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Anime Review: Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya (2013)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Official "Fate/Kalied Liner: Prisma Illya" DVD and Blu-Ray art.

Official "Fate/Kalied Liner: Prisma Illya" DVD and Blu-Ray art.

Quick Info

  • Director: Shin Oonuma
  • Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
  • Runtime: 275 minutes
  • Release: September 2, 2014
  • Availability: On Blu-Ray, DVD, going out of print, streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu

Story Summary

Illyasviel Von Einzbern is just an ordinary middle school student. She lives an ordinary life going to school and watching magical girl anime. One evening while taking a bath, she notices something that looks like a shooting star, only to discover it’s a magic wand. It tricks her into becoming a magical girl and now she must collect seven class cards for the mage Rin Tohsaka.

You Would Think This Premise Wouldn’t Work, but It Does

The premise of Illyasviel Von Einzbern becoming a magical girl sounds silly on the surface and is a stark contrast to her characterization in Fate/Stay Night, but since Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is set in an alternate universe and Illya’s character is allowed to be different because of that.

The premise of mages and magical girls sounds silly on paper but the anime makes it work and it’s pretty fun. It does use a lot of tropes from magical girl anime for basic storytelling.

The premise for the anime using the characters of the Fate franchise is interesting, but it doesn’t seem that it could work in execution, but the mangaka Hiroshi Hiroyama made it work somehow. It is a fun story but it has way too much fanservice, which I’ll discuss in the review later.

The Prisma Ilya Crew after a night of fighting Class Cards.

The Prisma Ilya Crew after a night of fighting Class Cards.

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Official Trailer

The Animation Looks Good and the Fights Get Better as the Story Progresses

Silverlink is the studio behind the animation for Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya season 1 and they did a great job with the animation. The art style is nice and the animation is fluid.

The animation looks very nice when Illya and Miyu are fighting against the Servant Class Cards. The animation looks really stunning during episode 6 when Illya is fighting the Saber Class card one on one. The animation was very well done during that fight sequence and it surprised many fans when it first aired.

Overall, the animation and art look nice and it’s a visual treat when the fights are going on, and then there’s the awkward fanservice that the anime is known for and it’s the one thing that makes fans that know about it very reluctant to watch because the fanservice involves underage girls, so yeah. I don’t blame people for skipping this anime.

The Comedic Moments Are Genuinely Funny

The comedic moments in the anime are genuinely funny. I did laugh at the series sometimes because of the characters’ outrageous antics. There’s funny humor that has to do with the Fate franchise and jokes at characters’ expense that only fans of Fate will get the jokes.

I enjoyed the humor of the series and it is one of the things that make the series more tolerable, but it is a parody so it’s meant to be funny and joke about the franchise.

Audio and Subtitles

Audio:Subtitles:

Japanese (Crunchyroll)

English (DVD and blu-ray)

English (DVD and blu-ray)

The Voice Cast Is Fantastic!

I did not review the English dub for Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya. I didn’t watch the anime in English because I don’t like the choices for the voice cast that SentaiFilmworks used for their dub. They don’t even sound like the old Geneon English dub for the original Fate/Stay Night anime. When you’ve been spoiled by the BangZoom English dubs for the Fate franchise it’s hard to hear anyone else in the roles other than the original Japanese cast and I just didn’t like the voices they chose for the dub so I’m reviewing the Japanese dub with English subtitles instead.

Mai Kadowaki reprises her voice-acting role of Illyasviel von Einzbern, this time being put into situations her character has never been in. It’s very nice to see Illya behaving differently than she does in the original Fate/Stay Night anime. It’s fun to see her character having a different life than her character has in the normal series.

I liked her voice acting in this role and she did a great job, taking her character in a different direction than she has taken in the other Fate anime. She gave a great performance for an interesting take on her character.

Kana Ueda reprises her voice role as Rin Tohsaka. She voices her character very well and even though this Rin is more exaggerated in personality than the Fate/Stay Night Rin, she still does a great job and sounds like she’s having a ton of fun.

