「インターミドル・チャンピオンシップ」 (Intaamidoru Chanpionshippu)
“Inter-Middle Championship”

The first prime matches of the Inter-Middle tournament take place, and everything is proceeding as expected. For better or worse.

Characterizing the Rivals

ViVid didn’t do the best job of introducing the rivals initially, but like the show overall, it’s hitting its stride. The opening scene did plenty to characterize Sieg, Victoria, Harry and Els, and to separate them from their initial tropes. Victoria is more than a haughty ojou-sama, Harry cries cutely on occasion (the baka), and Sieg … who would have expected that she’s a twintails character? I’m not sure if it doesn’t fit her or if it’s a good idea, but it makes me interested in getting to know her better, which means it’s a good idea.

Prime Match #1: Harry Tribeca vs Els Tasmin

Like both of the matches this episode, it was fairly clear who would win. Harry went in as the favorite, and she was the only one of the two fighters who was introduced prior to this episode, so she was clearly the character they were trying to build up. Overall, the match did what it was designed to do: Provide an opportunity for exposition, and entertain. The Clash Emulator (which simulates injuries) is neat, since it adds endurance, attrition, and stakes into magical battles that would otherwise have little to none. I wish they would have explained what the damage numbers (bottom left) they kept displaying was—I gather it was the damage inflicted by the previous attack, or since the last update, but that wasn’t clear. Mostly though, I wish they kept showing the life meters instead of just reporting the numbers. Visual percentages are a lot easier to keep track of in the middle of a battle than numbers are!

As for the match itself, it had some good back-and-forth. What I most liked is that both characters had surprise moves, changed the trajectory of the battle a time or two, and above all, it felt natural. It really felt like, if these two characters fought, this is how the battle would turn out, both in power, tactics, and personality. That’s not something I can say about the second prime match.

Prime Match #2: Micaiah Chevelle vs Miura Rinaldi

Going into this, I assumed Micaiah was going to get worf’d. The thing is, based on how they fought, it felt like she should have won. Not just that the first strike probably should have TKO’d Miura—I’m fine with that. It’s that, after that, she seemed to take some of Miura’s attacks because … because the plot demanded it, as near as I can tell. She out-thought Miura, out-fought her, and still lost. It didn’t feel right.

The problem enters because Miura is a tiny bruiser. Heavy hitters are, surprisingly, kind of hard to write. With clever characters, you can always have them be on the down and out until they think up some clever stratagem and pull off the come-from-behind victory. The hardest part there is thinking up the clever stratagem, but the story type is solid. With a heavy hitter, they’re dumb and powerful—all they can do is attack. If it’s a setting where they can display uncommon endurance and win through perseverance, this character type can work, but that’s not an option in a tournament where everyone has the same HP. So we’re left with Miura stupidly running at Micaiah, and winning because Micaiah didn’t hit her again on the second charge and knock her the fuck out. It felt forced.

Note to manga readers: I’m sure there’s some reason for this, likely that didn’t get adapted, or possibly that I missed. This isn’t an indictment against the battle in all forms, or even Miura. I just felt this one wasn’t done as well as it could have been. I’m sorry, if a fighter takes over 5/6th of her life in damage while her opponent remains unscathed and fully rested, that character should probably lose. The original author wrote himself into a corner, and couldn’t write himself back out.

Looking Ahead – More Batteru!

So far, everything is going as expected. I’m hoping for some upsets soon—and I don’t mean ones like Micaiah vs Miura. That might have been an in-universe upset, but from a storytelling point of view, it’s a Micaiah win that would have been the surprise. Which is a shame—I almost wish Micaiah had won, just to throw a wrench in the usual formula. But I’m sure something to that effect will happen later on, which characters face off late in the tournament and anyone really can win.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Two prime matches take place, & proceed as expected. Harry & Miura advance, Els & Micaiah are down! #nanohavivid 09

Random thoughts:

  • Arai Satomi! This is the kind of show that needs some Arai Satomi. It’s such a Railgun / Saki show. Always feels good to hear her.
  • She’s fighting with handcuffs. What is this, Lupin?
  • Former terrorists shouldn’t be this scared by someone cutting a bus in half. Even though that is pretty ridiculous. That’s the moment I knew Micaiah was going to get worf’d for sure.
  • Vivio is weird. She’s a hero for giving us cheerleader Einhart, though. A hero, I say!

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: A lifestyle designed for productivity, Practical freedom, Old to them, and Stop sending me job ideas.




  1. This isn’t an indictment against the battle in all forms, or even Miura. I just felt this one wasn’t done as well as it could have been. I’m sorry, if a fighter takes over 5/6th of her life in damage while her opponent remains unscathed and fully rested, that character should probably lose.

    You are not the only one. This was probably the one of, if not the most controversial match of the tournament.

