「凍てつく敵意」 (Itetsuku Tekii)
“Chilling Hostility”

All the world’s a stage, and the antagonists are totally bonkers.

All The World’s A Stage

Darius Ainsworth is bonkers, but we already knew that from the deranged, rapey images we got in last episode’s preview. Plus, ya know, he’s been keeping Miyu against her will, and imprisoning the princess at the top of a tower isn’t a done thing like it used to be, thankfully. More interesting to me is how narrative seems to be an integral part of his character.

He speaks of other people as cast or extras. They stand on a stage, take part in the plot. He’s seemingly obsessed with the visuals of performance and production. He’s manic about plans and schedules, according to Gil-kun. He sounds like a playwright gone mad, which isn’t a plot I’ve often seen outside of Maskerade. My question is, does this excuse him sparing Illya, Tanaka & co, or did that still feel like a cop-out to save the plot from a total party kill?

Too soon to tell, honestly. He haven’t spent enough time with him, so it feels convenient right now, but it seems like they’re going to lengths to justify it. I have a feeling this is one of those things that’s actually completely planned, but there was no time to foreshadow it so it feels strange. I know one thing that was gotten across loud and clear, though—Darius is crazy powerful. There probably wasn’t a way to let them survive without him deciding to spare them when he’s cracking out Noble Phantasms that Gil-kun isn’t aware of.

Erica: Strong, Kind—and Warped

How do you make a kind, innocent little girl apparently wholeheartedly devoted to the wrong side of the conflict without revealing her kindness and innocence to be a lie? That’s the underlying question of Erica as a character, and the fact that Prisma Illya threaded that needle is the element I found most fascinating this episode. The answer is to make her reality one step off of what most people would (perhaps erroneously) call common sense.

Erica’s normal is a father who goes off like a stark raving lunatic, which she considers “going a little overboard.” Which makes sense, right? She hasn’t known anything else. It’s like a child raised by vicious racists. Before they have a chance to grow up and decide for themselves, they’re liable to internalize some of that racism, and it can dog them for the rest of their lives.

That’s why Erica called Illya a liar, even though Illya said that you shouldn’t hurt someone without a reason, and Erica even recalled that caveat when she was talking to Miyu. It’s not that she didn’t hear Illya, she just can’t fathom a world where someone would attack her papa with reason. That’s why she doesn’t stop to question why someone [Illya] who Miyu so dearly trusts is trying to recuse her, and instead zooms straight to her own loneliness if Miyu leaves again (along with a heavy dose of adolescent selfishness). Miyu is right—Erica is strong and kind, but she’s also warped, for she lacks the empathy to see the cruelty of her father. I’m left wanting to hate her, but being unable to—but neither wanting to pity her either, for she’s certainly not on the right side of things. Which is possibly holding a little girl to too high of a standard, but there it is. Needle threaded successfully.

Looking Ahead – That Might Have Been A Mistake

As soon as Miyu said she preferred to have Illya with her in the same way that Erica prefers to have Miyu nearby, I knew that was a mistake. She’s not evil, exactly, but she is warped, and her method of problem-solving is liable to be running to papa, who is evil as well as warped. It’s looking like I was right.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Darius is bonkers, this is true, but Erica is being warped from a young age. Poor girl. Poor Miyu #prisma_illya s4e6

Random thoughts:

  • Authoritarian Personalism. What a silly name.
  • Shinji? Issei?
  • Now we know why Shirou is still alive. They can’t damage Miyu physically, but they can sure do it psychologically, by torturing Shirou. I wonder . . . do you think Miyu was his imouto in the other timeline, before the fire? Or she could have been? I don’t recall Shirou ever referring to his biological family, though maybe he just referred to his parents. Hm. Food for thought.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for a FREE prequel short story. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Freelance Heroics is available NOW!, I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, and Dying idols.




  1. Is it a coincidence that Darius reminded me of Fate Zero Caster? Intentional or not, Darius creeped me out the same way Caster did. On the flip side, Bazett was so pretty and badass again punching that ice like a boss.

  2. I don’t know what awaits Erica, but given this IS the Fate/ universe, I highly doubt it’s gonna be anything pleasant. Her kind of darkness is certainly one that would fit in this universe, and true to that, you can only root for so many characters to make it out of this ordeal, and not all of them. The poor little thing is just another victim in all this, and the problem is, she’s stuck in blissful ignorance of all this. I honestly can’t decide whether to wish she would survive or to be put out of her unrealized misery, as even in case she ever opens her eyes onto the dark reality, I doubt she’d accept it and stand for what is right. She’s just a child after all, she merely wants a world where she has everything she wants, and so with her unshakable but ignorant belief in her father on top of it all, for all of that to suddenly shatter from her mind is gonna be too much for her to bear, no matter how strong she is.

    Erica is yet another unpleasant contradiction in this unpleasant universe. She makes me so confused as to what to think of her.

      1. If I remember correctly (in the visual novel canon), the trauma from the Great Fuyuki Fire gave Shirou amnesia/messed up his head, hence he was only able to remember his first name when Kiritsugu rescued him and met him in the hospital later. This Miyu-verse Shirou, Show Spoiler ▼

      2. There’s a scene in Heaven’s Feel where Shirou remembers how on the night of the fire his mom woke him up and his dad carried him outside. IIRC that’s the only time he mentions them.

  3. Cripes this show got dark. In a good way, though – these are the most messed up and dangerous opponents the series has had yet, but they also fit in with the more somber atmosphere this season’s had so far. Talk about ramping up the stakes as a series goes on, sjeez.

    The more complex characterisation fits this mood as well. Erica’s one good example, but I get a feeling there’s more to the other Ainsworths, and our old cast is really shining through their interactions too (and Tanaka and Gil fit in pretty well). The pacing’s been good as well, and despite some story cop-outs, it’s easily the most interesting one so far. Quite loving this season, really.

