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.
I've talked about Seven Arcs' Nanoha franchise twice before. Today, I'll be looking at the third series, StrikerS. First, let's do a quick recap. In the original series our heroine, Takamachi Nanoha, gained powers and used them to help her ferret friend, Yuuno, find artefacts called Jewel Seeds. Her rival in this endeavour was a young lady named Testarossa Fate. The two experienced their first feelings of romantic love and Nanoha was eventually able to help Fate escape her abusive mother. In the end, they weren't able to stay together as Fate had to face trial over her part in her mother's scheme. The second
series saw the pair reunited under less than ideal circumstances. Yagami Hayate, no relation to Light, found a magic book that unleashed four guardian spirits who were stealing magic power from mages to fill the book in a desperate bid to save their beloved Hayate's life. The two were able to find the truth of the book, save Hayate, redeem her knights and, in the process, Nanoha and Fate fell even harder for one another. But maybe I'm over-stating it. It's not like they've adopted a child together or something. Let's look at Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS and see what comes next for the pair and their friends.
A decade after the events of A's, Hayate forms an experimental unit, Section Six, supposedly to deal with relics. She's joined by Nanoha and Fate as well as a group of four promising recruits, Subaru, Teana, Erio and Caro. Nanoha begins training the troops with the help of Vita, but their time is limited and the unit is quickly dragged into a mess involving a high level criminal named Jail Scaglietti and his maniacal machines. After a slight altercation they find a young abandoned girl named Vivio, whom Nanoha and Fate adopt. Canon relationship status achieved. The main narrative deals with the threat posed by Scaglietti and his minions.
I don't really have anything negative to say about the story. It's strongly paced, using slower character moments and faster-paced, dynamic action moments really effectively. It also has some great moments of heart-warming, particularly when it comes to Vivio. The series is also really good at keeping sources of tension and producing high stakes with credible threats to our heroines and it's good at using that to keep the audience invested. The build up for the various plot points is quite effective, being vague enough to keep you guessing but also concrete enough that you can trace where the hints were once something’s been revealed.
The characters in this are really compelling and complex. With the time skip, Nanoha, Fate, Hayate and the others have change from the last series, but it's done in a way that's believable and you can see how the girls they were became the women they are. Similarly, you can fully understand how their relationships developed into what they are. The new major characters all get their own story arc, which informs and develops their characters. Vivio is adorable, and this is coming from someone who doesn't normally find children remotely cute. The character interactions are really good too. The villains are well crafted characters as well, albeit less sympathetic than the ones the franchise has previously provided. Particularly Scaglietti who basically comes across as a crazy person. Although, I will give them credit, he's not unrealistically or exaggeratedly crazy. He's the sort of nutter who has verisimilitude.
The art has a lot of good qualities to it. The character designs are really well done and there's a lot of attention to detail for the backgrounds. The action sequences flow really nicely and have a high level of intensity, in spite of the occasional slower, larger special attack. The big flaw with the art is the same one we've had with this franchise, the transformation sequence. Unlike most magical girl series where the characters' genuine shapes are obscured by whatever sparkly effect they're using, the Nanoha franchise lovingly details the bosoms so that you can pretty vividly tell what they look like. At least in this one most of the girls are grown women so it isn't quite as gross on that level, but they also make sure that the undergarments are really detailed for both Nanoha and Fate so that we can see what they're taking off of one another later. Seven Arcs, we don't need to know what kind of panties they wear. Even the sort of people who draw pornographic doujin have seen enough women's underwear that they can pick a design for their work. Okay, maybe they haven't, but I would still argue that those aren't the types who should be catered to.
The vocal cast in this is stellar. Mizuki Nana, Tamura Yukari, Ueda Kana, Yuzuki Ryouka, Shimizu Kaori, Ichijo Kazuya and Sanada Asami reprise their roles. They all give strong performances. In addition to them, Nakahara Mai, Inoue Marina, Saito Chiwa Takahashi Mikako and Mizuhashi Kaori all deliver their own strong performances. Narita Ken makes a good villain too. Really, the entire cast from primary to secondary characters is superb. The music is fantastic as well.
