「繋いだ奇跡」 (Tsunaida Kiseki)
“Woven Miracles”

The 3rei anime ends, leaving us with more questions than answers. The upcoming film should answer some of them.

It’s hard to shake the feeling that this finale episode wasn’t much of a finale, and leaned on deus ex machina. The former is obvious—it’s not the ending. The latter can perhaps be debated. But Tanaka throwing Illya her sword arm just in the nick of time, the antagonists disappearing even though Julian gave Beatrice two thunderbolts, and Bazett finding Rin’s amulet—that’s the one that smacked of it most clearly, even if I appreciated the poetry of that gem binding Rin and Shirou, no matter the timeline, no matter the verion of Rin and Shirou. It just united in a whole that wasn’t firing on enough cylinders to get away with transgressions that past seasons could have managed. That’s what happens when you drop the budget and allow the shine wear off with unevenly paced seasons. Such is anime life.

Not that I didn’t enjoy the episode on the whole. Any timeline where Illya gets to grow up happy and innocent is truly the brightest timeline, and I like how they’re emphasizing that it’s Illya’s ability to wish the selfish, unrealistic dreams of a little girl—and to do what she can to pursue them—that separates her from the adults, and this timeline from the others. That’s a good theme to unite the series around.

Plus, a return to some classic Prisma Illya-style hilarity is appreciated! Even if this time it comes with a creepy disembodied hand. (Tanaka is as mysterious as she is freaky, and also dumb.) 3rei has never quite got dark enough to prevent me from liking it, but I do enjoy this version of it better. A little sugar makes the drama go down smooth, and it saves budget to make the action better. Plus, spoiled imouto-mode Miyu! Who doesn’t like that? Monsters, that’s who.

The big thing I want to know is how Shirou and Miyu got to where they are, and who the hell Tanaka is. Fortunately, it looks like one of those is going to get answered in animated form before long. Prisma Illya movie confirmed, and it looks like it’s going to focus on a certain pair of siblings. Bring it on!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – 3rei ends with a flaming sword, a disembodied hand, and bathtime hijinks. As it should #prisma_illya s4e12

Random thoughts:

  • Them taking in Angelica sure is interesting. I have a feeling she’ll play a pivotal role in the endgame, though for who is anyone’s guess. Probably Team Illya, but we’ll see.
  • I feel like the Emiya house isn’t the best place to go. Pretty sure Julian will know to look there.
  • Saber is in Emiya’s head, even when he hasn’t (presumably) met her. That hair style!

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: Re Zero: The hero who strives, I have four jobs right now, Radical transparency. I’ll try, and Freelance Heroics in print, and other matters.

Full-length images: 11.


Final Impressions

I feel like 3rei arrived with entirely too much hype. Manga readers will probably say that it really is as good as they said, and this wasn’t a good enough adaptation, but stop—just stop. You’ll never be able to recapture the feelings you had when you first read it. That’s just not how fiction works. Even if it wasn’t as good of an adaptation as it could have been—which is entirely possible—the hype did nobody any good. It just led to massive expectations, with far more potential downside than up.

I’m glad I spent so much time consciously downplaying those expectations, because I still enjoyed the season on the balance. I feel like some of the earlier battles worked better, and the budget began running low late in the season, which shouldn’t be a surprise—3rei was a lot more action heavy than previous Prisma Illya seasons. Which sucks, because now the luster has fallen away from Prisma Illya’s action, as we’re reminded it’s mortal too—but ah well. That’s the risk you run when you have the embarrassment of riches that is four seasons, such a rarity in this anime age. Fortunately the upcoming movie shouldn’t have that problem, probably. Having to fork over money before seeing the content has its advantages.

Full disclosure: I’m exhausted from working too much, so I’m not going to go into the blow-by-blow. There are twelve posts to read if you want that. Instead, here’s a lightning round of things I enjoyed: the mystery of Tanaka; Gil-kun being so very much Gilgamesh, but a bit different; Beako’s perversion; all the different heroic spirit Illya costumes; the selfcest wincest smooching (again); Rin & Luvia being useless as maids too; plenty of Gate of Babylon; Shirou getting to strut his stuff; Shirou & Kuro fighting together, the twin fakers; and Illya keeping the whole damn timeline from sliding into darkness on the force of her kindness and optimism alone. So, most things! Though I wish the antagonists didn’t keep arbitrarily letting the protagonists live. That got annoying. Make ’em earn it.

I liked it. It was fun! Though I’m still looking forward to the movie story a lot. Even if Prisma Illya isn’t Shirou’s story, I still have some affection for the old bastard, and I want to know how he got so far down the Archer/Heaven’s Feel path. Hopefully we’ll get another TV season after that, because we need another two seasons to fulfill the prophecy. It’s six seasons and a movie, right? Almost there.


      1. How funny Tanaka was a handful, from the beggining, and she still a handful now.

        Notably it would be interesting if Tanaka’s true identity is Soul Edge. I mean, that sword looks almost like Soul Edge.

