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ViVid Strike – 01

「フーカ・レヴェントン」 (Fuuka Reventon)
“Fuuka Reventon”

It’s like Nanoha ViVid, but . . . it’s basically just like ViVid.

What a strange series. I still find it odd to greenlight a spin-off of a spin-off when the original spin-off is only half-done at best in anime form, especially when this series seems happy to spoil things anime-only viewers never saw. So, spoilers maybe? Or did that battle against Corona make Einhard the Under 15 champion she’s referred to in this episode? Even though Rinne (Ogura Yui) is referred to as the world Under 15 champion. I am confused.

I’m going to beat up on this series a bit, though it’s not bad. It’s just, from where I stand as an anime-only viewer, we exchanged the middle of an exciting tournament for a new batch of training episodes. Training episodes are fine, but we hardly got our payoff for all the training last time! For manga readers, I expect this isn’t such a problem, since they’ll have already read the rest of that content, making this a net addition to their ViVid world. I get it, that’s just not where I am.

I have two main criticisms, before I get back to what’s good. First: I don’t care about these two main characters. Of course I didn’t care about them going in; that’s not the point I’m making. I mean that the first episode did a lousy job of drawing me in and making me care about them. The reason, I think, is that the writers didn’t do anything to make me drop my guard. They started off with trauma, went straight into drama (and lens flare!), continued with more drama, and by that time my shields were thoroughly up. We humans don’t like to be sent through the emotional ringer, even if it is cathartic; we defend against it. That’s why good stories get us to drop our guard, though humor or relatability or sheer throat-tightening horror. ViVid Strike caused my shields to go up before I came to like the new girls, which makes their job going forward harder.

Second: Fuuka should have completely lost to Vivio. I’m sorry, but I want my protagonists to earn their victories, and do you think that Vivio doesn’t know how to defend against Einhard’s attacks when they’re thrown by Einhard herself, much less a neophyte like Fuuka Reventon (Minase Inori) who learned Einhard’s techniques way too fast. I feel like her getting a solid hit off on Vivio would have been enough of a victory, even if Vivio then knocked her the hell out. Now it feels like Vivio is too close in power to Fuuka, which means she has less hill to climb to reach Rinne. If we’re going to do training again, make it a hard climb!

Okay, bonus third criticism: this episode was laid out in a goofy manner. I feel like it’s banking on Nanoha fans watching it, which means it doesn’t have to do the hard work of making sure this story is as well-told as possible—it can lean on all that prior work. Which will probably work out! There are a lot of Nanoha fans by this point. It’s just . . . not ideal. Put in the work, instead of front-loading the trauma, using blunt exposition to explain the conflict, and giving the new protagonist a cheap (imo) win.

The upside is that this is still ViVid’s full-frontal, melee-focused spin on Nanoha-style magical combat, and I love dat shit. It also promises to return to the martial arts tournaments that were working so well in the main ViVid story. I also really like that, the final clash with Vivio aside, Fuuka is shown as wildly outmatched by all the other girls, because that gives more reason for the rapid improvement she’s probably about to have than any talent. (Trust me, if you want to get better at a sport, make sure you’re the worst person at it in the room. Even if you spend your whole time getting thrashed, your level will rise fast.) If only it all wasn’t in service of a conflict that’s almost certainly a misunderstanding which could be cleared up with a 10-minute conversation over tea. I’m sure there’s a trope for that. Guh.

Coverage note: It’s unlikely that I’ll continue blogging ViVid Strike. Not because the first episode was bad or anything—I expect it to pick up a lot once the introductions are over, just as the original ViVid did—but because it’s likely I won’t cover anything this season. I’ve got four jobs right now, and I would desperately like that to be three, until such time as I can ditch one of the other ones and pick this fun one back up. We’ll see, I’m notoriously stupid about such things, but it’s probably not likely. Sorry.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – New protagonists means new training arcs—now with more trauma! #vividstrike 01

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OP Sequence

OP: 「Future Strike」 by Ogura Yui

ED Sequence

ED: 「Starry Wish」 by Minase Inori

Preview

October 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm
32 comments »
  • October 4, 2016 at 2:15 pmOliviaven

    Don’t worry Stilts, I’m up to date with vivid manga and I’m just as confused as you are in the under 15 championship.

