It’s no secret I’m a rather large fan of the Fate series, more so that Prisma Illya branch. Because of this, I am no stranger to canon film placed somewhat randomly within a season. Movies that carry on after the completion of a season sometimes segways into another. A good example of this would be the ever so popular Demon Slayer Mugen Train that is blowing up box offices around the world at the moment. The movie follows the ending of season 1 and branches into season 2, in short, any fan of the series kinda has to watch it to keep up. So at the end of season 3 of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya a film, Vow in the Snow was its 2017 follow-up that I just never really got around to watching. Then Winter 2021 came, and the announcement of a new Fate Prisma Illya film forced me to think back to the days id spend binging this series, those fond, fond memories. Anyways then I recalled I never watched Vow in the Snow, so I watched it, and here we are.
Vow in the Snow is the prequel to the overall Illya world. It follows a different timeline in which the main, Emiya Shirou (yeah, you know the one,) an orphan and apprentice of a magus named Emiya, Kiritsugu (sound familiar?). As they search the land for a fated family line with the ability to change the world. Okay, seriously, they are just looking for the fucking holy grail, I don’t know why Type-Moon feels the need to play any of this up, we know, it’s fine. Anyways, so they are searching for this young girl, one they hope, can bring Kiritsugu’s dream come true, the savior of man. A young girl that is none other than, Edelfelt, Miyu. (Edelfelt post her coming to Illya’s world)
So it’s the story of who and how Miyu came to Illya’s world, and in short, it is the most typical Fate way to do so. So after some thought on rather I am going to spoil this movie, I decided I will, since honestly, if you read any of that or understand any Fate lore, you can pretty much piece together what happens.
Finding this girl, Miyu, Kiritsugu starts to study how to use his newfound tool, or if she will even be of any use ever again. Naturally, by this time he isn’t in the best of health and dies shortly after leaving his destiny and wish in the hands of his son, Shirou. Doing his best to keep his, and his new sister’s life together Shirou goes about his day at school, cooking, cleaning, and doing whatever he can to help Miyu. But as time goes on, he starts to feel more and more attached to this so-called ‘too’ that was left in his possession. With no real friends or guiding hand, Shirou finds himself more and more in love with Miyu and his desire to use her to save man kind dwindles as he decided to tell her everything. Where she came from, who she was, and why they took her.
Visiting the shrine in which they found her years ago they have little to no time to get sentimental before they are attacked by Shirou’s kinda school buddy Julian Ainsworth. Who in the most typical way villians himself into kidnapping Shirou’s sister, leaving him in despair. As these things go, Shirou thinks of ways to win his sister back, being approached by (another well-known) figure Kirei Kotomine, who is pretty much like. Bro listen, your sister isn’t actually a sister she is like, a grail, of sorts, and she is in the middle of a war that I only watch but don’t participate in (not how you were in Fate Zero ass hole) And the only way you can win her back is if you win the war. Throw on some plot armor, ya know the vengeance kind. Add the needless death of a classmate that is in love with Shirou, cause why the fuck not, and we are well on our way to the end of this movie!
As far as Fate films go I cannot speak on the main franchise series that go to the theater. But as an overall Fate fan, I can say this was one of the most mid snooze fest movies I have seen in a while. The story is slow and predictable, the characters boring and flat, the plot is literally the same as all the others. The sound was fine, the combat in most cases was short but not particularly pleasing and Shirou’s ascent to power is mostly just of him calling on his own Archer aspect to beat Gilgamesh, which is honestly a meme at this point. A Vow in the Snow is about as much of a C-tier movie anyone will ever find, but it does have a place.
Miyu’s prequel is a literal unknown for most of the series. She has no home, and shows up one day in Illya’s world, offering to help Edelfelt, Luviagelita in exchange for food and a home. She is a literal orphan that fell out of the sky with little to no context that follows her through the show. Honestly, it is easy to forget she is almost an alien aspect as she is so easily accepted into the fold. So what A Vow in the Snow does is paint that backdrop into Miyu’s life, solidifying what we already know (in the show) her purpose as the grail.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Vow in the Snow isn’t a bad movie. But at the same time, it isn’t a good one either. Being the juggernaut that Fate is or the adoration I personally have for this spin-off, the movie is meh. But even with that, it did light that fire of love within me for Prisma Illya and only made me that much more excited for the summer release of the new film.
As always, thanks for the read!