ViVid Strike! Ep 10

[ViVidTrans] Vivid Strike! - 10 (1280x720 x264 AAC).mkv_thumbs_[2016.12.07_19.52.14].jpg

In true sports anime fashion, we can’t conclude a climactic battle without a flashback. Remember that time Subaru had to fight the mind-controlled Ginga? It’s kinda like that.

[VividTrans] ViVid Strike! – 10 (BS11 1280×720 x264 AAC)

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63 Responses to ViVid Strike! Ep 10

  1. 4th Dimension says:

    I would like to note that we are arguing about things for which the explanations are basically non existent and I’m pretty sure the writers never thought of.
    Why run the analyser? To save time that would have been wasted by applying the MidChildan solver on an problem that might not be MidChildan. Especially since even with humans doing the breaking, breaking barriers (I will assume that they are similar in a way to bindings) and such does take time and power. Again considering their computing power, I don’t see it as particularly long running task to first check if the barrier the equations are MId. If they are run the Mid solver, if not run through the hundreds of known styles (probably in descending likelihood of encounter).

    But then again none of these are particularly strong arguments either way so I will be conceding the point even though I still find it strange.


  2. Carthienes says:

    It might also be worth pointing out that literal libraries have been written on the correct design of Expert Systems, with a number of contradictions and debates that we are in no position to resolve. Just take my word for it that a thorough analysis of all possibilities is not necessarily the best opening move, even assuming it is what we would call an expert system.

    A more detailed look at what they should have done / did do would require actually knowing what happened, and a lot more details on how this all works and how close the analogy of modern Earth computing and mathematics is for magic and Mid-Childan technology. There are likely to be some significant differences at the low level, at the very least.

    Best we can say is that the situation was over fairly swiftly, and they did get the right answer eventually (Though we do not know which answers they got when). I also wonder about the parallels to Fate’s barrier in the previous season, which was Mid-Childan and took 10 days to beat (Though they were admittedly distracted at the time). Maybe it being Belkan wasn’t the only problem?


  3. 4th Dimension says:

    Could be, considering that Shamal’s specialty are these “barriers”.


  4. Carthienes says:

    Well, that took longer than expected. I can tear through these things quite quickly if I’ve the time…

    Anyway, I finished the Strikers Anime and Manga – side by side, I was trying to work through the collection chronologically. Initial thoughts:

    Graphically matches the previous two seasons, maybe a little lighter at times, with a smoother (perhaps more experienced?) animation. Much more consistent overall, though stave thickness can be a bit erratic.

    Seems a little old-fashioned for the sci-fi feel they’re trying to project, at times (oh well, nothing compares to Belka falling though ‘Advancing Over-Technology’ in the age of the crossbow).

    Nice to see the aces maturing well – I’m glad they skipped to after Hayate left the wheelchair, but they might have overdone it (although implying that dimension-shattering incidents happen every few months is no better)

    Too many Characters, not enough time – These two go hand in hand. We don’t get enough characterisation from many of the new characters, and old character cameos rarely do them justice. They also skipped a few.

    Don’t like the new look for personal barriers (though, to be fair, that first appeared in Signum and Fate’s dessert fight in A’s)

    The extras say that knight’s and summoner’s devices don’t help remembering and calculating spells (assisting in other ways), making both awesome by analysis as well! Might explain why Caro prefers to invoke with her spells with the full aria.

    Why did the TSAB not mass-produce some sort of drone (like the obstacle autospheres, perhaps) for ground support?

    Episode 3 of season is not the only time searcher spells came up before the finale of StrikerS – just the last time we definitively saw them moving. “Observation-type (i.e., static) Searchers” featured in the first episode of Strikers, and there was mention of the in others.

    Helicopter rather than hovercraft seems odd – perhaps more fuel efficient?

    In short? I’d rather not pick favourites between the first three seasons. StrikerS still brings tears to my eye and (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) that puts it leagues ahead of Strike.

    Despite the desperate pretence in the title.


  5. 4th Dimension says:

    Oh boy StrikerS. I’m currently engaged in a prolonged slogging war in a forum where I’m trying to explain why I like the StrikerS, while the prevailing opinion seems to be it’s shit. The document I’m basing my defense of my feeling for it is ridiculously long. ~30 pags of unfinished thoughts on StrikerS + as many pages of episode notes. I think I’m 20 pages in.

    So let me try to condense my thoughts on it. I like the StrikerS despite seeing massive flaws with it. I like it like I like the rest of the franchise because for me Nanoha is not so much as fanservice Lolis beating the shit out of each other, which is 7 Arcs’s direction, as a wired combination of military SF, magi tech supported SF that is rule heavy and almost details first rather than drama first, optimistic stories with determinator heroes which are entertaining on their own and antagonists that have sympathetic reasons for being antagonistic. And sentimentality towards Nanoha being explicitly an Air Mage and liking open blue skies. Most of which has been stripped from later issues making me dislike them.

    How does the StrikerS stack up? Well the protagonists are still moment to moment interesting in how they bounce off each other. On the magitech aspect, it’s still at least trying even though I do not like some of the choices made in order to introduce gun looking intelligent devices (why shaped like guns WITH gun barels?) etc. But as I said they are at least trying to make the setting work within the rules. The military aspect is so so, and that is moslty because Hayate was majorly shafted performance vise in this and never really gets a chance to show off command. Hell nobody except Teana at times gets that since again most of the fights devolve into 1v1 duels because I think 7 Arcs does not really know how to choreograph many vs many fights. On the other hand while Hayate does not do the commanding she does seem to have the respect of her subordinates who treat her as their commander and not a girl (which is more than some Anime do).

    Where StrikerS is hurt the most is in the story department. I’m now pretty damn sure that the original story that they intended to tell was a much more detailed affair, probably because of how much they were able to cram into A’s they thought that with twice as many episodes they could do much more. About half way through they realized that there was no way in hell they could pull it off even in 20+ episodes so someone went in with a hatchet and bloodily hacked away at the script until it still contained what their core demographic wanted, young girls beating each other, and could fit into the allotted time.

    All of this is reflected in the character arcs and stories in the show itself where the lot of them were cut or simplified, and now only Teana, Nanoha, Vita and sort of Subaru have any arcs in it and even those have been cut down. Vice and Fate sort of get a 12th hour issues that they then resolve in the final fight.
    Hayte is probably the biggest example of character shafting considering it was her idea to organize the unit, she was supposed to be fighting a political inter department battle with Regius and especially Auris, basically dealing with the dark side of TSAB. Along the way is seems she was supposed to have done something out of line in order to achieve her goals. That is shown by her final scene in the show where she notes how Regius reminds her of herself and how she too went over the line in pursuit of her ideals. None of which, except the mentioned final scene, happens in the show itself and she is devolved to having a bunch of pointless meetings with Chrono, Carim and Verossa whcih restate things we either know or suspect. Now the character interactions are still fun, but the meetings have little to no content.

    Signum did receive massively less time than Vita. But then again working Signum into the story would always be problematic since she is a stoic and therefore has no issues to solve, so her not appearing much unless RF6 is fighting is okay in my book. Initially I think her story line would tie in more heavily with Agito, but all that was left of that is that Agito I think lost control as Signum came close to her during Zest vs Vita fight and her actions in the finale.

    Fate… basically did nothing since like Hayate her investigative side never got a chance to get of the ground because nearly all of it was cut or relegated to Acous who resolved it all via Acous ex Machina. Also to give her something they gave her Caro and Erio, who are seriously underdeveloped and to me feel tacked on to give Fate he own Forwards to mentor since Teana and Subaru were under Nanoha. It would have been more appropriate for Teana to be mentored by Fate and Subar by Nanoha given their personalities and inclinations.

    Oh fuck I went long again and I haven’t even gotten to the real problem with the show that gets me mad. So I’ll speed up.

    Subplots of the protagonists that actualy get them are considerably simpler than they initially were supposed to have been, and Teana’s one is in the end the most interesting. Moving on.

