Manga / Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prismaillya_8664.jpg
No, you're not hallucinating. It's real (and awesome).

Hello there! I'm a magical stick of love and justice, Magical Ruby-chan! Do you want to be a magical girl? What do you think? Become a magical girl, join forces, and fight all that I deem evil!
Kaleido Ruby

A Spin-Off manga of a well-known Eroge, which features the Token Mini-Moe of said game as a Magical Girl... Wait, where have we heard this before...?

Ordinary Elementary School Student Illyasviel von Einzbern lives together with her older brother Shirou and their two guardians, Sella and Leysritt. She is a good sprinter and enjoys watching Magical Girl anime. One day while taking a bath, she ponders about being a Magical Girl herself, flying around with magic, seducing her brother, when suddenly...

Her brother comes into the bathroom... and is knocked out by a talking Magic Wand, "Magical Ruby-chan". Through a combination of sweet-talking, lies, and brute force, it tricks Illya into signing a contract with it to be a Magical Girl. To make matters worse, Ruby's former master, a mage named Rin Tohsaka, then forces Illya to become her servant and help collect seven "Class Cards": mysterious relics with the power to summon the spirits of legendary heroes, which are currently running wild in Illya's hometown...

It's largely an Affectionate Parody, both of Fate/stay night and Magical Girl works, and doesn't take itself too seriously at first. Then, it does.

An anime adaptation of the series aired as part of the Summer 2013 Anime season. A second season (adapting the first half of 2wei!) aired in the Summer 2014 Anime season. A third (adapting the latter half of 2wei!, titled 2wei Herz!) aired in the Summer 2015 Anime season. A fourth has been announced for the Summer 2016 Anime season.

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Illya, Miyu and Chloe are young girls who kick the butts of deadly mages and super-powered mythological figures.
  • A-Cup Angst: The flat chested Sella freaks out in one chapter about her chest being so much smaller than the well-built Leysritt.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Several scenes are expanded or have additional characters added for more dynamic talks:
    • The anime shows the first fight against Bazett in Luvia's mansion. The original manga only shows the aftermath, compressed within a few panels. According to Word of God, he wanted the animators to extend it.
    • Since 2wei Herz focuses on Miyu, she gets more screentime even in scenes she originally didn't appear in, like the side-story about BL, which in the manga only has Illya and Chloe visibly present.
    • Interestingly, at the end of 2wei Herz, instead of everyone in the crater being attacked by Angelica and Beatrice immediately and pulled into Miyu's world, there is entire epilogue before it is revealed that Mt. Enzou and its parallel counterpart has been swapped, and then Angelica and Beatrice show up inside. This probably means that the 3rei adaptation is going to be somewhat different at least in the beginning, as Angelica and Beatrice actually have to hunt down Miyu first.
  • Affectionate Parody: Takes the Crapsack World of Fate/stay night and turns it into a Lighter and Softer Magical Girl series. Then injected with Darker And Grittier to bring it back to standard Fate levels with 3rei.
    • The 3rd and 4th special episodes of 2wei Herz are parodies of various battle shounen tropes.
  • All There in the Manual: While the plot does a decent job at introducing it, much of the background elements in Fate/Kaleid can only be understood if the reader or viewer has prior knowledge with Fate/Zero, Fate/stay night, and Fate/hollow ataraxia.
    • The identities of the Class Cards correspond to the Heroic Spirits in Fate/stay night, though some of their names are revealed throughout the series. Notably, the identity of the Archer Card is a major plot point in 3rei.
    • Illya's father and Shirou's adopted father is Kiritsugu Emiya, a Magus and the protagonist of Fate/Zero. He's better known as title, the Magus Killer, in 3rei.
    • The Einzberns were an aristocratic Mage family that designed the original Holy Grail War, a battle between seven masters and seven servants to get their wish granted. Illya's high mana capacity stems from her rich bloodline and her nature as a Grail Conduit.
    • Rin and Luvia specialize in Jewel Magecraft. The Magecraft Irisviel uses to knock out Chloe is Alchemy. Chloe and Miyu's brother utilize a specialized version of Projection Magecraft.
    • The reason why Miyu's brother's Magecraft is identical to the Archer Card's is because the Heroic Spirit it corresponds to is a future version of Shirou Emiya himself.
    • The Heroic Spirit of the Berserker Card bound to Sakura is Lancelot.
    • The reason why Rin can heal Miyu's brother using the pendant picked up by Bazett is because the item is a Tohsaka heirloom that contains a massive amount of magical energy. It plays an important role in Fate/stay night.
    • Rin goes silent after hearing about Sakura's fate in 3rei. When Luvia notices and asks her about it, she simply brushes it off as her thinking to herself. Anyone who's read Fate/stay night or Fate/Zero would realize that she was probably distressed about the fact that her younger sister was killed.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Two very notable examples pop up in 3rei.
    • Shirou is more or less normal in his universe. In the third universe? He's projecting swords like his Fate/stay night counterpart and fighting on-par with Angelica.
    • Sakura gets introduced as a part of a short flashback story. In 3rei, she's the user of the Fate/Zero Berserker Install.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • Prisma Illya takes place in an alternate version of the Fate/stay night universe where Fate/Zero never happened. 2wei! implies Kiritsugu and Irisviel murdered the other Einzberns and destroyed the Grail ritual in order to protect this version of Illya instead.
