Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Why I gave up on StrikerS after just six episodes

Although I will invoke the wrath of a million fanboys, the first two seasons of Nanoha were not particularly good. Oh, they were enjoyable enough in their own way, and I certainly do not regret watching them, but let’s face it- outside the boundaries of that deadly category known as light entertainment, they could hardly aspire to being picks of the year or all-time classics. Even so, they managed to get right what StrikerS has so far got horribly wrong- but just where did it all fall apart?

In order to answer that, we first need to back to seasons one and two, and see just what appeal they had for anyone who didn’t have an unhealthy interest in watching nine year old girls undergo naked transformations. Even for such viewers, the series was most likely a guilty pleasure- the story was so predictable that it was almost comforting, but the brightly coloured character designs, superb animation (you can save a lot of budget by having all the characters speak telepathically) and delightfully over-the-top battles all contributed to its charm. It didn’t matter that the girls were effectively standing there and letting their weapon AI’s do all the work, or that the better designed enemies would ultimately become friends in the end- it was all good fun, and it was never too demanding on the brain.

Nonetheless, I knew I could live quite happily without any more Nanoha, and so it was that I was largely indifferent to news of a third season- I didn’t really need it, but it would be nice if it invested some time into much needed character development for a cast that was already getting quite extensive. The news that it would be set a decade in the future was also welcome- no longer would the loli level be so insanely high. It would, as jpmeyer put it, surely be “Nanoha: The College Years”.

As always seems to be the case, however, any degree of anticipation of a series only seems to make the end product worse, and so it was that StrikerS was not only worse than predicted, but could be best likened as being to the first two seasons what Mai-Otome was to Mai-HiME. The focus shifted to new characters, the cast expanded immeasurably to include numerous insipid personalities destined to have some 2-3 seconds of airtime, whilst the original characters were shoved to the sideline (although naturally the promise of cameos from them was intended to pull in the viewers). It was still called Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, but it may as well have been Magical Girls and Shota Extensive Ensemble.

Arguably worse than this shift in focus, however, was the pacing of the new series, which seemed to have taken the idea that “slow and steady wins the race but bores the audience along the way” to heart; in the old days, to be a magical girl all you need was a transformation, a mascot and enemies of the week, but now the whole thing is regulated by a Bureau of Magic that imposes all sorts of rules, regulations and power limiters on everyone. Red tape and fun are not known to mix, and indeed this extensive bureaucracy of mages could only ensure that the light entertainment factor totally vanished in a sea of paperwork and shades of dull grey. In these new times, four minutes per episode could be spent ensuring that every single character underwent a transformation sequence, but it would take some thirteen minutes for any fighting to actually occur- and even when it did, it seemed oddly lacking. And as if that wasn’t enough, the once brilliant animation was now clearly being taxed by having to stretch the animation across twenty-six episodes- and when Nanoha stops looking good, you start to notice all the other things that are wrong with it.

Final Thoughts
There is still plenty of time for it to improve, but with so many other spring series I want to follow, Nanoha StrikerS has already been consigned to the drop list. The pain of Mai-Otome will not easily be forgotten, and thus sequel series of this type cannot afford to open with six episodes of bland and forgettable content if they wish to retain their audience.

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7 Responses to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Why I gave up on StrikerS after just six episodes

  1. mikemil828 says:

    Why do bloggers feel the need to stoke their egos by making long posts about why they are quiting a show so early on and that anyone who continues are just schmucks just wasting their time? And who says that red tape and fun are not known to mix, beside you of course. Plenty of shows incorporate bureaucracy as a feature, look at Gaogaigar (from which Nanoha is currently cribbing a lot from) despite the fact the Chairman never turned down Guy’s
    request for the final fusion or the goldion hammer, he always had to approve the request, Guy couldn’t just save precious time and do all this stuff himself. Did this detract from the show? Hell no, it was fun watching Mikoto smash that glass button for the umpteenth time in a row.

    //In these new times, four minutes per episode could be spent ensuring that every single character underwent a transformation sequence//

    Actually that isn’t true, back in the good ol’ days with Sailor moon and such this pretty much was the case, with Nanoha it rarely happened as the series went along, in Nanoha A’s I’m pretty sure they only completely shown Nanoha’s hensin scene twice or so, once in the beginning and once when she got Raising Heart Excellion, hell even in this series, more often than not they skip henshin sequences if it means keeping the show rolling. One episode does not make an entire series folks.

  2. Karura says:

    Why do some commenters feel the need to stroke their egos by acting like complete assholes when someone has an opinion that differs from theirs? I’m just stating my opinion and the reasons for it, you are welcome to disagree- oddly enough, I have better things to do in my life than care about who is and isn’t watching StrikerS.

    Oh, and the transformation sequence section is not directed at the first two seasons, but I guess you were so eager to flame that you didn’t have time to read my post properly.

  3. Owen S says:

    “acting like” is giving too much credit.

    It’s perfectly reasonable for you to drop it if you didn’t like the first two seasons; what makes your effort more commendable is how you actually bothered to type all this out explaining why, and you’ve got my respect for that. To the die-hard fanboys and fans alike it’s a matter of being sorry than safe, as opposed to those who don’t have that much of an attachment and couldn’t care less, in this case, you.

    Oh, and blogging is pretty much an exercise in ego stroking any way you look at it, mikemil828. The redundancy in that statement was quite amusing, not to mention ignorant.

  4. Danny Choo says:

    I’m still on the 1st episode and will give it a chance – the girls are cute ^^;

  5. Eric says:

    Then drop it already, duh. Nobody finishes every series he/she watches. It’s always funny to see blogs going out of their ways to explain the reasons behind dropping a series. They would write this post just to fulfill their egos. Kind like a guy sending a letter to his ex-girl detailing the causes of a breakup. Just lame, very lame.

    “I knew I could live quite happily without any more Nanoha.” That line is just so loser-ish. In the history of mankind, that must has been uttered by losers at least a billion times.

    Now, StrikersS is a huge disappointment up to date, so I actually share some of the same sentiments. Even many fanboys are giving negative reviews to the SS. To be honest, the only reason I continue to watch is for my unlimited love for Fate-chan (and the yet to be revealed Hayate henshin sequence).

    All in all, I don’t have a problem with the criticism because SS deserves it. It’s just the way it’s delivered makes you sound like a lame loser (oops, did I just say that again?)

  6. Karura says:

    If I’m such a loser, why are you reading my blog? Aren’t you just fulfilling my loser ego more by commenting on here and giving me the satisfaction of knowing you’ve read it?

  7. manga says:

    Little late but hey, need to comment :p

    Slow show, to slow for me. The reason I continued to watch it? Read about some yuri action which really happened.
    Didn´t have much more to watch, so I continued to watch Nanoha Strikers, and seing Nanoha going berserk is always fun to watch.

    3 eps to go I think now and finally its starting to be intresting, or rather it´s gone from nice pace to slow pace once again 🙁 I want to see fighting, not talking.

    the two earlier shows, well I watched the first ep of Nanoha A´s before Nanoha. Got to watch Nanoha and liked the animation and thus continued to watch the two series.
    When a third series was introduced I was expecting the same stuff, nice animation, mind blowing spells and what did I get? A training session…

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