    The antagonists. The antagonists are the real problem with StrikerS. At leas the primary antagonist, Jail and Numbers. Unlike the previous seasons where the antagonists were people who while wrong had somewhat sympathetic reasons for their actions (even Prescia) Jail is simply an onedimensional monster causing mayhem for his own benefit, and to do that he brings an entire legion of similary looking Numbers that when you watch the show for the first time all belnd together. I NOW know them and know their names, but when I watched for the first time they were utterly impenetrable. So Jail is an onedimensional monster, Quatro is a bitch and the rest maybe apart from Cinque and Nove get allmost no characterization and apart from Dieci never even show an ounce of regret at what they do. And as far as Dieci is concerned sh isn’t a saint either. Basically they all are unsympathetic and dont’ have anything interesting going on. And Sein is a brute force tool by the writers to enforce story status quo and literaly give the antagonists get out of jail cards.
    Lutecia is bland also, which is unsurprising considering her opponents are Caro and Erio who aren’t much better.
    The only characters that even resemble the previous seasons antagonists are Regius and Zest. And their and Regius’s subplot are given the least amount of time, but even with that little time they are infinitely better than Jails entire plot.

    Fight wise it focuses more on Forwards who are ground mages but we still get nanoha blasting things and fighting in the skies so while I want more I’m satisfied there.

    TLDR: Magitech: 4; Military SF: 3; Jail&Co: 1; Zest/Regius: 3,5; Protagonists: 4; Optimism 4.
    It could have been much better if enough time was given to interesting plots. In the end the number of protagonists was not so much of an issue rather than lack of proper antagonists.


  6. 4th Dimension says:

    Now actually to reply to you and now vent my issues:

    Actually graphically the things are so so. The graphics gets the job done, but you probably like me watched StrikerS from later DVD releases and not initial TV ones, and DVDs did a LOT to smooth out loads of graphical glitches. And still they are present. For example do these people indubitably look to you as Fate, Nanoha and Teana?
    Still the graphics are usable.

    SF wise they do seem to have downgraded the SF compared to the level of advancement shown in A’s. I would have expected for the fights to be happening among mile high skyscrapers with flying cars all over the place and such given that TSA does have anti gravity/hover tech.
    Some of it is explainable by the fact that they mostly fight in that abandoned section and not in downtown Clangan, but still.
    And yeah it’s nowhere near the level of stupit of sowing Belkans using crossbows and bludgeoning each other with swords in metal armor when they are supposed to have access to long ranged mass weapons.

    So armed devices and boosters (I think that is the name for summoner devices?) are even less advanced than storage devices? Strange. I would understand it for armed devices given that they are copies of old Belkan designs, but why do that with summoner devices. Wierd.

    The writer’s haven’t thought of that, or the prevailing doctrinal opinion was that such machines would be seriously inferior to actual mages while needing a lot more logistical support. Also given how much taboo the mass based weapons are, developing autonomous machines that could take down mages might be getting too close to the mass weapons ban.
    On the other hand the TSA Council WAS developing drones for TSA use via Jail so they did see advantages to using them. Why weren’t they given to TSA once they were operational. Well for one Jail seems to have been tweaking them still for the entire length of the incident, and they were not given to TSA rank and file for the same reason they were trying to supress the teaching of anti-AMF techniques, probably so that thse techniques would not profieate before the Cyborgs are introduced.

    The helicopter is probably the most egregious example to ridiculously low tech solutions given the tech base of the TSA. Also it’s the award winner of 4th Dimension “Stupidest deign award”. It’s so stupid it makes my head hurt. Why stupid 4th Dimension? it’s stupid because unlike the writers I know how helicopters operate and they NEED two rotor blades. No the secondary rotor blade is not for coolness sake, it makes sure the helicopter does not spin out of control the first time it tries to take off when action and reaction in the blade-engine system tries to start rotating the helicopter itself along the same axis the blade is rotating around. The rear rotors or aditional counter rottating main rotors are there to prevent that by applying a force in the opposite direction.
    Basically the first time RF6 heli took off it should have spun out of control and crashed. But 4th Dimension they could be using magic to stabilize it. True, but why do it via magic when mechanical rear rotor works just as well and is possibly cheaper. If you are going to be using magic that much why use the main rotor at all. Also the boxy design, is clearly meant to evoke the image of sturdy military workhorse, but just makes me think TSA engineers have yet to master aerodynamics.
    Oh and since it uses rotor blades that would inevitably make it less efficient and slower than a winged design, making it only useable for action close to the base.


  7. Carthienes says:

    It seems we have a long discussion ahead.

    The Helicopter in episode 1 – 2 was aerodynamic, and did have a tail-rotor, so Mid-childans are clearly not ignorant of the concepts. There are also other ways of counteracting the torque (I am, likewise, aware of this problem) – reaction wheels immediately spring to mind., though dual rotors are certainly more efficient. Your point about fixed-wing craft is likewise well taken, though helicopters have their own advantages and so fill a different niche – a niche that could probably be taken by anti-gravity hovercraft, which is what I was comparing them too (guesstimates thereof, anyway). There are certainly examples of ‘Old Fashioned’ technologies still in use today when high-tech variants are available. For a number of reasons, obviously, ranging from cost of replacement to simple nostalgia, but sometimes the older technology fills the particular niche better (there is a good reason why automatic doors are all fitted with manual overrides).

    The low tech solutions of TSAB took me by surprise, at first, but did not really get in the way or threaten to break immersion. It just seems a little jarring when juxtaposed with the teleporter in TSAB Headquarters. At least they kept the Holoscreens.

    Armed Devices and Boost Devices: they get mentioned in the extra’s you linked back in the episode 6 discussion:

    To quote the relevant sections:
    Armed Device:
    The Magical Devices of the Belkan Knight are, for the most part, styled as Weapons. Unlike Mid-Style Devices they offer little to no support in the use of Magic, on the other hand they are extremely robust weapons. While Shamal’s KlarWind is the opposite, that is because she is not a Combatant, as her role is that of Logistical Support.

    A Boost Device, specializing in Mana augmentation, manufactured for Caro’s use. Scrapping the complex magic support functions found in regular devices, Kerykeion boosts Caro’s own Mana, and specializes in releasing it in the most suitable form for the task at hand. Kerykeion was tuned with two main points in mind: to reduce the amount of Mana needed during Summoning, and to strengthen Boost magic. Regarding its AI, Kerykeion is relatively amenable. In the words of the master devicer Shario, the Lightning Squad devices are “pretty similar in personality to their users”.

    I do not think they are ‘less advanced’ than storage devices (I recall seeing that the average AIon an armed device is midway between a storage device and an Intelligent device), they just have a completely different focus. It’s like claiming that a submarine is less advance than a biplane, because the former can not transport it’s passengers through the air.

    Regarding the Graphics, and recognising the characters – The only returning character I do not remember instantly recognising when watching for the first time was Chrono. Everyone else was new. That said, I believe the version I managed to find is based off the TV version (though the only difference I actually know between the two is the floor cracking under Nanoha’s foot in the DVD version, just before she gives Quattro what’s coming to her). The artwork is quite consistent throughout, which was good (my biggest gripe with the previous two seasons being the way characters’ appearance could depend greatly on the angle they where viewed at). It also seems quite close to the earlier seasons, as if the artists had their rough edges worn down rather than starting from scratch. Or, to put it another way, as if the lense we are peering through to view this universe has slowly increased in clarity, rather than being pointed elsewhere.

    I suppose the underlying message here is – It Still Feels Like Nanoha (& co.) (& her universe). Not some other place, like some supposedly Nanoha stuff would later present.

    This is getting quite long, so I’ll cut it short for now. Hope this much made sense, & more later.


  8. 4th Dimension says:

    Those would need to be some pretty big or pretty quick reaction wheels to counteract the rotor toque. But the would also need to be able to stop counteracting when the pilot wants to turn the heli while in hover (in flight this is not necessary since a) the aerodynamic forces are keeping the body on the straight and narrow b) the helicopter flies pretty much like an airplane with it’s rotor blade acting as a sort of a wing), so I don’t think they are nearly as practical.

    Sure the old tech is sometimes more usefull, often when you need a rugged “workhorse” type of solution. But the way Vice drooled all over it when he introduced the heli, you would have thought it was a top of the line bleeding edge model.

    Oh I remember those other ones that appeared in episode 1. The fact that those do use twin rotor blades kind of makes this worse. Although I guess if I wanted to trust the writers on this it might be that RF6 heli is top of the line model precisely BECAUSE it doesn’t have the rear rotor which is often the weak spot of such heli designs.

    Apparently and according to some of that background material, a LOT of TSA tech actually runs simply on electricity and batteries without much in a way of strictly magical components. That is how they get around the problem of giving tehc to the non magically gifted. But electricity itself is produced via magic somehow making it nonpolluting. So that means Cardiche (Fate’s car) and such are probably electric.
    Devices: I thought they were less advanced because you mentioned that they couldn’t remember spells and such, because that is something storage devices can do. The real difference between storage and intelligent ones is that the intelligent ones have an AI that can act without their master’s input or perform tasks independently form their master. Which is something that was shown multiple times.
    The armed devices meanwhile are halfway between intelligent and storage ones. I don’t think we have ever seen them act on their own, but they do seem to have a very limited AI or VI capable of following orders. Which makes sense because science had to have progressed in some ways beyond what was available in Belkan ages, and development of actual AIs and their usage in devices could be one of those.
    I’m not saying that the designs changed between seasons. Well some things did but that’s because time passed and people changed. What I was refering was the fact that some of the art can be off template during the show itself. In the examples I gave Nanoha frankly looks more like Alto to the point I had to rewind and check if it really was Alto. The fact that Nanoha seemingly doesn’t have any rank insignia did not help. Same goes for Teana and Fate in that shot frankly could be mistaken for a boy. And believe me, I have seen examples from the original TV version of the show and there were a lot WORSE art snafus.
    Yeah. Despite it’s massive flaws it’s still Nanoha. That is my opinion too. While I would not have minded at all seeing a season set into the intervening decade, that would help hammer in the idea that the three are actually Aces (especially Hayate, girl really needs a time to shine). Because as is we are left to trust the writers that they are respected as Aces in TSA without seeing much of why that is.
    BTW: This might interest you. You know how there were those Nanoha games published on PSP? Well for the first one at least parts of were translated in text form, so recently when I played it on emulator I added those subtitles to the gameplay and now you can watch the Battle of Aces story subtitled in English here:
    Frankly the translation is a bit hit and miss ate times, and while it’s not terribly deep it does have some nice moments. For me Hayate’s path was most interesting, simply because it let’s her be cool for once.


  9. Carthienes says:

    Okay, well my last comment was auto-flagged for moderation – So I have no idea if or when you will see this.

    The reaction wheel would need the same MV^2 as the rotor, which is why some helicopters have used two identical lifting rotors spinning in opposite directions (more complicated but potentially more powerful – certainly more compact) which is what I originally thought the JF704 was using (I checked, it does not). Of course reaction wheels are not the most efficient measure – I was simply trying to make the point that tail rotors and magic are not the only options. We do have the technology to build a working helicopter that looks like that – it just would not work as well as one that looked different.

    Also, whilst it is true that , according the the Magic dictionaries you linked (specifically the Force Dictionary), Magic is generally used to generate electricity to run common Mid-Childan technology:

    “Clean energy
    At the present, in the Worlds of the Dimensional Space, most of them are reliant upon Mana Reactors to generate Electricity, which feed precious energy requirements in day to day life. (While there are cultures that directly use Mana for their day to day needs, it is almost impossible to have a controlled rating of Mana for use in precise equipment, thus most human settled territory have electrical lines as part of the infrastructure.) As there have been protests at the excessive use of Mana Reactors and Electricity, creating a Clean Energy that can trump the “Mana To Electricity” Paradigm is the dream of many Engineers.”

    The StrikerS dictionary specifically mentions the use of internal Combustion Engines for common vehicles:

    “Motor Mobil(Car)
    The Cars of the Mid World. Their Internal Combustion Engines work with Fuel created from water with some chemical reactants added. The Exhaust is water vapor with miniscule amounts of reactant smoke added, which leave little damage to the environment as the effects of air contamination is well considered. Fate’s car is her own personal possession, and it is made by a popular maker in Mid that is well known for their cars’ reliability and relative low cost. Usually it is a two seat open roof coupe, but due to transform functions it can deploy the roof, and can use the trunk space to increase the number of seats by two (they are usually covered). Also, to adhere to TSAB protocol, the roof is equipped with rotating lights and sirens that can be deployed.”

    “Motorcycle(Auto Bike)
    As with the Cars, a Two Wheeler that has an Internal Combustion Engine that uses Water and reactant as Fuel. As the Main Worlds have a general ban towards Personal Flying Vehicles, the Bike is well liked as a means for moving through a city, as well as a vehicle to be used for recreational purposes. Models sold for the general public have emergency Auto Gyros to keep the vehicle upright and Traction Control systems to keep the tires from sliding, and the capacity of deploying protection fields when collision happens equipped as mandated, but yet as the vehicle leaves the rider exposed, it is advised that the rider wears Helmets and Protectors as a safety measure.”

    So I think it likely that the Helicopter uses Internal Combustion rather than Mana or electrical engines. The helicopters’ computers are probably electrical, though. That is also where the High Tech systems are likely to be – inside the armour.

    Regarding AI devices though – Storage Devices are the Mid-Childan standard (so-called because their primary function is, in theory, to store spell programmes ready for use) whilst Intelligent Devices (so called because their defining characteristic is their advance AI) are the more advanced version (less common due to being unsuited to Mass-Production). Armed Devices (primarily defined by the cartridge system, typically possessing AI superior to average storage devices and designed more to assist a Knight in combat than spell-casting) are the Belkan Standard, whilst their rarer, more advanced devices are the Unison Devices (primarily defined by their Unison ability, possessing full intellect and independent sentience, uncommon due to the lack of Knights suited to unison). So Belkan devices appear to generally be more sophisticated than their Mid-Childan cousins, though the TSAB does appear to be slowly making up for lost ground.

    I found the Art to be functional (it did what it needed to do) and fairly consistant throughout (a little better, in this regard, than the previous seasons) which was good enough for me. If it shows me what I need to be shown, the Art gets a pass – anything more is rather low priority for me (because I care more about what it shows me than how prettily it can do so). As I mentioned when I started rewatching the first season, I liked those graphics because I found them “perfectly suited to the story and setting” and “It is good enough for me to get exactly the story they are telling, which is plenty good enough (since the story is good).”. Given that this is a sequal, I also like that it is recognisable (something Strike screwed up, judging by how many people wanted to know why Nove was using a Katana).

    The Third Movie is set during the time skip, so perhaps we will see – if it is successful enough, they might even make a season based around the incident in question. We can but hold our breath, and hope that it will be worth it. I will say that them deciding not to set the third season 6 months later was not a poor move. That siad, there was a lot more plot in the manga this time round – I would strongly reccommend that you read the manga as you watch the series – a lot of hints in the anime were a little stronger in the manga. Not a full answer, of course, but worth it if you are looking for depth.

    I will get to your playlist at some point. I still have Vivid, Force, and Strike to revisit, and the Sound Stages to get to; but I will get there eventually. So, no comment yet.

    Now I will return to your original two comments…


  10. Carthienes says:

    What scale are your TLDR ratings on – One (bad) to Five (Great)?

    The SF downgrade sucks, and more so given that they where apparently trying to move in the Science Fiction direction. That said, our earlier exposure was highly biased – it should not really be surprising that a top-line military cruiser, or Inter-dimensional Headquarters, has better technology than the average citizen. Not so much an ‘Elite’ unit (though the medical team was apparently making do with hand-me-downs, so not the best provisioned unit in the setting). The low-tech feel of the setting was still severe enough to be jarring at first – they could have done a better job of pursuing the Sci-fi angle than “Tokyo with Holocomputers”. Of course, the crossbow-dominated Belka would come later (here they still have nukes, or equivalents). Now that was truly jarring, whereas the technology levels in Clanagan are mostly forgettable.

    The drones probably would have been of little use in most of the battles we see (being high-power conflicts), but they TSAB obviously can mass-produce weak drones (they use them for target practice). I just wonder if the thought of using them for something besides target and evasion practice has occurred to anyone. Certainly, deploying some in the final battle (assuming they can operate in such an AMF environment) would have helped spread the Gadget Drones’ attention, at the very least, and buy the TSAB Grunts a little more time. Given that Regius spent so much time complaining that the Ground forces do not have enough fire-power, you would have thought there would have been some consideration for the automated fire support that they were already using. With a little tweaking, they could be used by a low-ranking mage overseer to up their fire-power (like an artificial summoner, essentially) considerably – it would probably need a lot of work to perfect, but should not take much effort to render deployable. Probably a better solution to Regius problem than manufacturing sapient killing machines.

    Of course, in the context of the series, automated robots are used by the enemy, and the TSAB using living (as opposed to mechanical) nooks keeps the two forces distinct (both ideologically and visually) when shown (especially when fighting each other in that last battle). So there is a good reason for TSAB drones not being shown (outside of practice targets) in StrikerS, albeit not an in-universe reason.

    I think that covers your reply comment, so I’ll end here before it gets too long. I will try to address the points you raised in your first comment next.

    I still like StrikerS, which I rate on par with it’s two predecessors.


  11. 4th Dimension says:

    Huh, while I remember that Clean Energy entry, I totally missed the Internal Combustion engine ones. Could you link me to the Force dictionary?

    To be honest I think it might be possible they were trying to hind at viehicles using fuel cells rather than internal combustion since using water + additives for internal combustion doens’t really make sense since water is allready burned/oxygenated Hydrogen. Then again all viehicles do have the ussual internal combustion engine noise so my headcannon is probably not true.
    I would not excatly agree on the whole Belkan vs Mid device tech. While Unison devices are certainly better, since they can act autonomously and actually boost the users output (probably by providing additional mana via the UD’s linker core), they never really seem to have taken off simply because they were incredibly temperamental and the fact that user and device had to have a high sync level to work properly. Meaning UD successes were rare.
    Intelligent devices by comparission while they do need a tehnician to design to properly fit the user are far less difficult to manufacture and success rate is much higher than with UDs.
    Add to that that Armed devices were given to KNIGHTS, given the word they were using they were probably at least a bit more elite than mages. Since Belkans used also mass based weaponary they did not have the pressing need like TSA has to enlist every possible magic capable person simply to fill out the ranks, and could afford to pick and choose their knights. Meaning armed devices probably were not mass produced either.
    I don’t know about TV season based on the movie. From what we know it’s firmly set in movie AU and not in main one so they are free to do whatever. The biggest example is the fact that A) they are using the Florian sisters from Gears of Destiny as antagonist(Kyrie)/protagonist(Amitie) (no materials as far as we know, but given that Reinforce was destroyed in movie AU too it’s unlikely they could show up) and more importantly both Fate and Nanoha are visibly using the gear from Force, which in main universe was developed ~12 years later.
    But I sure would like to have Hayate do somehting. They even have her running which I don’t think she should really be able to do then yet.
    Yeah, the rating is something like that.
    I agree, the gigantic SPACESTATION was more likely to be more advanced by cimple expediency that it’s a SPACE STATION. But then again the TSAB (or what would become it) started from Midchilda 150 years ago and Mid never stopped being the main world of the TSA system, so I would hardly expect the tech levels to be considerably different. Also wasn’t the station constructed after TSAB won which means it was built using the tech available 75 years ago. (BTW. Have I mentioned how curious and slightly unbelievable I found the idea that the TSA was founded/won just 75 years ago? Hostorically speaking it’s just a babe, and could likely be just a blimp in the history of mass based weapons)
    But while this was a bit dissapointing the later Japanification of TSA and stupidity introduced by Vivid about Belkans is much greater. In StrikerS most if MAYBE not all characters ate with forks, but by the time of Strike I think most of them are using chopsticks for some reason or other.
    With drones there is allso the issue of trust. Would the society be able to trust semi autonomous unintelligent devices to differentiate between threats and make appropriate decisions. This is after all the world fully aware that mad tech has doomed many a civilization before, and that it’s artifacts still plague the world of today.
    I wouldn’t agree that StrikerS is on the same level as the previous seasons. It’s still Nanoha, and I liked it, but it’s not A’s level of quality in storytelling nor character arc departments.
    What do you think would this be the time for me to start


  12. carthienes says:

    Quick reply to say:
    Force Dictionary entries (some of them, at least) are translated on this thread: (just keep scrolling and reading spoilers), along with some other series. The Internal Combustion Engine entries where under the StrikerS sections, whilst it was the Clean Energy entry that was from Force.

    Also, regarding you statement “What do you think would this be the time for me to start” – what are you referring to?


  13. 4th Dimension says:

    Well as I said I have a bit of a writeup on StrikerS. It’s actually unfinished, but I would like to see your thoughts too. It’s largely structured around me going over the ideas that I like in Nanoha franchise and how good were they done in StrikerS.

    It includes things like this:
    2.1. Magic, Magitech and Combat
    Magic and magic SF is mostly fine. The attention to detail, as much as there is, is still there what with consistent usage and effects of spells (the manga gives stats on spells used) and defenses and in general of the mechanics of the magic. In fact, we see even more of the Sci-Fi world of TSAB systems powered by magic. There is even that speech by Fate trying to build the history on how administrated systems came to rely on magic. I did not buy the security aspect, more on that in a later section, but it did seem as something a person educated from birth on dangers of mass weapons would say.
    Some have complained about inclusion of all these SF elements into what they consider a magical girl show. I have a complaint that the Midchilda is NOT visually SF ENOUGH compared to what we saw of their main office in A’s. I would have expected mile high towers and flying cars, but I guess I will have to settle for bright white buildings of glass, holoscreens and cyborgs.
    Some people have complained about the inclusion of cyborgs into the franchise, as in their opinion they have no place in a magical girl story. I tend to disagree. For one Nanoha while having some of the themes of Magical Girl stories (friendship triumphing over anything for example) has for a long time been using a lot of SF asthetics. Nanoha hasn’t been called Girl Gundam for nothing. Hell the TSAB HQ in A’s was even more futuristic. As such cyborgs do fit the setting and do feel the idea of the season dealing with a more technological rather than magical threat than the last two season. It is unfortunate though that in the end the entire thing with cyborgs is not as well explored is it should have been what not really dealing in too much detail the differences between a cyborg and a normal powerful mage.
    Lore wise there are some nibbling issues with them though. And they tend to concern the fact that Subaru and Ginga seemed to have been implanted, their important organs and musculature got replaced by cybernetics. That is a problem since while human bodies can grow on their own, plastics and metal doesn’t. Now they do mention that they often had to go to hospital, so I guess during those visits they probably used MAGIC to extend their cybernetic musculature. Also once their Linker Cores got working you could probably justify the growth as internal systems using the MAGIC to grow.
    They did do some “creative” interpretations of lore. Nanoha’s usage of Wide Area Search in the conditions of heavy AMF should probably not have worked as it did during the battle in the Cradle. With Teana’s pre RF6 “device” (it’s not an intelligent device, hell it’s not even a storage device (like the one Chrono used before Durandal) but simply a way for her to interface with a cartridge system) they seemingly forgot that the cartridges are not actually bullets, but simply a storage for magic. As such Teana should not have to “fire” them out of a gun looking device. The barrel is therefore completely useless since there is no projectile. Now some of this can be explained by Teana being REALLY magically weak, weak enough to not be able to create shots without powering through cartridges. And they do show her firing multiple consecutive shots on one cartridge. Also the Mode 2 of Cross Mirage is ridiculous, not because it’s a blade, she might really need a melee option, but because it has all those spikes practically designed to injure Teana. I guess it can be explained through MAGIC by saying that the blades cannot injure the person who is powering them.
    And while I’m at Teana, Subaru’s design with roller skates, if I’m honest (and I’m someone that likes her), is ridiculous. Rollerblades should only work If the surface is hard enough, so ANYWHERE off hard surfaces (which are really only present in cities) she should bog down quickly. I guess she can use Air Road for off-roading purposes and we do see her rolling around on a forest floor with no problem, but it’s still silly. Good thing that she never had to assault Jail’s lab (or the Cradle), or she might have been defeated by strong AMF fields coupled with a really shaggy carpet.
    While we are on design and such, I did like that they have seriously cut on transformation sequences. Most characters get like only one at the start and maybe one for the final battle.
    Still even with these complaints I did not particularly take note of them when I was watching since the combat was still fun (and as I said there are ways to explain the designs) for me even though it did focus a bit more on punching side of things which is not my thing but there were extended sequences in the skies so that was a plus. On top of it all we get proper displays of firepower from the old crew. Not as often as I would like, and they go after Hayate with the nerfbat HARD, but often enough. One reason why I think the number of Numbers should have been reduced limiting them to couple lieutenants of Jail commanding his gadget army, is because that would allow Hayate to be usefull by nuking the shit of the main force while the others handle the stronger one and lieutenants.
    One thing that is lacking in the show are proper duels, and that is due to the fact that apart from Zest and later Vivio, there are really no proper mages or knights in Jail’s camp. Numbers themselves aren’t really set up for dueling since they are specialists. As such they don’t work as well alone since they are specialists and therefore kind of one trick pony. Uno, Due, Quatro, Sein and probably Otto are not really combat types but support at best and civvies (Uno) at worst. The rest of them have one ability at which they are REALLY good but nothing else. Basically if that ability does not win them the fight they are going down.
    The need to show all these Numbers at their best, showing off their before never seen attacks means that we are treated to a series of one sided engagements where Numbers dominate simply by achieving surprise (the abilities have not been seen before) and ganging up on protagonists and then flee as soon as things get though. Which is FUCKING annoying. In the end the protagonists trash them pretty conclusively since they are able to pin them down to a position they cannot retreat from and now know what is their thing and cannot be surprised and they go down pretty quickly. The best showcase of their advantages and vunerability is Teana’s fight. Together acting as one the Numbers are greater than the sum of parts since they complement each other. Nove is a front attacker, Wendy is Center Guard and Dido is wing, but to be able to match actual mages they need perfect synchronization and if someone can disrupt that it’s over for them since they really don’t have much in the way of defenses apart from AMF and a light barrier jacket.
    Which is why I prefer things before they showed up since back then when the protagonists cut loose they cut loose and problems get nicely trashed. Also there was no reason bigger and more dangerous gadgets that could require cooperation to bring down couldn’t have shown up, and they wouldn’t suffer from the problem of plot armor making them invulnerable so they could be faced in final fight.
    Conclusion: The StrikerS although it had some questionable choices mostly did not fail me on this front delivering more Magitech Sci-Fi goodness with over the high firepower fights that I like. The standouts were the finishing of Quattro (damn that BITCH!), whenever you let Vita loose, Hayate throwing nukes and Fate graduating to becoming the premieer speedster of the show. The Numbers though, and anything to do with them were fucking annoying though and a big fly in the soup for me which the second part of the season was considerably less likeable to me.
    Some of it might be a bit out of date since I did change some of my opinions.


