Friday, October 1, 2010
I knew that I would love Nanoha StrikerS, and, surprise, I did.
StrikerS takes place ten years after A's, with Nanoha, Fate, Hayate, and the Wolkenritter living in Mid-Childa (i.e. the magic users' world) after having worked their way up the ranks of the Time-Space Administration Bureau. Nanoha is training new mages as a wonderfully (and not unexpectedly) hard ass combat instructor in the HQ Forces, along with Fate and Vita. Hayate is working as a Lieutenant Colonel and, along with the Wolkenritter, still shaking off the stigma of being associated with the Book of Darkness incident. Hayate forms a new unit, the Sixth Mobile Division, including Nanoha, Fate, and their students Subaru, Teana, Caro, and Erio.
About halfway through the series they find a little girl named Vivio who, for various reasons, is the key for the grand master plan of this season's villain, mad scientist Jail Scaglietti. (A criminal Fate has been hunting for years who, ironically, helped Precia create the technology that created Fate.) Nanoha and Fate, who live together (and despite their presumably decent salaries and the spacious size of their apartment, are sharing one bed- just putting that out there), start taking care of Vivio and she starts calling them both "Mama." (The evidence is piling up, Watson.)
Scaglietti's underlings, the Numbers, attack a TSAB press conference, making a wreck out of the military and kidnapping Vivio and Subaru's sister Ginga. Nanoha and the rest of the Sixth Mobile Division need to stop Scaglietti's plan- involving unethical human experiments, reviving the technology of a lost civilization, etc, business as usual for Nanoha- and save Vivio and Ginga.
Of course they're successful and everybody gets their chance to shine in a heady culmination of fight sequences. I loved seeing Fate go into sonic-mode and the part where Nanoha located Quattro and Quattro was like, "Dear god, she's going to shoot through the ship!!" (If Nanoha wants to "befriend" you, she'll do it.) Tea was pretty awesome, taking on three Numbers at once. I'm also especially happy that the Wolkenritter got their share of battle glory- particularly Vita destroying the engine room and every single scene that Signum was in. lol The ending was great, giving us a peek into the characters' lives ahead yet again.
Along with everything that I've already written about, I adore Nanoha for having a strongly likeable protagonist who ages. And gets a job. That she likes. (Nanoha pretty much has it made.)
Nanoha's ongoing themes of "how you were born (or who you were born to) isn't the end game for who you can be", that people deserve second chances, and that families form when people care about each other strongly enough, regardless of whether they're blood-related or not, also provide an appealing heart underneath all of the sci-fi/fantasy trappings and explosions.
Art: Quality ranges from C to B.
Story: B+ Conceptually, there is little that is original about Nanoha (like most shows), but through some kind of alchemy...
Overall: its elements coalesce into a winning formula. For me, at least. A