The Summer of Love III: Fate/Illya Season 1 Episodes 6-10: Illya’s Resolve

The Summer of Love III continues! Last week we discussed all of the music from the series, and the week before the first half of season 1. Well this week we wrap up our examination of Fate/Illya’s first season with a look at the second ‘arc’ (because this series doesn’t really have those, but let’s just roll with it): Illya’s Resolve! Plenty to get into, so let’s not waste anymore time!

Illya goes all EMIYA up in this shit.

I’ll confess something to you. I have not watched Madoka Magica.

I know, I know. It’s considered a landmark series, one that even non-fans of the magical girl genre like. It’s that deconstruction that anime fans claim to love, and one that has left a big mark on the genre. I have no doubt that about 50% of what people say about it is justified. I’m probably going to watch it in the future, but as of now no. And the only reason I bring this is up is because when watching this second arc of the series, I found myself wondering if what is shown here, is sort of the reason people seemed to love Madoka so much.

I chose the name ‘Illya’s resolve’ for the title of this second half because this arc is just about that. Illya, after digging into some unknown power to defeat the Saber class card is now left scared and traumatized by the amount of destruction left in her wake. It is made even worse when Miyu, with whom she had been building a budding friendship with, coldly dismisses her. It is only through a heart to heart from her mother Irisveil, that Illya is able to overcome this hurdle and fully embrace her role as a magical girl, right in time for the final battle against the Berserker class card to be underway.

Miyu attempts to go it alone for awhile, but even now she is feels the change Illya is bringing in her.

Now, the reason I brought up Madoka was as I said, as I watched the events of this arc unfold, I couldn’t help but feel that this was an inkling of the sort of ‘good storytelling’ that has made the fans of that series fall over themselves to praise it. Too often magical girl series are seen as a power fantasy, watching young girls dress up, wave their magic wands and save the world/their friends through the power of friendship, love and everything Daijobu. And while I have not dabbled too far into this genre, I have seen enough to sort of know what the broad strokes are. There of course is nothing wrong with shows like that (I am an ecchi/harem fan), but it is always nice when a show takes a moment to drive home the reality of what is going on. Sometimes that comes at the expense of ruining the show, drowning it in misery in an attempt to be ‘serious’ (think Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka), but if done well it can help elevate the show to new heights.

Stuff like Archer-Illya helps keep the things in the Fate world, but it thankfully it never forgets that this its a magical girl show first.

What I enjoyed about Fate/Illya and it’s moment of magical self-reflection was that it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Illya has her moment of terror, questions her ability and desire to keep doing this, quits, get her pep talk from her mom, and then jumps back into the fray. In the five episode of the arc, that takes up about four, but thankfully doesn’t drown out the rest of the series. There is still humor and plenty of action and the show doesn’t decide to fall off the rails because it wants to drive its “oh shit, this magical girl stuff can be serious” point home. Illya’s reflection and admittance that she didn’t take things seriously, that people getting hurt and things blowing up scared her is a refreshing and honest take. Her confession to Irisveil of her supposed inferiority to Miyu is relatable to anyone, but especially young girls who don’t have the maturity to accept you can’t always be perfect. And thankfully it all comes to a head with a great climatic final battle that sets Illya on a new path, full of resolve and confident to take on whatever comes next, and considering what does, she’ll need it.

Irisveil shows up to drop some important life advice to her daughter, and its a treat for any fan of Fate/Zero.

Introspection arcs can be very much hit or miss. They either deliver the point succinctly, or go on too long trying to get that point across. The Fate franchise is no stranger to such methods, and it has a bit of a track record of falling into that second category. As much as I find Unlimited Blade Works to be pretty much perfect, even I have to admit that after Shirou umpteenth monologue I was finding myself going “Okay, we get it, you know your dreams are stupid, can you start flinging swords please?” Fate/Illya’s second arc happily doesn’t fall into that trap. It is curt and to the point, being able to say what it has to, and move on aptly to the next part of its story. Illya’s resolve is a good conclusion to the first season, bringing the character through the fire and never forgetting to be full of humor and action along the way. A great ending to what ends up being a damn fine first outing for the series. Of course we are just getting started, as the with the second season we are now going to enter the infamous parts of this anime. But before we get into that, we need to have a little conversation about Kuro, which you can look forward too next week.

Miyu is stone cold, and Tatsuka doesn’t deserve it!

Additional Observations

  • It is really nice to see Irisveil get the chance to be the mom she never had in Fate/Zero. She is bubbly, bright, and able to piece together Illya’s problem by still play coy on whether she knows what’s going on. Considering how bad the Einzbern family ends up in the main series, It’s great to see Iri get her own peace here.
  • Archer-Illya, aside from foreshadowing what Kuro will be in the next season is damn good fun in her fight. I have been surprised at how well Fate/Illya has been with it’s action, and it never forgets to bring the EMIYA when it needs to. It’s a shame we never see Illya in this form again, cause she wrecks some absolute shit.
  • We get a tease of Bazett at the end of the season! Fans of the visual novels will know her from Fate/hollow atraxia and this series remains the only real example of seeing her in action. She’s going to be a fun character, so I liked the cameo here!
  • We never really get a joint attack like the one Miyu and Illya use to defeat Berserker again in the series. It’s a shame, because it had the potential to become even cooler.
  • Rin and Luvia may bicker like cats and dogs, but they remain an amazingly effective team when they do work together. They are also some pretty fun magical girls too! I’m surprised neither of their outfits got featured as servants in Fate/GO, oh well.
  • Miyu being all about Illya after they become friends is something I don’t really think shows up more in later seasons. I may be wrong, but I think Kuro’s arrival overshadows all the implied yuriness of the main cast. Which brings me too…
  • Tatsuka getting not only rejected by Miyu, but flat out destroyed by her coldness shouldn’t have been as funny as it was. I mean damn Miyu, you were just fucking cold! Tatsuka rocks and I look forward to seeing more of the supporting cast’s moments in later seasons.
  • Miyu using the Saber-card to turn into well…Saber was a cool moment, and it is interesting that she gets to have the O.G look, while Illya will later adopt a more original one. Or perhaps it is like Saber-Lily? Eh, I’ll get back to you on that.

4 thoughts on “The Summer of Love III: Fate/Illya Season 1 Episodes 6-10: Illya’s Resolve

  1. “I have not watched Madoka Magica.”

    ====80

    I don’t recommend series, because as Tolkien’s elves said, all advice can go astray.

    But I recommend you watch this. And the reason is simple: It’s a good story.

    That’s it. It’s just a good story. Well worth watching.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s