Image Source: プリズマ☆イリヤ公式アカウント‏‏ on Twitter

The new Fate/kaleid liner movie bridges the gap I’ve always felt between the Prisma Illya series and the original Fate storyline.

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For me, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya has always been a bit of an outlier in the franchise. With strong elements of fan service and wish fulfilment, it often feels more a magical girl series overlaid with Fate elements than a Fate series. That said, while the series has an overall younger feel to it than your Zero or Unlimited Blade Works, it still manages to strike some rather serious tones in its execution. The new movie, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Oath Under the Snow is pretty much all mature seriousness throughout—and, as a whole, ends up feeling like the most Fate-ish addition to the series, while still managing to retain its Prisma Illya core.

Fate/kaleid liner is Pure Fan Service for Fate Fans

In Oath Under the Snow, the story centers on a parallel world Shirou Emiya. Traveling with his adoptive father, Kiritsugu Emiya, the two search the world for a way to end suffering in the world. Their latest journey leads them to Fuyuki city to seek a mystic bloodline. Children born to this bloodline exist as god-like beings, able to grant wishes until they reach the age of seven. Skeptical at first, the two are startled when a massive destructive force erupts and threatens to swallow the whole city. The two stand in awe as the force is stopped by a white light, leaving only a massive crater in its wake. At the source of the white light, Shirou and Kiritsugu discover the young girl, Miyu. Kiritsugu decides to take Miyu with them with the hopes that she is the key to granting their wish.

Image source: プリズマ☆イリヤ公式アカウント‏ on Twitter

Oath Under the Snow is a prequel story that tells the origin of the character, Miyu and adds context to the overarching plot of the TV series, Fate/kaleid liner Prismy Illya 3rei!! It’s a prequel in the best sense of the term, taking a primary character—in this case, Miyu—and adding depth to them in a way that changes how you view them and their actions while never betraying the character that has already been established.

As Oath Under the Snow is a prequel story, viewers will already know how it ends. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any tension in the movie’s climax. Quite the contrary. However, having seen the Prisma Illya series—in particular 3rei!!—and having seen how the state of the world in the series contrasts with how Oath Under the Snow begins, we already know right away from the start that tragedy is waiting throughout the movie, and the movie plays it to the hilt.

Image source: プリズマ☆イリヤ公式アカウント‏ on Twitter

Starting with a sentimental heart-warming atmosphere, the sense that something horrible is lying just around the corner perpetuates the first part of the movie complete with an almost perpetual shade of twilight orange throughout. While the story is an origin story for Miyu, it’s also a story about the loss that the parallel universe Shirou experiences in his journey from being one of the franchise’s most template “good guy” characters into a fascinating and complex character. And suffer loss he does. The movie mercilessly yanks at your heartstrings as you see Shirou gradually lose everything in his life that he has held near and dear to him. It’s captivating and at the same time almost physically painful to watch at times.

Why the Emiya in the Fate/kaleid liner Movie Is My Favorite Version of the Character

Oath Under the Snow is a prequel for a series based on another part of the franchise. As such, the movie is not something to be viewed without a certain amount of prior viewing. At the very least, basic knowledge of the core Fate/stay night plot line and viewing of probably half the first season and all of the fourth season of Prisma Illya should be completed beforehand—although watching everything is perfectly acceptable.

Image source: KADOKAWAanime on YouTube

Despite the prerequisite investment of time and the rather depressing overtones, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Oath Under the Snow is an emotional story that plays on all of its strengths as a prequel while avoiding any major pitfalls. While the TV series, as stated above, feels like a magical girl show overlaid with Fate elements, the movie on the other hand feels like a Fate story overlaid with Prisma Illya elements—this could be due to the noticeable lack of magical girls throughout most of the story. There’s a bit of an entry hurdle to clear before going into it, but once you’re there, it can do nothing but add and enrich to your Fate experience.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Oath Under the Snow was released in Japanese theaters on August 26, 2017. There is currently no word on an international release.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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