This has a lot of les-yay, even for the Nanoha franchise. In addition to Nanoha and Fate sharing a bed, going on vacations together and adopting a daughter, as wives are wont to do, you have some really strong les-yay between Subaru and Teana. There's a little bit between Vita and Hayate as well, although not as much as there was in A's since they're less of a focus in this one.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, is a really strong series. While there are some things it could have done better, and it's transformation sequences are just awful, it presents a compelling story, strong characters, a stupendous cast, excellent music and great artwork aside from the transformations. My final rating on this one is going to be a solid 9/10. Next week I'll look at Wooser no Sono Higurashi.
Ah... the phrase "Magical Girl". It makes you think of a Shoujo anime, doesn't it? Soppy little transformation sequences, annoying mascot animals, ridiculously cute lolis...
But make no mistake. Maybe people have the wrong impression from the title (which may account for the surprisingly low ratings), but StrikerS is, in fact, squarely in the Shonen denomination, and is a rambunctiously good Shonen to boot.
Lets have a quick summary. StrikerS is set 10 years after the previous iteration of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, in which the titular character has outgrown her loliness and become a full time Instructor, training the new generation of horribly underaged TSAB
recruits. The cast is further expanded with the introduction of new recruits. As industry standard, a threat to world security soon arises, and Nanoha, together with her old friends from the previous season, as well as her new recruits, is responsible for stopping them, shonen-protagonist style.
When I say shonen-protagonist style, I mean, of course, "extremely violently and with great prejudice. The plot is par for the course, with a convincingly evil big bad, lots of cool henchmen, and lots, and lots of violence. It also manages to get some decent military intrigue going, and the last few episodes are a roller-coaster ride of emotions, where the action is fast-paced and gripping. It's a great step up from the previous seasons, and indeed, the complexity of the plot surpasses industry standard shonen, or even seinen fare.
Necessary recaps for viewers who have not seen the previous show are done extremely tastefully, telling just enough, but not totally spilling the beans, such that new viewers can jump right into the show, yet are still tempted to watch previous seasons. The continuation of previous plot elements to their conclusion in StrikerS is also done well, if a bit thuggishly at certain points.
Sadly, the show is hamstrung by its shonen trappings. I cannot talk any further to prevent spoilers, but suffice to say, the marvelous plot was, in the end, let down by the fact that the target audience for this show was, in fact, teenagers. Bit of a shame. It wasn't a deeply profound plot, but it was entertaining.
The art is vey much the same as with the previous seasons, with one major difference: budget. No frame-dropping or awkward movements for us this time, no sirree! While not spectacular, the animation is nonetheless extremely high-quality, and the explosions are beautifully done.
Sound, sadly, appears to have taken a dip from previous seasons, even if still serviceable. The voice acting continues to be above-average, but sound effects have suffered slightly. The whimsical bassoon melodies from Season One and Two have disappeared, to be replaced by genericized faux-brass tunes. The character leitmotifs, however, remain as beautiful tunes.
Setting and Characters
To my surprise (and later, pleasure), the director of StrikerS has taken the ambitious step of rewriting the setting, dragging emphasis away from staples of the previous seasons (Familiars and Devices being the most obvious), instead putting the emphasis on political maneuvering and a certain degree of philosophy. The emphasis on human relations from the previous seasons remains strongly in force, and indeed, we continue to see well-rounded and strong characters, both familiar and new, grow and develop as the show progresses. It is extremely well done, and kudos should rightly go to the director for this.
However... again due to the shonen trappings of the show, the cast has gotten into a.. ballooning tendency due to their shonen protagonist invulnerability status. This leads to appearance issues, where a huge cast pool competes for limited airtime. While this is understandable, it is also regrettable, especially when characters whose deaths would have been perfectly placed to advance the plot stay alive.
The director has chosen to shunt the show to the mainstream, a smart and noble move. However, I do wish he'd have enough confidence to put down his artistic vision without fear of repercussion, although the realist in me tells me this will never happen. While I don't deny I enjoyed this show, it has the potential to be more, so, so much more. It's good, but calling it excellent would be a blatant lie.
Lots of people didn't like how the general focus of the Nanoha series changed to Subaru, Teana, Caro and Erio in StrikerS. Well that and the fact that our favorite magical girls were no longer loli's. But the series picks up with some interesting (and plentiful) villains and some new characters that are also very cool. The multiple plot lines near the end is done very well and even those new characters you may or may not have liked in the begining become interesting and exciting as we get to our big StrikerS finale.
