ViVid Strike! Anime Review

ViVid Strike! Review

When it comes to the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise, I gave a bit of a weakness. There’s nothing particularly special about it as an anime franchise. Despite this, I’ve enjoyed watch the main character Nanoha and her best friend Fate grow from little girls to awesome young ladies. In a weird kind of way, they were like the daughters I never had. So when I heard that the ViVid Strike anime series would not have Nanoha or Fate in it, I was immediately skeptical. As it turns out, I had every right to be.

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The Story, in Brief

For those who’ve not watched ViVid Strike, the story centers on orphan girl Fuuka. Fuuka is a young, scrappy teen. In the orphanage, Fuuka had a best friend named Rinne. Rinne was beautiful but timid, so Fuuka would defend her from bullies. Eventually, Rinne was adopted by a rich family. However, the girls at her new school started bullying her. When the bullying caused Rinne to not be there when her adoptive grandfather died, Rinne snaps, critically injuring all of her bullies in the process. Rinne is discovered by Jill, a former professional fighter, so Rinne begins working the U15 fighting tournaments.

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Fuuka strikes out on her own. She’s found by a teen girl named Einhart, who’s the current U15 champion. Einhart introduces Fuuka to her trainer Nove, who gives Fuuka a room at her apartment and a job in her gym. When Fuuka learns about Rinne and her current bad attitude, Fuuka decides to enter the fighting tournament for U15 girls and teach Rinne a lesson. However, Fuuka has to get past her mentor Einhart as well as Einhart’s best friend Vivio, who defeated Rinne the previous year.

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What Works: Not Much

I suppose if you have no previous exposure to the Nanoha franchise, you won’t miss what you don’t know. As such, if you like battle tournament anime titles featuring young tee girls who can use magic to give themselves an older teen appearance, then ViVid Strike might be up your alley.

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If you are a fan of the Nanoha franchise, you will probably like seeing Einhart, Vivio, Nove, and a lot of other characters who’ve shown up in previous series. I’ll talk more about the large number of characters that show up in a bit.

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Visually, things look OK. The production company will use tricks to save on the animation budget for many of the fights, but on the whole, it works. Beyond that, I struggle to find a lot positive to say. 🙁

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What Doesn’t Work: No Fate or Nanoha

For longtime Nanoha franchise fans, the absence of Nanoha and Fate is huge. This is because Nanoha’s adopted daughter Vivio is in ViVid Strike as a supporting character. So when the series goes to the tournament, one starts to wonder where Nanoha is, or Fate for that matter. The series does give one of the worst cameo nods to Fate and Nanoha by showing them unnamed and their faces obscured. The series really tries to avoid the pair and even seems to imply that Vivio is with Nove, when that’s not the case. That really irritated me.

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I know there were issues between King Records and Nanoha’s seiyuu, which is probably why the character of Nanoha didn’t show up at all. (She is returning to do the 3rd Nanoha movie, so go figure.) However, I felt that at the very least, Nanoha should have been in the tournament, cheering her adoptive daughter on. She doesn’t have to say anything, just be showing giving support. I think they could even pull that off in the hospital scene.

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What Doesn’t Work: Too Many Characters, Little Character Development

While I may complain about the lack of Nanoha and Fate in the series, ViVid Strike suffers from what many other Nanoha titles suffer from — too many characters. In addition to the new girls Fuuka and Rinne, we see Vivio, Einhart, and a lot of other girls from the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid series. Just when you think they can’t cram more characters in, they do. As such, there’s no time for character development.

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The series does attempt to give Rinne some development. This is primarily used to jack up the melodramatic quotient and make Rinne an antagonist with a tragic past. However, it all felt forced. I understand how tough it is to be bullied. I understand wanting vengeance against those who bully you. However, the way the story developed, everything felt forced to me.

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Fuuka doesn’t get much development. All I know about her is that she was an orphan and a tough girl. Meh. Who cares. Fuuka is supposed to be the main character for this series, but I never really gave a rat’s rear about her. I just wasn’t interested.

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Tournaments are Tedious

Way back in the day, I watched Yu Yu Hakusho and enjoyed it. However, that anime series pretty much gave me my fill on tournaments. Later when I read the Negima manga, the Mahoura Budokai tournament brought my interest in tournaments to an end, though that tournament was a bit more interesting because it provided a means of developing some characters. When Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid turned into a tournament anime half way through, I just rolled my eyes. Ironically, that anime series ended with the tournament only just getting under way.

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ViVid Strike is little more than a battle tournament anime with a dose of melodrama on the side. Everything is a drumbeat to set up a tournament fight between Rinne and Fuuka. However, to do this, there’s a problem — Vivio (and to a lesser degree, Einhart). The series does acknowledge that Einhart is the current champion and the Vivio is massively powerful, even defeating Rinne the previous year. Long time fans of the Nanoha franchise know Vivio going back to the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. So for Fuuka to face Rinne, she has to take down Vivio, which was going to piss me off.

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At least here, the production team realized that having Vivio defeated by anyone other than possibly Einhart would not be accepted by fans. As such, they have Vivio defeat Rinne again, but take so much damage that she has to drop out of the tournament. That allows Fuuka to advance in the tournament and face Einhart in the finals, but the writers deftly avoid stating who won.

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Since Rinne is defeated in the tournament, the production team sets up a private fight between Rinne and Fuuka at the training facility first introduced in the ViVid anime series. As such, we are treated to a mind-numbingly tedious fight between Rinne and Fuuka that drags on and on so that at the end of the fight, Rinne and Fuuka are friends. This will then allow Rinne to switch from antagonist to joining forces with the protagonists, a common trait in the whole Nanoha franchise.

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Final Thoughts and Conclusion

In the ViVid anime series, the tournament there did simulated damage to contestants. In ViVid Strike, all damage is very real. Seriously? From a story perspective, that really makes no sense as that means little girls could kill each other in the ring. Indeed, when Fuuka and Rinne have their fight in the training facility used in ViVid Strike, these safeguards are in place. However, the writers needed to remove Vivio from the tournament without having her lose so screw all that.

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In the end, ViVid Strike is a sad, pathetic attempt to keep milking the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise without Nanoha. Since it consists of little more than a battle tournament for young girls and a predictable final fight between the protagonist and antagonist, it adds nothing to the Nanoha franchise and thus really isn’t worth watching.

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8 Responses to “ViVid Strike! Anime Review”

  1. nt122 says:

    Well, This is based in the distance future from the vivid manga, and as far as the little fight between the studio and the actress to not include those two is just petty…

    But meh. There’s at least a second season/reboot of the Vivid anime/manga is showing it’s head so we wont see Fuuka or Rinne at all, since this vivid strike is a future event that has not happened.

  2. andmeuths says:

    Now I wonder what would happen if there’s a Nanoha Force anime adaptation. Because it has even worse characterization problems than Vivid Strike, even if it’s full of action and the fantasy-military aspects of Striker S and theoretically far higher narrative stakes than the Vivid series.

  3. APN says:

    Seems that they are working on two new Nanoha related tv series now according to this: http://i.imgur.com/pvkgOip.jpg

    Summary translation from /a/:

    “Apparently, aside from Reflection and the 4th movie. 7arcs has plans to make 2 new TV series for Nanoha franchise. They are “gathering the best staffs, and aiming for a new “Nanoha” that is even more fascinating than it has ever been the past”.”

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