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Anime Movie Review: "Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya: Vow in the Snow" (2017)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Official Blu-Ray art for U.S. blu-ray release.

Official Blu-Ray art for U.S. blu-ray release.

Quick Info

  • Director: Shin Oonuma
  • Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Release: July 14th, 2020
  • Availability: On Blu-Ray and streaming exclusively on HiDive with a subscription

Story Summary

In an alternate timeline to the main Fate/Stay Night series, Shirou and Kiritsugu Emiya go to the city of Fuyuki to investigate the Sakatsuki Clan and the mysterious holy children in the clan that has the power to grant wishes. They end up rescuing Miyu Sakatsuki. Kiritsugu intends to use Miyu's power to save the world.

The Story Is Amazing

This may come as a surprise for some fans of the Fate franchise since Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is known for its excessive fanservice involving underage girls. That is an aspect that some people can't ignore. When it comes to the main series, it definitely isn’t for everyone.

This story doesn’t have any of the fanservice that makes Fate/Kalied Liner Prisma Illya an awkward watch. This film only has a single instance of fanservice, and it primarily focuses on this world's version of Shirou Emiya.

The story is well written and was very entertaining to watch. It has the depth of the mainline Fate narrative and it smoothly integrates Miyu from Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya.

Prisma Illya is known for it's use of loli fanservice and fortunately, it's absent from the "Vow in the Snow" movie.

Prisma Illya is known for it's use of loli fanservice and fortunately, it's absent from the "Vow in the Snow" movie.

The Character Interactions Are Fantastic

I love the character interactions in this movie. The Fate franchise is known for its interesting and entertaining character interactions.

I enjoyed seeing Shirou and Miyu interact with each other as adopted siblings. When you look at Shirou, you don’t think that he’d be the type to be a big brother, but the writing for his character makes it feel natural for him to be Miyu’s adopted sibling.

There is also the new character of Julian, who is Issei Riyuudo’s replacement. He’s also an interesting character and his interactions with Shirou have a different vibe than when Shirou interacts with Issei.

Julian gets more development in the main Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya series, but I won’t spoil those details for you.

Sakura Matou is also part of this movie and her interactions with Shirou are very sweet and endearing. It makes her fate all the more impactful. I really enjoyed her presence in this film.

"Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya: Vow in the Snow" (Official Trailer)

The Animation Looks Amazing!

SilverLink is the animation company that worked on the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime series; they were behind this film as well. The art style in the series looks really great. It looks even better than the main series.

The art style for the movie did fix the weird character design that Shirou had in the main Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime. His design looks like his normal one in the main Fate/Stay Night anime. That’s a nice change compared to his design in the main spinoff series.

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The fight scenes also look amazing, especially in the art style Silver Link used. Sure, it’s not as over-the-top and bombastic as Ufotable’s Fate/Stay Night: Heavens Feel movie trilogy, but I was really invested in the fights and I enjoyed watching them. The fights looked unique and they were very well done in this movie.

The backgrounds are also very beautiful. I enjoyed the way Silver Link used color in this movie, drawing attention to certain things by highlighting them with certain color schemes.

Overall, the animation is great and is a vast improvement over the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime. This movie is visually stunning in its own way, which helps make this a memorable entry in the Fate franchise.

The Soundtrack Is Fantastic

Tatsuya Katō and TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND both worked on the soundtrack for this film. The music is very well done and I loved the soundtrack for this film.

One of the best tracks used in the film is the unique rendition of the “EMIYA” theme or Shirou’s main theme that has been used in the main Fate/Stay Night anime adaptations. It is the most unique version of the theme because it starts off with the familiar leitmotif and changes into its own unique song. It’s one of the most outstanding music tracks here and it plays at a very pivotal moment in the film.

The opening theme is "kaleidoscope" by ChouCho, who has done all the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime openings. The ending theme is "Usubeni no Tsuki" (薄紅の月; The Thin Crimson Moon) by ChouCho. She did an amazing job with these songs and I enjoyed hearing them in this movie.

I loved the soundtrack and it’s one of my favorite soundtracks for the Fate franchise.

Fate Kaleid Movie Ost - Emiya

The Japanese Dub Hit It Out of the Park

Shirou Emiya

The Japanese dub is amazing. It delivered a very emotional and moving experience. This is impressive since Shirou's appearances in Fate/Kaleid Liner: Prisma Illya typically result in him being the butt of many jokes while being the target of Illya's romantic interest.

In this film, Shirou is similar in characterization to what we have seen at the beginning of all the Fate/Stay Night stories; he is idealistic and optimistic. His character goes through such a drastic change that it has to be written well enough to be believable. He also needed to have a voice actor skilled enough for us to feel everything Shirou’s going through. Noriaki Sugiyama delivers in his vocal performance for this movie.