  14. Carthienes says:

    50 – 60 pages already?

    That not really much when you think about it. Prepare yourself for a four-figure number. Just don’t call this paltry volume “ridiculous”.

    Though I suppose that would depend on the size of the page and text. Not to mention the degree of cross-referencing involved in this endeavour.

    Moving on: you are not alone. The Fan base is strongly divided on StrikerS – some treat it as the Holy Grail of Nanoha, whilst others refuse to acknowledge anything that happened after A’s. Most seem to linger somewhere in the middle, with those that tend towards the latter view being more vocal than those like myself. Moving from a Magical Girl Anime inspired by Military Sci-Fi to a Military Sci-Fi inspired by Magical Girl Anime lead to a notable shift – it can not be denied that there are differences, and that those differences will matter to some fans. It also can not be surprising that opinion is divided as to whether the differences are for better or worse – I consider them to balance out, but that is merely my own humble opinion. My less-humble opinion is that those who vocally push the more extreme opinions (either way) are wastes of words.

    Following the links provided, I find myself pleased that the thread seems to be based more on gentle puzzlement and curiosity than fanatical devotion. Also a little saddened that StrikerS defenders are so thin on the ground.

    The Appeal of Nanoha began with the Schoolgirl Gundam concept – it took elements from Magical Girl and Humongous Mecha anime (I think that’s the right terms) and fused them into something that fans of either could enjoy (to say nothing of Fans of both). StrikerS biggest flaw was leaning too far one way and abandoning the pretence of balance – those who where drawn to the Magical Girl gundam concept would inevitably be put off by the move. It has been well established that fanbases tend to be either split or repulsed when you change the formula – whilst I do not feel the same way, I can easily understand why some do.

    “a wired combination of military SF, magi tech supported SF that is rule heavy and almost details first rather than drama first, optimistic stories with determinator heroes which are entertaining on their own and antagonists that have sympathetic reasons for being antagonistic.” – Well Put. Personally, I would hold that the setting is rules-first rather than the stories (most of the rules are really explored in the supplementary materials). The stories are more character-centred than rules based, though they still make an effort to avoid contradicting the established rules. At least, they used to. I’ve gone on about the solidity of the setting and the depth of the characters at length before.

    And sentimentality towards Nanoha being explicitly an Air Mage and liking open blue skies I can certainly relate to. If only, if only.


  15. 4th Dimension says:

    Well 50-60 is so far. I need to work on the Story section at some point and review the arcs the story has and it’s beats.

    I don’t remember any more, links to which forums did I provide you with? AnimeSuki? Because that one is largely dormant and my attempts to start talks there have failed. I have been more successful over on, but they have certain DOGMATIC tendencies to certain character interpretations which can stifle discourse. Anyway the opinion from one guy there willing to talk has been that the reason he hates StrikerS is that it was not done well. He doesn’t like the fact that StrikerS introduced new nominal protagonists where they were not needed. This has then led him to a major case of story collapse which prevents him from trusting the writers. Not to mention that since the script was definitely cut a lot, a lot of plot points can seem to be done merely for shock sake. And I can’t really say that he is completely wrong about many of his complaints. So there is another camp, of people that don’s care about the setting shift, but do care about the change of character focus and degradation of the storytelling on display.
    I am yet to encounter/discuss with a person who dislikes StrikerS simply because of the genre change, but then again seeing how the community is more or less dead/dormant there aren’t really that many data points to extrapolate from.

    Oh yeah, the stories are certainly character conflict based, but that is what makes them fun. At least in the first two, and one subplot in StrikerS, the conflicts were based around sensible and sympathetic issues making the antagonists human. While the motivations are drama first in that they do tend to bend the lore and introduce new rules to set up the conflict (Book of Darkness draining Linker Cores etc.) the resolutions then use the rules set up to constrain the characters and explain their actions which is rules first.

    Which is where my main complaint to StrikerS lays. The antagonists were weak as shit, apart from the TSAB ones but they in turn were underused, boiling down to Big Bad Mad Scientist Jail with no scruples and his brainwashed “daughters”, and his reason for his acts can be boiled down to “because I can” and “because I love inflicting misery on others”. I simply do not find such antagonists appealing but RAGE inducing. Secondly due to the number of antagonists to give them all a spotlight they had to introduce long periods in the middle of the show where the antagonists basically run all over the protagonists with ease, sometimes simply because Hayate is forcibly stuck with Idiot Ball to set up situations where the antagonists can win. All of which is weak and not something I wanted to see.
    Secondly since they focus on Jail and his oodles of Numbers, once they get involved a lot of opportunities for character development get thrown out of the airlock, and Hayate is the biggest example of that. That girl ot completely shafted by StrikerS and the show ostensibly was supposed to be about showing her drive to protect the people and where it takes her.
    So as I said StrikerS is a direction I wanted the series to take, it’s just disappointing that it was not as well done from storytelling perspective as I wanted it to. But we’ll get to discussing it in more detail in due time.

    Air Mage: What can I say, I’m a flyboy at heart.


  16. Carthienes says:

    I doubt that you would find anyone who dislikes an entry in any series Purely due to a Genre Change, if for no other reason than the fact that Genre’s are purely arbitrary distinctions with no meaning outside of our own categorisation, as cross-genre stories like Nanoha show. That said, a genre shift, by it’s very nature, implies a number of other changes in the presentation and/or content. It is possible to just change the arbitrary label applied to a particular series, but unless you change the underlying formula no-one is liable to buy it. My pint above was that they had changed the underlying formula – a “shift from Magical Girl to Science Fiction genres” is shorthand for the numerous changes that would entail – there is no way they wouldn’t offend someone.


    This is not a synopsis.

    The plot was certainly busy – there seemed to be a distinct lack of ’empty space’ in the plot, which is what I most noticed during the first run through. True, there are plot elements that do not get explored in as much depth as they could have been, but that is neither unexpected nor unsurprising. Scraping the bottom of the metaphorical barrel mid-plot is rarely a good sign

    That said, the plot does improve measurably if you go through the supplementary materials. It seems that the season was straining at the seams, causing extra plot to leak through. That is why I read through the Manga as I was watching StrikerS – it adds depth to a deep plot.

    The biggest issue seems to be the number of overlapping plots competing for space. This sometimes keeps us from linking the plot threads as we should, meaning the plot thickens on rewatching. I do not mind the hints we get of other things going on, though. It is a reminder that the story takes place in a world bigger than Riot Force 6.


  17. 4th Dimension says:

    I agree that the manga does deepen some aspects of the plot. It helps with setting up the Gadgets problem and introduces the Forwards, Subaru and Teana especially. But on the other hand I don’t remember it doing too much to help the complete lack of the investigative side of things though.

    As for the Plot, what struck me when I rewatched it is that there actually AREN’T that many plot threads that actually go anywhere. Oh sure there are loads of them that are hinted at, the entire TSAB High Council/Hayate thing is one example, but don’t really influence the events apart from serving as info dumps.

