Set 10 years after Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's, Nanoha, Fate, Hayate and the rest of the crew are now working full time in the Time-Space Administration Bureau. Nanoha is a combat instructor, Fate is a special investigator, and Hayate is a commanding officer. They must unite once again to save the dimensions. Introducing new characters as well: Subaru, Teana, Caro and Erio. Stand by. Ready. Set up!
Well here I have arrived at the final season of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. It’s been a nice ride. The final season brings back most of my beloved characters, provides a decent story and action and lets me enjoy grown up versions of Nanoha and Fate. While I did find myself glued to my television watching this there was quite a bit about this series I found extremely disappointing. I will get into that further later, but as a sequel to the Nanoha franchise IMO this series fails. It just doesn’t feel like the originals, it also has a very
overbearing military theme to it that just feels out of place for a Nanoha show. Taken though on its own merits this is a well crafted drama with good action and is fun to watch.
When you compare the story in StrikerS to the first two series then this show comes up short. When I started this series I thought wow they will do something amazing with 26 episodes compared to just 13! Well yes and no. They were able to construct a much larger and grander story than previously. Tons of new villains though without the shocking plot twists. It does however bring you through the entire spectrum of emotions, I cried at times, I laughed at others, and I was frustrated and angry too.
This reason I knock the rating down for this show is well this show is called Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. It’s not called Magic Girls and sometimes Nanoha. There is shockingly little Nanoha in this show, sure she appears a lot has a few lines then vanishes from the screen for 10 minutes to make another couple minute appearance. In addition, characters I find to be important to Nanoha's world completely vanish from her life or are given basically cameo roles. What happened to her friends from her hometown? What happened to her family? Why does Yuuno who it is implied that perhaps a romantic relationship may develop there almost complete absent from her life? And talking Fate.. wtf is Arf? She was a very important figure in Fates life.. oh wait there she is in episode 18 or so? uh why is Arf now a loli? Hello! Story?! Can you please explain why the grown up and buxom fox spirit Arf now looks like she’s 8 years old? Oh you’re not going to explain that huh?
This anime is crushed under its own weight of a further explosion of new characters, most of whom are stupid and useless dead weight. The villains are mostly maddenly annoying and overpowered. Further frustrations include a silly restriction on Nanoha, Fate, Hayete, and her knights’ powers. The thing is, that this didn’t need to be a 26 episode story, it could have been told in 13 episodes just as easily and probably had a lot more effect and suspense. This isn’t because of filler really, almost every episode advances the main plot in some way but episodes feel like they are being stretched out for no reason than so they take up an entire episode. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the final battle which takes up about 7 episodes to complete. The action loses its bite and the drama is lessened because of the constant shifting around to all of the characters battles. This is what I mean about there being just too many characters for the shows own good.
Character wise though I still give this a good rating, despite my disappointment with the lack of beloved characters and too little screen time for Fate and Nanoha. The new Strikers are interesting characters though, particularly Tia and Suburu as they get the most development. As I said before I really loathed the villains and found pretty much none of them to be sympathetic in the least. I spent most of my time watching them hoping the episode would come soon that they were horribly and painfully killed by one of the strikers. The crushing weight of characters as I mentioned doesn’t help this show, and many I felt were just a waste of time and would have preferred their screen time go to Yuuno, Arf or one of the others missing from the series.
Voice acting is good not great though, the mains are all well cast but probably contributing to my disdain of the villain characters was that many of them had voice that grated on my nerves, in particular the evil doctor. The music is pretty good too, the first OP/EN themes are great but the 2nd songs for each are noticeably weaker.
Overall as a Nanoha fan I come away feeling a bit disappointed in this series, but still if you’re a fan this is still a show you’re going to want to watch. It was really nice to see Nanoha and Fate grown up and being adults and having adult problems and relationships. But in doing so something of the charm of that 9 yr old mage is lost. Taken by itself though this is a nice magical action drama with military themes. In that role it does a very good job. I think most people will like this series as I did but still feel let down at the same time.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS indisputably falls under the mahou shoujo (i.e. "magical girl") genre-- heck, the words are even in the title. So it should come as no surprise when I say it's got transformation sequences, mascot animals, and a whole slue of magical girls (one of which is even a pink healing type).
