What They Say:
The magical girls are back, and ready for another round of adventure! After successfully recovering the Class Cards, fifth graders-turned magical girls Illya and Miyu think they can finally take it easy. But as fate would have it, the girls are once again called back into active duty when they find out that the Cards have left some very nasty side effects on their world. However, their seemingly easy mission goes totally awry with the appearance of a dark stranger who looks just like Illya! Who is this new but familiar face, where did she come from, and what does she want from Illya? With the arrival of this new foe, it seems like Illya’s finally met her match when her everyday life takes one dark turn!
Perhaps the most surprising part of the Prisma Illya series up to this point has been its epic, adrenaline-infused music. I mean, how are we supposed to watch magical girls fight heroic spirits without a totally badass soundtrack? We know the substance is great, yeah, but does the quality of the DVD release hold up? Hmm…I guess. In terms of actual, audio quality, we’re given the default Dolby Digital 2.0 that has become synonymous with standard DVD releases. This collection contains both the English and Japanese dub (Both in DD 2.0), though the English dub is…relatively lackluster, to say the least. It sounds cliche to say this, but I would definitely choose the original Japanese dub over the English one as it boasts an incredibly talented roster lead by the same voices (Mai Kadowaki/Kana Ueda) we’ve grown accustomed to from the normal Fate franchise.
As expected, this DVD release is presented in 480i standard definition. That being said, the bright, vivid colors and heavily outlined character models that have been a staple to Prisma Illya are relatively diluted. And while the video does not cut-out at any moments and stays stable throughout all three discs, it’s clear and obvious that the video quality is not what it could be. Regardless, you can’t expect DVD releases to push technical boundaries anymore and really get what you pay for in that department. All in all, the original artwork is still fantastic and boasts numerous beautifully-animated battles.
I have this weird OCD thing when it comes to DVD and Blu-ray covers. My policy is that whatever color scheme you throw onto the front-cover…keep that color scheme for the back and side panels. I don’t know if I’m alone on this guys, but it’s strangely displeasing seeing the entire color scheme of a package change from front to back. This collection is an example of that. While the artwork on both sides is still high-quality, something just seems wrong. With the front cover featuring our three main heroines (Plus Bazett) against a pink backdrop and the rear cover (Best cover, in this case) featuring Miyu and Illya wearing swimsuits in the sky for some reason, it’s safe to say the packaging is slightly confused. Still, bonus points for the swimsuits, Sentai. One more thing to note, though, is that I adore the discs themselves for this.
I’ve gotten to the point where when I pop in a Sentai DVD, I don’t even expect anything in terms of menus anymore. Prisma Illya 2wei is yet another example of the whole, “Main girl next to a list of episodes and that’s it” menu scheme that has apparently been working for Sentai for…well, as long as they’ve been around. To be honest, though, no one really cares about DVD menus anymore except for me and like…four other people. That being said, I still think that Sentai could make their menus a little more interesting every once in a while.
Huzzah! Along with all 10 episodes on three discs, we also get a handful of Prisma Illya shorts that Sentai has taken the time to dub in English. With the amount of special features that wind up going un-dubbed [In English], it’s a real treat whenever we’re gifted with some that are. Another plus to this is that the shorts aren’t just 30-second clips with no relevance, either. They’re more like bonus scenes that can stand alone and provide…well, bonus material for fans of the characters. Along with the shorts, we’re also given various Sentai trailers as well as the textless OP/ED songs.
The Prisma Illya franchise has definitely taken off, to say the least. In fact, at the time of my writing this, it has become the longest-running Fate series to-date. With a name so gigantic tied to it, it’s definitely impressive that a spinoff has been able to make it this far. Originally based on the manga series of the same name by Hiroshi Hiroyama (Who has literally only done the Prisma Illya series), Fate/Kaleid Liner follows Illyasviel Von Einzbern in an alternate universe where she has become a magical girl and is tasked with collecting various “Servant cards” in order to save the world. After partnering up with a girl under similar circumstances, Miyu Edelfelt, Illya manages to do so. This is all just first season recap stuff, though.
This time around, Illya inherits a new problem — an evil twin sister that goes by the name of Kuro. Kuro, who totally steals the show throughout this entire season, is sort of like a rambunxious Nega-Illya who straight-up turns this into a yuri franchise right off the bat. (Thank you, Kuro). After being cursed by Rin, Kuro becomes connected to Illya so that if she experiences any pain, Kuro will as well. Rin’s main reason for doing this, which I forgot to mention, is that Kuro really just wants to kill Illya and take over for her. And while that sounds totally messed up on paper, she really just wants a mom and a family and blah blah blah. Whatever. The more important part of this whole ‘being cursed’ thing is that it leads to Kuro enrolling in Illya’s school and MAKING OUT WITH ALL OF HER FRIENDS. And while Kuro is most definitely a lesbian, she does this under the pretense of “Needing to drain their mana”. Uh-huh. Totally buy that.
Anyway, the whole Kuro situation winds up taking a turn for the worse about halfway through the season when Irisviel comes into the picture. Not being surprised in the slightest by her other daughter’s appearance, Iri goes on to state that Kuro was sealed away in order to ensure Illya could become the Holy Grail if need be. However, with Holy Grail war being eliminated and not even an issue anymore, Kuro immediately begins to contemplate what exactly her existence even means. Has she been sealed away for no reason this whole time? With these things in mind, Kuro’s physical existence begins to deteriorate. As she starts to literally fade into oblivion, Illya steps in to save her once-evil twin sister and MAKES OUT WITH HER, WOO. Man, this should be how every anime solves its problems. Following this event, Kuro starts to assimilate into Illya’s normal life under the guise of her cousin, Chloe. Then, everything starts working out. UNTIL IT DOESN’T.
Remember Bazzet from Fate/Hollow Ataraxia? Yeah, well, she’s a thing in Prisma Illya now. After being sent after Illya and Miyu to steal all of the servant cards, an all-out war breaks out and Luvia’s mansion is essentially destroyed. Bazzet really goes on to show off her combat power and is essentially able to take on the entire Prisma Illya team on her own — making her the most fierce opponent they’ve had yet. However, after a few well-placed traps and numerous destructive battles, Bazzet is deterred and winds up losing to our main heroines. Even though she has been defeated, however, Bazzet makes it clear that she will not give up on her mission — insinuating and ushering forth the beginning of season three, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 3rei!!
As much as I’ve made fun of (And supported) the series for it, don’t write off the Prisma Illya series as just a yuri fanservice-fest. There’s actually a ton of emotionally-driven moments and some of the best magical girl fights out there packed into these ten episodes alone. When I first started this series back in 2013, I expected nothing more than a comedic spin-off featuring a few characters I’ve grown to love over the past decade or so. But, fortunately for myself and many other fans of the franchise, this is more than that. While I totally understand that seeing something like this may diminish that dark, dreadful feeling the Fate franchise has successfully been instilling in many of us for years, I still highly implore any fans of the series (Or even just the characters) to give this a try. There’s a reason that it’s become the longest-running Fate anime thus far.
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio, English subtitles, clean opening/ending songs, Sentai Filmworks trailers, Three 2wei! Shorts (English dubbed), and TV spots.
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: C+
Video Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 16th, 2016
Running Time: 250 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen