Thou shalt not be afraid, I am with you.
I want to start off by saying that watching this definitely wasn’t on my plans for today. It wasn’t even on my plans for yesterday! I’ve actually been struggling to catch up with the remainder of the last season, let alone contend with a whole new one. So I hadn’t even taken a good look at the airing schedule for the season until literally just now, where I learned that there was a disgustingly disproportionate number of shows that were to air on Saturdays. I then saw that ViVid Strike was out, and my next thought was that there was no way that this would be subbed any time soon. The original ViVid indicates just as much, right? Because obviously it wouldn’t be given a second glance by the modern oversized distribution machine that is Crunchyroll (ft. Funimation) as they most likely think it would be underappreciated by the majority of its patrons, despite the fact that it’s technically (loosely, maybe even formerly) supposed to be about magical girls and lolis. Which should be right in the strike zone for lots of people, right? At least, it is for me anyway. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was subbed almost instantly after airing. Good thing I won’t have much to do on Saturdays this season.
Anyway. I’m quite excited about this. More than I thought I would be, actually. It did feel pretty unsettling until about halfway through the episode, because I don’t think I fully appreciated exactly what the implications of a Nanoha without Nanoha would be. Even calling it that is slightly wrong. It’s more like a ViVid without Nanoha, the result being that it’s more ViVid-like than ViVid itself ever was. I hope that makes sense – anyone expecting the traditional magical combat featured in the original season, A’s and StrikerS is going to get even less of that than what they got in ViVid. Strike Arts is the new black now, and they’ve probably already done us a favour by having mana-infused punches and kicks added to the mix. As I mentioned in another post’s comment not too long ago, I think it’s really odd that they’re attempting to re-ignite interest in the franchise through straying away from an aspect that so heavily defined it and contributed to its success. Not that there’s anything wrong with ViVid, but you have to remember that that originated as a spin-off manga. ViVid Strike is therefore a spin-off of a spin-off. Or is it better to describe it as being set in an alternate universe? I’m not sure whether the events of the ViVid manga are reconcilable with the events of this original anime, but I like the idea watching a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off, as Nanoha was of course born from Triangle Heart all those years ago.
What exactly was unsettling, I hear you ask? I’m not too sure myself. Part of it was the setting, I guess – I wasn’t confident that we were still on Mid-Childa at first, with biker gangs and impoverished areas and shipping yards definitely not being sights I expected to see in such an advanced magical and technological society. Then there’s Fuuka herself, who I keep overlapping with Nanoha’s image in my head because their hairstyle and hair colour are somewhat similar even though they’re not very much alike at all, in either personality or combat style. And there’s also that feeling of having missed a huge chunk of the story, because ViVid left us hanging halfway through the Inter-Middle, and Strike is clearly set after the end of that tournament. My memory of events is even fuzzier than it was during ViVid, but I’m pretty sure there was no Nakajima Gym during the Inter-Middle.
At the same time, there are lots of good things. Seven Arcs returning is a definite blessing, you can’t call yourself a Nanoha fan if you think A-1 does a better job with Nanoha than Seven Arcs. I also really, really dig Nove’s new hairstyle. Now that she’s grown out her hair she can make people think she’s a harmless, kind onee-san even though she’s anything but. And Einhart also seems more mature and collected than she was before. For some reason Harunyan also has a waifu named Yumina, which makes me wonder what’s happened to poor Vivio.
I do like Fuuka, and I think that’s important. The biggest challenge this anime faces is to make its viewers like Fuuka, because Nanoha was a very well-liked protagonist – and switching to Vivio for ViVid wasn’t the end of the world because (i) Nanoha was still a character; (ii) Vivio is related to Nanoha and isn’t unlike her in personality; and (iii) Vivio was a character from StrikerS. Filling that protagonist role with someone completely different is a pretty bold move, all things considered. It’s going to take some getting used to her either way, but I’ve accepted her and that’s going to go a long way in terms of how much I’ll enjoy this. I’m sure part of it is the Minase Inori effect. Once again she displays her surprising versatility, and it’s good to hear her Carol voice reappearing at times, just like when she played Rem. It was Carol who made me her fan after all, not Chino.
I’m not so sure about Rinne, on the other hand. She’s super cute, for one. She’s also more my type than Fuuka ever will be. But Fuuka makes your blood boil, you know? Kaiser Arts was also always the cooler one. Being Fuuka is suffering, and that’s why she’d be by far the better protagonist. It’s sort like how Hibiki gets me pumped up every time even though I’m more of a DMJii person. I have no idea whether Rinne will be the Fate-chan to Fuuka’s Nanoha, but I’m sure she’s a good girl at heart. One thing I’m confused about is how she’s ranked #1 by the DSAA despite Einhart being the current world champion, and despite her having lost to Vivio. Maybe rankings aren’t determined by single wins or losses? Or even single tournaments? And what happened to Sieg? Either way, Rinne is now the ideal befriending target, except here people are befriended via fists instead of oversized laser beams. I’m just waiting for Fuuka to do a Touma and punch Rinne in the face while telling her that she’s not living her life correctly.
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High