’ve ever seen. Animation, pacing, smart changes to the source material combined with a fidelity to what made it work—it’s been a model of ho the anime industry should do it. So when I learned this would be an anime original episode, I didn’t go in with the normal amount of trepidation.

Maybe I should have.

This episode was the first, and I believe only, episode of Prisma Illya where I was just bored. It lacked a point. One of the cardinal rules of storytelling, and perhaps the only inviolable one, is “Don’t waste the audience’s time,” and I feel like my time was just wasted. With the exclusion of the Iri vs Caren-sensei scene at the end, none of this felt like it needed to exist. This is an episode whose central conflict was Illya losing her bracelet charm, and featured two different montage sequences. It was reaching. In a series that has been putting out gem after gem, this was a turd.

Lethargic Pacing

As I’ve said multiple times so far this season, two of the biggest keys to Prisma Illya’s comedic success are, 1) Pacing, and 2) Combos. This episode had neither. All the jokes were so lethargic, like the scriptwriters were so happy to be writing their own material that they milked every drop they could get from any joke that made it onto the screen. Which is understandable, but it’s also a marker of low confidence—from what I think of as a scarcity mindset. The experienced writer has an abundance mindset—they know they will rise to the occasion and think up more jokes whenever their current collection runs dry, so they use their biggest guns RIGHT NOW. Bam bam bam! Constantly throwing out their best work, back-to-back, and in Prisma Illya’s case, chaining them together so we can never rest. It works great! And this episode had none of that.

Obvious Foreshadowing, Contrived Coincidences

The foreshadowing was thick on the ground this episode. They paraded Saber Lion Bazett in front of the screen like twelve times, always making it painfully obvious who it was, and we never even got a comedic payoff for it! Caren-sensei, too, was foreshadowing with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. There’s too much telling instead of showing. And the coincidences! Iri just happens to talk about her marriage to Kiritsugu, then she just happens to be forced into trying on dresses, and the kids happen to have met Caren-sensei, who happens to be here, and they happen to insist Iri take the pictures, for reasons that are never made clear, and OH MAN. The lazy writing was strong with this one.

The Only Interesting Part

The only interesting part of this episode was Iri’s conversation with Caren-sensei. We know that both Iri and Caren are Fate characters who are well enmeshed into the magic machinations of the world, so it’s no surprise that they’re there for more than cameos (especially Iri, who we already know can use magic). But the fact that they recognize this in each other, and have a heated exchange, is intriguing. Me thinks Iri knows who Caren really works for, and that’s an interesting little tidbit.

The only problem is that they could have done all of this in three minutes. Iri stops by the school, sees Caren-sensei, tense moment. Done. Instead we got this.

Looking Ahead – Right The Ship

In a series, three seasons long now, which has been so good, this is a singular hiccup. I’m nowhere near ready to write it off. I have every bit of faith that it’ll right the ship once it gets back to adapting the material, and especially during the last few episodes of the season. Just … I hope we get back to it soon. ASAP, for preference.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – After two seasons, Prisma Illya finally mailed in a stinker. What a dubious honor #prismaillya s3e4

Random thoughts:

  • I still don’t know what Mimi wants to do with those pictures of Iri in a wedding dress. I don’t think I want to know.
  • I think I would have rather watched a full episode of Iri trying on wedding dresses, ala “Say Yes To The Dress.” Iri keeps trying on dresses while Illya & Kuro, their friends, Rin & Luvia, and the meidos comment. Caren would be the consultant, and Bazett would be serving champagne. There would be conflict because Iri wants to go for “Classy Pornstar”, while Caren wants to make her cry. Illya would be freaked out by the whole thing and drink herself under the table on non-alcoholic champagne, after which Miyu would grope her. Meanwhile, Shirou, Issei, and Kirei would be getting Kiritsugu hammered at a strip club across town. They’ll meet up with Gil, and the five of them will never be heard from again. CALL ME SILVER LINK, WE CAN DO THIS!

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: What are your two skills?, Passing the Bechdel Test, Absence (from work) makes the heart grow fonder, and The Kingsman princess joke.

Full-length images: 09.




  1. Well the only thing I liked about this episode was that announcer in the speakers was Saber and that Saber Lion appeared in the parade. Actually I would loved if Saber actually showed up but as head of the staff for the amusement park then like Shirou shows up and sees her and instantly falls for her, much to the horror of Illya and the girls.