    • October 4, 2016 at 2:42 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Please see the explanation by Wanderer and myself below. :)

    • October 4, 2016 at 2:49 pmOliviaven

      This is not a spoiler for the Vivid anime/ manga. Did some reading on the jp sites. Vivid Strike (0080) is set around 1 year after vivid (0079). Einhardt is the 0079 U15 world tournament champion, not to be confused with the inter middle (up to age 19) tournament that occured in vivid(0079). In the current U15 (0080) tournament, Rinne is rank 1 in the current standings aiming to dethrone Einhardt, Miura is rank 5, Vivio rank 7, while Corona and Rio’s ranks are not mentioned. The anime will most likely focus at the 0080 U15 championship.

  • October 4, 2016 at 2:24 pmWanderer

    Wellp, firstly if you look at it, Vivio did defend against the Air Severing Fist that Fuka threw. However, between the fact that she was off-balance with one foot off the ground due to the barrage of punches she’d been defending against a moment before, and the sheer kinetic energy of the hit, it was enough to knock her backwards anyway. I doubt, however, that she took any notable damage from the hit. She saw it coming and was prepared to take it.

    Second, you are the only person I’ve seen who has not been engaged by Fuka and Rinne. I do not know if you have become excessively more cynical than the rest of the internet or what the explanation might be, but most of us find Fuka to be a good choice for a new protagonist. She has a different sort of personality than the leads we’ve had previously, and she brings up the issue of socio-economic levels, which has never been a concern until now for our cast of generally well-off girls. The fact that her story opens with drama did not turn me off. Why should it? So I’ve seen it done before, so what? You say it should make me defensive: it did not. I came to this show with my mind open, having adopted suspension of disbelief to see what it could show me and try to experience it. The experience was one I enjoyed. The characters were people I could appreciate and like.

    Thirdly, the championship status is not a spoiler, it is something that happened in-between Vivid and Vivid Strike. Apparently the official site has more info, but the translations are somewhat in error. Einhart won a tournament (a different tournament than the one in Vivid) to earn the title of World Champion in the under 15 age group. Rinne is not a champion, she is simply the current number 1 ranked fighter in the under 15 age group: basically she’s a challenger, coming up and looking to claim the champion title for herself in the next tournament.

    But don’t worry. There’s plenty of other stuff that’s getting spoiled for people who only watched the anime and never read the manga! :P It’s all little stuff so far, but, you know…

    • October 4, 2016 at 8:48 pmStilts

      I realize Vivio defended against the blow, I was saying she should have completely lost—that getting the move off at all, after having barely learned it, was more’n enough victory. Like I said, this makes it seem like she’s too close in power level to Vivio, and thus Rinne. Maybe that sets us up for her to launch into a fight with Rinne sooner rather than later, which could be good! But as is, it seemed too easy.

      As for me being cynical, c’mon now. You’re acting all accusatory. Is that a way to get anything other’n a saucy reply from me? (This is as saucy as it’s going to get.) It’s not that I’m cynical, nor do I mind that it’s been done before, since I mentioned often that “unique” is overrated. But it does remain that I could see what was coming clearly enough that my shields went up instead of getting dragged in—or it could be that youthful stories are starting to have less effect on me as experience and age mounts. Who knows. All I know is that I’m actually far LESS cynical than I was as a teenager, so that ain’t the reason.

      I did catch a few other small things (I don’t think Miura was part of the Nakajima gym before, was she?), I just didn’t point ‘em all out. Probably best if we don’t, so we don’t draw attention to ‘em for those who didn’t notice.

      • October 6, 2016 at 6:29 pmAndmeuths

        Perhaps it is a deliberate move on the part of the authors. It won’t surprise me if Fuka is some sort of artificial mage or even cyborg – just before she pushed Vivio out of the ring, didn’t you notice that her eyes seemed to have gone from being defeated to quite a bit berserk? It makes me wonder whether there’s more to Fuka than simply being a magically gifted orphan who slipped through the cracks.