    • Miyu escaped to the Prisma Illya world from a third universe that borrows from Angel Notes and the Heaven's Feel route of Fate/stay night. Participants of that universe eventually cross over to take their conduit back in hopes of using her to save their dying world.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Sakura gives one to Shirou after confronting him about the Holy Grail War, offering to abandon everything with him if he decides to runs away. As seen from his internal monologue, he actually considers the idea, even having Imagine Spot of being married to her, but rejects the choice because it would mean sacrificing Miyu.
  • Arrow Catch: Bazett catches one of the magical arrows fired by Chloe in her bare hands.
  • Art Evolution: In terms of quality, both of its sequels look much better than the Fate/kaleid. While 2wei streamlined the art style of its characters, particularly the eyes and faces, 3rei refined much of it, giving the series a modern look and feel.
  • Badass: Bazett, who punches out more powerful mages, magical girls, and super powered servants with her bare hands.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: All the girls' nipples and nether regions are entirely non-visible thanks to conveniently steamy baths.
  • Battle Butler: Luvia's butler, August. In episode 8 of 2wei, he actually manages to hold off Bazett.
  • Beach Episode: Chapter 18 has all the girls going to the beach for a bit of silly fun.
  • Beam Spam: A popular strategy for the magical girls is to fire dozens of magical blasts at their enemies. Caster, as in Fate/stay night, takes it to absurd degrees by creating enough magical blasts to fill the entire sky.
  • Biting the Handkerchief: Luvia bites her handkerchief in disgust while explaining how Sapphire abandoned her for Miyu. She does this often enough.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Inevitable due to the parody nature of the franchise, though this happens less and less as the "seasons" go by. Still, it sometimes results in gems like the following:
    Suzuko: Isn't this main character treatment?
    Nanaki: This is pretty ballsy coming from a mere supporting player!
  • Brick Joke: Luvia, angry about the destruction done by Bazett Fraga McRemitz to her home, states she's going to think up a way to ruin Bazett as revenge. a few chapters later, Bazett's been billed for the damage, had all her credit cards frozen, and been reduced to an ice pop vendor.
  • Brother-Sister Incest:
    • Illya has a crush on her brother Shirou in this continuity as well, going so far as to contemplate using magic to snare him before one of the other girls does.
    • Illya's "cousin" / sister Chloe also has no problem making out with Shirou against his will.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Rin and Luvia usually get easily knocked out of fights, despite both being powerful mages. Even their A Day in the Limelight against Saber Alter eventually ends in them getting stuck in a hole underground.
    • Shirou also ends up getting beaten up in almost every chapter he appears. And in Iri's family hierarchy chart, he's even below the maids.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Illya's parents went out of their way to prevent her from becoming involved in the world of mages. Despite this, Rin and Ruby end up getting Illya involved in collecting the Class Cards from the long abandoned Grail ritual anyway.
  • Canon Foreigner: Every character is a version of a Fate/stay night counterpart, except for Miyu and the Ainsworths. And Tanaka. As all came from an Alternate Universe.
  • Cards of Power: The Class Cards can be included, granting the user a Noble Phantasm based on the individual Card, or installed, giving the user access to the abilities of the Heroic Spirit the card is based off of.
  • Cat Girl: Rin gets cat ears when transformed into Kaleido Ruby. Luvia meanwhile becomes a "Dog Girl" when transformed into Kaleido Sapphire.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Early in 2wei, Miyu hugs Illya's older brother, explaining that he resembles her own older brother. Late during a sleepover, this gets played off as her having a crush on Shirou. The scene becomes tragic after 3rei reveals that Miyu's older brother is a parallel Shirou Emiya, and that he gave up everything to win the Holy Grail War so that he could give his little sister a normal life.
  • Characterization Marches On: Miyu's Broken Ace aspect is more apparent in the anime early on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember that giant swamp that Rin and Luvia fall into in 2wei? They use it later to catch Chloe.
  • Chick Magnet: Shiro Freaking Emiya. Let's count his potential Love Interest: 1) Illya, 2) Chloe, 3) Rin Tohsaka, 4) Luviagelita Edelfeldt, 5) Sakura Matou, 6) Nanaki's Sister, Moriyama Nanami, 7) Issei Ryuudou, 8) Sella....Better, dude doesn't have to try.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe:
    • The magical girl powers work entirely on belief. For instance, Illya is able to fly because she thinks she can, and Miyu can't because she keeps getting distracted by the laws of physics. Or rather, because she's too emotionally damaged to consider herself capable of flight.
  • Cliffhanger: At the end of 2wei: Miyu is taken by soldiers who are fighting the Holy Grail War from her Alternate Universe. To Be Continued in 3rei...
  • Clingy MacGuffin: A contract with Kaleido Ruby and Kaleido Sapphire cannot be cancelled without their consent. And while they're happy to abandon Rin and Luvia, they absolutely refuse to let Illya and Miyu quit.
  • Cloning Blues: Chloe is the suppressed memory/destiny of Illya as the Holy Grail conduit given form, technically making her closer to the Illya from Fate/stay night canon. She spends a good part of 2wei angry and bitter over not getting to be the "real" one.
  • Clothing Damage: The heroines' outfits end up getting ripped apart by explosions and debris anytime a fight gets serious.
  • Conspicuous CG: Averted for the most part in the anime, a lot of the animation does use CG for both special effects and characters (there are sequences where a character will switch between 2D animation and a 3D model quite often), but it's also integrated well enough with the 2D animation that quite a lot of it is rather difficult to notice unless you have a trained eye for that sort of thing. In particular, Ruby and Sapphire are always rendered via CG models.