    And I guess the point of this episode was to build up the friendship of Illya and Miyu because if the opening is to go by, something really bad is going to happen to Miyu. well I know what it is but I’ll just play along

  2. Blame the fact that they tried to stretch 15 episodes worth of material into 20 episodes. Filler is inevitable. Still there is also the subtext of Illya and Kuro trying to figure out the details about the mystery that is Miyu. Notice how each time Miyu talks about her lack of experience with such a thing and the reason behind it, Illya and Kuro are shown to be paying an unusual amount of attention to it with varying reactions. Most of the storyline this season, that doesn’t focus solely on the eighth card, seems to revolve around Miyu herself. There’s also how the OP seems to focus on Miyu herself rather than Illya the primary main character. They’re also hinting something about Caren and Iris too, especially the underlying hostility at the end there. I’d say the point you’re looking for Stilts is the forecasting about these things.

    1. That foreshadowing was the point of this episode, yes. Buuuuuuuut, it feels like they A) have done that sufficiently already, and B) could have done what they tried to do here in about five minutes. So you’re not wrong, but it doesn’t alleviate my qualms.

  3. The boredom is all the more noticeable once one remembers this is a ten episode cour. Charlotte at least has the excuse of dropping not so subtle hints up to now, whereas Fate Kaleid here beyond a little tunneling/construction and reminders of seasons past has yet to really do anything. Doesn’t help too being reminded of Jitsu wa Watashi wa two weeks ago, the theme park setting there was pretty damn hilarious compared to Fate Kaleid’s attempt.

    Hopefully we start getting more story focused from this point forward because Fate Kaleid cannot pull off pure SoL IMO, as a series it was simply never designed for it.

    1. I agree. It can do comedy episodes for sure, and they can contain some slice-of-life elements, but pure slice-of-life? When we’re not primed for that, it feels like … blah. It’s hard to switch gears like that. What feels relaxing in the context of Non Non Biyori is boring here.

  4. Compared to most anime original filler, I found this episode to be pretty good. It established hefty foreshadowing, developed Miyu and Illya’s relationship just a tad bit more, and worked those budget-saving maneuvers rather well. The BGM played through the speakers? All of the show’s previous OPs and EDs. God I miss starlog so much.

    Fortunately, the hilarious amount of montages and stills didn’t outstay their welcome and a sneaked in YowaPedal reference was something of a surprise. In fact, they even took a step further and made a joke out of the single lion mascot CG model they used for the entirety of the episode. Poking fun at that little tidbit really helped. We know about the bare minimum budget they’re working with this episode. They know we know. So hey. Might as well have a little fun with it.

    The best part though is that they got Saber’s voice actress for the sole purpose of going ‘gao gao’ during the parade. If that’s not fanservice I don’t know what is. Caren meeting up with Iri? That last scene at the end? Chock full of pandering, I say. Oh so glorious pandering.

    And I like it.

    So at the end of the day, I don’t think really think it’s as bad as you make it out to be. It was a pleasantly chill filler that even went out of its way to subtly further plot points, each of the casts’ little quirks. Sure it’s not an absolutely rave compared to the previous episodes but it’s still good in its own little ways. I mean, it’s generally not that different compared to some of last season’s slice of life episodes. But you know what they say, hot and spicy opinions and all that.

    Gotta savor this before everything goes to shit after all.

    Oh baby. Even more anime original shenanigans. Festival episode here we come.
    Also, they released an action-packed PV for what’s to come and it looks amazing. I guess they do realize not everybody can handle episode after episode of general antics.

    1. I don’t agree in general, but you do have a good point about how it’s good in comparison to most anime-original episodes. Of course, low bar—most anime-original episodes are utter shite. A lot of it is, in comparison to some of the all-star episodes they’ve showed us this season, this ends up looking like a turd. Put it in Glasslip and it probably would have been the standout episode.

  5. What is the reason and purpose Caren has for observing (so far only observing, but what are ehr plans and motives?) Ilya and friends?
    It seems both Iris and even Bazette are wary of her motives…

  6. Well there is also the fact, that Caren’s father and Ilya’s father hate eacher others guts, Though he may not even be Caren’s father here or exist at all. Or Iris and Kiritsugu may have killed him and the rest of the Einzbern family prior to the series.

    Going by this episode and the preview, the anime team seems to have decided, that Mimi likes girls from now on.

    1. I suspect he’s still her father. He might be dead or somewhere else entirely or not as much of a bastard, though. Prisma Illya seems to have the same character bases, just radically different trajectories.

