「人形とぬいぐるみ」 (Ningyou to Nuigurumi)
“Dolls and Stuffed Animals”

The cruelty of a child. The horror of stuffed animals.

Warped Kindness

While last episode left it ambiguous as to whether Erica was a villain herself, even if she was on the villain’s side, this one put the matter to rest. It’s true that she acted innocently and without malice, but she’s so warped that her attempt at empathy completely misses the point that Miyu wants Illya, all of Illya, Illya free and happy and Miyu free and happy with her, not a lifeless shell or an inanimate object. That action puts Erica in the camp of evil, as unintentional as it may be.

Few things are as cruel as a child. Society’s role is to teach the folly of that cruelty, and replace it with kindness, and empathy, and good. Erica is an object lesson in what can happen when that role is abdicated.

The Stuff of Nightmares . . . Made Funny!

Being trapped in a stuffed animal, unable to move or talk or completely at the whim of other people, is the stuff of nightmares. It’s horror fuel. That’s being fully paralyzed but aware, screaming inside a shell that cannot communicate with the rest of the world. What’s so fascinating to me is to watch how Prisma Illya takes what could have been horrifying, and makes it funny—without losing all of what makes it horrifying.

The tension is still there. Illya is still trapped in a stuffed animal, she still can’t move or talk until she figures those out (in the most fitting and magical girl-type way, I might add. Well foreshadowed!). But everything about Beako was hilarious! Terrifying, but so funny! This episode was 95% Illya tsukkomis, and damn if Kadowaki Mai isn’t great in that role. It seemed like both she and KugiRie were having a ton of fun this episode—and then brainwashed meido Luvia and Rin bust in and threaten to destroy the “moving and talking trash,” and it’s just funny stuff.

To me it’s almost like Ash vs Evil Dead—ridiculous horror themes told with a hilarious twist. Seeing such a clear divergence from the two paths this setup could have led to is just fascinating.

Sapphire Foreshadowing

From Illya figuring out how to move and talk as a stuffed animal to the concealment cloak she dropped back in the castle coming back to bite them, I was impressed with how well nerly everything in this episode was foreshadowed. It really shows how much better original creator Hiroyama Hiroshi-sensei has gotten as an author from the first manga—which was already pretty damn good, I might add. But now there are so many plot elements going that it’s easy to miss one in the confusion, only for it to come back later on and you to go, “Ohhh, of course!”.

Case in point: Sapphire. I had totally forgotten about her, but it was foreshadowed well, so it didn’t feel convenient that Illya tripped across her (especially since she ran through half the damn mansion to get there). That it led to Prisma Illya, Sapphire Version (Stuffed Animal Version!) is hilarious icing on a funny cake.

Who Exactly Are the Villains?

I’ve been talking about Darius, Erica, and all the others as villains, but the preview brings up an interesting point. What if they’re actually the heroes? Or the heroes after a point. Their methods are warped, this is true, so calling them the good guys would be a bridge too far, but we don’t actually know what Darius’s goals are. Could they justify the cost?

Well, no. He’s holding a little girl against her wishes and torturing her older brother to keep her in line. Yet it could be in the service of some kind of greater good, we don’t know. (Manga readers know. Mark and tag your spoilers, ya gits.) I guess we’ll find out more next episode.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Few things match the cruelty of a child. An object lesson in making the horrific hilarious #prisma_illya s4e7

Random thoughts:

  • Wiggle your big toe . . .
  • Beako confirmed for lonely secret masochist. Seriously—KugiRie had to be having a blast with this episode. Shiraishi Ryoko got the short end of the stick, scenery chewing role-wise, even if she’s a rock solid Angelica.
  • “Wow! What a difference!” Rude, Illya-san.
  • Author update: I promised I’d update y’all when my new book is out in paperback, and that day has arrived. Freelance Heroics is now available in glorious print! Plus, if you haven’t gotten the first book in dead tree version and wanted it with the sexy new cover, that’s been updated as well. Thanks again, and remember to leave a review if you pick up either.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (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. Great view on the review. Yep I agree actual horror comedy, not comedy derived from horror tropes, but things that are both funny and scary.