    It more than makes up for that lackluster third season too (though I forgive, not forget).

    1. No sign she has Fragarach she is not carrying the tube, she had used up all her ammunition last arc and as she has not left Japan maybe she has not had a chance to make more ammo.

      1. I THINK the way the McRemitz make a new Fragarach is to bleed the family member, do some runes, and then leave it to coagulate for a month. It’s entirely possible she had one stewing in the basement when they all got dragged into this wacky world.

    2. She doesn’t have Fragarach with her. She already used up what she has in the battle against Shadow Gil in 2wei, and the manga canon is that she doesn’t get to refill her stock because all of them get transported immediately to this world before she can.

      And even if she did have Fragarach, it wouldn’t work. It’s a reactive Mystic Code/NP, thus its other name, Answerer. Its true power will only work when the opponent attacks first. And it’s not just any attack but the greatest attack of the enemy, aka their trump card. Apneic Beauty was used after Bazett was attacking so it already fails that part. And given that Darius considers it a failure and is one of the many NPs that he has, it’s not his trump card.
      Finally, just throwing Fragarach normally without its normal causality effect is even more useless because it’s not that powerful. It would only be on the ranks of a C or D rank NP. If Kuro’s Caladbolg couldn’t dent it, then Fragarach wouldn’t either.

      1. Fragarach doesn’t attack the opposing NP anyway. It attacks its user at the time of use. It counters causality so that it always strikes first and kills the enemy before their NP is released, generally obliviating the use of that opposing NP, unless that NP also messes with causality (ie: Gae Bolg), in which case you’ll have both users die.

  4. I can hate Erica just fine. Annoying brat. 😀
    Does Bazett’s alarm not work on her?
    With such a villain I’m beginning to understand why 3rei is considered to be the darkest one so far.
    Illya and team currently are mere punching bags for the Ainsworth family.
    Still, I hope that the Miyu rescue arc ends with this season.

  5. Like it but so worried, Illya what type of suisidal plan do you have to leave all your cards and go off on your own.

    Having the hero live because the big bad does not take them out fist think is a very common trope, in other Fates Shiro would have died if Gil or even Berserker came at him first thing. There is at least one Evil Overlord point on this.

    I always worry when the insane villain is used because often it is just used for irrational twists to surprise so the insane villain should be used sparingly and it best to tie in the insanity to why the villain is powerful. Here in the fate universe it would tie well with the mythos if the power Darius has is from delving to far into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know (TV Tropes) Thus his overwhelming power contains his downfall from how he got it.

    1. It being a common trope isn’t usually an excuse for its use. More often people complain about common tropes. I prefer Boku no Hero Academia’s way of doing this, though as I discussed, I see why it was done here.

      1. For anyone interested about the details:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Giorno Giovanna
      1. Show Spoiler ▼

  6. its a shame sliver link is cutting the Gilgamesh scenes since his role is supposedly important in this arc where he was suppose to charm illya to get info but I’m not surprised. kid Gilgamesh is suffering from the “yuuno effect” where little boy characters are not allowed whatsoever any inclusion into the plot of a magical girl show anymore despite the show benefitting from knowing more about them. Gil being a class card could sow the destruction of the ainsworth family but I guess yuri incest make outs with kuro and pedo crap with tanaka are much more pressing.

    1. What poorly translated version of the 3rei manga have you been reading? Gil’s goal is completely different from that and very simply spelled out already even in the anime: get his Class Card back. And what good would “charming Illya to get info” do him when he clearly knows more of what’s going on in this world than she does?

  7. https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20kaleid%20liner%20Prisma%20Illya/Fate%20kaleid%20liner%20Prisma%20Illya%203rei%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    In the manga, Darius didn’t put up this barrier. Both of them were also suffering from lack of oxygen, which is similar in gag style to the one earlier when they were shivering and Illya was retorting in her head. I guess removing that comedic part and him making that barrier(which gives them oxygen how?) makes him a bit more formidable in that scene, like he’s in control of the talk with Illya.

    When Darius unsummoned the dagger he was pointing at Tanaka, you could barely see that it’s an Archer card. Though an Archer with that dagger design? Anyone can take a guess but it might be useless since these NPs are unique that Gil hasn’t heard of at all so they might not belong to a Heroic Spirit. Or maybe it’s just a template the anime staff placed in the card since the manga doesn’t show anything when he unsummoned it.

    They removed one part yet again. Before this part, Darius exclaimed that the intermission is over and the sixth Holy Grail War will resume. No idea why they did that really.

    1. [spoiler]I think like with most decisions of this kind, they’re leaving the mention of the grail war to a later time where they can intersect it with the backstory of Emiya Shirou in this world, so it can have more dramatic effect as this was already a lot to take in at one moment. They did the same thing in the 2nd arc where they branched off information for a later time to match the pacing of the two seasons of the 2nd arc.
      Can’t wait for Emiya Shirou 1v6 Grail War scenes to be animated.[/spoiler]

      Giorno Giovanna
  8. Darius is such a terrifying villain because of how real he is, I mean, I’m sure ALL of us know of a weird middle aged man who dresses in sweats and flip flops with greasy hair and just gives off NOTHING but rapey vibes. Ugh, he repulses me. Can our gang blow a hole through him pronto please? Lay your hands off Miyu.

  9. having villain side include an innocent, friendly child is nice twist, paving the way for classical mahou shoujo of “defeat means friendship”…
    Darius blasting off noble phantasms not known to even gilgamesh (!) like he was using party tricks is just plainly scary… but it seems nothing can really stop Tanaka in her quest against Ainsworths.
    Immovable object, meet irresistible force?


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