What They Say:
Illyasviel von Einzbern’s life has become ridiculously complicated since the Kaleidostick Ruby convinced her to become a magical girl and join the quest for collecting the seven Class Cards. Since then, almost every day has brought a new surprise, from gaining new friends and partners like Miyu Edelfelt, to encountering her own magical twin!
One would think Illya deserves a little time off, right? No such luck: a trip to the beach quickly turns into a magical quest, and Illya finds herself caught in a string of magical feuds, encounters with love potions, an excursion into the world of “boys love” comics (plus the women who read them), and half a dozen other delirious diversions.
However, that’s only the warm-up for what might be her final mission: recovering the long-lost Eighth Card! It’s a mystical whirlwind of unexpected escapades and surprising new revelations as Illya’s saga continues in FATE/KALEID LINER PRISMA ILLYA 2WEI! HERZ!
The audio presentation for this release is pretty solid as we get the original Japanese language in stereo as well as the new English language adaptation, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series is one that works the forward soundstage well as there’s a good mix of dialogue, music and action to keep it lively in most episodes. There’s a good design to it overall as we get the characters interacting in both action and general school conversation to allow it to flow well as it moves about. The action steps things up nicely as there’s a lot of impact to many scenes with the way the action unfolds and that has some nice bass in a few sequences to ramp it up more. It’s similar to other shows in this particular franchise as there’s a good mix of what it wants to do and they don’t skimp with it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The ten episode TV series is spread across two discs with eight on the first and two on the second plus the shorts and extras. Animated by Silver Link, the series has a really strong look here throughout with some excellent use of colors and shading in many designs to give it more pop and there’s some wonderful detail to all of it in both character and background. It doesn’t go for the photorealistic backgrounds but it gives them a good bit of life that comes across well. The animation has some really good fluidity to it in the action scenes but generally looks great across the board. The colors are rich and solid throughout and the numerous night action sequences across the darkened cloudy skies stands out well against the brightly colored magical girls and what they’re fighting against.
The packaging for this release is presented in a standard sized Blu-ray case where the two discs are held against the interior walls. The front cover artwork is one that goes bright and colorful compared to the second season as we get the three main girls together in summer mode with shorts, summer dresses, blue skies, and a lot of upbeat designs. The back cover goes for a bright and light angle with bright blue skies for part of it, some nice pink aspects and a good bit of runes softly in the background to tie it together. There are some nice shots from the show and a good illustration image of Miyu and Illya together as well, though again it pushes the limits with costuming design. The episodes and extras are clearly listed and the premise covers things well with what the series is about. The remainder is given over to the usual production credits and technical grid that breaks everything down cleanly and clearly.
The menu design for this release definitely works well to show off the character artwork from the cover as the layout has a full static image that has some great color and detail to it that really sets the tone well. The logo is kept to the upper right while the navigation is kept to the lower right corner. Unlike the first season set where episode selection had us going into a submenu to see them, this one works in a more traditional manner. Submenus load quickly and everything is quick and easy to get around on.
The extras for this release are pretty good as we get the TV spots and promos for the show ahead of its broadcast as well as the clean opening and closings. The fun if sometimes disturbing extras include the bonus shorts, which can play up the fanservice side too much but has a lot of humor mixed into it as well.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With two successful seasons in the can, it was little surprise to see that a third was announced and landed in the same way with a summer 2015 debut. The Prisma Illya subset of the Fate material definitely has its fans and rightly so as they manage to find a good balance of cuteness and fun with the more serious side of it. In fact, you can essentially pick out which you want with this season as the first six episodes are the fun ones while the remaining four moves toward the more serious and action oriented side. The production once again holds up well with the visual design and animation as there’s a good feeling to it with a sense of quality about it so it’s definitely easy to enjoy it in both action and fluff.
What gets me with the show is how problematic the fluff can be at times. And part of that is just the age aspect since we’re still dealing with elementary school students. And saying this as a father and knowing that things we do see here do happen in the real world, it’s still something that makes you cringe a bit unless you’re far, far, closer to the age ranges going on here. The opening two episodes alone can be problematic as we get the girls getting ready for a beach adventure as summer has arrived (the show doesn’t want to dabble in school foolishness) and that means it’s time to go shopping for a swimsuit. This has plenty of the usual gags but it also takes a detour with Kuro needing Illya to recharge her as she’s losing energy. With Miyu watching on from the shadows, it’s “that” kind of relationship that she sees and Kuro doesn’t give any reason to believe otherwise. The ramped up sexual tension is hilarious and terrible at the same time.
Naturally, you can imagine that the actual beach episode itself ramps things up a bit and we do get that, including the amusement of one of them leaping onto the beach completely naked because summer is meant to be enjoyed. There’s a lot going on and the swimsuits and skin is copious as well as some of the innuendo along the way. What help nudge things a bit is discovering that Rin and Luvia are there as they’re digging for the eighth card, which isn’t really dealt with until things turn serious around the seventh episode. So, the show spends its time playing on the beach, dealing with a theme park visit and some time with fireworks for the summer and dressing up in yukatas. All things that, as well done as they are, you can imagine how it plays out just from listing them off, right? THere is an amusing episode that focuses on Mimi as she’s coping with lewd thoughts that has her putting pen to paper for a story and delves into some fun boys-love bits. But even that has enough familiarity to it.
When the show gets serious as it moves into the final arc we get the sizable group together here along with Bazett as they dip into the Mirror World to go up against the eighth card. It’s a fun sequence overall because the gang is plainly not up to the challenge – even when using new and more powerful moves than they’ve done before, so it plays well with some of the quirks of it, notably with Bazett and the whole Berserker side that’s just a visual treat. What it starts shifting toward is a little more convoluted as we get the Heroic Spirit element coming into play and revealing the truth about Miyu being a princess from a parallel world, and being a really interesting if unusual type of person due to her connection to the Holy Grail. There’s a lot of info dump material that plays out here and as interesting as it is (being a casual viewer of the Fate franchise all these years), it’s such a radical shift from the first half of the season that it’s hard to make the leap to this style. I practically expected the bulk of the season to be fluff after six episodes and going into dark and meaty material after so much superficiality is difficult. It’s intriguing to be sure but more so I suspect to those deeply invested in the larger Fate franchise.
The Prisma Illya franchise is one that I struggle with in some ways because it does a lot of fun things in subverting the original work and adding some new twists to it all. It’s taking the familiar and reworking it that makes it appealing, something that comes from my extensive comics background. But the structure of the season leaves me frustrated as it has a serious tonal shift for the last four episodes and after the first six it’s a hard adjustment to make, one that left me frustrated with the back end of it all. And that’s on top of the overt sexualization of the elementary school students during the first part of it. There’s a lot to like here overall and each new season is like revisiting old friends and enjoying the time with them and hoping you haven’t outgrown it yet.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Shorts, TV Spots, Clean Opening & Closing Animations
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Running Time: 250 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.