This would be the third season in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha with the end title of StrikerS. The first two seasons each spanned 13 episodes by Studio Seven Arcs and director Keizou Kusakawa. Seven Arcs prior to this third season at this point was very young with basically only this series and an ecchi show called Sekirei under their belt. StrikerS broke from the usual 13 episode format and created this show to be 26 episodes. The first two shows in the series were actually pretty good and the later movie adaptations were even better, so high hopes stood on this third iteration of
the tv show.
Our setting is set ten years after the events of the second season, and runs through the basics of the world and characters establishing quick that the first two seasons are not needed to jump right into this show. The show focuses and brings back the cast from the previous show with Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate now working full time at the Time-Space Administration Bureau. Each character is around 19 and has taken on roles fitting to their brand new character such as Nanoha is now a super powerful combat instructor. She is deemed with being the captain of a specialized task force ready to deal with issues regarding ancient dangerous artifacts called ‘logia.’ New characters are introduced to be part of the task force.
Now, the show suffers from a slew of negatives. Presentation is done by having exposition included into the fighting and going over strategy accordingly, but the pure amount of talking and standing around does not help constantly repeating exposition. Second, the plot is a mess and suffers from extremely slow pacing away from the main plot consistently. 75% of the show is about life lessons, side missions, and repeated sequences over the new team of characters without much actual backstory and zero character development. StrikerS has an issue with Nanoha and Fate basically becoming mom’s to the new cast and it gets old very quick. Also, there are too many characters in the show now for overload causing the new characters to basically be a side task to the main plot. Third, there are limiters on the main characters preventing them from using their true power. They need permission, so when the enemy comes it causes convenient issues for the sake of expanding the story. There is even way too much to get into with more characters and interaction constantly happening just to expend ‘moe’ for the sake of cuteness. Animation and production are all over the place ranging from inconsistent character designs within the same episodes to fight scenes being choppy and images being slid across generic backgrounds. Music is sub-standard and has the equivalent of old generic video game sounds from the early 90s.
Everything in StrikerS has the definition of budget issues and probably would have been miles better as another 13 episode show. Character overload and half the show being introductions is unforgivable. Action and battles which made the previous shows so good are put aside here for more moe/feel good moments. This anime was a severe disappointment.
This review previously appeared on my blog: https://countzeroor.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/anime-review-nanoha-strikers/
The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise has been interesting when it comes the Magical Girl genre of anime. The original series was something of a conventional Magical Girl vs. Dark Magical Girl show, like the Pretty Cure franchise, with the difference being that the battles between Nanoha and her opposite number, Fate, played out a lot like a superhero fight.
The later series played up this concept, with the second series, Nanoha As setting up a battle of superhero teams (or superhero and super-anti-hero teams), with Nanoha, Fate, Arf, taking on a team of opponents with more-or-less similar abilities.
The series also played down the school adventure side of the traditional magical girl story, with Nanoha’s school friends, who were very much a prominent part of the narrative for the first series, being pushed to the side very early.
Nanoha StrikerS dumps the “civilian life” side of the equation entirely, with series protagonists Nanoha Takamachi & Fate Testarossa working as, basically, state-sponsored superheroes, and spending all of the series well away from Earth. Previous series had introduced the Time Space Administration Bureau (or TSAB), the bureaucracy behind it, and that the government that it answers to is based on a world called Mid-Childa. StrikerS spends almost the entirety of it’s runtime there.
The premise of the series is that it’s set a little over 10 years after the events of Nanoha As, which would put Nanoha and Fate in their early-to-mid 20s. Nanoha and Fate have become part of a special unit as part of the TSAB, lead by Hayate, the befriended antagonist of As. The objective of the unit is to hunt down Lost Logia, lost pieces of magitech which can be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. As part of this unit, Nanoha, Fate, and the Wolkenritter (Hayate’s now-less-dark Magical Girl superteam from As), are also training another team of, for lack of a better term, Magical Superheroes.
From a narrative position this setup puts the audience in an amazing position to see how the protagonists who we’ve followed through the last two series have matured, and it’s certainly successful at that. In particular, Fate and Nanoha have become the de-facto parental figures for two kids who are now part of their unit, Erio and Caro. While they were not actually adopted by Fate, they were adopted by Fate’s stepmother – Lindy, with Fate helping to raise them in a maternal/older sister role.
