Recently I had a discussion with a friend of mine about the mirror universe in the TOS Star Trek. In ‘mirror’ situations there is often a reversal of psychologies, good becomes evil and kind becomes rude. Democracies turn into empires and heroes turn into villains. It’s only natural that such a common trope would follow the same recipe in Fate/Kaleid.
Episode 08: People and Tools (人と道具)
The episode started with a small reminder of what happened in the last episode and it (of course) included the coolest scene in the series so far: suffed bear Illya transforming into Prisma Sapphire version. I still can’t get over that cute bear wink during the henshin sequence.
Rin and Luvia attack Illya-Bear and Sapphire informs Illya that the only way to bring them back is to hurt their body so that the mind can return to protect it. After a few failed attempts, Illya managed to get her body back after a showdown with Angelica in Erica’s room.
Illya, Chloe, and Bazzet seem to be the only people in this world unaware of its current situation. In this mirror world, the role of the hero and the villain are reversed, and if Illya wants to save Miyu she must go against the Ainsworth’s noble cause.
Prisma-Bear Pebbles: This was the first time in the series that I laughed out loud (LOLed. I love this word). The series is trying hard to imbue every scene with a bit of humor, but it seems that my sense of what’s funny is very different from the writers’. This scene, however, with its 2D fighting game-style shot and frame-by-frame silliness hit the right spots.
Rin and Luvia Fan-service: Is there a Fate/Kaleid episode without a little fan-service? Subtle but enjoyable, Luvia’s breasts and Rin’s thighs gave me a small but necessary dose of wide-eyed shame. Until Angelica transformed, that is.
Synchronous Explanation: The scene where Angelica explained to Illya, and Gil to Chloe and Bazzet had a special weight on it that I nearly forgot I was watching another silly episode of Fate/Kaleid. The Ainsworths are not the villains we thought they are, and their noble cause will make it difficult to pick sides. But, of course, in the end they will find as solution that will benefit everyone. What would you do? Sacrifice Miyu or sacrifice the world?
Portal-Like Power: Have you ever played Portal? Displacement magic is not rare in geek culture stories, but the first thing that came to my mind when Angelica grabbed Illya from afar was Portal and its blue-orange displacement holes.
Themes & Trivia
Mirror Universe: The Mirror Universe is often an Alternate Universe where good and evil are reversed, but is otherwise the same as the original universe the story took place in. The first and most visibly difference is the change in morality. The most famous Mirror Universe is the one found in Star Trek.
Earth Axis and Climate Change: In the series the climate of the Mirror Universe is changing because of a tilt in the Earth’s axis. In our world the reverse might also be true. Researchers already know that the Earth’s axis has been drifting and this is attributed to the melting ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica. But there is recent research that suggests that terrestrial water storage plays a crucial role in the Earth’s decadal swings.
Moral Dilemma: A moral dilemma or an ethical dilemma is a complex situation that often involves an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives. In our episode the two moral imperatives are to either save the world or save one person. These dilemmas are sometimes called ethical paradoxes in moral philosophy. Generally there are no right or wrong solutions to these problems because of the lack of legitimate ethical systems. Various ethical theories such as the value theory (choosing the greater good) are employed to provide partial solution.
I found the episode quite interesting if only for the moral dilemma that offered in the end. The Ainsworth family might be working for the greater good, but their personality and general demeanor doesn’t suggest the ‘good guys’ tag that the episode tried to put on them. They are still acting like a bunch of bad guys with a good cause. I guess that if they were really the good guys they might have talked about things and make peace until they could find a solution that serves everybody. Oh well, I prefer this arrangement, as long as it brings us some good battles in the following episodes.
And the rating is…
I know I am repeating myself, but who the hell is Tanaka? Now that we know that there is a noble cause behind the Ainsworth’s actions, is it possible that Tanaka is the real villain? That would be interesting.
NEXT TIME: Illya’s Choice (イリヤの選択)
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