Kaori Nazuka is the newcomer to the series as Miyu Edelfelt. Miyu is an original character created for this anime. She is a unique character with a lot of character development and personality.

I really enjoyed the voice cast and the seiyus have done a fantastic job with their voice work. The cast is excellent and it’s one of the reasons that people enjoy watching the anime.

「Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ」オープニング ChouCho「starlog」

The Soundtrack Is Fantastic!

Tatsuya Katō composed the music for Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya and he did a great job with the music. The soundtrack has unique tracks that are very nice to listen to and I enjoyed the music.

They also had a really cool remix of the “EMIYA” theme that plays during one of the episodes. The other music is also very nice and while it’s not the most amazing soundtrack, it is very good.

The opening “Starlog” by ChouCho, I like the song and the opening a lot. It’s a very nice song that fits the anime very well.

The ending song is "Prism Sympathy" by StylipS. It is also a fun theme song and I enjoyed it too, but not as much as the opening song.

The soundtrack is very well done for the anime and it’s one of the things that make Fate/Kaleid Liner: Prisma Illya a fun anime to watch, but there are plenty of other reasons you might want to skip it, but the soundtrack isn’t one of them.

Rin has had it with Kaleidostick Ruby.

Rin has had it with Kaleidostick Ruby.

Reader Poll

The Mountain of Fanservice in This Anime Is Ridiculous!

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is the Fate anime that fans skip, and it’s not because the animation is old or that it’s an imperfect adaptation of the source material like the Fate/Stay Night (2006) anime. The issue people have with this anime is that there is a great deal of fanservice that involves underage girls.

The fanservice makes the anime an awkward watch for some people and that is completely understandable. People that say this is the best Fate anime are merely making memes to be funny.

I am one of the few fans that are actively watching or reading all the licensed Fate anime but I understand why fans are skipping this particular series.

The Good Story Is Under a Mountain of Fanservice Crap

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya has a good story, but it’s buried underneath a mountain of underage fanservice crap. And because of the anime’s content, it’s very hard for me to give my usual recommendation for this particular Fate entry.

It does have great production value but the content is too much for many fans of the Fate franchise and it’s completely understandable for fans to skip this anime.

I did enjoy the story and the comedy because it’s a genuinely funny anime, but there are just too many elements that make it hard for me to give it the must-watch recommendation I usually give entries in the Fate franchise.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great story, characters, and world-building

Mediocre English dub

The animation is unique and very nice. The fight scenes are very well done.

Too much fanservice involving young girls makes people skip the anime entirely (which is completely understandable)

Great Japanese dub

The controversy because of the fanservice makes it hard to watch

Great soundtrack

My Grade: B

Fate/Kaleid Liner: Prisma Illya is an anime that has a good plot and an interesting story, taking characters out of their normal universe and does something interesting with them. But because of the fanservice using underage characters, it does make it something that many fans skip and that’s completely understandable.

I enjoy the fight scenes and the story but I dislike the fanservice so I don’t recommend it unless you don’t mind the fanservice. The fights are really cool and fun to watch but there are too many things that some people are not comfortable watching so I understand deciding not to watch this series.

I bought it for $5.00 on RightStufAnime years ago but it’s currently out of print so it’s hard to buy anyway. It is worth streaming if you’re willing to put up with the fanservice but it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s already a spinoff of a series but it’s not one that everyone likes.

If you decide you want to watch Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya you can watch it on Crunchyroll. It’s a series that isn’t for everyone, but I do enjoy the story, but if you want to skip it, don’t feel you have to watch it. It is not a great starting point if you want to get into the Fate franchise.

It’s not quite a normal magical girl anime but it appears to be one using common tropes associated with the magical girl genre anime genre. It might be worth your time if you’re willing to put up with it, but don’t feel you have to buy it unless you must own every entry in the Fate franchise.

If you decide you don’t want to watch this anime, don’t feel you have to. It’s mainly for a certain subset of the Fate franchise and it’s not an anime that all fans of this franchise want or need to watch.

My Rating

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