But what should come as a surprise is when I tell you this is a series with awesome, mind-blowing action. The action sequences are great, and never choppy. StrikerS's got the type of action that rouses excitement and gets your adrenaline pumping, not what you'd expect to get
in mahou shoujo.
And perhaps a little background history is in order. The Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise was originally created and geared toward seinen audiences who like their flat-chested loli girls. You can see the franchise succeeded admirably, given the immense popularity Nanoha and Fate (our two original magical girls) enjoy. I've also noticed that really hardcore fans of this franchise tend to prefer the original Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's a lot more than StrikerS; I see this as evidence of StrikerS falling into the opposite end of the mahou shoujo spectrum, setting it apart from its two predecessors. (Besides which, since StrikerS is set ten years after A's, Nanoha and Fate are no longer, ah, flat-chested loli girls.)
StrikerS has a solid and grounded plot. It's well-paced, mixing everyday life with the very hectic nature of our magical girls' (and one "magical boy") job duties quite well. You get to see them on their down time, in actual combat, and what's surpising is, you even get to see them training. You get to see them get bruised, exhausted, have arguments with their team members, and even screw up majorly. With that said, I can't say the plot's extremely original or anything; it's good, but not superb. The characterisation is very good, especially since we can see various characters' vulnerabilities and misgivings. Their motivations are clear as well (maybe not at first, but definitely by the end of the series you know why people do what they do).
Now, for sound. Check the seiyuu list-- you've got a lot of big names there, so you know at the very least the quality meets a certain standard. There are some emotionally-charged scenes, and they're executed very, very well by the seiyuu. The OPs are terribly uplifting and catchy, especially the first one. The EDs are very good, particularly on the basis that they offer suitable music to listen to after an episode, whether it was happy or gut-wrenchingly sad. There's nothing as bad as watching a sad episode and then suddenly having sugary happy music assaulting your ears before you've even had enough time being sad.
I've mostly had good things to say about StrikerS, so needless to say, I enjoyed it very much. I think StrikerS transcends the mahou shoujo genre and is just plainly enough, a series done well. I would recommend this to anyone who just wants to watch a good series and isn't too particular about genres. For people who are allergic to girly mahou shoujo, I would still ask you to keep an open mind and just try out the first episode (which, incidentally, has awesome action and isn't the least bit girly). If you like the first episode, I can almost guarantee you'll like the rest of the series. Those who are looking for romance in StrikerS might be disappointed though, since the only romance I really saw (if any) was subtextual f/f (which is worth watching for, in my opinion, if you're into yuri). So I wouldn't suggest this title to hardcore shoujo romance or harem series viewers.
I think StrikerS is different enough from its predecessors to watch on its own (it is, after all, set ten years after A's), but to truly understand the relationship between Nanoha, Fate, Hayate, and the rest of the older generation, you really have to watch the original series and A's. The first two series are very traditionally mahou shoujo though (but with great animation and vague hints of fanservice, due to its seinen-geared history) so please proceed with caution if you are allergic.
Nanoha StrikerS is set ten years after Nanoha A's. Nanoha, Fate and other characters they've met now work full time for the TSAB. We meet two new characters in the first episode: meet Subaru and Teana. They are mages who have Nanoha as trainer and they're trying to rank up as a mage. It doesn't take long and two new characters appear: Erio and Caro. Nanoha, Fate and Hayate must train these four mages to work together and to save the world from new enemies.
The story is not longer that original if you ask me, but still, Nanoha StrikerS has things that makes
it different than other mahou shoujo. ''What makes it more different than?''. It are the military and the political part of the story which makes the difference, but which also makes it sometimes harder to understand what it is about. Further is there the low amount of love that's in StrikerS. Love is in most of the mahou shoujo a must and yes, I missed it here. But this all isn't a problem if you're fan of mahou shoujo, action and of course fan of the characters that appeared in the previous seasons. The story deserves an fair 7.
The characters are still looking fine, just as the weapons. The battles really show off at the screen : it looks great! Not to forget those unisons.. Just check them out if you're far enough. You'll love them, no matter what. The magic looks awesome, the summons are a bit less, but still cool. I want more transformation scenes! Missed them and they're part of the art too. For the awesome art an 9!