  • October 4, 2016 at 2:34 pmMasterDragonKnight

    The new series looks pretty interesting so far. It definitely has the same feel as Vivid, seemingly taking place a year or two after the conclusion of Vivid.

    It does however, assume that the viewer has read up to the most recent chapter of the manga, rather than just watched the anime adaptation. Several of the plot points and minor details are from much later, which may confuse some viewers. I will explain some for those interested.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Stilts edit: Mark and tag your spoilers.

  • October 4, 2016 at 2:43 pmZannafar

    Vivid Strike makes a time skip and has a completely original storyline, so even manga readers aren’t much better off. Probably because of the timing when the production started, it even seems to miss some of the more recent developments of the manga (or maybe they are simply avoiding spoilers).

    The main reason for having an original storyline is that the animation rights for the Vivid manga are still with A-1 Pictures and this series is made by Seven Arcs (who also did every other Nanoha anime). A-1 Pictures has announced a second season of Vivid for next year, so it’s tournament arc will be concluded.

    The under 15 world champion thing seems to be a mistake by the studio. From the way Einhard speaks about Rinne, it seems that Einhard was the former under 15 world champion.

    About your second point of critique: First, Fuuka doesn’t get a solid hit in, as even her final strike is blocked by Vivio. Vivio still being blown away shows how much power Fuuka has behind her strikes. Second, you are forgetting that Vivio wasn’t fighting against Fuuka at full power, or anywhere near it, with neither Sacred Hearts normal support, nor her Sankt Kaiser form. I think it’s safe to assume that when Vivio fought against Rinne, she actually used her full power, so the gap between Fuuka and Rinne is still big.

    • October 4, 2016 at 4:27 pmTetsu

      There was no official announcement about Nanoha Vivd second season. The promo material for a pachinko machine listed the second season, but that’s all .

      Also, if A-1 pictures had full rights to Vivid, they would have released the BDs for the first season already. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect a second season before those BDs are released (if that ever happens).

      • October 4, 2016 at 7:34 pmLyfe

        @Also, if A-1 pictures had full rights to Vivid, they would have released the BDs for the first season already.

        I’m not even a fan of this series, but I was able to find in about 10 seconds a whole bunch of listings for the Nanoha Vivid season 1 BD boxset editions out November 23. I even found an entry on the Aniplex Japan website. Embarrassing.

        It’s not like this was ‘new’ news either. Aniplex announced quite some time ago.

      • October 4, 2016 at 10:46 pmNex

        In response to Lyfe in regards to the BDs, those ViVid sets were actually announced very recently. There was a VERY noticeable gap in the show getting a BD release, we didn’t hear anything for about a year.

        Which is really odd, since practically every anime gets individual two-episode releases, that’s how they make their money. There’s speculation that it was thanks to Yukari Tamura ending her contract with King Records, making some think we’d never see the show get a proper release. But whatever’s going on must have been sorted out, guess we’ll never know.

      • October 5, 2016 at 6:55 amLyfe

        I saw that the news was available around late August. I should try and catch up with the Nanoha series. I watched and enjoyed Nanoha/Nanoha A’s a few years ago but didn’t really bother with anything more. Can I move to Nanoha Vivid without being completely and utterly lost? Thanks.. lol

      • October 5, 2016 at 9:23 amNex

        August was still pretty recent! Especially compared to the show starting in April 2015.

        And honestly, I’d just go ahead and watch StrikerS before ViVid. People give it a hard time, for some legitimate reasons and some much less so, but IMO it’s got some of the franchise’s real high points.

        For a total newcomer I guess starting with ViVid or ViVid Strike would be okay, but you’ve already seen like half the material anyway, so why not go all in. Lot of new faces from StrikerS in there, too, which could cause confusion.

      • October 5, 2016 at 10:39 amLyfe

        Thankyou Nex, will do!

        I sort of had a feeling that may be the case.

    • October 4, 2016 at 8:52 pmStilts

      @Zannafar

      Good point on Vivio not being in her combat form. It still feels too soon to me, but that helps a little.