This leads to Fate & Nanoha. The writing of the first two series loosely implied that the two were homosexual. StrikerS, on the other hand, strongly implies that the two are in relationship with as strong a subtext as you can get without actively crossing over into text – like, stronger than the handhold in Legend of Korra.
The new protagonists, Erio, Caro, Subaru, and Teana, are generally well written, and have really strong chemistry. Erio and Caro, and Subaru and Teana have some romantic chemistry, which is read stronger for me with Subaru and Teana.
The overall story of the series serves to bring back together some plot threads going back to the original series. Hayate’s team, Riot Force 6, ends up coming into conflict with a mad magical scientist named Jail Scaglietti, who has been engaging in genetic engineering to create artificial mages and cyborgs for combat. The research he’s working on is similar to that that was done by Fate’s birth mother, Precia, in her attempts to raise her deceased daughter, Alicia from the dead – work that lead to the creation of Fate. The level of conflict here is nice and personal, and gives the conflict a strong direct tie to our protagonists that makes up for the lack of any real civilian life our heroes have.
That said, the animation doesn’t quite back up the story. This is a 2007 anime from studio Seven Arcs, who animated the earlier Nanoha series, along with the Triangle Heart OVA, and somehow, I can’t quite say why, but the animation here doesn’t feel quite right. The Digicel animation feels a little overly flat and stilted, particularly towards the end of the series. Now, it’s been awhile since I watched the first two shows, and maybe they’re just as bad, but with this series it feels like it stands out more, especially towards the end of the show.
There are also some weird decisions with the animation that seem to make little sense. The show cuts around some early stages of some very emotionally significant fights later in the series, showing the aftermath of the action instead of the action. Now, when we hit the climaxes of those fights, we see the full conclusion, but with this particular fight, the early stage was really important, and it was really disappointed with the fact that we didn’t get a chance to see it.
There are some issues with the costume design. The designs for the TSAB staff, and Riot Squad 6 are fine. However, there is Jail Scaglietti’s team of combat cyborgs, The Numbers. They wear these skin-tight outfits that leave as little to the imagination as the animation budget will allow, without actually showing skin. It’s the kind of outfit that 90s comics were mocked for putting female characters in, with boob socks and precisely defined butt-cheeks. The plugsuits in Evangelion didn’t go nearly as far in their form-fitting nature.
I enjoyed the show enough to finish it, but it was the characters who kept me coming back for the rest of the show, and in particular the fact that I’d come to appreciate these characters and their stories through the last two series. If it wasn’t for the writing and the characters, I probably would have dropped the show due to my issues with the animation.
That said, with how the show wraps up, considering the fourth series, Nanoha Vivid (focusing on a character that Fate and Nanoha adopt in this series), has not yet gotten a US release, StrikerS does make for a decent conclusion to the Nanoha series.
Mahou Shoujo Nanoha first and the A's have been great. The character development, magic upgrades in the dire pinch, and finally working together after the rival fighting have been very attractive. However, StrikerS lacked all of them.
Nanoha is supposed to be a typical elementary school girl with two friends back home on Earth. There's no Earth; there's no family (which she had bother and sister), and a house she lived in. She's already a fully grown adult at 18 years old, living at Magic central station Honbu (Home Station). Nanoha is no longer the main character who we get to feel, listen, and be,
it's about building the perfect team called the StrikerS against the great scientist. Thus the focus of the story has been on Nanoha building the team, along with stories on all of the other characters instead of Nanoha. The authors should have called it Mahou Shoujo StrikerS. This anime was supposed to be Nanoha's stories and her contributions to the world, not the Team. I have to say, StrikerS has been a huge disappointment.
Next, Nanoha had magic upgrades when raging heart was defeated. In StrikerS, Nanoha already had the powers; all they did was restrict her magic as she (and few others) were far too strong. This already made them out to be a supernatural monster who have enough powers to destroy anyone without training and fighting and challenge. Where's the growth without challenging other more difficult situation? You can't suddenly attain over limits as it has been in the first two series. It's absolutely inconsistent and story lost its quality completely.
Finally, Nanoha had the power to turn the enemy as her own friend and fight with her to the end for the same cause. StrikerS made it clear that their goal was to destroy the plan of the unstable machines that's running amok and stifle his/her plan. She did not have enemies, she befriended nor did she have to help players, nor talk to them. Her goals were clear and straightforward. Build a strong, supportive, and trusting team, so that they do not have to rely on the very slow reaction of kanrikan.