Shirou goes through events that his character never had to experience in all three Fate/Stay Night routes, and for all the awful things that happen to Shirou in this story,. Sugiyama puts so much emotion into this role that you feel all of Shirou’s emotions. It is a fantastic voice-acting performance.

Miyu Sakatsuki

Miyu Sakatsuki is voiced by Kaori Nazuka and she’s amazing. I have watched the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime and she’s done an excellent job in her role.

It’s nice to see a different side of this character that we don’t see in the anime. Her relationship with Shirou is adorable and I love it a lot. Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of screen time for both of them.

Julian Ainsworth

Natsuki Hanae is a great choice to voice Julian Ainsworth. His character is similar yet different from Issei Ryouudou, Shirou’s friend and student council president in the main Fate/Stay Night timeline. He’s a very interesting character and Natsuki did a fantastic job voicing him.

Sakura Matou

Sakura Matou is voiced by Noriko Shitaya and she did a great job. She’s been doing a fantastic job voicing Sakura Matou in the Heavens Feel movie trilogy and she did an amazing job in this movie.

Overall, there is a great voice cast that did a fantastic job in their roles for characters both old and new. The movie is amazing because of all their hard work.


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Fan Complaints About the Translation

I have seen fans complain about the translation of the subtitles because it’s not a literal translation of the Japanese dialogue. Some people have whined because, during Shirou’s “Unlimited Blade Works” chant, the translator didn’t directly translate part of the chant that mentions “glass.” Please keep in mind that the official translations do have to be approved by the creators. Since they didn’t mind that the subtitles were not a literal translation, we should not label this film as having a bad translation.

I did watch clips of the fansub translation of this film and it always felt very flowery to me. The official sub is more straightforward and has less purple prose when it comes to the wording of the translation. If you compare the writing of the fansub and the official sub, the latter has better writing.

Although some of the dialogue did seem weird while I was reading it, it was still an excellent translation that I was able to understand. The fan translations of the stories from the Nasuverse are usually wordy and flowery.

All the official subs tend to have superior grammar structure for the most part. Out of all the Fate memes that fans use, only two are from the official translations of the anime. The first and most notorious one was actually from a fansub that did a literal translation of the dialogue; it was not in the official Geneon English translation of the Fate/Stay Night script.

There is still some wording that is kind of odd, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me.

The Film Has Uneven Pacing

This movie does have strange pacing issues that will bother some people, though it personally doesn't bother me. It does feel like the second half of the movie quickens the pace to a breakneck speed.

It does feel a little too fast. However, the movie is extremely faithful to the source manga, so I can’t complain too much when they didn’t really expand the fights shown onscreen.

I do wish the pacing wasn’t so uneven, but it’s not that a dealbreaker for me.


I Highly Recommend This Film!

Fate is one of my favorite franchises, so I enjoy watching anime and movies in the series. Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya: The Vow in the Snow is a movie that I love a lot. It’s also a great movie that you can enjoy without having watched the main Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime. It can be watched as a standalone film because it’s a prequel to the anime series.

It is one of the few entries that you can pick up and watch because the lore is easily explained. Since it’s set in an alternate universe, you don't need prior knowledge of Fate/Stay Night to enjoy the film.

Fate/ Kalleid Liner Prisma Illya: The Vow in the Snow is a wonderful experience. This movie has so much of what I enjoy about the franchise. I like how it doesn't have any of the awkward fanservice that deters many Fate fans from watching the series. You can decide if you want to watch the anime series after seeing this movie.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great story, characters, and world-building

The second half of the film is too fast-paced

Beautiful art design and animation

An amazing Japanese dub

The soundtrack is beautiful

My Grade: A+

I love Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya: The Vow in the Snow. It is not a perfect anime movie, but it is one of the few pieces of media in the Fate franchise that I have given an A+ rating.

The story is well done and intense. I love the character interactions, especially for the new characters that are only in Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya. I enjoy the interactions between Shirou and Miyu; they’re very adorable together. The story is engaging and intriguing. This movie is definitely worth your time and money.

This film is emotional, dramatic, and has many great and memorable moments that really stand out. The animation looks good and the art style is beautiful to look at.

The Japanese voice cast did an amazing job and I loved all of their voice performances. Everyone hit it out of the park.

You can stream Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya: The Vow in the Snow on Sentai Filmworks’ website, HiDive, which requires a subscription. You can also purchase the Blu-ray on RightStufAnime or Amazon. The Blu-ray is very inexpensive and only cost me $12.99. It was an excellent purchase.

It is well worth your time and money to purchase this movie since the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya manga isn’t available for purchase outside of Japan with an English translation.

I highly recommend this anime movie even if you haven’t watched the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya anime series. It’s a movie that I enjoyed a lot. It had everything I love about the Fate franchise without Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya's annoying fanservice.

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