  • October 4, 2016 at 4:56 pmVyseLegendaire

    I liked it. Shounen show about super-strong chibi girls. With an all-male audience. Ftw

  • October 4, 2016 at 6:09 pmErimaki

    I was all ready to go into “manga readers aren’t much better off than anime-only fans” and bunch of explanations, justifications and what not. But I think those were covered enough already above, lol.

    Instead I’ll say this: I’m sorry to hear you’re not planning to blog anything this season, since I always enjoy your posts. But as a reader of your twitter and other blog, I also expected that. Strength and all that with your other jobs, and see you next season! (Or at the end of current one if you’ll write end posts for some series). Hopefully you can get some resting done now.

    Oh right, the episode. Not much to say except that I’m interested to see how things go from here. The feeling of watching what seems to be essentially a sequel to an unfinished series is certainly a weird one.
    Nice to see the old cast of Vivid is still around as well.

    • October 4, 2016 at 9:09 pmStilts

      I think KonoSuba is airing next season, so I’ll definitely be back for that! I’ll also be around to maybe cover to other writers or do the odd editorial, though it depends. I’m so tired, so tired ;_;

  • October 4, 2016 at 6:38 pmLonghaul

    So far so good.

    This has the feel of being part of the Nanoha franchise, without the fact that it is looming over it.

  • October 4, 2016 at 6:42 pmAndmeuths

    Manga-readers would be just as lost, because Vivid Strike talks about things that haven’t happened yet to begin with in Vivid, even in the manga (at least, with what has been translated, for the Western audience). I think this show was meant to be a soft reset.

    Secondly, whether Vivid Strike is going to resemble the first three seasons in the seriousness of the plot, or whether it’s more like Vivid is going to depend on Rinne Berlinetta in all probability. If the reasons for her adoption are connected to the larger themes of walking lost-artifacts or artificially modified mages that feature so sharply in the first run of Nanoha shows, then Vivid Strike is definitely going to be more serious in material than Vivid.

    Thirdly: I think the drama early on is meant as a signal to the audiences coming back. Vivid-strike is not a light-hearted show like Vivid. The protagonist is more or less a street-kid from the lowest levels of the Nanoha-verse society, from an extremely different background from everyone we’ve seen in Vivid and even Striker S. Was it over-wrought? That is subjective, but I think it was enough for the main protagonist to catch my interest, partly because it makes her one of the more unique protagonist in the series so far. When was the last time an orphan street-rat near delinquent who gets into fights with youth-gangs in alleyways and seedy dockyards, becomes the main protagonist of a magical girl anime, set in a world where magic and Magitek is the norm and almost as essential and fundamental as electricity to us on Earth? Now, whether or not Vivid Strike chooses to pursue this interesting premise further on is another question.

  • October 4, 2016 at 7:23 pmjifu

    As a nanoha fan who has been watching since the first nanoha and vivid releases till now. I think this is surprisingly good and i was impressed by it. It is a bit sad to see Vivio most likely being reduced to a supporting character but i think there should be a great things to look forward to. I for one hope that this would be a good anime to watch. Looking forward to episode 2.

  • October 4, 2016 at 8:42 pmewok40k

    I could possibly pick it up, if not for the immense task of first watching the original Nanoha series, then spi-offs, just to know who-is-who of the universe?

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:00 amWanderer

      Actually, so far I think you probably need that the least for this series. Sure, it will help you catch some stuff, but so far there’s been nothing important that you would miss by not being familiar with previous material.

      The Nanoha franchise has started to suffer a good bit from continuity lockout. The original Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha was released back in 2004, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s was released in 2005, and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS was released in 2007. All around and in between and after them there have been released sound-stages and mangas and DVD-booklets with additional canonical material, any of which could be referenced at any time, and which the hardcore fans will expect everyone to be familiar with.

      If you want to know enough to get by, watch the three series from early 2000 (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s, and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS), look on youtube for “strikers sound stage X” (full name is Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Sound Stage X, but you don’t need to type that whole mess in to find it, usually) as that’s the one sound stage that covers a signficant story and thus has translations posted up and around, and then go read the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Vivid manga.

