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Old 2008-01-28, 22:30   Link #109
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 37
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New poster here who only recently discovered the AnimeSuki Forums.

The Nanoha series, taken as a whole, is amongst my five favourite animes, so it's nice to find a Nanoha fan community like this one.

As to my take on the series...

The Good

1. The series is a bit too melodramatic in its character development of Subaru and Teana (who, along with Nanoha and Fate, are the main protagonists of the series, imo), but other than that, I felt that both characters were fleshed out extremely well. The Teana emo arc of sorts was a bit annoying, but how it fits in with Teana's impressive showing near the end of the anime creates a nice personal story for Teana - going from a person who overly doubts herself to someone who overcomes long odds in dire straits. I also found Subaru and Teana to both be likeable protagonists, and their character designs were solid.

2. Jail Scaglietti. One of the few flaws of Nanoha A's, in my opinion, was the absence of a good villain who enjoyed being villainous and who had a bit of a dynamic flair. Jail added a certain character to the Nanoha series that had been largely lacking before. He's also the best mad scientist type anime villain that I've seen since Professor Tomoe in Sailor Moon.

3. Character designs. Nanoha and Fate's various character designs, and outfits, were gorgeous. The same held true for most of the cast.

4. The development of Nanoha and Fate's relationship with one another. The two had a lot of cute, nice moments in Striker S that was very charming. The exact nature of their relationship remains debateable, which may or may not be a good thing. One good thing about it, I suppose, is that both fans who perfer to think of them as just close friends (including Nanoha/Yuuno shippers, for example), and fans of a Nanoha/Fate yuri relationship, can feel comfortable and contented with how their relationship is delved into here. Still, part of me would have perfered either a confirmation, or a rejection, of the "they're actually a yuri couple" position. Personally, I tend to interpret them as a yuri couple, but the lack of any kissing makes it a bit ambiguous.

5. There are a lot of wonderful individual scenes in the anime. These include the bulk of the Nanoha vs. Vivo fight, the bulk of the Fate vs. Scaglietti fight, the villains' successful attack on TSAB's HQ and the abduction of Vivio, Vita's extremely bad ass moments in overcoming severe injuries to make a huge impact in the final battle, and countless others.

6. Quattro was an excellent no. 2 villain that you loved to hate. This made Nanoha's epic blasting scene of her that much sweeter, and wonderful.

7. A solid, realistic plot in many aspects. I didn't see many plot holes, or character inconsistencies, or plot induced stupidity, in this.

The Bad

1. The complete lack of follow-up on any "normal human" character from Nanoha or Nanoha A's. It would have been nice to have seen Nanoha talk to her parents, or her siblings, or her original two close friends from school, at least once or twice in the anime. A young woman her age should have some contact with her family, given that her family was always presented as a good one.

2. Too many characters. Nanoha Striker S was a bit too ambitious in the number of characters that it used. This led to a lot of useless scenes involving characters that would ultimately be forgotten. There's also only so many characters that the average fan will care about per anime series, and Nanoha simply tries too hard to get you to care about too many characters.

3. Other than Vita, the antagonists-turned-protagonists from Nanoha A's weren't given enough screen-time, also as a result of there simply being too many characters. Hayate and Signum never got enough chances to really cut loose. Striker S really did fail badly in following up on the lives of these key characters from Nanoha A's.

The Ugly

1. The antagonists simply weren't made powerful enough. The entire ending arc just felt way too anti-climatic and easy for the three most powerful protagonists (Fate, Nanoha, and Hayate). Jail either should have been made much more powerful on a personal level (i.e. having his own massive blasting abilities), or they should have given Jail top subordinates who genuinely were at least equal to Fate, Hayate, and Nanoha combat-wise and power-wise.

2. While the ending arc had numerous great individual scenes, the sequence and pacing of those scenes was very poor. There's no way that your main villain (in this case, Jail Scaglietti) should be soundly captured and defeated in the third last episode. Ideally, you have your main villain deliver a great cliff-hanger moment for the heroes in the second last episode, and then get defeated in dramatic fashion in the final episode. Most of the Nanoha vs. Vivio fight felt horrifically anti-climatic taken in context due to how Jail is already beat, and Hayate and Fate are not any worse for wear at all (i.e. even if Nanoha gets badly beat by Vivio, you just know that someone will be there to bail her out).

Overall, I give Nanoha Striker S 8/10. The key characters are great, many of the scenes are wonderful, the plot does make a fair deal of sense... but they just failed to give it the sort of dramatic, well-timed, ending that it deserved.
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