  • Cool Horse: Miyu gets a Pegasus to ride on anytime she uses the Rider Class Card.
  • Crapsack World: The world Miyu comes from, which is quickly turning into a Death World.
  • Crossover: Has one with Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha known as 'Lyrical Nanoha x Prisma☆Illya or simply Nanoha x Fate''.
  • Crippling Overspecialisation: Nanaki mastered Gakumazawa-style Jiujitsu(?) in less than a day so she mastered perfect counter. But she cannot attack. Probably, Gakumazawa-style itself.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • Illya unlocks a portion of her sealed power during the battle with True Assassin to nuke every enemy in the area in one hit.
    • Bazett takes on Rin, Luvia, Chloe, Illya and Miyu at once, and the best they can do is fight her to a draw.
    • Illya with Caster install vs Beatrice Flowerchild and her Berserker install. Illya never stood a chance. Also a bit ironic because normally the The Berserker class is WEAK against the Caster class because of their low magical resistance. Too bad for Illya, Beatrice installed a Berserker that BYPASSES THIS (THOR).
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • Illya goes... a little crazy around maids.
    • Nanoha in the crossover also sets her off, though not to the same... extreme.
  • Dance Battler: Archer Illya, due to using EMIYA's fighting style.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Illya's dual wand wielding at the end of 2wei, which caused internal damage to her that Ruby had difficulties healing. She wanted to use it again in 3rei if she could get her hands on Sapphire, to which Ruby immediately replied that she is forbidden from doing so.
  • Dark Magical Girl:
    • Chloe, the rival "Dark Illya" who shows up at the beginning of 2wei. She turns out to be Illya's suppressed memories of being a Homunculus built to serve as the Grail conduit, and she'll die if she doesn't have a regular supply of Mana or someone takes the Archer Card that gives her form.
    • Miyu's backstory also reveals her to be one, despite only being portrayed as The Rival before that.
  • Demoted to Extra: Central characters in Fate/stay night are demoted to minor roles uninvolved with the main plot. Sakura for instance is just an ordinary student Shirou hangs out with, and former Protagonist Shirou is just Illya's clueless big brother.
    • And then we get to 3rei, where Shirou is a legitimate badass.
  • Dr. Jerk: Caren Ortensia cameos as the school nurse, where she has a tendency to consider patients' injuries 'boring' and ask they get hurt much more badly next time they come to see her.
    • To add insult to non-injury, she often tells visitors to get lost because "healthy people make her sick."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Illya's tears in her eyes pleading for Shirou to snap out of the drug induced trance as he pretty much forces himself on her.
    • Darius' Blood Magic ritual involving Miyu's "legend" in 3rei, specifically climbing on top of her and stabbing through her hands to make her bleed and scream, is depicted in a manner that evokes rape imagery.
  • Don't Think, Feel.: Illya's advice to Miyu in regard to Flight is "DON'T THINK IMASINE (sic)" . Miyu has difficulty learning to fly because her magical paradigm leans too heavily toward science.
  • Don't Try This at Home: While Illya's team was wrapping up their Cloud Cuckoolander team member to prevent her from screwing up their cake:
    Nanami: Kids, be good and don't imitate this please.
  • Double Knockout: Illya and Chloe's dodgeball match.
  • Dual Wielding: Illya dual-wields Ruby and Sapphire as an Eleventh Hour Super Power at the end of ''2wei!.
  • Dynamic Entry: Illya seems to be fond of these at the ends of arcs.
  • Easy Amnesia: Tanaka is introduced with amnesia.
  • Empathic Weapon: Kaleido Ruby and Kaleido Sapphire are the Laurel And Hardy of Magical Girl weapons.
  • Equivalent Exchange: It's the Nasuverse, what were you expecting? Seems to be averted with the Kaleidostick wielders, however.
    • Possibly justified, in that the Kaleidosticks supplies its prana via Second Magic.
    • Rin actually ends up expending most of her jewels, and is forced to take a job... As Luvia's maid.
  • Erotic Dream: Illya has one about Shirou which leads to her kissing Miyu while she's still half-asleep. And then just digging herself in deeper.
    Illya: So-so-so-sorry, Miyu! I mistook you for my brothe... I-I mean not that I...! It's nothing like that! It was a dream! Do-ri-mu!
  • Everyone Is Related: One page indicates that Miyu, Rin and Luvia know who Shirou is (even though they didn't know Illya.) And he looks like Miyu's brothernote .
  • Evil Twin: Chloe from the second series, a dark-skinned version of Illya with Archer's powers representing Illya's suppressed identity as a Mage / Grail conduit. At first Chloe tries to kill Illya in order to replace her, only to move in as Illya's "cousin" after being defeated and develop a friendly Sibling Rivalry with Illya instead.
  • Expy: Numerous characters in Prisma Illya are based on people in other Nasuverse works.
  • Fanservice:
    • Some Barbie Doll Anatomy and extremely magical skirts in the first season, and more in the second, of both the girls and Rin and Luviagelita.
    • Invoked and exaggerated in the anime specials. The first starts with Rin and Illya in School Sport Uniforms like in the Tiger Dojo and just rolls from there.
    • The anime swings back and forth with this trope, especially compared to the manga. Specific scenes have more detail, like the Transformation Sequences, the bath scenes, or whenever Chloe is kissing someone, but other than those the Fanservice is typically toned down.
  • Field of Blades: One is associated with the Archer Card, and it appears once in the anime and multiple times in the manga. 3rei reveals that it is Unlimited Blade Works, Heroic Spirit EMIYA's reality marble and the source of his Projection abilities. Miyu's brother develops the ability to invoke it through prolonged exposure to his own Card.
