「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.
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
- 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.