「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.
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.
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
- 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.