    As for the actual plot lines they aren’t really that many of them and they are mostly self contained because the entire season is mostly structured around the idea of giving focus to any one of them for couple of episodes so they can form an arc throughout them. The arc then usually in the end is capped off with a fight.
    This is in short how I see them, but not really detailed as I plan to do these.

    Like first 5 episodes are basically intro to the RF6 that in short sketches up the duties and positions of the RF6 members, some of their motivations, how they fights and what they are likely to be doing when facing any situation. Hayate is in overall command from Long Arch, and is the one that put the unit together. Nanoha is training their cadets. Fate is investigating and backing Nanoha up in fights. The Forwards mostly do ground things since they can not fly and Teana is the leader/Center, Subaru is the Strong Guy/Front Attacker, Erio is there to spoil enemy attacks and Wing and Caro is The Girl/Supoport. It all comes together during their Train fight.

    Episodes 6-9 are essentially The Teana’s Arc part of the story. Her issues get set up during Hotel Augusta and resolved mostly by the end of episode 9. The episodes do some other things like introducing the first set of human antagonists in the form of Zest and Lutecia, we get to see some of Vita’s motivations etc. but Teana’s arc is the big thing.

    Episodes 10-12 cover the first big multi episode fight that is probably supposed to partially show that Teana and Forwards are working much better (which caps of the Teana’s arc), gives us a chance of seeing Agito and Lutecia going full force on the Forwards and once they are defeated it ratchets the stakes by introducing Numbers whoose abilities present an asymmetric response to the abilities of the protagonists and seem unstoppable. It also introduces Vivio the key component of the plot AND starts of the next arc.

    Episodes 13-15 are what I like to call the Vivio arc because IMO the main focus is on showing how Vivio interacts with the rest of the characters with the meta goal of making us care for he kid. Which did work on me, but I can also understand why some think she took over the show because in these episodes not much else happens. Oh they are supposed to introduce the political aspect of the case by properly introducing Regius and the Prophecy and giving Hayate a scene where she broods on her duty vis a vis honoring Reinforce’s sacrifice, but a whole lot of that doesn’t really in the end pay off much. Which is why I call this part the Vivio arc. Oh and Ginga/Subaru relationship is properly introduced so when she is taken the gut punch is all the greater.

    Episodes 16-17 should probably be called the Numbers episodes since the entire GF HQ attack incident seemed to have been designed to let all of them show off their stuff, which is what happens here. Vita and Subaru get some time for themselves but that is it as most of the other time is taken with fighting or setting up the fight.

    Episodes 18-20 don’t really have an arc of their own but simply serve as unwind episodes that give PoV to pretty much all the characters good or bad to show how they are reacting to what happened. Plus it sets up the final fight. I guess we could call this the Infodumping arc because a lot of Infodumping that explains what was going on behind the scenes happens here. This is the info that was probably supposed to have been discovered during investigation but since that never happened they used a lot less subtle tool of straight up telling us.

    Episodes 21-26 all deal with the final fight. There are arcs contained in each of the fights (Subaru vs Ginga, Teana vs the Numbers, Fate vs Jail, Nanoha vs Quattro/Vivio, Vita vs Engine, Lutecia vs nope don’t care, Zest vs Regius) but they often overlap each other and the PoV jumps a LOT all over the place.
    What is telling is that we don’t actually get an epilogue episode, they were that strapped for time and the epilogue is tacked on the back of episode 26 whose first part was still set during the battle.
    In fact now that I think about it the actual epilogue happens in the manga doesn’t it?

    As I was saying that is not really that many major plots: Teana’s, Vivio’s, Jail/Numbers, Zest/Regius/politics, Subaru/Ginga’s and Lutecia’s. Vita, Rein and Agito got their own small ones too but those pale next to the big ones, and of those Regius’s one and Subaru’s one are introduced late and are less developed than they should have been.
    So not really that many moving parts that influence the events, but they did try to make them look more complicated by piling world/lore development on some of them.


  18. Carthienes says:

    I really need to update this more often.

    Anyway – I think we may have a slightly different idea of what constitutes a plot arc. Maybe I’m thinking of character arcs instead. That said:


    Entries in the Nanoha franchise seem to live and die by their characters. Certainly that is how I view them, and I have seen little to contradict that from others. Unfortunately, with so many ‘important’ characters there is little time to flesh them out.


    The Old Aces: It’s good to see some familiar faces. Whilst it is nice to see them grown up, It would also have been nice to see them a little sooner. Though, after besting the Jewel Seed Case and the Book of Darkness case, with only two casualties between them, in the space of a single year, almost anything else would be anticlimactic. It’s hardly surprising that few believe what happened, though it seems their reputations are substantial regardless (helped by a few good connections). I like that it is mentioned that actually completing some more public (and believable) missions will enhance their credibility.

    Of course, it was also wonderful to see the looks on the faces of their new allies when the Aces finally get to cut loose (their enemies rarely get the chance).

    Not much character progression from these three, which makes sense as they’ve already done that in the previous two seasons. More specifically:

    Nanoha: A driving force (it is her show, after all), she takes much more of a back seat in this season, preparing her students to win the day instead. That said, she directly or indirectly impacts just about everything that happens. Some interesting back story that happened to her while we were away gets referred to a couple of times – of all the Aces, she seems to have developed most since As.

    Fate: Has come to terms with her past and present circumstances. Rather underused, but always there when it counts. Unfortunately, half of what she does is just glimpsed at in passing – showing that she is doing it, without actually showing her doing it.

    Hayate: Begins as a driving force – she creates Riot Force Six, thus precipitating much of the plot. Later takes a back seat, dealing with logistics and paperwork. Also liaises with others, but avoids heavy political interactions. Rarely seen in combat, as she has been revealed to be limited to arcane artillery – implied to be the strongest and least effective mage yet seen. Whilst it is nice to see her out and about, it would be nice if her powers were not quite so inhibiting (trading one disability for another is not entertaining).

    Other Old Returns: By and large, shafted.

    Wolkenritter – the status of the Wolkenritter seems to have taken a definite hit, but at least they are still being shown as characters in their own right – many other series would have reduced them to extensions of Hayate. We see Vita most (being as she is also a trained trainer) but Signum takes more prominence later on. Zafira, conversely, is all but absent. Shamal is quite active, but not typically part of the main action.

    Lindy and Chrono – play politics in the background, rarely seen.

    Arf – a few glimpses here and there – she is genre-savvy enough to know that she is not wanted by the series creator anymore and tries her best to hide.

    Yuuno – Despite being in a prime position to provide the data and/or analysis Riot Force six needs, he gets two passing mentions – once so Fate can talk about something the audience saw and tie it back to a previous season, once to provide a little exposition (which boils down to “That bad thing Very bad” anyway). He was so very nearly discarded that Arf even felt safe hiding with him.

    Arisa and Suzuka – not so much as a mention, regrettably.

    Stars Team: Appropriately named – more often than not, they seem to be the stars of the show. Subaru and Teana have a strong team dynamic that clearly shows their long association. There are a good few chapters of the Manga devoted to the start of their association, but they clearly developed to compliment each other (something which they typically do well). Their stories have strong overlaps. Nanoha and Vita lead from the front, fearlessly confronting whatever threatens their charges and inspiring them to greater heights. That said, the stupid author fiat rescue in the final fight stinks – It’s not a reversal, it’s ham-fisted writing.

    Teana – Starts with major attitude problems that only get worse each time they cause her problems. Finally gets Nanoha of all people to loose her temper before getting some sense quite literally blasted into her. Eventually develops confidence in herself and her team and starts working with them rather than just in the same place. Gives me PMMM flashbacks in the final battle (“As long as you remember her, you are not alone”). I don’t mind the gun devices, but replacing the barrel with every reload? Not so good.

    Subaru – Actually has just as much of a character arc as Teana, but it is not as obvious because she disguises it better – at the start she is essentially faking the character growth that she is going to genuinely get before the series is out. Eventually gains confidence in her magic and her past, helped by her device whom she raised – it was nice to see character growth in a device again.

    Lightning Team – Fast as their namesake, they get somewhat shafted in that most of their character arcs happen off-screen and the animé is just polishing it (with a few flashbacks to sketch in the dots). Also, the investigation takes place mostly off-screen and Signum lacks confidence in her teaching ability. All of which contributes to Lightning playing second fiddle to Stars – though not as badly as some returning characters, I must say. What little we see of the dynamic between Fate and her children is sweet – good to see that she does not appear to have been scarred by her time under Precia. Again, the stupid author fiat rescue in the final fight stinks – it’s not a reversal, it’s ham-fisted writing.