  • Foreshadowing: Miyu gives Sapphire a basic explanation of how she installed the Saber Card by bringing up terms like the Throne of Heroes and pseudo-summoning. The problem? In 2wei, Rin and Luvia have no idea what the Holy Grail War is, meaning they couldn't have told her. She has this knowledge because she's her universe's equivalent of the Holy Grail.
    • Furthermore, when Irisviel mentions the Holy Grail War to Chloe and Illya, only Miyu gives a surprised reaction. In contrast, Illya is properly confused and Chloe is indifferent to it. It takes until 3rei for this to get a proper explanation.
    • Illya mentions how it's strange that Miyu's never been in the beach water despite living near the sea. In the anime, Miyu has an immediate reaction to the response before giving a short summary of her past. 3rei reveals that she was lying. Shirou is her older brother, and after Kiritsugu died, he raised her alone until she was taken away by Julian.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Bazett's fighting style.
  • Genre Savvy: Illya spent her entire life watching Magical Girl animes, and it shows.
  • Genre Shift: A slight one happens in 2wei, halting the Gotta Kill Them All Card collection in favor of Slice of Life and some exploration on Illya's backstory. Then the story takes a massive turn in 3rei where the tone becomes much darker, the Slice of Life is toned down significantly, and the Card collection plot disappears entirely. The Magical Girl elements are retained, but only as a means to an end, rather than the focus of the story.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The characters have to assemble the Class Cards.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The Class Cards have been manifested as Heroic Spirits, meaning they'll have to be killed before they can be retrieved.
  • Gratuitous German: Rin & Luvia's spells. Also, Illya's attack callouts.
  • Hollywood Healing: Justified. The Magical Girls have a Healing Factor. However, after her fight with Gilgamesh, Ruby notes that Illya has severe internal damage from using her Zwei form and disallows her from using it again.
    • As noted by Illya, Tanaka is spotless after her beatdown. This is a minor plot point.
    • Averted for other characters. Bazett is still covered in bandages after fighting Gilgamesh and explains that she's using a rune to heal herself. Shirou's injuries are magically healed by Rin, but a large scar across his stomach remains. In the flashback arc, Shirou's injuries persist between chapters.
  • Iconic Outfit: Installs grant outfits that are similar to those of the associated Heroic Spirit.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Deconstructed. Illya has a few moments of this, particularly after the powers sealed inside her start acting up. This infuriates Chloe, who represents all the parts of Illya that aren't normal. Illya realizes this is a slap in the face to Miyu as well, who only knows Illya because they both became Magical Girls.
    • Miyu herself is someone for whom her brother wished this, since at that point she was too broken to wish for it.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Chloe needs to be regularly supplied with mana in order to keep from disappearing, and this is essentially her attitude when she explains to Illya that the two of them are the most compatible for the process. Also see Intimate Healing below.
  • Imagine Spot: Luvia has one of those when Irisviel invites she, Rin and Miyu to spend some days at the Emiya household since the Edelfelt mansion was destroyed by Bazzet. Her line of thought involves sleeping together with Shirou, having a baby and marrying him.
    • Shirou has one about being married to Sakura after she offers to abandon everything with him.
  • Improbable Age: Deconstructed. Illya is ten when she becomes a Magical Girl. However, she does not have the mentality of a Magus like Rin and Luvia. She gets nearly killed multiple times and she's absolutely terrified like a normal girl would be.
    • In 2wei, even Bazett disapproves and calls out Rin on it.
    • In 3rei, Rin reflects on this fact.
    Rin: Looking back on it all, I can't believe I let a kid go through those terrible things. She had to fight, she got hurt, and she lost her way...
  • In Spite of a Nail: A lot events from Fate/stay night still end up happening despite Fate/Zero having been avoided in this timeline.
    • Shirou was still orphaned and got adopted by Kiritsugu.
    • A grail ritual of sorts still ends up happening in Fuyuki City, with the same seven Servants from Fate/stay night and even Wild Card Gilgamesh being summoned.
    • Sakura is still a Matou, though it's not specified whether by blood or adoption.
  • Intimate Healing:
    • Chloe mana-drains Miyu by kissing her. She's not hurt, but the fatigue plus embarrassment causes her to collapse.
      Chloe: Thanks for the treat!
    • She then proceeds to do this to Illya's four friends and her teacher, but becomes particularly fixated on Illya herself.
    • The "other way" from Fate/stay night still exists, as Illya learns when she asks if there's any other methods.
  • Invisible to Normals: Averted. When some of the girls from school first see Illya transformed, they recognize her instantly and assume she's doing some bizarre cosplay. Of course, they might have been somewhat distracted by the fact there were two of her...
    • In 3rei, the castle of Ainsworth is invisible to anyone not in its close vicinity.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A side-effect of Illya's Genre Savvy is that when she spots Magical Girl tropes at work, she tends to point them out. The biggest example, of course, would be Miyu's New Transfer Student status.
    Rin: Emiya-kun is one of those people you put in the 'natural disaster' class. I mean, why does he drag us with him every time he randomly trips? What's up with him? Is he some kind of hero from an h-game or what?
  • Let's Get Dangerous: When Ruby and Sapphire grant "guest" access to Rin and Luvia when they're up against Saber Alter. One would never believe that Magical Girls could be so Badass.