The artwork is great along with sound. But story was just barely decent and characters were mediocre at best. StrikerS is the beginning of a decline of my support for any future Nanoha series if they continue on this road.
Fast-forwarding ten years after A's, our little heroines are all grown up.
PrimeSonic once again, here with the final part in my review of the Nanoha trilogy: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.
Does the final chapter in the Nanoha trilogy live up to the hype? Well let's take a look.
Say goodbye to Japan, and Earth for that matter, as the entire story takes place on Mid-childa, home to the Time and Space Administration Bureau's main branch.
All the supporting characters from the previous seasons that had nothing to do with magic or the Bureau are pretty much gone.
Four years after the conclusion of A's, the girls have risen
through the ranks, reaching the goals they set for themselves long ago.
At present, Hayate is leading a newly created section and, with the help of her friends, she's realizing her dream of being able fight for the people caught up in the Lost Logia cases.
In a general perspective, the story has two main focuses.
One would be the new recruits and their training with Nanoha while the other deals with quite possibly the first central antagonist the trilogy has ever seen.
StrikerS gives us lots and lots of new characters as well as properly introduce a few that made only minor appearances so far.
To add to that, in this season it seems like almost everyone and their mother has a back story to tell.
So to keep things short, I'll just mention the more important characters in this review.
Four years earlier, Nanoha rescued Subaru from an intense fire.
Ever since, Subaru has been determined to become strong like Nanoha so one day she can be the one to save a life in danger.
When she's not in combat, she can be the most childish of the recruits, and that's saying a lot considering she's probably the oldest.
There's also a bit of a secret to Subaru, but I won't spoil it here.
Of the four recruits Teana is by far the one that takes things the most seriously.
Initially she feels out of place, feeling like the only normal person surrounded by a bunch of elites and aces.
It's actually because of Teana that we end up finding out more about what happened to Nanoha in the years since she joined the Bureau.
She's reluctantly been friends with Subaru since they both enlisted with the Bureau and has had to put up with her ever since.
:Caro Ru Lushe
Even though she's the youngest of the four, Caro's support magic and dragon summoning are a big help for the team.
Her back story and inner conflict get resolved before anyone else's as it doesn't take her long to master her dragon summoning to protect her friends.
The only lead male protagonist we'll be seeing, and it so happens that Erio is really just two months older than Caro.
He's very protective of Caro on the battlefield and has all makings of a modern knight. He has his own story which links him to Fate in a way, but I won't spoil it here.
About half-way into the series we meet Vivio. Very early we discover she's another child created through Project F, an artificial mage born in the same way as Fate.
This girl is made of concentrated cuteness, I swear.
She's the subject of much heartbreak, and it should be said, she's also the subject of blatant controversial fanservice.
You see, Vivio has two mommies. Uhm...wat?
:::ABOUT THE ANIME
StrikerS was the long awaited sequel that generated a lot of hype and even more expectations. Because of this, it got very mixed reactions when it first aired. It made plenty of changes to that way it presented the story while still trying to feel the way a Nanoha series should.
Some fans loved it, others only liked it, and others gave up on the series by the 4th episode and said they hated it.
One thing that becomes clear right off the bat is that Nanoha and rest of the main heroes from the previous seasons are now sharing the spotlight with a lot of new characters.
That's not to say we don't spend time with them, but for the first half of the series they are clearly acting more like supporting characters than protagonists.
One of the issues that brought up so many mixed reviews was how StikerS has more dialogue and side-stories than it does action scenes.
In the first half of the series, much more time is spent on the recruits and their training than actual missions or the returning heroes.
That being said, the plot is also far more complex and mature than before, taking everything from the previous seasons and placing it on an even larger scale.
There's plenty of time spent on character development for the four recruits, most of it given to Subaru and Teana, and probably even more than Nanoha and Fate had throughout both previous seasons.
I have to admit: I wasn't crazy about there being four new protagonists all at once, and it certainly wasn't a packaged deal like is was with the knights were in the last season; but after a while they did grow on me.
Looking at the lighter side of StrikerS, there's still a few funny and embarrassing moments to be had.
As far as the fanservice goes, it mostly comes from the transformation sequences. Don't expect much more than that.