    Micaiah is a veteran fighter, ranking higher than everyone except Sieg, the champion herself. Earlier, when she trained Einhart, it was mentioned that Einhart would have died 20 times if it were a real fight. Miura, on the other hand, is a novice fighter with little self-confidence. Granted, she was personally trained by the Wolkenritter, but she is still very inexperienced compared to her opponent.

    I think part of the problem is that both characters are still relatively new, after their initial introduction. It is hard to be invested in the victory of either character. However, because Miura is technically Hayate’s successor, much like Vivio and Einhart are to Nanoha and Fate, she was allowed to win to give her more screen time. This decision is why this match is controversial.

    1. I think all of Miura’s matches can be considered controversial. She has more than enough raw power, but she lacks the skill to properly use it. This makes it seem like she wins her matches by sheer luck.

    2. One thing to remember is that Micaiah did not simply teach Einhart, but was using her for mutual training as she weak to close in fighters.

      Adding to which, Miura is the Wolkenritter’s star pupil and has been training at their dojo for some time now, I get the feeling her skill level is being greatly underestimated because she is a ‘rookie’.

  2. With this episode, I am starting to be concerned about pacing. They are rushing through the story way too quickly, and skipping too many side elements.

    This episode covered roughly 6 chapters, as opposed to 2-3 chapters in the past. Important things that were missed this time include the following.

    1. Einhart, Corona, and Rio’s preliminary matches, when they fought without their device. Their victory in these matches gave them confidence in their own skills and eased their nervousness.

    2. Sieg and Victor having a little heart-to-heart after the preliminary. Victor also showed concern for Sieg’s well-being after she left. This hints at why Sieg forfeited the tournament last year, and that Victor is more than just a haughty ojou-sama.

    3. The introduction of Fabia Crozelg, the last of the named fighters. This one is particularly important, as she serves a vital role later to the story.

    4. The celebration of everyone passing the preliminaries. Nanoha and Fate throw a party for the kids. Lots of sweets are involved, and there are more cute moments from Einhart. The kids also get to reflect more about their progress and aspirations.

    5. The preparation prior to Miura’s match. The night before, she gets a pep talk by Vita and the others. On the day of the match, she is still very nervous, but Vivio sends her the cheerful message shown this episode. Nanoha and Fate also come to watch the match together with the kids.

    6. The reason why Sieg was hesitant to go watch Micaiah is shown. Sieg was the person who defeated Micaiah before, and she thought it would be awkward for her to cheer her on. There is also a glimpse of Sieg’s ability.

    7. Corona reflects on her own skills, especially compared to Einhart, who she will face in the future. This last one may be covered later, but happened during this time in the manga.

    1. I kind of wish they just covered one of the matches, and put all of these things back in.

      We still don’t know how many episodes there will be, but I hope they don’t try to cram everything in the next few episodes. Especially the Corona vs Einhart match, which needs at least a full episode to properly cover.

  3. I assure you, Stilts, Sieg is a-freakin-dorable. She has become my favorite character in all of the Nanoha series, which is saying something. Not just because she’s one of the most badass girls ever to exist (she’s the undefeated Interdimensional Champion two times running, and the only reason it isn’t three times is because she didn’t show up for the final match last year, resulting in a forfeit), but because she’s a total sweetheart, friendly-yet-shy, with a fragile core underneath, supported by the people who care for her. I really really like her.

    BTW: Nobody knows how she fits that hair under that hood. My theory leans towards some sort of interdimensional storage space. 😉

  4. Miura vs Micaya was definitely a big upset, although your comment that Miura should have lost just because of how much Micaya took off of her in one hit isn’t really valid. Note the following:


    As you theorized, that is damage done in the last attack. Miura hit Micaya with a contact version of Starlight Breaker, and did more than twice Micaya’s starting HP total worth of damage in the process.

    I won’t necessarily say that the fight was all that much more logical in the manga, but it’s hard to tell, because it is stretched out across at least three chapters, and interspersed with flashbacks and monologues, so it’s hard to tell for sure what happened at what pace. Miura winning didn’t particularly bother me when I read it, though, aside from recognizing the cliche-ness of the situation.

    1. My point wasn’t anything to do with damage, per say. It’s that when someone shaves 5/6th of their opponents HP off without being damaged or winded—and they do it like Micaiah did, in total overwhelming control of the battle, not through a lucky break or anything—they’re probably going to win. She had such TOTAL CONTROL over the battle, until suddenly she didn’t, because reasons.

      THAT’S the problem, not necessarily how much damage she put out in two blows. If she had done that in twelve strikes without spending much mana, taking any hits, being winded, or being challenged in any way, it’d be the same; not as awe-inspiring, but overall the same.

