The Summer of Love III continues! We are now in the third season of Fate/Illya and before we switch gears into full Fate/Stay Night mode, we need to take a detour into wholesome junction. It’s all filler but plenty of killer this week, so after the cut let’s talk about the next arc in the series: Peaceful Days of Magical Girls!
Despite my love of Fate, despite the praise I’ve heaped on series. One of the biggest critiques I’ve had of the series is that they often feel rushed. Not in terms of the plot or story, those are (mostly) good. Just that the characters are often moving at a break-neck pace from plot to plot. There is often very little downtime or a chance for anyone to sit back and stretch their legs. No time to ever really relax or just have fun. Not every show needs it and Fate is a series where action and monologues are the name of the game. But I can’t deny that during Fate/Zero or Unlimited Blade Works I wished they’d all sit down and have a beer once or twice.
Fate/Illya, being a multi-seasonal series doesn’t have this problem. While there is plenty of action and drama, there is also time for the series to do what I just said above: slow down and catch its breath. Fate/Illya 2wei Herz! is all about this in the first half, with the girls trading in their class cards and magical sticks for bathing suits, yukata’s and amusement parks. Where the biggest challenge isn’t fighting for your life, but losing a bracelet given by your onii-chan. Where the character struggle isn’t about stepping up to heroism, but dealing with one of your friends becoming a fujoshi. It is wholesome, cute, peaceful and most of all, it’s fucking funny.
Whether it is Illya and her friends hitting up Lion-land. Mimi becoming obsessed with writing gay-fiction, the sheer chaos of the beach episode, Tatsuko just existing, Miyu taking apart the entire concept of a festival through capitalism, or Shirou Emiya finding himself in a harem anime. Every episode peeks into the daily lives of these characters and trusts that their personalities and the settings will carry what is at heart, filler episodes.
And it works! As I’ve said before, if you come into this series through Fate/Zero and Unlimited Blade Works then seeing Illya and Irisviel get to be a family, a mother and daughter, is wonderful to see. Instead of being doomed to the fate of the Einzbern, we see Iri get to play chaperone, try on wedding dresses, and just get to enjoy the life only hinted at during Fate/Zero. For Illya, we see her have the childhood denied to her, and we see that she is just a normal girl, and combined with the ever present Miyu and Kuro, a solid and good friendship. For someone who may be waist deep into the Fate lore, it’s great to see these happy fluffy episodes without (mostly) the chaos for say Carnival Phantasm. Of course fluff doesn’t mean nothing happens and while these five episodes are light on overall story, it does do some work for setting up the big changes to come. It is quite clear at this point that there is more to Miyu than she is letting on, and Illya’s supposed ignorance on this fact may be causing more harm than good. The hidden eighth card remains on the loose, and Bazett, when not working part-time jobs, is on the prowl. Things will not be staying the same for the girls, and there will be hard times ahead, which only makes these episodes all the more important.
Peaceful Days of Magical Girls is a great edition to the story of Fate/Illya, giving the characters time they need to have fun, and viewers a time to catch their breath. Some may not like it, but I do think these fluffy ‘nothing’ episodes are some of the best in the series. Cute, wholesome, and really damn funny, there is little else I can ask for in a show like this. Of course we are not done yet, and next week we’ll discuss the final half of the third season: The Eighth Card!
- Mimi becoming a boy-love obsessed freak was a great way to take her character. Her episode dealing with that is probably my personal favorite of the entire series. Yeah, fighting magical girls is awesome, but seeing her go nuts over yaoi slash fiction is better. I also loved Suzuka’s sister. Her hiding in her closet while she listen to yaoi stories so she can feel like a voyeur is peak rot.
- Tatsuko continues to own every single scene she is in, a beautiful ball of chaos that even her parents can’t stand her. The stunt in the clothing store was a great moment.
- Kuro being suspicious of Miyu is a good way to separate her from Illya. She was always more aware of what is going on, but it’s cool to see she doesn’t want to upstage the happy days they have right now.
- As Miyu is seeing all of these things for the first time, her reactions are priceless. She just can’t enjoy the roller coaster, she has to examine the reason why it works. Also, I keep forgetting that her hair is damn long, but they always show her hair so short. It’s weird.
- Irisviel looked damn fine in those wedding dresses. Another great moment for mama-san.
- Caren working at the child lost and found just so she can see the kids cry is fucking morbid. I wish this character would show up in other series.
- The beach episode is probably the most chaotic thing I’ve seen in a while. Ruby giving Shirou a truth serum and him just ripping into Rin and Luvia was a great. Also having Issei there to help fuel the slash-fics is also good.
- And then of course, there is this image. Tatsuko can’t be Zen, never be Zen.