「人と道具」 (Hito to Dougu)
“People and Tools”
Rin & Luvia Are Useless
Before this post gets heavier than Luvia’s oppai, some goofy stuff. Just how useless are Rin and Luvia? To Illya’s side, that is—they seem to be marginally useful foot soldiers for the Ainsworths, even if they suck as house meido. (Related: I sometimes feel like Prisma Illya is an excuse to force Rin to spend most of her time as a meido, and now Luvia is in on the fun. I’m not complaining.) Combined with Illya’s lone magic circuit, it’s a damn miracle that she was able to regain her body before Erica finished stripping it. (That rich loli is totally done for, for so many reasons.) I can’t wait until Rin and Luvia regain their senses so they can feel properly ashamed! *shakes fist*
When It’s Okay To Hurt, and Even Kill
This might be a goofy magical girl anime, but we’re about to get into the philosophical and ethical weeds. Like that one guy from Jurassic Park said, hold onto your butts.
When is it okay to hurt someone? Illya said “not without reason,” and that’s the crucial distinction. “Thou shalt not kill” has always been negotiable, at least on a societal level (war, crime fighting, statistical murder that comes about because of the imperfect machinations of human society). So when is it warranted? There’s not always a clear-cut answer.
This section is actually a lead in. Chew on that, and we’ll finish up after we tackle another ethical quagmire.
People As Tools
While the hurting/sacrifice question is a potential morass, it turns out that this one is far easier to find the line on. I feel like Angelica’s “What makes you so different than us?” argument was meant to sound a lot more insightful than it actually was, because the question is simple: it’s a matter of degrees. And degrees are important.
Angelica asks what’s the difference between the Ainsworths treating people as tools, and Illya using the power of the cards—stolen as it was from heroic spirits. The answer: it’s the lesser of two evils, to be honest. The Ainsworths use conscious, sentient, free people as tools. Illya occasionally uses the embodiment of formerly sentient (and now disembodied, after previously being totally stark-raving mad) heroic spirits, who were once living people (or gods, or what have you). In this case, it’s the difference between someone who captures and sells people in slavery, and someone who eats meat. You can make a moral case against both—even the most determined carnivores might agree that killing animals for there meat is wrong, if we were able to science/magic up steak and chicken breasts some other way—but one is clearly far worse than the other, even if an ideal world would see neither.
Basically, get off your damn high horse, Angelica. While the question of whether you’re in the right is still open, the question of whether you’re bastards is long settled.
Miyu, or the World—Choose One
Nations ask men and women to risk life and limb all the time. As soldiers, as police officers, as fire fighters, and in hundreds of far more mundane jobs, people sacrifice themselves for others all the time—fewer now, thankfully, now that war deaths have seen a drop unprecedented in human history (after peaking to a level unprecedented in human history, granted), but the sacrifice remains. The few sacrifice themselves—either physically, or with time, effort, and resources—for the many all the time.
Would you yank them off their battlefield, whether figurative or literal, if it’s where they’ve chosen to be?
Some viewers are going to act like the “Miyu vs the World” conundrum is an easy choice. Some of you reading this may even comment to that effect. I’d argue that it’s not. I’m not a big fan of utilitarianism, but there is a certain level after which the math checks out. If Miyu’s death can truly save the world, she could save millions, even billions—not to mention all the plants and animals on the planet too. But is such a world worth saving?
Hell if I know, man. First we really need to know what Miyu thinks. Second, I’d give a damn lot more thought to an alternate way, though avoiding sacrifice is not often how we humans have operated. But mostly, I’m just thoroughly pleased that Prisma Illya has decided to introduce a moral quandary where the correct side is not obvious. While Illya and co are still our protagonists, that doesn’t mean they have to be the good guys, even as the Ainsworths could be on the right side of history even if they’re total bastards.
I will say that, as an American who was paying attention to geopolitics around the turn of this latest century, I get extremely uncomfortable when people start asking whether others are willing to become villains. That’s not how sane people should think. Though if we’re being honest, most conflicts are fought between two (or more) sides of bad guys, and all that matters is which ones the least/most bad, and which side is yours.
But I digress. Miyu, or the entire world. Choose, Illya.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – If you could save the world for the price of one girl’s life, would you do it? Will Illya? #prisma_illya s4e8
- Illya’s Sapphire version costume is lewd.
- You know what the Ainsworths’ displacement magic means, right? They’re just like EMIYA. They took a weak magic and developed it so far that it became strong. They’re uber specialists, and they’re trying to save the world with it. They’re heroes of justice, just like him. Or maybe like Kiritsugu.
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