  • Lighter and Softer: Fate/stay night is a visual novel where the main characters are constantly hunted in a dramatic Mêlée à Trois, putting their lives at stake. This manga, however, is light-hearted and focusing on magical girl antics. Illya is a healthy young girl with a normal lifespan, is enjoying herself immensely when she's not running for her life, and her and Shirou's parents are alive.
    • The second "season" called 2wei is mostly the same, being full of light-hearted moments, even though there are some more serious elements like Chloe's existence, Bazett's appearance, and the fight against the 8th card.
    • The third "season" called 3rei is much more serious. There are still a few comedic elements, especially in the Omake, but between Miyu being held captive by Ainsworths, Miyu's brother being held captive by her captives, and Illya's party being trapped in a Crapsack World, it is debatable whether this trope still applies.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted, although Rin and Luviagelita tend to wear outfits of the same style as their standard outfits in the visual novels (Luviagelita wears frilly things, Rin tends to show off the Zettai Ryouiki in most of her outfits).
  • Literal Split Personality: Chloe was born from Illya's memories up until she was 8 months old, having already gained the ability to understand communication and knowledge. The memories were sealed so that Illya could have a normal life.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Rho Aias. Used by Illya to stop one of Saber Alter's Excaliblasts.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The star in PRISMAILLYA.
  • MST3K Mantra: invoked In-Universe by Illya, when showing Miyu anime as she tries to teach her to ignore the science of things so she can fly.
    Illya: Well, it is anime, so you shouldn't think too hard about it...
  • Magic Skirt: The first season doesn't have Panty Shots or other Fanservice that's unrelated to Magical Girl antics. The second season does, to make it more obvious that Prisma Illya is a Seinen series.
  • Make a Wish: The Grail conduit's power. The solution to a Wish Maker who wants to be normal? Wish to be normal!
    • The result of that wish was appearance of Chloe.
  • Mega Manning: Illya and Miyu can utilize the powers of heroic spirits via Include and Installing after they defeat them and obtain their cards.
  • Mundane Utility: As the Blu-Ray exclusive OVA shows, magical girl transformations can be used for other things — like dancing. Specifically Miyu uses Sapphire to dance more naturally during her class' turn in the Sports Festival. Oh, and it adds sparkles to her routine too.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Mages have the same limitations that they do in the rest of the Nasu Verse. Magical Girls aren't as restricted; they're not quite Sorcerers, but they can easily perform feats that would cripple or kill an ordinary magus, with the catch being they require the approval of their Empathic Weapon. And then there's whatever is sealed inside Illya; the limits aren't yet apparent, but it's shown the ability to crush Epic Spirits with relative ease, her Magical Girl status seems to be waking it up, and she's not happy.
    • The Installs overwrite Illya and Miyu's Magical Girl trances, turning Ruby and Sapphire into a part of it. The Gilgamesh Install pushes out Sapphire entirely.
  • Mysterious Past: There is... something sealed inside Illya, that her maids know about. A vast power that goes way beyond "Magical Girl" and that the recent nonsense seems to be waking up. When she remembers pieces about it, she tries to go back to forgetting.
    • Miyu also is a "something." It's mentioned that she required an Undead Tax Exemption; and like Illya; she can manifest cards within herself. Kaleido Ruby comments that if Miyu had used her true power in their initial sparring, Illya would have been creamed. It then asks if Illya knows just what Miyu is. In 3rei it is revealed that she's the Holy Grail of her world and Shirou's younger sister.
  • Mythology Gag: Several Nasuverse gags pop up. A few of the more prominent:
    • Rin starts out with the class card for Archer, her Servant from the game. Her rival, Luvia, starts out with Lancer's, Archer's most common rival.
    • Rin and Illya inverting the famous 'Are you my master?' scene, with the standing figure ordering the sitting one to be her slave.
    • Rider is the first Servant to be defeated on-screen. As usual.
    • The "I will (strike-through kill you) go home" from Rin's letter.
    • The "Liner" in Kaleid Liner Prisma is a reference to a race of evolved human beings in TYPE-MOON's Angel Notes. The entire premise of the alternate universe in 3rei is based on Angel Notes' setting becoming a reality.
    • Stella puts on her Fate/stay night outfit after being jealous of Miyu's own maid uniform.
    • Caren Ortensia from Fate/hollow ataraxia is the nurse at Illya's school, and even uses her "Cloth of Magdala" on occasion.
    • Zelretch is serving as the master of Rin and Luvia, while Lord El-Melloi II is acting as his assistant.
    • The song "Emiya" plays when Illya installs the Archer Card.
    • The relationship between Chloe and Illya mirrors that of Shirou and Archer in the "Unlimited Blade Works" route of Fate/stay night, with the homoerotic/self-cest subtext cranked up to eleven.
    • The Curse Slave mark used on Chloe is basically Rin's command seal contract with Archer
    • The Saber Install chant is the same one that is used for the Servant Summoning Ritual of the Holy Grail War.
    • Chloe's goes through the seven steps of Projection from Fate/stay night.
    "Appraise the conceptual production, imagine its fundamental essentials, replicate its material composition, imitate the techniques for its creation, sympathize with the experience of its growth, recreate its accumulated years, surpass all of its manufacturing."
    • When we see Illya accidentally grabbing kid Gilgamesh's dick, his pelvic region is illuminated, just like his adult self in Fate/Extra CCC (obviously partly for censorship reasons).
    • Illya's Zwei form increases her power by using her nerves, along with other organs just as Shirou originally used his organs / nerves to power his Reinforcement ability in Fate/stay night.