Speaking of transformation sequences,the ones in StrikerS are much like they were in A's.
They don't come often, but when they do, you will know it.
It's kinda funny how the older girls all get elaborate and lengthy transformation sequences while Erio's and Caro's are done in half the time.
Not to mention that Erio goes instantly from his uniform to his barrier jacket without having to strip down first. Yeah, you can draw your own conclusions from that.
As far as action scenes go, they're relatively few and far between this time.
Still, they make the final battle in A's seem small in comparison.
Overall, the combat sequences are much more intense than they were before.
Expect to see e good deal of blood in later episodes.
StrikerS was certainly going to make or break the Nanoha series.
It gets off to a slow start, but after watching it in full, I can definitely say it was worth enduring the long dialogue scenes.
It's hard to put into words, but in a way, after watching StrikerS, A's just seems small, much in the same way A's made the first season seem small.
Even with all the changes in style, once you get into it, StrikerS doesn't make you feel like you're watching a completely different series.
Most of the themes are are taken directly from the previous seasons and even ten years later, Nanoha, Fate, and everyone else have remained largely unchanged.
I'm giving StikerS an above average 8 out of 10.
Personally I liked it, but some people might get bored with it before it gets to the good stuff.
I can't say it was excellent all around, but the ending was just amazing and certainly more intense than the ending for A's was.
Again I stress, to really appreciate the characters in StrikerS, having watched the first two seasons is a must.
To wrap things up: if you're a Nanoha fan, then you owe it to yourself to give StrikerS a try.
Nanoha, Fate and friends are back and they bring even some more friends with them. This time they have to face some bigger enemy than before. I won't say too much who they are going to fight but it will be revealed later on after some episodes in the story...
I have to say that the pace of the story is kept thanks to the higher number of NOW 26 episodes pretty slower at the beginning...but around the half it is getting to the real plot and also increasing the speed. Before it was more like an introduction to the newer characters and how they train
Don't get me wrong ;) everything is build up pretty nice for the final battles and they are also well executed...even though a little bit predictable.
To the characters...the old ones are all the same and I have to say that I personally like it. Don't expect any big characteristic developments or change of minds.
But the new characters bring some fresh air with it. Nothing new or spectacular for animes will happen just some typical sad background is included for them. But someone bringing up some interesting flair is included too. For example I'm talking about Teana who is new now and who uses some pistol like Device. Other are Caro who can summon dragons, Erio who fights with a spear like Device and Subaru using a rollerblades Device. - a side note, a Device is a magic tool for fighting and defending..
I enjoyed it quite a lot and it is staying truthful to the previous seasons. That is also a plus for me. Of course the battles improved and show some more action too, another thing that is nice.
For the music, I didn't pay too much attention to it but it was suiting and pleasant enough for the setting. 2 op's and ed's.
So then finally if you like Nanoha and co. then you can watch the 3rd season without any problems because it sticks to the friendship, magic and fighting themes. It is really enjoyable and looking also nicely drawn, don't miss it out if your especially a fan.
Back when Bandai Visual USA had their blog open, I argued with the guy who run it about me being an "anime historian." Because I noted the audience-approved "degradation" of character creation and plot execution. And there is no better example of said "degradation" than Lyrical Nanoha. Let me start:
Now all of this would be fine and dandy (as "magical girl spin-off" material) if Lyrical
Nanoha wasn't ripping off Gundam Wing and blasting lasers of cute pink destruction. But since the people behind it are lacking in creativity, originality, and bravery (ala creating a male lead who's of the same age as the featured girls and doesn't sound like a female voice actress is voicing him), it gets worse.
By the time we get to LNS, it's "Gundam Seed Destiny for the magical girl crowd." Not only are the weapons of cute, pink mass destruction continued to be used. But we're re-introduced to Nanoha's other form; the "White Devil." She then proceeds to "school" one of the new characters by blasting her with pink-yet-creepy cuteness.
Well... Tenchi Muyo's Pretty Sammy spin-off was better. The show took the established characters and atleast tried to be good without resorting to the "all is happy," "cherry blossom from the trees" ending.
Or, what's the best way to say it? Stories about mutants and "bump in the night" creatures are better to tell (and sell) than anything about "magical girls." Atleast the former isn't so reliant on "pandering to the otaku-base."