I loved the openings, what else to expect from Nana Mizuki? I liked the endings less, but they were okay. The voices of the characters fitted, but the voice of Arf, who has a really small role, has another seiyu. The voice is too cute for Arf: I prefered the Arf seiyu from the previous seasons. But further is was all okay. An 8 for sound.
Ah, the characters. I really loved them. You get to know the past about a lot of characters and that is one of the most important elements of this anime. Hayate per example, who has it tough, because not of people with who she must work trusts her. The characters are good developed, but I wished that some had more appearances! Despite that, it gets an 9.
I really enjoyed this anime. The moment that a certain character went berserk and simply the emotional fights between characters. The battles are awesome, just as the characters and all the other scenes. The only scenes that were a bit boring were the training scenes, but not all of them... Enjoyment gets an 9!
You must watch StrikerS if you couldn't get enough of the previous seasons. If you dropped at the first season: pick it up again, just as I did! You're going to love StrikerS if you came through the first season and A's.
First up, I'll be honest, the primary reason I went into this show is because I heard it had some "mecha" relations, which is true, it does revolve heavily around cyborgs, and the secondary reason was because I heard that Subaru was a pretty awesome character.
But that being said, I'm not an idiot, I realise that being a "Magical Girl" show, this probably had about as much chance as being /m/ as Dragon Ball Z, so I was willing to give it a shot to see if it was good for its own sake. And cudos to the first two seasons, they were
pretty good. Nothing mind-blowing, but something that even I, despite it being well outside my realm of usual viewing, could watch (and heck, there were even mechs in the first series for a little bit).
But then I got up to this one, the one I actually wanted to watch, and man, it is poor.
Basically, there are no problems with the animation or sound or anything like that, the problem is with the writing. I'll break it down into three categories, 1- the premise of the show, 2- the new characters and 3- the old characters.
I'll start with #1, the premise of the show. First up, the title is abhorrently misleading, despite being called a "magical girl" show, it really isn't. There may be a bit lost in translation here, so I should elaborate, the "girl" in "magical girl" means "young/small/little" girl, so a more appropriate name would be "magical teenager" or "magical practically-an-adult" nanoha. The reason this is somewhat important is because of the themes that are connotated by the genre. Magical girl is all about being cute, gaining new powers and, most overridingly, must revolve around friendship. So much so that it is usually sickening to someone like me, who's not a fan of the genre.
But S1 did this pretty well, sure it was a tad cliche, but Fate and Nanoha's story was one that was watchable, and indeed, it was nothing bad. A's (the second season) was about Hayate, and even though I thought the "poor crippled orphan" plot was a little bit too over-the-top, it was understandable, as there was a good reason that she was a "poor crippled orphan" (explained in the show so I shan't elaborate). Nanoha making friends with them and helping them out was a perfectly good plotline.
But in this regard, what did StrikerS have to offer? None of the antagonists were in any kind of situation where they needed help/friends, bar Lu and Agatio, but both were already getting help/gotten help of their own free will in the series. This means the "friendship" was forced down their throat. I mean Fate having friendship forced down her throat was understandable, considering her circumstances in season 1, but as a gerneral rule, forcing friendship onto someone is just nonsense.
And that's pretty much the problem with this series' premise, it aborts from the themes established in the first two seasons and goes down a completely different track. This might not have been a bad thing, but, as per below, there were some deep writing flaws that turned it into one.
#2 is the most obvious, the new characters. As I already said, there was a good reason Hayate was a crippled orphan in season 2, and Fate in season 1 was the main subject matter, so again, there was a reason to have her in that situation. But what about this one? All the characters (basically) are orphans, with some deep emotional scarring. Why? Well, put simply, it is so that the writers have something to talk about in the numerous incessant personal reflections that go on. I'm all for a bit of backstory, when it is relevant. Entire episodes of nonstop backstory from characters like the helicopter pilot, who, as my description implies, is a completely and utterly minor character, is downright annoying. The only reason I can think that they have so many backstories is because the *actual* story is inadequate. I mean honestly, aside from training, the squad in this series partake in, like, all of three fights (with the last fight being a really long one, admittedly), and the plot is resolved in these three fights. This proves to me that the plot is very, very shallow. Now I wasn't expecting something deep, but good lord, was there really a need to fill the episodes with so much cliche overblown emo crap in the meantime?