    • In 3rei, Illya with the Lancer and Chloe with her archer abilities recreate the Lancer vs Archer fight Shirou witnesses early in Fate/stay night.
    • The Mapo Tofu ramen shop owner in 3rei is Kotomine Kirei from Fate/stay night.
    • Darius repeats some Melty Blood rants about stage plays.
    • Ruby and Sapphire have the same mannerisms and voice actresses as Kohaku and Hisui from the Tsukihime series.
    • In 3rei, Shirou combats Angelica, the wielder of the Gilgamesh Install by countering her sword bullets with Projected copies. In an effort to end the battle quickly, he even attempts to invoke Unlimited Blade Works.
    • Shirou hijacks the monologue and narrates his combat tactics in detail, much like in Fate/stay night.
    • To heal a fatally wounded Shirou, Rin uses a pendant. It's the same pendant she uses in Fate/stay night to heal that Shirou.
    • The fight between Shirou and Shinji plays out very similarly to the prologue in Fate/stay night, ending with Shirou summoning the Archer Card in his shed.
    • Shirou's Archer Install is a combination of his different incarnations from other Fate works.
    • Saber's appearance in 3rei is based off of King Arthur's Fate/Prototype design.
    • The Archer versus Saber fight in the same chapter. Shirou manages to cut off one of Saber's arms, forcing him to fire Excalibur with one hand and allowing Shirou to sidestep it. In Fate/Zero, Saber needs both arms to properly use Excalibur.
    • Miyu's brother gives her a short speech about how an older brother protects his younger sibling before leaving to end the Fifth Holy Grail War.
    • The battle between Miyu's brother and Angelica plays out like the fight between Shirou and Gilgamesh in Unlimited Blade Works, with Shirou countering Angelica's Storm of Blades with his own before invoking his reality marble.
  • The Needs of the Many: The Ainsworth family is willing to sacrifice one girl, Miyu, to save the human race from extinction. On the other hand, Shirou and Chloe have chosen to forsake humanity in order to rescue her. When asked, Illya decides that she wants to save everyone.
    • It's implied by Chloe that Kiritsugu abandoned his beliefs of saving the many at the cost of the few in order to save his family.
  • New Transfer Student:
    • Miyu transfers into Illya's school immediately after her mysterious appearance at the beginning of the first series. This is immediately lampshaded by both Illya and Ruby.
    • Chloe von Einzbern / Dark Illya transfers in after her initial defeat.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Luvia has one and it drives Rin nuts.
  • Nosebleed: Magical Ruby uses this to collect blood from Illya to form their contract in the first chapter of the manga.
  • Not So Different: Chloe tries to convince Miyu of this, regarding both their origins and their place in a "normal life."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Irisviel very clearly knows more about her daughter's situation than Illya herself does, yet when asked about it will only smile innocently and pretend she doesn't understand the question. Even when she was giving lengthy discussions on the subject not five seconds earlier.
  • Oh Crap!: In 2wei, the magical girls give a collective one when Gilgamesh brings out Ea. In fact, this is pretty much the default reaction to Gilgamesh doing anything.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the epilogue of the first season, Luvia makes off with Rin's cards. The epilogue chapter ends with a Sequel Hook—Rin caught up to Luvia and beat the crap out of her, reclaiming all of the cards, but is forced to remain in Japan for fighting.
  • Outside-Context Villain: The Holy Grail Participants from Miyu's Alternate Universe.
  • Painting the Medium: The second season begins with the girls wondering why their outfits have changed, and the only explanation given is something along the lines of 'because a new storyline started'.
  • Panty Shot: Loads in the second season, although it's not the focus of the manga.
  • Parody Sue: Miyu Edelfelt is one of these at first appearance. She is hilariously good at everything in school; confusing the teachers with her advanced mathematics, creating breathtaking masterpieces in art class, and cooking elaborate feasts in Home Ec using only a single frying pan. Getting a time of 6.9 seconds in 50 meter dash is also impressive for someone her age.
    • In 3rei, it is revealed that she isn't as perfect as she appeared to be, courtesy of psychological issues—whatever was done to her before her brother managed to send her to Illya's world made her into an ace, but left her really broken and unable to dream. Still doesn't explain her inhuman cooking skills, but that one might be running in the family.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Whenever Chloe kisses someone (to restore her mana), it usually ends with them in this state due to the intensity of the long, deep kiss. After Miyu's first time, she actually passed out, and Mimi wasn't much better:
    Kiss-Dazed Mimi: So many pansies...
  • Power Copying: The cards provide the user with a specific Noble Phantasm when included in the Kaleidosticks. Installing them into oneself allows the user to gain a fraction of the Heroic Spirit's power and abilities by overwriting one's own existence at the cost of being unable to use the Kaleidostick's powers.
  • Powers in the First Episode: Wether the first chapter or first episode, Illya gains Magical Girl powers by forming a contract with Kaleido Ruby. This also tells the readers/viewers that this story is a lot different than the original VN.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The Assassin Install is actually weaker than Illya's standard Prism form. This gets lampshaded by Chloe, and acknowledged by Illya, before switching back.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime adaptation avoids or outright cuts out any reference to Illya a Grail conduit from the supporting characters like Sella, Liz, or even her mother Irisviel. In the latter's case, the conversation the two had in the anime was completely given a different context — instead of Iri obliquely telling Illya not to be afraid of her powers, she gives her advice on trying to understand why Miyu acted the way that she did.