    Guess Kuro got her paper fan out of “fan space” where anime girls can always have a paper fan ready to whack someone who might deserve it. I liked it. Gill you sure you want to kill Kuro she seams like the type of girl you would love to date 😉

    Getting world peace and prosperity out of killing Miyu after inflicting much pain on her and killing many other people, I am sure the “Gas Explosion” killed a lot of people and the quest for magical things many more. Might be worth it but you can’t trust benefits that come with the cost of madness they almost always don’t get the good desired anyway.

    Having a debate occasionally with a Philosophy Doctorate I know on humanism and it considering all humans have full value as good when humans primitive instincts make us a predator (all intelligent predators like to “play” that is torture with our food) and take resources including females from neighboring tribes. (other primates will fight for territory also) Children tend to what we think as evil unless civilized.

    Great have to order the book in next few days loved the first one.

  2. Meh, they skipped the actual brainwashing. Seeing Angelica through Illya’s eyes chanting “forget, into oblivion” and “lose, lose, lose your all”, always gives me chills no matter how many times I read it.
    And starting with the next episode we get into BIG, COOL FIGHTS AND EXPLOSIONS AND STUFF mode. Which is my least favorite part of drei…

  3. Julian… Beatrice is going gaga about this guy, and yet no one is wondering who the heck he is… In a world like this, I can’t believe a proud mage family like the Ainsworths have time to squeel over supermodels, sigh…

      1. I doubt it.. I mean, sure she’s a teen, but one really messed up teen, with a stern loyalty, and a clear objective to boot… It’s the grail war afterall… You don’t think maybe… Oh please no…

  4. Y’know, when comparing Angelica with the brainwashed people, she sure seems to resemble them a lot (like that dead-eyed, vacant stare and monotone voice). I wonder if that’s because of her powers (she does all the brainwashing there, it seems) or that maybe there’s something more to it. I mean, hell, I don’t see Darius above using his daughters as guinea pigs.

    This episode was Prisma Illya in top-notch comedy mode, anyways. Illya’s tenuous position is milked for all its worth, Beako is hilariously crazy (felt fitting too, she ís a teenage girl after all) and the tsukommi’s were spot on. The series in the past has had some occasional problems in juggling the balance between comedy and seriousness, but here it’s pretty much a perfect blend.

    Wish we saw a bit more of Miyu’s reaction though. It felt kind of abruptly cut short, and the other characters had to describe her reaction afterwards. Show, don’t tell, yo.

    1. Angelica ain’t brainwashed the way she’s been doing it to other people. Probably she got the more mundane version we can access in real life, courtesy of Darius—belief. Which is far more dangerous.

      I actually think cutting away from Miyu’s reaction was for the best. It would have rang as overly dramatic, given the tone of the rest of the episode, but it still needed to happen. The point here wasn’t her reaction, which we knew was coming. The point was Erica’s reaction to said reaction, which is what we needed to see.

  5. I am really enjoying this season a lot so far but I can’t help but feel that it has been digging its feet in the dirt these past few episodes. I feel like a lot of the shenanigans that made up the earlier seasons don’t exactly fit in this haunting otherworld setting, but that might just be me. I’m excited for the ball to get rolling next episode. Also, manga readers, how much further ahead is the manga right now? Enough for a fifth season?

    1. If Silver Link has any brains, they’ll make the next season all about Shiro and expand on the flashback about how Miyu came to the other world. Those battles would be awesome…

  6. Maybe it’s me, but I have a big issue with a story that pushes the idea of overcoming weakness to accomplish tasks, yet it’s done three instances of convenient interruptions with phone calls, ethereal Darius voiceover, and now a door. I almost considered the scene of Tanaka saying one word and Darius doesn’t feel like killing anymore as one of those moments, and I still think that’s a dumb scene Show Spoiler ▼

    , but I can at least admit she had to do something to deter Darius from doing that.