This is the second serious complaint. The new characters were, essentially, only there because the plot wasn't interesting enough and the directors had 26 episodes to fill. I can easily see them simply removing half the cast and putting this into a 13 episode anime and it working just as well. The only thing having all these new characters did was to slow down the series to an absolute crawl. The pacing was terrible.
But now onto writing issue #3. The old characters. First up, Hayate didn't really do much in A's, so I can understand why they made her the "main" character and altered her, etc, that's all well and good, its the rest of the cast I have an issue with. Firstly are the "power limiters" they all suddenly got. These were only in there because the plot, which I already explained was stretched thin and needed boosting with new characters, was *so* weak that simply using the recurring characters would end it instantly, so they had to *construct* a reason to use the new cast. What better plot device than weakening the old cast, right? But in the end, what was the point of this? It would have been just as easy to have Nanoha and co. go one way and the others go another. Heck, that is *EXACTLY* what they do anyway. So why bother stripping away the power of the old cast? It was a pointless plot device that served no purpose other than to construct fake drama and pad the series out just a little longer.
Second up is the "overworking" sub-thread that applies to Nanoha. I shan't explain due to spoilers, but basically, there is this whole sub-thread about using too much magic power/effort, etc. Why is this even in there if you already have power limiters? The writers ALREADY padded the plot out with fake weakness to slow it down, but then they put in a fake danger *ontop* of that fake weakness. The writers should've taken this as a sign of way too much filler and not a strong enough plot. Alas, they did not, and I wasted my time with this rubbish story.
Third is the inexplicable removal of the minor characters. Fate's familiar is the most notable. Aside from a few brief shots in the background of the later episodes, and maybe one or two throwaway lines, its made like she never existed in the first place. Nanoha's family and friends are tossed out (understandable, but still evidence of how much this show detracts from the original genre) and Yunno is delegated to an utterly menial role. All this I could forgive if any of the new characters, antagonist or protagonist, (like Hayate or her Knights in A's) were likeable and/or relevant to the plot. Alas, they were not. Aside from Subaru's family, everyone else had nothing to do with the plot, and all the antagonists were, essentially, *troops*, not *characters*.
And finally is the Jewel Seeds. Remember them? Yeah, for being supposedly rare and powerful, for them to be suddenly found in stock grunts was just inexcusable. (Sorry if you think this is a spoiler, but if you watch the show, you'll realise that it isn't actually that relevant at all, which in of itself is part of the problems I'm writing about)
Basically, this show reads like a fanfic. The new characters are all Mary Sue's, despite having no relevance to the plot, and heck, some, like Caro, barley even have any lines (honestly, the whole lightning team, and Lu, could be removed and the story wouldn't even blink), some of the plot devices are retconns, which, depending on whether you think about it or not, usually don't even make sense and finally, the recurring characters were so utterly un-thought-out that they had to make up fake plot devices and introduce new problems just so the writers could fit the titular characters into StrikerS' new story.
And how on earth could they not see the problems with that?
If you're watching this as a stand-alone series, it's probably pretty good. As a franchise, this is a bad piece of writing that pretty much has nothing going for it. Worth a watch if you're a Nanoha fan, because fans can overlook poor writing and still be happy, but overall, Fate/Stay Night or something along those lines is a much better show, since the writers in those shows didn't insist on forcing their characters into a really weak plot and then stretching it out over 26 episodes, when 13 probably would've been too many.
Guns come in all shapes and forms, but sometimes you need a little something more than a simple bullet to deal with arcane and mystical threats against humanity. The following list will showcase magical anime guns that pack enough heat to blow away whatever is on the other end of the barrel!
It's entirely possible that anime in 2016 might seem perfectly healthy to you. But there are a lot of folks in the industry who are worried for its creative future, and I would argue with good reason. Is it too late to do anything about it?