  7. I think what the scriptwriters were trying to sell to us, was that the depth of relationship between Miyu and Illya is so sufficiently deep, that Illya’s actions in Drei are not only plausible, but also mandated by prior character development. Another way to put this episode, is that it’s all about Illya and friends being normal children (except for Miyu).

    On another level, there was the foreshadowing that Carim is not merely just a nurse – although you were right – it could easily have been squeezed into any number of possible episodes.

    Of course, it appears clear that it’s a different writer, of lower skill, who probably is doing this episode.

  8. Yeah, the first two Screenshots here, show us the little Story Progression they made, the digging for the 8th Card, and the combining with the Free Amusement Park tickets. Well, at last they try to give it a meaning

    But yeah, i try to pretend this Fillers never happen, and just wait for the Action to start

  9. I didn’t hate this episode as much as you did, because it still had its moments, but I do have to say I wish the show got to the plot already. One of Prisma Illya’s strengths has always been a good balance between lighthearted and more serious episodes, but that balance is lost here. Because next ep’s a festival, so that’s the fifth light episode in a row. That’s half the season! It’s overkill, really.

    I doubt this show’s going to surpass the first half of 2wei at this point, which would mean an end to the constantly upping quality of the series in general. Sad, because the show had such a strong start.

  10. Personally I enjoyed this episode more than last week’s. I felt the downfall of Mimi to her fujoshi tenancies was something I cared very little about, and the argument that broke out during the homework segment went more or less unresolved.

    This week’s however seems to go back to some of the ideas explored last season about Illya, Miyu, and Kuro just being normal kids at heart. Seeing them enjoying themselves at the amusement park seems to be a reminder of this. There were hints of this in the first two episodes, but the comedy more or less overshadows this.

    The only part I did have issue with this episode was the search for the missing bracelet, though as some has mentioned, it does go to show the bond which Miyu and Illya have. They are probably setting this up Show Spoiler ▼

    Stilts edit: Mark your spoilers, please.

  11. >] “This was an episode in search of a point. It never found it.”

    Skipped this one entirely. Looks like I wasn’t mistaken in that.

    But yeah, always be wary when it comes to filler, even with shows that you wouldn’t otherwise miss a second of.

    Speaking of filler btw, anyone heard any news about Kekkai Sensen’s final episode? At this point, I’ve already resolved myself to just wait out until the blu-ray release.

    Ryan Ashfyre
  12. Btw, next episode’s also anime-original filler, so if you didn’t like this episode you might want to skip next week’s too.

    You really can tell which episodes are anime-original when you watch them. Well, if you take it to be purely for comedy and just shut off your brain, you can more or less tolerate it…but if you go in with a critical mind you’re not going to enjoy these episodes very much.

  13. They really shouldn’t have made this into two seasons, is the problem. At the point where “season 1” of 2wei stopped, they had enough material for 5 or maybe 6 more episodes, including the mall and beach scenes. Choosing to include the chapter of Mimi’s descent into further perversion adds one more episode of canon material, but still that leaves either three or four episodes in this ten episode “season 2” of 2wei that they’re having to make up from scratch. It’s too much, and it isn’t going to work.

    The manga gave us a short downtime after the fight with Bazett to have the girls shop for swimsuits and go to the beach: a bit of relaxation after the intenseness of that battle before throwing us into intense stuff again. But it was only a fairly short downtime, paced just about right for us to say “all right, I’ve caught my breath, now back to it.” By adding all this extra filler in here, that careful pacing is wrecked (even on top of how they wrecked it by putting an unnecessary season break in there). We’ve had too much “downtime,” and people are getting tired of it.

  14. Quite a few on another site really liked this episode. Me it was a good but not anywhere as good as first 3 but still an enjoyable watch. A hypothis is as a writer and a blogger it hard to turn those things off. The reason often critics are not on the same page as audiences. The critic knows more so expects more.

    1. You’re undoubtedly correct. When I’m blogging a show, it’s harder to enjoy something that’s not all that substantial because I have to find something to say about it. Add on the critic part—though in my case, I think of myself more as a fellow storyteller—and I know better (one would assume/hope) what they could be doing. That + having to remain actively engaged means I can’t shut my brain off and coast as easily.

      Honestly though, a lot of it is just that I expect better from this show. It’s been killing it for so long that this seems mediocre in comparison to what it has been doing. Which is at least more objective than the biases/points of view you pointed out.

  15. Love the leash they put on Tatsuko.

    Tatsuko sorry I know your mom is a tough martial artist but you have no clue what Ilya’s mom really is and what powers she welds, not to mention I’m sure her husband has rubbed of on her and to her she might have to look up what fair fighting means.

