The time has come.
Firstly, apologies for not getting this out on Wednesday. I was somewhat occupied (and by that, I mean I’ve been accidentally falling asleep earlier than I’d like to every night after coming home late from work). Rest assured, I haven’t forgotten about this. How could I? How could I possibly forget the ending to Herz? I still remember it like it was yesterday. Notwithstanding the weeks and weeks of filler, Silver Link decided to irrevocably tarnish the reputation of what was (up until then) an amazing adaptation by fucking up the ending, before revealing that it wasn’t even a necessary step to take because another season had already been confirmed. My fury was limitless.
It’s been a year since then. All of us are now older, and hopefully wiser. And regardless of how deep a grudge you may or may not hold over Herz, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re in for yet another Illya-flavoured summer. Nor should you forget that this is, in theory at least, supposed to be the most delicious season of them all. For those who have somehow just stumbled upon this, Prisma Illya is sort of like Nanoha. It’s a magical girl series that isn’t. It would no longer be correct to call it a mere spin-off of the franchise it was derived from, although Prisma Illya hasn’t had the same meteoric rise that Nanoha has experienced in relation to its parent Triangle Heart. A new season has been airing every summer for the last three years, and the plot has developed such that it’s long been able to stand on its own two feet (it would have been able to match Nanoha in terms of how many seasons it’s had, if not for the fact that a new season of ViVid was announced yesterday). With 3rei! introducing characters that were not previously part of the Nasuverse canon, this will become more apparent than ever before. Prisma Illya has also created an unhealthy number of lolicons, not least of all because Illya, Kuro and Miyu engage in certain extremely lewd activities together on a regular basis. I sincerely hope that, despite the many dramatic plot twists and much darker plot-line that await us this season, Silver Link will still find time for more loli yuri twincest. Look at her! Isn’t she just too lewd? Why is she so perfect?
I’m sure I’ve said this in the past too, but 3rei! is on a whole different level to the rest of Prisma Illya thus far. It features a lot more suffering and angst than 2wei! or the first season did, and the scale of the plot is unimaginable. It’s a lot like the Heaven’s Feel route, actually. For an idea of what it’s like, think of the hype and tension from the fight against Gilgamesh in 2wei!. Multiply that out across an entire season, and you’ll get something comparable to 3rei!. In fact, the reason so many manga readers were angry with the anime-original ending to Herz was because the tension and adrenaline all throughout and in the aftermath of the Gilgamesh fight was lost entirely. Angelica and Beatrice, the new antagonists from the Ainsworth family, weren’t supposed to appear in the way they did this episode. In the manga, Illya never manages to take Miyu’s hand after defeating Gil. Ea has the power to tear apart dimensions, remember? Using Enuma Elish at full power is supposed to have ended up tearing a hole in space-time, allowing Angelica and Beatrice to cross over from the parallel world Miyu came from in order to retrieve her by force. It was supposed to be an incredible plot twist, because everyone expected a comfy and happy ending after the lolis overcame a terrible crisis – and instead, the sky split open, the suffering continued, and Illya was plunged into despair as she was sent to an unknown world, where it snowed in the middle of summer and she was all alone with no-one to rely on. It was an amazing, shocking ending, and it really set the scene for 3rei! and indicated to us the sort of manga it would be.
That didn’t happen in Herz, of course. At this point we can only guess what sort of bizarre bureaucratic fuck-up enabled Silver Link to announce an adaptation of 3rei! while still having to create an anime-original ending. To them, the bigger issue was exactly how they were going to retcon their changes with the actual plot of the manga, and their solution was to have Angelica and Beatrice take advantage of what seemed like a random moment of dimensional instability long after Enuma Elish was activated whilst everyone who was present at the Gilgamesh fight coincidentally happened to be there (although the Ainsworths may have dimensional transfer magic of their own, which would explain how Miyu came to Illya’s world to begin with). This is, of course, far from perfect and riddled with canonical inconsistencies. After some thinking, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably the best and only feasible route to take, which in turn speaks volumes about how retarded a decision the ending to Herz was.
I should probably stop ranting. I’m just hoping that the sheer hype from 3rei! will make me forget the sour taste in my mouth, because I won’t deny that a little bit of my excitement has been diminished from the bumpy road we’ve had to take to get here. I’m rather easily baited though, especially where lolis are involved, so hopefully it’ll be doable. Kuro in twintails will do wonders to my mood, I’m sure. Other positives include the animation and the fight choreography – the short exchange against Beatrice felt incredibly fluid, and I really liked both the animation this episode and the change to the animation style in general. In particular, that opening scene of Illya turning her head as the wind and snow blew around her was gorgeous. Just like Illya herself. I couldn’t stop staring at her face for some reason, and by that I mean I’m staring at her more than I usually do. I can’t quite describe it, but I think they now all have slightly longer faces? And it feels like a cross between the manga and ufotable’s character designs. It’s really nice.
Asterism is also a thing of beauty – although it was rather odd for them to omit a certain young man entirely (especially as he’s in the preview for the next episode and appeared briefly in Wonder Stella last season when he shouldn’t have). ChouCho is doing god’s work, it’s not a coincidence that Asterism and Starlog are now my two favourite Prisma Illya OPs. Illyabear is super cute, and I’m now looking forward to both Saber Illya and Caster Illya, as well as the impending fight between Angelica and Gil (and every single Angelica fight in general, I’m a huge fan of both her and her way of using the Gilgamesh card). If you’re an anime-only viewer, you’re probably rather confused at this point – and sadly some of your questions will have to remain unanswered, as even the 3rei! manga has yet to end. A bit of inference and thinking will lead you to quite a few answers though, as all the foreshadowing surrounding Miyu thus far has been for this exact arc – they’ve already not-so-subtly hinted that Miyu is Illya’s alternate universe counterpart, in that she’s the embodiment of the Holy Grail over which a Holy Grail War is supposed to take place. From that, we can infer what role the Ainsworths have and what their goals are. Who exactly these new characters are (Angelica, Beatrice and Tanaka) will take a little longer to reveal, although background knowledge about the Einzberns and about the Nasuverse in general may be of help should you attempt to deduce things.
That’s about all I wanted to say. As ever, I will be blogging this – it will be a total of 12 episodes as opposed to the usual 10, which will make for a longer season and thus more source material covered. Manga readers will notice that we’ve drifted off into anime-original material already, which made me panic for a good few minutes until I calmed myself down. I think it’s understandable – one of the greatest worries people had with the notion of a 3rei! anime adaptation was that there was no obvious stopping point where things would calm down like they did after the Bazett fight in 2wei! – until recently (when a certain major fight concluded in the manga) the general consensus was that there was no getting off the rollercoaster. In order for the anime to make it to that major fight, Silver Link will most likely be cutting out some early scenes in 3rei! – Beatrice never went looking for Illya in the manga, for example. It was Illya, Tanaka and Gil who sneaked into the Ainsworth mansion in an attempt to rescue Miyu. Now the fight’s been brought to Illya so things can progress at a faster pace. I’m not that happy about it, but it’s a justifiable decision at least. 3rei! has the potential to be really, really good, but so much (perhaps too much) is going to rely on Silver Link’s decision-making – which, as anyone will be able to tell you, can be flawed at the best of times.
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