Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid – Final Thoughts (Review)

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid – Review
魔法少女リリカルなのはViVid
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid Review

***Mild SPOILERS***

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 01The Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise is not one that is going to rank up there with the best anime titles ever done. At the same time, there’s always been something special about the series that always draws me back in, and once in, returning to each sequel series is almost like returning home. As in reality, each return to this franchise has the characters a little older, things have changed a bit here and there, but it is still home. The same is true for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, but while the series started out in a place that I loved, it ended up in a place I really didn’t want to be, and it ended without an ending.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 11In brief, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid centers around elementary school girl Vivio Takamachi, the adopted daughter of Nanoha Takamachi, and her friends Rio and Corona as they study to become powerful mages. Entering the mix is Einhart Stratos, a middle school girl who like Vivio, has the ability to assume an adult form. Einhart is struggling with her identity as she has genetic memories. Complicating things is the fact that Vivio is the descendant of one of the people Einhart remembers from the ancient past. However, the two become comrades and friends as strong Einhart gives Vivio a further reason to get stronger. Eventually, the group of girls enter a fighting tournament to face others and each other.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 07Because there have already been three major Nanoha series (to say nothing of the canon manga titles) that came out before ViVid, there are a sheer ton of characters that fans want to see. A great many of them get cameos and even extended cameos over multiple episodes. Hayate, Rein, Signum, Vita, Shamal, Agito, and Zafira get some love. Ditto some members of the church (Carim and Schach). Some characters get left out in the cold such as Lindy, Chrono, Alph and Yuuno, which I found to be unfortunate. While Fate is mostly a cameo character and Nanoha is a minor supporting character, it still would have been nice if Lindy, Chrono, Alph, and Yuuno got a nod.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 09Of course, what’s a Nanoha title without adding a whole new batch of characters. With the inclusion of the start of the tournament arc, there are a vast array of new battle babes to lust after. These battle babes cover a bunch of character archetypes such as the ojousama (complete with a butler), the brainy girl with glasses, the yankee girl (complete with a gang), etc. A new Sister from the Saint Church was included, just to be in the tournament. Lutecia comes back from StrikerS to play a larger role than expected by entering the tournament. The surprise character came from the final episode, and that’s because she is a “true witch”.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 07From a story perspective, initially, thing are pretty standard for a Nanoha title. Vivio as the star is like her adoptive mother Nanoha at that age, only Vivio is in an environment to learn magic and such. Vivio hangs with her friends, trains, meets Einhart, gains focus to train harder, and at the same time, Vivio befriends Einhart. When Fate and Nanoha take some of their StrikerS colleagues to Lutecia’s and her mother’s farm on a remote planet for some training and fun, it is mostly so fans of the franchise can see other characters and experience things through Einhart, who’s never seen such powerful mages before (apparently). Up to this point, the series is fun, but has no point.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 11The tournament arc starts with episode 8, and that’s where things start falling apart to me. Having gone through this tournament stuff years ago with the Yu Yu Hakusho anime, I pretty much had my fill. The Negima! manga made me experience it twice more, and by the time that was done, so was I when it came to tournaments. I find them to be pretty cliched in that they follow a certain pattern, which allows the characters to see new, tough characters to overcome later on, and to show off flashy, new moves. Some tournament have the main characters have to face each other, so it is just a matter of saying, “Which one is more likely to advance” and that’s usually the one that will advance.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 07One thing that really stuck out to me during the tournament episodes was the lack of Nahoha and Fate. Nanoha is Vivio’s adoptive mother and Fate is her adoptive godmother. I can give Fate a pass of sorts for skipping out on Vivio’s lone fight, but Nanoha not showing up for her daughter’s fight? What kind of crap was that? Seriously, there’s no way in the world that I believe that Nanoha would skip out on something so important to Vivio. Nanoha should have been sitting with Vivio’s friends or with Nove (or other such person) and cheering her daughter on like crazy. But nope, Nanoha apparently decided Vivio is a giant pain in the arse and thus can’t be bothers. Or maybe she was secretly meeting Yuuna for some “quality time”. *_* It made no sense to me.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 12What’s really bizarre is that Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid starts this tournament arc (and from what I understand, cuts out a bunch of the start fights), then just ends with no resolutions and hints of these battles to come. To me, it doesn’t make any sense to cut off a series like this, especially since there is an implication that A-1 Pictures is going to continue sometime in the future (when is not stated). One would have thought that A-1 Pictures would have structured things better if they knew that they were only getting 12 episodes. Heck, they could have possibly added stuff to include the MIA characters. Alas, that was not to be.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid - 08In the end, the series starts out nicely for me and made me feel like I’d gone back to my old home, only folks are older and the kids are growing. However, once it shifts to the tournament arc, I lost most of my interest due to my dislike of this particular cliche, and then A-1 Pictures abruptly ends things. As such, I’d probably only give this series a “Watch”.

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