「マッチアップ・デュエル」 (Matchi Appu De~yueru)
It’s explosion-fueled Nanoha battle time. And the victor is … cliffhanger, DAMN!
One on One
I like a good group battle, but for the first part of this episode, it felt more like a series of contiguous duels than a team battle. And I understand why—as an author of magical action myself (link, etc), I can tell you from first hand experience that it’s a lot harder to write a multi-character fight than it is a bunch of one-on-ones. A LOT harder. All the extra variables compound quickly until it’s hard even for the author to keep track of it all—and that’s not even counting having to draw multiple characters in the frame in the source manga. The problem is that a lot of the one-on-ones were kind of boring (Subaru vs Nove, Nanoha vs Teana just shoting at each other), so I think the extra headache is worth the result.
Einhart Is Strong, Vivio Is … Weak?
In the first few episodes, it was nice to see that Einhart was stronger than Vivio, but Vivio could still get in a solid shot or two, because it meant Vivio had a rival she could strive to surmount. After this episode though, Vivio just looks weak. She’s childish in battle where Einhart, Rio, and Corona are not, and she’s so totally outclassed by Einhart, who manages to surprise Nanoha, that it doesn’t even feel like a contest! I feel like Vivio hasn’t really gotten to strut her stuff properly, so this is still “seems weak” rather than “is weak”. I’d like her to start strutting soon, though.
On the other hand, I kind of didn’t like it when Einhart broke free of Nanoha’s binds. I wanted Nanoha to so totally outclass Einhart and show her that she had a lot of room to grow, not have this little kid be nearly on par with the White Devil at her finest. Sure, the Nanoha series has a history of super powerful little girls, but since Nanoha was one of them, I wanted her to wipe the floor with Einhart. She still got blasted, sure, but after embarrassing Vivio, redirecting her blasts, blocking multiple shots from Nanoha, and then breaking her bind, Einhart is starting to look really overpowered. Nerf!
Healing Breaks Everything
Did I miss what the win condition in this battle is? No matter, because my point remains valid—healing breaks everything. Well, not always, but it certainly complicates magical battles like this. It’s frustrating from a storytelling point of view, because it feels like all the progress our characters make—Einhart nearly knocking out Vivio, Nanoha defeating Einhart—can just be washed away, and we’re back where we started. That’s not a problem in video games because they’re specifically balanced for it, but stories are only as balanced as the plot demands, and healing can swiftly break everything.
Now, this isn’t a problem when the plot is serious, because then we don’t care if things are balanced—it’s more exciting if the protagonists are barely pulling out the win. But in a contest setting like this episde, it feels like we got a full episode where not as much happened as it should have. The same is true with Corona’s Goliath coming back, by the way. Other than Vivio getting a bit banged up and Einhart being temporarily out of the contest, we’re pretty much back where we started.
Corona vs Rio
Probably my favorite fight of the episode was Corona vs Rio. I thought it was a mismatch going in, in Rio’s favor, and it turns out I was right. The neat thing was getting to see Corona’s Golem Create magic, as well as getting to see Rio be badass again. I did end up thinking the same things I usually do in this kind of situation: “Don’t let her summon the golem!” “Knock out the summoner!” “She’s the weak link, punch Corona in the face!!”
What can I say? I don’t fight fair.
Looking Ahead – Starlight Breaker Collision
I chuckled a bit when Teana was talking about using the ambient mana to end the battle. Good idea Tea, but Nanoha taught you that spell! The good thing is that not only have they abandoned the pure one on one and moved to multi-fighter engagements, but, for all my comments and concerns, this team battle is doing the most important thing well—I have no idea who is going to win. (Marker and tag any spoilers, please. I don’t want to know yet.) That’s vital in a contest setting. Looks like we’ll find out next time.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The team battle starts out w/ a series of 1v1s, but after Vivio gets knocked out & Nanoha owns Einhart, things shake up #nanohavivid 06
- Crossing kicks doesn’t work like crossing swords, girls. Stop it.
- I feel like Teana’s Crossfire Full Burst hit a lot of scenery. I guess she was trying to spread ambient mana, but couldn’t she have aimed them at people? Plus I thought Tea’s thing was always that she didn’t have the mana tank of Nanoha, so she needed to be clever and use the Starlight Breaker to finish people off. Here she seemed just as powerful. Maybe that changed in the last few years too, I guess.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Practical Freedom, Old to them, Stop sending me job ideas, and Schrödinger’s Skill.
Full-length images: 05.