    Erio – the first one mentioned in the Manga, he is clearly following Fate’s example (lightning melee) despite his Belkan style. That said, he doesn’t have Fate’s versatility, and needed to learn not to allow his focus to become a distraction. Having already overcome his past, he now builds a future.

    Caro – still suffering something of a lack of confidence (though like Subaru, she has learned to fake it) she first finds genuine confidence in desperation, then despair, and finally in determination (rescuing Erio, protecting HQ, and rescuing Lucetiarespectively). Surprisingly selfless from the beginning, she also has to be taught to look out for herself so she can survive to continue helping others. A gentle personality – until pushed. Sounds somewhat familiar.

    A bit disjointed – my apologies. I hope this makes sense, and I’ll try to be more prompt with the next one.


  19. 4th Dimension says:

    When you refer to the author fiat rescue, do you mean the rescue of Hayate and Nanoha on the Cradle by S&T and rescue of Fate by Erio? Because the former one is fine IMO if one accepts the idea of suddenly strong AMF but the later one is stupid. Especially the dialogue preceding it where Caro says how Voltaire will be helping with the cleanup of the drones, yet where he is? Is he in the City where a legion of drones is about to descend upon the city from the Cradle? No they are in the woods next to Jail’s base where most of the drones are done with.

    As for the rest I mostly agree. Especially about the part about Fate and Hayate getting shafted for attention. It’s probably because the entire investigative/politics subplot got cut.

    Anyway this is my excerpt that deals with S&T:

    2.2.5. The Forwards in general and positives
    On this front the show is weaker. Well it’s 50/50 for me. I liked the stars while I couldn’t care less for the lightning part of the Forwards.
    The idea of trying to introduce the new, next generation was not a bad one IMO. The old crew was beginning to be a bit too OP for most problems that do not threaten the fabric of the universe, and would have allowed scaling back a bit the scope in future stories, so that Midchilda/Earth doesn’t have to be in mortal danger every week. Unfortunately, they did not do too well and only half of the Forwards really got any development. Also at the end of As the cast was already on the LAARGE side, almost unmanageably large, and adding 4 more main characters would not help that.
    As I said I like Teana and Subaru. First off, unlike the other two their backgrounds were intimately connected with the source of the crisis. Subaru is a cyborg, like the Numbers (but Jail is not her creator according to Episode 18), and Teana’s brother was posthumously destroyed by darker side of TSAB through office politics. UNFORTUNATELY, apart from setting that up, the plot doesn’t really deal with it at all. Subaru in the end fights her sister and is not reaching to the cyborg Numbers which would have been much more in her personality. Teana’s little arc is a tiny bit more connected in that she does manage to exorcise some of her daemons of family failure through her successes but she really doesn’t get any participation in exploring the darker side of TSAB simply because it doesn’t get explored AT ALL.

    While their relationship and character types are tropey as fuck (Subaru being the overly happy one and Teana being the broody tesundere one) their interactions were still fun to me and they do have a chemistry when together, even though it’s on the oxygenation (flammable) side. I also liked how their different reactions to their moments of self doubt cause them to be able to pull each other out of the muck, which is why command kept putting them together in units. Whenever a daunting problem appears and dark thoughts bother Subaru that she is not strong enough to overcome this problem she tends to give up and devolves into her crybaby self, which actually makes her not strong enough to overcome. Teana on the other hand tends to grit her teeth and solder on and keeps fighting at her top strength. But her strength is not her strong side, her mind is, and her mind tends to suffer the worst in such cases since her insecurities tend to force her to be insecure in her decision making, which then make her overthink herself into defeat.
    The way they usually solved that is by Teana reminding Subaru that she knows Subaru is strong enough and that she is counting on her, which works because Tana knows Subaru’s strength and Subaru herself is kind of obsessed with not letting Teana down. When reverse happens, the problem is usually that Teana has overthought herself into concluding that defeat is imminent and there is no hope of victory, to which Subaru (who really doesn’t understand the problem nor Teana’s thinking) responds by refuting such thinking and probably annoying Teana in some way which allows her to restart her thinking and to find a more suitable solution.
    Basically Teana doesn’t believe there is anything through which Subaru cannot punch through, while Subaru doesn’t believe there is any situation to which Teana cannot find a solution. Also the both their final fights were about them learning to overcome this problem of theirs alone without the other present.

    Both received character development, but I liked Teana’s a more than Subaru’s. Subaru’s one is based around the old tired “discovering that the power was all along within you” type of thing that is annoying because is often boils down to using that “moment of discovery” to explain why for 90% of the fight the protagonist was getting his shit kicked in only to win in the end.
    In general Subaru doesn’t really feel suited to frontline combat roles against other people, especially people she might like which causes her to pull her punches and then easily get discouraged. She is personally brave but she doesn’t have that switch in her mind that allows her to accept that hurting other individuals might be necessary for their own good, like Nanoha for example has. If Nanoha determines that talking is out and the only other option is to violently put somebody out of the fight (without killing them) she is not going to pull any punches whatsoever as long as her opponent survives.
    Luckily for Subaru she had the Mach Caliber to bail her out and was able in the end to overcome her insecurities alone without Teana’s help and in a way fulfill her dream of becoming someone on which others can count on to save them. Plus, her later transfer to Search and Rescue does fit her a lot better than a purely combat role.

    Teana’s arc I liked more, and that is strange for me to say since it involved more angst. Still it was relatively short (just three episodes 7-9) and IMO her reasons to doubt herself were reasonable from her point of view. Her thinking might seem to have come out of nowhere, but her analysis of their team never struck me as particularly out of character. It’s the old “If you look at your team and can’t decide on who the fuckup/odd man out is, then it’s likely it’s you”. So she looked at her team/the people around her to decide who is the weakest link and found Subaru (who she knows from personal experience while VERY rough around the edges is a powerhouse) and Erio and Caro a pair of kids that are able to match her at age 10 AND both have rare valuable abilities (Erio has rare Mana Conversion Affinity and Caro can summon Motherfucking Dragons). So while so far she has been performing okay against gadgets (and only because Cross Mirage is now helping her with forming the bullets (Episode 5), which she points out does not sit well with her) okay is not enough given her team and given her goal of becoming an Enforcer. Enforcers aren’t okay mages. Enforcers are trusted to be able to perform alone in most cases, against MOST opponents in MOST situations and come out on top. Which among others is the reason she kept pushing herself. In her mind she could not afford any slip ups. She had to give her 120% constantly and her record has to show that not only is she an exceptional mage, she is a mage with great initiative who doesn’t wait around for orders (shown when she requested from Shamal feed on the going ons around the Hotel).
    Also it probably still stings that the only reason she reached the end of her B rank exam is because Subaru literally carried her over the line. To a person like Teana that would mean she didn’t really earn that exam. Not to mention that she has been paired with Subaru again and again for the past few years no matter where they get sent. So by this point she has to start wondering why is this happening? Which means there is probably a tiny voice inside her head telling her that maybe this is another case of people wanting Subaru but accepting Teana as well since she is a part of the package. Which would make Fate’s comment that she could mentor her to be an Enforcer worse because it would feel like she is simply saying that to get her on board and can’t possibly mean it since she is just a new mage that has even failed her B rank exam (they had to retake it).
    Her estimations of her own abilities was not particularly logical, but that is how inferiority complexes and low sense of self worth work. You might be actually best at something with a list of recommendations a mile long and still that tiny voice in your head that is constantly whispering in your ear that you haven’t really earned ANY of this would keep fucking with your mind. I know this because I too have felt similar things. My work can be exemplary and I would be elated for couple of days after being commend, but give it time and soon I would start finding terrible flaws in it and again start doubting myself. And logic doesn’t really help, and the only way to shake it is to have physical proofs of your work often in the form of praise by the people you trust.
    Which is why the fact that she was greatly contributing to the combat effectiveness of the Forwards through taking command informally was not enough to satisfy her. To her her plans probably felt obvious and something other Forwards would have probably recommended had they been paying attention.
    Hell now that I think more on it, learning that she is only there to command would still have led her down this path since again her ultimate goal is not to be a commander of a team, but an independent problem solver, an Enforcer, which means her personal combat capabilities need to be up to snuff. There is probably a VERY good reason Teana went with the plan to engage Nanoha in melee and was shown practicing basics of it with Subaru (well except the plot needed to make Teana fuck up on many different levels for DRAMA!!!) was that she felt that her melee abilities were being ignored and she was under threat of being cast as just a squishy Center Guard, not suitable to operating outside of teams. Also the reason that in both cases of her lapse of judgement the plan called for Subaru to act as decoy and for Teana to actually deliver the blow, which is reverse of their usual dynamic, but in her mind would show that she has offensive capabilities necessary for an Enforcer.
    Which is why Nanoha was so successful in defusing her when she finally got to talk to her. She commended her for her leadership, and basically dashing Teana’s fears that she was there solely because Subaru was there. Also importantly she validated Teana’s thinking that she does need to learn how to perform in melee by showing her the Mode 2 of Cross Mirage, meaning Nanoha from the start was planning the same fate for her that she was striving for.
    Now it could be argued, quite easily in fact, that the lot of this is never explicitly stated in the show and therefore we can never be certain of it and therefore this character interpretation is invalid. I would agree halfway. Yes, we will never know for certain if I’m completely correct (although I think this view is largely supported by the show and supplemental material) but I don’t find making character interpretations wrong at all. Hell if the character was able to strike a chord with anybody like this than it’s a good character.
    As for the weather or not such character should be included in the show, I would say yes it should since the show was lacking a fight smarter not stronger character with the putting on the buss of Chrono, which you should note she shares quite a few traits and approaches to problems with, and such characters are necessary to balance out the combat and show that pure power is not everything and tactics are important.
    Then again, I like Teana enough that IMO following her around as she solves cases, which would often include cases where TSA darker side is shown, would be a great idea for some sort of side content, so I might be a tinsy bit biased. Also kudos to the show on creating a character whose arc worked on angst that worked for me.
    As I said she reminds me of Chrono a bit. He also is somebody who is weaker if you take into account only the pure magical strength, but he offsets it by fighting smart, which is why anyone who describes fighting him describes the fight as traps and binds for days. And similarly to him she tends to be much less friendly when on mission and will do almost anything to ensure the mission success. This is probably most visible when they first ran into Lutecia face to face in episode 11 and she is trying to walk away with the Relic. Subaru tries talking with her as if Lutecia doesn’t know what the Relic is which of course doesn’t work. Teana meanwhile simply strolls up to her cloaked and puts a blade to Lutecia’s throat telling her to surrender and hand over the relic.

