Alright, I’ve put this part off for long enough.
Many people who are fans of Fate may not be aware that the Fate Stay Night visual novel was originally a piece of erotic literature, in that it had several scenes where the characters would engage in sexual activities either for pleasure or to restore their mana. When the first 2006 anime, and later the PS2 port of the visual novel hit shelves, all of the erotic aspects were removed and replaced with new scenes that depicted the events without any of the sexual themes. This has continued throughout all of the adaptations of Fate Stay Night and the spin-offs.
Such a change is understandable, considering the massive success of the Fate franchise, especially with a younger audience, and it feels like the creators made the decision themselves that the sex and sex scenes weren’t doing anything to help with the plot. I myself don’t really care that they aren’t there, and I’ve enjoyed Fate Stay Night without them, but different strokes I suppose.
Either way, I bring this up because as we enter into the second season of Fate/Illya, we also are coming into what is probably the most fanservice-heavy out of all the Fate animes, and also the one that is the most…interesting to discuss. So after the cut let’s take a dive into the second season of Fate/Illya: Fate/kalied liner Prisma Illya 2wei!
Fate/Illya 2wei is important for the sole reason that it introduces the third main character to the cast, and over half of the 12 episode season is dedicated to exploring and integrating her among Illya and the rest of her friends and family. Conceptually, the idea of Kuro being the cast off emotions and powers of the Illya that never fought in the holy grail war is a great idea and helps link Fate/Illya to the rest of the universe that makes sense. It addresses the idea that just abandoning the war and Illya’s reason for being had drawback effects, and it helps with Kuro’s place in Fate/Illya’s version of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy paradigm.
In fact, that paradigm is pretty much how you can sum up the interactions and relationship of the three main characters of Fate/Illya. You have Miyu who represents logic, reason and thought. Kuro is passion, emotion, and action, and then you have Illyasviel who represents a balance of both. I’m serious when I say that Kuro is emotion and passion because when she is first introduced in the story, she engages in a fierce battle with both Miyu and Illya, and then..well this happens.
Now look, the ideas of Yuri and Girl-love is engrained in the DNA of the magical girl genre, and while it comes in varying degrees, denying that it’s part of it is just fooling yourself. Even Cardcaptor Sakura, while low key and restrained in its depiction of such things is still laced top to bottom with LGBTQ themes and ideas. Fate Illya 2wei however, throws itself completely into the idea of girl/girl love and doesn’t hesitate to show it. To the credit of the show, it isn’t just there solely for fanservice, Kuro needs to do this to replenish her mana and sustain her existence, and she claims it is the most “tame” way she can do it, a callback to the erotic nature of the Fate Stay Night visual novel, but still…it’s something.
I don’t shame people for what they want to watch (within the confines of the law of course) and any anime fan who has been around a few years knows that they have to check some of their western sensibilities at the door when you go into this fandom. As a famous anime youtuber once said: It’s the part that anime fans have to squint and look past in order to enjoy the shows we love. If you can get past this part of the anime, then that’s great, but if this is where you draw the line of what you think is sensible and right, then I don’t blame you in the slightest. I admit I was a put off by the sheer commitment this show takes with the Kuro character, and I might have dropped it if I wasn’t committed to watching every piece of Fate anime to its conclusion.
Aside from all of that though, how is Fate/Illya 2wei? Well if you don’t mind everything that happens, it is a solid expansion to the world. Yuri tendencies aside, Kuro’s entry to the cast brings in more development for both Miyu and Illya, and having all three play off each other in that Star Trek dynamic I mentioned above is only a positive overall. The further introduction of Bazett Fraga McRemitz, the original master of Lancer from Fate Stay Night and star of sequel Fate/hollow ataraxia leads to great action and another character for Illya to interact and conflict with. Bazett takes up most of the plot of the second half of episodes and helps lay down some groundwork for events in the next two seasons.
However, the real meat of the series is in the introduction of Kuro and for how significant it is to the world of Fate/Illya, I can say that it is paced well, written strongly and is emotional, touching, though with that ‘basic’ nature that seems to be the curse of everything Fate-related. You will either love Kuro or you won’t, but I can’t deny that she brought great comedy, an excellent take on the Archer servant, and helps fill in the corners of Illya’s character, which again is only a positive in my books.
Fate/kalied liner Prisma Illya 2wei! is the season in which you have to decide if you are in or out. You either accept the direction the series takes, or you call it quits and take your leave. I stuck around because I wanted to see it through, and I found that 2wei! continues to make Fate/Illya a great spin-off that maintains all the good things I mentioned in my previous entry. This will only continue as we head into seasons three and four, and I look forward to getting into them next time.