First things out of the way: you must familiarize with the first season and at least parts of the Fate universe. The pilot episode of the sequel only briefly recaps the events of the first season and assumes that viewers already have an established knowledge of the series. And indeed, the sequel blasts off with some yuri-undertones. Similar to season 1, the sequel also has a lighthearted mood taking place in an alternate universe of the Fate franchise. The story and premise is fairly straightforward however. In fact, we already know that Illya has captured the class cards that serves as template for servants from Fate/stay night.
So what’s next? The answer to that is a young girl named Kuro. Emerging in the aftermath of the card captures, she becomes a pivotal plot focus in the second season as she is both a hindrance and threat to Illya’s life. But to say the least, she is also a bit mysterious. Taking at first glance, she looks almost identical to Illya except for her more tanned skin. This becomes a reoccurring joke throughout the season as Illya’s classmates, family, and even Shiro confuses between the two. It also becomes a problem as Kuro seemingly dislikes the prevalence of two Illyas. As standard and cliché as it sounds, there is the instance where one tries to get rid of the other for good so they could become the dominant entity. This plays on and off through the course of the first half as Kuro serves as the “evil twin” factor. Although she does have some malevolent intentions, it’s also suggested that she isn’t truly evil but rather wants to establish her presence in their world.
By “presence”, Kuro really does take the cake when it comes to commanding attention. The season has her running around like an ‘evil twin’ causing embarrassment for her classmates. The problem is that others initially believes it is Illya doing the deed. And to do that, the preposterously hyperactive girl mischievously plays the role of a trickster with her mana-draining. Perhaps the more suitable term for this would be ‘kissing’. If you thought season 1 had yuri-undertones, then season 2 will really accelerate that engine. This season’s yuri-tones skyrockets through the roof as Kuro kisses countless characters.
Some are left in a state of shock while others are embarrassed, perhaps scarred for life. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration but point aside, the show makes its point. This is all for a reason as revealed later. However, the show establishes the fact that it takes itself both seriously and not the same time. In this alternate universe, we get magical girls. In the original Fate/Stay Night, there are the servants and the masters. When you think about the two, there’s a big gap when it comes to the mood. Yet, this season somehow is able to communicate the message that Kuro has her significant role. This is justified later on in the season as Kuro is able to put her differences aside as they face an even bigger threat.
The best way to watch, understand, or appreciate Fate/Kaleid isn’t perhaps the story. It’s written in a way that ties in characters together like fate through events. As a sequel, the capturing of the class cards led to the emergence of Kuro. And from that triggered trouble with embarrassing moments at school, magical fights, and a reinforcement of character relationships. This goes back to the point of the show focusing on character relationships similar to season 1. We already know that Miyu and Illya are great friends after coming to understand each other.
For Kuro though, it’s hard to understand her nature considering that she isn’t human or does she have any true friends. That’s all in the beginning anyways since she feels she isn’t being accepted in their world. She seeks acceptance in her own ways while causing collateral damage. Taking for granted, Kuro does seem to want to be normal in a way. Her experiences at school and at home are precious to her as Kuro wants to remember them like a treasure. So in a way, Kuro and Illya are also similar despite their opposite personalities. Rather than being an evil twin, one could interpret Kuro as someone Ilya could familiarize through her role as magical girl.
The battle scenes are attractive for most parts but fall short of the epic category. This is perhaps undermined by the silliness of the show’s gimmicks and yuri shenanigans. Taken that aside, the show’s battle can be fluid and meaningful with an appealing OST. Kuro, wearing a modified version of Archer’s battle outfit, stands out as a warrior. In this realm of magic and normality, you get a balance of the two: the typical school life of Illya and her role as a magical girl. Color me surprised but the show can be unexpectingly charming with its goofiness. However, this also falls apart when it overrides itself with fan service.
While the first season has parts of this, the sequel heavily adapts more of its ecchi fan service such as with the bath scenes and yuri kisses. The diehard comedy over exaggerates itself in untimely manners that can be repetitive and frustrating to watch. To sum it up, Fate/Kaleid’s brainless comedy is like a hammer that hits the nail to a viewer’s patience. The will to enjoy it may feel like a holy shell of the original Fate series. Thankfully though, at least it matches consistency by standards of adaptation. In retrospect though, expectations coming into the show should be more summed as with fun and entertainment. Otherwise, the whole season may feel like a mishmash of inconvenience.
Silver Link adapts the visual qualities. Similarly, there’s not much change when it comes with animation style. Illya’s character design hasn’t matured more than a day while the other characters remain generally the same. Perhaps Kuro is the main attraction with her outfit and similar appearance to Illya; a modified version of Archer with some mischievous eyes and tanned skin. Otherwise, the season is saturated with fan service like pouring ketchup on top of hotdogs. In the end, it ends up being soggy and stale when the flavor overtakes it what tries to set up. Expect controversial camera angles and skin being blown out of the water literally as it tries to “appeal” to the audience. On the other hand, there are some creativeness such as Miya’s battle outfit and other fighting gear/spells.
Soundtrack is decent and comes to serve as a supplement for this adaptation. It’s neither glorifying nor terrible. However, what the soundtrack does is enhance the experience for Fate fans. The modified OST for Kuro’s theme and lighthearted background soundtrack gives its meaning for this spinoff. Some credibility of praise can also be given to the OP and ED songs with their appeals.