      1. She was in total control there because it was a specific counter that Miura failed to prepare for. Miura left herself open once, but wasn’t eliminated in that hit. After taking that attack, she didn’t leave herself open for another one, so Micaiah didn’t get another chance to hit her like that. That’s a point that was not exactly made clear is that her latter charge was performed while prepared to counter Micaiah’s counter. Even though she did charge in again, the situation wasn’t the same.

        And another distinction is in durability. Micaiah had none. Her barrier jacket design was built entirely for attack speed. She was essentially as vulnerable as an unarmored person. Simply put: she could dish it out, but she couldn’t take it. People wouldn’t have to hit her anywhere near as hard as she would have to hit them in order to do much greater amounts of damage to her.

        Some of this information might have been useful for them not to have skipped. This episode covered five chapters, and cut out both material useful for filling in details as well as major plot-points. I no longer know what they’re doing with this adaptation.

      2. I do not think Micaiah is as strong a fighter as some make her out to be. She has powerful attacks, but her sword draw style leaves her almost helpless if she cannot overpower her opponent.

        And that is exactly what happened, after being easily swatted away initially, Miura did the only thing she can as a ‘tiny bruiser’. Hit harder. Much, much harder.

      3. I still find it hard to believe that someone who focuses specifically on attack speed and power can’t hit someone for marginal damage to finish the fight. Not impossible, certainly; I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a lot of awesome turn arounds if I didn’t believe something so plausible. In this case though, I just didn’t see most of that on the screen.

        Like you said, it was probably too rushed in the anime. Will leave it at that.

  5. I’m just glad to finally see Miura in action, but can understand this particular fight feeling a little odd for anime viewers. As others have said they really are just sprinting through the chapters now, at the expense of some of the explanations and pacing. Really REALLY hope this doesn’t mean they’re aiming for just 1-cour.

    I will say it was nice to see the brief flashbacks for Miura though. I had forgotten we got any at this point, since her self-confidence issues come up a lot in a certain fight later on too. Can’t wait!

  6. Miura’s fighting style is very similar to Ippo from Hajime no Ippo. No flashy skill, no dodging, just extremely tough and can knock out the opponent with one heavy hit. ‘Breaker’ is akin to cheating. However, the real reason why Micaiah lost is obvious : there is nothing for the viewers to see even if Mirua loses her clothes 😛

  7. Oh about this…

    Former terrorists shouldn’t be this scared by someone cutting a bus in half.

    Actually she cut it into fourths, but anyway… One of the things that was cut out of the episode was Otto asking Deed if she could have done that, and her response was maybe, if she’d used her optical blades, but not with an ordinary sword. So it’s not just that she quadrisected it, it’s the fact that she did so using a genuine, non-magical sword.

  8. I think the problem with Miura is down to her design…
    I haven’t read the manga, but from the anime I think she supposed to be Vita, small hard-hitter that could absorb so much damage, but while Vita’s hammer (and big hat) design succeed to sell that, nothing from Miura’s design tell us visually about her status as that…

    I guess it was foreshadowed from her role as Vivio’s second rival (just like Vita is Nanoha’s second rival), but I think they could’ve done it better…

    I think once you take her as new generation Vita, you kinda can ‘accept’ her surviving so many ‘fatal’ damage…

    1. True, and that’s a good parallel, though the whole idea of tournament hit points screws it up a bit. Everyone can more or less take the same damage—sure, some can defend against or negate more damage, I assume, but typically more durable = more HPs (in video game parlance), so not being able to take (and suffer through) more experienced damaged takes away the sole source of tension in a straight-forward bruiser like Miura.

      Comparing her to Vita is good, though. They really did do it better with Vita :X

    2. That’s a good point. I always thought of Miura as a new generation Hayate, but it may be more accurate to compare her to Vita.

      Miura is straightforward, kind of reckless, and a bit book-dumb, but she is also quick to think on her feet and hits like a truck. All very similar to Vita, as opposed to the mischievous and strategic Hayate.

  9. Since a “Breaker” seems like it’s own category of magic, am I correct in assuming that Nanoha was responsible for inventing this with Starlight Breaker from S1?

    1. I’m not sure if she invented it or not, but “breaker” is said to be a ranking of magic type that is the second-most destructive type of magic attack known to exist, or so secondhand sources tell me.

    2. Probably not, Breaker mostly refers to spells that draw energy in from the surroundings, like they sort of touched on in the episode, and there’s also the element of “breaking” through barriers and such that made Starlight Breaker stand out from the original Divine Buster. So SB is a great example of one, but probably far from the first, they’re powerful but don’t exactly do anything unusual.

  10. Micaiah’s fight was stolen from the “WWE booked BS results” book. Totally wrong in every sense of the word, but then, it was an oppai character vs a (seemingly) loli character, and in the Nanohaverse, that meant that Micaiah had to lose.
    While I like the idea of the tournament fighters, it wouldn’t hurt to have some… real plot? Focusing in Einhart’s story should be the norm, in which we also could extend Vivio’s own.


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