  16. And this is the problem with stretching the material so much.
    Thank God next episode should be the last filler, and we should get to the main plot after that
    They even made a PV for the action to remind people that it’s coming. I would link it, but certain parts of the trailer could be considered spoilers about the 8th card’s identity

  17. The budget was STRONG with this episode. We got not ONE but TWO montages of still shots instead of actual animation. Something I didn’t expect from a series that for the most part has good animation throughout.

    So I guess we’ll have to deal with half a season of unnecessary filler. To me this seems to be a sign of bad planning. If you KNEW you weren’t going to have enough material to make another season of this WHY send your audience down the “Naruto canyon of filler”? It’s clear that they intended to adapt the whole series from the beginning considering they have always announced the next season after every final episode so far. So why do this? Seems like canon OVAs would have been a better choice (instead of the incredibly pointless fanservice one that they released).

    Still can’t understand why Buzet can’t find a way to make money. She is clearly able to perform superhuman feats so why not just use those to make money? Apparently nobody in this world considers any supernatural feats strange since she’s done it in public. So this constant joke with her being broke is just………….stupid……and not funny. Jokes like these work when you establish that the character LITERALLY has no means of income. You can be over the top about some things but when it comes to longer running jokes there has to be SOME kind of logic to it.

    At least they managed to squeeze in a small amount of relevant material. The beginning gave us an update to the progress of the card and the ending with Illya’s mom and the nurse at least shows us they have a history. I don’t consider anything other than those two parts relevant though. We KNOW that the nurse is more than she seems. This was established a LONG time ago. Giving us random ambiguous shots of her doesn’t count as foreshadowing. Unless she is ACTUALLY doing something during those points there is no reason for it. Really felt like the show was just trying to tell us that this episode was the worth our time when it wasn’t. Even the beginning part could be considered the animators telling us “We’ll get back to the plot soon just wait!”.

    Oh well, I guess I enjoyed the Miyu moments. The lose of the charm was a good callback to the beach episode I suppose. But other than that this episode had no purpose. I’m starting to sound like a broken record @_@

    1. I think Bazett does not want to take any illegal jobs her talents could get her. She would be disqualified because of her many boosts from MMA fighting. And any legal uses of her main talents normally require a full time commitment not to mention her extra powers might draw questions. I know that Bazett odd jobs is in part just for fun. But I kind of see the problems someone over qualified for her job but with no other skills could have employment problems.

      1. Sorry but the “people might get suspicious” excuse which I addressed in my comment is not valid. This is a world where the common people are oblivious to supernatural happenings. It’s sadly part of the comedy of the show. So that being the case I see NO reason Buzet can’t just enter contests that require strength or heck radio tower repair (which pays pretty well) or ANYTHING that she would obviously be good at for money. It’s not like the idiots in this world would question it =/.

  18. You are utterly mistaken when you say that this episode was boring or a waste of time. I love this show and the characters and I won’t mind a hundred episodes like this one. It was fun to watch and that’s the only important point. It’s really sad that people keep deapreciating the beauty and simplicity of slice of life claiming that any and every story has to follow the same standards.

    1. Er—no, I’m not mistaken. Not any more than you are. (Which is, not at all.) I gave my opinion on a piece of art/media, and just because we disagree doesn’t mean either of us is wrong. It might, in another situation, but I don’t think it does in this one.

      See this post I wrote on my personal site: How to not get butthurt when others insult the stories you love. I’m not insulting the show, much less you through your love of it. It’s nothing personal. I just don’t think this episode was done well. I love me some slice-of-life a lot of time; here, I watch it more for action, comedy, and hijinks. ‘Tis a difference of opinion, nothing more.

  19. Well, that’s exactly why I’ve said that you’re wrong. Both our opinions may be subjective, However going by the general viewpoint (that no one can objectively reject by the way) that there’s no such thing as bad anime or a bad episode, the way you put yours is wrong indeed. An action anime doesn’t become less good if it suddenly has an episode with no action, and a comedy anime doesn’t drop in quality if it has an episode with no single joke in it, neithet is the episode considered bad because of that. Saying such things is just unfair towards the people who worked hard on this episode. Going from here it’s wrong to say that this episode was by any means less good than any other one that came before it. And just to make it clear I do respect your opinion and only have a problem with the way you present it.

  20. I actually liked this episode it reminds us that illya and her friends Are still children and can still have child like behavior. They stop being tropes in grade school bodies and start being characters who act like normal kids. Hopefully the rest of the season will go this way.

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