      Sounds like a lot of work, but if you really want to know the important stuff, it’s the only true way to do it. There are lots of other side-mangas and other sound stages and such, but the things that are going to really matter are the 13 episodes of the original Nanoha, the 13 episodes of Nanoha A’s, the 26 episodes of StrikerS, the hour or two of Sound Stage X, and the (currently) 64 chapters of the Vivid manga.

      …Or you can just take my word for it that, so far, you don’t really need to know any of it for this series, because Vivid Strike hasn’t really built itself off of notable plot points from previous series. Yet.

    • October 5, 2016 at 7:04 amAndmeuths

      I would suggest you go into Vivid Strike blind, especially since the characters of the first two seasons don’t seem to be showing up here. In-fact, I don’t think there’s a need to watch Vivid – it will make you even more confused, because Vivid is an incomplete adaptation.

  • October 4, 2016 at 9:20 pmaeto

    I’m sad that it seems that Nanoha isn’t going to be in this show while still being in her universe but I am at least happy that the franchise is back with Seven Arcs. It is their creation and I expect them to treat it well. That said I hope we get some crazy fights between little girls.

  • October 4, 2016 at 10:40 pmNex

    “Strange” is probably the right word. I’m definitely interested so far, but yeah even as a ViVid reader this is a little odd. There’s everything that other commentors have pointed out, plus the fact that scanlations of the manga are perpetually ~20 chapters behind. So like, Einhart’s classmate Yumina is a well-established character here, but was JUST introduced in the translated manga.

    And yeah, for as much as this feels like a complete and total spin-off… I wouldn’t expect anyone but Nanoha fans to understand any of it. Hell, the show itself doesn’t even tell viewers that this isn’t set on Earth.

    I’m hoping the familiar faces around get some decent screentime too, I was pleasantly surprised to see the other Inter-Middle competitors in the ED.

    Any complaints aside though, this definitely has potential. Between this and the recently announced release date for a 3rd movie, it feels like a good time to be a Nanoha fan.

  • October 5, 2016 at 12:33 amJeffers

    I am interested at former bestfriends turn enemies with one of them weaker than the other then becomes stronger later plot… But i have a feeling that fuka is just misunderstanding her former friend.

    • October 6, 2016 at 6:26 pmAndmeuths

      I fear it might be far, far worse than a simple slice of life moe show “it was a mis-understanding all along.” It won’t surprise me if Fuka and Rinne are both artificial human beings, possibly clones of someone. For example, suppose Rinne was a Project F Clone of her adoptive mother (cloned without the knowledge of said mother using stolen genetic data), and her adoptive mother was, in her youth a brilliant fighter. That would probably have generated immense pressure on Rinne (even if her foster parents gave no such pressure at all) to live up to the original.

  • October 5, 2016 at 8:17 amtheirs

    This is a spin-off of a spin-off (Nanoha Vivid) of a spin-off (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)? Are they trying to trump Muv-Luv? Just by looking at the name, does this have the same feel as StrikerS? Quite interested if it does.

    Since this seem to focus on melee combat, any chance of the other Takamichis showing up?

    • October 5, 2016 at 10:31 amZannafar

      Unlikely. After all Nanoha’s parents and siblings are still on Earth and like StrikerS, Vivid and Vivid Strike take place on Midchilda.

  • October 5, 2016 at 8:18 amfomite

    The reason why they are using the drama thing is because production has shifted back to Seven Arcs. If you recall, Seven Arcs’ previous Nanoha series always revolved around drama, and I like it enough that they are helming it again. The character designs by A1-Pictures just seem too perfect for me that it lacks the original Nanoha flavor. I know I sound weird, but Seven Arcs have a way of making the characters less chiselled in their features, helping retain a certain old school feel, reminiscent of Nanoha of the past. I like it a lot.

  • October 6, 2016 at 12:00 amMgecle

    Well, drama has always been part of Nanoha, I certainly expected some when I saw the trailer, and I got it.
    Anyway, I was slightly taken aback by how fast Fuka learned Dankuuken, her win was ok in my opinion, she took the chance and pushed back at the right timing, then pulling off Dankuuken and knocking Vivio back for the win.
    Fuka’s backstory and her being mentored by Einhart is rather appropriate considering their similarities.