    An unrelated point: They seemed to have together inherited Nanoha’s skills and character traits. Subaru is the strong fortress type that hits like a train, can shrug off damage and is happy and friendly with everyone (too friendly even), while Teana inherited the ability to quickly form efficient and inventive tactics and being a shooting mage.

    COMPLETELY unrelated note 2: As far as I’m concerned I will always consider Teana’s arc to be that one of a Magical Batman in training. She is in a crimefighting unit with essentially demigods, while she is a garden variety mage and is still able to perform at their or above their level through only skills and tactics and is the one they turn to for tactics and planning. Plus, she cannot really fly like all of them but has to rely on grappling hooks and tricks. Also she is being driven to train hard by family tragedy. Plus, her best buddy is the powerhouse type whose problem never really is not being able to punch something hard, is able to withstand terrible punishment and prefers helping people and being friendly to hunting criminals. So Superman basically. I can readily imagine Teana in a dark costume standing on a roof edge during night in in Cranagan brooding on crime while methodically pursuing and studying a criminal enterprise so she can best take it apart. Meanwhile Subaru is in a bright costume flying around inspiring people and rescuing them from danger. Which is basically where they end up in the show. Teana is a black clad enforcer while Subaru is in search and rescue.


  20. Carthienes says:

    To answer your question – both. I put it in the Stars section and again in the Lightning section because I think that it applies to the trapping of Nanoha and the Near-death of Fate equally. They should have handled it better, or just skip it – I think that it was supposed to be a “the student has grown up and returned to outshine the teacher” moment (I don’t know the trope name), but it just struck me as ham-fistedly dragging out the battle for another half-episode.

    For those that think the series should be longer, I would counter with the possibility of splitting it in two – Two series (perhaps 2/3 the length?) One focussing on each squad. With Lightning showing more of the prequel and build-up (given that, as I mentioned above, most of their characters’ arcs take place before the start anyway) as well as the investigation. Showing things from different perspectives in different series, as opposed to the same one (which they sometimes try here) would leave more time for the actual story, which is always good.

    Anyway, on to CHARACTERS Part Two:


    Jail Scalietti – Designed to be the perfect Morally Bankrupt Genius, and gone horribly right, Jail is arguably the main ‘villain’ of the series. The other villains are either working for him, or trying to manipulate him (the latter don’t come off too well). He is a broken person, much like Precia was, the difference being that he was designed from the beginning to be broken – He is obsessed with science, particularly the science of Human Enhancement and Lost Logia, and that is the driving passion he is willing to sacrifice everything for. Interestingly, and something that a lot of people seem to miss, is that he does have moral standards (despite his creators’ best efforts) – It’s just that he values morality lower than science. Hence he will always do the scientifically valuable thing if morals would otherwise get in the way, but when he has nothing to loose he is quite happy to do the right thing. I may not agree with his reasons, but at least he does always have a reason for the things he does (a reason that is not “this is fun” either – Quattro)

    The Numbers: Best taken as a group – they occupy an uneasy middle ground between main characters and mooks. The lieutenants of Jail’s army, Combat Machines with brains, they guide and spearhead the antagonists combat efforts. In general, they are specialists and Glass Cannon (extremely effective and fragile) – when they are new on the scene, their specialisation plus their unknown status makes them extremely effective – but catch one alone, or outside her specialised role, and she will fall quickly. Most don’t get a three dimensional character over the course of the animé (a few miss out even in the Manga) but they do at least get a speciality and personality trait apiece. They feel that, a combat machines designed to kill, they can not have goals or dream of their own.

    Quattro – The most openly villainous of the Antagonists, and the only one to enjoy making others suffer. Non-combatant, and thinks little of anyone but Jail. The most well-developed Number Quattro is the sort of manipulative witch we love to hate (Apologies to the Crozelgs). Also part of the reason her sisters are so lacking in personality – she erased “superfluous” characteristics from them.

    Nove – Eager for a fight, but quick to anger when suffering the consequences. Best exemplifies the “I have no choice” belief.

    Sein – Cheeky prankster, and fast with wisecracks. She is also quick to pull her sisters out through walls when rescue is needed, but won’t stand long in a strait up fight.

    Deici – bombardment cannon – patient and brutal, precise and indiscriminate. She is also the only Number to show character development in the course of the series (lampshaded by Quattro in episode 22: “Before you saw them you could easily pull the trigger”)

    Artificial Mage Team – significantly more versatile than the Numbers, they seem to be Jail’s answer to ‘outside problems’. Disparate backgrounds, but they seem to band together as outsiders. Also considered harder to control.

    Lucetia – the most compliant, probably as a result of Quattro meddling with her brain. Focussed on reviving her mother at all costs, she rarely shows emotion (when it is it is never good, which may explain why she prefers flat). Scared of being lonely, somewhat devoted to her summons (except perhaps the silver bugs?) Seems to have been modified to skew her judgement, though not to the extent of Jail. Gets better in the epilogue.

    Zest – an old knight, revived (badly) by Jail as a test piece. Wants answers for his squads death (which he blames himself for) and to protect Lutecia (daughter of a mage who died under his command) – easy to manipulate as a blunt instrument, but has too few buttons for others to control him precisely.

    Agito – Fiercely devoted to the ones that saved her from a life of tortuous experiments, but despises anyone indulging in similar (which accounts for most of the cast). Her rage burns hot and fierce, which causes her to make problems she later regrets. Unison device, but not a very good judge of others.

    Gadget Drones – mindless mooks. Literally.

    Regius – Victim of the Sunken Gains fallacy – he started gaining power, strengthening Mid-Childa’s Ground Forces in one particular pattern (and obsessed with the Combat Cyborg programme). The greater the costs became, the more dedicated he became, until he could not bear to see anything that might detract from the PLAN. Comes back to bite him big time, when the criminal he hates saves the world he loved from the criminal he hired.

    The Council – A set of brains in jars. Increasingly out of touch with the world they are trying to rule from the shadows. Think that synthesising morally bankrupt mad scientists, and employing Lost Logia and Artificial Mages is the best way forward. Hoist by their own petard.

    Hope I’m not rambling too much. It’s just a little tricky to do a concise summary of characters in general.


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