    • The 2nd season is an aversion. Mysteries brought up by the first season and left a mystery are explained in episode 6. What was the golden-eyed personality that engaged the Assassin and Saber cards? That was Chloe, Illya's original personality who was sealed by Irisviel and released through the Archer card. How did Illya perform feats like overpowering the Saber Card's Excalibur and detonating a massive amount of mana? It's because Illya/Chloe is a conduit to the cancelled Grail and her bloodline carries a magical background from her mother's side, granting her the mana capacity to perform said-feats.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: As a Magical Girl staple, this - along with a hefty dose of Schoolgirl Lesbians - is obviously in effect:
    • The most obvious pairing are Illya and Miyu, who are Fireforged Friends and share quite an amount of intimate moments.
    • A more down-toned, sort-of Belligerent Sexual Tension relationship is fairly obvious between Luvia and Rin; the two can't stand each other very much but in truth they rely on each other much more than they'd like to admit. Though they obviously don't kiss.
    • Season 2 adds Chloe, who is a lot more open about everything, making the relationship between Illya and Miyu a lot more complicated. The fact she randomly walks around kissing everyone she meets (which somehow are only girls), and tries to force herself on both Illya and Miyu pretty much confirms this trope. After all, Girl On Girl is Cute.
  • Rummage Fail: In 3rei, Gilgamesh attempts to withdraw Vimana from the Gate of Babylon, but is unable to find it (his treasury having been split in two and divided between himself and Angelica). He casually tosses out a number of legendary treasures while rummaging around for something that might be useful in the situation.
  • Scenery Porn: So, so, so much in the anime.
  • Schmuck Bait: While looking at job ads, Rin gets a little too blinded by one position's absurd pay rate to notice that the job requirements are so specific that really only she could possibly fill them. Congratulations, Rin-san... you are now Luvia's personal maid.
  • Schrödinger's Cat: Illya's parents Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel von Einzbern are both alive in this continuity, while both have been long dead in the original Fate/stay night and only appeared in person in the prequel.
  • Screw Yourself: Being partially Archer, Chloe's feelings toward Shirou are technically this, while also being a case of Brother-Sister Incest. And then in 3rei, Chloe and Illya are getting too chummy...
  • Serious Business: Illya vs. Chloe in an epic, life-or-death, magically powered... game of dodgeball.
    • Sella gets really intense about weight loss.
    • And now 2wei Chapter 12 brings us Epic Cake-baking.
    • Epic food judging too.
      Shirou: I can't tell a lie about cooking!
  • Sequel Hook: The anime has one. In Episode 10, Bazett walks through an airport after the credits end. 2wei Herz has one as well, showing Angelica and Beatrice arriving in Illya's world.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yeah, it's safe to say that Ruby just maybe ships Shirou/Illya.
  • Shout-Out: To a lot of Fate/stay night doujinshi. Such as "Sword Dancers" (aka "Archerko") and "Unlimited Maid Works".
    • Take a look at the 'wild dogs' in this image. One of them in particular...
    • At one point, Kaleido Ruby suggests they 'explore' an alternate dimension by 'reducing it to nothing with a 'Lyrical Grade' magical blast'.
    • The way that Illya solves the issue that same chapter is probably a Nanoha reference as well: As she proceeds to kill all of True Assassin's incarnations at once, as mentioned above, with a Nanoha-style 'level everything at once' blast. Starlight Breaker on steroids.
    • In Episode 10 of anime, Illya uses Nanoha's "Zenryoku Zenkai!"note  Catch Phrase when firing a point-blank mana blast at the Berserker Class Card.
      • In Chapter 9.5, Karen-sensei is showing putting sugar into green tea. Six of them. At least unlike Lindy, she didn't put milk in it...
    • The wands seem awfully familiar as well, especially when they're trying to combine them with cards.
    • The crossover with Nanoha features Ruby using a scouter to measure, basically, Illya's tendency to freak out over cute stuff.
      • Another chapter in a flashback shows Rin and Luvia at the end of the one of their spats...and Shirou laying in a crater in a very familiar pose one of the Z-fighters did after being blown up.
    • Illya can probably sympathize with Touma after this scene.
    • "Teach us, Mama Iris!" corner
    • One of Mimi's fujoshi fantasies in episode 3 of 2Wei Herz involves Kotomine and Kiritsugu, a nod to Fate/Zero's astounding popularity with BL fans (Kotomine/Kiritsugu being an especially popular ship).
  • Shown Their Work: The series is chock full of references to Type-Moon mythology, but there are some notable examples.
    • Miyu can kill Berserker twice with Gae Bolg because its reverse causality strike and its usage as a projectile are considered to be two different attacks with their own ranks.
    • Miyu's world dying follows one of Nasu's older works, Angel Notes.
    • Illya's Saber Install is based off of Saber Lily.
    • Chloe and Illya's Rho Aias have four petals while Miyu's brother's has seven petals. In Fate/stay night, only Archer's Rho Aias has seven petals while Shirou's has four, following along with the fact that Miyu's brother is approaching the former's level.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: So Miyu has a mental block against flight that she really needs to get over. What's the most sensible way to go about it? Well, if you're Luvia, the obvious answer is 'throw her out of a moving helicopter'! It fails completely, and only Sapphire's protection saves Miyu from the impact.
  • Skinship Grope: Pops up a few times, including one awkward example wherein Illya gets felt up in the bath by her mother.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted. The major enemies of each arc vary widely in their power scale and morality. The 7 Cards are feral and vary wildly in strength, Bazett is neutral and about on-par with the Cards, Card!Gilgamesh is insanely powerful, but lacks higher judgement beyond his instincts to pursue the grail. The Ainsworths are the closest that an antagonist in the series gets to evil, but they're below Card!Gilgamesh on the power scale and their actions are to save humanity.