    It’s also one thing to balance humor and seriousness, but it got completely ruined with that scene they played for laughs of Bear Illya being chased by Rin, and Luvia, Angelica, and Erica are RIGHT BY THE DOOR WHERE IT HAPPENS, and raise no questions. “Oh hey, our bear doll is missing, oh hey, you’re chasing this talking thing in our world where magic is possible…eh, no matter.” Like…how does that raise no interest in them? And these are the villains we’re up against and that I’m supposed to be concerned about.

    That just really tells me they’re willing to make villains seem incompetent to make something work however they need. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t trying to focus on the serious aspect to the point that that the humor seems pretty distracting and makes the story non-cohesive. Bad guys have this plan that’s taking a while, it seems concerning that doesn’t really feel urgent. And I loved the other Illya series…alright, I thought 2wei was meh but it stuck out well enough. But they had a good balance and had credible threats. Show Spoiler ▼

    But here, I really don’t know what they’re trying to do with the antagonists. They’re a threat, but sometimes don’t care. They have this big plan, but aren’t really doing it that urgently. They can overpower our protagonists, but stop by the power of convenience. They just don’t come off as people who act like they are really that into it, they have this very “kind of” attitude and I just really don’t like it, especially when I really like the protagonists!

    I dunno, I find one side interesting, the other a really big mess, but I’m still intrigued to see how the rest of it goes.

    Fuwa Fuwa
    1. Ilya was captured needing the maid interruption because of bad luck. It stuff for the convenance of the plot but avoid the flaw of not criticizing the villains luck that required hero luck to reverse. Basically here the plot wants Illya to see how twisted the girl is and thus has to do some juggling to make that possible.

      The insane villain can be trick and done badly when used to make it possible for the hero’s to defeat a way more powerful foe. Here I think it can work well because trying to learn things “Man was not supposed to know” to gain power comes with nasty side effects that can severally limit the power. And the emotional damage going to the children from the father is a natural way to limit their effectiveness.

      One reason they are just hanging around is they can only drain Miyu so fast in their ritual without killing her.

      More compitan villains have to be weaker and have less of mystical mystery to them to work.

      1. I don’t think it had to do that much juggling, have her trip and she ends up near the door frame of Bea and it catches her interest to look in. If they wanted her to see that, they really could have approached it better, or make it so she could sneak out, just anything that’s not convenient timing.

        And that’s another thing, the protagonists hadn’t really had to trick them to get out of anything, which would be one thing, but the antagonists realize something then just move on. In ep 2, Bea was ready to smash Illya until Bea got a phone call. That doesn’t give me anything that resembles a sense of limiting power, just a sense of lazy writing. And a more powerful foe, when they seem capable as is (or less so by this episode) doesn’t seem like a good payoff.

        And that thing with Miyu, though that makes sense, they do a poor job relaying that information, but regardless, I’ll still give you that.

        That may be so for many villains, but for them to see Illya as a threat, and rather than disposing of her like they tried before, they warp her mind to a doll, notice the doll is gone, and later don’t care about it, that goes beyond not being competent and saying “I feel like losing today.”

        Fuwa Fuwa
  7. Not gonna lie, even though I did LOL in this episode, I couldn’t help but to feel awkward about whether I should laugh or be terrified at some scenes. A good kind of awkward, like when The Joker clapped his hands at Gordon being promoted to commissioner in The Dark Knight. With Prisma Illya being a spin-off of the ever cruel and dark Fate/ franchise, that would be inevitable sooner or later I think. I admire Prisma Illya for doing that.
    And yup it’s official. I will not be hoping for Erica to survive. But that’s just me.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  8. Thanks for the VA Kudos My thoughts were the same over my post last night at CR . ( It’s dated )

    Illya had great lines and Beatrice is truly deliciously warped!

    “THE VA’s had fun this EP!

    Illya / Mai Kadowaki

    I think she diid all Fate animes


    Beatrice Flowerchild / Rie Kugimiya

    Too many to even pick out



  9. I can safely say this episode was what I looked forward most to since I laid my eyes on this particular chapter of the manga. I wasn’t disappointed with this episode. This anime always gets a grin out of me with so many reasons.


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