Each of the seasons of Prisma Illya we’ve had so far have sort of been mixed bags. On one hand, the non-canonical parody nature of the story allows for all sorts of Nasuverse characters and powers to get thrown together in unique situations and cool fights. But on the flip side, there is a general lack of focus present in everything non-combat related.
Sort of like how BlazBlue: Alter Memory was only cool if you were a fan of the BlazBlue game series, or how the game Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment really only offered anything to fans of the SAO franchise, so does Prisma Illya appeal to the existing Nasuverse fanbase. Considering how dumb I find Prisma Illya to be about 75% of the time, and considering I am a huge Type-Moon and Nasuverse fan, I can only imagine how stupid this show must appear to people unfamiliar with the source material.
Prisma Illya basically plays out like a uniquely in-depth Fate/Stay Night fan fiction. And essentially, that’s what it is. The original manga was supposed to be a parody / original story borrowing most of its characters, powers and plot devices from Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, and Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. There are two sequel manga to the original, called Zwei and Drei respectively, that expand on the new universe and continue the story. With anime adaptations, we’re now roughly half way through Zwei.
I don’t think there’s much need for me to cover plot; anyone watching this anime has probably seen the first season and is likely a Nasuverse fan as a whole. Summing up the entire season with “Kuro splits off from Illya” wouldn’t be much of a stretch. That’s about all that happens, and it basically happens in the first episode. Not much of a conclusion at the end, either.
One thing that I like about Prisma Illya is that we get to see certain Nasuverse characters and powers that we know of from the visual novels and other media animated for the first time. In season one we got to see Saber Alter. Now we get Caren Hortensia, Bazett Fraga McRemitz, Fragarach and Cybele, among others (I don’t count their slight cameo appearances in Carnival Phantasm; I want to see action). So for fans of the Fate universe especially, this show has lots of goodies.
Just a pity those goodies were so few and far between. I suffered through six episodes of diabetes-inducing fanservice and mediocre comedy before we finally got a half-hearted fight between Saber Miyu and Archer Kuro in episode seven. Then finally following that we got an almost three-episode-long spat with Bazett, and I guess that made all the waiting worth it. Still, it begs the question whether or not certain scenes or elements could have been omitted to bring about the action faster. I’m usually not a fan of diverting from the source material, but this time I think I could have made an exception. I don’t want to see Illya and her cardboard-cutout classmates practicing a dance routine, I want to see more Includes!
But by far the biggest problem I had with this series is the art. Namely, the character designs. It’s different from the VN, it’s different from the terrible F/SN anime adaptation, it’s even different from Carnival Phantasm. It’s just kinda bad. My least favorite part was the eyes; what is up with those eyes?
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the fights are cool, and the animation during those is good.
Sound is meh. Voice actors are fine; each character had his or her original VA, which is nice. I wasn’t too fond of the OP and ED themes this time around, which is too bad.
Overall, it’s a fun experience for Nasuverse fans, but don’t expect much. Some time in 2015 we get a third season, which will adapt part two of Zwei. I’ll certainly watch it; hopefully we get more plot this time around and less dumb comedy and shameless fanservice.
Final MAL score is a 5.1/10, rounded to 5/10.