  1. That second half made this entire season worth it.

    Holy fucking hell I have to apologize to Herz. Never did I realize how much I’d miss all of Prisma’s silly comedy and adorably cute moments between the girls. Not that this season didn’t have those but still… I’m sorry for taking the SoL for granted — this show is truly at its best when trio the are together as happy as can be.

    Cups are meant to be filled.

    And in this case, they’re meant to be filled with all the love and joy in the world.

    PS. Oh and I guess the movie is cool too.
    The Prisma ride never goddamn ends. It’s beautiful.

  2. Haven’t watched the episode yet but my understanding is that the manga is on hiatus and that the movie will be covering the rest of what’s out so far so unless the manga continues and gets enough new content before the movie releases we probably won’t get another season for quite awhile.

    1. The manga isn’t on any hiatus. Hiroyama just didn’t release a chapter last month because he was busy writing the Prisma crossover event for Grand Order
      But this month, we”re getting a chapter

  3. On a loose note of manga adaptations, I actually thought what they did with Kagaku no Railgun was rather impressive. But its original content…uuuuuugh. But that’s a different rabbit hole I’d prefer not to go down.

    But to Illya at hand, boy, they really seemed like they wanted to get out of that fight as quickly as possible with the deus ex machinas you mentioned. At least Emiya helped out with blocking one of the thunderbolts that went toward Illya and Miyu, but otherwise, it all really went without a hitch, and in terms of a final-like note to end on, it leaves way too much to be desired. The nice stuff that happened after then was pleasant, but it felt tacked on to me with the way all the story elements came to together. Especially as you said:

    “Though I wish the antagonists didn’t keep arbitrarily letting the protagonists live. That got annoying. Make ‘em earn it.”

    It may be me, but a story really falls apart when you make a good vs evil story, and make one side so incompetent that the other can keep making errors, but still get away with it. I’m glad you were able to look past that and find the joys in this. I found some, too, but they’re way too few for me to ever want to consider watching this season again, because I really found no interest in these antagonists. The first season and the 2weis were good, and I almost wanted to make a comparison to 3rei being the Neverending Story 3 of the group, but….man, that’d be a mean comparison, because 3rei isn’t that bad. I may not have enjoyed most of it, but it’s not as abysmal as that, haha.

    It very much exists, and if you like it, you like it, I can’t change that. But I do think it could have been much much more, but maybe the movie will help out a little with that.

    Fuwa Fuwa
    1. To be fair, it all depends on WHY the one side is incompetent or doesn’t finish the other side off. Gilgamesh is a great example of this being justified to the hilt (especially in the main Fate stories + Zero), because his personality justifies all the times he does something that lets his opponent have a chance or live. It’s just that the Ainsworths didn’t have that, so it didn’t work so well.

      It’s all in how you justify it, and whether character informs their actions well or not.

      1. That is the issue with trying to cram so many chapters into a limited amount of episodes things that in hindsight that are cut from the manga turn out important. In the manga after Julian unveils the giant cube there’s a few panels of Kotomine observing the scene and stating that the Ainsworths will be found out by something or someone, likely refering to the coutner force. In that context the reason the Ainsworth skedaddled that fast might be to hide from the counter force again.

  4. +++— Speculation —+++

    My best bet for how she really is…
    Show Spoiler ▼

  5. Well, that was an abrupt ending. Deus ex Machina’s I can take (in this case, anyways, it kinda fits the show here), but the villains sure vanished out of the blue. When the second half started, my first reaction was ‘huh, wait, what? Don’t you have some villains to defeat?’ Stupid sequel bait endings.

    Regardless, I actually quite liked this season, to be honest. While rough in some spots, it certainly had the most interesting story in the franchise so far, villains that were more complex than random cardmonsters and pretty cool setting. It also successfully married the more darker elements of the main Fate settings with the lighthearted Prisma Illya ones, so bonus points for that, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it. As a whole, the season certainly was something that restored my faith in this franchise after the lackluster Herz!, so I’m excited for what’ll come next.

    And hah, Angelica wasn’t just stoic, she was more of a brainwashed doll. Freaking called it.

  6. I like how the 3 seasons of Fate/Kaleid kinds of similar to the 3 routes of the VN.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  7. The best part of 3rei hasn’t even been covered yet so the adaption isn’t really to be blamed.
    Hope that movie won’t take too long to be “watchable”. As the backstory will remind us all that even though it is a mahou shoujo spin-off, it is a Fate spinoff.

  8. I very much enjoyed this season, though the ending of the final fight felt very abrupt. Finally seeing the results of all that forshadowing is quite nice, yet we still have more to go! Julian is now firmly slotted in as a magical girl villain, hiding away in a hidden dimension. I’m fairly certain that Tanaka is the avatar of Gaia, basically her purpose is ‘if I’m going down, your coming with me!’

    I Did Not Know There Was A Movie Coming. This pleases me greatly.


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