  • The Spock: Miyu's weakness, a lack of imagination in a world where this powers up your magic.
  • Spoiler Opening: The anime opening shows the Cards being used in battle.
    • 2wei shows the fight between Miyu and Chloe, as well as the battle with Bazett.
    • In 2wei Herz, the opening shows the fight with Gilgamesh and Miyu's brother.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Inverted with Sella in the first episode. She actually wants Shirou to leave the housework to her so that he can be a better big-brother example to Illya. You could say that she wants him out of the kitchen.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: A favorite of August, Luvia's loyal butler.
  • Storming the Castle: The plot of 3rei. Challenging the Masters of Miyu's Alternate Dimension to save her. She's held in an actual castle there.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: The series itself acknowledges this regarding Miyu for Illya.
    • Illya's classmates note with dismay that Illya is the only person Miyu is 'dere' for. "You unlocked the Miyu route!"
  • Synchronization: Rin has a curse that will kill one target of the magecraft if the other target dies. She eventually uses this to make Chloe / "Dark Illya" stop trying to kill Illya, And later on Bazett to force the battle mage into a draw.
  • Take a Third Option: When Illya is forced to choose between Miyu or the world, she chooses neither. Instead, she seeks to find a solution where everybody can be happy.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Rin and Luvia despise each other,note  but they are thoroughly competent when they actually manage to put aside their differences and work together. And so, they continue to bitch at each other while dealing with it.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: During Zwei Herz's final battle of Zwei-Form Illya and company versus Gilgamesh-Alter, Zwei Herz's opening Wonder Stella kicks in when the others pitch in to help Illya take on the monstrous enemy.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Chloe is unmistakingly the seductress, Miyu is a stoic, smart wife and Illya is a bright child.
  • Third-Person Person: Tanaka is Tanaka!
  • Tsundere:
    • Alternate universe or not, Rin is still Rin. And to make things worse, Illya is almost completely incapable of bringing out her deredere side.
    • And Sella, although she seems to reserve her 'dere' for Illya exclusively. Poor Shirou in particular gets an almost unending stream of hostility.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action:
    • Averted by Illya in Season 1 Episode 2. Her transformation seems to work in real-time as seen from Rin's perspective, including the music and light show.
      Illya: I'm back.
      Rin: Why did you bother hiding yourself?
      Illya: Because it's embarrassing.
    • Played straight in Season 1 Episode 6 when Illya installs the Archer Card. Saber has both Sword Beams and Lightning Bruiser fighting skills, but makes no attempt to use either despite having ample time to stop Illya.
    • Downplayed Trope in Season 1 Episode 9. Berserker rushes forward to attack Miyu while she's priming her Saber install, but she finishes just in time to block his attack.
    • Averted in Season 2 Episode 1. Rin and Luvia can be heard struggling in the bog while Illya and Miyu complete their transformations, and Rin also lampshades how they should skip the Transformation Sequence entirely.
  • Transformation Sequence: Averted in the manga, where the magical girl transformations are more or less instantaneous. Hilariously played straight in the anime. Illya even acknowledges how embarrassing it is.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Kaleidosticks allow its users to transform into magical girls. The Class Cards serve a similar function when installed, granting the user access to the powers of the Heroic Spirit it is based off of. They play a much larger role in 3rei, taking the place of Servants in the Ainsworth Holy Grail War.
  • Truce Zone: The gang encounters Bazett during the Beach Episode, who is working off the damage she did during their fight as an iced treat vendor.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Luvia cooks one of these up for Chloe when her presence is revealed to the rest of Illya's school. Interestingly enough, Luvia comments that they had done the same thing for Miyu...
  • Undying Loyalty: Miyu is loyal to Illya period.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: Illya forcibly rips Kid Gilgamesh out of the dark mass with her hand in a very awkward place. She immediately opens fire, which Gil lampshades noting that he should be the one screaming.
  • Unwanted Harem: Shirou has a lot of girls after him, despite not being the main character, including: Illya, Chloe, Rin, Luvia, Miyu, Sakura, Issei, and Nanaki's older sister Nanami.
  • Visual Pun: When Mimi watches Illya kiss Chloe in Chapter 17 of 2wei, the scene switches to a bouquet of lilies (i.e. yuri) that their other classmates were discussing.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The 'Archer' Class Card, when equipped to one of the Kaleidosticks, gives the wielder a bow... or rather, it gives them only a bow, without providing any, y'know, arrows. Illya is not amused to discover this. Eventually subverted when she uses it by directly integrating it into her own body instead of into Ruby. The result gives her complete access to Archer's projection magic, a ''much'' more worthwhile ability.
  • World of Badass: The alternate universe Miyuverse in 3rei. There, not only is series Butt Monkey Shirou is if possible even more deadly than his canon self, but even franchise-wide loser Matou Shinji is a legitimately deadly threat.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Three months after Miyu is kidnapped and hitting his emotional low point, Shirou gets confessed to by Sakura. In the very next chapter, she gets killed trying to protect him from Shinji. Later gets manipulated by Julian to use against Shirou in case he attempts to take Miyu back or ruin his plans.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Illya's friend Suzuka and her sister. They eventually got Mimi addicted to it.
  • Yuri Fan: Corrupted Mimi believes boys should love boys and girls should love girls.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Manga/FateKaleidLinerPrismaIllya